What the heck – I can’t sleep – so I may as well blog. And there’s so much to blog about, maybe that’s why I can’t sleep. Or it could just be the Nandos indigestion. It IS the Nandos indigestion. The only thing about being awake now is that I dread facing tomorrow. A walking grumpy zombie, who absolutely can’t cope.

I’m learning that my coping skills aren’t as great as I’d like to believe.

Proof in the pudding. I’ve yet again made another birthday party. This time for Prince No. 3. I stuck to certain principles beautifully.

1. Keep it small.

This was very difficult to do because I love inviting all my friends and their kids. But I stopped myself and focused on Prince No. 3’s class and anyone his age whom he played with. And trust me it turned out big enough.

2. Ask the birthday boy what ‘he’ wants and forget about ‘my’ wants.

Ever smiling Prince No. 3 wanted a car party, and he dragged up from his memory the time he went to a party with small electronic cars, like traffic land. So a car party he had! And he was very happy.

They got their licenses!!!

Rocket Pinata! (From China City - Thank YOU Tali!)

What I didn’t stick to, even though I desperately tried is – DON’T STRESS.

I stressed and stressed and stressed. On Friday I was already in hysterical tears – although that was because Prince No. 1 came out late from school to go to his vision therapy and we were half an hour late. (Luckily they were very understanding and said it was no problem. But I am learning that I have real anxiety issues about being ‘late’ and facing retribution.) Of course the tears are heightened by overwhelming pregnancy hormones. But it didn’t also help that I was running around trying to get a party organised, and I wasn’t contained or held or any of those ‘safety’ things that I’m meant to use to self regulate and not lose the plot completely.

I laugh to think how we all walk around looking like we are holding it together so beautifully, when behind the scenes we’re really not. Or am I the only one???

Come Saturday night – birthday cake decorating – my favourite bit – I got to bed 11pm, which is a good sign.

Ice Cream Car Cake for Mr 4 Year Old

Come Sunday morning the sky is GREY and I flip out of bed and out of my mind as I think, ‘Oh no this party is going to be rained out.’ I quickly make my, clear the patio, contingency plan. Run out to buy butter. Without which I cannot ice cookies (cupcakes for all those non-South Africans) or make scones. The scones flop. The cookies don’t – but I know that I chose way to healthy a recipe for a birthday party and the only thing the kids are going to eat is the smarties and chuckles on top. (I was right.) I didn’t make the veggie pie I was meant to. I began setting up and freak out (as I can’t keep a clear functional thought in my porridge brain head) and send a major SOS to my sister in-laws. But sister-in-laws pitch last-minute with their baby and toddlers. Not good setting up material. (Although by no fault of their own. Said sister-in-laws were setting up with babies and toddlers on their hips.)

Needless to say it’s not healthy to be so stressed. Nothing is worth it. With or without the stress everything got done. It didn’t rain. My mother in law made an amazing spinach bake (the recipe is on this blog space somewhere, you can search it) and a cherry pie. My amazing, baker, neighbour made the most gorgeous cheesecake (which was just as well because everything I do seems to flop these days). The tables were set up. The cars arrived. Prince No. 3 was happy as, and I was happy too. Just recovering from my adrenaline ordeal, but happy.

For a stress free party I need to ‘harness’ the troops. Make sure there’s a set up plan and enough hands to get everything done. Standing there alone before a party and thinking ‘I have to organise all this by myself’ is way too much. Even with staff it’s difficult because I like things done in a particular way. And I’m not even that fussy, but tea cups plopped on the table haphazardly, just doesn’t do it for me. I like the neat rows. I like the savory to be placed together. I like the jam and cream next to the flopped scones.  (Is that so unreasonable?) I would love to have ten pairs of hands… and I’d love to set up hours earlier but in this heat I feel like everything goes off. (Which it does.)

The good news is that I still like my birthday formula. (See past birthday blog in which I outline basic foods to make an easy party.) I did add Bar One cookies which were ‘YUMMY’ and very not healthy, which is why they were so ‘YUMMY’. See very easy recipe below.

Now I just need to get onto my next project which is a series of 2 lectures that I’m having at my house by counseling psychologist Mano Naidoo. I really, really recommend her. I’m posting the information for the lectures at the bottom of the blog. (It’s worth a read. I love the way Mano has written up her talks.) And I will be using my party formula for catering so there will be cheesecake and my ‘lovely, lovely, lovely’ friends have already offered to bake yummies. (So there I am calling in the troops, and not going it alone.) Please email sarah@sarahsassoon.com if you want to come and I’ll send you my address.

Yummy Bar One Biscuits (From Yeshiva Cookbook)

4 x 65g Bar Ones broken into pieces (Bar Ones can be substituted with Mars Bar)

200g Butter

4 Tablespoons Syrup

5-6 mugs Rice Krispies (Rice Bubbles)

100g Milk Chocolate Slab

Method

1. Melt the Bar Ones, butter and syrup on low heat stirring constantly until mixture is smooth.

2. Stir in the Rice Krispies.

3. Press mixture into a greased Lamington tin (19cm x 29 cm) or glass dish and refrigerate.

4. Melt slab of chocolate and spread over base. (You can use white or milk chocolate or both. It looks great with it drizzled across.)

5. Allow to set and cut into squares or fingers.

These can be made in advance and frozen. I like how they taste frozen as well. They go down like a storm!

Bar One Biscuits on Kiddies Table (before they were gobbled up)

MANO NAIDOO

Counseling Psychologist • Certified EMDR Therapist• Clinical Hypnotherapist

M.Soc.Science/Psychology Univ. Of Natal• Prn: 086000 007 1102

Address      89 Langerman drive • Kensington • Johannesburg
Email           antarik@telkomsa.net
Tel               (082) 325 7904
THE NEW PARENT – A fundamental process of releasing your childhood and parenting from choice
This is an introductory talk for parents and prospective parents who wish to raise their children free of their own childhood hurts and habits. “Our earliest experiences with our caregivers determine core beliefs about closeness, trust, and self worth” Debra Wesselman. It has become apparent that our initial interactions with our immediate environment during our early childhood unconsciously affect how we bond and relate to our children. How we felt and interpreted the world as a child and what our parents communicated to us forms the data base from which we respond to our own children. During times of stress we tend to dip into that data base which results in automatic reactions. If our parents smacked when they were frustrated we would likely smack our own children, if our parents insulted us when we did not do as they pleased we can find ourselves doing the same to our children. If we have made a vow to never do those “bad things” we may be over compensating in the opposite, like not setting enough boundaries or hardly disciplining. Either way, it creates chaos for our children and passes down negative data for them to store and use on their children. Many of us do not even see the negative messages we are passing over to our children because we are on autopilot, life is so hectic and demanding that we simply recycle our parents’ habits without a second thought. Becoming aware of what content lies in our data base that drives our behaviour, releasing the emotional wounds created by our childhood environment (parents, school, community);and learning healthy, conscious methods of raising our children can free us from our past, empower us to have real choices in life and connect us to our children in the closest way possible. Very importantly, this process of healing the parent and “immunizing” the child against emotional wounding breaks intergenerational family dysfunction. Join me in opening new doors and closing old ones as we make our way to empowerment, for us and or those to come.
Date: Wednesday 1 February 2012
Time: 7.30pm for 7.45pm (45min talk) discussion to follow
Cost: R50pp or R75 per couple

Social and emotional skills are the building blocks of the modern world

“Tens of thousands of schools worldwide offer children SEL”(social and emotional learning). “In the United States many districts and even entire states currently make SEL a curriculum requirement, mandating that just as students must attain a certain level of competence in math and language, so too should they master these essential skills for living. Around the world Singapore has undertaken an active initiative in SEL, as have some schools in Malaysia, Hong Kong, Japan, and Korea. In Europe, the U.K. has led the way, but more than a dozen other countries have schools that embrace EI, as do Australia and New Zealand, and here and there countries in Latin America and Africa.” Daniel Goleman

Countries around the world are taking social decay of the modern world seriously by implementing mandatory social and emotional learning programs at schools. This subject has been made examinable in various schools in the U.S. reflecting the vital importance of these skills, yet there seems to be an overwhelming lack of these fundamental tools evident in many South African children. A large part of my therapies in my practice include developing social and emotional intelligence in both parents and their children. These are the basic building blocks for mastering oneself and life. Social and Emotional intelligence has been shown to be a most powerful tool both professionally and personally. As adults we must be lacking in these skills if bullying, teenage suicide, peer pressure, promiscuity, substance abuse, low self esteem, and childhood depression are a high amongst children. There is no longer a natural process of developing a wholesome identity with strong moral principles unless parents proactively teach their children how to cope using social and emotional skills. If not, the barrage of poor role models and values depicted in culture and media today will more likely shape your child, and no matter how much you try to shelter your children this is a digital era where current trends spread through various mediums and manage to reach just about everyone.
I will be discussing the basic skills necessary for parents to impart to their children to begin the process of mastery over their emotional and social world.
Date: Wednesday 8 February 2012
Time: 7.30pm for 7.45pm (45min talk) discussion to follow

Cost: R50pp or R75 per couple