Friday, September 16, 2016

Born Free?

There's this myth going around that young people born after 1994 (When we attained 'freedom') are 'born frees' and have nothing to add to discourse surrounding race etc. They apparently don't know what it means to 'struggle.'

I don't know. Given what this estate agent ranted and raved about (Why are so many estate agents so overtly racist?) I'm pretty sure they have lots to add to the racism discussion. My friend is house-hunting in the Northern Suburbs of Cape Town. She signed up and responded to ads as "Gumtree User' and has been told places are available. She then re-signed up with her name and what do you know? Suddenly ten minutes later those same homes are no longer available.

This particular incident below happened after a smash and grab earlier on this year in Johannesburg. The female victim was attended to by officers, one white, one black.

Born free?

I'm sure those young African girls in high schools in Africa have much to add about the fact that teachers ban them from speaking African languages even AFTER school, while Afrikaans and French pupils are left alone to speak their languages.

I'm sure they have lots to say around the fact that white pupils are allowed to leave their hair to grow naturally long and without a single burning chemical touching it, while African girls aren't afforded the same respect.

I'm sure the fact that there are other women besides me who are chased away by white residents, women who are doing absolutely nothing-I was just walking, she was just sitting in her car-says a lot about 'freedom' in South Africa. To have policemen called on us is demeaning. It's wrong.

Apartheid ended but it didn't mean that their mothers and fathers who were denied education, denied white collar jobs suddenly left their virtually non-paying jobs and received 'proper' jobs that were reserved only for white people. They're STILL stuck in apartheid lifestyles. Apartheid townships. Apartheid transportation systems.

They are not born free. Maybe free from legal apartheid. But the hate is still there. Apartheid has not left the minds of our fellow countrymen.

That's why we can't even take a walk around our own darn neighbourhood without police following us around.

Whites make up around only 8% of the population. 8%!

This is Africa.
And weirdly enough, we make up the bulk of the population. Yet we are not free.

How is this just?

How is it fair?

It's not.

It's not right and we need to let the so-called 'born frees' express themselves.

The Jews cried night and day to God for freedom. I cry night and day with my people. Leave us alone. Stop calling us names. Stop telling us what to do with our hair. Stop telling us that the way God created us is inferior. Stop using the policemen to chase us away. We belong. We are Africans. This is Africa.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

How Was Physio?

I've found a physiotherapist I'm comfortable with.

Mickey's not comfortable, but hey, that goes for all the therapists and professionals he's dealt with so it's nothing new. My husband still thinks we should just leave him be. I wish we could. But we can't. He needs the help

He's got low muscle tone, his sound localisation was bad so we are VERY interested in the hearing results (The 21st is so far away!) and ja... She needs to see him every week. A bit taxing for us so we'll take him every second week.

She was very friendly and did a thorough assessment on him, though I'm sure it would have been easier if he was relaxed and not tensing himself and screaming and crying. Poor thing.

We're going to work on his inability to balance himself, I posted on my page on Saturday night that he's still falling over and hurting himself even though he's starting to put his hands out when reaching for toys. We're going to work on getting him to kneel more and we're going to use the ball to bounce him on while seated and on his tummy too. I also need to tilt him a bit so he uses his core muscles more...slowly but surely. His hands and arms are just not working enough for him to even start crawling or moving from lying to sitting and the opposite. She could tell that he's really using his muscles to stabilise himself while seated. I was amazed!

She reckons once he starts crawling, we must give him 3-4 months before we see about walking.

How do I feel?

Sad that I noted low muscle tone and only now is someone else seeing it. Sad that the hearing issue is coming up again. Sad that he definitely does need help. As I said, I keep hoping that he'll be 'ok' now. I want it to be over. I want normal. Normal means less testing, less traveling, less crying and fear. Normal means he can just 'be.' I want normal for his sake, more than mine.

And of course, I had to answer the question about what my pregnancy with him was like.

If you're new here, I was never pregnant with him.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Age = Wisdom?

Not in my book. Especially not spiritual wisdom. I guess we have Mary, Timothy and Ellen as wonderful examples of how the young might just very well be more spiritual.

So this is just a shout out to any younger readers. Let that light shine.

Cain was older but he killed Abel, and man, I've seen enough older people in the church who act more like Cain than Abel. We need that bravery that would be willing to die rather than to do wrong-like Abel. A bravery that will show the elder brother where he's gone wrong, similar to Joseph.

Hmm, as I type, I see that the elder ones have ever been resistant to being shown up by the younger brothers. Instead of changing, they've gone deeper into wrong. Poor Abel, poor Joseph.

I guess then my other message to the younger Christians would be- Expect those longer in the faith (spiritually older) and those older than you, to not be as enthused as you are about growing in grace. Expect persecution. But also expect divine strength that will keep you on that heavenly path.

Shabbat Shalom.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Your Health Problems and Sabbath....and two sweet ladies

I once shared on my Facebook wall how Sabbath is the worst day of the week for me. Worst because of the pain issues. I was reminded about this by a friend who also has chronic health problems when she asked how I navigate Sabbath with our little guy who prefers mom and dad rather than brother and sister especially in strange places or where he can see us.

Let me start again. That paragraph just veered off. So... During the week I can pace myself. I can lie down on the carpet with the children,  or if they small ones are napping and the big ones doing school, I can rest on the bed for a few minutes before getting back up to tidy or read or sing or play with them. But Sabbaths... Sabbaths are torture. I think it's just so much going on in my back that leads to pain..Mild scoliosis, decreased disc height and the facet joint disease. Sitting for a long time is torture. Kneeling isn't pleasant. Standin... Nope!. And at church there's no cot to put them down in for a nap so there's that added weight if they sleep.

So what have we done about it? I don't go for as long as I would. Sometimes I leave husband and the three bigger ones there and come home with little guy, or they keep me company the whole day if IBS-C has also reared its ugly head and my night was awfully painful.  It's horrible though, listening to the appeals for people to come on time for the first service. Or appeals for people to stay over lunch etc. I feel guilty. Which is why I wrote this. To remind those  who are dealing with the guilt, with condemnation from those who have never asked why you're not there or if you are there, why you don't stay, that Jesus said "the Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath."

Sabbath is about more than just fellowship with the brethren. It's about your relationship with God. And if you build your relationship with Him better when you're not in pain, then that's the best way to be. If you have bad IBS-D, why stress yourself by knowing you'll have to run back and forth and miss the sermon if at home at least you can pause the video and find your place when you get back? Focus on your relationship with God and not on what others who obviously don't really care, think about your relationship with God.

As I type this, church has begun. I'm at home. I've just read my toddler a Bible story, shown her pictures, and now she, her big siblings and her dad are watching a nature documentary while I lie down and wait for the little guy to wake from his nal. In the afternoon we'll meet up with our church. Sometimes we go in the morning and don't go back in the afternoon. Be easy on yourself. Being there but being unable to concentrate is worthless. He needs all of you. And if your all is only possible from home, be at home sometimes instead of never. Tradition should never trump God's mercy towards you. His Sabbath is for you to rest. If you rest more at home than at church, then He'll appreciate your restful and Spirit-led worship at home sometimes.

Before some naysayers jump at me. Note, data never said we must all stay home and never, ever worship with other people. Take a break and re-read. You'll find key words like..."Sometimes."

PS. M and B. Thank you for your prayers and thoughts. Much appreciated. They're like cold water on the hot day. I know we shouldn't write "for an audience," but being so vulnerable, knowing that some people will assume that's the sum total of my life and not realise that we have happy moments too...makes it hard to talk about the hard times. I had someone try to share something with me, some encouragement, but the way she phrased it came across as if I wasn't enjoying the happy times. Which made me step back a bit until I asked people what they saw in my writing. (This was on Facebook) So knowing you're there and caring and seeing the good parts even if I don't talk about them... Helps. Some people get told they're whining or ungrateful. It's tough out there when you're open about your struggles... Thank you.

Friday, August 26, 2016


I am not doing great. I feel like I'm sinking, actually.

When I first realised something was wrong, I think I didn't realise what that could mean. As I delved into the therapy world, I thought we'd go through physio then move onto OT and in a month's time, we'd be as right as rain.

That's not happening.

And I'm getting scared now.

The neurologist said we'd see her in November unless the physio had something to say or unless a new behaviour came along or unless the gap (between him and 'normal') grew. I am terrified that we are at the last option. But I'm not sure.

I'm unable to really do those exercises from physio because cognitively, he's not there. At all. And he physically resists. It's like trying to teach a 3 month old to crawl, their intellect is generally not there yet. We're in his twelfth month.

No Mama

No baba

No understanding of any word we're saying.

No head shaking or pointing.

He'd started copying us waving goodbye but that died.

No ability to get from lying to sitting. Nor the ability to do the opposite purposefully.

There's a catalogue of no's. And as I compare him to where he should be, MENTALLY /COGNITIVELY, I feel the anxiety rising. Doesn't help that we're suddenly seeing less sleep from him.

I don't know what's up. Nor how long it will last.

I don't know if I'm strong enough for this.

I need help. Divine help. Especially as my husband will be traveling...

I want to vent but don't want to burden my friend, event though she told me to! I'd just feel so selfish.

I'm in the frame of mind of wanting to stay home, cover my head with a blanket and immerse myself in reading. No worrying about therapy. Milestones. Playing games he's not interested in...

But I can't. My baby deserves stimulation, even when it hurts because he doesn't seem stimulated.

I'll end with this.

When this journey began and my husband saw that something was up, he kept reassuring me, "Don't stress, I took ages to talk too."

But now. Now when he's praying he's asking God to either heal Mickey or give us strength for the challenges he's going to face. I prefer the super relaxed, overly calm husband. This new husband scares me.

Veteran special needs moms say these early days are the most difficult. I believe it.

Middle ear check and then following day will be the big test. Next month. 3 days before his first birthday.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Spying on My Husband

Why does it surprise people? The most recent response when my husband mentioned it recently was that we're "special." I'm hoping they meant it positively :-)

We spy on each other.

Ok, not really. Especially as I'm the one who doesn't travel much anyway. But ever since I can recall, my husband has always made sure that I know where he is. He calls, texts..sometimes emails so I know he's safe or thinking of me, or was impressed by something, that's just the way it is.

Which is why he lets me spy on him. He's downloaded many programmes for me to use in the past, and the current one is Life 360. It tells me when he leaves the office-that's how he set it up-and it tells me when he leaves home. It also has lists where we can write our grocery down. He used to be sad that I didn't watch his car travel around, on some other programme he had, but I told him, "Honey, I do have a life... And things to do and as interesting as it is to keep watching where you're going on my laptop, I don't need it!" So..I can watch him on my phone. Which I don't often do because I'm either too busy or he calls me (using bluetooth, not a hand set!) anyway to tell me how bad traffic is or that he's "just going to get tofu first."

I like it. I like it because it's done without my insisting on it. And that's not because I didn't know it exists, ha ha ha. I like it because he wants me to know where he is. It is very special to have someone who wants you to know every blinking thing about their life, their whereabouts. I feel..respected, I guess. Valued. Special.

It's the little things. Knowing that I'll never have to wonder or ask. It's right there. Which in a way isn't good because the day the car is stuck in one spot for 30 minutes I'll start imagining that he's been in some terrible accident. I'm silly like that.

I spy on my husband. Because he 'makes' me. I'm not a tech geek, he is.

 And the children like it too, by the way.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Dear White Parents of Dark Children,

What will you do when she says her friend at playschool said she can't play with her because her skin is brown?

What will you do when that black guy at high school says out loud, "Light skinned girls are the most attractive?"

What will you do when she wishes she had your long flowing hair and your peach-coloured skin instead of her coils and curls and brown skin?

What will you do when as she brushes your silky, flowing hair she is sitting there wishing it was on her head?

What will you do when you find out she's been secretly bleaching her skin, avoiding the sun in order to fit in more with the world you've created for her?

What will you do when she imbibes the message from mainstream media that black is ugly and white is right?

It's not only about race.

It's about colourism too.

It's about how the light-skinned girls are allegedly fun and beautiful and the dark ones are boring and ugly.

It's about wanting to have light coloured babies instead of dark.

It's about being less than even the other black girls because she's darker.

It's about society and the devastating message being given to our daughters.

It's about our friendship circles not being diverse.

It's about her seeing white and light everywhere.

It's about her hair being the odd one out.

It's about not fitting in.

It's about her skin

But it's more.

It's about her identity and the trifling scales others use to measure her worth.

Black is beautiful.

She needs to hear it from you. She needs to see it in the adults around her who look like her andembrace themselves wholly. She needs to hear it from her father, or her uncles, or her grandfathers.

Black is beautiful.

Say it.

Because if you don't, your silence tells her what mainstreadm society is telling her.

"White is right.

And you're not white

You're not even light.

So you're not right."

And that's when the bleach comes out.

It has to stop.

I hoped it had.

But it hasn't.

Here. In South Africa. Today.

And to you, parents of light-skinned girls I have a question- Oh, well I guess I had more than "a" question! Oops ;-)

What are you teaching your daughter about embracing all skin tones? About standing for anyone who is abused or teased for their tone? About complimenting all skin tones? About telling the 'boy' who chose her based on her skin tone and not her personality about his shallowness?