Too Many Dudes, Dude.

The Princess and I are currently in Cape Town, staying with The Brother-in-law, The Sister-in-law and their one, two, three, FOUR (adorable) kids. Just after The Princess has had her very first bath with her six month old cousin, The Sister-in-Law casually asks if I’d mind babysitting whilst she and The Brother-in-law attend a parent teachers evening at their eight year old’s school. Now, we have every intention of giving The Princess a baby brother or sister one day, so I should be perfectly capable of sticking a dummy into the mouth of my beautiful niece, in the very unlikely event that she wakes up and cries. Right?

Right.

It’s 7:20pm – a full hour since I started giving The Princess her bedtime bottle – and she is still writhing in my arms, refusing to sleep. It’s been a rough afternoon visiting an unwell Father Figure and I am not in the mood for a fight with an eleven month old.

Enter The Princess’ crying six month old cousin.

No problem.

The Princess and I will just go next door for a dummy dash.

We stand next to the cot and a pair of large blue eyes stares up at eyes. This does not look like a baby in the throes of a deep slumber, merely in need of a dummy but I try anyway.

She spits.

I try again.

She spits and screams.

I try again.

Now she’s upset. And really screaming. Very, very loudly.

I panic. In the last day and a half I’ve spent with this little angel, I’ve never heard her cry. But now she is P*SSED off. She’s woken up in the middle of the night and she’s got some stranger who is NOT her mommy trying to shove her dummy in her mouth. Not happy.

So I pick her up and sink into the feeding chair next to her cot – The Princess in one arm and her cousin in the other. The Princess is smiling sweetly at her crying cousin and even reaching across to her as if to console her. It’s adorable but it’s not helping at all. Her cousin is going BALLISTIC now.

As my eight-year old nephew is roused from his sleep and walks in, offering to help, I realise I have failed dismally trying to take care of two small children and I ask him to please call his baby sister’s live-in nanny. Thank God for her. She’s in the bath but she’ll come as soon as possible.

Enter my darling little niece’s nanny and she stops crying immediately.

Phew.

I return to The Princess’ room and at once, the sweet, consoling older cousin version of her is gone and I am left with a screaming eleven month old, nearly an hour into her bed-time, refusing to go to sleep.

Finally, after what seems like years, but is “only” one hour forty minutes, I put The Princess down. She stirs and almost sees me standing near her cot, but she somehow doesn’t see me and she seems to roll over and at least attempt sleep. This leaves me on all fours, hiding behind the darkened side of her camp cot as opposed to the see-through, net side, trying to crawl silently to the door where freedom awaits…

I manage to make it out, collapse onto my bed and pick up my phone to read a mail just in from The Sister, newly settled in NYC. She’s forwarded me her party invite for this weekend:

Subject: heads up for Friday night
I’m having a few friends over to Le Parker Meridien near 56th and 6th Ave, 7pm – 10pm.
Heated rooftop pool + fun little suite. Cocktails and swimming etc.
Please come and bring a girl-friend. We have TOO MANY DUDES.

New York, Crispy Cassava Snacks & Kit Kat Singles

The Princess first started to display signs of separation anxiety around 7 months or so. I think around 8 months is text book or something, so I wasn’t too surprised when it happened. Yesterday, however, her separation anxiety reached new heights. I literally had to go to the toilet with her on my lap. Her reaction was so violent when I tried to put her down that I thought she actually might injure herself if I laid her on the floor – albeit right in front of me – with her toys.

Fortunately for me, around the time her separation anxiety started, she became a Daddy’s Girl through and through. There was about a week where she would cling on to me and then she started putting her arms out for her Daddy while I was holding her and refusing to come to me from her Daddy’s arms. Part of me is mortified by this, but in many ways it makes life easier. For example, the guilt at jumping on a plane bound for New York will be cushioned by the fact that she will be having a ball with her Daddy for the four days I am not here.

Yip, for four days I will be trying to keep up with The Sister’s glamourous new life in New York City. On Saturday, I got an e-mail saying that she was about to head off to a private party in a loft apartment in Tribeca and that she thought she’d wear her leather pants. My knowledge of New York has been almost exclusively gleaned from Sex & the City. I don’t know where Tribeca is and I don’t own leather pants. When I started writing this blog, it was 11:49 on Sunday morning and I was still in my pyjamas. Not because I went clubbing until 4am that morning but because The Princess and I were embroiled in a battle of wills from 8am to 11am. She was supposed to go down for her morning nap at 8 or 8:30 at the latest and she finally, finally passed out at 11am. That’s a three hour long sleep battle with a ten and a half month old and I felt as though I had just run a marathon. I can’t imagine anything more exhausting. I can’t imagine that a 17 hour trans-Atlantic flight and four-day jet lag can come close.

So, in some ways, I am very ready for New York at the end of May and in some ways, I am so far from being ready. When I booked my flight, I set myself a goal to lose 8.5kg in the 17 weeks before leaving for New York – an average of 0.5kg per week. Sounds healthy and feasible, right? But it’s now three weeks later and whereas I should have lost 1.5kg, I have lost only half of that – 800g. So now I have exactly 14 weeks to lose 7.7kg. I may need to move the goal posts a little but many kilos are going to need to be shed before I see myself in leather pants…

Enter the dieter’s version of crack cocaine:

1) Crispy Cassava Snacks from Woolworths.

1 small 20g packet = 1 point on Weight Watchers, out of a daily total of 20. Not bad, right? The bonus is that there is so much sh*t on these bad boys that one tiny little packet burns the living crap out of the roof of your mouth, thereby making further eating for the day somewhat painful. A dieter’s dream. My personal faves are the “Cream Cheese & Chives” variant. I find the “Vinegar & Lemon Pepper” flavour tastes like a lemon and I’m also not such a fan of the “Lightly Salted Flavoured” type. Lightly Salted Flavoured: sounds wrong, I know, but that’s what it says on the packet.

2) Kit-Kat Singles.

1 “finger” = 1 point on Weight Watchers. Totally worth it to satiate those chocolate cravings.

I was about to eat the whole bag bag on Sunday as I sat in my pyjamas, hair unbrushed, feeling totally mangled by my sleep fight with The Princess, while The Sister must surely be tottering home from her Tribeca loft party in her heels, ready to sleep off a hangover until midday. Fortunately, for my waistline, The Sister called just then. She said the loft was amazing, there were waiters serving French champagne and little canape thingies. It was, however, mainly populated by thirty-something New York women, looking for husbands. (Evidently, you can say this when you’re 28, you’ve just moved to New York and you’re blonde and hot). Unfortunately for all females concerned, men were apparently thin on the ground and the uber eligible bachelor owner of the amazing Tribeca pad was firmly up his own arse.

And it is armed with this information about the trials and tribulations of New York singletons, that I find the strength to put away the packet of Kit Kat Singles, brush my hair, slap on some make-up and walk to Tashas with The Princess in the Jozi sunshine.