When my son was born, on many levels, I knew my life had changed,forever.Of the biggest and most important changes would be having a stay at home nanny/helper. Both hubby and I are home bodies who love and cherish our “alone” time, and having our space shared with an outsider 24/7 would be something to really make peace with, and fast.

My teletubby will be 15 months in 12 days time and we have been lucky to be “only” on our second nanny. “Only” because I have heard and seen people go through 3 nannies in two weeks, and our previous one only left because she was prone to sicknesses and I had to let her go. She had come into our lives when our son was only 3 days old.Being a little lady in her fifties, who had raised her own 7 kids and around 10 grandkids, we knew she was more than capable to take care of our son. And luckily she stepped up to the challenge. She loved the boy, and the boy loved her in return. She saw him grow from a wrinkly little alien to a feisty grown crawler with 2 very sharp teeth.

Being uneducated, unexposed and from the rural areas with lots of hardships, she at first ecountered a lot of challenges with regard to city living. I always had to teach/show her basic ways of doing things, like how to use the microwave oven, which buttons on the remote control to use in lowering the volume when it was time for the little man’s daytime sleep.And because she could not read in English,we had to device means of how to interpret milk formula numbers/writings to make bottle mixing easy.As much as she wasn’t much of a thinker, she took pride in her Africanness, in the only way she knew how. To affirm herself as a strong woman, she carried things, she lifted and shifted things,because in her culture, that’s what defined her, that’s what made her a real woman….Her strength.

Waking up very early in the morning and diligently doing chores until 8pm daily, was the only thing she knew how to do, and she was good at it, despite my numerous calls for her to take it easy and not overstretch herself. Even in the face of old age and frail health, she would keep on. In the end,I could no longer sit and watch her torture herself with a painful arm or a painful back. I had to ask her to go home and rest, let someone take care of her.Let her many grandkids spoil her, wash her feet.And she was happy I let her go.

Nanny smurf picture from Pinterest.

Nanny smurf picture from Pinterest.

Because of her upbringing, she could not let me down and bail out on her duties. She could not stand up for herself and put her sickness first, instead she was waiting for me to tire of her and fire her.In the end she got what she wanted, except I wasn’s nasty/inhumane as she had thought I would be as home owners normally are apparently.We still get along.We talk from time to time because she misses the little terrorist.

Our second nanny with whom we have only been with for a month is superb too.She is young, energetic, lacking in exposure too but she’s a fast learner.I am even thinking of enrolling her at a distance education facility where my mother works.To give her another chance at a much better life.

My son is very picky and doesn’t take well to strangers, but within minutes of being around this woman, he kicked up a fuss and threw himself in the stranger’s arms.All baby daddy and I did was gasp, give stolen glances at each other and smile.We had a winner…..Kids know best.

On the very first night, minutes after showing her how to clean the teflon pan, she had forgotten and had scoured the life out of it.I was angry and confused, disappointed but laughing.But I had to remind myself that it wasn’t done maliciously,but just a lack of knowledge and understanding, and that soon she would learn.Most importantly, my son’s well being came first and I’m not going to have nannies come and go in my house, in my son’s life.I was going to be patient…very patient.

The past weekend, being month end, she went home to be with her family;her mother,brother, two daughters, 3 and 8 years of age, and her late sister’s 2 daughters.On Saturday the little man and I were left alone, as daddy dearest had gone to a funeral and in our African culture that is a whoooole day’s affair…someone save us!!!!!! #screaming#. By the end of the day I was dog tired, I had forgotten to eat lunch, I was cranky and the only thing on my mind was sleep, and lots of it.

From 10h30 when he awoke from his first morning nap to 16h30, when he finally gave in to the afternoon nap he had long resisted at around 13h00, all I had done was walk on my knees (uncomfortably so)entertaining the boy, run from corner to corner getting him out of one sort of danger or another.Pulling him in his toy car and lots of dancing. I was alone with the boy for only a few hours and I was that beat. How our helper manages to keep the house clean as it is, do the washing by hand (she hates the washing machine by the way), do the ironing and keep the boy out of danger and still remain sane herself is a mystery.

Picture from Pinterest.

Picture from Pinterest.

When he was younger, small and immobile, all I wanted to be was a stay at home mum, but now that he is not so young, super mobile, deceptive and a terrorist of some sort, I am happy to say, that is one dream I’m excited my genie didn’t grant there and then. If today being a Monday, I had spent one more day with and around that much energy, I would have keeled over and died.

The little terrorist.

The little terrorist.


My handsome terrorist....Do not be fooled by the composure!!

My handsome terrorist….Do not be fooled by the composure!!

Much respect and love to my son’s nanny, my helper for all the love,care,patience and dedication with which she carries out her duties. I really cannot show my appreciation enough.She is my hero. My superwoman.The same goes to all the stay at home mummies and homemakers around the world….YOU ARE THE TRUTH. YOU ARE THE REAL HEROES OF THIS WORLD.

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Hubby dearest complains from time to time that the DSTV (paid channels) subscription is under utilised by me.Because if i’m not watching the series channel, I am watching the home channels, and mostly for the cooking. And I’m always quick to point out that he only watches national geographic and  automotive channels, but at least he gets instant results and gratification from my watching the cooking shows….And he gives me a silly grin.

Gone are the days when we used to spend hours, weekends sitting and cuddling in front of the telly watching movies. Well, this applies more to me than him, because he at least still finds more spare hours to quietly indulge in a movie than I.

The point of this “note” however, came after the realisation that,yes I am predominantly drawn to the home decor and cooking programmes.I remember my first introduction to reality cooking shows;”top chef”. I loved the format, the different settings and ambience they had for the show. After that, I saw a super abundance of these reality cooking shows, amongst which are; chopped (which I like), Masterchef (which I took time to get used to but now thoroughly enjoy), Amazing Wedding Cakes (which I adore), Buddy Valastro, the feisty American-Italian with his many shows,the Cake boss,the Next great baker and Kitchen boss ).

However the point within the point I am trying to make is that,of all these amazing shows I have mentioned and more,I realised that at present, I am more in love with two, as in hectically in awe; The Great British bake off and Food and Drink. The former, I love for the format and setting. The competition is between a group of enthusiastic novices, or non experts in the baking field if you may. People that just have a love for baking and some lovely home baking memories/history, and that’s it. It takes place under the watchful eye of baking experts, including my two favourite, Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood.Don’t their names just sound like exotic cocktail drinks you would indulge in, at a meditteranean holiday?

Merry Berry and Paul Hollywood picture (both in the middle) from the BBC website

Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood picture (both in the middle) from the BBC website

Anyway, the competition takes place in a tent, out at an open field unlike the closed studio settings one has become accustomed to, the grass in all its green glory.And the judges themselves undertake the challenge, showing us viewers what goes into the cakes, the do’s and dont’s and what the final outcome should look like. Imagine my excitement on Sunday morning when I tune in to the omnibus and find that in one of the episodes, Mary Berry-my lovely cocktail, is baking the Battenberg cake,The very same one I had made on Friday evening in honor of my mother’s birthday on Saturday. I used the recipe  from one of my recipe books, except I opted to use round cake tins instead of the square ones, with lemon curd as a filling versus jam.And instead of the marzipan, I used some leftover self-made marshamallow fondant I had used to cover my son’s birthday cake previously.Yuuuummy!

 

The Battenberg cake picture obtained from Google

The Battenberg cake picture obtained from Google

The Battenberg cake picture obtained from BBC food website

The Battenberg cake picture obtained from BBC food website

The DivineMo Battenberg Slice.

The DivineMo Battenberg Slice.

Mummy's Birthday Cake, made by DivineMo with love.

Mummy’s Birthday Cake, made by DivineMo with love.

My next favourite show is, “Food and Drink”, hosted by the “young”, sexy,kitchen God, Michel Roux Jnr and his lovely drinks expert lady,Kate Goodman.The show’s presentation is just impeccable.

Firstly Michel is apparently of culinary royalty, with his father and uncle being renowned chefs in their own right.Secondly the guy is hot (a topic for another day). Thirdly, the ease with which he presents his show and prepares the marvels in his kitchen. The cooking space.Ooh how I love his cooking/dining space in its blinding whiteness…A thing of beauty indeed.The celebrity guests just make the show all the more wow. From appearances by Nigella Lawson, Gregg Wallace, Heston Blumenthal and Gordon Ramsay…..the show is as eclectic as eclectic gets. And how can I forget the drinks expert contribution,Ms Goodman on her ever informative and eye opening suggestions on wines, spirits and beers. Can someone say Aamazing?!

I am neither a food nor a drinks connoisseur, and I don’t pretend to be.Although in my next lifetime I wish to be…..A food and drinks expert that is.I just have a huge appreciation, and respect for the art that is cooking.

The point within, the point, which is within the point I made earlier……My favourite shows are British.How uncanny? And the British are not really renowned for their culinary skills.Who would have thought?

Toad in the hole anyone?

What’s your ultimate reality “food” show? and why?

My husband and I are waking up very early tomorrow morning, like wee hours, to travel for some odd 600 plus Kilometres, for the Top Gear car festival (http://www.topgear.com/uk/) in Durban South Africa. The Stig will be there, Mika Hakkinen, Hammond, Captain slow, Jeremy. Did I mention The Stig ? I am excited at the time away “alone” with hubby, the anticipation of the adrenalin rush, the fun and the fabulousness that will be me tomorrow and Sunday.

But my heart aches at the realisation that, my son is exactly 14 months old, and for the first time in his cute little life on earth, him and I will be sleeping apart.For the first time ever,and that breaks my heart into a million little pieces. It hurts so much you cannot imagine. He will be in safe hands, as he will be with the folks that love him to bits, my parents, but my heart can’t help but make me feel a little guilty. The possibility of getting woken up by the sound of a tractor engine at 2 am,  is not to be tonight #Sobs#

It is hard, very hard, but I have to loosen the apron strings sometime.

“Making the decision to have a child is MOMENTOUS. It is to decide forever to let your heart go walking around outside your body” by E.Stone

As I lay me down to sleep……

 

It started a few days back.For the first time in my 30 plus odd years, I have been incessantly missing someone, a very special person. Someone I have never known, and someone I have never had.

Someone that could be my best friend, my confidante,fashion adviser and critic. Someone who could be my best love, but whose boyfriends I could have chased away by my stupid childhood/youthful tactics. Someone who could literally knock some sense in my head and we would still love each other regardless.Someone whose make up I would steal, whose clothes I would “borrow”, without their knowledge,but who would love me regardless.

Those that have them say  it’s not always easy having them.I guess it may be the classic case of wishing for that which I do not have.

Big sister ribbon from Pinterest.

Big sister ribbon from Pinterest.


Photo from Pinterest

Photo from Pinterest

I wish I had a sister. An older sister.A taller, prettier, lovelier, more
athletic,better cook…….all things wonderful, version of me. I think we could have been the best of friends. I strongly believe she would have been someone to look up to, someone worthy of admiration and respect. A person of substance, and someone I could definitely bounce noble ideas off, get some advice about life from, and get properly and objectively rebuked for my stupidity shortcomings.

I wonder what she would look like. A spitting image of “our” parents? Very pretty? Not? Would she have a sense of humor? That would be aaaawesome.

“Good morning, how is the big boy doing this morning?”

Me, thinking aloud, “Huuh, on my cellphone, this is the treatment i get? No asking how I, the mother of the big boy is doing?”

“Hai soka uena, ke etsa’ng ka uena”?….literally meaning, “get away, what use are you to me”?

Those were the sweet, kind and loving words exchanged between mother and daughter earlier today.My mother and I have always been on super good terms to say the least, well, except for the days in my childhood when I wished she wasn’t my mother.Those days when she would whip the crap out of me for doing some stupid thing or other (of which there was plenty), back in the day when whipping your own child was Aokay. In fact, the most absolute normal thing to do, to instill some discipine in this little scoundrel, when talking had failed. When disciplining your child didn’t call for the justice and children’s rights court to convene hastily at the Hague #Rollseyes#.

As I was saying, my mother and I’s relationship has had always been cordial and loving. All that seemed to change from the moment I announced to her that I was 6 weeks into incubating the little seed growing inside me.She kind of became apathetic towards me, and started directing all her love and attention towards my tummy. I reaped the benefits of course,as she used to buy me dried fruits, popcorn (my love), fruit juices, all cravings good, emphasising that they were not for me, but for the benefit of the foetus.Huh?

Now that I do not get to indulge in the treats she used to feed MY seed through me, despite MY rather loud protests that “the boy will still get the benefits of the food through breastmilk”. I am nonetheless spared from making endless and expensive trips to the shops to buy baby clothes as granny is always “inadvertently” ready to buy something cute or warm for her little man.Gone are the days when I, the only child used to be showered with a spur of the moment purchase of a scarf or a cute little dress.The little old lady is totally engrossed with the 3.5 toothed man.

Granny and "the other" Teletubby!

Granny and “the other” Teletubby!


I never really thought I would understand,when my parents,  mostly my mother, would utter words like, “you are still young my child, one day when you are a parent,you will understand”.

Yip, that train is here, it has finally arrived and I can now say, “I understand mom”. I understand, that I will never understand the intricate,inexplicable amount of love I have for the boy, or the deep seated fears, anxiety I have of grooming him to be a wonderful and God fearing human being.

What shocks me is the love and pure joy I see on my mother’s face when she sees or talks about the boy, worse the pain etched in her voice whenever she cannot be with him. She is my mother, she still loves me of course, and I am very happy there is someone else who loves my son unconditionally and wholeheartedly, outside of his daddy and myself.

I think I would first have to be a granny, to test-drive the capacity, my capacity for that much love for a grandchild, but hey, I’m not in a hurry.

For every good there is a bad. For every day there is a night. And on the list goes about the yin and yang of life. The interchange and interplay of opposite forces in our lives. Opposite but not mutualy exclusive of each other, in fact one’s existence relies on the other other, yet their balance is very imperative. Such is life.

With globalisation came the inpour of information, ideas, products,views, products,culture and so much more.Some good, some bad. Such is life. We need change and growth to move forward in life, but for change to happen we need to open up ourselves, our minds, and welcome new ways of doing things.

I live in Lesotho, a very peaceful and semi-cultural country, and because of its geographical situation, enveloped by South Africa and all its deeds, good and bad. South Africa has for many years, decades now, been synonymous with violent crime, car hijackings, house robberies,gangsterism and generally just out of the blue unnecessary and senseless killings. Many of which people attribute to the injustices of the past,apartheid. Where non caucasian residents were treated as the inferior specie and deprived of basic necessities, like proper education, right to good public health,decent housing and proper sanitation. As a result, some, if not majority(black, coloured and Indian) had to find means to survive, to feed their families and make a living, thereby resorting to crime.

Apartheid has long been abolished, some correctives measures have been taken to try and somehow bridge the gap and extend a hand to the “previously disadvantaged”, like building houses and removing them from their shack/tin dwellings. With that came a relatively new kind of violence in South Africa. That of protests for service delivery. And for a few years now, I have been hearing and seeing less of news bulletins regarding car hijackings, knife wielding thieves in people’s homes, but more on police brutality agains the very same public they are supposd to protect.

As if this was not enough, of late on a daily basis, we hear stories of children disappearing or dying, only to later have their deaths connected to some satanistic ritual or other carried on by the friends/schoolmates. With the first incident, I thought, “argh, these are just isolated cases of the sick of society”, with the second, third and fourth, I kept flinching in desbelief and fear, but still hoping, that these would just blow over and disappear.But this is not the case.Everyday on South African television there is a news bulletin about some satanistic ritualistic killing or other.

But what got me typing away as I am now, was the interview in one bulletin last night. That of a satanistic priest who was on air condemning apparent satanistic ritual killings, because “they as sanatists do have certain things or rituals they subscribe to, but killing people and drinking their blood is not one of them”.

My head is still reeling, from the audacity of the leader of the religion to make a public appearance on national television. I didn’t hear much of his speech, but what was clear was his condemnation of the drinking of people’s blood but nothing about the killing in general. So if I was to assume and believe that they (satanists) do indeed kill fellow human beings as part of their rituals, where is the justice in that?

The first sentence of the preamble to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), reads, “Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world”

Everyone has freedom of speech, freedom of choice regarding which religion to follow, the right to live et al.But what about the members of society whom in their freedom of religion, infringe on others rights/freedoms to life, by ritually hacking away at them? Do they still have such freedoms and rights, yet they have just deprived others their own? I am not sure what the bulky UDHR says but my common sense says, “if you deprive the other of their basic rights and freedoms, your freedom and rights automatically fall away, naturally!”.

We are born different, black, white, blue, Jews,Christian,Buddhist, tall or short. But we are of one universe,and should be tolerant of one another, of each other’s cultures, beliefs and practices, but I draw the line, where my right to live and be, are infringed upon by someone, in a selfish pursuit of their own rights and beliefs.

“Winter, Spring, Summer of Fall….All you gotta do is call, and I’ll be there yes I will, you’ve got a friend oh yes”, #singing#.

I found myself singing this song. I cannot for the life of me remember who the artist is, but it’s one of those tracks I grew up on and it got me wondering what my favourite season was.Over the years, I have been confused between Winter and Summer, because of course Spring is the winner, with autumn in hot pursuit. But of the two extremes, which one is best?

I love summer for its warmth, the brightness of clothes, swimming outdoors, picnics, the lush green lawns,dining al-fresco, the light and vibrant foods.Summer is just a pleasant season all around, except for the few days where the African sun may decide to come out fully and play, scorching any and everything in its path.

 

Winter also has its perks; sitting in front of the fireplace,the cuddles, endless cups of hot beverages (coffee, hot chocolate, tea), the super elegance and simplicity of clothing, coats and high heeled boots and the beauty of the whiteness of the snow (on the rare occassion when we get to experience it in the lowlands. The chill factor and the huge expense it rakes in its wake however, are definitely huge turns off for me.

Snow capped Maluti Mountains. Photo by Jaco van Tonder

Snow capped Maluti Mountains. Photo by Jaco van Tonder

Spring morning in Lesotho.Photo by Tessa Joughin

Spring morning in Lesotho.Photo by Tessa Joughin

Frozen waterfall.Photo by Tessa Joughin

Frozen waterfall.Photo by Tessa Joughin


With Fall upon us and Winter slowly creeping in now in the Southern Hemisphere, and after much deliberations throughhout the years about what my favourite season is, I have finally come to the conclusion and acceptance that Summer is the overall winner.

I should just work hard and explore the idea of migrating to the North everytime we have Winter down here. I really am not looking forward to the next few months.

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