Tai Chi classes in George, Western Cape, South Africa

My Tai Chi school in George, Western Cape, South Africa.

My website: http://24taichipta.wix.com/riaanreyneke

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Teething Problems

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Teething Problems…
Why do corporates use this phrase to describe the beginning of a phase where their business model needs ‘fine tuning’? Surely they are not comparing it to a child? That would be presumptuous and untrue..

Let me clarify: Difficult, moody, delirious, sleepy, sad, grumpy, energetic, full of saliva, swollen gums, fussy, stinky nappies and pain, most of all pain are all associated with Teething…

None of the above applies to any corporate, or any business out there…

They don’t wake up 6 times an hour at night to gently rock the project back to sleep.

They don’t feel spasm forming between their shoulder blades from carrying the project in their arms all night.

They don’t urinate blood caring for the project.

They don’t lose weight, or friends, or family because phone calls aren’t important while spending time with the project.

They don’t feed the project 17 different varieties of protein and starch and vitamins and minerals by trying all that can be possible digested in the fridge.

They don’t contemplate Refugee Status in another country just for the sake of taking a 1 hour nap, for the project.

They don’t hide small object for fear of choking.

They don’t walk with the same clothes for 3 days because they forgot (or were too tired to…) do the laundry.

They don’t re-use a teaspoon 29 times because they are just too tired to thoroughly wash and rinse it.

They don’t create fake energy and happiness and excitement to entertain the project by singing ‘Old McDonald had a Farm’ for the 16 000th time, over and over and over and over and over again.

They don’t have a backup “Favorite Fluffy Toy” because if the original went missing it’s the end of the world for the project.

They don’t cry over the phone because of the project, to a Telemarketer selling vacuum cleaners phoning non-stop every 15 minutes from a Private Number until you answer out of pure exhaustion and find it comforting that someone actually wants to talk to you.

They don’t know what they’re talking about, these corporate idiots..

They don’t love the project.

So, don’t call it Teething Problems, pleeeeeaaaaassssseeee… Rather call it: “We-initially-thought-the-project-was-a-great-idea-but-now-that-we’re-actually-doing-it-we-found-some-sh*t-that-might-lose-us-some-money”.

Just for the sake of sanity of all parents out there.

And to the parents out there, good luck!

When a child…

We recently celebrated the 1st birthday of our child, and had to fly inland to visit family. It struck me as absolutely amazing how the other passengers on the flight allowed us ‘special treatment’ because we had an infant. Everyone was very comfortable to let us through the doors first, waited patiently while we packed our 7 000 carry-on bags in the overhead compartments, flight attendants double and triple checking if we were comfortable, fellow passengers waving at the little one… It was amazing! It seems there still are good people today!

It was a wonderful trip and she knew when we sang Happy Birthday that it was to celebrate her! She thoroughly enjoyed the chocolate and gifts everyone gave her!

It seems that us humans are probably the species who cater for our young the longest of all living things.. She only turned 1 and we probably have 17 more years to go until she’s an adult. That’s extremely long if you consider the fact that in the wild, most new-lings are left on their own much much sooner. In fact, I know of some 30 year-old who still rely heavy on their parents for support. Even me, at 35 rely on favors and understanding from other people, so maybe we never really grow up? I once saw a quote: If you think you’re all grown up, wait for someone to bring out the Bubble Wrap!

Yup, we technically just learn how to behave like adults, but never really grow up..

I do have a feeling that our children will someday WANT to live as adults, on their own, to follow their dreams, but I do hope that they still consider us as their cool parents! Even if they are successful and become World President, that they would still make time for us. In this day and age with all the smart phones and smart cars and fast food and self service, I pray that they will still realize their independence is actually inter-dependence on their parents, siblings, in-laws and friends. We tend to forget that humans aren’t supposed to be alone, even though we sometimes feel like being on our own. That feeling must dissipate eventually, in order for us to play our part in our relationships, friendships, community, country and the world.

Having said that, I know some people tend to think that they are better smarter faster or cooler than others. I have news for you, you are not. We are all equally smart, fast and cool compared to the view our infants have of us. To them, their own parents are the best!

You are never too cool to care…

Another quote comes to mind:

“It doesn’t matter how mean you think you are, when a child hands you a plastic telephone, you answer it!”

Code of Conduct

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Martial Arts Code of Conduct

  • Remain disciplined
  • Uphold yourself ethically as a Martial Artist
  • Be respectful and honest
  • Serve your community and honor your family
  • Love your fellow students and classmates
  • Be united and avoid conflict
  • Limit your pursuits of bodily pleasures
  • Preserve the proper attitude
  • Train diligently and make it a habit
  • Cultivate your skill
  • Learn to be calm
  • Don’t participate in arguments or fights
  • Cooperate with people
  • Be civilized and gentle in your manners
  • Help the weak
  • Use your fighting ability for the good of humanity
  • Pass on our traditions
  • Promote our art and its Code of Conduct

–       Ip Man

Protecting our young…

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We moved down to the coast at the beginning of this year to be closer to nature. Quite a big move if you take into account that we were living and working in the GDP hotspot of our nation Gauteng.

Upon arrival at our new destination, we were amazed at how huge the Outeniqua Mountains really are, they are majestic! We also REALLY enjoy the fact that the beach is a mere 15min drive from our doorstep, and the quaint little towns that dot the Garden Route is a very relaxing and pretty sight.

After successfully unpacking boxes and hanging of curtains, we started to familiarize ourselves with the new wildlife that is in abundance in our new town/city… We have an owl that sits on the neighbours roof at night, we have small birds that frequents our lawn during the day, but best of all: we have a Crowned Plover family which decided to lay 2 eggs on the lawn at our front door!

This is a first for us! We admired the mother and father protecting their nest at all cost. Come sunshine rain or wind, they’ll be there guarding it, keeping a watchful eye over their little speckled eggs. We’ve been watching them for a week or three now, anticipating the arrival of their young. To no avail unfortunately, and as my wife pointed out yesterday: Come on already, it’s been like 9 months and still no chic!

Then, miraculously this morning, a small teeny weeny little excuse for a feathery little two legged creature appeared from underneath the mother bird! This is the smallest little thing you’ve ever seen!

Now, we’ve been very respectful in keeping our distance from the nest for quite some time now. Navigating through the garage to enter and exit our own property. Steering clear of the over-protective parent birds, screaming and shouting and chasing us away from their most prized possession. The father bird would dive down kamikaze style if you would just venture anywhere near the area where their speckled eggs were lying ominously in the grass. Lawnmowers weren’t even scaring them off!

Then this morning, I had to take a peek, I wanted to see. And they let me…

What an awesome gesture of these birds allowing me, top of the food chain, close to their newly hatched little ball of feathers. It was almost like I was part of their family now. Not like the weird uncle who always curses and drinks too much at weddings, but more like the rich uncle who lives far away but pays the school fees or university fees without the kids knowing.

I thought to myself:

Isn’t this exactly what us humans do? Protect and scream and shout and chase threatening individuals away from our young. We care for them, we feed them, we dress them, we teach them, but we also showcase them to the whole world. We are proud of our children. We want others to congratulate us on how well we’ve raised our kids. We want our kids to be happy, to be safe, and to be loved.

I feel sorry for June Steenkamp. I read in the newspapers that she left the court when they showed Oscar Pistorius in blood drenched shorts. The blood of her daughter Reeva was upsetting to her. I understand this, it must be terrible for her.

 I also read that Oscars father is not really part of this whole process. This whole thing is just sad and confusing… Parents of the deceased fighting the tragedy of losing their child, and another child sitting in court without his parents there to support him…

I am grateful that I can still hug my children, and tell them that I love them. Yes, I worry, and I hope they will be okay for the rest of their lives. Yes I know that someday they too will leave the nest to venture out into the unknown to experience the wonder that is life. Have I given them enough encouragement, and skills, and support, and preparation to go out there and enjoy life? I hope so.  Life is short man, but it takes a long time to realize it…

I am hoping that the neighbour’s cat leave the little plover alone, and rather catch some other bird. This little plover is at my front door for crying out loud, I feel kind of responsible for also helping it’s parents to protect it, and care for it in my non-bird way. Why? I am reasoning that if we all respect all living things, maybe, just maybe this world might be a better place for our own young to have the ride of their lives!

To all the Mom’s…

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I am fortunate enough to be at home during the day with my ‘almost 1 year old’ daughter, seeing that I teach martial arts in the afternoons. In the beginning I thought ‘looking after a baby the whole day? This would be a breeze!’. Boy was I wrong…

To all the Housewives / Homemakers / Mothers out there, I take my hat off to you!

I love my children, don’t get me wrong, I am very fond of both my 10 year old and my youngest. I write this down as a matter-of-fact experience by a Dad to warn other Dad’s…Do not take this light, Dudes, your wife is tough as nails!

Before I was married and had kids, my life was simple and easy. I would wake up and during the day start thinking about my dreams and goals and things I thought was important in life. Things like how much money you earn, what kind of car you drive (I’ve had a BMW, Mercedes, Audi, Prelude and Jeep), what kind of work you do, what clothes you wear and where you have dinner or drinks or which friends do you meet for a beer!

I was always under the illusion that I had a lot of time left. A lot of life left in my hour glass. The rider on his pale horse would only come to fetch me much later in life. I lived in the now, in the moment, with a total disregard for time, money and friendships / relationships.

Fast forward to today, I wake up dead tired, hanging on by a very thin thread, gulping down some coffee at 3am whilst trying to calm my nerves after I put the dummy back into the little one’s mouth and gave her the favourite cuddly toy so she can get some sleep. I sleep on the floor, I sleep on the couch, I sleep in the car, I sleep during conversations with other adults. I sleep whenever I can, cause when she’s awake I need to be like a sentinel!

But I’m awake because my senses are tuned in to pick up any minute sound that might reflect choking or suffocation. I am a parent. I get up while the alarm clock is blaring in my ears to get my 10 year old ready for school. We have breakfast and conversations about life cycles of plants and why Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez split up?! We discuss the clouds around the tip of the beautiful Outiniqua Mountains on our way to school because every morning it would be different. I haven’t showered and I’m still wearing my pajamas, like some other mothers do when dropping off their kids at school. I am wearing my SALOMON Speedcross 3 Trial Running shoes though, because I’m adventurous at heart and then it feels like other people would not judge my appearance when they notice my great shoes!

I drive home in solitude (it’s a 7 minute drive…) and start thinking about the day ahead with the little one. What will she eat, when will she sleep, what can we play in a developmental way because all the magazines describe in fine detail what benchmarks your kid is supposed to reach at what second. If they don’t, they’re doomed to be a failure (magazines are ridiculous). They play on your fear as a parent and that’s how they make their money. I rely heavily on instinct, not what I’ve read.

I think about the Pre-Paid electricity, do we have enough on the meter? I think about the geyser, when do I switch it on to get hot water but still save electricity? In South Africa, with all our rich coal deposits, we have a National Energy Regulator who exports all the good coal to other countries, and leave the crap coal back here. Then with rains and whatnot the coal gets wet, the dilapidated infrastructure gets screwed, and the Powers that Be switches of the power grid nationwide. I just need some electricity to boil water, to make a bottle, to feed my baby. Is that too much to ask?

When I get home, my day starts with my little princess. What a wonderful little human being, I love her to bits. She is everything and more, and she is 100% reliant on me to get her through the day alive. I’m like Superman, Batman, Spiderman and the Hulk all rolled into one!

My wife goes to work, and I know that she misses our daughter every second that she does not spend time with her. I love my wife, she’s the best mother I know.

Back to the baby: After taking a bath (can’t shower, the noise will wake her) while she is taking her morning nap, I tiptoe to my closet to get my outfit for the day. Yes, I used to wear Levi Strauss, Polo, GAP, Adidas, Nike, all the expensive nice stuff. What do I wear now, el-cheapo shirt and pants, to counter the possibility of baby food, spit, vomit, milk and all other bodily fluids that seem to just appear out of nowhere with a baby on your lap. Nothing nicer than realising after you changed a dirty nappy that some sticky brown awful smelling residue got stuck on your wrist (don’t know how it got there in the first place, I used wipes and hand sanitizer?!). I get dressed, and mentally prepare myself for battle!

Breakfast is tricky with little ones. Try aiming a teaspoon filled with porridge at a teeny weeny mouth opening for a fraction of a second while she’s sitting at your DVD collection carelessly throwing your Bruce Springsteen Concert DVDs around like flying Saucers (She obviously doesn’t know who he is…). Awesome feeling. I’m a rather good marksman, but this is a true test of character! After 30 minutes and 17 spoonsful landing on your Persian rug (Sorry Honey!) and it seems that she had her fill. Mission accomplished!

She has some tea and then it’s play time! I glance at my Cellular Telephone and notice 2 000 missed calls and 700 voice messages, 400 SMS’s and 278 e-mails. I ignore all of them because if she sees me with the phone, she wants it! She chews on it, shakes it, bites it, slobbers all over the speaker and microphone… I have to leave it in the rice container in the pantry for 3 days afterwards just to get rid of the moisture… so if you were looking for me, I’m sorry I can’t take your call right now, I’m raising a child!

Two hours after she woke up, my internal instinct alarm tells me that I have to start looking for ‘signs’ that she’s tired (actually my smart wife told me this…) I read everything as a sign and start preparing her bottle for her mid-morning nap.

This time is bliss, because when she’s asleep, I can follow the Oscar Pistorius Trial on Twitter! (At the writing of this I still believe he is innocent and it was all just a major accident…)

When she wakes up around noon, we prepare lunch, and get ready to fetch her sister from school. I now look and feel better than in the morning when I dropped my 10 year old off at school, and so does all the other parents..

So far, I have had no time for myself today…

We get home and eat lunch (I take 2 bites…), the kids play a bit while I check on laundry, groceries, the ever threatening Pre-Paid Electricity ticking away!

My 10 year old has homework and she excuses herself to go and prepare her mind for educational purposes. I am astonished at how quickly she got this big and how much she knows about Justin Bieber?! (Who is this guy anyway…?)

I get the little one ready for her afternoon nap, my parental instinct operating at full capacity!

I still had no time for myself today…

I pass out from exhaustion on the carpet next to her bed and sleep for 20mins, my wife arrives and I prepare to go teach martial arts at my school. I finish and head home and I know we are now going to start preparing for dinner, bath time and sleep, so I stretch my aching back muscles, take a few gulps of lukewarm coffee (this morning’s cup which I re-heated in the microwave…) and start thawing the meat we are preparing for our 3 course sit down dinner (just kidding, we eat basic protein, carbs and greens all in 1 plate…).

Little one is sleeping, 10 year old is done with homework and telling me about Justin Bieber and wondering why I’m lecturing her about the brilliance of Bruce Springsteen while she’s helping to put the DVDs away…

10 year old is asleep, I ask my wife how her day was, but I fall asleep while she’s answering the question… (Sorry Honey!)

Tomorrow, I’m at it again, hopefully only at 5am, and not 3am like this morning!

Remember:

  1. All Moms, Housewives, Homemakers are tough as nails – RESPECT.
  2. Always wear good shoes: Thank you SALOMON Speedcross 3.
  3. Bruce Springsteen will ALWAYS be The Boss

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