Perhaps I Should Face It…

My blog isn’t going anywhere. Not anymore. I have a hankering for a new blog design but I can’t afford it. Perhaps I can find a free template that suits me…?

I just… I blog infrequently and when I do its impersonal. I blog a couple of times a week on my furbabies blog about my guide-dog puppy raising adventures, and I update my alter-ego’s blog on a regular basis, but over here the air seems stale…

Every time I start a blog post about some parenting-related issue it comes across so whiny and pissy I’m quite embarrassed about it. And I can’t blog about my knucklehead because people share his stories where he may not want them shared, and him being a grownup thats a tad unfair… I always tried to be careful, but it seems even my old blog posts have come back to bite him in the bum and that makes me heart sore.

And we’ve had a crappy year financially too but I can’t seem to bring myself to blog about that and how we’ve handled it either, damn my infernal pride.

I could fill a weekly update with pictures and memes but there’s only so much of that that’s worth reading.

And as I know someone’s going to suggest it eventually, a private blog and/or password protected posts defeats the whole point of blogging, in my humble opinion. More power to you if thats your thing though.

Ah me… I miss blogging the way I used to. I miss blogging about my knucklehead.

I’ll mull it over for a while more.

As you were.

A Day Out With @FordSouthAfrica For #pregDSFL

Yesterday I was invited to spend the day at Ford’s factory in Pretoria to learn more about their Driving Skills For Life programme.

I came away with some very useful tips and suggestions and some fascinating insights into how Ford designs their cars!

Did you know that Ford uses an “Empathy Belly“, a “fat suit” and another gadget that “mimics” arthritis or severe joint movement restriction when they design their cars, to ensure that just about anyone can comfortably sit in, enter, exit and manipulate their cars!

The focus of the day I spent at Ford was on pregnancy and child safety in cars and I was in the company of several journos from (amongst others) Mamas en Papas magazine, Living & Loving, Real Magazine and Child magazine. We were informed, as they split us into teams of 4, that we best pay attention as there would be a test later… What!??! I decided to listen closely but took the hint at a test with a pinch of salt… 😛 Turned out there really was a test! As a team we answered questions about what we’d learned like what was the best rev count to gear up in a petrol car and where is the best place for a child to sit in a car.

We saw a couple of videos during a short presentation that showed quite graphically how serious the consequences can be when you don’t wear a seatbelt! I always wear mine, and when my son was a little boy we turned it into a competition to see who could get theirs on first and for him it became a habit, but many people don’t wear them and many people don’t buckle their children in!

What was a real eye-opener was having a ride in the “skid monster”, which demonstrated rather frighteningly- using a doll- what happens to a baby who is not strapped in when a car spins at a mere 30km an hour! At one point the doll- which started out sitting in but not strapped into a baby seat in the back seat- was on the dashboard in front of the driver and after a few more spins (with different occupants  as we all had a turn) the doll flew out of the driver side window!

We were shown some practical tips on how to handle a hijacking with kids in the car, and something they suggested which I never thought of was actually having a plan of action and practicing it with your children- like they do at school with evacuation drills!

Their research has shown that the best place for a single child is behind the passenger seat, and if you have two children put the older child behind the driver and the younger in the passenger seat. Teach the older one to unbuckle the younger child- only when you tell them to with a special instruction– and then the children must climb through and follow mom or dad out the driver’s door.

And we got to wear beer goggles! Actual goggles that simulate what you see when you’ve had 4 beers and another pair that mimics 8 beers. We had a short course to drive in a golf cart- wearing the goggles! The first thing I thought when I put the first pair on (for 4 beers) was “…uh-oh, this is familiar…” and I was quite stunned! You have no peripheral vision, you have no depth perception and your aim is completely off! Just wearing the goggles makes you feel a little wobbly! They handed us the keys to the golf cart by holding them out or dropping them and we had to grab them or pick them up, and then we had to put them in the ignition and turn the cart on. You could see who had had a little practice driving under the influence because some of us checked which side of the key was the smooth top and then braced our wrists in the “dash” to get the key in the ignition, which we first traced with a finger… Shocking…

It was certainly a rude awakening. For me the quote of the day was when the two ladies in the golf cart had the goggles on, the “less drunk” person directing the driver (who was wearing the 8 beer goggles) and she shouted “STOP! OMG STOP!” It was just so apt!

What Ford is planning to do is roll out their DSFL programme to high schools so that kids who are learning to drive can experience the goggles and the “skid monster” and actually see for themselves what is in their textbooks and what people are always telling them.

And there was a test! LOL! My team and I passed luckily, and then whilst we enjoyed a delectable cold lunch they handed out a few prizes to those who were quick enough to answer some questions.

Erm… A Rose By Any Other Name…?

My Glugster got handed a free copy of Grazia magazine at the Gautrain station the other day and he brought it home for me to look at.

See, every few months I buy myself some “fluff” like Hello or People magazine and giggle at the lunacy of the articles whilst marveling in disbelief at the general public’s fascination with gossip and hearsay.

In this particular issue of Grazia, I came across this article. The blurb was a little deceptive talking about “baby bloggers” as it turned out the article wasn’t really about blogging babies… What it IS about is young children (as in four years old and up) being photographed in the street by bloggers or their “scouts”, labelled fashionistas, and those pictures posted on blogs. These blogs being about kids with a cool sense of style.

The first thing that had me shaking my head in astonishment was the description of the precociousness of these toddlers! Yes I get that some kids like to put together their own outfits and don’t like wearing a particular kind of clothing, but there’s a line- when you are a parent- when it comes to allowing a toddler to make his or her own choices.

These “stylish” kids are then paraded in the streets by their mommies in the hopes that they will be snapped and featured on these websites! And when they aren’t being photographed on the sidewalk their mothers are submitting their pictures to the sites in the hopes their children will be featured. These same mommies insisting these kids always dress themselves (can you hear the sarcastic disbelief in my voice)!

Come on people! Can you say “PRESSURE!” They should have titled it “How To Turn Your Six Year Old Into A Ten Year Old Alcoholic In One Easy Step“.

The second thing that had me throwing my hands in the air in exasperation was the fact that STRANGERS ARE PHOTOGRAPHING YOUR CHILDREN ON THE STREET and then POSTING THOSE PICTURES ON THE NET!!

Aren’t those people usually called pedophiles!???!

My World Is Totally Connected

Nicki wrote a blog post titled “How the internet connected me …“, touching on the friends she’s made, the support she’s had access to and Unlocking the Power of the Internet, and whilst I was reading it there was so much that resonated with me that I was making notes in my head about writing my own post on the subject.

And then I discovered there’s a prize up for grabs too!

*GRIN*

When I started my blog WAAAAY back in 2005, it was the realisation of an idea I’d had for years. My own space on the internet! I had always wanted a space where I could share my story of single parenthood and raising a child with AD/HD. Blogging gave me that space, but I never dreamed it would be so much more. When I eventually told my parents and family I was blogging and how it worked my parents especially were horrified and my dad was convinced I would be stalked and murdered in my bed! For the most part my friends and family didn’t understand why I would want to share so much of my life with strangers on the internet, but there was no way I was giving it up.

I started finding and reading and commenting on other people’s blogs (I was never just a reader, I loved that I could leave my opinion or a word of encouragement on what was essentially someone’s personal diary). And not only did I get to share my life and experiences with people on my blog, I got given some incredible advice and support when I felt like I didn’t know where to turn anymore! I got to use the people in my computer’s “out of the box thinking” to help me out!

I joined a USA-based email support group for parents of children with AD/HD, and I got so much support it was like the sun had come out at the end of a monsoon of drama and battles! Their support planted the seed in my head of supporting other parents of children with AD/HD and it became a campaign in my life.

After a few years of being electronic friends with the bloggers I had gotten to know so well, we started meeting face to face. It was nerve wracking and terrifying and wonderful all at the same time! I formed a special bond with a few of those bloggers and we are now close friends in real life- sharing special occasions, milestones, whiny 2am text messages, desperate phone calls and really good friendships. They are the friends I spend time with, without hash-tagging the occasion to death on Twitter or feeling the need to blog about it before and after, because our relationships are bigger than that.

And then I met The Glugster. He’d started blogging to see if he could make money, and we started reading and commenting on each others’ blogs. Soon Glugster, SweetStef and I were chatting on Skype until the wee hours of the morning and eventually decided to meet face to face. We planned a lunch which I missed, but he and I met for dinner a few days later when both of us had had unbelievably crappy days… What was supposed to be simply a chance for us to finally meet face to face very quickly turned into a date and we were still laughing and talking at 2am the next morning with the restaurant staff packing up tables and chairs around us! He was a perfect gentleman and when we parted ways I felt like I was walking on a cloud! I was completely smitten and spent hours online with SweetStef having the equivalent of a 15 year old girl’s conversation with her “OMG do you think he likes me oh I think I like him but I don’t know what to do I’ve been single for so long and do you think he likes me and oh I think I like him but I don’t know what to do“! I didn’t know it, but he was having the same kind of conversations with SheBeeGee! A few days later we met up again and after I gave him a runaround he refused to accept, we started seeing each other and announced our relationship to the world.

Two years and seven months later we got married! Our wedding was streamed live online so that our friends around the world could share our wedding day with us and we even had our own hash-tag on Twitter: #AnGlugWedding!

And with the aid of blogging, Facebook and Twitter, I have been completely self-employed for over two years now and my alter-ego The Cupcake Lady is very nearly a celebrity!!

I reckon I have successfully “unlocked the power of the internet”. I get to support parents who are raising children with AD/HD, I have my dream career, I have a killer social circle and I have the most incredible husband on the planet!

Damn… No “WHOOP WHOOP” Afterall…

Remember I posted about the prize I *thought* I had won?

The six months free coffee and coffee machine from Aquaspresso?

Turns out the coffee MACHINE is free for six months… The coffee I have to buy. That wasn’t what I understood by the description of the prize I won… And unfortunately such larny coffee is a luxury I certainly can NOT afford.

I have told them to come and fetch the machine on Monday so I can spend the weekend finishing the one box of free coffee that I did get.