Love and Survival: The Lighter side of raising kids
Sunday the 8th of June 2008 - 20h30:
As one does, I settled in for my favourite hour of the week.
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To save both the planet and the water bill, I started by topping up the kids’ bath water to the brim of the tub, added some luxurious bubbles and with iPod in hand, looked forward to the solitude of easing into the hot warm froth to the sounds of Café Del Mar…
…only to be sodomized by Barbie’s foot, while detecting the faint whiff of wee.
So, after unsuccessful attempts to extract the slipper, which stayed behind after the painful removal of said Barbie’s leg, my iPod library having been corrupted with back-to-back Podcasts of some flipping luminous purple dinosaur murdering nursery rhymes, I decided it was a long time coming that I re-initiated the “Monday Mail”. All so that I can record and share with my beautiful children, the mental anguish and physical harm they have caused their parents, just when they are old enough to start asking for their first car. Asking, but not getting at this rate, as I’m sure by next year Claire or I would have decapitated ourselves’ with one of the tree branches Aidan fastidiously collects and places, apparently unintentionally, but exactly at eye level in every orifice of the house. Failing that, we will certainly have caught Bird Flu from one of the many feathers Tyler-Paige keeps impaling Smilla with, in an attempt to make her fly. Smilla ‘is’, or soon to be ‘was’, our cat.
But having kids is truly such a joy isn’t it, watching one’s hard earned possessions deteriorating in front of one’s very eyes, is so awfully rewarding. After all, wouldn’t life be so dreadfully boring without the mashed carrot suspended from the ceiling, the spaghetti so artistically arranged around the light fittings and the consideration each of our children must have given to the wall murals in tomato sauce and crayon. Just the other day our neighbours commented on how unusually creative it was to have replaced our prize roses with plastic BP bikes, Lego effigies’ to the Power Rangers and left over brussel sprouts, thrown in disgust from the kitchen window. What delight it gives us to suck up the morning air with our first cup of coffee, only to step on the sacrificial hedgehog Smilla left for our inspection.
So how are we?
Well despite our kids, cat and the fact that I am typing this note one letter at a time - Aidan thought Marmite would be a good keyboard lubricant apparently - life continues to treat us well down here in sublimely beautiful rural Devon.
Spring / Summer is such a rejuvenating time of the year and with the lovely sunny weather we have been having, there have been lots of opportunities to picnic and explore the countryside in all its’ bloom of foliage and life. Thanks to my mom, we’ve even secured a local butcher, who specially makes us up Boerewors, allowing us to indulge in a few braai’s - We’re still looking for good biltong though and have already established that Foxes do not make good surrogates for Kudu or Springbok - So any offers or suggestions would be welcomed. Maybe Badger Biltong will do the trick?
The kids are thriving both at school and developmentally, but most of all they seem happy and content and always eager to get out and explore with the family. Both are very loving children, though their personalities are at the polar opposite. Aidan being very happy when he can tell everybody - sadly including those in authority, what to do and how to do it, while Tyler-Paige is very content in her own skin and happy being the centre of her own little universe for hours on end. Proudly, they are both very engaging and teachers comment often on how bright they are. Of course reinforcing our move and outside of our own love for them, they both have very special relationships with the extended family.
Claire and the rest of the relations involved in CC are making a real success of the business Ninette, (Claire’s mom), started a few years back and with this accomplishment have each been able to carve a niche for themselves, while enjoying the fruits of all the new opportunities that have come along. With the credit crunch and its’ impact on travel and consumer spending, I suspect there may be some challenges coming their way, but with the vested interest all of them have in securing the future of the business, I have no doubt they will continue to go from strength to strength.
On a personal front, poor Claire’s had a bit of a battle the past few weeks, most particularly because of the sudden onset of severe tendinitis in her right shoulder. The pain was absolutely agonizing for her, so much that the slightest movement caused her to writhe in pain. Fun and games at the hospital aside, she was finally seen by a specialist and large doses of cortisone seem to have sorted the problem out for now, nonetheless she may need surgery at a later date. It was horrible to see her in such agony, but the kids were absolute stars and in particular Aidan, who of his own accord helped around the house and took on brushing Claire’s hair in the mornings.
Likewise England has looked after me well. I work with a fantastic group of people and working from home while commuting intermittently to our offices in London and Brighton has proven to provide a welcome work / life balance. This year I have managed to secure some big contracts with some important corporations and all indications are there for further initiatives to be realized before year-end. Fitter than I have been since my teens, I have just been promoted to first division tennis and with the luxury of indoor courts down the road from us, I have been able to play around 6 to 8 hours a week after kiddies’ bedtimes, participating in a combination of squad training and matches.
Obviously, the afore mentioned credit crunch and escalating economics has had a spill over onto our own lives and I suppose, like people globally, we have had to tighten the straps a little bit, what with diesel now at £1.30 a litre and petrol not far behind!
Sadly, our social lives, (outside of family engagements) are yet to truly take off and we miss our SA friends terribly, but considering that when we are not raising kids, working or de-worming Smilla, there is very little time left in a week, it has been good lately to spend time responding to the many e-mails we get each day. Of recent we have spent a good deal of time corresponding with a lovely gentleman in Nigeria, who has proven to be an amazing friend, offering us millions of US$’s and to top it, he is a very good listener and always wants to know all about us. Then there is the lovely Canadian Pharmacist that keeps sending us such brilliant offers that Claire and I can’t resist filling our medicine cupboard with all sorts. Now, despite the fact we were a little nervous about the little blue pills, which after sneaking one, saw Smilla’s buddy Spike trying to mount all Tyler-Paige’s stuffed animals, we are confident that the other ones’ – the ones’ that make you very ‘happy’ are working. Mild side effects of believing we are borne to be the saviour and leaders of the “Gnome Liberation Front” have proved a small price to pay.
Well I suppose that’s it fair friends for the first UK edition of the “Monday Mail”. As always, we would love to hear your news, so keep in touch. I, in the mean time need to figure out a way to tell my daughter why Princess Barbie’s shoe is stuck in a Prince Daddy’s arse!
Fare thee well. ‘Til next moon’s solstice glows.