MY SPUR REACTION

Watching the videos showing a man threatening a woman in front of her children at the Texamo Spur at The Glen Shopping Centre, left my head spinning. My reaction moved from utter disbelief to a raw rage.

He pulled her child. Let me say that again “HE PULLED HER CHILD!!!!”. And then he raised his hand to the women telling her he will give her a “p ….klap”

And the children?, look at what they witnessed. A stranger swearing at their mother, threatening to slap her, shaking the table. It’s awful, it’s madness.

And yes, the mum swore back, and yes we haven’t seen the debacle from the beginning – but he pulled her child!!’. I’m not sure I would have behaved differently given the setting. She couldn’t gather her children and walk away. She was cornered, literally in a Spur booths to face the aggression.

I don’t even want to think about what would’ve happened if she had been closer or if her had grabbed that child away from his mum. It shocks, saddens and enrages me at the same time. I want to scream: “is this us, is this our society, is this the violence that men in society perpetrate against women, against defenseless children????”. God help us!!!!!

Well done to Spur who banished the man from ever entering any Spur again. My family has visited Spur many times. It’s a kiddies friendly restaurant and the last thing I want is for my children to be exposed to this wildness.

It’s impossible to sever race from this. We come from a racially divided society. Of course people will ask “had the mother been white, would his behavior been the same?”. We will never know – but those are important questions to ask in the race discourse, as the country deals with its past.

The mother, whom we have come to know as Lebogang Mabuya said she will not press charges. I think that’s generous of her. I’d like to see a man like that stand before a court of law and have judgement passed against his behavior. I would like our courts to pronounce that this behavior is against the law and will not be tolerated. I would like to see individuals and our entire society stand against this scourge.

Watch the event here and here. One was taken by a patron videoing it on his phone. You can hear the dialogue. The other is from the Spur footage of the event taken from the other side of the table. After watching this, I implore you – react!!!! And whatever your reaction is, don’t let it be a passive desensitized one. Indifference will only breed more violence and show our children that violence is the norm and violence is okay.

Please share your thoughts.

 

 

SPACES AND PLACES REVIEW: CRESTA SHOPPING CENTRE

I was privileged to be invited to the opening of Cresta Shopping Centres’ Family Room or Family Oasis (as I like to call it). Family loo’s, play area for little people, a place to warm milk and comfortable seating area for breastfeeding, pram and trolley park. Plus a gate keeper to boot – to check families in while ensuring that little people don’t wonder out.

I know I’ll be a regular. Shopping with a 7, 4, 2 year old and a 4 week old is often considered (and rightly so) a nightmare. Touring the space made me go inwardly – YAY!!!!!! DOWN TIME IN SHOP TIME !!!

If there’s any complaint to be made, it’s that there are too few of these amazing places in the mall. Well done Cresta – a place after my own heart and the heart of every tired parent out there, I’ll bet.

DON’T YOU GET IT, THEY’RE LITTLE PEOPLE?

Children- depending on their various stages and ages – don’t have the ability to control their emotions, their desire to explore, fidget, run, chat or play. They’re on the move constantly. The setting doesn’t really matter – church, wedding, restaurant…..it’s all the same. They don’t understand the context and have no sense of decorum. Below the age of 4 they don’t care much for the rules, nor should they – it’s completely normal. I would venture so far as to say it’s healthy.

One day they will live in a world of rules and social graces. Right now, they’re kids and should have the freedom to ‘be’. Why should I reprimand my daughter when her natural propensity is to be spontaneous? I want to encourage her to be confident and to approach the world with curiosity. It’s crucial for her development because children learn through play and a questioning mind.

So when people insinuate or blatantly express their irritation with my rowdy bunch – I want to say “hold on, hold the heck on – don’t you get it, they’re little people!!!!!!!'”.

They can’t help themselves. Sure I should and do reinforce the correct behaviour. Children should not be rude or destructive and need to be taught how to behave appropriately in different environments. But both the age and temperament of the munchkin determines how they respond.

Long gone are the days when ‘children should be seen and not heard’. And good riddance to that old mantra! I’m not going to try and muzzle my child, no matter how many condescending stares I get.

So the next time someone comments, I’m going to patiently explain the obvious: “asking a young child to sit still is as ridiculous as asking Dumbo the elephant, not to fly. After all, it’s who they are – live with it lady!!!!”

PAPAS WHO LOVE THEIR BABAS

I’m soooo blessed to have a man like my man!!!! He loves his family. I know it’s a cliché but the truth is that not many dads do. He has thrown himself, head first, into the land of raising kids. In short he’s committed to this thing called fatherhood. He takes parenting seriously while having a lot of fun. The dudes just awesome!!!!!

Check out his article: TULLE AND TIARAS EVERYWHERE, published in the latest edition of the MamaMagic magazine, Milestones. Makes me proud.

See the article at PAGE 70 here:

TO BRAAI OR NOT TO BRAAI

So this is the life of so many mothers and fewer fathers me thinks. Parents who are invited to a braai on a balmy Saturday afternoon in Jo’burg – and who turn down the sumptuous invite for that full time job – children!

I get it, it’s rewarding and it’s the most privileged place to be. The place where you watch you babies thrive amidst the fast paced madness of this century. I am the envy of many of my friends. But sometimes, just sometimes I could settle for less than the best.

Imagine with me. I could go to that braai, sip on drinks while the meat sizzles and delicious aromas swirl around. The banter is light – ordinary or silly things as friends catch up. Yes the children are in tow. But in this story mum is not walking after the toddler who wonders too close to the open pool as she whispers “inconsiderate” under her breath. And dad is not struggling to follow the conversation because his 4 year old plays Spiderman on his shoulders. All this as mum holds her breath while another little person proudly balances a plate of food and then oops!!! Paptert splattered on guests. Your host stammers “it’s okay” as she leaves for the mop.

And it’s at this disastrous point in your imagination that you go “OH SNAP – I’ll settle for home”. Home, where noisy messy shrieks bring the comfort that all is well. All is as it should be.

THAT PIG GIVES ME COURAGE !

“mother”

Has anyone seen Sing? Rosita the piggy mommy gives me courage. Buried in heaps of work she still manages to pursue her dreams.

Wouldn’t it be nice to be that super duper women or rather that super singing pig. Chasing her dreams while still managing and juggling motherhood.

I’ve been there, pushing a career and raising kids. It isn’t easy. Working moms almost always feel a tinge of jealousy or sadness when they see the “at homes” do something their lifestyles prohibits them from doing. But I get the working moms – the ones who can’t quit work because they need the money and the others because they love what they do. I’ve been on both sides of the spectrum. Neither of these 2 women are less worthy than the “at homes”, of the title: “MOTHER”. Working a job doesn’t add up to less love.

My mum worked. Yet I never felt like she was not there. On the contrary her devotion was tangible. It still is today.

So though we may not be able to build a clothes drying and dish washing contraption – we can do what our capacity allows us. We don’t have to feel guilty about working when our kids know we love them.

PRODUCT REVIEW: LEASHES FOR KIDS

My husband and I were brave or crazy enough to travel to Bali via Singapore last year with 3 children under the age of 7. My youngest was a wee baby of 11 months so that meant a pram was a necessity. My 6 year old was fairly well behaved and could stand still for about 10 minutes without asking “are we there yet” and my 3 year old was – well, a 3 year old. Explorer of airports, with very little stranger danger instincts, a runner in the alternative, a thrower of tantrums (if such a linguistic term exists).

Planning was essential. We had 4 arms to navigate 3 children through 3 airports, twice in that trip. That’s a lot of airport time for tired parents and crabby or energetic children.

And plan we did. Mum would push the pram with baby strapped in. Six year old would stand on the foot rests at the back. Dad would push the luggage trolley holding two large suitcases, baby bag, vanity bag and camera bag. (We have since learned to pack much lighter.)

But how would we manage the natural instincts of our 3 year old? And then the debate started. To leash (I prefer the word harness) or not to harness? And if we chose to, what form would this harness take?

From the outset I want to say that I am not wholly opposed to child harnesses, nor am I wholly in favour of them.

Many people are shocked that parents use harnesses because:
•they look so much like a dog leash and our children are not dogs.
•they ruin an opportunity to teach your children how to behave in public.
•they say to your child “I don’t trust you and I’m in charge”.
•they say to your child, “the world is a dangerous place, people are not to be trusted”.
•they control your child as a leash would control a dog.

Others are for it because:
•toddlers don’t know any boundaries and can’t discern between danger and safe spaces yet.
•it’s a great way to keep control of your toddler when you have more than one child.
•it’s useful in busy people filled spaces where your toddler can become lost.

I agree with both of these opposing views – because I have to weigh them in different settings.

Our busy 3 year old was never harnessed at home or in very normal circumstances like outings or shopping etc.

It’s in these places where we teach her proper behaviour for public spaces.

In other places, like busy airports where many different things call for your attention- finding the right terminal, checking in or collecting luggage, completing forms with more than one child in tow, standing in ques, harnesses definitely have a place. We found that this was especially in the case when children outnumbered the adults.

We chose this route against the risk of losing her amidst the throng of people.

We researched the options.

We read and heard that controlling your child with a harness on her back is safer because it’s more comfortable and because wrist harnesses can ( if jerked) cause pain to the child’s arm, and in some cases even dislocate it.

We tried this option. The harness was connected to a back pack. I didn’t like the feel of it – it felt flimsy. The fabric on the back pack was thin and I dident trust it to do the job. Also, if it was pulled back suddenly, the child would land on her bottom. And the width of the strap that would go around the child’s wrist was too broad, allowing the child to take it off quite easily.

We also looked at wrist harnesses. We found the Moose Noose Toddler Safety Harness to be most useful because:

•it’s telephone type cord is attached to the wrist of the child. It pulls out to a meter, thus allowing your child to explore, but not stray away too far.

•it’s not easy to take off and is made with double sided Velcro strap to strap around the wrist. .This strap is comfortable.

•it’s cord is “cut proof”. It’s super strong.

Our child was less opposed to this than being controlled from the back.
I think it’s because she may have felt that her wrist or hand was held and she could walk alongside us. It gave us piece of mind.

What was most noticeable was that we did not so much as catch a blink of an eye from South Africans. But in the rest of the world people would gawk in astonishment. Some would even take pics. It certainly told us that South Africans take strong precautions and are on a whole distrustful of people and places. I can only attribute their behaviour to the high crime rate in SA. Perhaps this is one of the greatest disadvantages – the message harnessing sends to our children.

Check out:
https://www.moosenoose.co.za/

https://www.facebook.com/sharer.php?u=https://moose-noose.myshopify.com/products/toddler-saftey-harness

BRAGGING RIGHTS

Bragging rights – we all have them. It’s that day when you smile or want to dance like the king of pop, as your little person does something amazing.

Like when our 7 year old – after months of “I hate horse riding” – takes the horse into a jog. She came off sweating, red faced and beaming. She had done something. She pushed herself beyond what she found mundane to the next level. Yes it’s that moment when you want to go “yoh, yoh yoh. Ma se kind!”

And Sean and I can’t forget the night we, with a number of adults sat through a presentation. The expert upfront said “It’s a myth. There are no big boned people. Have you ever seen a bigger skeleton?” The room was quiet and our 4 year old rang out clearly “I have”. We were all astounded. “Homo Naledi” she explained and went on chewing her apple as she swung her legs. Wow! It was an omg moment. My little person had the confidence to speak her mind in a room full of unknown adults. We were sooooo proud. We wanted to go “did you just see that -that’s my child” Plus now we knew she learnt something from our visit to Maropeng. Yes it’s that moment.

And the time your 23 month old hits that milestone. She can walk down those stairs one foot at a time. She fights off your help because she can do it! She knows it and she’s going to show you. Something awesome has happened and you whatsapp everyone to tell them. To brag to them.

It’s those moments when your little person shows you and themselves that they’re capable. It’s a little or big growth spurt that packs a punch to your heart!!!! It leaves us parents basking in pride while we go “ah that’s my girl”.

FATIGUE

Fatigue – that pervasive feeling that dominates all aspects of life when you’re the parent of little people.

You’ve forgotten what it’s like to breastfeed 2 to 3 to 4 times a night, changing nappies in between. You covet Sean’s snores. You lay sleeping beauty down, swaddled and satisfied. You begin to drift into oblivion. And just then when you see it within your grasp – the ever prized SLEEP – the alarm goes off. You’re startled – “really!” You stumble out of bed, tripping over the talking train. “Are you still there?” It asks over and over again.

You scramble to get the kids up for school.

You drink your second coffee for the morning and still you can’t shake it off. It grips you and pulls you down – from your eyelids to your bottom, everything going south. Now you’re looking for somewhere to sit so you can hold your head up. You read the ingredients on the container for the umpteenth time this week – and you’re convinced. This is all a ploy to get people like you to buy the stuff. They say it contains caffeine which is a supposed stimulant. Only you’re not stimulated. You’re in a vegetative state – groaning, waiting for the darn thing to work and wake you up!!!!

It doesn’t and you know it’s all a lie – make believe like your daughters fairy tales. Your lips gave that coffee true loves Kiss and everything is still not ok. The adventure has not ended. It continues as Tal spills cereal on her school shirt. Zaza screams “mine” running from Ellie who lunges foreword to grab or slap. Baby cries for her change. Sean walks in on que “we’re leaving in 5!!!”

It’s all a blur. It’s motherhood on the rougher days when family life is not tinted in hues of pink and gold.

My Bursting Heart

I didn’t know how much your heart could grow to over flowing with the feeling that you are blessed beyond measure.

First – it’s the birth of this little one – Tey. The first sight of her, her first breath, her cry is like an explosion of emotion. And then you realize that that emotion is love. The fierce sheer strength of it and your tears flow because you don’t know what else to do. You take her in your arms and praise God for what He has given you. You know that someone this precious could only have come from His hand!!!!

And then you see your brood of little ones – all 3 of them: Tal, Ellie and Zaza gather around their sister and scream and laugh and coo in the wonderment of “babeeeeeee” as they clamber to touch her. Your heart grows bigger and bigger. It’s so full. And you say to your husband as you point to each of them “that one is ours and that one is ours and…and….” – four times. And then it’s bursting again- all the emotion flowing in tears.

And then you’re so blessed by the people that swirl around you – the ones who rejoice with you because your new little one is “theirs too”. They rejoice because a granddaughter, a niece, a cousin, her birth has brought joy to them. They love her already!!!!! And they love you and you husband and your mighty brood. And you feel so secure, so touched you, so full – it’s overwhelming, that support and love.

Then the blessings, prayers, well wishes and gifts pour in. The meals arrive at your home, the thoughtful helpfulness, all to care for your family. All this while you nest and recover and bond, cloistered – hidden in all the love.

And you think back to your birth and know that only the hand of God could have done all of this. From the awesome medical team to every last gift. And you realize that it’s Him, it’s His grace and love shown through all of this. Then there it goes again, your heart grows full, bursting as you perceive it all.

Baruch HaShem!!!!