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.
The Creamery. What a lovely place. My afternoon of time-outs and tears was rescued by an invitation to eat ice cream with some friends. I have only enjoyed salted caramel in a wafer cone once before, but it is now a firm favourite.
Some reasons why this place is so fabulous:
-They have nice staff who are nice to kids. This is a good start.
-You can taste as much as you like and they don’t get annoyed.
-They give the kids their scoop in an extra big cone which means minimal mess.
-They gave Kira-pie a free mini ice-cream in a cone – what a win!
-No one moaned when we left a table covered in spilt sugar or when Ilan decided to lick the table ‘like a doggy’.
-Jugs of lemon water freely available to rinse your sweet teeth and occupy the kids’ attention for that extra two minutes.
Thank you for saving my afternoon, The Creamery. And thank you Cape Town for another summer day in not-quite-the-middle-of-winter.