BATH TIME WONDERS

I love using ordinary mundane moments to connect with my kids- it’s a bonus when you can use it to play, teach and develop them at the same time. These are just a few bath time wonders I’ve enjoyed creating:

 

A VISIT TO THE AMAZON JUNGLE

 

I got so stuck in this one!!!! Ha! It was awesome. The thought grabbed me and I went running wildly through my garden with a shears 20 minutes before bath time. I cut the largest branches I could find and quietly decorated the bath tub with them. I ran the shower on hot for a while to get as much steam into the bathroom. And of course I ran the tub. Then I googled Amazon jungle sounds and played the music from my phone. I closed the door and told my girls they were visiting the Amazon. They loved it. They spent a lot of time in there. And wanted to know more about the Amazon:

 

Play: imagination and role play just flowed natural.

 

Connect: We just giggled and chatted.

 

Fun: loads for both them and me.

 

Learn: about the jungle, about the Amazon jungle, a specific place.

 

Develop: sensory touch – steam, nature, darkness and light. Bonus: Interest in nature- now they want to watch planet earth more and more. Plus memories made.

 

Your kit: leaves, real ones, Amazon jungle sounds, a music player (my smart phone worked wonders), a shower in the bathroom with the bath tub.

 

I also plan (perhaps I am too ambitious) to do the following:

 

SPACE

The tub will be the space ship. Lights off. Glow in the dark stickers stuck on the walls and ceiling to create the cosmos. Ah the. Blue water and an under water torch. Lights off torch on. Space music playing. Simple enough, I think.

 

ANCIENT EGYPT

Palm branches, the blue rive Nile, face paint to paint each other like Egyptians. I plan to build the pyramids out of towels in a corner and play the Prince of Egypt sound track.

Or

BEACH PARTY WITHOUT THE SAND

Drinks, sun hats, water toys, arm bands, swim wear and the sound of the ocean. I plan to go all the way with this one – mock-tails and of course boiled colorful spaghetti floating in the water for seaweed. Shells from our last visit to the ocean will line windowsill.

 

Tell me what you’ve done to make bath time interesting for your kids! would love to hear from you.

Now to find the time!!!!

IF I COULD CHOOSE, I’D BE A LADY AT DOWNTON ABBEY

Watching the royal wedding this weekend made me think about how slow and luxurious life could be if everything was done for you. Ha my kids are Royal for sure!!!! For Sean and I though, parenting, life in Jo’burg in general is such a rush. I try to consciously do things slower to enjoy them,’ savor the precious moments – the look of  Zaza’s cute puffy face as she says: “one more huffy mummy, one more kissy”. The naughty “catch me if you can” look on Ellie’s face before she darts off with a forbidden sweet. The feel of a Teh’s tiny body clinging to mine as she falls asleep and Tali’s flashing smile when she figures out something complex. These are the everyday mundane things that are extraordinary in little people. These are the ordinary memories that make up the rich tapestry of our family life. And I choose to savor them because they disappear as quickly as they come.

But try as I might, I live life on the run. Perhaps it’s the lifestyle we’ve chosen. It’s high impact and fast paced. Sean works hard and arduous hours and so though we see one another we don’t have time to talk about stuff – the stuff that requires attention for us to manage our lives and the lives of 4 other people. It’s not the first time that I’ve had hubby on speaker phone while driving the kids to school to tell him about how one of the bairns broke a frame or about leaking pipes or a school event or or or…..

 

It’s not ideal. I know many people who have opted for a quieter life out in smaller slower places than the city. We haven’t set our sights so far a field yet. Perhaps because this is where family is, our bread and butter is, our friends are, or perhaps we’re city people.

 

If I could choose though, I think I’d like to be a grand lady at Downtown Abbey and have the butler Carlton manage our home affairs. Imagine that! Mrs Patmore, planning our family’s lavish dinner EVERY NIGHT!!!!

 

But as it stands, we’re not gentry. We’re working class – who live a lot better than Mrs Hughes and Carlton I might just add – and that means that I get to be Lady of my own manor, the wife, mother of many, the butler, nanny, driver, housemaid and cook all in one too.

 

In the end it’s a balancing act, and a strange kind of contradiction: – slowly savoring the moments, enjoying being the Lady, without allowing the mad rush of life’s management to swallow it all up.

CARVING OUT THE TIME

I remember asking a friend once if she went on dates with her husband. She replied mockingly: “dates, what’s that?”.

That’s how so many parents feel. I sometimes think that I when Sean and I had kids we somehow disappeared into them. They came from us and became us. The chaos of parenting is often all consuming. Sean, when not wrapped up with demanding work is being a dad. And when I’m not working or writing, I’m mothering. And when all is said and done and you have that sought after moment (usually after 8 when cherubs are asleep and dishes cleared) – the quite sets in.

That’s when Sean and I have time to ourselves and it’s often at that time that we fall into craved sleep. Or we do a magic trick and turn into vegetables, I a pumpkin and Sean a potato in front of the TV. Admittedly brain numbing TV takes all the strain of the day away but it’s like white bread – good to taste without nutrition. And as for sleep – when you do manage to sleep through or sleep deeply, you wake up energized having taken a break from your kids but gained nothing for yourself.

That’s why Sean and I entrenched date night. I thank God for live in nannies. Sharon watches over the bubs while we escape, albeit exhausted to a night out with friends, a movie or dinner alone. Ah the bliss of date night!!!!!! I can dress up. I can eat warm food, sometimes gourmet food, that I haven’t cooked. I can drink delicious warm coffee. I can hold my mans hands and his gaze and not be pulled away by little fingers. And we can talk and listen and catch-up, connect, flirt and under stand one another again.

We try not to look at our phones or talk about our little people appendages. It forces us to find one another in the fast pace of life.

It’s not always possible to carve out the time away for just the two of us. But we do it because we need it. My husband is my best friend. I need him to know my head and heart space. And he needs the same thing. We need to stay strong as a couple to parent effectively. It’s fundamental.

 

A WISH FOR MY CHILDREN: FRIENDSHIP

Seans’ varsity friends have been meeting up, more or less, for the past 7 years – once a year in July or August. The friendship between seven, has grown to include spouses and children. We now number 10  adults and 16 kids. Massive.

Our gatherings are always special occasions. This year we met up in the Kruger Park, in the city for a black tie event and birthday bashes. Its always a time to catch up, bond, reminisce, make more memories and have laugh out loud fun.

I’m always astounded at how this friendship has evolved and  endured over a period of 20 years. Our children have now all become friends too.

It got me thinking about my wish list or prayer list for my kids. Among the many things I desire for them, somewhere on the long list is that they develop meaningful friendships. Its  rare  and beautiful, to be friends with someone who knows and understands where you come from. Someone who has shared important parts of your life and continues to play a part in it, is a treasure, I think. It makes life interesting, meaningful…..deeply rewarding.