Grade One Mum

So it seems I may be writing again, no promises! This is my ‘therapy’ I guess- a place to get out some of what I feel…

Who would have thought that this tough cookie would have such a rough time with sending Hamzah off to school…definitely not me!

In my experience, sending my first son Isa to school was vastly different to sending the second.  At the time Isa was about to start grade one, we had a lot going on. I had given birth to our daughter one week prior to school starting.  I had ensured all aspects of school readiness were done before I went off to hospital. I was excited, this was a huge step, a new milestone that was achieved, and I looked forward to the year.  I had my parents and younger sister here on his first day of school- so he was left at his classroom by an entourage.  I remember still being in pain from my caesarean section, but making sure I went to school that morning.  My sister sat holding my six day old baby girl in the car while I walked, slightly hunched over, from the car park to his class.  I stayed for a bit and took a few pictures.  I recall a lump in my throat, but there were no actual tears- why would there be?? We were about to start a new adventure!

My blog has been inspired greatly by Hamzah’s antics as a toddler- he was and still is my most independent, entertaining, spontaneous and unpredictable child.  Hamzah started playschool at two and half years old. Yeah, very early I know!  He was an alert child who I unfortunately could not keep up with in terms of need for stimulation.  He also begged us daily to go school, as he was already speaking fairly fluently at that time.  I remember leaving him at school on his first day, there were no tears from either of us. He walked straight in and onto the playground without any hesitation, and said to the children, “Hello, my name is Hamzah.”  I recall his teacher telling me that she had never seen a child settle in so easily and Hamzah grew to have  a very close bond with her as he was the ‘baby’ in his class.  On his first outing (a game drive) he curled up on her lap and fell asleep safely in her arms on the drive back to school.  I will always be grateful that he had received such love from her.  Since his very first day, Hamzah had always loved going to school.

I began to notice last year that for some reason I was finding difficult to acknowledge Hamzah’s true age – I am not entirely sure why, but over the last few days I have given it much thought. You see, I have an idea in my mind regarding the type of mother I think I am, and clingy  isn’t an attribute I would add to that mental image. So why was sending him off to grade one so different to sending Isa??  I mean my whole plan is to grow these boys to be independent, mindful individuals who confidently make meaningful contributions to their world in some form or another.  Well let’s just say I’m starting to rethink the whole ‘independent’ part of my growth plan.

Last year on Hamzah’s sixth birthday I found myself in tears being comforted by his teacher – this of course raised warning bells in my head… this was a joyous occasion, and crying on a birthday was completely foreign to me, but there I was, all ‘snot en trane’ (snots and tears) and I wondered what was going on.  Being busy and always having something or the other to attend to- I brushed the incident aside and blamed my hormones for betraying me…

A few weeks later, there was an incident at school that resulted in me being called in at pick time for a quick chat with Hamzah’s teacher- I will have to blog that incident later!

It was then relayed to me that my child had possibly gained knowledge of the ‘birds and the bees’ and that perhaps I should talk to him about it.  I sat there in complete horror! Well I was standing in horror, and then requested a chair as I needed to sit down to absorb what I was being told.

I was assured that this is completely normal and it was not a big thing, ( err WHAT??!!)  Naturally, being the mother I am, I said to his teacher that I’m sure she was mistaken, as Hamzah has no knowledge on this topic. She explained to me the incident that had occurred and I stopped for a few moments to consider it, but still disagreed with her, insisting that it did not relate directly to him having this type of information.  My reasoning being, that he was only six! And that he had only just turned six a few weeks ago, so technically he was still five, and my five year old most definitely had no knowledge of any of this.  The teacher giggled, and fortunately knows me very well, so she seemed to over look the absurdity of my explanation, placed her hand on mine, and said, “He knows.”  She then went on to say she fully understands that being conservative in this regard, (in the sense that I haven’t openly explained the reproductive system to either of my boys) makes this a little difficult for me to acknowledge.  A little?!  She hugged me and rubbed my back and sent me (still in shock) on my way…

Being full time at school for the last term of 2016 meant that I didn’t have much time to digest that Hamzah was going off to grade one.  I purchased uniforms quite robotically and did not fit them on.  Perhaps it was my fear of the feelings I would feel seeing him in his little bush uniform, in any case it was way too busy to during the holidays for me to bother about that.  We did a fitting a few days before school started and I was absolutely fine. We had had a wonderful and busy holiday leaving little or no time to talk about the fact that my baby boy was going off to big school.  I spent the last two days before school started labeling both boys stationery and making sure their bags and boxes were ready.

The day before school started I had a strange feeling; I went in to school to drop off his stationery box and other required items so as to make the first day of school a little easier for all of us. And began to feel waves of emotion walking in.  I bumped into Hamzah’s Grade One teacher and as she asked if we were all ready, I mentioned that I wasn’t finding this very easy, or rather, I was finding the whole Hamzah goes to school thing surprisingly difficult!  I humorously asked if there was a possibility of keeping a child for another year in Grade R due to his mother not being ready to let him go…

That evening, as I lay out both boys school uniforms many tears were shed.  The following morning, Hamzah and Isa were full of smiles; we took pictures and got on our way.  But as I reached to take his little school bag out of the car, it all hit me once again. I shared this on my facebook page:

This morning was a surprisingly difficult one, one I didn’t expect to have. Everyone was OK until we got to the car park and that’s when it began. The sad face, teary eyes which turned to crying, the hanging on, tightly gripped hands, dragging of feet, edging reluctantly to the classroom… And then, heartbreakingly, and grinning as he did since he’s woken up, he wriggled his tiny hand out of my tight grip, peeled himself off from my hanging on, and walked in happily. I kneeled down and wiped away My tears that had been falling from the car park, I hugged him until HE let go first, he was smiling confidently, my heart sank, it was time, I continued to drag my feet as I’d done from the car, still edging, reluctantly to the classroom door, with knots in my tummy, it’s time for me to…. Let go… #mumsfirstdayofgrade1


These were my babies- and Hamzah was my baby-baby for the longest time- and perhaps – like most mothers reading this- my heart and mind simply have not caught up with reality just yet.



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Ramadaan 2016



I was recently reminded of my very first Ramadan post and took some time to read and reflect on it.  It amazes me how much has changed and yet how much has stayed the same… but even in staying the same, it seems that is still considered progress.  This Ramadan I realised more than ever that there are so many different caps we wear as mothers –so many things we need to be– almost all concurrently… Mother.  Cook.  Teacher.  Friend.   Confidant .  Doctor. Chauffeur. Cheerleader. Coach.  Disciplinarian.  Caregiver.  Informal occupational therapist. Grow(th) Facilitator.  You get the idea.

Growth is a by-product of change I would say…and we have!

Much has changed.

We are up by one number in our family as our daughter made her way to us (Finally!) and boy-(err girl?) has she turned things upside down and right side up for me. I am not entirely sure why things are so different with her, perhaps it because she is the daughter I had longed for (that doesn’t seem to look anything like me)…perhaps it is because I am such a different mother to her (patience levels that I never knew I was capable of)…perhaps it’s simply that with age I have become a little more comfortable in my abilities of being a mother (note I said comfortable not confident). Heck my boys seem to be doing ok… I think.

Much has stayed the same.

My boys are still…my boys. A little older, a little more understanding, a little kinder, a little more thoughtful, definitely more challenging, more boisterous but not surprisingly – still batting those long eyelashes, covered in dirt.

Our sehri still consists of me wedging a pillow next to my baba while I tip toe out of the room praying that she doesn’t wake while I’m shovelling spoonfuls of oats down my throat, in an effort to get something in my tummy in case she calls out for me. We still take turns to eat and pray so one of us is always available for her entertainment.  I have more company at sehri now as Isa joins me every now and then.  He has been very good at fasting, and remembering to not be miserable while doing so. He has made me very proud in the little person he is becoming.

Much has changed.

Our days are fuller, busier, noisier, and taking a nap while fasting is quite the juggling act in terms of time and number of children needing to be fed, and seen to. Iftar… well… Iftar is still an interesting time. Isa remembers and follows the rules fairly well, Lulu (our pet name for Zayyana) has managed to fit in somehow, walking around the table, picking food off each of our plates, ensuring Hamzah gives her whatever it is he is drinking and trying to feed herself, as well as anyone close to her.

Much has stayed the same.

Hamzah is still the entertainer, and boy can he entertain.  I am not sure I have heard a child that is able to talk as much as he can.  It is as if his mind is racing at 120km p/h and his mouth simply isn’t able to keep up.  He just has a lot….A LOT … to say…and this is not limited to Iftar time.  It starts from about 6am and continues throughout the day as he fills me in on all the on goings of his day.  Don’t get me wrong, I love hearing about it, and of course I love that he shares so much with me… I’m just not sure why he needs to share all the time…I mean literally all the time. No you don’t understand- let me give you an example: he feels the need to inform me of his bodily functions and that he requires the use of the bathroom as well as what he will be doing in the bathroom, before he even  goes in.

Much has changed.

This Ramadan is a little different… it is definitely more inclusive now that the boys understand a little more. Isa has been fasting and I have been trying to teach them a little more this year.  My aim is to teach them lessons that can be carried into life regardless of their age, this involves teaching them to be kind, we have a ‘Good deeds’ system going, where every day they are required to perform a small act of kindness.  Well almost every day, I’m not superwoman you know 🙂   I have introduced a Sadaqah/Charity jar which we are continuously filling with coins or notes. The plan is that at the end of the month the boys will purchase food items and distribute it themselves to those in need.

We also have an Eid countdown calendar going to get them excited about Eid.  This was a very sore point for me. Last year I realised that my children are experiencing a very different Eid in comparison to the Eid’s I enjoyed growing up.  The atmosphere was electric, the family would all get together and enjoy tea, cakes, sweets while the children got to stay up way past bedtime in their special ‘Eid pyjamas’. Eid was a celebration of note!  So last year I decided that I was going to make it as exciting as possible for them.  We made Eid lanterns to decorate our patio; they enjoyed making homemade Eid cards for all the family members. I printed out an Eid Mubarak bunting that they coloured in and hung up on Eid morning. We ensured that every single guest that attended our Eid lunch left with an Eid gift wrapped and decorated by hand, each one individually beautiful. Our cakes had a mini Eid Mubarak bunting and Eid Mubarak tags. The kids had their very own table with personalised party packs- they also helped make up party packs for underprivileged children from a nearby madressah.  Yes well, you kind of get the picture… we went Eid crazy! And I have to say… it worked!! The boys remember it so well and began to realise that just as their friends were excited about Christmas/Easter, this was IT for them! And they got two each year!  They absolutely revelled in the glory of Eid Day.

And (amongst all the other roles already mentioned) this is just another one for a mother to fill – Good-memory-making-enabler.  And that is a universal truth.  We all want our children to look back and remember all the wonderful things that made up their childhood.   Yeah ok, there may be a memory or two of being chased around the house with a wooden spoon (or rolling pin… or slipper… this is culturally dependant) but I guess there has to be balance- Right?

All of this reflection however, has brought me to a realisation… the realisation that your children will be passionate about the things you are passionate about. They will remember your passion.  So have passion.  Be passionate.  They may be inspired to be as passionate about certain aspects in their own lives. They will remember the time you spent,  the hugs and kisses, the sticking and glue-ing and glitter of happy days, the mess that was made,  the bright colours, and smells and tastes that fill their minds, and all the fun that was had … and isn’t that exactly what we want? For them to remember their childhood with passion?

What better way to change this world but through them… so …is that not all we actually need to be?




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Wife After Baby. A Husband’s Guide.

An awesome (yet truthful) post! I’m sure u will love it as much as me 🙂

Sleep deprivation is only a small part to your wife’s temporary insanity.  In the first few months, you may witness a number of breakdowns, meltdowns and shut downs and realistically, the woman you knew may disappear and be replaced with a shuffling husk of a human female for around twelve months. Sometimes less.  Sometimes more.  She may also definitely will be suffering from decision fatigue, which will cause her to stare at you like a lobotomised corpse as she processes whether she actually does want another cup of tea.

My husband reckons I flashed a knife at him during a particular meltdown.  I can’t remember this and in my defence I was probably just chopping some veg and just so happened to gesticulate the knife in his general direction whilst making a very important point.  My husband and I are still together and thankfully he hasn’t got any major scarring.  However, I thought…

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The cursed craze….

Boy do I hate stickeez.

I read a blog post by another annoyed mother when the craze started and decided there and then that I would not give in to Pnp’s cheap cheese!

I saw the ads in tv and thought to myself “Ah I’m not going to be roped into that bullsh*t” … and for the most part I held it together.

I explained to the kids that the stickeez were junk, and they did not actually ‘need’ them regardless of what their friends had told them. I anticipated the children going crazy about them, so I had all my explanations ready as well as the fact that they were a choking hazard for my 8 month old baby girl.

What really surprised me though, what I didn’t see coming at all, were the adults obsessions with them.
Somehow, over the last few weeks, I’m sure the topic of stickeez have cropped up in almost every gathering I found myself at.

Ofcourse I moaned and groaned along with the rest regarding what an absolute pain the whole thing was… but then… I realised there were adults who actually knew the stickeez by name… as well as how many more ‘their kids’ needed to complete the collection…. or how many complete collections they already had.. or how good their kids were at trading the pint-sized pains in the….

Really… now really… as a grown man or woman… if you are actually familiar with each one of the 24 pieces of plastic junk… I must say… I envy you! I wish I had that kind of time!

I mean, my life is bursting at the seams.. there barely seems enough of time to do the million and one things that race through my mind on a daily basis … I can’t possibly imagine learning and becoming just as consumed as or even more than the little ones, with the 9 cent pieces of plastic.

Needless to say… my boys are part of an exclusive group, the exclusively deprived few… the ones whose mum’s refused to shop at pnp so they were donated stickeez by family members and school friends.. out of pity…

I keep hoping the fad will end…

I realise am losing the battle against the 24 strong army of stickeez… it was a sad moment, a very sad one indeed, when I found myself doing the grocery shopping at pnp!

Boy do I hate stickeez!


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Mothers here…Mothers there… Mothers everywhere

brain 3 kids

How in the world do you (we) do it? Having welcomed my third miracle into this world I have realised that many things have changed- about myself as well as the world I welcomed her into.

Just to fill you in, I’m giving up my Saturday afternoon nap to type this, I don’t think you can fully appreciate how much of a sacrifice that is.  Unless of course, you’re a mother of more than one. Don’t get me wrong, having one isn’t easy, but it is manageable. You can split duties between two people, giving you some free time.

Having two babies is well,  a little more challenging, you still split duties but your plate is filled to the brim, and free time, is a scarce commodity, especially if you bravely (or foolishly- remember …fine line 😉 ) decided you want a small gap between your children  (guilty as charged) .

Now having three…wow…well…this is a whole different ball game.  I have to contend with a school going child, which, along with mothering a little girl, is all very new to me.  There are school runs, pick up and drop offs, homework, additional activities and so much more.  I have a few angels who have come to my rescue with school drop offs and pickups.  And I honestly have no idea what I would have done without them (Julia and Cleo).

I still do the drive to preschool at 8am looking like a bus ran over me, throwing on whatever I can find. No seriously… anything that matches and fits makes the cut- in fact I’m quite flexible regarding the matching thing. I’m in that “post maternity clothing being too big, but early pregnancy clothing being too small” phase.

I am also a feeding machine, anytime… all the time, which I’m trying very hard to appreciate as my mother constantly reminds me how fast they get through this stage.  I suppose the irony is that that when you’re in the ‘stage’, there isn’t much else you can actually think about other than sleep… not forgetting the fact that there needs to somehow be food to eat and groceries that need to be refilled in that ever-empty pantry.

if i cry

So I ask you mothers… that have somehow survived this third baby syndrome and possibly, successfully gone on to have a fourth – how in the world are you doing it?  How? No seriously, I need to know!

I have come to appreciate my own mother a little more.  Having grown up 5 daughters, I’ve asked her how she did it- her reply was quite simple, she loved having children, but she was never alone in her endeavour of mothering 5 children.  She always had extended family, mother, aunts, and uncles, cousins that were all engaged and involved in raising us, especially in the early years.  I have the fondest memories of post office runs with my grandmothers brother (Papa -who is now late), going to school with my mum’s cousin (Saabera) while she was a teacher. I spent a large amount of time with my grandmother, her sister and her sister in law (Apa/Hajee bhen) and if one thing stands out for me, I remember being loved.  I was loved by these diverse men and women.

That’s how she did it, with a lot of effort on her part and through the support and love of the people that surrounded her.  We had no need for flat screen TV’s, or playstations.  I realise now how important it is for my children to receive all the love they can, from everyone who is willing to show them love.

I am a mother, mothering in a unique environment, with unique challenges and as a nuclear family- which is now the norm.  Mother, father, children.

We are fortunate enough to have the children’s grandparents and additional family, living nearby, which is a huge bonus, so obviously I have it a little easier than others; I have to acknowledge that, even in my sleep deprived state.

It has become more complicated though, the children want fancy toys, multiple entertainment options and it seems that we may have contributed to the ‘I want’ syndrome through ‘our wants.’

The plus side is- there is a plus side (ha bet you didn’t see that coming 😉 ). The plus side is that as we near the end of the first term in school, I managed to finally make it to school with some make up on- albeit basic eyeliner and my new favourite ‘chubby stick’ lip colour. Ok ok, I admit it that is all I had access to since I took it to hospital with me eight weeks ago, hoping to look slightly more decent in the post birth photographs.  Just so you know- that idea was an epic fail, and I resolved myself to the the super swollen, triple chin, drug induced smile, make-up-less look. The other plus is that the third time around, I seem to feel like I kind of know what I’m doing. I am not as frazzled by the crying, I’m not anxious around her, she seems to be calmer, which may be due to the fact that I am calmer.

I guess what I’m saying is that it has somehow, it has become easier and at the same time more difficult – Know what I mean?

Until I find time to blog again…


* A super special thank you to Julia and Cleo who have been lifesavers over the last 8 weeks, there no words to express how grateful I am to have you in my life. Your kindness will never be forgotten.  I am forever in your debt and will have to find some way of repaying you.

**And of course to the helpful husband who rocked and walked with the little one allowing me time to actually type this all out…  we will now have to swap- so he can proof read 😉 making this third baby thing work, somehow… someway

kept them alive

In case you were wondering…


Guess who’s back…back again…Bibi’s back…tell a friend…guess who’s back guess who’s back guess who’s back….. (yes that’s in reference to an Eminem song- 😉 old school)

Soo…. I’m sure some of you may have wondered where I’d disappeared to- and I apologise for not updating the blog often enough recently.  Life took hold off me in ways I had not anticipated and unfortunately the blog had to take a back seat for a while.

In between juggling a teaching career and being a mother, I conceived – surprisingly quickly actually! It seemed my reproductive system was on my side for once (or err…thrice 😉 ) and I was blessed with a healthy albeit tiring pregnancy.  Early on Tuesday morning (8-26am) the 6 January 2015, we welcomed our beautiful (and much anticipated) baby girl!!


She was born healthy and normal much to the delight of my boys, their dad and I (who are still revelling in the glow of this newfound love). She was delivered via C-section and is the biggest of my babies weighing 3.1 kg.

After many months of name ‘deliberation’ (which is a whole other post) we agreed upon a name on the Sunday before her birth- Zayyana (meaning beautiful and radiant).  Both baby and I are doing well with the help and support of friends and family we have around us.

I am looking forward to blogging again, although I know it may take a while to adjust to the new dynamic in our home.  I am happy to be on this adventure once again-I expect it to be quite different with a daughter, and look forward to sharing my experiences with you.

For now, I’m going to try to ‘enjoy’ the newborn nights and days (breastfeed, cry, burp, cry, sleep, cry, diaper-change, cry, wait until mum is in the shower, cry, repeat- comon now- you can do it!!- pep talk to myself)

My favourite part though is the gorgeous smell of a newborn baby- ah yes… I (reluctantly) admit it…I am in love.

Wish me luck

Will blog soon.

Lotsa love


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Lost and Found

lost kid espresso

Wow… this year really seems to be flying by! As we near October I realise how much I have missed blogging. The past few months have been unusually busy and I am happy to be able to catch my breath for a while- (and as I type this, out of the corner of my eye I notice three piles of books that still need to see my red pen in the next week). In between teaching and mothering I could only hope for some time to catch up with my readers…

I had an experience a few weeks ago that I wanted to share with you, another one of those ‘universal-mummy-moments’. I decided to take my boys to a ‘Children’s Fun Day’ at a local pre-school in Hoedspruit. There were stalls specifically for the little ones which was a change from the usual adult aimed markets that we normally attend. After completing the Actionball obstacle course and some helium-filled balloon shopping, we eyed the jumping castle but decided against it as it was already occupied by the older (slightly rowdy) children. We opted instead for some face painting.

As I placed them in the waiting line I caught sight of an old friend of mine who had recently had her second son. I showed my boys where I would be in case they needed me. I looked back every so often ensuring they were still were I’d left them. After some time my 6 year old came to me requesting a change in his balloon animal of choice, and since the stall was a few metres away I watched him go over and exchange his dinosaur for a chicken and run back to the face painting station. I must have looked away for approximately 30 seconds but when I looked back … both boys were GONE!

I stood up to get a better look and still could not see them. I excused myself from the conversation I was having and briskly walked to the face painting area… they were nowhere in sight.

kids for donuts

Now, every single mother in the world can relate to what followed.

Panic began to set in and I began racing around the area trying to locate them while attempting not to start hysterically shouting out their names. I ran to the exit and checked with the people there ensuring they had not left the school property. They assured me that children would not be allowed out without an adult. I cannot begin to tell you the millions of thoughts that raced through my head.
I ran passed a friend of mine who is about 8 months pregnant and upon seeing my panic-stricken face, offered to help me search by covering another part of the area. I immediately checked the food stalls as I thought they may have been enticed by all the varieties of sweets on offer (they are children after all). In between all of this I remember thinking to myself “Oh gosh! How am I going to explain losing BOTH my children… I mean people have lost one child in gatherings! But I must be the first to lose TWO in one go! What the heck am I going to do?? It is now confirmed- I am a bad mother!!”

I stood at a central point in constant 360 degree turns scanning the crowd for little dinosaur hats they had been wearing. I rationalised with myself saying that Isa (6 years old) was a responsible child, who would not simply wander off into danger and told myself repeatedly (and unsuccessfully) to calm down!

Out of the corner of my eye, I found my friend waving over to me pointing down at 2 blue dinosaur hats and almost burst into tears, overcome by relief! It seems my older son had raced over to the face painting station to fetch his little brother to watch the snake demonstration. The SNAKE demonstration!! Of course!! How obvious it seemed now…typical boys!! The minutes I spent racing around in search of them seemed to be the longest of my life and it took me some time to recover from the shakes.

I’m wondering whether this is possibly genetic… my dad did lose me on a trip to the bank when I was 3 years old… according to him though- I lost him! I now understand my mother’s horror when returned without me to organise a search party. This was a different time though, and a kind gentleman picked me up and took me to the local (Ladysmith-KZN) Police Station where I proudly stated my name … incorrectly…Maryam Bibi Moola (it was Osman, but as a joke, my uncle fondly teased me saying I was a Moola and so of course that was the name I repeated). Fortunately the police woman, who undertook the task of finding my parents, was met by my family on their way to the police station, and I was reunited with my parents.

It took me a day or so before I related my ‘losing the children’ incident to my husband who casually laughed and said that he knew I was a panic mechanic… I did have the last laugh though when a week later he experienced a similar level of anxiety when he ‘lost’ my 4 year old while collecting a KFC order. Needless to say, he was found, but I think my husband views my ‘panic mechanic mentality’ with a little more sympathy.



Something meaty!

butcher sheep

On a recent visit to Durban we visited a popular butchery and deli to stock up on some of their delicious products for our stay.  As we shopped around I found my 4 year old staring intently at the sheep carcasses in the above picture.  After some time he pointed to them and asked in a rather loud voice,” Mummy, what kind of chicken is this?”  I laughed and said,” Hamz its not chicken darling, it is actually a sheep.”

I continued shopping and after a few moments heard him shout after me,” Ohhhhh….it’s sheep-chicken!”

The other shoppers, my family and I had to grin at his understanding of what he was looking at.  You see the skin on his face and body…that’s chicken… the chops he eats at our weekend braai’s …that’s chicken too.

There’s still so much for him to learn, and boy are we going to have fun watching him as he does! 😀


Growing up with girls…and now bringing up boys.

sister older


I have spent the greater part of my life living amongst women, growing up with 4 other sisters, going to boarding school and sharing rooms/dorms with females only.  Even though we were out of our parents’ home at a fairly early age, my four sisters and I always got together over the school and university holidays, and these were most definitely some of my happiest days.  Staying up until all parts of the morning and catching up on all the exciting things happening in each other’s lives.  Of course having 5 daughters and wife in one house could not have been easy for my father, yet somehow he survived- triumphantly so- as we truly are ‘Daddy’s girls’.  Spending this amount of time with my sisters has taught me many things:

  1.  You are almost always going to find underwear hanging in the bathroom.
  2. When you have this many sisters, 2 of which are about the same size as you, you have an extensive wardrobe to choose from.
  3. When you have this many sisters, 2 of which are about the same size as you, you are probably going to find some of your favourite items of clothing ‘missing’
  4. With regard to clothing, some rules did apply, a new piece had to be worn by the purchaser first, before any of the other sisters could loan it for an allocated time.
  5. Matchy- Matchy clothing were a big NO NO!  Whoever see’s it first, gets to take it!
  6. You were allowed to make fun of your other sisters’ strange habits or features… BUT… if anyone else pointed them out or made fun of the same thing, you automatically turn into attack dog ready to tear that person to shreds.
  7. “Don’t worry, I’ll keep this for you” meant that you were unlikely to see the item ever again.
  8.  ‘The Hiroshima bomb’- this was when ‘that time of the month’ was being experienced by two sister’s simultaneously.  It often involved tears, marching off to respective rooms only to be followed by mum or dad… and a few minutes later… it was as if nothing had happened.
  9. Food… was a sensitive area in our house, and a few phrases were coined related to food: ‘Steak Cheeks’ (when all of my mum’s steak filling was eaten by one particular person), and being a family that enjoyed food, we also developed the ’The-who-ate-my-breakfast- look’ which is given with a glare and pout that very few can actually pull off- and most recently ‘Fish-market-face’… think about it 😉
  10. We were very fortunate; we got to go on holidays with our best friends every holiday!  And we get to be best friends for the rest of our lives 🙂

 sister fb sister dsnt count

 Knowing this you can now understand how being the only female in my home leaves me feeling … a little unsettled you could say.

boys raising boys

 The past few years living with a husband and 2 bubbly boys has taught me a thing here and there:

  1.  Be aware of the area you are about to take a seat in, there is almost always going to be some form of sharp object (sword/gun/stick/pencil) angled perfectly to cause the maximum amount of pain or discomfort to the person taking a seat.
  2. Try not to look into the cracks between the seats of your couches, make sure it gets cleaned out on  daily basis, BUT do not attempt to figure out what food or foods have been stashed there or the length of time it has been there.
  3.  A hand vacuum is a home appliance that you simply cannot live without.  Close your eyes, aim, and suck!
  4. Your pantry is a sacred place that will need to be restocked more often than you can imagine.  If not, you may hear comments like,” Muummmm, there’s no snacks!  What must we eat?” as if you had not fed them for an entire week. Take note that ‘’Muuuuummmm” is often used interchangeably with “ Biiibiiiiii”
  5. If there is something you need to use for an alternative purpose, for example, a certain chocolate for baking, this item DOES NOT ENTER THE PANTRY! You will have to find a hiding place for this item as once it enters the pantry it becomes common property and can be consumed by any in-house resident.
  6. Handy Andy will remove almost anything from walls, couches, mirrors, cupboard doors etc. (note I said ‘almost’ anything).
  7. No one will ever claim responsibility for bathroom incidents.  Your best bet is to threaten, which sometimes works to bring the guilty party to admission.
  8. Your kitchen cutlery and crockery will inevitably be used in imaginative play (pirate games) regardless of how many toys your children have in the toy room.
  9. Your make up and perfumes should never be in view of or accessible to the children, trust me, I have taken a nap a woken to find a fully ‘painted’ face!
  10. Pay attention when brushing your hair… you will be amazed by the things you find falling out!

boys 2 


Growing up with girls has obviously shaped who I am as a person, and I am truly grateful for the men in my life (especially my mini men).  You would think that having four other sisters would provide me with enough  girly-ness in my life… but it seems that isn’t the case… I am starting to feel the lack of ‘pink’ around here…



sister middle

The SAHM goes to work @ Southern Cross Schools

Well it has been a while since I’ve posted anything and I must say that I am extremely excited to be back! I have been exploding with thoughts and ideas that I have been wanting to post, so much so that I have even had sleepless nights- and this time I can’t blame the kids! It’s just that like a lot of people, my brain comes alive at the oddest times, and the only solution to this is to get all of it out of my head and onto my pc 🙂

The reason that I have not been posting recently is because I was fortunate enough to receive a substitute teaching post at possibly one of the most amazing schools in South Africa; Southern Cross Schools. My husband was quite firm about me getting the job, while I danced around indecisively. Somehow he could see further than me and past my insecurities, technically he ‘made’ me do it. What an Ogre- right?!

I have been teaching there for the last 4 months filling for a wonderful woman who was blessed with her first baby. I taught grade 5, 6 and 7 English and I actually coached the under 11 Netball Team (yeah I know…who would have thought? Definitely not me! And so you could say I was on a ‘journey’ as I discovered many new things about myself and had the opportunity to grow. I must add that I have a newfound respect for all mothers that work, single or not. I have learnt just how difficult it is to ‘have it all’, not impossible no, but there definitely are challenges I had never really considered. After 4 months of teaching full time, I can’t say that I’m sad to return to my ‘stay at home’ status, but having said that, I know that teaching is something I hope to be doing for a very long time.

scs post me

I’d like to tell you a little about this school though… this is no ordinary school. Southern Cross Schools is currently the ONLY nature based school in South Africa. It is situated on a Wildlife Estate in our town of Hoedspruit. It combines traditional education with environmental education, ensuring that the children develop respect and love for the Earth that they inhabit. The area that we live in is very rich in flora and fauna and this makes it the perfect environment for my children to be educated and develop an environmental conscience. Classes are small and more personal with the number of children varying from 14 to 24 per class, and just one class per grade. There are various types of animals which happily roam the school property; giraffe, warthogs, impala, nyala and many more. The children have an additional subject integrated into the curriculum called ‘Bush Lore’. It is during these lessons that they go out into the bush environment to learn more about insects, plants, pollution, erosion and anything related to nature.
The Enviro Club also go on regular outings and recently were afforded the opportunity to watch a rhino being darted, while the local ‘vet’ cared for an injury it incurred. This was quite a thrilling expedition and had the kids bubbling with excitement. Every Wednesday the children engage in some type of cultural activity. There are many options available (Chess, Photography, Bush Rangers, Drumming etc.) I was in charge of the Junior Drumming Squad and let me just say- it definitely is not as easy as the children make it look! It was a wonderful learning experience. To say that the school is unique is possibly the least effective way of describing it. If you’d like more information please visit you can also view the SCS drummers in action on YouTube.

aerial view scs

scs nyala

On my very first day at SCS, we were asked to be ‘vigilant’ as a leopard had been spotted on the premises the previous day! (Yes! Quite the welcome!) Fortunately, I did not pick up my bag and make a run for it and I have to say that this was an absolutely amazing experience. I noticed that it was common to find strange animals including snakes in the staffroom. This was simply a part of their/our lives. I realised that the sooner I overcame my fears, the better I’d deal with the ‘incidents’ like children handling snakes outside the classroom. They tried to convince me it was harmless, but I took my pictures and kept my distance. The staff at SCS are more like a family than colleagues. I was welcomed and shown the ropes by so many people who have become wonderful friends. I am truly privileged to be able to have these men and women teaching my children.

scs staffroom

Scs snake

scs roll rhino

scs rhino

Before I began teaching, I wondered how the staff might react to my headscarf/hijab. I think I am more aware of it than anyone else, but once they were comfortable with me, I happily explained and answered questions regarding it. It seems that the most common misconception regarding the headscarf is that my husband has requested me to wear it (forcibly or not). I was happy to tell them that this was actually my choice, and explain the reasons why.

My darling husband (known as DH hence forth) did not take this kindly though. He was rather offended that people saw him as this ogre who ‘made’ me do things against my will. He also said that this was probably what people who didn’t know us thought of him, as he innocently walks along side me in Pick n Pay. Now, if you know, or have happened to meet my husband, you would know why I had a good chuckle about this.

This ‘ogre’ is the very same man who asks ME to watch the snake in the house and make sure it does not go anywhere, while HE gets help! This is the very same man, who see’s to dinner when I simply cannot manage and I’m being a grouch; who watches the same cartoons repeatedly because his boys want him to; who reads “What to do Blue?” (with intonation and expression I might add) at bedtime; who supported me through this entire juggling act, making sure the ball was never dropped at home or at school (even when I forgot to arrange for my boys to be fetched from school). I am very fortunate to have someone that does not hold me back, and gently nudges me on throughout my self-doubt, even though I know there are times when I think he’d like to nudge me down the stairs.

Ogre… not so much 😉