HEALTHY EATING – ONE BITE AT A TIME.

So this is often the bone of contention or rather the bone of judgement at kids parties. Mama bears stand around the table and start that conversation. You know the one. The one where healthy eating and lifestyles are discussed.

It’s often the conversation that leaves me with conflicted thoughts:

 

– “Am I doing enough for my family, enough nutrition? “,

– “Damn, why didn’t I know that about processed foods ?, I dont read enough”.

– “What on earth is going on – gmo, animal rennett, soya lectin, hormones, free range, organic, banting, sugar, sugar and some more sugar?”

 

I am left in a quagmire of anxious tension, guilt and shock , and all the while telling myself to calm down.

 

Yes I believe it’s true that big business has infested our food with gmo, hormones and everything else that shouldn’t be on a plate – to increase profits.

 

And yes,  the idea that our kids are reaching puberty earlier because of food content, is entirely plausible. And sure I believe that our bodies are what we consume – and so our kids may be prone to certain diseases, allergies and health risks, even if only realized later in life.

 

All of this is true – but how do I counter it?

 

I met awesome parents over the weekend whose son had his first taste of caffeine after 18. They live in a sugar free household – all of this is out of choice. Their 15 year old refuses any fizzy drinks because she has been taught this from very young.

 

So where is my family in all of this????

 

I am going to tackle this problem in bite sized pieces.

 

Bite one: Avoid fast food junk. Definition of junk food store: a place where they sell food that doesn’t disintegrate even if left laying underneath your car seat for 1 week

 

Bite 2: Avoid processed food and consume real food.Since most of our food is processed I will start with the basics: no processed cheese and meats (boy oh boy doesn’t the mist reent Listeria outbreak prove this point). Eat fresh veggies and fruit.

 

Bite 3: Water is the preferred beverage of choice. Love it. Drink it. And drink it purified as often as is possible.

 

Bite 4: Avoid food with added hormones and gmo.

 

Bite 5:  Avoid sweeties and everything else in that family where possible – whether solid or liquid.

 

Bite 6: Enjoy what’s not on this list so my munchkins can learn to enjoy it.

 

Bite 7: Load lunch boxes full of the good stuff.

 

Note to self: when you get it wrong and the plan goes pear shaped – as it will at parties, holidays and grandparent visits, chill out! This is  process not a test. One day at a time, one bite at a time. Phew!!!!

 

REFLECTIONS ON PARENTAL TAX

If you are a parent of many children, as I am – you will be familiar with the usual phrase that follows  the gasp after you say that you have FOUR children. It goes like this: ” shoo, I’d have more but it’s too expensive”, or “yoh, but kids are expensive” or even worse: “its way too expensive, I don’t want to struggle, so we stopped at …” and so on and so forth.

 

I give you and unequivocal YES with a nod – it is indeed expensive. I thank God, that Sean and I are not struggling, but that doesn’t mean we don’t feel the pinch. Yes we feel that very specific ‘eina’ (Afrikaans word for pain – for our non South African readers) when the school fees invoice arrives or at the beginning of term when new extra murals are to be paid. But we feel it acutely when  costs escalate for unforeseen unplanned circumstances.  I like to call it the parenting tax. It’s the one that is levied against you by the natural laws of life, and the more kids you have the higher tax to be imposed.   A  classic example took place over the last two weeks when blogs from this site were scant. Why, some readers asked, have you not been blogging. And my mental answer was I was busy paying a parenting tax. One of my 4 delights, found their way into my “off-limits” office and dropped strawberry milkshake on my laptop keyboard.

 

I swooped off to my repairman who called me back with the cost of repair at R848. A week later when the new keyboard finally arrived they called me again and said they had to rerun all the software and do extra repairs because the milkshake had done more damage than expected. The extra repairs would cost a further R848 and now the costs had mounted to R1696.

 

And so it is with so many things, broken chains, smudged lipstick, sandy swimming pools etc etc. Sigh!

 

My children never did own up to who dropped the milk shake, but after R1696 it doesn’t really matter. I am told by older wiser parents that “they’re alive and its all part of the journey” or  “they’ll grow and it will get easier”. So for now I’ll take a deep breath, have a “patience pep talk” with myself and move on.

 

PREPARING OUR KIDS FOR THE FUTURE WORLD OF WORK

Today I’m thinking about what we can do to adequately prepare our children for the future.

 

My husband and I certainly feel that we’re not doing enough. The world is changing at an unprecedented pace that has never been seen before.

 

Technology is the driver and our kids are in the back seat of the car, instructing the driver to go left, right or straight ahead. And where are we parents in this high speed journey? We’re running behind screaming: “hold on, wait for me… “We should be on the back seat helping to navigate.

We attended a talk on Raising Young Talent for the New World of Work. It was hosted by parenting expert – Nikki Bush, Generation Y speaker – Raymond de Villiers and Sameer Rawjee of Googles’ O School, at Henley University, earlier this month. We left overwhelmed but with a better sense of what to consider for the future of our kids.

 

I took away these learnings:

 

  • The world will continue to change at a rapid pace. This change is brought on by technological development – our kids should be adaptable, resilient and resourceful to meet its demands. They should embrace the constant change of the digital world.

 

  • Schooling as we know it, is not adequately preparing our kids for this future. Grades at university and schooling will not be  chief indicators of our children’s capabilities. Their talents together with an ability to innovate will be.

 

  • Parents can and should gear their kids up to navigate this fast approaching world, by encouraging creative thinking –  out of the box thinking. Creativity in young children is stimulated through free play and approaching the world with curiosity.

 

  • Parents should teach children not to fear failure, but accept it as a necessary part of their success.

 

  •  Professions in law, medicine, finance and many others will change fundamentally. Parents too must change thoughts of traditional work to ones that fit with the coming world of work.

 

  • When your children speak to you about what they want to do in the future or in current extra murals and subject choices at school – LISTEN! Their desires are chief indicators of what they enjoy (what they may be talented in) and what they may thrive in later on.

 

It’s a tall order, but Sean and I will work at it purposefully in our parenting. How we parent will negatively or positively affect our children in the future. After all we’re raising adults.

 

NOTE: Diagram in featured image is from the book: The Future of Work by Jacob Morgan

WHAT MY CHILDREN SHOULD KNOW ABOUT AHMED KATHRADA

My husband and I had the privilege if meeting Ahmed Kathrada 2 years ago at a book signing. I wish our brief exchange could have been my idea of a good afternoon – one drinking tea and gleaning wisdom from this man. It was with  sadness that we heard of his passing on our way to school in last week.

My 7 year old asked “whose that mummy?” My first response was simple, “he was a freedom fighter”. And then when asked again to explain “freedom fighter” I told her that he stood up against apartheid because it was wrong. And a flurry of questions and conversations followed on why he was called uncle Kathy and did he know Nelson Mandela and and and…

I can’t help but think that my description was somewhat paltry.  How do I break his contribution down sufficiently to bring an understanding to a little person, without it losing its essence, its importance, its enormity. How do I explain that his sacrifice more than 40 years ago has directly impacted her life.

There are many parts to the story of apartheid. But, after considering the life and death of Ahmed Kathrada, I think the most important part of the story for my daughter to know now, is that this was an ordinary man did great things.

He became great because he did extraordinary things. These extraordinary things were not related to scientific or technological invention, or inroads in commerce or research or any other human achievement that is lauded as great in the world. No, what he did was the greatest of them all – he stood against tyranny for the cause of others and did so at the peril of his own freedom.

In a child’s language – he found that he could not accept injustice against himself and others. He decided to do all that he could to stop it. He decided to fight for the freedom of everyone. He didn’t know if he would win the fight…. he fought anyway. His sacrifice was great, he even went to jail. He lost much and couldn’t enjoy life. But years and years and years later everyone else could.

And then I will teach her that she too can and must stand up for what is right, she too must serve others and not expect a reward. I will teach her that to live like that is to live a noble and great life.

 

 

 

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.

 

 

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!!!!”

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

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!!!!

Mumziboo – That’s me!

Mumziboo – that’s me, written by a mum of 4 little girls who is married to an awesome guy. All my tutus are under the age of 8. Tal is 7, Ellie is 4, Zaza is 2 and Tey  is a wee bairn of 4 days old. This is my journal, tribute, moment, downtime, cry time and whatever shape or form this blog may take.

It was before the birth of Tey and shortly after Sean and I decided that I would quit my legal practice and stay home to raise our brood, that it hit me. I realized that this was me. Being an attorney never defined me- it was my profession for a large part of my life, being a dancer was not me – it was something I did and loved. Being a cake baker or pottery maker or whatever I engaged in with great gusto, shaped my identity, sure, but it was not intrinsically me.

Motherhood is different though. At least it is to me. I can’t separate my self from it. It’s not a department in my life, a time when I am scheduled to do it. It’s not me practicing my talents or enhancing my skills. No, its what I’ve evolved into. Everything else that is me is still there. My heart, my personality, my natural abilities, strengths and weaknesses together with my core values are still there. All of it  – only now, its become a mama bear. And it’s amazing and weird at the same time – because “me”, my life, has through motherhood, extended into the lives of 4 others. They are an extension of “me” – and that will never change.

Any mum out there will agree with me – it’s a hair raising roller coaster. And I’ve decided – amidst the exhaustion, messy house, incessant worry, cost of living and school fees – I am going to hold tight and enjoy the ride!!!!!!

Chat soon!!!!