Dear Caris

Wow. I cannot believe that a year has passed since you came into our lives (well, a year and 9 months or so, if you count the in-tummy time!) We celebrated your first birthday with family on Sunday, and you were the epitome of cuteness while opening your presents, eating cake and nik-naks (only because it was your birthday!) and just generallly being the most adorable one-year-old ever.

The year since you made your entrance, seems to have flown by, and I can hardly believe that my little squishy new-born is already a crawling, clapping, waving, chattering away endlessly toddler! And I have managed to get through a whole year of being a mom-of-two.

You are truly the happiest baby I have ever met, and nothing seems to faze you. You eat just about anything, you sleep like a champ, and you have the most happy and playful disposition I have ever witnessed. You go with the flow, and just fit in with everything we do. Even if that means being stuck in a pram or car chair.  You are happy to sit and play with your toys, or examine objects that you encounter very closely! You love being read to and will happily sit and look at picture books for ages  (before trying to eat them of course!) You love music, and love being sung to, and you do the cutest little bop when any music comes on. You love to lie in your cot and examine the embroidered bees on your cot bumper, and will happily do so for ages after you have woken up from a nap. You really are such a joy to all of us, and we love you to infinity and beyond.

I look forward to watching you grow, as each year passes, and I hope that you will always be my baby, even when you have babies of your own one day. I hope that we will always be friends, and that you will share your hopes and dreams with me. I wish you happiness in your life always, and that you will have the courage and strength to deal with anything that life throws at you. I hope that most of your days will be happy ones, and that heartbreaking moments will be very few. I just know that you will grow up to be beautiful, inside and out, and that you will be loving and wise. I hope that you will always follow your dreams, and that you will become whatever it is that you set out to become, whether that be a brain surgeon or a stay at home mom. Know that I will always be there for you my sweet baby girl. I love you always. Mom x

Happy birthday my little precious one. I love you so, so much!


edited: 6 June 2012 – check out “show me the party” on rattle and mum:


It is said that good things (and bad things for that matter) come in three’s.  And if you excuse the terrible three temper tantrums, whining and emotional volatility associated with being three, it certainly is a wonderful age to be!

Since turning three, I have watched Alex blossom from a baby into a little boy. Big enough to speak properly, go to the toilet by himself and dress himself; but still little enough to want hugs, cuddles and kisses from mommy to make boo-boos feel better. Sometimes I have to stop myself from getting sad, when I think about how, one day, my little boy will become a sulky teenager who thinks I am very un-cool. And I sometimes do a double-take, when I see a little boy in the place of my once tiny baby.

And what a delightful little boy he has become.

Three things about my boy:

Alex loves speed… He approaches everything he does with huge enthusiasm, and runs (instead of walking) everywhere. You will often find him zooming around on his super-fast green Y-bike, feet up in the air as he races down the drive-way. He loves cars and trains of all shapes and sizes, and will happily sit and play with his cars, or his railway by himself for ages, engrossed in his imagination. Most of the time, the cars and trains are racing! Needless to say, one of his favourite movies is Disney’s CARS, and he often recites lines from movie during his imaginary games. A while ago, he was playing outside on his bike with the dogs, and I heard him say to one of my German shepherds: “Pit-stop Fangio! but no-no-no tyres, only fuel!”

Alex loves to read… He loves listening to stories, and loves telling us his own made-up ones (encouraged by his father’s great sense of imagination). He loves his picture books by Julia Donaldson, such as The GruffaloThe Smartest Giant in Town, etc, his current favourites being A Squash and a Squeeze and The Princess and the Wizard.  He loves Dr. Seuss, and can practically recite The Cat in the Hat and The Cat in the Hat Comes Back. He has loved books since he was a tiny baby, and we would spend hours looking at picture books again and again (and again and again and again!) He has a very inquiring mind, and every sentence at the moment starts with Why, What or How. He has a great vocabulary as a result of being read to.  A few months after his second birthday, we went to the aquarium for the first time, and he loved it so much that we bought him a book on Ocean Life, and he was able to name every single creature in the book (of about 70), even the obscure ones such as Coelacanths, Anemones (correctly pronounced) and Mantis Shrimps. (Our friends thought it amazing that this little boy could recite the names of all the creatures in the book, distinguishing between Sperm Whales and Humpback Whales etc, and not just calling them Whales!)

Alex loves playing outside … He loves riding his bike, jumping on the trampoline, climbing the jungle gym and rushing down the slide on his tummy. He loves rolling on the grass, and exploring the (imaginary) jungle in the corner of the garden with his Daddy, where they spot leopards and tigers and toucans and all sorts of imaginary creatures. He loves chasing the dogs, and running through the flower beds and getting covered in mud. He loves picking flowers for me, and collecting all sorts of berries, stones and twigs and others treasures that he finds in the garden. And he loves to swim!

Sometimes I wish I could freeze time, just a little bit, to have three for a just little bit longer.

A thousand splendid suns…

I love to read, and have read thousands of books in my lifetime. But there are two books that come to mind, that have allowed big watery tears to leak all the way down my cheeks and drip onto my collarbones.

The first was “The Agony and the Ecstasy” by Irving Stone. It details the life of Michelangelo, trying to survive in the Cruel 16th Century, trying to make a living from that which is his passion. He lives in poverty, endures abuse and is treated cruelly and unfairly for most of his life. It is a beautifully written book, highly detailed and spans many many pages. Written over fifty years ago, the writing style is very different to modern day novels, somewhat “old-fashioned” I suppose.  Ironically, the first half of the book,  took me over two years to read. Ridiculous, I know, but it is the sort of book that needs concentration, and needs to be read in long stretches, definitely not as a pre-bedtime quick read. So over a two year period, I started and restarted the book umpteen times. The second half of the book was read on holiday in Mauritius a few years ago, in the pre-baby days where reading for a few hours at a stretch was still possible. The last few pages were frantically turned as our flight home made the decent into Johannesburg. I did not even notice the tears streaming down my face until Gary asked me what was wrong, as I closed the book, having finally conquered it. I cried for the injustices that Michelangelo had been dealt. I cried for this poor wretched soul who was trapped in his own brilliance. Misunderstood and mistreated. I cried for how sad his life was, and how unfair.

The second is, “A Thousand Splendid Suns” by Khaled Hosseini which I finished reading on Sunday morning. Famous for his first novel, “The Kite Runner”, this is Hosseini’s second book. The story follows two young girls living in Afghanistan, a generation apart, whose paths cross when they become married to the same man. It tells a tale of the injustices done to women, of their mistreatment, of the hardships they have to bear, their lack of true freedom, and of the devastation that war causes. It is also a love story, and one of how true friendship develops and endures even the greatest misery. It is one of the most heart-breaking books I have ever read.  The book is an easy read, just under 400 pages, and is un-put-down-able.  Khaled Hosseini is a magical story teller, and paints his characters and scenes with beautiful words. I truly felt that I knew these women that he spoke about, and my heart broke for each of them on many occasions. Although a work of fiction, the events described are real, and the way in which women are treated is real. The book made me think of how fortunate I am, and how easy my life is compared to people who experience such devastating suffering. And how the stuff I complain about is so small in the bigger scheme of things. It made me feel grateful for my freedom as a human being, grateful for my relationship with my husband and my children. This book has definitely become one of my all-time favourites.

The title of the book comes from a line in the Josephine Davis translation of the poem “Kabul”, by the 17th-century Iranian poet Saib Tabrizi:

“Every street of Kabul is enthralling to the eye

Through the bazaars, caravans of Egypt pass

One could not count the moons that shimmer on her roofs

And the thousand splendid suns that hide behind her walls”