Toddler’s Lament

Holidays are a time when discipline and order gives way to relaxation and play. On a normal day, Robert’s free play is peaceful and non-destructive.  He spends a lot of time with the “radio” changing music tapes and sometimes CDs. The occasional quiet interval, which causes panic for any parent, usually means that Robert is playing quietly and putting together one of his favorite puzzles.

There are the times though when play means dumping a whole toy box on the ground, and it gets annoying for me to pack away several times a day. Yesterday I started putting things back in the boxes and negotiated with him to continue packing away while I made him a bowl of cereal. I took my time in the kitchen to see the result of this exercise. A few minutes later he followed me into the kitchen exhaling a tired breath and said: “Oh it is hard packing away”. I found it very funny that he realized this on his very first attempt at tidying up. He got a big hug and kiss after that and not only because he did such a good job.

Something for Me

Robert is staying overnight with his father today. I was trying to keep him from falling asleep before his father’s arrival so we started packing his overnight bag.

We had to choose a toy. He first said he wanted Cannuck the white teddy bear and then said that he wanted the monkey as well.  I said: “No Robert, there is no space for two toys it is either Cannuck or Monkey”. He thought for a little bit then took out Cannuck and put him back on the bedside table with the rest of the toys: “Take monkey to papa”, he said. Then on second thought he handed me the teddy bear and said:”This is for Mommy to hug”.

Sure thing my boy. You of all people will know that if it wasn’t for Cannuck I will have nobody to hug tonight. Sleep well and I will hug you tomorrow.

I love you very very much my baby.

Happiness is…

I subscribed to a site called the Happiness Project and I am trying to follow some of the advice dished out by Gretchen Rubin the who authored a book called The Happiness Project.

One advice she gave last week was to take a day off which I did today, unauthorized of course. I felt overwhelmed with my life, as yesterday was particularly demanding with Robert. I felt like I spent the whole afternoon running after him, picking up messes and fixing things that he broke (the dial out lock on the phone and one of my tapes to name two). I read somewhere that one can phone work and request a mental health day, which of course is not possible in our marvelous workplace, so I claimed food poisoning instead. No, I am not afraid to be found out by management since I have given notice already, they cannot fire me anymore.

So What we did today with Robbie boy? We went to his swim lesson which was great then I came back to spend some time with my new best friend – my new laptop which I bought yesterday. Later and after my boy forced at least one shut-down and aborted one download we went to the Waterfront. He kept asking yesterday for steak sandwich from the Waterfront,  just as we were getting ready for sleep.

So we spent a leisurely two hours walking there and back. It was one of those golden afternoons, warm with no wind, heralding the arrival of autumn, my favorite season.  As we sat together on a bench, with Rob eating his sandwich and sipping on a cool drink (dry lemon soda of all things) I felt I was so happy, what more do I need from life? Things are falling into place. I have work coming up which will keep me busy and there might also be another opportunity on the horizon.  I will have to drink this in and the memories and appreciate what I got.

Robert took pleasure in watching people dismantling the little rides that were busy here during the summer holidays. One of them is a roller-coaster that looks like a caterpillar. I felt a pang of guilt that he never got to ride them this summer but I am hoping to do the rides with him next year. Also there are still things that I can do with him once I am a free working from home mommy.

There are always the good times, I should remember that. This blog is not only about me whinging. It is also about me enjoying life as a mom and taking little snapshots of our time together. On our way back for example he had the hiccups and asked me for water: “I am hiccing up” he said, and I thought it was so funny that he made up this verb. I heard him before saying: “I hicced up”.

I hope I will never forget these little phrases and his little gems of wisdom he imparts on me every once in a while.

The Gross Out Phenomenon

Yesterday was another day off school for Robert. He started the day with a terrible bout of diarrhea and went on like this for the rest of the day. I spent considerable amount of time at the changing table trying to prevent a leaking nappy disaster.

Scientifically, an ailment of this nature can only be caused by a virus, but I do not know why I am still blaming the cream cup cakes we both consumed greedily yesterday. I was buying our usual stuff from the supermarket when he saw these ones on the discount table and started crying out : muffin.. muffin, and of course I had to buy him something. Perhaps I made him my excuse because they were discounted and I fancied something sweet.  I think next time there are more wholesome options, and I can buy him ONE bran muffin instead of a whole tray of cream cupcakes.

If it was not for another pressing translation assignment I would have enjoyed today’s break with my son a little more. It was a glorious warm autumn day with blue skies and sunshine, something that this part of the world is renowned for.  I took Robert in his stroller up Victoria Road in the direction of Camps Bay and after a brief rest taking in the views of the Twelve Apostles and Clifton beaches we headed back towards our part of the world, and Robert got to walk as well on the promenade.

We do not get this fabulous weather all the time, though. This past weekend was disastrous in the Cape. The rain and gale force winds wreaked havoc in informal settlements (shanty towns) and on the Cape Flats (where flood damage is always greatest).  I had quite a challenging time because I had to go to work and I was scheduled to drop off Robert with Britt’s nanny at their place.  As is always the case Britt came to the rescue and offered to come and pick us up. She gave me a lift to work and back on that day too, something I only got once from my ex husband since our divorce. Compassion was never one of his strongest points.

On Sunday Robert was due to be with his father and the weather was better. I had the chance to put the laundry out in the sun for a few hours when I came back from work. My ex dropped off our son late and my poor baby was drenched in mud water from the knees down. My ex insisted that I not mention anything because Robert fell in a puddle and was very upset for at least half an hour after that. At home Robbie protested bitterly at being carried into the bath and the subsequent cleanup, but I did not sense anything was wrong, our afternoon proceeded normally with the usual bath-time and bedtime routine.  I was very surprised when my ex phoned just as we were both drifting to sleep to ask how Robert was, it makes me wonder whether my ex was telling me everything about Robert’s misadventure.

Speaking of the tyke. I think he is starting the boy tradition of fascination with the gross. Whenever I change his diaper (and yesterday I had more of this experience than I care to count) he would give a comment on this, either: bum hurting (hetin) – meaning he has a nappy rash , ka ka toiten (he should have used the toilet) or just nappy on/ nappy off. Lately however he started commenting -I think- on the actual contents of the nappy.. gross.  As I wrinkle my nose at the disgusting diapers and try hard to keep the squirming toddler from smearing it everywhere or putting his hands on his dirty bum he would go : “like avocado”… Yuk… Last night he volunteered: “Like Hummus” … I had a hard time fighting my gag reflex while laughing at the same time.