Petey Comes Home

My ex brought my cat over this morning. Now there are three of us in a little room, and I have another little one to comfort as he pines for the home he was made to leave. Petey is crouching now behind a desk in our room, and is not interested in the food and drink I put out for him on the window sill. I have taken him briefly out to the backyard, but he sniffed around a kept looking around, listless and scared. I trust that my resilient little animal will eventually get used to the new circumstances. Perhaps he will find our new home more welcoming than the one he left, but is still hurts that he had to go through this.

On a happier note, I realize that I missed my little animal. He is so undemanding and simple. When he crawled out of his hiding place this evening, Robert spotted him and started squealing with delight. The two will have fun together I think. My own little family: Mom, baby and cat.

Day at the Park

It is always a delight to have a warm day after a cold and rainy spell. On days like these I feel so blessed to be living in sunny South Africa, where it is warm even through the middle of winter.

The park was full of moms, dads and babies. They sat together in several small groups, and there was a total confusion of toys, snacks and children. A boy picked up a ball that dropped near us and left his chip packet instead. Robert hijacked it immediately and started munching on corn pops. Later he borrowed a purple ball and tried to keep it for himself. Then he joined another family and challenged their little girl to share some of her toys and food with him. I never prevent Robert from exploring and interacting with other people and children, as long as I am watching closely. I try to keep track of where the toys and snacks come from. I don’t think being strict with a ten-month old is productive, I just stay close by to keep him out of bigger mischief and danger.

The new lightweight buggy is proving to be very useful. We walked very far today along the beach before we came to the park. On yesterday’s walk a middle aged woman commented that poor baby had the sun in his eye. The problem is that Robert hates hats and takes them off as soon as I put them on his head. Today I went through the effort of attaching bonnet style strap on a new hat, and was pleased to see it remain safely on Robert’s head, defying his fierce tugging. However, I underestimated my son’s tenacity and his unequivocal dislike of sun hats. Twenty minutes after we left the house I discovered that my innovation with the straps was useless. The hat was gone, and Robert was happily squinting against the low winter sun. This is now the third hat that we lost. The first was taken by the sea breeze, and the second was stolen with the baby bag. I will give hats a break for now.

Some images of the day:

Robert having his first taste of chutney corn pops.

Standing at the fence bordering on the dog area. The children were fascinated by a beautiful big Labrador who was exercising in the dog run. Unfortunately this picture does not show the dog.

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Aquarium Again

It was sunny today so Robert and I set out to the V & A Waterfront. The trip on the bus was a bit challenging this time because my little one kept squirming and wanting to be put down. I think it will be very difficult for me to travel with him for longer periods of time.

Not many locals were tramping around on this Monday afternoon, especially since we are in the final week before payday, a time when all South Africans are normally broke. Restaurants were empty and the only places doing business were the supermarkets. I enjoyed a takeaway lunch in the sun, while Robert napped in his buggy. I dodged a few cheeky seagulls who were trying to peck at my leftovers, before I even finished my food. One particularly nasty seagull snatched a piece of chip from my fingers. When Robert awoke we headed towards the aquarium. This time I was armed with my new phone camera and I managed to take some good ones.

Every time I visit the aquarium, I discover some new exhibits that haven’t caught my attention on a previous visit. Robert is also starting to take some interest in the swimming fish, especially the bigger ones. But at his age, the dominant sensations are tactile, so he soon wants to touch the exhibits and cannot figure out why he cannot get to the creatures behind the glass. The Aquarium is family and child oriented. There are two play areas, one of them has a distinct marine theme. Children can read books, watch puppet shows and do art projects with ocean and marine life themes. While we were there, we attended a short puppet show and Robert was very interested in the angelfish and the penguin marionettes. Thanks to my little one I tend to experience those little tastes of childhood, things I would have never looked at if I was an adult single woman. When Robert was born my aunt sent me a card that brought tears of joy to my eyes, it was about the joy a little baby brings. I am rediscovering the wonder of creation again through my son’s eyes. I take time to stop and examine the patterns and texture of nature and rediscover the world.

These are some of the things we saw today at the Aquarium:

A shark cruising overhead in the predator exhibit. Now this is a set of teeth I do not want to encounter in open waters.

These fishes are seriously big; roughly the same size as Robert.

Small coral reef fish.

And the poor Jackass Penguins spending their lives indoors.

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Another Tooth and No Trouble

Yesterday Jackie told me that Robert must have cut an upper tooth. She realized that because he gave her quite a sore bite on her arm. On closer examination it is confirmed that Robert has one of his upper incisors already out. The good thing is that he did not have or give too much trouble with this tooth. His teething, we hope, will be uneventful from now on.

Last night we had company for dinner. The last time I saw Jason and Fiona was at he hospital where Robert was born. Nine months later they are newlyweds and very much in love, while I am a recovering divorcee . When Robert was born Jackie came also to visit with her boyfriend, she broke up with him shortly before I moved in with her; life is really strange. Jackie is still trying to find Mr. Right, but speaking for myself, and after nine years of living with Mr. Wrong, I am calling off the search.

A Good Hair Day

I came home from work to see the girls (Jackie and Rochelle) straightening each other’s hair. Rochelle insisted that she wanted to see me with straight hair, and Jackie has been threatening to do this to me for a very long time as well, so I relented. The result was what you see here. I haven’t had my hair straight in a long long time – perhaps four or five years. I noticed with dismay that my hair has become so much thinner and there is hardly enough to make a proper braid. One more reason why I should perhaps stop breastfeeding and give my body a break, but I do not have the heart to do it. I enjoy the close bond with my son.

Presents for Robbie

The lady who gives us the Moms and Tots classes had an open day this week where she had toys and books for sale. We also had a photo session with a professional photographers. I did the photo shoot yesterday then bought Robert some toys and books. When I went again today I could not resist ordering another toy. Sometimes I wonder whether I buy the toys for my little one or for me.

A Mixed Birthday Bag

Yesterday was my 38th birthday. I cannot help but remember the way it was a year ago, when I thought my happiness was almost complete, the only thing I was awaiting was my baby’s arrival into the world. I never even thought that a year later I will be a divorced single mom.

Contrary to what people might think, I was raised into the belief that a marriage simply has to work. A married couple accept each other the way they are and learn to live with the bad and cherish the good. I did my best for the first seven years of my marriage, I changed and adapted to my new lifestyle as much as I could – yes I could not turn myself into a domestic goddess quickly enough, that was my only shortcoming. I denied myself even wanting a family and a child of my own, and I learned to live with all the rough edges of my husband’s personality. I would have stayed in this imperfect and flawed relationship if he hadn’t wanted out. Yes, I am still grieving over my marriage, and as the days pass the ugliness does not want to go away.

The last thing I wanted was to see my ex on my birthday but unfortunately I had to. Lucy is away in the Transkei and I have to rely on Robbie’s dad to look after him while I go to work. We had an argument over money, and he was again unfair and abrupt. I could not help but raise my voice then I felt so bad when I saw the look on my son’s face as he was getting ready to be driven away. I was left with the unpleasant realization that things might never improve between me and Rob’s father. Again I had the overpowering desire to put an ocean between us.

The incident left a bad taste in my mouth, but I soon cheered up when I picked up my new camera phone. There will be pictures again on this blog, and they will be good ones, because my new Sony Ericsson K810i has a 3.2 Megapixel camera. A regular digital camera will have better resolution, but the phone takes good enough snapshots for blogging. I am using up enough bandwidth as it is, and I do not want to start uploading bigger images. I brought some sweets for work and received the well wishes from my colleagues, my mandatory two minutes of fame followed. I also got the obligatory birthday card from the company in my locker. These little things helped me get over my antagonistic feelings against my ex, and combated my feelings of inadequacy and failure.

When Robert’s father brought him home he was in his pajamas. Dad had bathed him and he was all ready for bed. Dad also had a change of heart and paid me back the amount I asked for. I am sure he felt he was doing me a favor but I know that it was only fair. Nice and kind though is something or somebody else, my ex barely conceals his hostility towards me. While I try hard to play indifferent, and train myself not to care and not to hurt.

At the end of the day and when Robert went to bed I finally logged on to my computer and received more greetings from friends and family. The day was wrapped up as it started; in the morning my friend Anuschka surprised me with a phone call from Johannesburg, and in the evening I opened my present from Jackie, and then went to bed shortly before midnight after playing with my new cell phone – the present I spoiled myself with. In all it was a good day, with a few flaws. My 37th year was the strangest yet in my life. I experienced the joys of motherhood and then the final disappointment of divorce. The year might have ended with a sad note, but I want it to be relegated to the past. This year things can only get better.

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My Birthday Presents

I wanted to take a photo of my birthday presents, but Jackie reminded me jokingly that I received only one present. If I had taken a photo of my aquarium card as well, then there would have been two. Taking a photo of my new cell phone was unfortunately impossible since it is also the camera I take the photos with. The final tally of my presents : A cell phone camera (from me), an Aquarium membership card (Britt), chocolates and bubble bath (Jackie) and the usual handmade card from work.


An Open Letter to his Ex

If you only knew how many times I wanted to write to you. Sometimes it was because I could not stand living with him anymore and wanted you to take him off my hands again for the sake of his children. Every time I wanted to leave him I would think about writing you a letter, to tell you that I have taken my hands off him, surely you could take him back. I was always thinking with my heart, a heart that still loved him and wanted him to have what I did not, a family and children.

Today I am a little bit older and wiser, I know that perhaps it wasn’t about me or about you, it was about him. I understand that if my letters ever reached you perhaps you would have torn them and laughed at me. Because by the time I was ready to leave him, you have also moved on, and would have never taken him back. Now I am wearing the same shoes you wore over a decade ago. I hurt, and I know that you must have hurt too. I know that you loved him long after he stopped loving you, because it is happening to me. And I know that you were a fine woman, because I am not a bad one either.

Today I still have the urge to write you a letter. I want you to give me courage and tell me that things are going to be alright. I want to look at you today and think that in ten years’ time I will be where you are right now. Despite the damage he did to your soul and to your faith, you have made it. Your children were raised well, without their father, until the father they needed came along. I am sure you will feel vindicated when you find out that, in the meantime, your ex has gone through his second divorce, and left behind another wife and a child. In ten years time I want to step into your shoes again, when my child doesn’t want nor need his father anymore, when my ex proves himself as the loser he is; when he is no longer able to fool even his closest friends. This thought keeps me going, and makes me tolerate the pain.

With all respect.

Ex Wife No. 2

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The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round

I took Robert today for his first ride on the bus. We went to the V&A Waterfront. It was a breeze getting there and back, especially since we lucked out by catching the bus quickly both ways.

I am getting better with the routine of folding and unfolding the buggy; it is also a great way to meet some gallant men who kindly offer to help. We spent some time in the Aquarium, we looked at fish, shark, stingrays and penguins. The visit to the aquarium will always be a little bittersweet for me, because all the underwater life reminds me of my ex, who was once a keen diver. I believe that he experienced his happiest and most peaceful moments while doing deep sea diving. Maybe it is because fish are mute and silent; they don’t talk back, and do not require or offer any interaction. The closest I came to diving was when we snorkeled off the coast of Dominica, in Champagne Beach and in Scott’s Head, it was beautiful. But I think I would be freaked out by the darkness and silence of deep water diving. As Robert grows more aware I think he will grow to love the aquarium. He was watching with interest some of the displays, especially the bigger fish, and he wrinkled his nose at the smelly penguins.

After our tour around the displays, I treated myself to lunch, and finished with a dessert of chocolate cake. I felt I deserved an early birthday treat. Robert got a lot of entertainment in the play area, where the young attendant took a liking to him and helped him use the baby slide. Later I  tramped around the mall some more while Robert slept and bought myself a backpack. I am going to use the pack as a baby bag, to store Robert’s bottle and supplies when we go out. Now we are ready to hit the road. Robert will have to get used to long rides in the buggy, getting on the bus, and the minibus taxi. He actually loved sitting high up in the bus, and when I sang to him “The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round” he gave me a big grin, maybe he got the joke.

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