Hunting For Trucks (Not Easter Eggs)

hunting-for-trucks-not-easter-eggs Happy Easter everyone! I hope you had a super weekend!

On Friday we did not do much (apart from shopping and laundry) as DH had to work.

On Saturday we went to the Rand Easter Show.

Rand Easter Show cars We first went to a motor display where the cars did drifting and even went on their sides! Nicky stood on the seat next to me and clapped with everyone else. He likes cars. DH stood at the top and took videos and pictures.

We then went to an army display. There were a lot of vehicles there and things to look at. There were also helicopters and jets above us.  DH is enthusiastic about the army as his father runs a military museum after spending 50 years in service and DH has a collection of army books.

IMG_6880_1555x1037 Here is a picture of DH and Nicky in front of a demining vehicle (DH has a friend who trains people for the UN on how to remove landmines by hand so was interested in this vehicle that was used by South Africa at some stage).

We then took a picture of Nicky and myself in front of a helicopter.  DH was also amazed to see the Rooivalk attack helicopter as only a few have ever been developed according him.  There were too many people looking at the Rooivalk so we did not take a photo up close.

IMG_6881_1555x1037 I was a bit on edge during this trip knowing Nicky’s nap time was drawing near and that there was no ways we would get back in time.

I had brought Nicky’s stroller and was hoping that he would fall asleep in there, as he had when he was a baby. However, this was not to be. He was too interested in everything that was going on.

He ate some of his pouch and drank some water. He even went into the nappy bag himself to get a biscuit (we keep left over ones from Wimpy in there). He did that twice! (He likes biscuits).

We went to a children’s centre where they were doing gymnastics but of course he was too little for that. However I did manage to grab a balloon which he was very thrilled about.

Around twelve o’clock as I was at a booth ordering some lunch Nicky started crying. DH was rocking him back and forth in the stroller but it did not help, so I cancelled the order and we decided to head home.

Just as we were exiting the premises we saw a toy car shop and of course had to stop and look. Nicky now has two more little cars to enjoy! (I was going to take a picture but I can’t find them. Anywhere!)

He fell asleep, of course, on the way back.

The car and truck situation, by the way, is getting a little out of control in our house. I decided to get a big container for the big vehicles and an ice-cream container for the little ones.

The favourite red truck (http://onestepatatime.co.za/stimulation/things-i-like-to-put-in-my-truck/) has been missing for two weeks  and some of the little cars have gone missing too. So on Easter Sunday (after a nice big breakfast) we launched a massive Hunt for Missing Truck and Cars. We moved beds, couches and chairs. We discovered a lot of balls. But no cars or trucks. Eventually DH found it in a bush in the front garden. It is amazing where Nicky takes his truck to.

In the excitement of finding the truck, DH cleaning it off, and the inevitable need for sleep little Nicky had a good cry before wafting off to dream land.

Nicky eating an Easter egg for the first time.

Nicky eating an Easter egg for the first time.

After a good nap he could sample what we were all enjoying: his first Easter Egg.

 

 

 

 

On a more serious note, Easter is a time to reflect on new beginnings and rebirth.

I came across this brilliant post “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” (http://catherinegacad.com/2014/04/17/god-god-abandoned/) where Catherine Gacad recounts her experience with miscarriage and how it made her lose, and regain her faith. 

It reminded me how hard it has been before, to believe in that new life when dealing with the disappointment of infertility.

Three years ago I would never have believed that I would have a little boy munching Easter Eggs at Easter, or that we would be searching for his trucks. He truly is my little miracle.

Be encouraged, if you are still on a rocky road, that the true meaning of Jesus’ blood is mercy for those who have not yet realised that miracles can come about and that God really is within you.

You just have to believe. And trust the process.

Happy Easter!

Now I have to go through the dustbin and find those trucks.

 

 

 

Why Is the Crying So Hard?

why-is-crying-hard We have had rather an eventful weekend. I think it is part of the parent life to experience bouts of both laughter and tears during one day. There is nothing more beautiful than a child’s laugh, and nothing more heartbreaking when they are crying. All we can do is endeavour to do better next time.

We have been looking for a nice jungle gym for Nicky. (Any advice?) I’m looking for a swing that will hold his little body, the larger ones he just falls out of and I think I might have put him off swings now! We have also been looking at slides. DH also has been looking at little metal cars as the little plastic ones tend to break.

In any case I went last Monday to Toys R Us and took some pictures and priced things. Nicky didn’t seem to be that interested in the jungle gym. He liked the cars though. I literally had to drag him out crying, tearing him away from a big car he was pushing around the shop. R1500 though, people, and that’s a lot! (about $150)

So on Saturday after we had had our breakfast we went back there to look around. Nicky seemed captivated by the bicycles this time, but DH was looking at the cars. He got a few of the little metal ones and then decided to get a nice big truck for Nicky which also had another car:

happy-truck-toys-r-us

Well that was it. He was so enthralled with his new cars he played and played with them and refused to nap until 2pm! (He normally goes to sleep around 11am). And of course the car had to be in the bed with us.

After a nice long nap he was up again. We had to go out to DH’s work and also drop his camera off at zoo lake so off we went. I think he only took a little car with this time.

The ducks were quite friendly at zoo lake so we had a look at them and took some pictures. The calm peaceful lake makes quite a nice backdrop even though there are some noisy park goers playing their music loudly around.

That night we went to sleep with the car which I managed to extract out of his arms eventually as he fell asleep.

happy-truck-front The next morning when I wanted to go to church he was playing happily with his truck and did not want to be separated at all. With a sigh I let him take the front portion with in the car.

Mistake. Big mistake.

When we got to church he refused to be separated from this truck. Normally it wouldn’t be an issue for him to take a toy along, but this truck makes noises and I really didn’t want to deal with that.

He cried and cried. I actually, for the first time, really used the “cry room” for crying. He was devastated to leave his truck behind.

Eventually I got him to stop crying by holding him and calming him down and also letting him walk outside a bit. (No, he didn’t want boobie! Too angry with me for that!)

I sighed a big sigh of relief when they called for baby bible class to go. But even then I was stressed out as he flung a ping pong ball in all directions…

I think when your child cries for so long it really does something to you. It is like a horrible cloud hangs over you, even after the time has passed.

I think that is why it is so hard. Knowing that your child is so sad and yet you’re trying to enforce what is necessary and helping them deal with the emotional disappointment.

The cloud hung over me that day.

Later in the evening, after he had had a good sleep, he laughed and laughed as I played dropping a ball on him and he kicked it back. Such a happy boy.

But he sure can get upset too!

It was also reassuring to get this developmental update for 22 months from Babycentre:

Does your toddler insist on climbing into his own car seat or pull things out of your hand? He’ll fight harder now than ever to explore the world on his own terms. Strong opinions and rigidity are hallmarks of toddlerhood. You can avoid a tug of war by respecting your toddler’s preferences and giving in on the little things. Letting him choose which jam to use on toast or which pyjamas to wear to bed will give him the sense of control he craves. The secret is to give him only options that are acceptable to you. That doesn’t mean you should become a pushover to prevent tantrums. It’s important that you make it clear that some things — like behaviours that affect safety — are not up for negotiation. 

Ah. It all makes sense now. He definitely has a surer idea of what he wants and gets very distressed if he doesn’t get it. Ah well. I guess I should have just picked another truck to choose from…

I also got another two good articles from Laura Markham (author of Stop Yelling and Start Connecting).

The one was on the persistent child and highlighted how important it is for a child to be persistent, even though it drives you mad, because persistence is essential for accomplishing tasks in life.

The other was on toddlers.

This can be a maddening time for parents, or it can be a wonderful time, watching your child blossom into a person in her own right.  How difficult the phase from 15 to 36 months is depends mostly on the parent’s attitude. Your child’s rebellion will be inversely proportional to the freedom she’s given to do her developmental work.

2014-04-12 17.39.51 I think that picture with the ducks kind of sums up the situation for me. It’s not just about creating the right environment and choices for my child, but also being able to calm down, find my peace and see the bigger picture. Too often I fall back into the trap of being a people pleaser and forget about enjoying what Nicky is learning.

I think crying really becomes hard when I don’t seek that peace and also don’t attempt to learn from the experience, or find alternative solutions.

When I just enjoy the moment more and seek the joy he has brought me, then we can just laugh together.

Here is a video of my joyful little boy kicking:

Fertility Focus Telesummit 2014

Sarah Holland’s Fertility Telesummit is back. You can read previous reviews on this by clicking on the category here on how it has helped me. I was even a speaker one year which was fabulous!

I always look forward to her offerings and let’s look at the line up this year:

Returning speakers:

Old favourites are back:

-Sarah Holland will be doing both an introduction and concluding talk to help you get the most out of the summit and take all the info on and not get overwhelmed by it.

-Dr Marilyn Glenville will be speaking on nutrition for natural and IVF conception as well as to prevent miscarriage. I’ve spoken about her before because she wrote an excellent book “Get Pregnant Faster” where I got a lot of info on vitamins. (You can read that post here).

-Andrew Loosely: is an acupuncture expert. He will be talking on the three most important steps for your fertility journey. I did get a freebie ebook from him before which was helpful.

-Amy Sizer: I think she was on before. She will be talking about coping strategies.

-Gabriela Rosa: She runs a clinic in Australia (naturopath) and will be speaking on changing your fertility strategies. I have been subscribing to her for years now and also follow her on Facebook where I see her cutie son Jake up to all sorts.

-Sue Damaris: the yoga lady, will be speaking on intuitive readings.

New speakers:

Emma Cannon: Optimising & Preserving Fertility Through Chinese Medicine, Lifestyle Adjustments & Self-Care

Nicole Jardim: Take control of your period so you can take control of your fertility!

Molly Nichols: How to Mentally and Emotionally Reclaim Your Life and Your Fertility

Clare Blake: 3 Ways to Love your Womb

Sjanie Hugo Wurlitzer: Optimum Mind for IVF Success

Amy Medling: Could PCOS be a Possibility?

Natalie Kringoudis: Debunking Ovulation – Re-educating Woman on What Fertility Truly Means

Dr Randine Lewis: Another View of Your Fertility

Angela Heap: Are you genes blocking your fertility? How lifestyle and good nutrition can provide a solution.

 

Two bloggers are returning with happy conclusions to their fertility journey.

Leah Campbell (SIngle Infertile Female)

Love her and the way she writes. She comments here too (supportive too!). Leah has a special adoption miracle to share after having a very bad case of endometriosis. She also wrote a book. Love hearing updates on her little bug.

Keiko Zoll (The Infertility Voice)

She got pregnant with a donor egg after having various problems. I also follow her on Facebook and see her little one in action too.

I also look up to these bloggers because they are writers and this is my aspiration. Leah does freelance, wrote her own book and even writes an advice column. Keiko also writes for Disney Baby.

SIgn up now for the Fertility Telesummit!

Here’s what previous attendees said about the Fertility Focus Telesummit:

“Well I followed some of the advice given from the last telesummit and am now pregnant!  I’m in my second trimester! So happy to have had a chance to listen to the telesummit. Thanks for offering it!” – Heather

“I was told at age 41 that my eggs were too old and IVF was the only way. When IVF failed something inside me was adamant that was not the way. Your Telesummit last year opened my viewpoint completely and through listening in and then following some of your speakers’ advice I became pregnant! Thank you so much Sarah for bringing me to a journey of discovery, acceptance, hope and joy.” - Roisin

“I was amazed by the amount of information shared in each of these sessions. I went from feeling hopeless to hopeful – how priceless is that! My impression was that there was a deep honoring of the many ways that woman journey through fertility and the lack of judgment towards how one does the journey was greatly appreciated.” – Anonymous

“The telesummit was so inspirational, it’s brought back hope that I lost when I went through an unsuccessful IVF cycle last summer. Thank you so so much!!” – Anonymous

That link again: Click here.


 

Oh and by the way, if fertility isn’t your thing, there is an online Mom Conference going on as well. You can check that out here.

This post is not sponsored but it does contain affiliate links.

South African Mom Bloggers Directory

sa-momblogs-button I’ve been looking for some time for a community for South African mom bloggers. There seems to be a lot out there for Americans in terms of directory sites and sponsored posts, but not a lot for SA. I think there are mom bloggers and companies out there who have been taking the initiative (blog awards, get togethers and MyScoop is doing sponsored posts), but we need a directory and social media group where people can connect. In the end, it was always in the back of my mind to start something myself.

I have started the process of inviting mom bloggers and we now have a few in the blogroll. Please spread the word and let’s create a super resourceful place for mom bloggers.

Sign up here: http://samomblogs.co.za/list-your-blog (Just remember to subscribe and put the button on your blog before filling in the form).

You can also follow us on the following social media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/safricamomblogs

Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/samomblogs

Facebook group here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/samomblogs/

I am really excited about the Facebook group, I think it could be a great resource for sharing our posts and getting support. I have been part of an American mom blog Facebook group for a while and am getting a lot of support from them, but I’d really like to get together the SA mom bloggers.

 

Practical Steps for Gentle Weaning

gentle-weaning-boob-to-food


I’ve recently been reading “Mothering Your Nursing Toddler” by Norma Jane Bumgarner, published by La Leche League. It’s a good book, but I was particularly interested in ways to wean my child off the boob. In a gentle way, of course. Nicky is now 21 months old and is steadily nearing his second birthday. From what I understand from the book, it is less traumatic to wean after two. So I am accumulating notes on weaning to start implementing, particularly in the second half of the year. According to this book, they say:

Don’t:
1) Wean by Abandonment

This is too risky, and can be traumatic for the child. If you have to be separated, pump to keep up your supply.

2)”Spicy Burrito” (putting horrible tasting things on your breasts)

This is too risky to shatter their trust just for a quick weaning. It also may not work.

Nature uses this method during pregnancy when the milk “tastes bad”.

3) Crying it out

This refers to the practice of letting them cry without comfort or distraction, not normal life frustrations.

The lesson a child learns when no one helps him when he cries is mistrust. It is even worse when it happens at night.

Weaning is hard work!

Do:
1) “Don’t offer, don’t refuse”

But this comes with no guarantee of how long weaning will take: this depends on the child. I have had Nicky on certain occasions very clearly indicate to me, he doesn’t want food or drink, he just wants boob.

2) Distraction

-They suggest walking, carrying the child, talking and singing. This will involve pacing the floor at night and rocking.

-Stories, singing, new toys, outings (yes – going shopping works for me, or going to a park), visits and fun.

-Giving total attention with a snack and drink.
3) Substitution

photo (1) When Nicky is wanting boob for food, this works well. Normal meals work plus my easy to reach solution of biscuits (eat some more) and juice (those nice animal ones from Woolworths with the easy to drink opening).

Sucking needs can also be met with fingers or a pacifier. Make an effort to hold them while this sucking occurs so that they still associate the action with human connection.
4) Postponement

This won’t work for falling asleep or waking, but it may work if you if you monitor their reactions closely.
5) Shortening the nursings

Nurse for a while and then use distraction or substitution. This sometimes works if I tell Nicky to look at a toy. Sometimes it doesn’t. Funnily enough if I mention biscuits he often detaches and is quite keen to have one! But it can backfire if he isn’t really hungry: he will land up giving it to the dog or spitting it out.

6) Weaning by contract

You can say that after Christmas or a birthday that there will be an end to the nursing. This is what I would hope for with Nicky’s second birthday. However the book cautions that they may go along with it only to back out when the time comes. They also suggest a new toy or pet plus lots of mother’s attention.

7) Father Help

The father can help at night with mom out of sight. Dad can be good at putting the child to sleep. Dad also provides good distraction during the day.

Most of all they can provide support to both during this difficult time.

8) Spot Weaning

I think this approach will work well for me. If I try and get rid of the day feeds first (excluding nap time) I will feel like we are making some progress.

I then read Pinky McKay’s “Weaning With Love”. Pinky is a lactation consultant in Australia.

Pinky has a brief chapter on breastfeeding and fertility, because, as we know, breastfeeding suppresses ovulation. She says she always asks “If you wean and don’t conceive, how might you feel about weaning this baby?” A few months may not make much difference to conception, but it may to your baby’s health and relationship. She suggests natural therapies along with cutting down on breastfeeding.

She also says you can breastfeed during pregnancy, although there will be a drop in supply.

She says for emergency weaning (such as mom undergoing chemotherapy) keep morning and evening feeds for a few days and have others help you with the child during the day. Bring dad in to cuddle at night.  Drop the final two feeds one at a time with a few days inbetween.

Pinky suggests other bonding techniques during this time: smelling, touching, eye contact and speaking or singing to your baby.

Her tips for a mother during this time to avoid mastitis are to express, use cabbage leaves, ice packs, sage, peppermint, spearmint and parsley.

Sage tea: 1 tablespoon dried sage + 1 cup boiling water. Let it steep for 5-15 mins and drink 2-6 times per day.

Be prepared for emotional ups and downs (just like PMS). The effect of the withdrawal of prolactin and oxytocin will resolve within weeks as your hormones rebalance.

Pinky suggests dropping one feed a week and replacing it with an activity that releases that love hormone, oxytocin, such as cuddles and exercising.

I think this may be tough to figure out because apart from the night time, morning and nap time feeds which are pretty entrenched, the other feeds are haphazard. On Friday he had no feeds all morning (due to us going out to the shops) and at home I think he knows he can help himself whenever he gets a “boo-boo!” I might just have to keep going out!

Pinky’s tips:

Plan ahead with activities to keep your toddler busy before he even asks to nurse.

To drop morning feed; get up and dressed and have a snack ready.

To drop night feed: use a bedtime story. Use the same one to end with for comfort and familiarity.

I think when we transition Nicky onto his own bed this might work. I’m not sure about reading because at the moment he grabs the book from me.

She also advocates using music with the feed and then drop the feed and leave the music. She also says: try and figure out why they are waking at night. If it is teething make sure his head is elevated.  You can also say you will have boobies “when the sun shines”. There is even a book for this:

For co-sleeping she suggests sleeping with your back to the toddler. Also: move him gently out of the bed for at least part of the night.

I think this whole thing will be harder on me than him because I have become so used to the “boob solution” for all ailments. Plus it is an excellent nap extender when I need to get more work done. He will often wake up after one hour and then I feed him to sleep for another hour. I think the sleep thing will be the toughest.

I’d like to know how other moms did it!

 

Attempts to Get Fit at Forty

walking-with-tots-fit-at-forty Somewhere along the line four decades of my life have gone by and I am turning forty! I have no big plans for my birthday other than to maybe go somewhere nice with Nicky (like a park or something) and have Chinese for supper and watch Revenge which comes back to our screens. I’m just going to take it easy.

As much as relaxation is good, it has always been at the back of my mind that I really should be getting some exercise. My gym membership has lapsed, the DVDs sit unwatched, and I download yoga apps that also just sit there.

So when someone in our mom’s group put together a walking group for moms with babies, I took it as a sign that I should get active.

photo The first time I went I decided to take Nicky’s push tricycle. Nicky has never been a fan of his stroller. We’ve always been baby wearers and although I stopped wearing him at 18 months the stroller still sits there, pretty much unused. If we go shopping he now sits in the trolley and that seems to be working. However he does love his tricycle (pushing it around), so I though it would be a good idea. Nicky loved it. Me? Not so much.

Those things are very hard to steer. Very hard to push as well. Nicky had a lot of fun “steering” it, but as you can imagine, that only added to my difficulty. Plus it was the first time that I had walked that distance.

The next time I took the stroller. This was a big improvement, but I suffered on the uphills. Nicky is so heavy to push! I felt the blood drain from my face and felt like an old age person with a walker!! Afterwards my friend said I went all pale and she says it must be a drop in blood pressure. In any case, it gave me a bit of a scare. I missed two weeks (well, it was raining and cancelled, but I needed it to think about if I actually wanted to continue).

babies-in-strollers Sunny skies came back to Joburg and I tried again. This time was great. I didn’t even feel faint. I had a nice chat to my friend and we stopped at a park so Nicky could play a bit.  He even made friends with a fellow babe.

The really funny thing is that Nicky now loves his stroller. He can’t get enough of it. He pushes it around the house (which as you can imagine, is challenging every time he gets to a doorway, and cries for help). He grunts and motions me to put him inside it so I can push him around the house and garden. He now even puts his treasures in the bottom part – I found a stone and a chopstick in there. And I thought special objects were only reserved for his truck!

Let’s hope I can continue for as long as I can until Nicky gets too big for pushing!

 

Nicky’s New Bib

nicky-new-bib Nicky’s eating has definitely progressed these days. He is better able to communicate what he wants, and will stand, grunting, by the biscuits or the fridge to show what he wants. He especially likes to grunt when we are eating to tell us that he prefers our food to his. (I am still giving him some baby food as well as our food).

He is now able to even eat yoghurt by himself with a spoon.

1975090_10152802483321758_588641636_n

As you can see, the tommee tippee bib in this picture has seen better days. I started using the plastic bib when a friend of mine from the La Leche League group told me she put snacks in the bib for her toddler to help himself. Well, that didn’t work so well but it certainly protects his clothes. It also has the bonus that if food falls into it (when it misses the mouth) he can still scoop it out if he wants.

I have been meaning to get a new one for ages as it has become cracked and come apart at the neck. So, last Thursday, when I saw Babygroup was having a sale and they had a picture of a Baby Bjorn right there, plus there was free delivery, I decided it was time.

Online ordering is pretty easy and convenient for moms who are busy with babies and toddlers, so the process is easier than getting in the car and driving to Baby City. What’s more, when Nicky was crying in the middle of the transaction, and I didn’t get to finish things up, I got a phone call from them (James in his very posh British accent) to complete the sale via EFT. The next morning I received an email from them with all the bank details and I sorted it out. Monday morning there was a FedEx truck outside my door with the bib!

So, what do you think Nicky thought of all of this?

new-bib-box Of course he loved opening the box, and the rustling paper. Inside was a very friendly note.

new-bib-happy Nicky put the bib on by himself and proceeded to run around the room with his new bib. He was thrilled.

It worked really well for meal time too.

Here he is having lunch. He is a bit grumpy because he just woke up:

new-bib-lunch

Here he is having supper. As you can see by the mess, he enjoyed the meal.

new-bib-supper

 

 

What I like about this one is that it is soft and it seems to have a threaded section around the neck which I’m hoping will make it last longer than the other one.

Thanks, Babygroup!

This post first appeared on the Babygroup blog here. This is not a sponsored post but it does contain affiliate links. You can also become an affiliate of Babygroup here.

I’d also like to show you two videos of his favourite word. In case you haven’t guessed, it’s “Out!”. (He likes to go out). In the first one you actually see the car keys in the video. He wants to go out in the car.

In the second one he is saying “Out, Dad!” He wants us to go out to fetch dad.

What We’ve Learnt From the Ten Worst Crime Spots in South Africa


10-worst-crime-spots-in-SA-what-we've-learnt Crime is unavoidable in South Africa. In this house, which we have lived in for about eight years, we have had probably around five robberies. Fortunately we have never been at home when they happened (the last one I was taking Nicky to the shops, and they watched me leave) but it certainly doesn’t hurt to put in secure measures to keep yourself safe. And be aware of the bad spots.

The best you can do is make yourself more aware of dangerous areas and be suitably prepared for the worst. Even if you aren’t living in one of these locations (and I certainly hope that you’re not), you can be aware of the dangers in passing through. I also believe that understanding the trends behind why these areas are so dangerous can only help us be safer. (Stats taken from this website)

1) Mitchell’s Plain
I guess this should not be a surprise. Mitchell’s Plain is also number one for common assault, robbery with aggravating circumstances, malicious damage to property, drug related crime, crimen injuria and kidnapping. It is number two for common robbery, illegal possession of firearms, theft from motor vehicle and attempted murder. It is number four for sexual crimes too.

2) Cape Town Central is number one for motor vehicle theft.

3) Durban Central. This precinct is also number one for sexual crimes, shoplifting and driving under the influence.

4) Park Road in the Free State is  a burglar’s domain, being number three for business burglary and number two for residential.

5) Johannesburg Central comes in at number one for common robbery and second for for business burglary.

6) Rustenburg tops the list for culpable homicide and comes in second for commercial crime.

7) Honeydew
I have heard horrible stories of crime in this area. I think it is because there is a township close by. I also worked in the area (when I was teaching) and our school went through burglaries, particularly after building was done. The school put up a big wall at one stage which helped.
Honeydew is number one for residential burglary.
8) Phoenix in KwaZulu Natal is second for common assault and fourth for malicious damage to property. It is also sixth for kidnapping.

9) Pretoria Central is fourth for common robbery and fourth for general theft.

10) Pinetown in KwaZulu Natal is first for business burglary and carjacking. It comes in at number two for robbery with aggravating circumstances.

SO what have we learnt?

1) Steer clear of Mitchell’s Plain. Seriously, this is the worst crime ridden place in the country. Created for the Coloured people under the Apartheid government in the 1970s, much of the the place has deteriorated into urban ghettos and informal settlements. They have nearly 55 new cases a day according to this article, which also calls for better policing. Yes, the police service needs an overhaul, but this problem seems far deeper than they can handle. How does one turn around generations of drug addicts and criminals?

I read this touching article from Kirk Krotz, a musician who lived in Mitchell’s Plain. He talks about how violence was so part of his life he become used to it. Now that he lives in the Northern suburbs with white neighbours he notices how much they talk about crime, and yet have no clue as to what it really means. He says: As a child on the Flats, violence is a major part of your life. It is not something you choose. It is a daily reality you learn to live with. And today this is still true, maybe even more so than when I grew up.

I have no blanket solutions to a problem so great as Mitchell’s Plain, but as the man who threw the starfish back said- “It made a difference to this one.” So perhaps the solution for us as humans is to touch lives where we can, be it by a healthy, loving child or a random act of kindness. And pray for Mitchell’s Plain. I’m sure they need it.

 

2) Avoid Central Business Districts. They seem to be bad places for crime.

Having said that, my father ran a successful hardware business in Port Elizabeth’s CBD for many years. He had his fair share of burglaries, armed robberies and shoplifting. But he endured and had lots of customers. I guess the positive side of a hub like that is that you do have lots of foot traffic.

I see PE does not feature much on these lists but the Mount Road precinct (up the road from the CBD) comes in at No 7 for business burglary and No 10 for shoplifting. The PE townships feature for carjackings. (New Brighton No 6, Kwazakele No 10)

 

3) Don’t buy a house near a township.

If you really want to be stupid, buy a house next a group of individuals who need to steal to survive. I remember reading about a women in Walmer, Port Elizabeth near the Walmer location who had repeated robberies. Honeydew is another example. People driving on London Road late at night only have themselves to blame when they get carjacked, being right next to Alexander Township. Stay clear!

4) I know our crime stats are bad, but you don’t have to use them to your advantage. Shrien Dewani did this on a trip to a Cape Town township late at night (Gugulethu) and had his wife killed. Gugulethu is actually No 6 for Murder and doesn’t feature for kidnapping. Let’s hope he gets the justice he deserves.

5) Be safe: If you live in South Africa you need to:

- put up an electric fence (check, after our last robbery last year)

- install an alarm (we did that when we moved in)

-if you are walking/ driving around a suspect place late at night, the worst thing you can do is act lost. Be purposeful and get out of there.

- get insurance. (we started out with this too) This involves the contents of your house, your car, anything you hold dear. You also need to think about the unpalatable event of your death and get death insurance too.

 

I hope this was informative about all the places to avoid in SA.

Just remember, in the end, it doesn’t matter so much where you live, but rather the company you keep. Ask all the South Africans glued to their screens watching the Oscar Pistorius trial for the murder of Reeva Steenkamp. They were living in a luxury suburb in Pretoria.

The culture of violence runs deep in this land.

What do you think? What can we do?

 This post was sponsored by AIG

 

No Problem! The Upside of Saying No. (Book Review)


I’m jist a girl who cain’t say no,
I’m in a turrible fix 
I always say “come on, le’s go”
Jist when I orta say nix!

 

This song, sung by the character Ado Annie Carnes in the musical Oklahoma, seems to capture how hard it is to say “No.” In this case, she has a problem saying no to men.

Well, I don’t exactly have that problem. But I have other problems.

I am a “people please-er”. I care about what others think. It bothers me if they get upset when I say no. I try to avoid conflict at all costs. I do hope I am getting better at saying no, but at the end of the day I am one of those “nice” people who smile and say yes, even though I really should be saying no.

 

No Problem FrontPage Liesel Teversham is the author of “No Problem! The Upside of Saying No.” I first met Liesel at an EFT training course. The course was led by herself and Laurie, and you can read more about their EFT training academy here, which is based where I live, in Johannesburg, South Africa.

In any case, Liesel and Laurie have quite distinctive personalities, and I immediately picked up that Liesel has a similar personality to me. She is also so sweet, nice and willing to please. It should come as no surprise then, that saying no would be an issue for her, but she chose to deal with it in a very creative way by crafting an extensive self-help book on the subject.

Liesel starts her book off by examining why it is so hard to say no.

There are several false beliefs that support one continuing to say yes when we actually want to say no. Being liked is one (a big one for me). Not acknowledging your own needs is another (yip, me again). Avoiding conflict? (yes, that would be me).

Another reason it is so hard is that we tend to be driven by our subconscious as a reaction to life rather than a conscious creation of life. The subconscious is often programmed early in life.

The tool she uses to deal with this problem is EFT. EFT stands for Emotional Freedom Technique, which is basically acupuncture without the needles. You tap on various points while saying affirmations. I’m not going to go into all the details of how it works, you can read a fuller explanation here.

The point is that saying no often invokes fear, and the negative reaction to fear (the flight/ flight/ freeze response) is initiated by the amygdala, a portion of your brain. EFT is especially suited to working with fear. Energy work can unblock the emotions and give you more choice. The key is to be very specific with the events behind your fears, and as you work with more and more of these kinds of fear inducing situations, you will find that you are able to cope better.

Liesel also lists some key factors that will make a difference in understanding why saying no is a problem.

I liked what she said about boundaries because I think having respect for yourself means that you will have limits on how much of yourself you will give. She shared a really memorable story about how a lady friend took advantage of her by rescheduling her tea on her birthday, shouted at her, and then continued with the tea date for three hours!

She also mentions the Enneagram (a system of personalities) which has taught me a lot about myself (I’m a Four) and highlights which personalities are more prone to this problem. (You can read an article I wrote on counselling a woman who was also a Four, using the Enneagram, here).

Liesel highlights the importance of childhood and past events with reference to Erikson’s stages of development. I studied these years ago during my Psychology degree, but of course it takes on a whole new meaning when I have a living toddler in front of me! Infants in the first year must learn to trust. Toddlers (2-3) are all about having control and independence. They are learning to think for themselves and discover what they need. This makes a lot of sense to me because Nicky really likes to be in control (e.g. reading a book: he must hold it), and gets very upset if you won’t let him do what he wants. This is where you really need to work on your re-directing skills! Preschool is all about “Why?” and finding purpose. School (6-11) is about creating initiative leading towards competence, learning skills of their culture. Adolescence is about finding your identity. If your developmental needs were not met during any of these stages, it definitely affects you. Being aware of where your problems lie gives you a starting point to tap on relevant issues.

If all of this is sounding like a tall order, it is rather reassuring to hear that change happens in small steps. Liesel breaks the action plan down into manageable chunks and provides tapping scripts to motivate you along the way.

On top of that she also gives ideas on what to say when you want to say no, and even how to say no when you’ve already said yes, again providing a relevant example.

All in all this is a valuable, jam packed, full of information self help book that will inspire and give you lots of ideas to think about.

I also liked this quote which comes from her book:

“I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.” Bill Cosby.

 

 

If you’re visiting from Liesel’s book tour, welcome! Please have a look around my blog. If you’re interested in EFT, I have a whole lot of scripts for various issues in my shopping cart.

 

Lieselbw Liesel (B. Mus Hons) is the author of “No Problem: The Upside of Saying No“. It is a guidebook for those who are overwhelmed, exhausted and resentful and never have a moment for themselves.

Visit her book blog to check out the full schedule for the Virtual Book Tour at http://www.no-problem-book.com/index.php/book-tour, and receive a free 10 lesson e-Course to accompany the book, available on Amazon (see link at the top).

Liesel is a coach, trainer and speaker who help professional women to implement guilt-free self-care strategies in private sessions and groups.

Cleaning Up Cresta

mop-toddler Entering a shopping mall with a toddler may be challenging enough when you need to keep them beside you and out of danger (theirs and other people’s). Find out in this post how much more interesting the situation becomes when you throw a toy mop into the mix. . .

We often like to go out for breakfast. Today we went to the Wimpy. Nicky eats his pouch. He also likes the foam on the cappuccino. We enjoyed our food and Nicky had fun moving all over the show. He had a balloon again – which was fun for him, but not much fun for us. We managed to hide it from him during most of the meal.

After breakfast DH wanted to go sort out upgrading his phone so this left me with the little man.

I landed up shopping at Naartjie and Cotton On Kids and got some stuff for next year summer (a cute costume and some pajamas). The balloon  burst at Cotton On, but I managed to save the situation. (I picked him up)

We kept going back to see how DH was doing but it was taking a while. Then he said he needed to go downstairs to transfer the data. This is when we went across to Reggies, which is a toy store. This is where we found the mop.

It was there amongst other cleaning implements for children. Nicky already has a broom which he loves. He likes the (adult sized) mop too, so I though he would enjoy this.

We head back to Vodacom with my ever increasing load of parcels and I give Nicky the mop to keep him occupied. Nicky is thrilled and starts mopping the floor industriously.

When we leave the cellphone shop and go up the escalator Nicky has a moment of sheer panic because he thought I’d left the mop behind. It was firmly in my hand however. I gave it back to him and order was restored.

As we walked along Cresta Shopping Centre, Nicky pushed his mop along. It is a bit of a challenge to walk with a mop like that especially when you keep stepping on it. However, he endured and did his cleaning.

Other shoppers certainly had a reaction to my little cleaner. Variations on “Starting him early, are we?” was the common theme. Some women gave me some warm smiles.

By now Nicky had tired of merely mopping and was having fun waving the mop around. I had to move quite deftly to prevent him hitting other shopper’s legs. Please imagine me laden with nappy bag, shopping bags and a toddler waving a mop around. Again, definitely more fun for him.

We got back to the other Vodacom shop to where DH was sorting out final details and Nicky had a new place to clean. Finally we left and the broom was retired. Amazing that once a thing is out of sight, it is generally out of mind.

Until he finds it again, that is…