Last Days of Summer

Truly amazing how we moved from 40 degrees plus last week, to low 20s this week. Robert and I are struggling with early cold symptoms and a nagging dry cough because of this drastic change.

We are starting to think hot cereal, and hot milk bottles, when a week ago it was a question of how to keep the milk cold. Well, that’s Cape Town weather for you, now we are in for experiencing four seasons in day and asking a clairvoyant what to wear for the weather, great fun ahead.

Teething and Biting

Teething starts from six months, and sometimes earlier, and the battle with sore gums and dribble continues on and off thereafter until all 20 milk teeth make their appearance.  Robert’s big teeth are starting to sprout, and it looks like they are hurting big time. Apart from randomly using me and anything else close at hand as teething aids, Robert is also biting his fingers a lot. I once even detected bite marks on the heel of his hand; it was one of various marks and bruises he sometimes comes back with from school.

Twice already his teacher left me a note to explain bite marks on his arm. Apparently one of his classmates takes frustration on others, which left Robert with a couple of bite marks.  When I first received the note I found it quite funny it went as follows:

Dear Mom,

I was bitten today by one of my classmates on my left arm. (Teacher name) put ice and lotion on it. The biter was put in time out and was told not to bite his friends.



When I got one of these notes the second time I thought it less cute, especially if the biter was the same person. But then I thought, I would rather get a note that my child was bitten rather than one telling me he is biting his classmates. At least I know that he shows some discrimination in what he uses as teething aids.

Two Definitions for Nasty

Robert and I both can attest to the definition of nasty this week.

The little one has been teething and his canines (eye teeth) are giving a lot of trouble. At the beginning of the week I noticed that his top right canine has cut through, and two days later the bottom one followed.  Then of course it was the turn of the teeth on the left side. I saw him during the week rubbing his gums, and even resurrected the teething ring which was a gift from his ex-aunt Jackie. He now frequently asks for it, calling it “bite” and rubs it vigorously against his aching teeth.  I always heard that canines are the worst, and now I know that this is probably true, because this was the first time I saw Robert crying with teething pain. This did not even happen when his four molars erupted at once.  On Thursday, he developed tiny red spots of rash which were localized to the left side of his face. I did not think much about them at the time but on Friday the teachers were worried and asked me to get the ladies at the office to have a look. One of them gave me the diagnosis of “measles” and I was extremely annoyed with her.  She is already out of favor with me because she keeps calling me Mrs Jxxx, which annoys me to no end because I never took my ex-husband’s surname while we were married,  and was definitely not going to start adopting it after I divorced him. Her grim diagnosis not withstanding, Robert was allowed to stay at school, because he simply did not have any other symptoms. The principal said that they will call me if he developed a fever.  As my luck will have it, Robert did develop a little temperature, but only when we got home, and we spent some miserable time on Friday night and all through Saturday. I still maintain that the teething is the culprit, because it is obvious that only his gums are hurting.

While Robert slowly gets used to his teething. I am suffering my own teething pains with the translation project I am currently working on. I have never experienced such slow progress since I started freelance translating. I sleep very little, I eat on the run and only get out to buy the necessities,  but still I cannot seem to catch up. A good friend of mine is in Cape Town on holiday at the moment and I was only able to meet up with her for two short visits, I feel bad but I cannot help it because my deadline is looming and I am not even halfway there. All I want is for this job to end, and I promise myself and my son that I will never ever accept such horrible work.

Names and Conversations

My boy knows everyone by name.

His teachers are : Teesa, and mawi ( Theresa and Marly), and the gardener is sissa (Fisher) – that last one comes out with a lisp so it is somewhere between thitha and ziza

A few weeks ago I started to teach him the concept of names: your name is Robert, your papa’s name is Ron and the cat’s name is Petey… etc..

Lo and Behold when I ask him today “what’s your name?” he answers me… “wohn” , he obviously thinks he is his father, that is not a very sign for me…

On a happier note here are some of the conversations we had recently:
Mommy: What is Fisher doing?
Robert: Sissa wot-ahwit
Translation: Fisher is watering

Mommy: Did you see the moon?
Robert: Mouhn up da wol
Translation: The moon is up the (above the) wall.

Never Underestimate A Toddler’s Memory

One of Robert’s favorite teachers at school (actually the assistant at his class) has been absent for the last few days. I was chatting to his teacher when I picked him up today and I commented that he must have forgotten her already because when I mentioned her name to him he ignored it and just uttered another teacher’s name.

I guess the little tyke wanted to prove me wrong today. We got off the minibus taxi and started our walk home up the long hill. This is normally a very hard walk because I carry Robert most of the way, while trying to dodge the piles of dirt (and droppings). I also struggle to dissuade him from wanting to “wok” until we get to a cleaner part of the street. When I set him down, he usually walks quickly for a few metres then starts exploring sidewalks, walls, trees, fences and whatever else we pass (That is why I never set him down on the dirtiest part of our street).

I have a rule that whenever he starts touching the dirty street, he gets carried again (no walk , in his language), which inevitably leads to arguments and crying. He was having one of his fits when an African lady came towards us down the streets. She must have been a nanny or domestic worker finishing her day at work, and those women are usually very sweet to young babies, but this one came straight to me and took him in her arms, pretending to take him with her. She started saying: “bye mummy” and I played along for a few seconds. Of course, in the face of this new calamity Robert forgot his distress about wanting to (wok) and his bottom lip stretched forward as he looked at the “intruder” with distrust. Soon the woman set him down and said goodbye and went on her own way. Robert watched after her, a little puzzled, then blurted out “Woosie” (Lucy)… Waoo, the boy still remembers his nanny Lucy, even though it has been almost two months since we last saw her. She would be impressed if she knew.