Monday, May 14, 2012

Prisoners and picnic baskets

Alas, this distressed damsel is alone all weekend, every weekend. Her fair knight battles foamy dragons and upholstery riddled with dog hair at the car wash. And I am locked up in my tower with nothing but my two rugrats and channel E! for company.

Travis can’t walk. Ryan can’t walk. I can’t fit them in a double pram for twins, as Travis weighs more than 25kg. And would you believe I have even tried using industrial cable ties to tether their two prams together, so that we can leave the house? With no success – that little experiment was an engineering headache.

This is the reality of the special needs mom. Isolation. Loneliness. Talking to your pot plants.

Of course, if I removed the Miss Independent hat from my stubborn noggin, I could rope in a friend every Saturday and Sunday to help me get around town. But I’m mule-headed like that. I don’t like to impose or ask for help. I also find my anxiety levels go through the roof when I have to wrangle a grumpy, noise-sensitive Travis in a social setting, even if I know the people really well.

Last Sunday, I had one of those: “Screw you, universe and your chuckling asteroids!” moments. We were getting out of the house, by hook or by crook or by crowbar. I kissed the Husband goodbye as the sun rose, and determinedly packed a picnic basket. The Lionhearts were going to the Walter Sisulu botanical gardens, which are just down the road from us.

I packed as economically as possible, knowing that I would have to lug everything from the car, through the turnstiles and across the gardens by myself. In one trip.

Picture this: I squeeze Travis into his old pram (which is now his baby brother’s) – it’s the only pram that has a basket underneath. I roll up and shove two picnic blankets into the basket. Then I hang one fold-up camper chair across the handles of the pram. Then I hang the bag containing all our snacks, toys and my book across the pram’s handles too. Then I prop Ryan on my hip and we’re off! Me pushing this heavy pram one-handed, while it veers wildly all over the place, and pinning a very wriggly six-month-old baby to my hip…

We waited an eternity at the entrance to pay and my debit card to go through, while whole families wearing Ray-bans and wedge heels and belted mini-skits (seriously people, it’s a park not the fucking Riviera) politely ignored me. The only person who offered to lend me a hand was another single mommy. I grabbed the first shady spot under a tree I could find, which was close to the entrance – and unfortunately also close to the choo-choo train’s drop-off point, which made Travis freak out a little every time it came around.

But look at these photos – it was WORTH it! Sunshine, sarmies, ice-cream, book-reading and an afternoon nap.











16 comments:

  1. Brave of you. Always interesting how the only person who offered to help you was another mom on her own.

    If I lived closer, I'd make you come out with me every weekend to tea/coffee/picnic/whatever. X

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  2. Looks like you had an amazing time...I love that place! I LOVE your blog, you make me "lag"...

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  3. Sjoe! Wow, you are one strong, wonderful Mommy. I take my hat off to you!

    Ps: I love you Blog!

    Take care and God bless.

    x

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  4. It looks and sounds like it was worth all the effort.
    I can't believe how big Ryan is, wow! Soon he is going to be mobile and then you can ask him to help out :)

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  5. Get yourself a Manduca (or Ergo) baby carrier! Not sure if you can get them in Sa but google it. It can take up to 18kgs but the best part is that it doesn't kill your back like most of the other baby carriers. A friend of mine still carries her 4-year old in it without any problems! Travis in pram + Ryan in carrier = FREEDOM :)

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  6. Thanks for all your sweet comments, guys! You are the wind beneath my, err... wings? Wow - I'm allowed one cheeseball moment a day, okay.

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  7. next time, give me a shout. i'm generally home alone most weekends, looking for someone to hang out with. you'll be doing me a favour, and i'm fairly adept at babies after recent, regular exposure to some one else's kid

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  8. Stacey, you know I'm home alone every weekend morning, right? You, me, botanical gardens, next weekend?

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  9. Well done....I chuckled at the book thinking "Wonder Mom got a chance to read after all of that"....

    You must also try Delta Park...awesome playground for kids.

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  10. I enjoy your blog. Every time I see you've posted something new I come along and read. I am not a mom. Unless you count 3 dogs and a cat. I have no idea what regular moms go through, let alone moms with special needs kids.

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  11. I'm so glad you flipped the universe the finger and did this - had this special day. Look at the joy on your boys' (and your) faces! Nice blankets, btw;)

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  12. Hats off to you! It was definitely worth it looking at the smiles! :D

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  13. Gorgeous pics! hope you find something that works. (I used a baby carrier for my baby when my toddler was insisting on being carried / pushed in a pram when she was born. May be an option for Ryan?)

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  14. Fabulous pics. Well, ditto to what some others have said ie you need a baby carrier so you can carry Ryan on your back and push the pram. And I also wish I were closer so we could get together over a weekend.

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  15. What! You got to read? Wow. Fabulous pics and yes, sometumes one just have to go ahead and do it. I am a bit of a big mouth, mine all walk - but in itself that can be an issue as L is a bit of a "run Forest run" type. And just for laughs:

    Btw - go have a look at this and smile- we also tried our best to get out - http://juggelingactoflife.blogspot.com/2009/04/day-in-park-with-5-kids-and-2-dogs.html To give you background -our best friends - the hubby had a paragliding accident, the mom was 34 weeks pregnant with no 3. We took the older girls for most weekends. The two in the double pram are 4 and a half an 6 at the time (and yes the Maclaren stroller was fine after), the two on our backs were a year and a bit and the other girl 3.

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  16. "This is the reality of the special needs mom. Isolation. Loneliness. Talking to your pot plants." This line made me so heart sore and brought back so many memories... Ooh, add "training your cats" to that list and you have my weekends down pat!

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Thanks for sharing, Lionheart readers. ROAR!