The terrible two visit the park – Part one

My children have not benefited from having two fully-engaged parents. Rather, we seem to have raised two “only” children, who expect the undivided attention and praise of at least one adult at all times.

Ter has, for the past two weeks, been working on a project that’s had him out of the house for most of the children’s waking hours, leaving the full burden… um… task of parenting to me.

Yesterday, I bought them two plastic bikes (because Angel won’t tolerate Henry being the only recipient of a toy that she’s essentially too big for), and then I took them to the park to try them out. This was, in hindsight, a mistake. I should have stuck to my original plan of only having fun when Daddy’s home.

It all started to go horribly wrong before I’d even got them into the car. I’ve done my shoulder some kind of injury by heaving around my son, who often doesn’t want to be taken from where he is to where I’m going. I was wrangling him agonisingly into his car seat, expecting Angel to get herself seated in hers (although God knows why I had such an expectation – it’s never happened in the past).

Instead, she decided to sit in the gap between the seats, where the dog is supposed to go. The dog tried also wanted to be there. It’s a small space. She’s not a small dog. Cue screaming and drama. I went around the other side of the car to try and heave Angel out, but by then, a segment of the fairy dress she insists on wearing everywhere had torn away and become entwined around the dog’s back leg.

“Bella, out!” I said, in my most authoritative Barbara Woodhouse voice.

Bella ignored me. She was in the car, the car that goes to the park, and she wasn’t budging. I tried shoving her. She retracted into the car seat, every inch of her barrel-like body adhering itself to the upholstery. Angel was wailing. My shoulder was in agony.

So I got hold of the loop of fabric embedded beneath my dog like a sword in a stone, and gave an almighty yank. At this point I wasn’t aware that it was actually looped around her leg, but the awareness followed fairly quickly as she issued a shrill series of yodelling yelps, and her hindquarters lifted away from the seat.

Fortunately, this had the desired effect of convincing her that perhaps she should move, for fear of being subjected to further pain and indignity, so she jumped out of the car. This left me with Angel, upset by the rending of her precious garment, to deal with.

I promised her we’d fix it, buckled her in, and then told Bella to get back in the car. She was very relieved that she wasn’t banned outright from the outing and leapt in.

And off we set to the park.

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It gets better

I loved having one baby. I did not love having two. This is not to say that I don’t love Henry himself with breathless intensity, but all that stuff about how it’s easier with the second child? Unadulterated rubbish! 

We loved and cared for Angel with utter devotion. When Henry came along, it was impossible to offer him the same level of care, and it was hard to have to take it away from Angel. 

It was a tough 18 months for us. There were added complications, which are fodder for another post. 

But, the point of this is one is that Ter is working on a job that has him gone early in the morning and back late at night. In the past, when this has happened, I’ve had to hire additional help or call my mother in. Then it got easier, but it still wasn’t any fun. Now, it’s just how things are. I can do this!

I feel like I’ve scaled Everest. 

 

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I’m back, bitches

Angel wasn’t even a year old at my last post. Now she’s four. A lot has happened since then. I had another baby, Henry. I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease (which will one day get a post of all of its own). Those are summed up as two additional items, but they’ve occupied a fair bit of my time. 

I’ve been wanting to get back into blogging, so this is a toe in the water. 

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So much hot air

I should have read the box containing the hot air balloon I gave my cousin Gabriel for Christmas a little more carefully. I knew the thing was “assemble it yourself”, but I didn’t realise quite how much assembly would be required of the “yourself” in question – in this case, me… myself.

I had imagined tinkering with a  few strings and a bit of glue perhaps – sort of like assembling a kite, only in 3D. I didn’t imagine for a second that we would open the box to find 32 rectangles of coloured paper, a paper template and a set of instructions translated from the German into painstaking English. Since I had dropped R350 on the thing, it seemed unfortunate to leave the boys to puzzle out the instructions, and more than likely bugger the thing up completely (like the sorry incident of the Sea Monkey soup a few Christmases ago).

So Gabriel, Nicholas and I embarked on a two-day, two-tubes-of-glue, massive-concentration construction exercise, and the result was a fairly magnificent concertinaed paper balloon. Then, in the middle of a working Christmas when everyone’s time was precious and attention was needed elsewhere, and the weather was required to co-operate

the gift of time

The first launch - a photographic success

, we assembled all and sundry on the cricket pitch to witness the launch. Our first attempt wasn’t spectacular in terms of altitude achieved, but the gentle horizontal wafting of the checked expression of loads of hard work and admin allowed for fantastic photographs.

A couple of days later we tried again, and this time held the thing down over the tray full of burning meths (the paper that comprised the neck of the balloon was flame-proof – nonetheless, the instructions urged extreme caution when working with paper and fire) until fingers were nearly singed and the balloon was straining upwards. Once released, it shot up like a rocket, heading straight for the sun. As impressed as we all were, its position in relation to the noonday glare meant that we couldn’t directly observe its ascent. Once its upward trajectory had slowed, it wafted its way slowly back to earth, somewhere over a river and into a thorn tree.

Three intrepid boys hunted it down and retrieved it, remarkably undamaged, so I am sure that there will be a third launch on a still day sometime in the future.

As horrified as I was that I’d actually have to build the thing, when all was said and done, I realised that what was also in the box, implicitly tangled in paper, glue and wooden struts, was the gift of time. And that was worth far more to me than the money I spent on the present in the first place.

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She can be taught

After 31 years on this planet – 13 of them as a legally recognised adult – I have accepted that when wearing white, it is necessary to also wear a napkin when eating spaghetti bolognese. Watershed day, my friends.

 

Now if only I could get the hang of putting the toothpaste on a toothbrush with an away flick of the wrist when wearing black…

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What do people without babies do?

 

pampers

mother's little helper

I have just used a wet wipe to clean my keyboard. It was sticky, now it’s not.

 

Wet wipes are my new favourite thing. If I could take one thing to a desert island, wet wipes would be it (although Kitty’s idea of dental floss isn’t a bad one).

What did I do before I had wet wipes? What do people without wet wipes do?

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Comment of the week

News24 feedback on my column about the jokers who came to try and cut off our electricity. Appearing after “brilliant article”, and “well put, Georgina”, was this gem:

“Damn, i know more about GG’s life than should be legal. Is there serriously nothing better to publish. We all got these problems. Wish some one would pay me to write about them. GG be grateful you have these problems otherwise you’d have no job.”

Where to start? First of all, this is a classic case of someone taking the time read the article and then taking the time to bitch about the article, while at the same time implying that there are better things that they could be doing and reading about. Save yourself the anguish “Kam”, and Don’t Read The Article. Honestly, you’re like the idiots who tore open the sealed section of the “Sex on the Internet” special I once published – the section that was marked “not for sensitive readers” – read the articles and then wrote to me to say they were offended.

The fact that we all have these problems is kind of the point of the article. In familiarity, we find solace. The fact that we all have these problems is what makes it unacceptable. I’m not grateful I have these problems. I’d prefer to be writing about something else, like the joys of Spring. Someone’s probably not paying you to write about them because you can’t spell “serriously”.

I feel the twitch coming on – the one I get when I engage with my readers – perhaps I won’t have a ‘Comment of the Week’ update every week. It’s no good for my blood pressure.

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