How to Install a Water Feature in your Kitchen

You might think that your kitchen is fine as it is, but you couldn’t be more wrong. There’s something whimsical about having an unexpected fountain in the heart of your home. It’s a conversation starter. It represents your state of mind. It’s a great story to tell the kids one day.

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The most important thing to remember before we get going, and I really can’t stress this enough, is to rely on the Rhythm Method of contraception. As my GP put it: “The worst thing that can happen is that you fall pregnant”.

“Hahaha!” I reply, feeling groovy on my new meds.

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Ha. Ha. Ha.

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Along with the element of surprise, here’s what else you’ll need:

  • A really small house or apartment
  • A nimble toddler/spider monkey
  • A sink full of all the dishes. Because even though one of you only drinks from a sippy cup, it’s somehow necessary to ensure that every other container has been used in the last 24 hours. Bonus points if the dirt has hardened to a crust.
  • A rainy day
  • At least two pets lying uneasily in the corner as the aforementioned toddler/spider monkey brandishes an ice tray their way.

And combine…

In my case, our renovations begin when I foolishly let my mind wonder, and my child wander. With the news of our unexpected second pregnancy still fresh enough to freeze, I’m a mess as I stack dishes into the sink.

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My thoughts are all over the place. Probably because I haven’t had a good night’s sleep in a week. Gotta love that pregnant feeling. Still, I subconsciously make sure that the big plates go at the bottom, side plates above them and bowls on the top. Muscle memory or a desperate attempt to order my chaotic life? Hmmmm. I turn on the hot tap.

“How are we going to afford this? I wonder if it’s a boy or a girl. I like the name Otto, and I also like Oona. But Lizet said Oona sounds like Poonani, so that’s out. Dammit Lizet. I really liked that one. What happens if it’s a girl and she hates me? The broccoli in the fridge is going limp, I’m gonna have to cook it tonight. I guess we can have it with fish. Oh yay. Again. Maybe I’ll make cauli-mash. Finn likes that. I can tell by the way he rubs it into my hair. I wonder what he’s doing now. Haven’t heard him in a while…”

“Oh crap oh crap oh crap. I left the bathroom door open.”

I dash out of the kitchen, mismatched dishwashing gloves slapping wetly on the floor behind me, and start checking for my boy. It’s easier to understand my urgency if you know that my fearless and adventurous son is part mountain goat. This ibex child has been known to scale great heights without any assistance from other humans – usually using rickety surfaces as his base.

If it’s sharp, breakable or incendiary, he’ll make a plan to reach it.

I see him.

N’awwww. He’s sitting in the empty bathtub, surrounded by books. My eyes go all soft and crinkly as I contemplate this dear little thing. And then I see his dad’s razor resting on his knee.

It’s also around this time that I notice a trickling sound. As I move to quickly remove the razor, while still trying to seem nonchalant (so as to not Cause Alarm and thus Reinforce The Undesired Behaviour) I think, “Gee, I must have left a window open, the rain sounds loud.” At the speed of mom I whisk the razor out of sight, and tousle my kiddo’s hair. He looks up briefly, shrugs away from my affectionate touch and commences scrutinising the book of farm animals, which he’s holding upside down.

Bless.

I walk back to the kitchen, thinking that maybe he’ll be an OK big brother. Maybe – with a few more shelves placed high up on the walls – we can make this work. Feeling a bit more optimistic, I look down for my dishwashing gloves and notice the slowly spreading puddle on the floor. Already I know what’s happened, but my eyes resist my brain’s smug insistence, and before I believe it I check every window latch. All firmly fastened. And the water noise gets louder.

As I splash over to the tap, a part of me laughs at the sight of dishwater slopping down the cupboard. Only a very small part. Most of me wants to cry and call my mom. Which I do.

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Ma tells me all too happily about how she had my eldest brother when she was only 21, while my dad was away in Zimbabwe, in the army. She takes a certain grim pride in mentioning how they’d just moved to Durban, that she didn’t know anyone, and had to learn how to care for a new-born baby completely on her own. Also cloth nappies.

Thanks for that one Ma. As I gaze around our cosy abode, I give myself a sisterly slap – which is TOTALLY a thing you can do if you only have brothers – and grab the mop. Finn comes toddling in, not believing his luck at the watery floor, and starts pulling cushions off the couch.

But it’s not as bad as it sounds.

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10 Things

I have actual guilt feelings about not writing anything sooner.

My hub’s been away since the end of October, and I was expecting to write the crap out of my feelings, but mostly I’ve been hiding on the couch after work, watching Downton Abbey*.

The truth is that I’ve been processing the pregnancy thing, and the logistics of childbirth. That last post took it out of me.

Recently though, I’ve managed to come to terms with the inevitable, thanks to the awesome words of moms all around me. It’s been overwhelming to share my fears, and be met with such support and wisdom.

As a result, at 34 weeks, I’ve progressed from worrying about labour pains to binge researching ways of avoiding cracked nipples.

Also, I’ve managed to compile a list of things that I can’t wait to enjoy again:

1: Beer – Those non-alcoholic impostors can go sit in syrup. I want a tall fresh frosty draught. Maybe two.

2: Mouldy cheese – It’s hard to avoid Gorgonzola or Roquerfort when dining out in Cape Town. Seriously, we live in Foodie Central and there are so many fancy freaking burgers I have not been able to devour.

3: Sushi – Cooked prawn and veg substitutes can only tide one over for so long.

4: Denims – It’s been months since I wore a pair of jeans. The mere thought of anything with a waistband makes me twitch like a junkie, and I WILL NOT go the route of the maternity jean pant.

5: Sleeping through the night – Rumour has it that in about three years I’ll enjoy this particular boon once more – I guess until then I’ll have to settle for not having to stumble to the loo every time I finally get comfortable.

6: Finally getting comfortable.

7: An aerial view of my southern hemisphere – I know it exists, but I can’t interact with it.

8: Wearing my high tops – Picture a praying mantis trying to ride a tricycle and you have a pretty good idea of what I look like putting on lace-ups.

9: Gravity – While I know that this is what makes life on our planet liveable, it’s really pissing me off at the mo’. Right now, anything that falls on the floor is dead to me. I guess the upside is that I’ve become pretty damn adept at catching things with my feet – a skill I would have killed for when I was at college and all about those hacky sack boys.

10: My brain – Just last night I left my car unlocked, on a dodgy street in Plumstead, for two hours, WITH THE KEYS IN THE IGNITION.

I think that all in all, the third trimester has given me a newfound respect for the humble robot mech. When you see them on the big screen, you’re all about the mech operator – uhh yeaaah boooi. But I know – and so do all the preggies and moms out there – that when you have a melon-sized critter cavorting in your torso, you call very few of the shots.

My gut-commander isn’t that bad though. Its demands are reasonable. Right now for example, it needs a grilled cheese sandwich.

I’m powerless… to… resist…

*that storyline kills off characters like it’s related to George R R Martin.

Labour of Love

This is a serious one.

For the first time in my pregnancy I’m scared. Scratch that – I’m petrified. Up until now my emotions have been even-keeled, and I’ve managed to maintain my sense of humour, but something’s switched around and I’m all over the place. I think I’ve just been on a preggy hormone high, but what goes up must come down – right?

We’ve been going to antenatal classes, and the first one was awesome. We learnt so much cool stuff, like what my pelvis is capable of, and how lying on your back makes it pretty difficult to give birth. The process is by no means graceful; it’s primal. And I’m OK with that. My hubby’s eyes were like saucers at the end and I thought that was hilarious.

This week though, we went to our second class, and it was my turn to be all wide-eyed. The midwife discussed the various stages of labour, using very tasteful visual aids to show what happens to your body as you progress. And cartoons that show what your facial expression looks like: from smiley, to serious, to grim, to dying a thousand deaths at once, to peaceful. No gory stuff, which I was grateful for.

Only thing is, she threw around words like “thrashing contractions”.

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Let me give you some time to process that.

Thrashing. Contractions.

Thrashing.

It was at that point that something in my mind switched. All the images I had of a peaceful labour just vanished, and I began to seriously doubt my ability to give birth naturally, without the assistance of drugs.

I react badly to pain and helplessness. For example, I remember needing to be held down to get an injection when I was about 10-years old. And then, on my 22nd birthday, I apparently attacked some helpful paramedics who were trying to get me out of my car after I’d had an accident.

Somehow I hadn’t considered this aspect of my personality in relation to childbirth. Then when she said “thrashing”, it all came crashing in.

So now, I have 9 weeks to get my head together and stop freaking out. In my mind I know that the baby has to come out, and that logistically this can be tricky, but I also know that us women have been doing this for years.

Unfortunately, this rationale is all only in my mind. In my heart I’m unsettled. I’m not proud to admit it, but every time I hear something dumb like “Save the beaver; have a Caesar” or “Why go through the basement if you can go through the penthouse?” I recoil inside and question my decision to go natural.

I think what I’m really afraid of is being in the moment, and not being able to cope. If I’m 100% honest with myself, I’m not 100% sure I can do this.

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Pregnancy: The Fine Print

When I fell pregnant I was looking forward to 9 months of glowing bliss. I was all set for a juicy bust line, and at the worst, an adorkably cute bout of preggy brain.

Hah!

This is what I got instead:

All the gas

If you watch Rick and Morty you’ll understand how distracting it is when someone’s every second word is a burp. My husband thinks it’s hilarious. I think it’s ridiculous. The worst thing is getting so comfortable with it at home that I forget to censor myself in polite company, like when I’m at the shops, or talking to our landlady, or in meetings with clients.

Apparently when I wake up I sound like a herd of gremlins having an argument. Honesty’s so important in a marriage.

Shrinking boobs

I know right? Clearly I have no manner of luck when it comes to the genetic lottery. A colleague, whose French ballerina wife is pregnant, says that for the first 6 months her boobs kept growing, then her tummy popped… For me, not so much. There was one heady month when I needed to buy new bras, (oh what a month that was!) then, as if to mock me, the girls receded to pre-preggie size, and dug their heels in.

Unbelievable.

Feeling like a haggis

So it makes sense that growing a baby makes you heavy, but when you experience it that’s another story. At the moment, I feel like I’m full of cement. I try to get off the couch and it’s not graceful. When I ask the hub for a hand he pulls me halfway up, then gently drops me back down, sniggering. He says I’m like a tortoise on my back.

While we’re talking about ungainly, there’s no point in even attempting lace up shoes after 6 months. Imagine a T-Rex trying to pick a blade of grass. Look past the poor T-Rex and you’ll see my husband doubled up with laughter. That guy.

Thinking about food all the time

On the up side, I’ve searched my heart and found that I do have a valid reason to motorboat my way through more food than other people. I’m like a magician. You see that croissant? Hehe, not for long. Fortunately I’ve hade more aversions than cravings, and the food I do want is mostly all good. Carrot cake is good – right?

So yep. What with ensmallening boobs, awkward clumsiness, and a general sense of ‘everything’s about to fall out’ I don’t always feel that glow. I do get a shine though, when my oh-so-tactful man bends down and talks to the belly. Nothing beats that feeling.

 

Nothing.