Thursday, 22 June 2017

Photo Update: Zac's Paw Patrol Pizza Party

A Paw Patrol Pizza Party, have you ever? Well, that's what you get when you have a child wanting a pizza-making party (following that holiday club experience he had in April), who is still completely obsessed with those pups!

Not that he mentioned his desire for this fusion party from start. Initially it was just a pizza making party, and we went through three different invitations:

Then he remembered he actually wanted the Paw Patrol present, and so the invitation was edited to look like this (thank God for

Being Zac's first real class party, although we didn't want to go all out crazy, we wanted to give them all a good time. And so we also had to choose an appropriate cake - not the easiest task when your child professes to have a cake allergy.

In the end, we decided to keep it simple by doing the following:

Party Table:
My experience has been that kids don't actually eat all that much when they're at a party. So I decided to keep the treats minimal, and carefully selected them to fit with the theme (and our budget):

Parents Snacks:
Being the middle of winter, I decided to make a pot of soup and get a couple quiches for snacks, and added some 'pupcorn' and 'bones' for nibbles. There was also more than enough hot and cold drink options.

Main Activity:
In order to make the most of the time, and fulfill Zac's pizza-making dreams, we had each child make their own pizza using basic dough, tomato sauce, cheese and bone-shaped salami. We started with this so that the kids could play while the pizzas all baked. We also decided not to do party boxes, and rather allowed the kids to take their pizza and birthday cake home if they wanted.

Things To Do:
We had to prepare for the possibility of rain, so we were in a big hall that the kids could play in. But the weather was fantastic, and it was wonderful to bask in the sun. We had a Paw Patrol colouring-in station, and a large garden area for the kids to run around playing ball games in.

And in the end, everyone seemed to have a good time - if these two are anything to go by!

Special thanks to:
Yaya for arranging the hall
Uncle PJ and Aunty Ash for the pre-party prep assistance, in particular, the pizza dough and biscuits
Uncle Lee and Aunty Ilana for helping with the party set up and taking pics 
Aunty Dom for cutting bone shaped everything
Uncle Ricardo for two awesome pizza cakes (one for the actual birthday on Sunday) 
Steffi for helping with Sam, even through a poo-explosion at the party
Daddy for not losing the plot when Mommy was

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Zac: My Favourite Five

I know that as soon as I publish this, I’m going to think of a host of ‘better’ things to have included in this post. So let me just put this disclaimer out right at the start and say that, really, these are only five of many of my favourite things about Zac.

Zac, to think that you’re turning five nearly blows my mind. What is it about remembering everything and nothing all at once; how it feels like eternity and one day at the same time? I continue to be amazed, humbled, challenged and lavishly blessed by this journey we are on with you.  In honour of your fifth birthday, and in our annual tradition of a special birthday post, here are five of my favourite things about you right now:

You being at big school for the past 18 months has introduced me to a whole other side of you that we never really had the chance to see before. I have had the opportunity to hear from teachers and other parents about the boy you are with others, and if what they say is all true, I could not be more proud. You are friendly, compassionate and loving, liberal with your affection and kind with your words. You hold the girls’ hands as you cross the parking lot together, and never leave anyone all on their own.
My Sweet Boy, this is what character is made of; to consider others, before oneself. And as you grow older you will often hear how much more important this is than the fact that you can already read (well!), or that you’re a numbers whizz.

The Bible speaks repeatedly about faith like a child, but I never truly knew what that looked like until I came into contact with yours.  You have a real relationship with Jesus, and I can’t explain how happy that makes me. In fact, you teach me – and others – so much about how Father God wants us to relate to Him. You pray with expectation and even make agnostics believe that ‘someone’ is listening to you. You are bold and confident in who God is, and how much He loves people.
My Precious Child, You have anointing over your life that I can’t wait to see unfold in whatever it is God has planned for your future.

One would be forgiven for thinking we are short on family, because you have made many friends just that. I think of Uncle Peter, Aunty Sandra, Ma and Pa Blake, the Jacobs’ – to name a few. You have a way of crawling into peoples’ hearts, and loving them so completely that they have no choice but love you right back. And it’s pretty much the same with your biological family. You are a doting brother and caring son. As unique (and challenging) as dealing with all the different facets of you can be, everyone loves you fiercely.
Loving Son, the family you have is the group of friends you will have with you your whole life. Treasure these relationships and invest in them. These are the people who will celebrate your success and share the burden of your sorrows.

Your dad and I were recently talking about how head-strong and assertive you are. It’s true that many times you can be opinionated (but you’re only just five, hopefully you will learn how to manage this better as you mature), and often others don’t understand, and want to ‘sort you out’ – BUT Dad and I agree that this is part of your nature that is God-designed for you. We love that you are able to stand your ground, effectively communicate how you feel, and are not easily swayed by what someone else would have you believe.
My Strong-willed Warrior, you are a future world changer. You will need this strength someday, so until then, we promise to do all we can to properly hone and refine it in you so that you can use it for good, and not for the destruction of yourself or others.

It would be amiss of me to leave this one out, because, as serious and sensitive as you can be, you’re also really funny, and lots of fun. I love watching your imagination run wild whether you’re exploring outer space from the station in your room, or out on another adventure with Ryder and all the Paw Patrol pups. I love how you (still) race straight from the car to the sea, usually (still) fully clothed, unable to contain your sheer delight as you run through the waves. I love your sharp wit and sense of humour, the funny-faced selfies I find on my phone, and the sound of your laugh as you and Sam get up to mischief.
Little Joker, may you never lose this zest for life, or the ability to see the good in every situation. The art of being happy is in choosing to be. Go on those adventures, try those new things, laugh at yourself. There is so much joy in life, and we wish it all for you.

Happy birthday Zac-a-roo. We love you so, so, so much!

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Celebrating Dad

Some men take to fatherhood like a duck to water. My baby-daddy was not quite like that. Between being  extremely squeamish in real-life blood situations, and scared to death of carrying anything smaller than 5kg, I was pretty safe to deduce, even before our babies arrived, that he was not going to be all that hands on.

Enter Beautiful Boy/Big Brother, June 2012. The circumstances surrounding his birth resulted in an emergency c-section, and The Husband's first parental experience involved fighting back tears and helplessness as his brand new baby painfully got his lungs flushed out. (I never realised or acknowledged the long term effect this would have on him until Beautiful Boy 2.0 was born three years later, and I heard The Husband anxiously ask, "why aren't you going to take him to have his lungs flushed?". It wasn't necessarily, but it had been his fear all along. As was the possibility of a repeat emergency delivery.)

The Husband didn't change a single nappy on our 3.4kg baby that first month. But triumphantly marked his first a few weeks later with a Mufasa-esque trophy hold of our baby - with his nappy on back to front. While I did most of the baby related activities, there was still plenty of daddy love, cuddles and devotion, even during bronchiolitis at five weeks, and pneumonia 11 months later.

Second time around, apart from that lingering fear from before, The Husband was a lot more confident. While he still refused to change our even smaller baby, he eagerly did Kangaroo Care from the second Beautiful Boy 2.0 was placed into his arms, and effortlessly took Big Brother through his first separation from me while I was in hospital, and again when I could not stay with him while was in hospital later that year.

It's been three years since then, and The Husband wins MVP in our family, hands down. He has shown me over and over that the value of a partner is not in doing the baby things only. Sometimes (as continuous nursing from one baby to the next has shown us), babies want or need (often, only) their mamas, and that's where The Husband has come out tops. He is able to - and does - make dinner, bath kids, run errands and restore peace. And no one cleans a house like this man!

So this Fathers Day, with another on the way soon, let me just say again: there isn't anyone I would rather do this parenting gig with. We are completely different and perfectly complementary, and together, are the best thing for these precious gifts we have the awesome responsibility and privilege of raising. I don't say it enough, but I am so grateful for, blessed by, and proud of you Husband!
Happy Fathers' Day!

This post was written using aliases as it was entered in a blogger Fathers' Day competition.
If you've been reading CUWTK long enough though, you'll have no trouble following the post. 

Friday, 9 June 2017

My Middle Class Privilege

I'm going there.

For as long as I haven't posted, I've been mulling this over in my mind. I've been wondering whether I felt I needed a soap box to say my say, or whether this is actually a valid point that needs some kind of spread (even if only to the friends and family that read this) to allow others to think about it as well. I still don't have the answer. So if nothing else, this will be something of a journal entry for me to look over down the line from now.

It's not like I never knew middle class privilege existed. I'm the first to admit that I have classist prejudices. They stem from my own childhood when it was assumed that because I attended a Model-C school, spoke proper English (without a flat accent), and didn't listen to the local radio station, I was trying to be white. I never understood that. I was fortunate to not be affected by colour. I didn't want or feel the need to be another colour. I did, however, want to be better, and probably therein lies the issue.

Fast forward nearly thirty years, and I live a fairly open-minded, middle class life. I have not experienced overwhelming success in any area. I am not rich. I do not live in in an affluent area. We try to keep things simple. We have to. Yet, I am considered far more fortunately and privileged than many in my country. I live in a solid structure covered by a roof. I have access to clean (hot) running water and sanitation. I have a permanent job. I can (just about) afford medical aid. In this country, in this day and age, that makes me rich.

So as the drought we currently found ourselves in has become increasingly dire, I have challenged myself in the area of using more than I need. The truth is: there is plenty I don't need. So when I asked questioned the water consumption for water-birth on a local water saving social media page, I was not prepared for the onslaught I was going to receive.

To cut a long story short, I was bombarded with accusations of calling birth a luxury, not wanting to give (my) children the best possible start in life, justifying c-sections and the water used there etc. etc. etc. I didn't get a chance to respond because the admin turned off all the commenting rights, but here's the truth, for me anyway:

Never mind my thoughts on natural v c-section births ( I have plenty, most of them documented in this blog). While child birth is not a luxury, in my books, a water birth most certainly is. While I don't deny the pain-relieving and intervention-reducing benefits of birthing in water, using 650L of water - the equivalent of one person's allotment for the week under our current 4B water restriction - is for comfort, and certainly not essential. Just ask the many women who give birth (vaginally, mind you) down the road at any local MOU or government facility.

Would I like the option of water during labour? Absolutely! But am I willing to ask for it at the expense of someone's water quote for a whole week? No.

Similarly, we experienced a pretty bad storm this week. In some areas it was no worse that any of Cape Town's annual ones, but the reality is that in other places buildings had roofs blown off, people were left homeless and destitute, and lives were lost. Even worse than that, not far down the national road from here, part of the Garden Route is engulfed in flames. Nearly 30% of Knysna has been burnt to the ground. But we see things in the rose-tinted lenses of our designer sunglasses.

Please don't think that I'm self-righteously pointing the finger at anyone. This problem is my problem. I'm part of the population for whom it is too easy for us to disregard the plight of others, justify our choices, or give our critical opinion as we sip on gourmet hot chocolate in comfort of our warm, dry homes. And all because we think we've worked hard enough and earned the right to our luxuries.

This torments me so much. It's not something I know how to solve. But I do know this: we will never get to the point of having exhausted all avenues for us to help those who have less than us - there is that much to do. And until we get up, and walk a mile in someone else's shoes, we will never know the extent of their burden, and we will always think we are better. When really, we aren't.

Vluit, vluit. My storie is uit.