The end of the year is here. Hooray.

‘Break up day, break up day, all the teachers fly away. No more pencils, no more books, no more teacher’s dirty looks.’ At least that’s what the kids were singing today as they came out of school. (My kids definitely go to an old fashioned kinda school. The kind that safety pin the newsletters to their T-Shirts. Although he just told me that it’s not teacher’s dirty looks as it was in my day, it’s now no more teachers’ ugly looks. Oy.)

Anyway I feel the same as them, as do many moms I’m sure. Ecstatic that schools over! I do get those mom’s who don’t want their kids home because it means they have to entertain them. But I much prefer having to be with my Princes and them waking up when they want, eating when they want, getting dressed when they want, than having to rush around all day stuck to a tight schedule.

The most wondrous thing about this year is that I made it. I survived Prince No. 1’s first year in First Grade.  (Managing to lose only one library book and one pair of school shoes. This list would include his soccer boots – his very kind teacher came panting to the gate today to hand his long  given up on sports bag with his entire sports kit.) We managed homework every night. I didn’t flake out on too many of my Mummy duties. I did tuck shop twice a month and didn’t come too late to that either. Hell they were even at school every day on time. (Basically. And when we were late we were royally late at least an hour! Happened only once though. So if any teachers are reading this don’t hyperventilate.) So yes! I panted through the Grade 1 marathon this year.

This year I also learnt was about the diverse, wonderful world of remedial with Prince No. 2. I ran around with Prince No. 2 to every kind of therapy and therapist imaginable. From OT, Physio, Play Therapy and Speech Therapy. We did a QEG, EEG and a full educational assessment. (That’s not even going into the swimming, kick boxing, little Champs extra mural activities that I did. I have become quite the taxi driver I can out maneuver any Joburg mini bus. Quite the achievement I can tell you.) This was all in an effort to find out what was going on with the sweet Prince who was quite shut down. ‘Maybe he’s on the spectrum. Aspergers,’ was bandied about in hushed voices. So I learnt all about Aspergers. Read ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night.’ (very recommended)Thanks to my sweet Sister in Law from Australia, and read up about what it is to be on the Spectrum.

It didn’t match with what I knew about my Prince in my heart but hey we had to figure it out and help him whatever the case was. He was too quiet and self sufficient. Finally in the latter half of the year we visited a top child psychiatrist who diagnosed him. Social Anxiety. Ever heard of that. I hadn’t. And since the diagnosis I’ve discovered that a lot of kids are suffering from it. (an interesting topic to explore) In his case she connected it to the fact that in his first year he was put on an antibiotic drip for a week, twice a day when he was born. And then had a virus at a month which again landed him in hospital this time for 5 days. Then ear infections galore and grommets… it all added up. Needless to say compared to being on the spectrum, social anxiety was a relief. And so we did the remedial school dance and it’s enough to say  we’re all booked for next year.

How did that story come out? Well I guess it was a big part of my year. It put lots of mileage on my Taxi status and we definitely made progress on the remedial front.

Mmmm what else about this year… My husband finally finished his MBA. And we’re renovating and still not in our house. I’ve made new friends, begun a blog. Had a wonderful family visit in LA. Just had laser and am working very hard to keep my eyes infection free (I’m such a hypochondriac when it comes to these things).

The year written out doesn’t seem so blurry. And no it wasn’t a perfect year. I’ve thrown tantrums, had depressive episodes (especially waking up to face the morning run), have had fights with the Princes and my lovely MR.

But all in all it was a year well lived. And I appreciate it for all it’s taught me. For getting through it even though I don’t like schedule. For soothing myself with all the coffees in the world. And chocolates and biscuits. For trying to counterbalance it with exercise and healthy eating. (And then counterbalance the exercise and healthy eating with coffees, choccies and biscuits – the Walker Chocolate Chips ones are my Achilles heel. Luckily they’re 50 rand a pop so not to be indulged in too much.)

Wow I never realised I did so much this year. I’m serious I’m not just saying it. I kind of at the end of a day shrug my shoulders in defeat as I face another day of running around very similar to the day I just had. But it’s not so when I look at the big picture. The rounds of speech therapy are showing up on Prince No. 2’s lips. Prince No. 1 is reading and writing already. (Note Prince No. 3 doesn’t feature much – that’s probably why he’s a vandaliser – so that he gets a blog mention every once in a while.) Their building blocks are being set and it wouldn’t be so without their personal taxi driver.

So I recommend writing out your year. See for yourself that those days, that seem to blur into each other, do hold achievement and growth. Look at all the good. Raise that salutary cup to yourself via cyberspace and appreciate yourself for your year.

Okay and now for a personal invitation to a women’s event I’ve organised with my friend Frayda.

If you want to raise your glasses or in this case cocktails and milkshakes in person come to Protea Fire & Ice at Melrose Arch. This Sunday the 12th of December at 8pm. I’m calling it the women’s appreciation circle and it’s for all women. But really it’s just a chilled evening of being together. You don’t have to be married and have kids to be a nurturer. It’s who we are as women and we ALL need appreciation. So come one and all. You do need to RSVP to either me as sassoon@iburst.co.za or to Frayda at long2learn@aol.com . And send your husband’s/boyfriend’s/loved one’s cell number. ‘Why?’ you may ask. Just do it and come and you’ll find out!

And now for my weekly recipe. This week it is edible but it’s not meant to be eaten. Playdough!

As I picked my kids up from school today and they began fighting reality hit. They were home every day now for quite a few weeks. What to do so they don’t obliterate each other or me. So I whipped out this recipe for playdough that Prince No. 3’s wonderful play school teacher gave me. It really works and if they do choose to chew on it – it’s safe.

Home Made Playdough

Ingredients

3 Cups Water

4 Tablespoons Oil

Food Colouring (we made pink)

1/2 Cup Salt

2 packets Cream of Tartar (I did 2 big round lid fulls, it worked)

3 Cups Flour

Method

  1. Place water, oil, food colouring and salt in a pot. Bring to boil.
  2. Add the Tartar of Cream – stir and remove pot from the stove.
  3. Add the 3 cups of flour and mix well.

Here’s the tricky part mixing it whilst hot. I don’t know if it works if you allow the liquid to cool. I did it whilst it was hot and it turned out fine. It’s lovely and stretchy.

Enjoy the Playdough Mess – we certainly did!