Friday, 31 August 2012

An impromptu mid-week day visit - Joostenbergvlakte

One week day recently Mo, Aisha (2) and I headed out to Joostenbergvlakte after dropping the older 3 kids at school.

Mo had heard that the bird breeder, from whom we had purchased our quaker parrot, Titan , had opened a bird breeding supplies store at his home in the beautiful suburb of Joostenbergvlakte. His home, like many others in the area, is located on a smallholding - which makes it an absolute fantasy home for me. Oh, how I'd love to raise my kids surrounded by such wide open spaces, perhaps with a few horses, cows, sheep and chickens *dreamy sigh*

Anyway, upon arriving in the area, we did our usual drive up and down the quiet roads, dreamily pointing out our fantasy homes - which, incidentally, are not mansions, but ordinary houses on extraordinarily large properties, upon which animals grazed lazily; hardly paying us any heed at all.


We found the breeder's home and then made our way past the main house, following the arrows and signs showing toward the bird store. On our way we encountered more chickens than I have ever seen in one place - big beautiful birds that strutted about with their chests pushed out, as if they owned the place. I couldn't help but expect to be attacked by one of these birds, as I was reminded of a huge coc.k, which my uncle had owned while we were growing up. This aggressive bird would charge anyone who dared to near the gate of my uncle's home. I, too, had on numerous occasions been charged by this terrifying unfriendly bird.

But, happily, we were spared such drama as these birds were too busy eating and enjoying the delicious sunlight to take much notice of us. We made our way into the pet store, where we were greeted by the loveliest shop assistant. This woman was clearly passionate about birds and knew so much about the  respective personalities and quirks of her charges.

Newly hatched conures and African Greys


Mo persuaded me to pick up a little newborn conure , hoping that I would fall in love with the bird and agree to him purchasing it. I was nervous at first (suffering Titan's painful bites has definitely left me wary), but the young lady immediately put me at ease - in fact, she handled them with such ease and skill that all I had to do was follow her cue - and my bonding with the little one began.


We were introduced to the newborn African Greys (Oh, I'd so love to own one!). They are such sweet adorable birds.

Then there was the beautiful majestic macaw. The lady explained that this bird, in fact, belongs to her - she brings him to work with her each day. It was so amusing to see how this large bird cuddled with his owner. She actually held him in her arms like a baby. It was the cutest sight.

When Aisha started to cry to take a bird home, we knew that it was time to leave. She became very excited to see all the quaker parrots, who looked exactly like Titan (very likely his parents or siblings).

Our pet, Titan

''See all the Titans!!" Aisha yelled excitedly

On our way to the car, we said goodbye to these beauties

In the car, as we were leaving,  Mo jokingly (or maybe not), told Aisha that she had not put enough effort into her crying/ tantrum (to be allowed to take a bird home). He had been hoping that her crying would result in us purchasing one of the birds. While I really don't mind bringing home another bird, I feel that we should firstly try to improve the living conditions of all our pets. I would like a proper aviary or just an open space indoors, in which the animals can wander about freely.

Our next stop was the Cape Garden Centre nursery. Although this place also boasts enormous play facilities for kids (both indoors and outdoors), we tactfully steered Aisha clear of these attractions, from which we would, no doubt, have been unable to tear her had she been allowed near them.

Although I just came for the purpose of obtaining new spinach and coriander seedlings, I also spent time roaming about and mentally drafting my gardening wishlist.








In true Capetonian style (and much to the mocking amusement of many Jo'burgers), the first thing I did upon leaving the place was to establish my whereabouts in relation to our city's most famous and impressive landmark- Table Mountain.

Aah, what a beauty!

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Scared shitless

Aisha turns 3 in a few months time. She refuses to wean from her beloved boobies. She still will not fall or stay asleep unless I'm lying next to her. She cannot play by herself - she needs me to keep her entertained constantly.

But she has been the easiest child to potty train.

A year ago already, she was willingly peeing on the toilet, and accidentally even poo'ed therein a few times - to much applause and enthusiasm from the rest of us.

But then the end-of-year holidays arrived and we started going out all the time. Since I used to put a nappy on for her every time we went out, she ended up wearing the nappy for most of the time and 'potty training' effectively came to a halt. (Actually, I cant even call it 'potty training' because, I wasn't training her - she was enjoying the novelty of peeing in the toilet and everyone's gushing as a result of her doing so).

But a few weeks ago we ran out of nappies and I was forced to put her on the toilet. As was the case before, she adapted effortlessly. She went without nappies for days (I'd only put one on her at bedtime).

And then I realised that she had not poo'ed for days. This was very unusual - I could normally set a clock according to her bowel movements - she was that regular.

On the fourth day she came to me looking rather distressed. Gripping the seat of her pants. Realising that the moment of truth had arrived, I calmly asked her if she wanted to poo. Which, as it turns out, was the wrong thing to say, because she started to scream hysterically. Then she proceeded to run - round and round - in a concentric formation. Starting at the larger outer circles and then working her way inward toward the centre point, where, upon arrival, she proceeded to bounce up and down like a tightly wound toy, whose spring has just been released.

This went on for a while. And then, when she could no longer bear it, she asked for a nappy. Even after diapering her up, she looked alarmed, crying and bouncing around incessantly. For some reason she had now developed a fear of pooing - whether on the toilet or in her nappy.

My poor baby was, very literally, scared shitless.

For days now we've suffered with this problem. We have increased her fibre intake and also her intake of yoghurt, which had previously been a crap-trigger. But to no avail.  She is capable of keeping it in for days and then, when she eventually can hold it no longer, she passes it with such pain, alarm and hysteria. Watching her terrified face as she struggles to keep it in/ push it out is heartbreaking for me. I cannot believe that I had ever taken my kids' ability to perform this basic bodily function for granted, as watching her struggle to do so leaves me feeling helpless and distressed.

My nephew suffered the same potty training dilemma a few years back. I don't quite remember how long it took for him to be able to poo in the toilet, but at least it gives me hope that Aisha will not, by the age of 5 / 6, still be asking hysterically for a nappy in which to poo.

In the meantime though, I shall continue to give her huge amounts of fibre and water, in the hopes that her urge to do the deed will become so overwhelming that she will eventually just say ''what the heck'' and then hop onto the toilet and do her thing. That's the plan, anyway.

Monday, 27 August 2012

What a cool gift!

This afternoon, on our way to pick up the kids, Mo stopped off at a Orms Direct photographic store, supposedly to inquire about my little point-and-shoot (Kodak M23 easyshare), since I have recently been experiencing problems with the quality of my pictures.
Tharaa (10), Aisha (2) and I waited in the car, while playing with our new pet bunny, whom we had brought along for the drive.
After what seemed like hours, Mo emerged from the store carrying a huge box containing (what emerged after a dramatic guessing game) my very belated anniversary gift - a Canon PowerShot SX40IS

Website from which this image was obtained
I was dumbfounded - but thrilled. I wanted to test it out immediately and was disappointed that we did not have the time to take a detour to find a spot to capture some scenic pictures.
Then, looking around me, I realised how foolish I was being. Despite being in the city centre, I was surrounded by absolutely beautiful sights for which Cape Town is famous. Unfortunately, since we were in a hurry, I'd had to capture most of these while leaning from a moving car with a wriggly bunny on my lap.
And then, while zipping through the suburb of
Walmer Estate                                                                                                                        
Upon arriving back home, I snapped a few pics of Bugs and Aisha savouring the last few minutes of long-awaited sunlight in the garden.                                                                                                      
Thanks Mo. This is definitely one of the coolest gifts I've ever received.