16 Apr 2012
in Little Diva, Parenthood, Saffa Tags: Child, Cute Girl's Hair, Fascinating, Mommy, School, South Africa, Squidge
School holidays have kept the blog quiet as I’ve juggled work and offspring with differing degrees of success. Squidge established really early on that hairstyles were not on the menu. She explained that these were for school but in the holidays she was doing her own hair, thank you very much.
It was truly adorable to watch her brush her hair and spray it, even if it meant huge chunks of knot growing at the bottom and sopping wet patches where she had put on too much spray-in conditioner. It was worth it to see her get so excited about doing it by herself.
I went to Africa on my own for 12 days as well. It was an exhilarating and inspirational trip. I realised some core truths, I rebuilt my self esteem and I decided that Africa will always be my home. It is time I think about returning to my motherland and building a life out there regardless of the issues and risks. Choosing a country to live in isn’t about finding the perfect place, it’s about finding somewhere that speaks to your soul and that has issues you think you can deal with.
So, without further ado, rambling and boring navel gazing, welcome to the summer issue of Saffa and the plethora of cute girls hairstyles coming your way. I’ll also be posting up a video I took at a watering hole in the Kruger Park. It’s five minutes of peace, silence and nature that will just ease your soul.
Happy Easter and Happy Hairdo!
01 Mar 2012
in Parenthood Tags: School, Squidge, World Book Day
Today is World Book Day. Amusingly, it appears that this celebration only occurs in the UK. Let’s pause for a moment to think about that. Yes, it is completely insane.
However, here on our sunny (yes yes, we have SUN) shores we get to dress our offspring up in their favourite book character outfits and send them off to school looking utterly adorable. Due to Squidge’s nasty ear infection that had her flat on her back all of last week, we only got notification of both the event and the fact that she had to come dressed up.
Cue much running around with a hunted expression as I realised I had less than four days to either make a costume or get one delivered. Luck was definitely on my side. I got Squidge the most awesome Scooby Doo costume ever. It was on sale and came with standard next day delivery. Brilliant.
Now before you join The Husband in the ranks of those who mutter about Scooby Doo not being a book character I would like to point out that my dear child loves reading her Scooby Doo books and magazines. Over and over again. So, with that in mind, I put to you that Scooby Doo is, in fact, a suitable character for World Book Day. What would you have me do? Dress her as a character from Heart of Darkness?
She’s only five…
SO, without further ado, here comes the monster hunting, monster finding, Scooby Snack eating dude himself… (or herself). Happy World Book Day!
The Scooby/Squidge head balancing act
The size is age 5-7. Squidge is TINY. I should have got her age 3-5, Scooby’s head keeps falling off.
How cute is this tail?
Sadly Scooby has a cold…
See? Scooby Doo IS a book
11 Nov 2011
in Parenthood Tags: Child, Husband, Squidge
Squidge: E! E! guess what?
Squidge: My dad burps really loudly after his supper
E: Gasp of amazement
Squidge: Yeah, he does! He does! And it is every time.
A few minutes later comes the response to the email sent to The Husband outlining the conversation…
I feel vaguely misrepresented here.
22 Aug 2011
in Bedraggled Mum, Parenthood Tags: Child, Fascinating, Husband, Mommy, Poo, Squidge
The Husband and I, since July 2006, have been haunted by the Inconvenient Poo.
It all started when Squidge was a baby. As we sat down to dinner, looking down at the adorable little baby in her playpen/cot/pram/baby holding device with fond eyes and happy smiles, she would get that focused expression that can only mean one thing. An enormous poo.
At first we didn’t notice but after a few weeks we realised that, no matter how we shifted the timing, Squidge would have a poo as we sat down to eat our dinner. I am surprised that I wasn’t really thin back then. It is hard to return to cold food after having wrestled, for ten minutes, with a crap that has possible sentience.
We even named her poos after Scottish distilleries when Squidge had the most powerful and utterly terrifying poo ever at the Glenmorangie distillery. I was off on the tour, sipping whiskey and licking whisky caskets (no, not really) while The Husband had to race into the nearest loo and literally CUT her clothes off her and throw them in the bin. There was, apparently, poo up to her neck.
So, those violent and messy poos are Glenmorangies, the ones that are accompanied by lots of noise and dramatic crashing noises but somehow yield no real results are called Dalwhinnies, and the Glenfiddich is the more casual and yet alarmingly whiffy poo.
To this day Squidge will declare, usually in a loud voice and usually at a restaurant (with non-child carrying friends trying not to look horrified), that she requires a poo JUST as the food lands on the table.
However, the Inconvenient Poo does not just strike when food is nearby. It has a plan. It wants me to have a nervous breakdown and cause my last nerve endings to collapse in anguish. For the Inconvenient Poo will almost always arrive WHEN WE HAVE JUST LEFT THE LAST TOILET BEHIND.
And when I say last toilet I mean – it is late and we are in town and all the shops are closed and there are no nearby pubs or restaurants, we have just hiked to the beach where there are NO public toilets in reach and an accident WILL occur by the time we hike to the ones we can find, on a bus, on a train when I am carrying 16 bags and then have to wrestle them, her and ME into the tiny toilet, on a train where all the toilets are out of order and there are still 1.5 hours to go (this HAS happened), and when all the toilets in the surrounding area are out of order…
We have also had the, “Oh I didn’t realise I had a poo” while standing in it on the floor of a restaurant. The “Oh god what the hell do I do with this” poo that appeared while walking through a nearby farm and resulted in my burying it. I still feel faintly worried about that farmer hunting me down somehow. And the “I appear to have had an accident mum” when in the car on the M25 where (apparently) nobody is allowed to wee because there are NO TOILETS.
Actually, am considering a side business of opening up some rent-a-toilets on the M25 for people like me who drank an entire large skinny latte before hitting the M25 and then realising, in a massive traffic jam, that Houston had a Problem.
To this day we are haunted by the Inconvenient Poo, an all powerful being that remains utterly in control. The only weapons we have are wipes and spare knickers. Stay on your guard parents, next time it could be you…
20 May 2011
in Fascinating Things, Parenthood Tags: Child, Fascinating, Joke
I am not entirely sure who thought that this was a fabulous name for a children’s juice range. It makes me laugh. Every. Single. Time.
Sadly the juice fails to live up to its name. Unless placed on the Juice Shelf in the kitchen which is pretty, um, high.
23 Apr 2011
in Bedraggled Mum, Parenthood Tags: Child, Husband, School, Squidge
When Squidge hit school I realised that it was time for me to broach the concept of The Sleepover. Now, I am hardly the fainting violet type but the entire idea put the fear of god into me. What if the other offspring cried for its parent? What if it was naughty and I made it cry? What if my child made it cry? What if it made my child cry? What if I lost it somewhere? Oh, dear heavens…
And, quite frankly, the horror stories from other parents hardly helped.
“Oh I had to take the other child home after a few hours,” said one mum, “She told my daughter that she hated her and that she wanted to go home.”
“The other child was so badly behaved and rude,” said another, “that I honestly cannot face her coming around ever again, not even for an afternoon.”
As you can see, the sleepover is a minefield peppered with social mores, high risk interactions, terror of error, and possibly parental alcoholism.
The Husband, obviously, didn’t see any of this. He merely shrugged and said, “It will be fine.”
Yeah. Right. He only comes home at 6pm. Bastard.
Luckily for me Squidge’s first sleepover (both the child coming here and her going there) set was a breeze. They enjoyed every minute and no tears or drama accompanied them.
Then came THIS holiday a.k.a. The Sleepover Week Of Doom.
I had been lulled into a false sense of security. I had been gulled. For the second round with another child was a highway littered with explosives.
It also started out alright. They played happily for an hour or two and then, THEN, began the pain. The other child (OC) went quiet. Ominously so.
“I am hungry,” she said, staring at me with the kind of face you see on an NSPCC ad. Oh god. It was 5:30pm and I hadn’t made supper yet. I’d been distracted by that dratted Kindle.
Immediately I raced into the kitchen to make my tried and trusted playdate favourite – homemade mini pizzas with sundried tomato paste, cheese, viennas, peppers and carrots. Delicious and faintly healthy.
I presented these to the kids with pride. I had salvaged my reputation. All would be well.
“This is,” said OC, “Disgusting.” My child, copying every mannerism of her guest, pushed her plate away too with the same expression of revulsion. (Traitorous creature, she loves these pizzas!)
It was at this point that I think I realised that my parenting skills were a bit crap. I tend to love people and want them to love me, a bit like a Labrador puppy. This is not a suitable characteristic for a parent. No. A parent must be firm and wise, must dispense authority with calm assurance. Must be patient and kind.
I am not these things. I am the panicked human who sidled desperately into the kitchen and stuffed a plate with breadsticks, wobbly cheese (Cheesestrings), grapes, and cold meat in an attempt to placate the OC.
It’s her eyes, I tell you. They bored straight through me and filled me with terror. She could smell my growing fear.
The offering was met with disinterest as was the movie, the games I suggested, and playing with Squidge.
Squidge, in the meantime, was retaliating to the fact that her friend considered her boring, by crying about everything and hunching into a grumpy ball at the end of the sofa. By the time The Husband got home I had my head in the drinks cabinet searching for a beverage that wouldn’t make me smell like a mad woman with a shopping trolley full of shoes.
The Husband casually took over with the aforementioned parental wisdom and calm that apparently has skipped my genetic structure altogether, and soon the two were asleep in bed. I was upstairs rocking back and forth with drool forming a rainbow to the floor.
The next morning was (BIG surpise) my morning shift so I was up with the two small humans at 6am. Yes, you read that correctly, SIX A.M. That is no normal time to be awake, unless you are about to travel to an exotic destination and need to be at the airport.
“I want my moooommy,” wailed OC, as I desperately tried to persuade her that the chocolate Wheetos were the same as Coc0 Pops and to stop Squidge from once again forming a ball-like huddle at the end of the sofa.
It was also when I discovered that fake tattoos (the ones you put on with a damp cloth and wash off after a bath) were the solution to all ills. With one flourish of a tattoo filled page smiles were returned to the faces of the two tots and I could once again return to worshipping my coffee mug.
While the rest of the sleepover was uneventful and painless I was struck with such sadness as to how the two children interacted. The OC is older than Squidge by a good six months and it shows. My little girl was born late July and is one of the youngest in her school. At a time when development can be measured in weeks, is this going to make her life harder? Would it have been better if she had been held back a year and been the oldest in her class? There are pluses and minuses for each decision but there is no going back now.
Still, it is hard to see other children boss her and roll their eyes at her because she isn’t at the same place as they are just yet. In fact it breaks my heart.
31 Mar 2011
in Parenthood Tags: Child, Fascinating, Husband, Squidge
This is possibly one of the funniest things my daughter has ever done and yesterday we figured out why she did it.
On Tuesday, while walking with The Husband to school, Squidge started telling him a story. The story was (according to The Husband) adorable and about a little girl who found a snail on the way to school.
The Husband was getting quite involved in the story until she stopped.
“Why have you stopped?” he asked her, “What happens next?”
She looked up at him and said, in a very firm voice, “You have to pay to hear the end…”
And why the iPad? Because a couple of the “free” books I’ve downloaded for the iPad have gone halfway and said “Please pay to see the end“.
Today, as I walked Squidge to school, I made sure I had 2p in my pocket so I could pay to hear the end…
01 Feb 2011
in Bedraggled Mum, Parenthood Tags: Child, Husband, Mother, Saffa, South Africa, Squidge, Wee
I want to make friends with the natives, I do. I want them to envelop me in their English arms and feed me muffins and jam.
I have been actively stalking them at the school gate. And one poor innocent creature fell for my African charms. H is a lovely lady and her daughter is one of Squidge’s best friends. Squidge and G adore each other and I regularly have her over for playdates.
The first, and only, time H ever visited me my toilet blocked. Yes.
Yesterday it was our turn to visit her. Squidge was clean. She was well presented. I had brushed my hair and tried not to look like I’d had a one on one with a nearby shrubbery.
There I was, the playdate had just begun. Squidge was happily playing with G. I was happily chatting to H. Squidge came through with her stockings.
“They’re wet, Mama,” she says, and then gambols off.
It takes a good minute for the reality to sink in. The kids don’t have drinks yet, H is busy making them, so how did her stockings get WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE……
I urgently sidled out of the kitchen to find my child and discover the extent of the damage. Was it a little wee? A minor moment?
It was a lake. It was a small lake on their carpet. And on their stool. And on the toy microphone.
So I ask you, what do you do? On your right is a child dripping and on your left is your new found friend person who will never speak to you again’s carpet.
I’ll admit. I vacillated. Sort of stood there quivering faintly to the left and then quivering faintly to the right.
H came through. The damage was revealed. I was instantly “Oh god, so sorry, I’ll clean it up. Let me just whip Squidge out of these clothes.”
Needless to say, by the time I’d changed Squidge, H had cleaned it all up.
Do they warn you that you may lose all dignity? NO. Well, yes, in childbirth, sure. But afterwards???
And what was The Husband’s response to my fervent, anguished text?
“Is Squidge ok?”
(Of course she bloody was, it was the wee of: So Excited I Forgot To Go To The Loo Until It Was Too Late)
Am moving to Peru.
20 Jan 2011
in Bedraggled Mum, Parenthood Tags: Child, Husband, Mommy, Poo, Squidge, Wee
A lot like Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, this B-movie-esque drama had poor acting, rubbish special effects, and lots of screaming.
Squidge was sick. She had a raging fever that shot up to the enormously terrifying heights of 39.6. For two days I’d wrestled the thing armed with an alarm clock (to check on her every few hours), Calpol, Ibuprofen, and juice.
As Day Two of Hot Head dawned I realised it was time to take her poor little self off to the doctor. I called.
“Hey, my daughter has had a temperature of up to 39.6 for two days, we saw a doc last night and he said to call if she was still poorly.”
“Ah, yes, Mrs Oxford. I can see your notes. We’re going to need a urine sample so please bring one in.”
Two words designed to strike fear in the heart of any parent with a child under a certain age. Either the approaching bottle causes screams of horror and outrage that result in wee running down the toilet, your arm, your clothing and, occasionally, your face, OR they refuse to wee.
Being a human who knows that the bottle must be sterile, and being an incompetent and tired human who couldn’t be bothered to find out how on the interwebz, I decided to fill her up with juice and get a proper little bottle dude from the doctor.
When we get there I discover that they now cost 30p. “Sorry, but we have to pay for them now, so the charge is passed onto you.”
HA! 50p in pocket. I laugh in the face of hurdles. Is this the best that the Urine Sample can dish out? Mwaahahaha. etc.
Then, adopting the “I shall explain it all to you as we go so that hopefully you play along” parenting strategy I wave the bottle at Squidge and say, “Shall we go and see if you can wee in the bottle?”
Cue Option 1 of Urine Sample – crying, outrage, flailing and deep, deep parental embarrassment.
I dragged the now very unpleasant child to the loo while fixing a stupid grin to my face and saying calmly (well, I thought it sounded calm), “It will only take a second, please be brave. You can do it.”
The first toilet was a bust. Squidge disapproved of the colour of the walls. And by disapproved I mean, “NO I WILL NOT WEE IN THERE!”
I swear to god we scared the nice little old lady powdering her nose (not a euphemism, she was actually powdering her nose).
Finally I have Squidge on the toilet, I am kneeling in who knows WHAT on that floor, and I bring the bottle closer. It was like those alarms – bring it close, lots of squealing, take it away, noise abates. Eventually I whip it underneath her and she starts to wee.
All over my arm, my hands, my sleeves. Still, I thought, there is wee and there is a bottle underneath it – RESULT
Excitedly I whipped out the bottle to view my brilliance. There were about 1.4 drops. I stared at it and thought, this will just have to do. The end.
I also thought – you pillock.
The next 45 minutes (Doc was running late. WHY can’t they tell you that on the phone?) are happily spent playing with the toys. Then…
“Mommy, I need a wee.”
The bottle is whipped out, the child raced to the loo – I AM READY!
Urine sample, you are about to be defeated. THIS time I am the winner.
Amazingly there are no cries of outrage, no roars of disapproval, she lets me place the bottle in the correct position and we wait.
What happens next should not happen to anyone, ever. It’s not right, it isn’t.
A gigantic poo smashes into my hand knocking the 1.4 drops flying, the bottle into the toilet and me backwards in complete horror.
This time it was me screaming. But inside, yes, inside. It wouldn’t do to upset the child, would it?
When the doctor asked for the sample he got a flat stare and, “No sample. Don’t ask. Let’s move on.”
OF COURSE when The Husband came back the next day from his excursions in Zambia he got a sample without a sign of the Killer Poo.
10 Nov 2010
in Bedraggled Mum, Parenthood Tags: Mother, School
This morning was one of those parent and teacher bonding sessions where they were showing us how to use the phonetics system to teach our children how to read.
I was huddled in six jerseys, a scarf, boots, and thermal underwear (yes, I am already freezing cold) in the front of the hall. In retrospect I shouldn’t have sat in the front because it took all my self discipline (of which there really isn’t very much) to not screech with cackling laughter.
The teacher came to the front of the hall, popped on a computer presentation and started to tell us about a free website for Phonics. As she moved through the images on the landing page of the site she said, “When you get to the main page, scroll down to the word, ‘Cock’.”
I have a dirty little mind. I know I do. I am a bit like Beavis and Butthead. I knew that she couldn’t POSSIBLY have said cock. Unless she meant a rooster. But roosters don’t seem to be a massive part of the phonetics curriculum either, so they were out. As were willies.
She carefully scrolled down the screen, painstakingly explaining the way for those parents who didn’t navigate odd little websites on a regular basis. Repeating, far too regularly for my sense of humour, “scroll down to the word, ‘cock’.”
FINALLY we got there. And in big bold letters, along with a picture of two children pointing to a blackboard, was the word, “COP”.
I sniggered dirtily the whole way home. I had to.