For the full story behind the picture, check out my BFF's blog.
A few weeks ago, my friend Tania tweeted a link to an article about love bombing your children. I clicked on the link and it resonated very strongly with me. The premise behind love bombing is that you spend a certain amount of one-on-one time with your child, where your total focus is on that child and that child only. Sounds simple (the best ideas normally are) but something I hardly ever manage to do.
Time is something I am in desperate short supply of. Like most mothers, I pack 36 hours in a normal 24 day. I work full time, I mother full time. I have a business to run, a household to run and children to take care of. All at the same time. So time is something I am in desperate short supply of. I feel like I am constantly running full speed in order to keep up with normal living. Added to this, my love language is NOT quality time. In fact, it is right at the bottom of the list.
And yet I know that quality time is exactly what my children want and need from me. (Not to mention my poor husband whose love language is quality time and physical touch, the two things that he gets the least, the poor bugger).
I am sure this will have all of you gasping in horror but I spend very, very little one on one time with the kids. I spend as much time as I can with them but there are three of them and one of me. I try, but I seldom get it right. So the concept of love bombing the children - spending an intense 24 hours with each of them individually - is something that I know they would love and that I know would of great benefit to them.
The author suggests 48 hours, but I can't leave Max or my work for 48 hours so we are doing 24 hours. This Friday night, Kate and I are going to stay at a hotel. From Friday afternoon just after lunch until Saturday afternoon just after lunch, it will be just Kate and I. We are going to do exactly what she wants to do. We are going to the shops together, we are going to play games together. We are going to check into a hotel and we are going to sleep in the same bed. We will have breakfast together. I am going to take her to Build a Bear to get an outfit for her Springbok. I am going to spend some time in that godawful games arcade so that I can try to win a teddy bear for her. We are going to colour in, have an ice cream together, do stuff together. Whatever she wants to do, it is all about her.
Kate out of all my children needs time alone with me. She was SO excited when I told her about it. She has been beside herself with excitement, we are counting down the sleeps. She has told everyone about it. This is so huge for her. The first thing she said was "and you are going to leave your computer at home? You are not bringing your computer with?" It broke my heart. I am permanently on my laptop. Fuck, I am a shocking mother. Poor baby.
I am actually looking really forward to it. And I am going to try make it a regular thing.
I will take pics and blog about it afterwards.
(Marko is taking Adam on Friday to a different hotel and the two of them are going to do some love bombing together. They are going to go to car racing the next day too. Real boy stuff. I will take Adam in a month's time and Marko can take Kate. My poor children. I wish I didn't have to work so that I could spend more time with them, but I guess we need to do what we need to do and I need to work in order to survive. Shit, feel so guilty :( Anyway, this is supposed to be a happy post so best I move on)
So eventually I am getting around to the reason why I went to New York in the first place - the RESOLVE Night of Hope Awards.
When I heard my book "So Close" was nominated for the RESOLVE Hope Award for 2011 for Best Book, I bravely told everything that if I win the award, I would go to New York to collect the award in person, not for a moment thinking that I would actually win the award. I was up against some pretty stiff competition. However, I had forgotten all about YOU, my lovely blog readers. Thanks largely to your votes, my book won. And so off to New York I went to collect the award.
I borrowed a frock from my friend Natachia (no way I was buying a new dress just for one evening) and I had my hair done in the afternoon.
The function was a lovely formal dinner at a fab restaurant called Guastavinos. We were staying at the Intercontinental which is 300W 44th street. The restaurant was at 409E 59th Street. Probably about 5 kms as the crow flies. It took us an HOUR to get there. An hour! For a few blocks. Welcome to Manhattan.
Luckily we left early and even luckier, we had decided to bite the bullet and use the hotel's private driver. The porter told us that the cab would have been about $10-$12, the driver was $20. We didn't feel like waiting so we took the driver (fancy black BMW!) Because of the road blocks for the 9/11 security and the normal Manhattan traffic, had we taken the taxi it would have cost us more than $40. I love getting a bargain. Heh.
Anyway, we arrived in time so that I could do a 'walk through' of the award ceremony. By the way, when I got the email talking about the sequence of events, the walk through, the ACCEPTANCE SPEECH! I nearly pooped in my pants! What do you mean acceptance speech! I thought I was going to the dinner, drinking lots of wine and then going home. I don't want to stand up in front of 300 people and make a speech! My nerves!
I met some really wonderful people there, I was at the table with the ladies from the upper west side support group. Marko and I were sitting next to a gorgeous woman who was so friendly and welcoming, we had very similar stories - twins through IVF and then a natural pregnancy afterwards. We found out afterwards that Alisyn is pretty well known. Here are the Upper West Side ladies and I:
Unfortunately Marko and I had to leave early as we were getting up at sparrows fart to catch out flight back home (bad planning!), so we couldn't stay and bond with everyone. The evening was fantastic and I met some great people. It was a real honour to have been nominated and to attend.
PS the actual award itself is gorgeous - a beautiful, solid glass circle
The one thing I did go away with was the realisation that pain of infertility is international. The stories, the pain, the hope and the joy that was shared in that room was exactly the same as we have here in South Africa. However, the one thing that America does have that we don't have here in South Africa is an organisation like RESOLVE - they do amazing work and get lots of support from the industry and from patients. Awesome. My partner Maritza and I have started something on a much smaller scale here in South Africa (Fertilicare) - but nowhere near the scope of what RESOLVE does. It would be great to be able to do even more.
PPS This post took me an hour to do, almost as long as the drive to the restaurant. I really MUST go do some real work now - the work that helps people have babies :-)
A few photos from my (crappy) phone
Adam and Kate had their faces painted today. (Adam cut open his chin on Friday for the third time). I actually can't stand face paint as they want it off the minute they get home and its a pain to remove it.
My gorgeous Max - LOVE that child. He is a typical two year old - in other words: doesn't listen, has no logic, naughty, throws tantrums etc, but I am exceptionally fond of him. He has a mop of curls and because he wont let us have his hair cut (freaks out), I've let it grow afro style. I will have to do something about it soon. So not looking forward to that.
Max climbed in my suitcase as I was about to pack for America. My little stowaway
I made a gift bag for the kids to open while I was away. Each child got a bag with a few sweets inside plus a gift. Adam was so excited about this, he kept asking how many sleeps till we were going away. That child would sell his own mother for a few sweets and a gift.
That might just have been the fastest week of my life. My head is still spinning, I can’t believe that I am already back in Cape Town.
I still have to tell you all about the RESOLVE Night of Hope event, but here are my reflections on my NYC visit in the meantime:
Thank you New York for your wonderful hospitality, you are an amazing city.
PS For anyone who is following in my footsteps – make sure you do the following:
I have finally caught up on the jet lag. Just in time for me to go home.
On Sunday Marko and I went to Woodbury Common - GREAT suggestion by all who made it - thank you! It is obviously a very popular thing to do among NY tourists as the buses were totally full going out there.
Marko shopped up a storm - he is a real shopper. I bought lots of stuff for the kids and one warm jacket for myself, that is it. I am way too stingy to spend money on myself. Marko has no such qualms.
If you are coming to New York and you want to do some bargain shopping, then I highly recommend Woodbury Common. Just a tip - take a suitcase on wheels with you. Why did none of you tell me this? Marko and I had to walk around carrying mountains of bags. This is Marko about a third of the way through our shopping trip (looking on the map to see where to go to next)
Today we went on another hop on / hop off tour, this time downtown. We went through Soho, Chinatown, Wall Street etc. We got off at Ground Zero. What a weird feeling. Almost surreal actually. Such an enormously significant, tragic event. You almost expect time to stop when you are there, such is the enormity of the event.
We then went to Century 21 as others recommended - it is not for us. If you are into designer labels, then it is a great place to go. We are totally not into designer labels. Marko lasted five minutes. I bought some cute shoes for Kate. And a cheap'ish T shirt for myself.
Just a word of advice for any fellow South Africans going over to New York - make sure you understand exactly what size your children's feet are in US sizes! There I stood, no idea what size a South African size 12 (girls) was in US / UK size. I asked someone to help and they said they knew Brazilian sizing, Australian sizing but they had no idea about South African sizing. I hope the shoes fit.
The tour stopped at the Rockefeller Building and we went to the Top of the Rock observation deck. The view is amazing. The queues not so amazing. (Actually, queues were not too bad, I just hate queues. I can't believe how many queues there are here in NYC. People queue for food!! OMG, I would never queue for food. No food tastes that good that I would stand in a queue to get it. Chardonnay yes, food never.)
(how beautiful is Central Park! I am in love with that place)
If you are going to New York, then I strongly suggest you do the hop on / hop off tour. It is such a handy way to get around and a great way to see the city. City Sights NY were fantastic. We took the four day Shop, Hop and Top Value Package. You can get more info here: https://www.citysightsny.com/
Marko and I are exhausted. We have walked and walked and walked. My feet, legs and butt are aching. But we are having a lot of fun!
Tomorrow is the big RESOLVE dinner and I have to make an acceptance speech. Feeling a bit anxious about that. I was hoping to sneak in the back, have the dinner and leave. Apparently no such luck.
PS have just booked a shampoo and a blow dry for tomorrow for $45!! For that price I better get champagne and a back rub too. That is a very expensive blow job.
Over and out for today!
*Just to respond to the few people who asked - I haven't worn the flip flops once. Way too much walking required. Have been wearing sneakers every day.
Yesterday Marko and I went on an uptown hop on / hop off tour. Tony the tour guide was amazing! He had a very strong Bronx accent and sounded exactly like the Americans in the movies. Perfect! I loved listening to him talking about his city.
We got off at Central Park to have a walk around. Wow! What an amazing place, it is so beautiful and so huge! New Yorkers are so lucky to have Central Park, I can imagine it must be such a welcome oasis in this city.
I could not believe how many people there were exercising in the park - jogging / running / cycling / walking etc. When we got there I said to Marko "do you think there is some kind of race event here today?" but then we realized this is normal for lovely Saturday morning in the early fall. So many skinny, tanned, fit people! I got tired just looking at them ;)
The park is beautiful, I am so impressed by it. We saw so many families with young kids there. Gorgeous.
After the tour we came back to the hotel and had a brief nap and then left for the meet up at Louise's apartment in Brooklyn. Marko and I took the train there, which was a really cool experience. We felt very proud of ourselves that we managed to buy a ticket, find the train and get there without getting horribly lost.
Louise and Takiema went to so much effort, I was very touched. It was AMAZING to meet everyone in person. After almost 8 years of friendship, I finally met Cecily in person. Cecily and her fabulous husband Charlie are as wonderful as you would imagine them to be. Thanks to everyone who came.
Sorry this post is bit tired, but it is late (almost 9pm NY time, 3am SA time) and my feet, legs and butt are aching from our looooong day today. More about that tomorrow.
Dear New York, you are the craziest, busiest, noisiest, most amazingly vibrant place ever! Wow! You really don't ever sleep, do you.
The first thing I have to say about New York is that it is farking far from South Africa. The flight is loooooong. 16 hours from Johannesburg. The second thing I would like to say is:OMG SAA - your seats are bloody uncomfortable! Have you ever heard of padding or lumbar support? A foot rest wouldn't be a total waste either. It's a long time to spend in a tiny, hard chair. But it wasn't too bad. I actually handled it better than Marko, he got very uncomfortable. He has less padding on his arse so by the time we got to New York, he could hardly walk. I slept for about four hours only, so we were pretty knackered by the time we arrived.
We then spent 2.5 hours in the queue to clear customs. TWO POINT FIVE HOURS. In a queue in the arrivals hall with no air conditioning and 27,000 crying babies and toddlers. On that note, Dear President Obama - please could you arrange so that there is a special queue for parents who are travelling with kids under 10. It really isn't fair to expect a little child to come off a 16 hour flight and then stand in a hot queue for almost 3 hours. Even if it is the weekend of 9/11. It is even less fair for their poor parents whose nerves must be frazzled and their arms aching from carrying the crying toddler for almost 3 hours.
We finally got out arrivals an additional 30 minutes later (baggage / customs / more queues) and then had to wait another 30 mins for our shuttle. Which took 90 minutes to drive (and by drive, I mean force his way) through the crazy early morning traffic. In the end, he dropped us off a block away from our hotel and we dragged our suitcase along the sidework for the last bit. It would have taken him 30 minutes to drive one block.
We were early for our room, so we sent to Starbucks for their free wifi and a coffee. By this time Marko and I were exhausted, stinky and in serious need of a shower and a nap. We got back and the lovely, lovely hotel (Intercontinental Times Square booked through Priceline for a really good rate) had upgraded our standard room to an executive studio on the 21st floor. The view is AMAZING! We are so lucky to be at this hotel. The service is outstanding, from everyone.
We then for a walk through Times Square and along 5th Avenue. Unbelievable! I have never seen so many people / tourists everywhere. Like swarming ants. We went into the flagship Apple iStore on 5th Ave - you would swear they were giving away free blow jobs (or ever better, free iPhones) - millions of people swarming around with rapturous looks on their faces. We stayed for 2 minutes. Too hot, too busy.
As for the shops along 5th Ave - not my scene. I am not into designer stuff, but it was very cool to see it all like we have seen in the movies. We walked past one store that was having a fashion show kind of thing with lots of anorexic looking models and fancy shmancy important people air kissing each other. We looked through window and Marko took a photo.
We then went to FOA Schwartz and overpaid for three Angry Bird toys that were 3 dollars cheaper at Toys R Us down the road. I am a bad shopper. But the experience was fun.
It is Saturday morning now and we managed to sleep until 5:30am, which is cool considering SA is 6 hours ahead. We had a toasted bagal with cream cheese and a coffee from Starbucks at 6am. We have a full day today, one in which I am meeting some friends in the computer later - very exciting!!
I will write some more later about my impressions of New York and also about being here for the anniversary for Sep, 11.
Off to get ready to the day xx