Friday, 25 May 2012

This would be WAY better with ‘Jaws’ music!

I am a hypocrite of Brobdingnagian proportions.

Word of the day: Brobdingnagian, meaning really big. (Origin) from the word ‘Brobdingnag’ which is the imaginary land of giants in Gulliver’s Travels. See, this blog is funny and educational.

How do I know I’m a hypocrite? Because I came *this* close to entering Ryan in a baby competition. Oh vanity, your name is Ryan’s mother.

I used to loathe baby competitions almost as much as I loathe the Kardashians. That’s a lot of eye-rolling, sarcasm and snide commentary, right there.

Other things that I’ve very publicly given the middle finger:
  • Parents who name their children after celebrities, fruit, cities, the weather or anything ending in ‘any’ like Tiffany or Bittany.
  • Anyone who calls their baby or even their grandchild, ‘advanced’. This means you, grannies!
  • Baby products, TV shows and kindergartens called ‘Little Einsteins’ or ‘Whizzkids’.
  • Any product or programme designed to ‘make your baby smarter’ or ‘increase your child’s potential’.

You can see why I felt this way: I have a mentally challenged son with ‘googlie eyes’. Travis is many things, but the winner of Most Goo-Goo-Licious Baby and an all-expenses-field-trip to the NASA Little Scientists programme, he is not.

WHAT! YOU DON’T THINK YOUR FIRST-BORN SON IS A HANDSOME GENIUS? How can I say such a thing? We are comfortable with Travis the Lionheart’s disabilities. We even know how hard it is to look Travis in the face, with his sometimes ten-to-two eyes. It’s unnerving. We get it. Please don’t feel bad; we’re not offended (although it bothered me terribly when he was younger – I felt like everyone was staring at us, and sometimes… they were).

As a family, we travelled the road from denial to anger to bargaining, then depression, and finally acceptance. A little life lesson I’d like to share: don’t underestimate the healing power of humour in this process.

And then, baby Ryan was born.
  • He’s named after the ‘Ryan effect’ in Hollywood: Ryan Gosling Ryan Reynolds, Ryan Seacrest…
  • Also, he’s so damned cute I almost entered him in a baby competition.
  • And did you know? Ryan is ADVANCED for his AGE. Not even seven months and pulling himself up into a standing position against furniture and, what’s the word the baby books use… “transferring” from couch to chair to couch around the room.
  • I let him watch CBeebies and read him books, in the hope that I’m ‘increasing his potential’ and he'll work at the SKA telescope in the Karoo and be an astronaut. (Because that’s my dream for myself and I want to live vicariously through him.)
  • I even have a shelf of baby manuals ready! Just in case. You’ll recall I threw my Miriam Stoppard’s out after Travis was diagnosed with his brain malformation.

Little Miss Hypocrite. That’s me. I suppose now I’ll have to publish some kind of retraction.

I’m learning to parent in two very different flavours. It’s tricky, having one special needs child and one ruggle. There are few areas of overlap and lots of swinging back and forth, searching for balance. Thankfully my sons have both gifted me with tools that are making it easier.

From Travis: I am a braver, more determined mother. I also have more empathy, compassion and emotional stamina.

From Ryan: I am gentler, less angry, and quicker to smile. I am kinder to myself.

And now, get ready to be ambushed by cuteness! Ryan deserves to hog to spotlight on this blog now and then – he’s living lionheart too, you know.

Duh-dum. DUH-DUM. Duh-dum-duh-dum-duhdumduhmdumduhdum… [click and enjoy]

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

GIVEAWAY: Win Spa-Valous Eco-Baby candle hampers worth R720!

WINNERS! Heidi Rowe (pink) and Talitha Paikin (blue)

Massage your squishy babs with a candle? Sounds loony, doesn’t it? Actually, the Spa-Valous Eco-Baby massage candles are pure genius!

Pop the Spa-Valous Eco-Baby candle in a jug of boiling water for 5-10 minutes until it melts, then pour the warm oils into your palm! Eco-Baby Candles melt at only 2 degrees above normal body temperature, so it’s pleasantly warm, not YIPES hot.

You’ll notice I haven’t used the word ‘wax’ once. That’s because these lightly scented candles are made from soy oil, coconut oil and shea butter, which all come from renewable resources. High five, Mother Nature! You can read more about the Spa-Valous range, here.

What’s up for grabs?
I’m giving away two Spa-Valous hampers worth R360 each. One contains a blue Eco-Baby candle, the other contains a pink Eco-Baby candle and both hampers also come with one of the Spa-Valous chakra massage candles. This prize is a treat for mom and noo-noo!

How can I win?
It’s simple as a dimple this time around. Like the Spa-Valous page on Facebook, and zip over to the Living Lionheart page and clickety click that Like button too. Comment below and tell me you’re back from your quick tour of FB, and whisper which hamper you’d like – pink or blue. Easy huh?

1) Join the Spa-Valous fan page on Facebook
2) Join the Living Lionheart fan page on Facebook
3) Comment below, and tell me: pink or blue.

Terms and conditions: This competition is open to SA citizens only. The winner will be drawn randomly, and announced on Friday 8 June at noon.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Get your votes in for SA's Best Mommy Blogger

There’s still time to nominate your favourite local mommy bloggers in KidzWorld’s annual SA’s Best Mommy Blogger competition.

The last time I got to wear a crown was when I won Miss Henley High and Preparatory School back in 1998 (really, I can’t make this shit up). Oh wait; I also rocked a tiara on my wedding day. Cringe! So it’s time to pass it onto one of the many talented moms who like to blog.

Just to be clear, I’d rather not be in the running this year; so if you’d like to nominate me I’m tickled pink – but let’s give someone else a chance, m’kay? Like these scribble-tastic ladies!

What, why are you still ready this?
Get your nominations in now! Is there a silly typo somewhere on this page that’s holding your eyeballs hostage? No? Well, go, go, GO!

Monday, 21 May 2012

And then Ryan said ‘Mama’

I have been a mother for four years, seven months and 23 days. But until this weekend, my ears have not enjoyed the almost indescribable pleasure of hearing the words…

Mama. Mom. Mommy.

Post after post, I’ve poured my heart out this month about how miserable I am. But this, dear Lionheart readers, is a Band-Aid on my broken heart.

Ryan the Squishy Gorilla is only tipping seven months’ old. There’s no way that he knows that he’s addressing me as he crawls about the house, babbling: “Ma. Mama. Ma Ma Ma!” But that’s okay; I’ve waited so long to hear the word.

I remember back when Travis was around the age when he should begin talking, I’d patiently sit in front of him and say, so very slowly: “Mom”… showing him the shape of my lips and mouth as they formed around it. I must have looked like a goldfish!

We still had hopes then that Travis the Lionheart might be able to speak. There’s nothing wrong with his ears or vocal cords; you could say the problem lies in HQ. There is a wide cleft in his temporal lobe that appears to affect the part of his brain that processes language.

We use a mixture of Makaton hand signs, PEC symbols and key words to communicate.

I got home on Friday night, and while Travis was splashing in the bath tub, the Husband and I gathered around baby Ryan on the couch, encouraging him to draw out his “mmm” sounds. I pointed at myself and showed Ryan how to extend the “mmm” sound into “ma” and then further into “mama”. And then he was saying it! “Mama!” “MAMA!”

Okay, now that’s all he’s been saying for the past 72 hours. But it’s wonderful, ain’t it?

Thank you, Ryan. You’ve given me the warm fuzzies, little man.

Friday, 18 May 2012

Postcards from the Desert

I crash-landed in the Desert of Hopelessness on Wednesday night. You might have been there before yourself. It’s a bleak landscape, from which there is little to distract you from your misery.

My tears rushed out; I couldn’t turn off the tap – so I climbed out of bed and sat on the carpet in our lounge. In the dark. Trying to make as little noise as possible. “Don’t wake the kids with your damn sobbing, fool girl.”

Having what is known as a Good Cry is not a pretty thing. It’s not a-single-tear-rolls-down-her-cheek Hollywood stuff. A Good Cry is all heaving and guttural sounds and hocking back snot and puffy eyes.

This is a selfish post. This is about what I want; what Stacey wants, not what Mommy wants.

I want to be free.

Free to take my husband’s hand and say: “Let’s go out and grab a bite to eat somewhere fancy.” Free to go and get a haircut. Take my children to the circus to watch the clowns tumble and see flyers on a trapeze. Free to take Travis and Ryan to a place like Rumble Jungle; or to hold their hands and lead them through the darkness to find our seats and watch a Pixar movie in a cinema. To watch Barney perform live. To fly the whole family Thailand, and teach my children how to snorkel… Be invited along with our friends next time they go diving in Sodwana.

But I can’t. WE can’t.

Because of what’s happened to Travis. Because we can’t take him with to any of these places, and there is such a small handful of people who have the skills (or rather, the balls) to babysit him. I don’t blame anyone for not offering to help; Travis is hard work on a good day.

De Morsier Syndrome. Septo Optic Dysplasia. Sensory Integration Disorder. Autism. Call it what you will. It’s still an unspeakable, monstrous cruelty that he suffers with, and we suffer with him. No one asked for it, and none of us deserves it – although the Big Guy Upstairs knows how often we’ve wailed: “What have I done to deserve this?”

And most of all: “What did Travis do to deserve this?”

If this blog exists for any reason, it’s to make you value just how beautiful it is to be “ordinary”.

This weekend, as you have a braai with your friends or take your children to rough-and-tumble at a playground while you have a cappuccino with your girls under an umbrella – take a moment to appreciate your kids’ strong legs and nimble feet. Kiss them on the forehead, behind which lies the wondrous structure of their perfectly formed brains.

Do it for the Lionhearts.

5 Pick-me-up Pretties

A collection of pretty things that have made me smile this week. And because sharing is caring, more than one item on this page will be featured in an upcoming Giveaway Wednesday. And also because I'm mindful of how difficult it is to get out and about when you've got kiddiewinkles at your heels, you can buy almost everything online. Special delivery!

1. Silver trumpet flower necklace, R590, from The Shelley & Harry Jewellery Collection. I've been yearning to buy this delicate piece of pretty for months. Now it's winging its way to my house.

2. Spa-Valous body candle, R180, from Tip Top Nails SA. Let it burn for 20 minutes. It fills the room with a delicious scent, and can tip the warm soy wax into your hand and massage it into your skin.

3. Balm Balm Rose Geranium Face Balm, R118 for 30ml, from Love Green. If you follow me on Twitter you'll know I've been raving about this for days. It smells like a slice of heaven.

4. Ewan the Dream Sheep, R340, from the guys that brought you Yoomi. Hang this cuddly sheep from your baby's cot - he plays womb and heartbeat recordings, together with a soft light. I want to get one for Ryan at the Mama Magic baby expo at the Dome in Johannesburg this weekend.

5. Cranberry nougat bars, R30 each, from Poetry.I grabbed one of these as a treat for myself while shopping for something special for my mom for Mothers Day last weekend. Yum!

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Bite me

Interesting bracelets you’re rocking there, baby Ryan. Could they be… teeth marks? And as you have only sprouted two toofies so far, we can assume that you have been nibbled on by your big brother, the Lionheart.

I write “nibbled”, dear readers, but it pains me to say that “chomped” is more accurate. “Mauled” might be taking it too far.

Even though the baby-chewing incidents happened on Thursday and then again on Saturday, it still upsets me to think back on them. The Husband and I knew this was going to happen. It’s not all murder-death-kill like we feared (remember this post). But we knew the baby would get all up in Trav’s face, and our special needs five-year-old would sharpen a claw or polish an incisor, and things would get ugly.

The Lionheart has trouble expressing his emotions, what with not being able to talk and all – he can go from giggling to enraged in 0.75 seconds flat. It’s terrifying to behold. Throw a six-month-old baby in the mix, who thinks his big brother is a jungle gym that makes exciting ‘whoop’ and ‘squeak’ noises… you’ve got a recipe for sibling violence.

The parenting books say when a toddler bites or scratches another kid you should make a big fuss over the injured party, and ignore Mr Bitey Scratchy. Looking for attention and all that… So we're trying that, although I’m not sure Travis can put two-and-two together quite yet.

I’ll admit it; despite our best efforts we ARE paying a bite, sorry, a bit more attention to baby Ryan than Travis. He’s a busy little dude – crawling, pulling himself up against the furniture, bottles, nappies and open for the choo-choo train. All that heavy-duty baby adventure-explorer badge stuff.

Travis gets grumpier and grumpier. Have you ever tried to hug a Grumposaurus? They’re very prickly. And they pinch! And bite! They’re ferocious!

But I hear you Travis, my boy. Mommy is listening. Like I said the other night – I will snuggle you into submission, kiddo. And if you must bite, bite me.

Monday, 14 May 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.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

GIVEAWAY: L’Occitane Mom & Baby goodies worth R665!

AND THE WINNER IS: Nicola Meyer! Congratulations!

-- this competition is now close --

It’s an understatement that being the Lionheart’s mom can be exhausting. Throw a six-month-old baby brother in the mix, and frankly, this mommy could do with a treat now and then!

Mothers’ Day has come early for me with these luxury spoils from L’Occitane’s Mom & Baby range. How cute are the zoo animals on the label? I’ve been hooked on this classy French brand since January, and keep a travel-size tube of the Shea Butter Hand Cream in my handbag – it’s an extremely rich formula, and the drier the highveld winter air becomes, the more I’ve been using it.

L’Occitane Mom & Baby Cleansing Gel (R265 for 300ml)
This left both my boys’ skin soft and hydrated; Travis especially as I’ve found his skin gets especially dry in winter, and he has a rough, red patch in the crook of his left arm. I’ve read online reviews that say that the L’Occitane Mom & Baby range works well for kids with eczema as it is hypoallergenic and the shea butter is moisturising, so it should clear it right up. For baby Ryan, I usually use the same product all over him in the bath, and this cleansing gel is for hair and body – I worried the shea butter might leave his thin hair oily, but it foamed gently, washed out and his hair was extra fluffy afterwards.

L’Occitane Mom & Baby Hydrating Lotion (R400 for 300ml)
My first thought was: “Wow! This costs the same as my favourite champagne!” Now THIS is what I call a treat. The bottle says for ‘mom and baby’, but I’ve got to confess, I almost didn’t want to share. With 5% shea butter content, I was expecting the hydrating lotion to be as heavy as the hand cream, but it’s lightweight and has almost no fragrance. It also contains liquorice extract, which has soothing properties, and it absorbed quickly into Ryan’s skin when I massaged it in after bath time.

Win! Win! WIN!
I have an L’Occitane Mom & Baby duo to give away to one of the Lionheart readers. All you have to do to be entered into the competition is comment below, telling me what your wind-down ritual is after a long day. If you like, you can also...

Join the L’Occitane en Provence South Africa fan page on Facebook
Join the Living Lionheart fan page on Facebook

Terms and conditions: This competition is open to SA citizens only. The winner needs to be able to collect her prize from one of L’Occitane’s stores in Hyde Park, Melrose Arch, Menlyn Mall, Gateway, V&A Waterfront and Cavendish. The winner will be drawn randomly, and announced on Friday 25 May at noon.

Monday, 7 May 2012

Damn you, supermoon!

Photograph: Simon Runting/Rex Features

Textbook babies don’t sleep as well as six-month-old Ryan the Squishy Gorilla. Down he goes at 7.30pm and around 6am the happy ‘goos’ and ‘gahs’ that float up like bubbles from his cot alert us that he’s awake. I like to think that Ryan is the Big Guy Upstairs’ way of saying: “Look, sorry that first kid is such a rollercoaster; let Me make it up to you.”

No pressure, Ryan.

Then there’s Travis. My charming-eccentric-frustratingly-wonderful (did I mention frustrating?) special needs toddler. Are you still a toddler at when you’re nearing five years old? Anyway. This kid. Yoh, yoh, yoh.
He’s like a Gremlin.
  • Rule #1: Do not let him get wet. Any exposure to water will cause the Lionheart to go ballistic with excitement. Your swimming pool will erupt in splashes. Your bathroom will be flooded. Your kitchen sink will overflow. Your butt will be bruised from slipping on wet tiles. Your water bill will be ridiculous.
  • Rule #2: Do not feed him after midnight. I think this is a given for any kiddiewinkle.
  • Rule #3: Do not expose him to bright light. Travis the Lionheart has terrible sleeping habits; it might be his behavioural meds – apparently insomnia is a common side effect. He goes to bed at 8pm and will roll wildly from side to side (what we call wah-wahing) for hours. Giggling like a loon! Punctuated by the occasional sound of Lego blocks being flung at the walls. And if Travis doesn’t sleep, I don’t sleep.
And this is where I get to my point. Damn you, supermoon! Once a year, 14% bigger and 30% brighter… I thought I had you waxed this year. (Sorry, couldn’t resist sneaking in a pun.)

In anticipation of you lighting up the my son’s bedroom like Teazers on Saturday night, I purposefully took down Travis’s cheerful yellow curtains and hung thick, dark blue ones in their place. I even considered taping plastic trash bags to the window frames that I could roll down as that giant moon rose over Jozi, to serve as makeshift black-out curtains.

It almost worked, too. Our Lionheart was snoring gently by 9.20pm (baby Ryan had fallen asleep like clockwork at his usual time). I feel a story coming on.

“Twas the night of the supermoon, and all through the house,
Not a creature was stirring, not even a…”


I elbow the Husband: “What. Was. That?”

WOOOOH! Clap, clap, clap.

“Travis!” I yell from our bedroom; making the now-wide-awake Husband’s eardrums ache most painfully. “Get back into bed!”

And so it was that at 3.45am I shuffled in my slippers through our tiny townhouse, scooped up my light-sensitive child – although you don’t really scoop up a kid who weighs 25kg – and climbed into bed with him. I tried all my tricks. Pretended to be sleeping. Synchronised our breathing. Made sure the just-right amount of surface area of my body was pressed against his. Too much and you get too hot. Too little and we’re not in the ‘snuggle zone’. I have Trav-whispering down to a science by now.

Tick tock, tick tock.

“No giggling!” I admonish, when Travis sees me peeping at him to see if his eyes are closed. Taping black plastic bags to the windows was looking more attractive by the minute.

Eventually the gentle snores resumed, and I crept back to our room. I did spare a minute to twitch open the curtains and admire the gorgeous moon, give it the finger, and climb back into bed.

Ogle more photos of Saturday's supermoon from around the world, like the one above, at The Guardian.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

The other one about stem cells

On 27 March I was invited to a talk given by experts from Cryo-Save, which is one of the three commercial stem cell banks operational in South Africa. Obviously having a child who was born with severe neurological damage, I’m all over this topic like white on rice.

I have turned the Internet inside out since Travis was diagnosed with Septo Optic Dysplasia in 2008, looking for a cure – and the possibility of banking baby Ryan’s stems cells to treat Travis was indeed on the table. This isn’t a blog post about that decision (but you can read about it here, if you’re interested.)

Rather, this post presents the answers to some of the more tricky questions around stem cells, as posed to Cryo-Save’s experts: Louis Rehrl, MD and Dr Cherie Daly, who has seven years’ international experience in the industry.

(This post also assumes you know the basics, like your own stems cells are a 100% match for you, a 1-in-4 match for a sibling, and a 1-8 match for a parent.)

Why bank the umbilical cord and cord blood for stem cells, when there are other stem cells available?
You’ve probably heard about embryonic stem cells, which come from foetuses, and umbilical stems cells. But stem cells can also be harvested from bone marrow, adipose (fat) and placental tissue, and the blood. Last year scientists even discovered stem cells in amniotic fluid – although in small quantities. So if stem cells are so freely available, why spend R20k-plus banking your baby’s umbilical cord blood? It’s because umbilical stem cells are the cleanest ‘building blocks’, so to speak. They haven’t been damaged or altered by time or disease.

What if you have a child who needs stem cells, and you have another baby – can you test the second baby’s stem cells to see if they’re a 1-in-4 match before you pay for the stem cells to be stored for 20 years. (Obviously we would have wanted to know if Ryan and Travis is a match.)Cryo-Save’s answer was: yes. But they did say that even if it’s not a match, surely you’d still want to bank the second baby’s stem cells anyway. Point taken.

How many stem cell treatments can you get out of one umbilical cord?
While you can extract up to 500 million stem cells from a single umbilical cord, on average that umbilical cord is only good for a handful of treatments – in other words, only two or three. The good news is that you usually only need one or two infusions of stem cells (depending on what you’re treating, of course).

What happens to the stored umbilical cord after the 20-year storage period is up?
As Cryo-Save and the other stem cell banks in SA have only been in operation for the last 10 years, I was curious what plans were in place for this. When a child turns 18 (or 21 I forget which), Cryo-Save stresses that he becomes the owner of his own banked stem cells. He can choose to keep them in cryogenic storage, donate them to a public bank, donate them to science or have them destroyed.

After the talk, I went and did a little research. With South Africa’s racial diversity, there is a desperate need for a public stem cell bank. Apparently this has been under discussion for over a decade now, but as always, funding is the issue. The price tag? Only R50 million. I really don’t think that’s a lot of money; that ridiculous youth festival the National Youth Development Agency threw cost twice that!

Until a public stem cell bank becomes a reality, you’ll have to bank your family’s umbilical cord blood with one of the commercial stem cell banks, which are expensive – but as the pamphlets say: “Think of it as an insurance policy against your child’s life”.

* Please note that this post is not an endorsement of Cryo-Save, and that some of the material presented here applies to the practice of stem cell banking in general and not Cryo-Save’s practices in particular.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

The universe hates me

Go ahead, Big Guy Upstairs. Chuckle into Your galactic-sized mocha latte with asteroid sprinkles! Have a laugh as I scurry about the face on this insignificant planet like a panic-stricken ant.

You’ll recall I’ve had to arrange for transport for the Lionheart to school and back. The first day rolls around, the husband leaves by 7am so that he can open up shop at the car wash. That gives me a whole 15 minutes to get the Lionheart dressed, lunch made and schoolbag packed before the driver arrives. I’m a Tasmanian Devil-like whirlwind of activity, rushing around the house with Travis doing his standard high-pitched whine, my hair half-wet and bedraggled, when there’s a ‘tap, tap, tap’ on the glass sliding door. It’s the driver.

Shit. I wanted to be waiting in our complex’s driveway. I peer over the driver’s shoulder at our murky green swimming pool that she’s just walked past, cringe, and open the door. “Sorry, sorry, sorry!” I mumble, as I rush back into the house to retrieve my grumpy-as-hell Lionheart. The driver follows me into the house chatting away, and I desperately hope she won’t notice that fuggy smell you get in winter when you combine a heater that’s been on all morning, with unchanged nappies and baby vomit.

Kicking my way through the spoegdoeke, blankies and landside of toys I rush into my messy bedroom (still being followed by the driver, who I now fear is thinking “What kind of white trash clients have I taken on here?”). I scoop up Travis, his school bag and hobble to her car outside – which is way more larney than my car. Travis weighs a ton, but of course my five-year-old can’t walk yet, so I kick off my high heels at the door before I break an ankle. Classy, neh?

As they reverse out my complex, all I’m thinking is: “Please, Big Guy Upstairs, don’t let Travis shriek, bite, maim or freak this lady out; she’s the only kiddie transport company I can afford!”

Now it’s 7.20am, and Saint Irene arrives just in time to take Ryan the Squishy Gorilla from me so I can get to work. The garage door choses this moment to pack up, so I have to put down my laptop bag, unhook it from the motor and carefully hoist the heavy door up without getting grime all over my white jersey.

By 7.35am I'm on the N1 heading to my offices in Woodmead. I’m supposed to be there at 8am, and given that it takes at least 60mins to do the drive – I am going to be gloriously late. Good thing the company CEO is giving a strategy presentation to my business unit at 8.30am! Crawling into the boardroom on my belly is a great way for the new girl to get noticed by the suits on the top floor.

I make it with 2 minutes to spare. On the Nascar-style drive to work, Trav’s driver texts to say he’s at school safe and sound, and she still has all ten fingers. I mouth a silent thank you to The Big Guy Upstairs.

The presentation is scheduled for an hour, which means I should be released into the wild at 9.30am, giving me 2.5 hours to get a multi-million rand proposal printed, packed and delivered at our client’s offices down the road by noon. The CEO is taking his time, though. I look at my watch, I look at the slides, I look at my watch again, and decide to make a strategic exit. (Note: it is impossible to sneak out of a room where there are only 10 or so people.)

9.45am. I am back at my desk. I have three copies of the proposal printed and I’m ready to start punching and packing. Except… wait a fucking minute. Where are half of my dividers that the Husband collected from Jetline near our house yesterday? Shit! Crap! Holy Mojitos! I phone Jetline who are like 25km away and yell: “WTF!” into the receiver. Turns out they made a boo-boo. “Start printing and cutting!” I shout. “I’m coming over right now!”

I rope in one of my colleagues to start packing the proposals, while I hurtle down the stairs in my heels, wait for an eternity for the biometrics to scan my fingerprint at each door (actually, it’s only a three-second wait)… and I’m out into the parking lot.

Where are my car keys? Aaargh!

Clack, clack, clack go my heels. Beep, beep, beep go the biometric door scanners. Into the building, and then the same procedure back out the building. More Nascar-style driving down the N1, slowing down under all the bridges where the po-po sits with their speedometers. Arrive at Jetline by my house at 10.35am.

Am ignored completely by the staff. “Hello!” I say, trying to be polite while my left eye begins to twitch slightly. “Dividers?” I say into the ether. Echo, echo, echo… Long story short, I’m back on the N1, and hurtling back to Woodmead like a comet through space and arrive back at my desk, with the missing dividers, at 11.05pm.

Now, if you’ve never been involved in submitting a proposal before, let me educate you. If you miss that deadline by so much as 30 seconds, you and your fancy documents, and hours and weekends of blood, sweat and tears as you crafted your response, are turned away at the door. I have no doubt that missing proposal deadline = you’re fired.

11.30am. The secretaries at Mad Men couldn’t pack a proposal as quickly and efficiently as I am at this point. I. Am. A. Machine. Done! Now I just need to put the proposals in three brown envelopes, put on the envelope label and we are good to go.

So who took my envelopes? Where are the envelopes? WHERE ARE THE ENVELOPES? Balls.

I kick off my shoes and run to the stationery guy on the ground floor. He’s not at his desk. I run to reception. “Do you ladies have the stationery guy’s cell number for me please?” “Sorry, we’re not allowed to give out his number,” I am informed. Now my adrenaline is pumping in full “fight or flight” mode. I choose “fight”. I stride determinedly into the stationery room, and start yanking open doors. Even the flimsy locked ones.

11.40am. Back at my desk, the proposals are packaged. I phone the team member who should be delivering them. “Oh, am I doing the delivery?” he says. “Uh, yup!” I say a little too brightly. “Just give me 10 minutes,” he says. “The proposal is due at noon, dude.” All I can make out is swearing on the other end of the line.

The proposal arrived with three minutes to spare. The guy who delivered it to our client; in true Murphey's Law fashion, his clutch gave in halfway there and he had to drive in second gear for the last few kilometres.

Sitting in the courtyard downstairs having a ciggie, I’m waiting for my heartbeat to slow down as it sinks in: “It’s over. I survived this day. Screw you, universe!” Victory cackle! And then I realise that there’s still a noxious something-something in the air...

It’s me. Garlic breath. Fabulous.

I’m not sure I win first prize for Worst Day Ever, though. Have a read at Celeste’s blog about her manic Monday morning last week. Jinkies!

Anyhow, I know I’ve said this before – but I promise my very next post will be that follow-up to the stem cells Q&A I went to a month ago. If I post anything else before then, it’s the Fine Jar for me.