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…

~BiBi~

 

sister middle

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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 http://www.southerncrossschool.co.za 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 😉

~BiBi~