Listen and Watch. You gotta be… by Des’ree

You gotta be is a song by Des’ree which was first released in 1994. I heard the song again about a week ago after a long time and I liked the message of self confidence that the song is about. Neo is a little too young to get it but I hope when he is older, I get to teach him to challenge what the future holds, try and keep his head to the sky, release his fears and that love will always save the day. It’s a lot, I know!

Artist: Des’ree

Album: I Ain’t Movin’

I like this song, and hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

 

Thanks for stopping by!

Kgomotso x

 

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Adding a bit of zing to our little corner of the internet

I decided even before the start of the New Year the blog needed a bit of work. It is our very own corner of the internet and I was beginning to feel like it was not representing me, Neo and PJ very well or that I was not taking it seriously. It was lacking personality, colour, fizz, pizazz, you name it! When I was picking my blog theme, I was thinking minimalistic but I ended up with boring.

 

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Valentine’s Day Children’s Books

I am not crazy about Valentine’s Day because I would rather we showed each other every day that we loved each other than just on the one day. Having said that, this year I have seen the value in using Valentine’s Day as a chance to reinforce and remember the message of love, compassion and family to Neo. For me, books are almost always a default way of teaching something or introducing something to Neo.

 

I looked through our books at home and brought out books for us to read this week about loving each other as our little way of celebrating Valentine’s Day. These are our favourite books that make the concept of love real and relatable:

 

  1. Guess how much I love you
Guess How Much I Love You

Guess How Much I Love You

This book was published more than a decade ago and is still a classic with its charming illustrations and the story of the little Nutbrown Hare who shows his daddy just how much he loves him. It is a sweet and endearing book and easy to understand why it’s still a favourite even after all these years.

 

  1. I love you stinky face
I Love You Stinky Face

I Love You Stinky Face

I was initially put off by the title but the book itself is touching and funny, that it has become one of my number one bed time books. The book tells the story of how much a mother loves her child so much, that even if the child smelt so bad that his name was Stinky Face, she would sprinkle him with sweet smelling powder and love him or her nonetheless.

 

  1. I love you through and through
I Love you Through and Through

I Love you Through and Through

We have been reading this one for a while now and it has simple and easy words that make it great as a read-along book. It’s a funny book that always has Neo giggling.

 

  1. I’d know you anywhere, my love
I'd know you anywhere, my love

I’d know you anywhere, my love

 

Our children all have qualities that will make them stand out of the crowd; it could be the twinkle in their eyes or the way they smile. It’s a bit long and Neo is only now getting into it after we have been reading it on and off for the past year or so.

 

  1. Why I love my daddy
Why I love my daddy

Why I love my daddy

 

I bought this book for Father’s Day because of the great illustrations and relatable words for children. It also goes without saying that it’s one of PJ’s favourites ;).

 

Do you have any favourite books on love that you read with your children?

 

Thanks for stopping by!

 

Kgomotso x

 

My three year old

I have been writing this post for almost a month. I wanted to devote a lot more time on this post, especially as the very name of this website is inspired by Neo. No pressure!

The day Neo turned three; a friend sent me a message wishing him a happy birthday and then adding at the end ‘OMG! You are a mother to a three year old!’.

I suddenly realised that that’s how long it takes do study for a diploma or junior degree so when she mentioned it, it really did feel like graduation day!  I felt like I should have been given a certificate or something for me to walk around and show everyone that I have a three year old and still have all my hair!

After three years, I want to feel a sense of achievement for not just surviving; I think survival is a given if not a must! No, I want to feel a sense of achievement for remembering, for living the past three years, for growing with Neo and letting him school me more times than I care to count. I also want to remember the things that I did wrong, they are plenty, and forgive myself (that’s always the hardest part for me)! And also not let them cast a shadow over all the laughter, giggles, hugs, kisses, tantrums, tears, sniffles  and the unprompted ‘I love you’s from him’.

I want to try and remember that there will be awesome, unforgettable days with him; and also really challenging ones when I really am thinking of how to pull off killing him and hiding his body! Parenting has been an incredible journey and three years in,  the biggest learning has been letting go of the idea of what I imagined Neo to be and let him be him.

He said to me a few weeks ago ‘I am me and you are you’. I could not have said it better!

Happy third birthday to you Neo! O gole o lekane le tlou!

Here are a few snaps from week-end long birthday celebrations

 

 

Thanks for stopping by and have a great Thursday!

Kgomotso

Explaining death to a toddler – Is there a right way to do it?


My cousin Maphanki Dorah Modingwana is named after my grandmother. Before she got married to my grandfather, my grandmother was Maphanki Dorah Modingwana.

When she was in high school, my brother suggested that my parents take her in. We had all left the nest and my parents were alone. This was more 10 years ago. Her room was next to mine at home; she was always cheerful, always offered to clean my car for free and was generally good company to have around. It was the most natural thing to have her home and she became like my younger sister, a member of our family and part of our local community.
When we went to South Africa for the last three Christmases, she was there and bonded with Neo. And this last time, Neo remembered her and would randomly ask about her out of the blue when we got back to London.
She died very un-expectantly last month, and I was beside myself with sadness and grief. I had to start thinking of what Neo must think when he saw me crying all of that Saturday afternoon and evening and how to explain to him that his Phankgana (his nickname for Maphanki) has died. He noticed that I was sad and gave me a great big hug (hugs are always great and big in our house;)).
While I was trying to compose myself and find the right words that a 2.5 year old mind can understand and process, he again very randomly started asking for her saying ‘I want Phankgana!’. I first had to fight the urge to burst our crying because I didn’t want him to think it was wrong what he was asking me or for him to think that he was making me sad. Does he, at 2.5 years even understand where heaven is? And that people that he knows may die? How I begin to tell him that she is not in South Africa anymore? Or is she?
Thankfully I had sort of prepared when I read an article on explaining death to a pre-schooler. But all that swotting completely escaped me at the crucial time when he asked me again.
I was brave when I looked at him and told him that he will never see his Phankgana again; that she is in happy in heaven with God. I am Christian and so it came a little more naturally for me to refer to God. That explanation seemed to do the trick as he continued playing and didn’t ask again.
My colleague had a brilliant suggestion to memorialise her. She suggested I buy a book that I had been meaning to give her for months; put a picture of Maphanki with Neo (below*) and write a little note. When Neo is old enough, I will give it to him for him to get a glimpse of her, our favourite author and see a pictures of her holding him even if he probably won’t remember her. He might even want to read the book too (I really hope he reads the book!).
Since then, I don’t cry that much anymore although this Easter period has been a little difficult; and I tend to remember the funny stories about Maphanki. I hope this puts him at ease and helps him realise that talking about her will not necessarily have me in tears. I hope when he is older he will remember stories of her from me fondly.
Have you ever had to explain death of a loved one, family, friend or pet to a toddler? How did you go about it?
Big Smiles – Maphanki with Neo
Thanks for stopping by. Have a good day!
Kgomotso
*Picture taken at Majaneng, South Africa on 01 January 2012 when Neo was six months old