taking it slow with kids (and a few monkeys)

Compliments of the season and a happy 2015!

Back at the grindstone after a summer staycation. There are worse ways to spend two weeks than perambulating leisurely around Cape Town taking in the sights. You can’t do much more than move at a leisurely pace when (it’s 30 degrees) and you have two small children in tow.

We learnt this lesson the hard way after a particularly exhausting excursion to the World of Birds last week. My sweet babes were so taken with a random neighbourhood cat sunning itself in the car park that it took considerable persuasion to get them through the gates and into the bird sanctuary at all. They asked continuously about this cat once inside and no enthusiastic diversion with Emu or albino pigeon could make them forget it. We saw again how utterly single-minded a 3-year-old can be.

W: “But I but I but I luf the kitty….”
Me: “Yes I know, but look at that beautiful, colourful parrot up there”
W: “Can’t like the carrot. I luf the kitty”


In hindsight we should have purchased a map and planned our day strategically. Our little ones were hot and exhausted after the first enclosure (which was probably the least exciting) but we stubbornly pressed on. After a morning taking in what we could with two increasingly fractious toddlers we ended up at the monkey interaction enclosure.

The rules read (put everything away, zip up your bag, don’t shout, cry or yell, don’t touch, tease, squeeze the monkeys etc) we cautiously stepped inside. J immediately demanded his dummy/bunny combo and for the sake of peace I got it out my handbag (breaking rule number 1). No sooner had I handed it over when a tiny yellow monkey leapt off an overhead branch, grabbed it and shoved it into its tiny monkey mouth. Ryan launched himself heroically after the retreating primate as J fell dramatically to the floor and started to scream (breaking another rule) and W (in sympathy) followed suit. There was some fuss, but the bunny/dummy was eventually retrieved from the monkey without harm befalling either, but the most distressing part came when in all the excitement, J shoved his dummy back in his mouth. I hadn’t even wiped it (anyone remember Outbreak?) My mother’s Whatsapp message which just shouted “RABIES!!!” almost sent me scurrying to the ER, and we hurriedly left before we could annoy the monkeys and the tourists any further.

This day, as well as every other, taught me many new things about being a mum to toddlers. You can’t expect to do things at your pace. This is a frustrating lesson, but when we slowed right down and let them lead the way the excitement at new discoveries came naturally. You might not feel that you “got your moneys worth” when you only manage half an outing, but if they had a great time and left with memories and new experiences then you did good.

At bedtime, W tells me her interpretation of an experience we might have had days ago. She takes it all in and processes it at her own speed and the outcome is always delightful and surprising. It’s an amazing privilege to be a mum to these two fascinating little humans. All their quirks and habits that make them uniquely themselves. I have a feeling this year is going to be the funnest, silliest (most challenging?) one so far. Bring it on!




— Emily

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