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?


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.


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.

Babytalk by Boys

The Husband has never quite grasped terminology that has traditionally been associated with more "feminine" things. For example, if I'm wearing a skirt he likes, he'll say, "Nice dress!" No matter how hard I try to explain the difference between a skirt and a dress, it just doesn't sink in – to him, a skirt is a dress and a dress is a dress.

I guess terminology for baby paraphenalia has also traditionally the realm of more "feminine" things, which is why he has the same difficulty retaining new baby vocabulary as he has remembering the word "skirt". So when I'm burping The Princess and I ask him for a towelling nappy, he can't fathom that anything besides Pampers or Huggies was ever used as a nappy and so he'll hand me a disposable nappy. Then he'll get annoyed when I throw it back at him and ask for a TOWELLING nappy. Just as I don't think he actually understands the word "towelling", so too has he been unable to learn the meaning of a "muslin", which I guess is a bit of a hard one for boys. In his defence, he picked up "compactum" pretty quickly, which I also had to learn when this whole baby adventure began. (A chest of drawers cum changing table for babys, for those of you who have no need to know what a compactum is). For the rest of the baby paraphenalia, he has simply decided to accept his weaknesses and has taken it upon himself to rename items so that they make sense to him.

For example, he was unaware that the word "Babygro" existed, so he proceeded to name all of The Princess' one-piece outfits a "uniform", as in: "That's such a pretty uniform!" Sometimes, there's a bit of variation on the term uniform and Babygro's are referred to as "suits" as in: "What a cute suit!"

The word "pram" is another one that just won't stick with The Husband, so we take The Princess for walks in her "trolley" instead. Like "uniform", "trolley" also has a synonym in The Husband's unique baby vocabulary. It's sometimes referred to as a "cart". I guess this is his American version – sometimes we push her around in her (shopping) trolley, sometimes in her (shopping) cart.

That's the babytalk for boys in our little family. If you have some amusing boy vocabulary of your own, please post a comment and share it. Happy Sunday!

Childbirth: Leave Your Dignity in the Car

“Leave your dignity in the car”.
That’s what Dr M said when I called childbirth “barbaric”. In my defence, when I said that, she was breaking my waters – technically, that is. In reality, she was destroying my dignity. Don’t ask me why, at that moment, all I could think about was dignity and pride, but that was how I felt at the time.
Granted, all this was self-induced. A full seven days after The Princess’ due date and she was showing absolutely no signs of arrival. In those seven days, I’d had someone rear-end me down Corlett Drive and I’d enacted all the B.S. tricks to get babies to be born: I’d eaten enough spicy food to send Mumbai running to the loo, I’d drunk potions and lotions and herbal teas, I’d gone for walks, I’d bounced on gym balls, I’d visualised my baby, talked to her, written her name on my birthday calendar for 26 March (five days after her due date) and still… NOTHING. And so, on Monday 28 March, at my one week post due date check up, I asked to be induced.
Had I known the kind of pain and indignity that went with induction, I may not have done so. But I didn’t and so it was that I found myself flat on my back in a hospital bed with medics trying to get this baby to make an appearance. After starting the induction process, Dr M told me she’d be back to check on me in two and a half hours.
When she walked in at midday, I could tell by her arched eye-brow that things weren’t progressing as planned.
“Oh,” she said, “You’re reading your book.”
I took that to mean that I was supposed to be writhing in pain with contractions, but at that point, I felt nothing. So yes, while The Husband was out foraging for food, rather than watch the splendid offerings of daytime TV on SABC 2, I was reading my book.
And that’s when she moved in for the kill: the breaking of the waters. Thank God The Husband was out finding food at that moment because I don’t think he would’ve recovered from watching the process. Afterwards, I was holed up in the loo when The Husband called to tell me he was on his way back. He wanted to know why I was crying. The only way I could think to explain the barbarism I’d just suffered was to sob, “I feel like a CAVE WOMAN!”
I also tried to explain my sobs to Dr M.
“It’s just so barbaric!!” SNIFF, SNIFF, HEAVE, HEAVE. “I feel like I’ve been stripped of all dignity!”
And that’s when she told me that when you check in to have a baby, you leave your dignity in the car.
“You’ll get it back when you go home,” she assured me…