Weekends no longer mean sleeping in and I don’t see this ever happening again. But this is ok, because weekends now mean kid cuddles in mommy and daddy’s bed. This is probably one of the best things in the world, believe me. Ilan is a real cuddler and when he’s not playing peek-a-boo under the duvet then he’s giving some loved up squeezes. Recently he’s started summoning us for ‘family cuddles’ which I will enjoy while he still thinks it’s cool. Ryan has also taught him to say ‘It’s the weekend, baby’ with Gareth Cliff’s exact intonation which basically makes Ilan the coolest kid on the block. Ilan also likes to unexpectedly pipe up with tuneful phrases like ‘I got it from my mamma’, ‘wake up, little Susie’ and ‘wiggle it just a little bit’ which comes with a little wiggle of the bottom too. He didn’t get the love of late morning snoozes from his mama, unfortunately.
Saturday mornings start earlier than I’d like, but on the plus side there is no rush to get up and ready for anything because ‘anything’ is likely to start at 09h30 at the absolute earliest which means about three hours of pj mooching before the rest of the world starts surfacing.
Our weekend morning tradition is to read some books and then hide under the covers and then tease Kira to make her giggle and then hide again and then pretend that we still can’t find Ilan even after he’s hidden his head under the pillow for the sixth time in a row. No my dear boy, we can’t see you at all when you’re hiding your head. We can’t see a single part of you. We also can’t locate your voice that shouts, ‘I’m hiding under the pillow.’ Bless.
I love my life, I really do but my advice to those of you who plan to become parents one day – start banking those precious Saturday and Sunday sleep-ins as they won’t last forever. For the rest of us, let’s relish in the memories created with spilt milk on our clean bedding and being asked to read the exact same jolly book out loud, week in and week out.
Ilan doesn’t want to nap. He jumps on the bed. He tests my patience in the hugest way. Some days (yesterday), I hear a little noise from his room and pop my head in to investigate. He’s not in his bed. He is behind the curtains with my ball point pen and has left an ink trail in his wake. He’s ‘coloured in’ my desk and some of his books and has given himself a moustache. Artistry of this magnitude must have taken him ages, but he did it all so quietly that I didn’t have a clue.
Deep breath. Take a photo. It’s actually quite funny.
But then, there are other days like this – spontaneous ‘Can I give you a hug quickly, Mommy?’ during supper or a gentle stroke on my arm or a ‘Just one more cuddle, ok?’. Or, if you’re lucky, you are rewarded with five minutes of cuddly sleepy kid on your shoulder on the walk in from the car.
Parenting is a mixed bag of this and that. A mixed bag of blessings.
My babies, one day we will have to explain this to you. It will be so hard, but you will survive it and so will we.
God knows what He’s doing. When he pieced our family together, he made something beautiful from something so broken. You are beautiful! You are perfect. You are loved. We love you from the depths, depths, depths of our hearts. You actually have no idea.
This week I showed Ilan a photo that his faraway (up the West Coast for work) father sent to me. It was this picture of two cows.
Ilan looked at the two ordinary looking cows standing beside an ordinary barbed wire fence and said, ‘It’s a wedding!’ without prompting of any kind. I thought this was strange and laughed, ‘It’s not a wedding, it’s cows’. Next photo.
Then I thought about it some more. Ilan’s been to quite a few weddings in his lifetime, often at spots a bit of a drive away with farm animals en route. Could this be it? Or could it be a subconscious understanding that cows equal weddings and that he knows that this could mean lobola for him one day? My little Zulu warrior. He’s extremely gifted, you know. I wouldn’t put this kind of insight past him. Obvs.
This odd connection puzzled me and I dropped the story into a few conversations during the day. Moms like to share the funny things their kids say. Even if we’re the only ones who find them funny. It’s one of the best parts of our day to talk about you see. No one wants to hear about an extremely gross nappy or eczema patches, really.
And then I walked in to the room that night where Ilan was kissing his mirrored reflection. This kid knows how to love himself. He actually likes mirrors. He likes checking himself out. I suppose you do have to love yourself first before you think of loving someone else and dating and cows on the way to weddings and cows paying for brides. Kids get it right, don’t they? That’s the take home message, folks.
How many of you can say that you fall asleep at night with the image of a large buttocked hippo swaying her hips to the sound of Sacha Baron Cohen’s Madagascar version of ‘I like to Move It, Move It’? He describes the hippo as ‘nice and sweet and sassy’. But of course.
This is Ilan’s favourite song and he requests a YouTube viewing at least five times a day. He likes to dance in the kitchen and ask if we like to move it move it. Tears in my eyes. So classic. At times I try to ‘move it’ to encourage his enthusiasm, only to be told that ‘You can’t dance like that’. Does this mean that I can’t dance like King Julien or that I can’t dance at all? They say that kids speak truth, so I guess it’s a good thing that my clubbing days are over and that I somehow managed to grab the attention of my husband without sufficient skill in the dancing department.
Back to the song. There is one particular repetitive phrase in the song that is perhaps good motivation for those like me who prefer to exercise only when the weather is perfect – ‘physically fit, physically fit, physically physically physically fit’. If you know the song (like I know that some of you do), then I know that you just rapped that out loud. I rap it a lot which is helping me get into the right head space for desiring fitness. But for now, dancing to kids’ tunes is the only exercise I’m getting. Until the weather is exactly perfect.