Making Plans

The countdown is on. I am going back to work in less than three weeks. Today I even received my shift plan, and it is time to make plans for the next phase. I will be working four-hour shifts during the week, and full eight-hour shifts on some weekends. Ron and I agreed that I should find a nanny to look after Robert when I work weekends, and he will try to manage for the rest of the time. It is all tentative at this point, and we will have to see how practical the arrangement is. Robert has progressed from half a teaspoon of rice cereal, and can now finish two tablespoons of it. The bottle is in the cupboard ready for a test drive, and all we need is some formula and water.

On Wednesday we took him for his second (and last) Rotavirus vaccination. It is an oral dose, and I have been dreading it, because he had such an adverse reaction to the first dose. This time he had almost no problems. Baby’s measurements this week: Weight 7460g; Height 68.5cm; Circumference of Head 42.4cm. His weight gain has slowed down as it should and he is now averaging 100g per week. The nurse also noted that he only grew 0.5cm in the last three weeks, but this is probably due to the inaccuracy of the process, but even with this Robert is still in the 90th percentile in height. His head though is getting bigger, he added one more centimeter on the measures since last week.

Thursday I took him to visit my friend Jackie, where we spent the morning. Robert felt very much at home, and even went to sleep in her room, hugging a little pink teddy bear. He was curious about everything especially Jackie’s gorgeous cat. Unlike our skittish Petey, Spliff came close and let him have a good look at her (under my watchful eye of course).

This week I also noticed that Robert is starting to put himself into crawling position. He sometimes lifts his butt up in the air and then pushes his chest off the floor. He also lifts his chest quite high off the floor and then propels himself forward with his legs. Most of the time though he inches himself backwards, and I keep putting him back in the centre of the playmate. He now turns over so quickly, it is no longer safe to leave him on the centre of the bed, not ever for a moment. I am dreading the day, when he will find a way to turn over on the concave changing mat.

The Pharaohs

Egypt won their sixth Africa Cup of Nations championship (AFCON) yesterday. In this country most people would have preferred it to go to Cameroon, not North Africa.

There is a deep divide between the north and south, even here in Africa. The prevailing feeling is that the northerners are not real Africans, and this perception might hold more than a little bit of truth. The North Africans are fair-skinned, live in different climate and ecosystems, and most importantly they are from a race which colonised the rest of Africa centuries ago. Their ancestors traded other Africans as slaves, and prosecuted them as heathen.

In modern times the divide is still clear, as is the mutual distrust between real Africans (Sub-saharan) and the northern inhabitants of this continent.

In my experience the Egyptians think of themselves above the rest of Africa. They are the pharaohs, they had the civilization, and they are not Africans.

I had the questionable honour of taking part in professional African forum in this country, where one of the delegates was Egyptian. The delegate thought that because of my origins I was bound to feel certain affinity towards him. He considered me to be one of his people, and did not bother to hide his disdain to all things African.

He found fault in everything from the travel arrangements, to the flights, the hotel and even the food – which was disgusting according to him. I tried very hard to tone down this negative attitude, and harder still to sympathize or relate to him. But as the hours passed, I started to identify with the African he disdained and condescended and was no longer the Arab he wanted to gang up with. The incident widened the rift between me and my origins and brought me closer to my adopted African identity. Would my attitude be different, if I also came from the land of the Pharaohs?


The latest mindless book I read was by Evelyn Anthony. I am happy to say that I no longer have any of her works in my possession, this is the last one and it is going out the window soon. The title is obscure enough that only ten people have it listed on I am not listing it because I try to appear a little more intelligent than I am.

Today I have resumed menstruating unexpectedly. My body is perhaps telling me that I am ready for the next baby, which is not bloody likely to happen unless I get raped – well lets not tempt fate shall we, this place is full of nasty crime and I am not planning on becoming another statistic.

On Saturday the weather was extremely hot, Sunday was cloudy and humid, today it is raining and cool. But give me the cold any day instead of the suffocating heat.Hubby is resuming his social life, which is a great success since he never had one to start with. Yesterday he was out with (???). He later said that they went to a pizza place and a fish restaurant. Well, whatever floats his boat. Meanwhile I am still coasting and waiting for what he comes up with in the next few weeks. He wants some time, and as he constantly drones whenever I try to talk it out with him : “Give me a break”.A friend of mine spent the weekend in Swellendam, which is medium sized town two hours away from here. She and her family are planning to relocate there. Considering that she has a very successful swim school here and her husband runs a successful plumbing business, the move might be foolhardy, but I can fully understand. People move on with their lives, they take charge and they make workable plans. Unlike my husband who is fond of dreaming of whatever is not achievable at the moment.I also have plans. I can relocate with my son to join my family. I can also move upcountry and build a small house. I have thousands of different plans. The only problem I have is the husband, who has a difficult time accepting available options.

I have been knitting as well. Knitting is therapeutic and very relaxing. As you build up the stitches of your work, your mind wanders and you consider your life. I hatched many dreams and plans as I was knitting. I even came up with a plot of a new story. It is a kind of sci-fi scientific thriller and takes place in a futuristic world where women learned to do without men. They even managed to pro-create by cloning without the need for men. Quite a neat idea, don’t you think, but it doesn’t end as you would expect, because women in the end are their own worst enemy and they actually give men the power over them. My story is still unformed, but the knitting has taken shape and it is a purple turtle that will find its home with a special little girl. There are plenty of flaws and mistakes in the turtle, but I learned quite a few techniques by making it. The pattern had just enough kinks and twists to be challenging.While my husband was painting the town I cooked and I baked. I cooked a kind of paella with a tin of mackerel, which turned out a little bland. Then I baked chocolate brownies which were slightly over-baked and tasted funny. The recipe came from here. I thought it had too much salt for one thing, and then there was no vanilla or any other flavouring. I had my fill of chocolate batter and crunchy over-baked, funny tasting brownies. I simply pigged out, since there is no one at home with beady eyes to watch every mouthful that I take. Yes, I needed it.