Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Wordless Wednesday #121 - Touching the sky

This year of First Years at university can make the difference - initiation

I am writing again about the First Years at university and their apparent "willing" participation at age-old rituals of initiation.

The first semester has been especially tough on them, having to cope with their studies, as well as having to accommodate all kinds of "requests" being in a residence at university. \
As part of the orientation initiation!

I still feel that I have failed my child because I had to ask her to stay on where she was.
Unfortunately we don't have the funds to buy or rent outside accommodation for our child.
We know of many parents who could afford it and who had to take the step of buying a flat and organised a vehicle for their children. I really would have done it if we could!

In the end the student had to "survive" and had to cope with bullying behaviour. She was forced to avoid certain eating areas because of being afraid of bullying behaviour of seniors. Up until now they have not been discharged from the whole initiation practise.
Luckily she was allowed to swop room mates, and it has contributed to a better studying arrangement. (Her current room mate is doing the same degree.)

The previous weekend they had to stay in to beautify their floors. They had to sell self-made stuff to generate funds, and they spent hours and hours in making the decorations.
They were very proud of their handiwork!

They also had to "zoob" for a "mother" in their residence - it means they had to flatter and try to win the favour of the person they wanted to be their "mother".  I got photos of the student with a dummy in her mouth, very happy with standing next to her "mother", a senior in the residence!

It has left me with a bad taste in the mouth!

I do not have a problem with having a mentor in the residence, but I think it is not necessary for them to spend time and money and to wait two months before the process is in place. Seniors could have been placed in mentoring positions from the start to help them cope with first year demands, and helping them with their studies. The first semester is done and dusted already!

The initiation has been "successful"!
In the end they have "willing lackeys" who are "happy and proud!" to be in the residence where they are!
(The indoctrination has been complete!)


My wish is that this year's First Year's will stand up next year and say that they won't be part of the initiation ever again!
Apparently it is the second year students who are the worst!



My wish is that next year the second year students will say:


- We want an orientation programme where the first years will know  everything about campus and university and studies before they start with their courses.
- We do not want bullying!
- We do not want students dying (Yes, it's happening every year!!), having to drop their studies or having to give up staying in a residence!
- We want to welcome the First Years with open arms.
- We do not want fear!
- We do not want belittling or dehumanization!
- We want to help them and show them the best practices!

It takes just one year to break this sick practise!



Related posts: 


Orientation seems a lot like initiation
This is not initiation!
Have we failed our children? - initiation




Sunday, 25 March 2012

Weekend of three

Photo report.
The student had to stay in for the weekend at the university, so we  had a weekend with the Toddler only.
We missed her, but luckily the holidays are right around the corner...

It started with a braai....

The last  gymnastics before the holidays.

Tiny Tumbles

Art work by the Toddler on a lazy Saturday afternoon...
(It was worth a good half an hour of peace.)

Scissor & lots of paper on the floor

We discovered Primi Life at Lifestyle which has a lovely play area for children.




Sunday was spent in the beautiful Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens.
We saw the eagles, and breathed a bit of fresh air.
I don't know why we don't come here more often, it is so beautiful!




View from the bird hide
Of course we had to go on the train!
And Benji the dog got his last summer cut before winter starts!
Look at that face!

Another weekend, please!

Hope you also had a great one?

Friday, 23 March 2012

The question

The title translated: "Mother, was I a baboon before?"
Where do I come from?

The Toddler has been trying to figure it out herself.
How does it work that she has been in Mom's tummy?

"I was in my Mom's tummy."
"I was stuck in Mom's tummy!"
"I opened the door and I climb out of Mom's Tummy."
"Jesus pulled me out of Mom's tummy." (The other day in the car to her Dad. Never something we would have said to her.)
"I am too big now to be in my Mom's tummy!"

She is telling it to anybody who takes time to listen. (Very difficult not to sneak a quick smile!)

It's time now to call in the big guns books!
I do not believe in telling stories, and the terminology should be correct!

I loaned back the book I had years earlier for my eldest daughter (see photo). I had passed it on in the meantime...
I think I need a new perspective, but this one will help in the meantime!

I went into CNA last night, because I knew I saw some books there earlier, but they have nothing now.

Do any of you have suggestions of books available now about sex education?
What are you reading to your toddlers?

I will also go and do an online search...
(Uh-oh, and I see they recommend that you start as early as two-year old!
No wonder she is puzzled!!)


Thursday, 22 March 2012

Keep breastfeeding... on

The Toddler announced on Tuesday afternoon that she is not going to breastfeed any more!
At 39 months (3 years and 3 months!!) it is not a surprise, but it was the first time that she told me this!

"I am a big girl! I am too big for boobies!"
I told her it is fine, but she can still have the "boobies" when she wants it!

She went to sleep again after that while breastfeeding, and last night again...
But I think it won't be long from now! We will see! ;-)

I am still the the surprised lactivist, but it has been one of the best things I could have done for my daughter!
So, breastfeeding on!

Dionna at Code Name Mama made a list of 9 ways Google can help to normalize breastfeeding in society.
I love her suggestion for a Google doodle, especially.

She has made a suggestion of how we all can become involved.
She has put up an email that can be copied and sent to Google to highlight the plight of normalizing breastfeeding in society.
Hopefully it will put it on their radar the more people got involved!
(I have emailed my copy already!)

Please send yours as well. The copy can be found here:
9 ways Google can help us normalize breastfeeding

Thanks Dionna!

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Decicions... decisions

What to do on a public holiday in the middle of the week?

We've got mini-Friday here today.
Tomorrow is Human Rights Day here in South Africa!

- Stay in bed;
- Drive out to the countryside for a view;
- Stay at home and do some chores around the house;
- Catching up on some reading;
- Spending time with the toddler;
- A braai (barbecue);
- A movie or a rented movie;
- A nice lunch at a favourite restaurant.

It feels like it would be a waste to spend it in bed.
The weather is still lovely during the day!


What are you planning to do tomorrow?

(Photo: Rusty Hook on Sunday)



Monday, 19 March 2012

Most fav toddler food

The Toddler has a favourite food! She can eat it morning, noon and night!

Pasta!

Pasta in any form and flavour. She loves it!

When asked what she wants to eat, she usually says: "Pasta!"
Even when it's time for breakfast!
It takes a bit of cunning to convince her that breakfast is not an ideal time for pasta!
(I don't think we have fooled her when she reluctantly eats something else... )

It is not always the healthy option, but when faced with a happy toddler who loves eating, we happily order or make the pasta at home!

Her mother loves it just as much, but I try not to eat too much of it...
(The menace of "wheat"and "carbohydrates"! *sigh*)

For now it is pasta. Maybe her taste buds will change, or she will taste something else that will become her most favourite food!

In the meantime - Enjoy it, my girl!


What is your toddler's most fav food at the moment?

Friday, 16 March 2012

Morning's first photo - Wave

A wave from the upstairs window at school...
It dries up most of the teary goodbyes every morning!

It's Friday! (Yes, it's Friday!!)

The fire-brigade is coming for a visit to school today.
They had a whole week of colouring in fire-trucks, songs about firemen, and yesterday they painted a fire with their fingers. Bright red and orange!

It is a much better idea than making a real fire...
(That's what I thought they would be doing during Bak-en-brou yesterday. Not such a good idea for inquisitive little ones!)

I kept calm and I did not send the angry sms.
Hubby is arriving tonight! (Still not a word...)

I started with a Phat Challenge at work, and lunch-times will now be spent in the gym.
I have finally gotten my head in sync with a healthy me!
The challenge was done on Wednesday. I sent an email on the same day to ask if they could still accommodate me. (Of course they could!)
The dietician is paid, and the meal plans and exercise plans are in a folder on my desk!

The Before-Photos are really not where I want to be...
(I'll show it when I have the "After-photos" :D)

Watch me!

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Keep calm and do not send the angry sms

The Significant Other is in Mauritius for the week.

He phoned me on Tuesday from a colleague's phone after they had arrived on that side.

Since then I haven't heard from him...

You would think that he would have send me a short sms/email/whatever...
You would think that he would make a plan to contact us...
(We have technology nowadays!)

But nothing!

I need one of those "Keep Calm" posters now!
I am very tempted to send an angry sms to the colleague's phone!


KEEP.CALM.AND.DO.NOT.SEND.THE.ANGRY.SMS.

He is coming back tomorrow!


Related post:
Partner at conferences and team-buildings

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Ways to beat Mondays

It seems I am always complaining about Mondays:
It's a Blue Monday
Blue Mondays and a Goggatjie-break
What do you say on a Monday?
One Groundhog day please! #parentingfail do-over

But there are ways to beat the Monday Blues:

- Have your birthday on the bluest of days. It will not stay blue!
- Take a day's leave from work or the normal rat-race-running.
- Get a partner-in-crime to take a day off as well!
- Drop the kid/s at school.
- Go for a long and big breakfast at a favourite restaurant.
- Go shopping, uninterrupted!
- See a movie!
- Do a coffee/tea/cappuccino.
- Get a scenic view and enjoy!

I did all of those, except the last point yesterday!
(We did the scenic view on Saturday at Glen Afric)

It was my birthday, and Hubby also took leave to spent it with me!
We did a lot of inner gloating of seeing everybody rushing off to work...

It was a great way to spend a birthday and forget about adding another number.
(I'll think of adding it again on another birthday!
Who needs a new number every year, in any case? So overrated!)

Bring it on, Monday!
Powerwoman has got you covered! ;-)
Now I can do a few more of you!





Monday, 12 March 2012

Toddler logic

On seeing the stuffed heads of animals:
"They are stuck in the wall."

Later on seeing an animal statue:
"They got him out!"

I wanted to tell her more about the animals and how they got to be "stuck" on the wall, but as soon as I started to tell her about killing them and seeing her eyes not registering...

For now we will stay with her explanation...

Glen Afric - a place to go for a bush outing

One thing I love about Johannesburg! It is not very far to drive before you get a bush experience.

We did a Saturday drive-out to Glen Afric near Hartebeespoortdam. I felt like a small holiday. Fresh air, lovely food overlooking the bush and the Magaliesberg Mountains in the background...

On Sundays they bring out their elephants and children are allowed to feed them some oranges.
I hoped that we could spot them on Saturday, but unfortunately not!

Now we have to go back again...


Thursday, 8 March 2012

Photos on my computer


I found these photos of our baby on my computer.

She was six months old at the time.
Already I struggle to hold on to the memory of her being a baby...
It goes by with a breath of air...




Hubby said the other day that she holds her dolls exactly as he used to hold her.
His hand behind her head in a protective embrace...

I hope I remember the little doll that she was!

Because she has changed.
The little baby is gone!
She is "big" (as she tells me every day)!

Photo taken this past weekend

How do we hold on to all the memories of our little ones?

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

How cute is this placemat?

We got the personalised placemat by Bellabagheera yesterday through the post.
I had won it through a Rattle and Mum giveway.

It  was extremely easy to customize and order through the website.
Astrid followed up personally to let me know that the placemat is on its way, and that it has arrived at the post office.

The placemat is bigger than expected, which I like!
It is only much sturdier, and I think it will easily double up as a creative work mat for arts and crafts like painting with the toddler.

Bellabagheera also has customised stationary and other creations for kids. I am definitely going back there again.

Thanks to Tanya and Astrid for the great win!
Mieka loves recognising her name and face on it!

Monday, 5 March 2012

One Groundhog day, please! #parentingfail do-over


I want a do-over day for yesterday.
A do-over parenting day!

This is what today looks like (photo on top by Dad), and all the blame needs to be placed in front of the parents...
(Sleeping in the car while waiting for the school gates to open this morning...)


It was such a lovely day outside yesterday, with a breakfast with friends and playing outside...

Ennis Nursery coffee shop
The warning sign only put a giggle on our faces...


And the wish on the food was an extra bonus!
"May you have the best that life can give you!"


What could have gone wrong?

We had to take the student back to Varsity.
That is a three hour trip, and we were exhausted last night.

We fell on the coach with you, snacked on junk, and did not stuck you in your normal routine of bath, story-time and bed!
We watched the Sunday night movie!

(Bad, bad parents!)

I so regretted it this morning when we tried to dress you while still sleeping
(That is not so unusual, but the tantrums that were accompanying it were an extra reminder!)

And all I could say: "I am so sorry, my little one!"

Today is one of those days I wish I could have stayed at home and do a goundhog day (such as in the movie!)
In the groundhog day I would have done everything the same (and enjoyed it even more!), but I would have stuck to your bed-time routines...
Even though you love to stay awake until the darkest hours...
Even though you love staying up with us...
Even though you are not always in a mood for a bath...
Even though you enjoy snacking on junk with us...
Even though you enjoy watching movies with us...

It is not that difficult? Is it? Is it?

Parenting fail!

Please tell me we are not the only ones slipping up every now and again?

                                                                             ______________

But!
Today I will be better! Even though I won't get yesterday again...
I will make my own groundhog day of better parenting!
I promise!