Category Archives: Parenting my way

Diary from the dark.

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16 July:
I am on the dark side of Pretoria. Today is day 7 without any electricity. I have been very good about it, like most people out there, because it was a huge area of the eastern areas that had no power all this time. I know that I have it good. I know it could have been worse and I know there are thousands and thousands without power all the time.

However, I still want to cry right now. I just am not sure I have it in me for another night without power. I am not sure if my back and fingers are up to doing another load of washing by hand. I do not want to carry pots of boiling water to the bathroom, I just want a hot shower, I want to iron my clothes and I want to relax without worrying about spilling the boiling water or burning down the house with the candles. We have been so careful, but there is still drops of wax on the floor or window sill or kitchen counter.
HB is sleeping with us in our bed because he still needs a night light and we cannot leave him alone in a dark house, in case he needs us during the night. I do not want to terrify him, there is no light anywhere, so it is very dark.
There are only so many board games you can play, and he is not able to entertain himself with hours of reading like hubby and I can do. It is very cold outside and we cannot even do that. He thinks we are lying about the electricity, because he does not fully understand the concept of zones and substations.
Yesterday I had to explain listeria to him (he cannot understand why I will not allow cold meats on our menu). I was a little graphic, because he did not understand the vaguer, vanilla explanations I made previously.
We went to get our gas cylinder refilled yesterday: The gas is finished. There was no gas for a refill. We ended up spending R400,00 more to just buy a new filled cylinder because we were desperate. If there is no power tonight, I have to drive out to go buy dry ice for the fridge and freezer.
The shops are running low on candles too, but that should ease a little as some areas came back into the grid today, but not mine.
Our budget is shot because we have had to fill in with dry ice, gas and power packs to keep going.
I know I speak from a position of privilege, I know this very well, and I feel like a prima donna, but 7 days down the line, and the prospect of more days…I want to cry.

17 July:

That was written yesterday and I arrived home 2 hours after I left the office. We still had no power and I had to fetch HB and go get the ice and then I just threw it in and bought KFC because I could not face another night of trying to be cheerful. I managed to get myself to wash the clothes and we ate junk for dinner, just because I am almost at the end of the line.
As I write, we still have no power, and we may no have any power when I get home. I am now resigned. I feel incredibly sad and tired and I want to just get home and have that shower and relax, but I know it may not happen. I have to heat food, boil water and hand wash clothes. It is times like these that I miss my family immensely. It would have been good to have family to turn to. We have some really brilliant friends who have taken in some of our freezer items and friends who have offered their washing machines. However, on day 8, we cannot really be imposing on people, though I may take up the offer of washing machines for bed linen and towels. We have to do the bed linen now, I cannot really put it off, and hand washing that may just make me cry more. Family would be easier to impose on, I just am not that comfortable with friends.
However, I will soldier on, because there is not much more to do.
20 July:
Power came back on Day 9, at 4am. We were so happy. And then on Day 11 it is off again, it is 17 hours without power, and counting. I feel such despair. No one at the municipality cares, they constantly feed us lies, and you cannot plan anything. If yoy knew it will be off for the next five days you can plan. They say 1 hour, 20h09, midnight and you are still waiting days later.
The Councillor for our area is completely useless. She has no oompf in her, I don’t know how she expects to lead. The mayor and his cronies make announcements on the radio etc…. And it is all lies. For a fact, they lie.
Our budget died.
Guys, I am not in a good place. I am failing at dealing with this uncertainty. I can’t sleep, I just eat, and I want to cry at the thought of another cold dark night, and there are thousands in the same boat.
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Pancakes.

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I was up early on the cold Saturday morning making pancakes for HB….it was all mommy guilt.  The day before I fetch him from school t o find that he had lost a second pair of shoes in two weeks. I was so angry with him.  I told him he is getting no TV, and this, time, no toys or books either.  He just needs to go to his room and face the wall until bedtime.  I was so angry as that is almost R600 for the two pairs of shoes and socks.

However, I knew I was very angry and I did not want to be shouty crazy mom, so I did let him watch TV, because I needed a timeout for myself.

Sunday found me buying a new pair of shoes for him (at this stage he only has his house boots, which he was wearing out, and his brown school shoes…I had to buy new shoes). He offered for us to sell the WII, but I said it was fine.  We will not sell it (who would buy it anyway), but he will not be allowed to play anymore and no more tuck shop treats on Fridays, in fact no more treats at all.

The no more treats thing is going to be hard because we have a birthday party, and a stage outing planned for this week…and both are going to come with treats.  Also, we need for him to get a vaccination, which usually involves a treat.

But back to the pancakes: he was very hurt by me telling him he would have to look at a wall all evening.  He was even teary up on Saturday when we spoke about it. He did ask for a play date, but I said that he could not have one, due to the shoes.

How do you deal with your child losing their school stuff? I started taking things away, but there is not much more to take.  I am not in the habit of punishing, and what punishment is appropriate?  Also, he is not doing anything  out of the ordinary for his age group, all the kids are losing stuff everyday.  I see it in the class group. His teacher mentioned that he is one of the better ones at remembering, but still, it does get expensive. As to why the stuff does not get returned?…all I can think is that someone else has his clearly marked items and has not returned it. My phone number is on everything…..?

Being a judgy parent.

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Yesterday I was sitting at a swimming lesson.  There were six of us adults sitting there…and I was the only one without my face stuck into my phone. I was judging the other five.  Judging them for not looking at their kids learn to swim.  For me it is important to watch and to give HB a thumbs up every so often. He looks up often to see if I am watching.  I want to be looking at him when he looks to me.  I miss so much because I work fulltime, and the swimming lesson is one of the few things I can be there to watch, so I do actually watch him.

I would assume, any parent sitting there with me is also working fulltime, because we sit there in the dark and the cold waiting, and if you could do it earlier, you would.  So they are mostly in the same boat.

I sat there and judged them, without knowing a thing about them.

My bullet points.

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  • HB and I have started learning Zulu together.  I have decided to take this opportunity to educate myself.  I just need to find people to speak Zulu to.  For now, the lady at work is helping me out, especially with the clicks.  At least Zulu only has three…but I have only managed to work out one properely. HB is having so much fun.  For now it is very informal.  We will be having a conversation and decide to learn some words for the things we are talking about.  I am not sure how the Zulu teacher is approaching this, as far a I know, they are learning body parts and some greetings.
  • We are about to stop Speech Therapy.  I am feeling so excited about it.  The therapist told us, she is not sure there is any point to it, as he is reading well and he remembers things he needs to remember and he talks about the things he loves without any issues. We have decided to have a formal meeting with his teacher as she has already expressed her view that she thinks it is not necessary.
  • Our domestic goddess had a birthday this weekend.  She did tell us it was her birthday, so I do feel a birthday gesture is in order, as we do love her.
  • I am getting together with some friends this evening and I am looking forward to it. Only one partner comes, and I think because he is comfortable with us, as he is also in the same field.  It is odd like that…we talk about our work at the start and then it is anything and everything, so we are not exclusionary to people outside our field, we just know each other from the time we used to work in the same office…now only one of our group is in that office still.
  • I want to break up with another friend, and I am not sure how to do it.  I almost just want to taper off contact until it just dies.  I know it is not the most mature way to do it, but when you are on your way to your forties, you cannot just say you don’t want to play anymore.  She has no respect for me and I don’t want to accept it anymore.
  • I need to organise another date with friends who are also in my field, but it is more mummy related…we can meet without the kids every few months.

Weekend stuff.

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On Saturday we cooked…really cooked.  We cooked 31 meals, which means even though we were tired, we are done for a whole month.  It took all of Saturday, and we hosted a playdate too.  It was a busy busy busy day.

A friend said she tried to cook like we do, but she failed and she is never doing it again.  I have to be honest and say it would be a big ask for one person to do this alone.  I would most likely not do it.  Hubby and I work it out together and we cook together and the rule is, clean as you go, so we do not sit with a huge pile of dirty dishes to do when we are tired after cooking.  We prefer to do it on a Saturday, so that we can get a break on the Sunday.

We also have a plan, written out, that we can work with and strike of as we go.  We also know the order we are cooking in, so that once the oven is hot, we cook everything that needs the oven, one after the other.  We also have the pans ready, the heavy duty foil and marker ready.  You have to label everything, include the date too.  Sometimes I might add something later, and you do not want food lying in the freezer for too long.

We cooked two dishes on Friday, while we were eating dinner.  I had got off work early and we decided to get a start on the stove top cooking.

The other way to do it, is to cook a double portion and build up your stash of meals over time, which I do sometimes.  Like, I will roast two chickens and freeze one.

In non food related news…

Sunday I was so sick, I spent the entire day in bed.  I only moved out of bed to use the toilet and have a shower.  Hubby brought food to me and I just stayed there….and I feel a heap better this morning.  I needed to ensure I was well for work and  I am.  I have not slept that much in a long time.

I knew I was feeling a little sick on Saturday, but I was too busy to get into being sick.  On Saturday I got into bed at 20h00 and I was done.  I awoke at about 02h00 on Sunday morning with the most incredible pain in my head and face.  I tried to blow my nose, but it did not help.  Eventually I went to sleep sitting up and it helped.  I think the sinuses where just unhappy and lying almost flat does not help.

I also managed to finish my costume design and price it out for the school.  I will make one prototype next weekend to work out the kinks. I just have not found a suitable bonnet pattern I am happy with.

HB is learning Zulu, which is great, but I don’t really speak Zulu myself, and everytime he needs to learn a new word, I have a bit of research and then I have to teach it to him.  I have not worked out how to get it into his head…currently we are just using repetition, but I need a better system. I try to find the easiest word, without any clicks in it and teach him those first…the Zulu teacher can teach the click words.  My knowledge of Zulu is greetings and then random vocabulary which I cannot really piece together…It would be great if I could actually speak the language.