P r e t o r i a’ s
b e s t
g u i d e
f o r
pa r e n t s
into action refresh their reading corner and surround them with books master those tricky conversations with your children growing pains... are they real?
close to home nanny diaries • moms popping pills • veggies – fresh vs frozen
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Booka and Ju lian
I spent many happy hours reading Winnie-the-Pooh to my eldest daughter, Julian. As a toddler she had Tigger-like tendencies, strutting around the garden in bellbottoms and gumboots, happiest when leading a trail of animals. At one stage this included Booka, the Malamute; a pig (whose name escapes me); Phillip, the goat and a pony called Granny Groovy. We used to rent a tiny cottage on a three-acre farm, which had an assortment of creatures. Being surrounded by loving people and the great outdoors may be the reason for Julian’s affinity with the bear of big heart, but little brain. Those were happy days. We planted sunflowers that grew taller
than both of us and when I had to go to work in the morning and Julian was sick, Jenny, the farm owner, would take her up to the main house and tuck her into bed next to Phillip, the goat, who kept his beady eyes on her. Springtime always makes me want to pull out our worn copy of A.A. Milne’s A Treasury of Stories, Hums and Verse and share Pooh’s latest adventure with a freshly bathed, sleepy little tot. Sadly, my girls have moved on from stories of the lovable bear, but I’m glad their love of reading has endured.
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contents september 2013
3 a note from lisa
6 upfront with paul technology
6 over to you readers respond
is wonderful, says Paul Kerton, but nothing compares to saying “I love you” face-to-face
8 pregnancy news – shaping up it’s important to keep fit while
12 difficult conversations to have with your child some discussions are not easy to have with children, but they may be necessary, says Tori Hoffmann
14 read to write children that read are better students. By Marina Zietsman
16 sometimes growing up is sore to do Marc de Chazal finds out more about “mysterious” growing pains
18 what your nanny is thinking Anél Lewis asks two domestic helpers to share what’s important to them
20 moms who pop pills Françoise Gallet looks at the dangers of abusing prescription medication
pregnant, says Lucille Kemp
9 best for baby – probiotics: nature’s recipe good gut health can help fight allergies and eczema. By Vanessa Papas
11 dealing with difference Glynis Horning looks at the alarming rise of eating disorders in children
22 resource – a click away Tamlyn Vincent gives you inspiration for convenient online shopping
23 a good read for the whole family 24 what’s on in september 30 finishing touch Superman has entered Anél Lewis’s home; for a good reason it seems
10 frosty bites Tamlyn Vincent
28 family marketplace
looks at the benefits of fresh and frozen vegetables
29 let’s party
this month’s cover images are supplied by: Joburg
Jacqueline Beytel Chipie International facebook.com/ Jelli Children’s Boutique jolijacquelinephotography
upfront with paul
i’ll be back… Modern communication tools are useful when you’re away from your family, but nothing beats talking face-to-face, says PAUL KERTON.
hey say, “absence makes the heart grow fonder”, but “they” also say “out of sight, out of mind.” I’m not so sure which “they” to believe. But, whether in a grown-up relationship or the relationship you have with your children, my take is it is better to be with the ones you love and not just loving any old ones you might be with. It’s horrible being away from my daughters; it makes me realise how fast they are growing up, and how much of that I am missing. My eldest is now taller than her mom. The youngest is using big words like “communication.” And I’m missing the enormous amount of fun we used to have together… Even in this hi-tech age, “communication” can be complicated. Yes, Skype is absolutely
brilliant. It’s incredibly reliable and the sound and picture quality, 90 percent of the time, is amazing. It’s like being in the same room. And it’s free. I remember, only a few years ago, travelling to London and needing to phone home in Cape Town, funnelling what felt like hundreds of pound coins into a public phone that seemed more like a one-armed bandit – and that was if you could find one that worked – only to hear a crackly voice at best and a crossed line with some Afrikaans dentist from Bloemfontein. I spent half of each R250 call saying, “pardon?”. With the proliferation of mobiles, iPads and laptops there are hardly any public phone booths to be found anymore in Greater London, and the internet café has practically disappeared altogether as
over to you
most coffee shops, restaurants, hotels and snack bars now provide free broadband as a matter of course. They even now have broadband available on the London underground, but that doesn’t help really. It is impossible to Skype when your nose is sticking into somebody else’s armpit. It is so disappointing though, when either party fails to make the promised rendezvous, albeit for a legitimate reason. I’ve found that skyping from a coffee house is extremely hazardous. Waiters barking orders for a “Tall skinny strawberry and cream Frappuccino”, and baristas noisily banging the residual coffee out of the Espresso machine filter, continually interrupt any intimate conversation. Then there is the time factor, especially if you are two hours behind. Will they be home
after “hip-hop” and will they have time before “piano”? Or will they be having supper? Or doing their homework? Can I finish my meeting and get across town in time? Timing is everything. No, the best solution is to return home as soon as possible and get back to a normal routine. I can’t wait to return to Cape Town and give them a big hug and tell them I love them, face-to-face. You can tell your children you love them a thousand times over text and in emails – which is better than not doing it – but you really need to tell them while giving them a hug. So, I’m going to steal Arnold Schwarzenegger’s immortal words in The Terminator: “I’ll be back…” Follow Paul on Twitter: @fabdad1
Let us know what’s on your mind. Send your letters or comments to email@example.com or PO Box 12002, Mill Street, 8010.
it’s what you know
I am a huge fan of your magazine, and there is a pile of your magazines in my office, almost toppling over. I continuously refer to old issues, which gives me a good excuse to have an extra cup of coffee. I want to thank you for the article “it’s what you know” (August 2013). I am always trying to find ways to increase my eight year old’s general knowledge. I bought a few encyclopaedias and other general knowledge books. Our deal is that every night we read through a random topic and by the end of the year we know at least 300 new facts. Some days we are good, and other days we tend to slip, so I am very grateful for the ideas offered in this article. Kamish
Thanks again for your lovely magazine. Every month we are looking forward to the next issue of Child magazine. Eunice Gaum, Queenswood Primary, Pretoria
devil in blue tracksuit pants
party time made easy
I read Paul Kerton’s column in the August issue (“too embarrassing”) and had to laugh out loud. I too had a pair of “ancient” blue tracksuit pants that did not want to get lost. That was until my 11 year old pointed out to me that I looked like a “bad incarnation of Eminem”. I googled his images and the pants are now history. Rachel
I am a busy working mom to four-year-old twins. Their birthday in May always leaves me with a sinking feeling as I try to come up with something different for each of them. My schedule is demanding and I cannot dedicate hours to home baking. Your features on parties in the May issue were well-timed, and I wanted to thank you for recommending the book Easy Party Treats for Children by Janette Mocke.
Follow us on twitter.com/ChildMag, facebook.com/childmag.co.za and pinterest.com/childmagazine
The ideas she gives are fun and simple to make, and my children enjoyed making their party treats with me. Instead of party packs, I was able to send home edible helicopters and cone princesses – far more rewarding. Anne Quinlan
where can I find back issues? Have you done any articles about choosing appropriate and beneficial apps for preschoolers and early graders? As an ex-teacher and now a grandmother of three, I spend many hours scouting for good apps and reading what educationalists are saying about touch screen technology. Judy Childmag says All our articles can be found online. We also have back issues (dating back one year) on our website. Visit childmag.co.za
responses online I often use lettuce for my daughter’s sandwiches. The trick is to use a whole leaf or tear it with your hands into pieces. This way the lettuce remains crisp. I’m not sure why cutting or shredding lettuce with a knife makes it turn brown. Sonia Billson in response to “lunchbox tips” The tip on apples is very useful [to place an elastic band around it after slicing it, so that it stays in shape]. I have found that dried fruit and nuts, popcorn and homemade trail mixes are a welcome addition to snack time at school. Sharona in response to “lunchbox tips” subscribe to our newsletter and win Our wins have moved online. Please subscribe to our newsletter and enter our weekly competitions. To subscribe, visit childmag.co.za
We reserve the right to edit and shorten submitted letters. The opinions reflected here are those of our readers and are not necessarily held by Hunter House Publishing.
Post a comment online at childmag.co.za
PHOTOGRAPH: MARIETTE BARKHUIZEN
Saskia, Paul and Sabina
shaping up Having a conditioned body means being at your best for your child. By LUCILLE KEMP
now that you’re pregnant If you weren’t exercising before you became pregnant, biokineticist Tara-Lee Morton recommends that you get clearance from your gynae or GP before beginning any form of exercise, and thereafter get a biokineticist or personal trainer on board to monitor you during workouts. As a start-up, The American College of Sports Medicine suggests walking and swimming. They also say that ideally you should exercise indoors as it provides protection from extremes in temperature and air pollution. Even though active women, who are pregnant, can exercise as usual, they will need to modify their programme based on how
they feel, and as pregnancy develops, bringing with it joint slackness and weight gain.
what to do? Your aim should be to manage your weight, improve your strength and focus on your pelvic muscles. “Your pelvic floor exercises are a variety of “squeeze-and-lift” (or knyping) movements. For fitness and weight management, go for brisk walks, swim, spin or use the elliptical trainer at the gym. You may also use light weights to tone up,” says Tara. Hayley points out that many of the exercises recommended during pregnancy can be performed incidentally. So, pelvic floor exercises can be performed while brushing your teeth, and foot and ankle exercises while sitting at your desk. Hayley also advises practicing squatting and tailor sitting as these exercises will strengthen your thigh muscles and increase circulation to your pelvis, making the joints suppler. Pilates- and yoga-based exercise programmes are great options along with using resistance bands and doing various exercises with a Swiss ball. Kegel exercises can be done on all fours in what is known as the “cat-cow” stretch, which also incorporates breathing techniques.
take care You can start walking today with minimal supervision, but Hayley offers a few important pointers: “walk tall with your buttocks tucked under your spine, your shoulders back and your head up, not hanging down. Ease up towards the end of pregnancy, though, to pre-empt backache.”
there is payoff Exercise relieves you of that clumsy, fat feeling, which rears its head particularly in the last trimester. Staying in condition during pregnancy also means that you should regain your normal shape within a shorter time after your baby’s birth. Tara emphasises: “Exercise will reduce pregnancyrelated high blood pressure and diabetes, and improve muscle strength and fitness, which will help specifically during birth. It also improves flexibility, circulation and sleeping patterns; reduces muscle stiffness and soreness, and relieves stress; minimises lower-back pain and increases endorphin levels in the bloodstream.” The payoff of a toned body continues into everyday life as a mother, remarks Hayley. “You’ll need a strong back and set of arms to carry your baby, push the pram about town and move heavy car seats.”
ayley Alexander, a specialist in pregnancy and postnatal yoga, actively taught yoga classes until she was eight months pregnant and continued exercising and walking until she was past her due date. Hayley’s children were born naturally, with no pain medication, and she attributes this to having conditioned her body and, in turn, her mind. “For me, getting ready to have a baby is like preparing to run an ultra-marathon; the pre-training is essential if you are going to succeed.”
probiotics: nature’s recipe
Probiotics can encourage the production of antibodies in babies and children, which can protect them from allergies and eczema, says Vanessa Papas.
here is more to probiotics than stimulating the growth and activity of good bacteria in your child’s digestive system. New research confirms that probiotics are the only form of supplementation proven to benefit allergy sufferers and prevent eczema in babies. “It’s important to understand the difference between probiotics and prebiotics,” says expert allergist Dr Adrian Morris, who specialises in the testing, diagnosis and treatment of allergies at the Allergy Clinic based in Cape Town, Durban and Joburg. “The word ‘probiotics’ literally means ‘for life’, and refers to living organisms that have a number of health benefits. They are ‘good bacteria’ that colonise our bowels and have an impact on gut immunity. If your child is on antibiotics or has diarrhoea, this friendly bacteria is killed along with bad bacteria, so gut flora is depleted and pathogenic bacteria can take over, decreasing your child’s immune system and making them more susceptible to various sicknesses. A probiotic supplement is needed in these cases to restore ‘good bacteria’ in the gut. Prebiotics, on the other hand, are short chain sugars that probiotics feed on, which is why it’s so important that your child has a balance of prebiotics and probiotics.” New research suggests that the use of probiotics may decrease a baby’s risk of getting eczema and reduce the risk of allergic reactions. Baby eczema (also called atopic dermatitis) appears as red, crusty patches on your baby’s skin, often during their first few months. No one really knows what causes eczema, but it’s an immune system reaction that can be triggered by certain things, including allergies. Heredity is a big factor in whether or not an infant gets eczema. If a mom or dad has eczema, a baby is a lot more likely to develop it too. Allergies are triggered by foreign substances called “allergens”, which can be anything from dust and pet hair to foods and pollen. The most
best for baby
effective probiotics in allergy prevention are acidophilus and bifidobacteria – a group of bacteria that normally live in the intestines, but can be grown outside the body and then taken by mouth as medicine. “Reuteri has the most research done on this group of bacteria (parents should beware of cheap replicas),” says Morris. “However, they have to be taken early to be of benefit in reducing your child’s risk of developing allergies. The pregnant mother should take them throughout pregnancy, so that during vaginal childbirth she actually inoculates her newborn. That’s why Caesarean babies are more prone to allergies as they don’t receive a dose of good bugs going down the birth canal. The probiotic supplements should then also be taken while breast-feeding and given in powder form to the newborn baby at risk of eczema.” Morris adds that while natural yoghurt (labelled “live and active cultures”) and some types of cheeses have lactobacillus, which is considered to also have probiotic characteristics, these foods are derived from milk, which can aggravate allergies. This is why doctors recommend using a probiotic supplement instead.
get it naturally Foods that contain probiotics include live yoghurt and yoghurt drinks; fermented and unfermented milk; miso and tempeh, which are made from fermented soya beans; some juices and soya drinks. Foods that contain prebiotics include onions, bananas, barley, garlic, chicory, asparagus, artichokes, soya beans and oats. Breast milk naturally contains prebiotics, so a breast-fed baby will benefit.
frosty bites If fresh, seasonal vegetables aren’t available, frozen veggies are a healthy alternative if cooked
fresh is best Fresh vegetables and fruit are best, says Durban nutritionist Cathy Grundy. They provide us with vitamins and minerals, which help us stay healthy while warding off lifestyle diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure, says Toni Smyth, a dietician in Cape Town. Fresh produce also tastes better, and can be eaten raw, something you probably don’t want to try with frozen carrots. But Grundy points out that vegetables and fruit start to lose nutrient value from the moment they are picked. And when we buy them from the supermarket, we have no way of knowing how long produce has been out of the ground, or how long it has been on the shelf. These vegetables are also generally picked before they are ripe, especially
if they are not in season, and may travel long distances before appearing on the supermarket shelves. Grundy adds that they often have lower nutrient content than vegetables picked at the height of the season, when they are ripe. “By the time vegetables are farmed, packaged, transported and appear on the supermarket shelves, they have been exposed to air and light, which degrades certain nutrients,” says Smyth. We also have no way of knowing what chemicals they have come into contact with to prevent them from spoiling, adds Grundy. The only way to be sure, is to grow your own vegetables.
frozen food But a variety of fresh, seasonal, local produce isn’t always available, especially in winter months. This is where frozen veggies come in handy. Vegetables destined for the freezer are picked at the height of the season when they are ripe, so nutrient value is at its peak, says Grundy. They are blanched, to get rid of any bacteria, and then frozen as quickly as possible. Smyth adds that frozen vegetables
retain their vitamins and minerals, so are often just as good nutritionally, as fresh vegetables. Another plus for frozen produce is that the preparation is already done. Frozen vegetables do need to be stored and cooked correctly to ensure that you are getting all of the nutrients from them. They can usually be stored for eight to 12 months, says Grundy, but should be kept in a freezer at between -5ºC and -18ºC. Take out only the amount you need, to avoid defrosting and refreezing, and store the remaining vegetables in sealed freezer bags or containers. Cook the vegetables from frozen, says Smyth, and go easy on the temperature and cooking time, to avoid losing nutrients. If you’re boiling them, only use a little bit of water. Alternatively, you can try steaming, blanching, grilling or poaching the vegetables. Grundy recommends that you avoid produce that has additives. Sodium, or salt, may be added as a preservative, or food may come crumbed or battered, but these increase the fat content of the vegetables. Some vegetables that freeze well are peas, corn, carrots, beans, cauliflower, broccoli and Brussels sprouts.
s a mom, I want what is best for my family, and for years I have thought that this meant steering clear of the frozen foods section in the supermarket. But fresh vegetables and fruit aren’t always easy to find, and as it turns out, frozen vegetables can be a nutritious substitute.
correctly. By Tamlyn Vincent
dealing with difference
what’s eating our children? Children as young as seven are presenting with eating disorders. Know the signs and find help fast, writes Glynis Horning.
hile her nine-year-old Joburg classmates romped in the playground, planning playdates at pools and birthday parties, Sarah Taunton* mostly sat alone. “I was always comparing myself to others and I felt fat and ugly,” she says. “I hated wearing a bathing costume or shorts, but I wasn’t even chubby. My mom ran a beauty salon and was always on a diet; she wouldn’t have sweet stuff in the house. I’d buy chocolate at the tuck shop and gorge before I went home, or pig out at my grandmother’s, where I was spoilt. Then I felt gross, so I’d hardly eat. My mom was too busy to notice. By 13 I’d learnt from other girls to stick my fingers down my throat and throw up after bingeing.” Today Sarah is 17 and only recently managed to stop this through an eating disorders programme. “It probably sounds pathetic, but food ruled my childhood.” The secretive nature of eating disorders makes statistics hard to establish, but a growing number of children are being treated. A study by the US Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality showed hospitalisation for eating disorders in under 12s rose 119 percent between 1999 and 2006. Grainne Attwell, consultant dietician at Riverview Manor treatment centre near Underberg, reports that according to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, 10 percent of eating disorders are diagnosed in children aged 10 or younger. “These are diagnosed eating disorders with psychopathology. ‘Disordered eating’ rates may be higher,” she says.
reasons to digest The reasons are complex, from a history of being overweight in early childhood, to size six models, competition between friends who diet, access to social media at a young age, and the rise of “pro-ana” and “pro-mia” online groups that promote anorexia and bulimia. “It’s estimated that 70 percent of eating disorders are triggered by life events, including death, divorce, abuse, bullying, and parents’ attitudes to body shape, food and weight,” Attwell says. Some children seem more prone to develop eating disorders under such pressures. “Current opinion is that there’s a large genetic predisposition, particularly to developing severe restricting anorexia nervosa and fullblown bulimia nervosa,” says Dr Pam Morris, a Durban clinical psychologist, with an interest in eating disorders. This is often linked to a genetic family history of eating disorders, anxiety and depressive disorders, obsessivecompulsive disorder (OCD) or perfectionists and even autism sufferers. It tends to show up around adolescence, when these children have difficulty making the changes required in the transition to adulthood. magazine pretoria
“Adolescents with a predisposition to eating disorders are more vulnerable to social pressures towards thinness. They begin to think that ‘fatness’ is the reason for their difficulties, and see ‘thinness’ as a handy and more tangible ‘solution’ for these underlying, complex human difficulties,” Morris says. The problem then “feeds on itself,” as restricting food intake may directly alter neuro chemicals and reduce anxiety. This encourages more food restriction, and eating becomes associated with loss of control or anxiety. Starvation also increases “obsessional focus” and hyperactivity, which “numbs” the brain and may be quite rewarding, so the cycle of restricting food continues. Restricting food also lowers neuro chemicals that control appetite, which commonly results in a massive, physical urge to binge, Morris says. “This elicits extreme anxiety and the urge to compensate for these extra calories by vomiting, using laxatives, exercising or further starving, which perpetuates the cycle in bulimia nervosa.” Vomiting may also increase production of “feel-good” neuro chemicals, which can give a sense of relief from unpleasant feelings and anxiety, and may become addictive. “The eating disorder becomes a habitual, dysfunctional way of coping with a variety of life problems.” Personality too may play a part, and youngsters who are driven, disciplined high achievers with low self-esteem seem more at risk. More girls present than boys, though boys are now estimated to account for about one in four cases of disordered eating. “What is sometimes called ‘manorexia’ often starts in primary school, with boys wanting to be big but lean for sport at high school,” says Durban dietician Kathy Krog. “At high school it continues, not only for sport but to attract girls. They cut out fat, bulk up with powders and over exercise.”
unpalatable facts The body needs fat, which contributes 30 percent of its total energy, and a restrictive diet in childhood and adolescence can stunt growth, says Krog. “Girls’ greatest growth potential is age nine to 12. For boys it’s 15 to 17, but they can keep growing to 25.” Eating disorders also bring irreversible, potentially lifethreatening health problems. Anorexia can damage the heart, liver and kidneys, delay or stop menstruation, and lead to hair loss, thin bones, lethargy, headaches, dizziness, concentration problems, moodiness and social withdrawal. Bulimia can damage the stomach and kidneys, and cause heart problems from electrolyte and salt imbalance. Purging expels potassium, the acid in vomit triggers tooth decay, and salivary glands can swell from excessive throwing up, causing “chipmunk cheeks”.
plan of action It’s essential to get help as early as possible, before the disordered eating habit becomes ingrained. “Tell the child you are concerned and are taking them to a professional,” advises Attwell. “They’ll usually be in denial. Remember that someone with an eating disorder is controlled by it and will do anything for it, including manipulating, cheating and hiding. Stay calm and firm, and persevere with a multidisciplinary treatment plan including a psychologist, psychiatrist and family doctor.” Involve teachers or school counsellors too. Treatment can be a long journey, usually centred on cognitive behaviour therapy for eating disorders (CBT-E), where the child learns to identify negative automatic thoughts and replace them with more balanced ones. Family therapy is also important, as the child will spend most of their time at home, and parents or siblings can have a negative or positive influence. After two years of treatment both Sarah and her mother are eating a balanced diet, and their relationship has improved. But when a child is dangerously malnourished or severely depressed, they may need to be hospitalised. * Name has been changed
tips to prevent eating disorders • • • • • • • • • •
ave family meals at the table. H Give healthy food choices. Set an example in your eating. Don’t label food “good” or “bad”. Don’t use food to reward or punish. Don’t put overweight children on diets (they may become obsessed with food). Become an active family and encourage sport. Praise children’s inner qualities rather than appearance. Build self-esteem. Teach ways for them to handle their emotions.
warning signs • • • • • • •
reoccupation with food, weight or diet P Avoiding meals or events where there is food Going to the bathroom after meals (to purge) Scarred knuckles (from using fingers to vomit) Social withdrawal Dramatic weight change Obsessive exercise
conversations to have with your child Six topics most parents dread; TORI HOFFMANN prepares you for those difficult conversations you may have to have with your child.
hen your child acts up, does something wrong, or is going through a tough time – a death in the family, divorce, or failure at school – it’s hard to know how to broach the subject with them. There’s already an issue at hand, and the last thing you want to do is make it worse. So, how do you respond in these tricky situations? And what do you say – depending on the age of the child – to explain the situation?
lying and stealing Anyone who has a toddler will know that they often pick up toys from school and playdates and bring them home, only for you to find them in their pockets later. They’re not stealing, and if you ask them where they got it or whose it is, they won’t lie about it; they probably won’t even know. As a child starts to grow up and out of the toddler phase (under seven) it’s important to remain calm and to not overreact should you catch him lying and stealing, says Cape Town social worker in private practice, and author of the popular Boundaries series of books, Anne Cawood. “Often, if a parent is over-punitive regarding stealing, the child will add a lie to the situation. Avoid direct questions as far as possible – for example, do not say, ‘Did you take the toy?’ because the kneejerk reaction to this will often be ‘No’, so a lie is added,” urges Anne. “Rather say, ‘I see that you have a toy that is not yours – we need to take this back.’ This makes it easier for the child to say something like, ‘I just wanted to play with it’,” she says. Once you have returned what was “stolen”, Anne encourages parents to take the opportunity to give their children a bit of a lesson about what it feels like if things get taken from them and then make the consequence a firm but age-appropriate one. Being over harsh, she says, is only likely to entrench dishonest behaviour. “In the case of an older child, remain calm, but very firm. Make it clear that there will be consequences for dishonest behaviour. Try to give a warning when it happens the first time and tell your child what will happen if it happens again, as problems can escalate when a child gets away with it because the parent is overprotective. When it becomes an entrenched problem in an older child, seek professional help. Remember that children seldom lie when it’s safe to tell the truth.”
Cole (Random House) or Where Did I Come From by Peter Mayle (Carol Publishing Corporation). This will deal with the basics such as babies grow from a seed in Mommy’s tummy. Later the child will ask how it got in there and so it will develop. “Parents need to answer honestly. If you don’t, your child will just ask someone at school who might give her the answers in a way you wouldn’t want. “Some parents wait for the child to ask and they never do. This doesn’t mean that they are not interested – they may simply not feel confident to bring it up with you. In this case, make sure that you do bring it up with them. I tell parents not to allow a child to start Grade 1 without some knowledge.” What’s important to remember is that this is part of your ongoing relationship with your child: to help the child feel safe and secure in asking and discussing these sensitive issues with you. As your child gets older, buy good books such as Teen Guide to Sex and Relationships by Jess C Scott (Createspace) on sex education and allow them to read them when they feel the need. “The same principles apply to drugs and alcohol. Make sure your children have the facts and that you also establish very firm boundaries from a young age. Children will experiment because it’s part of the teen stage. But they will seldom fall prey to ongoing abuse of substances if you remain in touch with them, and ensure that the rules are clear and they know what the consequences of breaking the rules will be.”
Too many families play ‘games’ like the game of ‘lets all pretend that nothing is happening’, which takes emotional and physical energy that would be better utilised for coping with the traumatic event positively.
In this age of explicit media, such as television, children learn far more about sex than they ever did before. For this reason, Anne maintains that it’s vital to start the “birds and the bees” conversation during the preschool years. She makes the point, though, that it’s not to be a one-off conversation, but one that’s ongoing. “It’s a good idea to begin very simply with a basic book such as Mummy Laid an Egg by Babette
“Talking about death and divorce is far more challenging,” cautions Cawood, adding that the main principle is to be age appropriate, honest and open because children are far more switched on than we often give them credit for. They pick up the vibes and hear our conversations. “Many parents come to me and find it very hard to actually use the dreaded ‘D’ words. But it’s vital that they hear these words from you, the people they trust most. They do not need to hear all the adult issues or the emotionally laden truth. But they are resilient (more so than we like to think) and benefit from hearing the truth as soon as possible. They may be devastated, but it’s wrong not to tell them in the mistaken belief that they cannot handle it. Too many families play ‘games’ like the game of ‘lets all pretend that nothing is happening’, which takes emotional and physical energy that would be better utilised for coping with the traumatic event positively, openly and honestly.” Families need to learn to keep the channels of communication effective and use empathy and ageappropriate common sense. Always turn to the professionals in cases of indecision, Cawood stresses. magazine pretoria
PHOTOGRAPHs / illustrations: shutterSTOCK.COM
sex, drugs and alcohol
death and divorce
one mom’s story about divorce When Janine Dunlop and her husband split up, they decided not to immediately tell their children that they were going to get divorced. They themselves didn’t know what the future would hold and they didn’t want to give their children too much information. At the time, their children were nine, six and four years old, and old enough to understand what was going on. However, a conversation about Dad moving to a new house was necessary. “We told our children together, over an amicable family picnic on the lounge floor, that their dad was going to live in another house, but that he would visit a lot, and once he found a house to live in permanently, they would be able to go and stay in that house too. It didn’t come as too much of a shock to them. Our older two told me afterwards that they expected it, because my ex-husband and I had been fighting so much. While we expected a lot of tears, they handled it very well and I think they appreciated our honesty, being treated like adults, and that we put them first. Their biggest concerns were practical issues such as how would they get to and from school (their dad doesn’t drive) and where would they put all of their stuff, but that was soon resolved,” explains Janine.
a family dealing with death Telling your children about the death of anyone they are close to can be an exceptionally hard thing to do. Trying to remain strong while you yourself are falling apart is no easy task. “But what if you don’t have to? What if you grieve with them?” asks Louise de Lucchi, who lost her husband to a heart attack when he was 48 and her children were four, five and seven years old. “My husband passed away suddenly in the middle of the night. In the short time that I was gone to find help, my two older children – who’d woken up – had seen for themselves that their dad had died, and it wasn’t something that I had to sit down and tell them,” says Louise. That said, on the night it happened, Louise’s aunt still took the
children downstairs and explained to them right away what had happened. She told them that their dad had gone to heaven. “We didn’t just leave it at that one conversation though to sweep it under the carpet. We kept talking about it; and six years later, we still talk about it. “In that first week, my mother and family members were around us the entire time, and there was a lot of buffering. If I couldn’t handle the situation, then somebody would take the children and talk to them. My aunt, who is a minister, spoke to them about their father being like a dragonfly, watching them all the time. Because she related it to something physical and something they could understand, it helped them. I also let them see me cry and get angry. That way, they knew that it was okay to cry and get angry too. You can’t disguise it, you can’t play it down and you have to be honest with them and let them vent. Children aren’t stupid.”
seek help SA Depression and Anxiety Group Contact: 011 262 6396, 0800 205 026 or visit sadag.co.za for grief support Childline Contact: 0800 055 555 or visit childline.org.za (they have a facility whereby a child can speak to them online via Mxit) Lifeline Contact: 082 231 0805 or visit lifeline.org.za Sanca National Directorate (South African National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence) Contact: 086 147 2622 (SANCA), firstname.lastname@example.org or visit sancanational.org
read to write In the world of technology, it’s not always easy getting our children interested in literature. MARINA ZIETSMAN helps to inspire you.
readers make better students If you are still not convinced about the importance of reading, then maybe this truth will help: students that were fortunate enough to develop an appetite for reading as children are the ones that cope better academically. Elizabeth Wasserman is a pathologist in private practice and extraordinary professor in the Division of Medical Microbiology at the University of Stellenbosch. She is also the author of the very popular series for eight to 11 year olds, Anna Atoom and Speurhond Willem, of which the latter has now been translated into English as Dogtective William. Wasserman says, “Although my specialty is medical microbiology and infectious diseases, I have a keen
interest in education and have always been fascinated by whatever it may be that determines the success of my students as undergraduates and postgraduates. My observations are that students who are keen readers, and read on a broad variety of subjects, are generally better able to cope with the challenges of higher studies.” “The ability to read with speed and a good grasp of content is of course essential, but some ‘softer’ skills also appear to be enhanced in the wellread student: they are able to integrate new learning into a broad framework of reference, and they are able to transfer skills and knowledge from one topic to another,” Wasserman adds. She says readers solve problems more efficiently, and often more
creatively. “Information nowadays is an open commodity, and this makes the mere memorisation of facts obsolete. I have heard it said that the current challenge is to be able to analyse and integrate content to create new knowledge. Talent or so-called ‘intelligence’ helps, but you need a highly trained and very fit brain to master these skills,” she concludes.
reluctant readers Claire Montague-Fryer, a Cape Town mom of three, has worked as a senior children’s bookseller and buyer for leading South African retailers for almost 20 years and is currently the website and content manager for Reader’s Warehouse. She has vast experience in getting reluctant readers
arper Lee, author of To Kill a Mockingbird once said: “Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.” How do we get today’s techno junkies to read a book and to discover the amazing world of tales in words? Jay Heale, author of Hooked on Books (Metz Press), offers the following advice: start creating a book-friendly home before your child is born. Heale reminds us that babies learn by seeing, hearing and copying. “They [babies] don’t need formal lessons. They absorb the world around them. They copy your sounds and your actions as best they can. If sitting down with one of those strange book-things looks like fun, then they want to do the same,” writes Heale.
interested in books. “The main reason for these children being reluctant readers is a lack of confidence in reading, and it’s a catch-22 situation; the less confident you feel while reading, the less you will read and practice and never improve,” says Claire. The term “reluctant reader” can refer to children who are behind their peers at school on reading level, children who see reading as “uncool”, children who can only focus on one specific activity or sport, and children who are not exposed to reading. “Most reluctant readers are boys,” says Claire, “so the impetus lies with male role models to encourage reading and you’ll have to show them that books are exciting: make the noises and jump around.” Claire says that today there are amazing series of children and young adult’s books available, far more so than when we were growing up, both in quality and range. Taboo subjects are empathetically handled, without patronising the reader. And the humble comic book has given birth to the underrated genre of the graphic novel, which is perfect for a reluctant reader, as often the content and illustrations are on par with an older reader’s age. “The main problem for reluctant readers is that often the content doesn’t match their age. For example, a 12-year-old boy is now beyond the humour in Captain Underpants, even though the reading level is right for
him. The graphic novel, on the other hand, can make up by offering suitable content,” Claire points out.
reader, hearing a familiar voice reading the story it is also vital. It makes the often daunting process of confronting words less scary.
a magazine, the newspaper or an e-book. You cannot force a love of literature, but you can certainly give them a love and appreciation of the written word.
Reading doesn’t end when you close the book – “Keep reading aloud with your children wherever you are; read traffic signs, billboards, street signs or headlines. Being able to read quickly, confidently and correctly is one of the most empowering tools to have in life,” Claire emphasises.
it’s never too late
be patient Your child’s book of choice – “If your child has picked up Why is Snot Green?, grit your teeth, and go with it,” says Claire. It might not be great literature, but it is what he has chosen and something about it strikes a chord. Half the battle is already won, plus he feels a sense of control about something that he might be dreading. Unless it is obviously unsuitable, this is your cue to show enthusiasm and excitement. Repetition of the same book – “You’ll just have to stick it out. Repetition is soothing and helps a child learn about pronunciation and text. Every time the book is read, they often notice something new in the story or have a new question, which can result in a completely silly or meaningful conversation,” Claire advises. It also instils confidence, in that the child will know he is capable of reading it himself (as he has now heard it often enough). Read aloud – Reading aloud to your child creates a relaxing atmosphere and memories. For a very new
Lead by example – Have books in the house and read them yourself. It doesn’t have to be a novel; it can be
If you’ve missed the step of getting your baby or toddler interested in books, says Claire, there is still time to encourage a love of reading. “You need to practice reading at home, without it seeming like homework. This is where the role of the recommended reading list becomes invaluable; where you need to tap into what his interests are.” If you have a reluctant teenage reader, tap into their world, and invest in an appropriate e-book.
Claire’s recommended graphic novels for reluctant readers Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer (from age 12) Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer (from age 12) Alex Rider series by Anthony Horowitz (from age 10) Tintin by Herge (from age 6) Asterix and Obelix by Rene Goscinny and Albert Uderzo (from age 12) Sandman series by Neil Gaiman (from age 11)
To download recommended reading lists for different ages, visit childmag.co.za/ content/reading-lists
your child’s life
sometimes growing up is sore to do
aching legs The general consensus is that growing pains usually occur from the ages of two to 12 and are slightly more common in girls. However, Ashberg’s practice sees mostly boys between the ages of five and seven with this complaint. “There are a few theories about what causes growing pains, but the most credible one seems to be the overuse of developing muscles during the day,” he says. “Children of this age are very active, and this is likely the reason why they may experience pain in their legs, especially in the late afternoon and at night. But I would hesitate to say that growing pains are very common or a normal part of growing up. Far fewer children suffer from them than you would think.” Growing pains are different from leg cramps, which tend to be related to a muscle spasm. They are often described by children as an ache or throb in their legs, although children don’t always describe pain accurately. Some children may also complain of headaches and abdominal pain. If there is persistent pain that just won’t let up, your child may have something more serious than growing pains. You should be concerned if the pain is accompanied by other symptoms, such as swelling, redness, or if it’s located in the joints or associated with an injury. Poor posture may also cause pain. “Standing, sitting or walking awkwardly puts greater-than-usual strain on the supporting muscles of the body,” explains Brandon Maggen, a Cape Town-based podiatrist. “Sometimes, children whose feet pronate may have more trouble with pain than other children.” Growing pains do not affect how a child walks and runs and they do not make a child sick. “If your child is limping, is complaining of pain during the day, is unwell or if their leg is sore to touch, you need to get your child checked by a doctor or podiatrist,” advises Maggen. Your health-care practitioner may then suggest blood tests and X-rays to get to the bottom of it. Unfortunately, there is no specific treatment for growing pains, but gentle massage of a child’s sore legs reportedly helps, as do heating pads. Maggen adds that plenty of hugs and copious amounts of assurance by parents are really important. Pain relief medication such as ibuprofen may be prescribed, but Ashberg cautions against aspirin, which has been known to result in serious childhood diseases such as Reye’s syndrome.
What’s it all about? MARC DE CHAZAL explores the mystery of growing pains, shin splints, aching legs and rapid growth.
Growth spurts can be described as periods of rapid growth, often attributed to middle adolescence when the body produces a large amount of growth hormones. A child’s growth is not always steady and even, but tends to occur in spurts. Ashberg points out that the biggest growth spurt occurs in utero. After a child is born, we then see significant growth spurts taking place until the age of two. A child’s growth tends to plateau between the ages of two and five. “We see children between ages five and 10 maintaining a fairly even growth chart, and then the next big spurt occurs around the 10- and 11-year-old mark,” he says. In between these spurts, growth continues, but less visibly. “During the prepubescent years, the extremities of the body grow faster than the torso, giving children a long-legged appearance,” explains Maggen. “As their bones grow, they pull the tendons and muscles along, and the ligaments to which the bones are attached become stretched.” The emphasis to push children of early primary school age into organised sports from a younger age is of more concern to Ashberg. “We are seeing an increase in sportsrelated injuries in this age group, which should be more of a worry to us than growing pains,” he says. If you are taking your child for regular medical checkups, you should only be concerned if your child falls off their growth chart in a drastic way. Ashberg points out that there may be various neurological reasons for a child’s delayed growth milestones. There may also be hormonal imbalances resulting in a child being smaller than usual. In these instances you will be referred to a paediatric endocrinologist if your doctor suspects this to be the problem. However, sometimes the slower growth of your child may be quite normal. “The key thing here is obvious, dramatic change. Your child can’t choose his parents; so if your family is generally on the shorter side, this may well be the reason for your child’s seemingly slower growth,” says Ashberg.
shin splints Shin splints, or medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS), is associated with strenuous activity. Stopstart sports such as squash and tennis and running on hard surfaces are often the cause of shin splints. “What is essentially happening here is irritation where muscle attaches to bone because of too much pressure or impact,” says Dr Lyall Ashberg, a paediatric orthopaedic surgeon. “The pain described is similar to growing pains, but we tend to see this complaint among adolescents far more than younger children.” The best treatment for shin splints is rest. Podiatrist Brandon Maggen also recommends ice packs, supportive shoes for specific sports and physiotherapy. “All children and young athletes recover from an injury at a different rate, and a return to activities is determined by how each particular child’s leg recovers,” he says. “In general, the longer symptoms are present before treatment is started, the longer it will take to get better.”
f your child is younger than 13 and has woken up crying in the middle of the night because of pain in both his legs, he might be suffering from a phenomenon called “growing pains”. Medical science has made remarkable advancements in our lifetime, but we don’t have the answer for everything just yet. Growing pains are a bit of a mystery. Doctors don’t know exactly what causes them or how to cure them. Thankfully, they’re not life-threatening and they generally disappear when children become teenagers. “It’s really a misnomer,” explains Dr Lyall Ashberg, a paediatric orthopaedic surgeon in Cape Town. “There is no medical evidence to suggest that growth causes pain, but we call them ‘growing pains’ because it commonly affects young children. The best we can do is rule out more serious problems and then help parents to manage their children’s pain.”
what your nanny is thinking Your domestic helper probably spends more time with your children than you do, but are you treating her fairly? ANÉL LEWIS speaks to two women about their experiences and asks the experts for advice.
thel*, who works in Joburg, has been looking after her employer’s children for over seven years. When she started, there was just one baby. Now there are three children, including a toddler. As the domestic helper, Ethel must care for the children, drive them to school and to doctors’ appointments and prepare their meals. She also cleans the house, but she says she gets no acknowledgement for the work she does. “They have no respect for me,” says Ethel. She says that despite spending several years looking after her employers’ most precious possessions – their children – they still don’t trust or treat her with the respect she feels she is owed. While there are plenty of courses for domestic helpers to improve their role in the home, there are no similar courses for employers, says Ethel. Cape Town-based Mabel* has also had her fair share of juggling cleaning responsibilities with childminding. In her previous job, she looked after a four-year-old boy who was still in nappies. He was quite a demanding child, but despite this, she tried her best to keep the house tidy. However, her employers were not understanding, and would berate her for not doing her work properly. In her new position, she feels more content. Her employer understands that if the children are needy that day, it may not always be possible to get all the housework done. Mabel feels she can talk to her present employers about her needs, and ask for help if she feels she can’t complete everything.
• G et to know your domestic helper on a personal level. Communication is important. • While you need to point out any problems, try to encourage and motivate your domestic helper. Continuous criticism is bad for morale. • Don’t be unreasonable in the workload you expect her to get through. If you would not be able to cope, understand that she may battle too. • Don’t keep reminding her of all the things you have done for her. • Build a relationship where you can talk about problems and concerns. It is not just about the money you pay her, but about the respect you show her. “Actions speak louder than words,” says Ethel. • If your domestic helper can look after your children, take the time to take an interest in hers. Often domestic helpers are forced to leave their children with other carers in another city or country. Be sensitive to this. “The love that I should be giving to my children, I am giving to theirs,” says Ethel. • Don’t talk to her like a child. Listen to her grievances and respect her as you would others. • Sign a contract at the start to formalise employment conditions and responsibilities, working hours and salary. This will prevent arguments and disappointment later on. * Names have been changed
Ethel and Mabel offer employers who have domestic helpers the following advice:
what your domestic helper may be too nervous to ask: 1 Nutritious food Food is a basic necessity and domestic helpers don’t always have time to cook decent meals for themselves, says Angela Njazi, owner of Amazing Maids. Try to have accessible nutritious food options available in your kitchen and tell her about them. 2 A break in the day Domestic helpers have long standing hours and they need a chance to rest, says Angela. She also recommends not asking your domestic helper to do all the hard jobs in one day. It’s not easy on their bodies, so take this into consideration, especially if she is 40 or older. 3 A pay increase As an employer you are required to increase your domestic helper’s pay annually. She may be reluctant to ask, because she is worried you’ll replace her or you’ll send your child to daycare, says Angela. For more guidelines read: labour.gov.za/legislation/sectoral-determinations/sectoraldetermination-7-domestic-workers 4 Having her own family Your employee has perhaps sacrificed a lot in order to become a domestic helper, says Angela. For example, they may be worried that they won’t be hired or that you won’t want to keep employing them if they have children of their own, as children come with responsibilities. 5 Working hours and holiday time Be sympathetic about your domestic helper’s day. Take into account the number of hours she is working and how long it takes her to commute, especially if she’s accommodating your work schedule. Discuss with your domestic helper when she would like to take a holiday. If there’s an overlap with your own, come up with a fair compromise. 6 Discipline It’s important that you’re both on the same page, says Karin Thomsen of Super Nannies. If you have not discussed this already, then it’s a good idea that you do. She won’t know what is expected and acceptable if you don’t tell her. 7 General parenting and care-related questions We’re not all doctors. Karin points out that sometimes dealing with colic, hiccups, fevers, and allergies aren’t that straightforward. Provide her with as much information as possible.
Angela and Karin’s advice on how to approach your domestic helper if she seems unhappy 1 Promote an ongoing relationship with communication. 2 Give her time to approach you. 3 Don’t be overly direct by asking her why she’s sulking. 4 Create a calm atmosphere. Ask someone to watch your child, and take your domestic out onto the terrace with some tea or coffee so she feels comfortable to open up.
four things you may be nervous to ask your domestic helper and ways to avoid awkwardness 1 Absences For example, if she is consistently late, ask her if she has a backup caregiver when her child is sick, says Karin. 2 Health questions Legally there are certain health issues that you are not allowed to ask about, such as her HIV-status. However, it’s important to ask about her TB-status as it’s an airborne disease, says Karin. You can check if anyone they spend a lot of time with has had it. It’s also okay to ask general health questions about diabetes and allergies. If you feel uncomfortable asking, there are other ways of judging someone’s general health. See how they look physically, says Angela, or ask their previous employer how often they called in sick. 3 Reading level You can ask her if she can read but, if it’s too awkward, ask her what level of education she achieved, says Karin. Another option is to ask her to fill out a form and see how well she does, advises Angela. 4 Tardiness If she is continuously late, ask her how she gets to work. Be understanding and try to come up with alternative options together, says Karin. She also recommends keeping the lines of communication open. Does she have a backup phone she can use to call you? Can you supply her with a cellphone for this purpose? Be accommodating. Angela Njazi started working as a domestic worker at the age of 16. She got her first Cape Town job through a domestic placement agency that she saw advertised in Child magazine. She has since combined her knowledge as a domestic helper and her education in HR to start Amazing Maids, a Cape Town-based domestic placement agency. Karin Thomsen, co-founder and first-aid trainer of Super Nannies, has been in the South African domestic training and placement industry since 2006.
moms who pop pills Juggling the complexities of parenthood, work and social life are far from “child’s play”. FRANÇOISE GALLET investigates prescription drug abuse and how some
parents are relying on pills in order to function.
what’s going on? Siphokazi Dada, a scientist from the Medical Research Council’s (MRC) Alcohol and Drugs Research Unit, says females around the age of 40 tend to be the majority of people who report over-the-counter and prescription drug addiction. It seems that some mothers are reaching for a pharmacological solution to cope with the toll taken by the demands of modern living and parenthood. Rozelda Rabie, a Joburg general practitioner, finds that parents are more stressed, especially older women for whom the arrival of the first child is a huge adjustment to their established lifestyle and career. Pretoria psychiatrist Nazmeera Khamissa mentions that it is also the stay-at-home mother who puts herself under pressure to fulfil the role of perfect mother that she has a higher tendency to resort to over-the-counter medication. According to Pretoria-based clinical psychologist Dr Colinda Linde there seems to be a trend among women facing these sorts of pressures toward using pain medication or anything containing codeine. “They say it takes the edge off, when they are having a rough day,” she says. Linde also finds that many of the women she sees, who self-medicate, are quite open about using medicine as a quick fix as they haven’t got time to sit and deal with the stress and pressures of their situation. Sharing and word of mouth play a role too. “People share medication – someone who has found a medicine useful will share it with a family member or friend with similar
symptoms,” adds Sorika de Swart, marketing and training consultant at Elim Clinic Professional Addiction Treatment Centre in Joburg. As a mother, and woman in her forties, Shirley can relate. She believes that women of her generation have a lot to deal with and that she has noticed how a number of her friends are self-medicating. Because it is all too easy to fall into the trap of addiction, Shirley has taken to informing her doctor of her addiction and blacklisting herself at pharmacies. Dr Johann Kruger, president of the Pharmaceutical Society of South Africa, explains just why Shirley’s efforts are important. “Unfortunately, there is currently no central registry system linking all pharmacists and doctors, and giving all these professionals access to an individual’s medication history. There is therefore nothing to stop them from going from pharmacy to pharmacy, or from doctor to doctor, to get either supplies or prescriptions.” Dr Brendan Belsham, a child psychiatrist and author elaborates, “Each doctor might prescribe a painkiller in good faith, unaware of how many colleagues have been consulted that very week. I have had several instances of mothers abusing their child’s Ritalin medication, repeatedly requesting new scripts under the guise that the script was lost or the medication mislaid.”
the numbers While Cathy Karassellos, a clinical psychologist and manager of the Cape Town Drug Counselling Centre, agrees that “we live in a society that puts a lot of trust in medication to solve problems”, she believes over-the-counter and prescription drug abuse is an ongoing phenomenon. “There is no sudden increase,” she says. Findings from the MRC’s research into alcohol and drug abuse in 2006 and again in 2012 offers support for this. “About four percent of people, who are admitted for substance abuse treatment including other drugs, are primarily dependent on over-the-counter or prescription medication. The figures remain fairly the same even today,” explains Dada of the MRC.
hen Shirley Phillips* (42) thinks back over the last 16 years of her parenting she is filled with a sense of loss. “There are so many things that I missed.” Seven months ago, Shirley admitted herself to a drug addiction rehabilitation centre to help battle her addiction to codeine – an addiction that began when she started using Nurofen and Syndol for period-pain relief. Shirley always saw drug addiction involving marijuana, cocaine or heroin abuse. She had no idea how easily she could fall into the trap of addiction to over-the-counter or prescription medicine.
However, she adds that the only data available is solely from those who access specialist addiction treatment centres. And so, while it may seem that “there are few people who abuse or depend on over-the-counter or prescription medication, many people may not be aware that they are dependent on them and therefore do not seek help,” she explains.
dangers and effects on family De Swart explains how the use of medicine, such as sedatives and tranquilisers; opioid painkillers and stimulants, such as diet pills, can become problematic. “Using over-thecounter and prescription medicine is perfectly okay and necessary for our health, but only if used by the person it was prescribed for, for the recommended duration only and in the right dosage and frequency. The moment you use more, or for a longer period, you are entering a danger zone.” As a social worker with 15 years of experience in the field of addiction, she has found that because medication is accessible and people think it is safe and legal, this form of addiction is particularly insidious. “Many who are addicted to painkillers were prescribed this for a valid physical health reason. They may still have chronic pain and because they build up a tolerance, they need to continue to take more and more of the same medication,” she says. By the time Shirley sought professional help, she was moving from over-the-counter “uppers” to “downers” just to get through the day. “You think you are doing everyone a favour by taking a pill because you are ‘coping’ but you are not really emotionally present,” she says. “I thought I was docile and in control but I was really on an emotional rollercoaster. It created huge insecurity and uncertainty in my children.” Shirley is determined to reclaim her life, but it isn’t easy. She has had to work hard on regaining her family’s trust. De Swart elaborates further on the impact of medication abuse on the family. “Parents who misuse medication are often not very involved in the lives of their children. They may sleep a lot, neglect to cook or nurture their children. The physical and emotional absence can have a severe effect on the attachment between parent and child. This in turn may lead to serious problems for the child in later life,” she says.
of difference. “There are times when it is appropriate for a parent to take prescriptions to address debilitating symptoms in order to become a better parent or spouse, to the benefit of everyone. I have often recommended just this,” explains Belsham. Shirley is zealous that others, who might be in similar situations, understands that a pill will never “fix” what she is trying to cope with. Joburg child psychiatrist David Benn adds, “Anxiety or depression can never possibly have one cause. Therefore it follows that there is never only one solution. Thus, if medication is used, it should be used for specific conditions that are known to respond to those medications and then almost always with other interventions like counselling and psychotherapy.” Shirley cites the diagnosis of an underlying mental illness as being the starting point in her journey to recovery. Finding her way to coping drug-free with stress has meant seeking professional psychiatric help and regular counselling. Rabie urges parents – overly stressed or not – to look to support each other. We need to understand the complex emotional and physical factors that topple individuals, vulnerable to addiction, into dependence. We need to see pill popping as a cry for help. “It’s not about judging; it’s about standing together,” she counsels. * Names have been changed.
signs that you or a loved one may be abusing medication • The use of medication is becoming a focal point in your life. • You lie about how much or how regularly you use medication. • You make sure that you always have this medication at hand, just in case. • You take higher doses than the label says. • You experience severe mood swings. • You pretend to lose medication or prescriptions to be able to get more scripts. • You seek scripts from various doctors or pharmacies to hide the extent of your use. • You’ve tried to stop or use less but found it to be too difficult.
underlying issues Despite the stress that parenthood brings with it, Karassellos cautions against attributing a cause-and-effect link between the stress of parenting and a tendency towards the abuse of prescription or over-the-counter drugs. With 28 years experience in drug addiction, her view is that most people take various pills occasionally and handle this well. “Those with a tendency towards addictive disorders will be the ones to develop dependency on the pills,” she says. Khamissa agrees and stresses that the challenges of parenting don’t imply a blanket vulnerability to substance abuse, as everyone’s perception of stress differs. She suggests that a predisposition for developing emotional disorders, such as anxiety and depression, is a factor that makes someone more vulnerable to self-medicating and hence abuse. “Mental illness can lead to substance misuse and substance use in turn, worsens or alters the course of a person’s mental state,” adds De Swart. Shirley also battled an undiagnosed depression. Ironically in instances where there is an underlying anxiety or depression, the correct and appropriate use of medication, monitored by a professional, could make a world
are you down? The South African Depression and Anxiety Support Group (sadag.org) shares some common symptoms of depression: • Persistent sad, or an “empty” mood • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities that were once enjoyed, including sex • Feelings of hopelessness and pessimism • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness and self-reproach • Insomnia or hypersomnia, early morning awakening or oversleeping • Decreased energy, fatigue and feeling run down • Persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment, such as headaches, digestive disorders and chronic pain
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budget-getaways.co.za Find different accommodation options in the Western Cape. clubmed.co.za Book your Club Med holiday online. Choose from global locations, whether you’re travelling with young children or teens. holidays.mtbeds.co.za Find special offers around South Africa, at the last minute, and book your holiday online. kulula.com Book and pay for flights and accommodation. luxresorts.com Book an island holiday, with a choice of hotels on Mauritius, Reunion Island or the Maldives. pentravel.co.za Whether you’re going somewhere local or international, you can book your whole holiday online, including flights, accommodation, cruises and tours. safarinow.com For accommodation options in South Africa and nearby countries. Get a quote or book online.
groceries freshearth.co.za Organic groceries and other ecofriendly products are delivered to major centres around South Africa. Find everything from baby foods to sugar alternatives and pet-care products. gourmetfoodshop.co.za Get deli type foods and condiments delivered. Based in Joburg, they deliver fresh foods there, but anything else can be delivered nationwide. pnponline.co.za Buy fresh and frozen products, items from the bakery or butchery, and other groceries. Additional categories include “health”, “stationery” and “home”. thrupps.co.za Account holders can order from the selection of poultry, meats, cheeses, fruit and veg and flowers. toddlertastes.co.za and babytastes.co.za Order wholesome, premade toddler meals and baby food. wellnesswarehouse.com The focus is on healthy and green living. Shop online for healthy and organic foods, supplements, eco-friendly household products, and beauty, baby and fitness products. woolworths.co.za Find all of your groceries here, as well as baked goods and ready-prepared meals. You’ll also find clothes, stationery and homeware.
school supplies and textbooks bookshelf.co.za Textbooks are available for specific schools or for individual orders. They also stock study aids, fiction and many other titles. cna.co.za Find stationery, school bags, diaries, flash drives, books, files, art and craft items, labels and more. jutaonline.co.za They sell textbooks online, with books for Grade R and upwards, and with prescribed lists for some schools. myschoolstationery.co.za Shop for stationery from lists supplied by registered schools, or place an individual order. You can also request that a school be listed. redpepperbooks.co.za Buy textbooks and other books. They have partner schools, which list prescribed books. valuestationery.co.za They sell stationery online, including art and craft supplies, maths sets, book covers and more. vanschaikschoolbooks.com Booklists are provided for some schools and you can search for books and study guides. waltons.co.za Buy your stationery online. writeleft.co.za They sell and distribute stationery and writing skills books for left-handed people. zabooks.co.za An online digital book store where you can buy and download text and other books directly onto your iPad. Schools can add booklists.
a good read for toddlers
Mrs Vickers’ Knickers By Kara Lebihan and Deborah Allwright
Mum’s Cronky Car By Anita Pouroulis and Jon Lycett-Smith
(Published by Egmont Children’s Books, R126) Mrs Vickers is just pegging out her favourite knickers when, “whoosh”, they are caught in a gust of wind and fly away. Mrs Vickers’ knickers are whisked and whirled on the breeze; on and on they sail, over the building site and through the town. Will she ever be united with her favourite pair of knickers? This story about a pair of pink frilly knickers causes a hilarious journey for children from the age of two years old.
(Published by Digital Leaf, R80) Unloved and unappreciated, mom’s cronky car is on the verge of being scrapped and abandoned. Then one morning, on the school run, the Cronk lives up to her name by being overtaken by a disability scooter! And out of nowhere, mom’s cronky car does something she’s never done before – she goes into aeroplane mode. From that moment on she is the family favourite and their adventures begin. Your seven year old will enjoy reading this book, but this hilarious story, with its stunning illustrations, is also a great one to read out loud to children as young as four. This book is truly a modern Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
for early graders
for preteens and teens
Just So Stories By Rudyard Kipling and Alex Latimer
Dear Scarlett By Fleur Hitchcock
(Published by Penguin SA, R126) How did the leopard get his spots? Why do cats act as though they own the place? What does a crocodile like best for lunch? Why are rhinos so cranky? What causes the ocean tides to rise and fall? Who wrote the alphabet? Generations of children have grown up with Just So Stories and have been captivated by Kipling’s wonderful insights into the world around us – all delivered in his mesmerising, read-aloud prose. Now these classic gems have been given a fresh look for a new generation. Illustrated by children’s book author Alex Latimer, each story comes alive with his own insights and humour.
(Published by Nosy Crow, R112) This is a funny, moving and absorbing story about a young girl’s attempts to learn more about her dead father through the objects she finds in a cardboard box he’s left her. The box is full of clues. Scarlett and her friend, Ellie, go on a sometimes hilarious, sometimes scary, journey of discovery, following the clues and always remembering to “keep looking up”; even though they’re not sure what “keep looking up” means. Was Scarlett’s dad a thief? Was he a spy? And what does it mean to be his daughter? Fleur Hitchcock is a great new voice in children’s literature, and Dear Scarlett is an excellent book recommended for children from the age of nine to 11.
Breastfeed Your Baby By Marie-Louise Steyn (Published by Metz Press, R144) Breast-feeding is the natural, healthy way to nourish your baby, but it is not always easy or instinctive. Mothers often lack the knowledge and support they need for trouble-free breast-feeding. Breastfeed Your Baby is a complete but concise, practical guide for nursing mothers. The information is based on the most recent research in the field and, since it is evidence based, it will also be invaluable to doctors, nursing staff, antenatal professionals and doulas. The information is authoritative and presented in such a way that the book can be read in one or two sittings before the baby’s birth, yet detailed enough to remain an essential companion throughout the breast-feeding process. The content is enhanced throughout with practical hints and tips.
Making Finn By Susan Newham-Blake (Published by Penguin SA, R171) Susan’s childhood dream of becoming a mother has not diminished with the revelation, alarming both to herself and her bewildered family, that she does, in fact, “bat for the other team”. Having made peace with her identity and having finally found a beloved partner, she is now faced with a daunting problem: with no man around, how do you make babies? Time is of the essence: at 34 years old, Susan cannot afford to waste another moment. And so begins an unconventional journey to parenthood with some agonising decisions along the way. Told with disarming honesty, Making Finn is a warm, witty and moving first-person account of two women’s quest to create a family.
what’s on in september
You can also access the calendar online at
Your guide to a month of family friendly activities in your city. Compiled by SIMONE JEFFERY.
FUN for children
only for parents
bump, baby & tot in tow
how to help
FUN FOR CHILDREN
ONLY FOR PARENTS
bump, baby & tot in tow
how to help
Capital ‘Special Edition’ Urban Market A new vibrant monthly market is launched in the Groenkloof Nature Reserve.
Bingo with Hospice Dress in your best spring outfit and try your luck at a game of ticket bingo in aid of Centurion Hospice.
Baby stimulation course Learn how to stimulate and calm your newborn baby.
Dhladhla Foundation Donate gardening implements for an NPO that initiates environmentally sustainable community projects.
Cooper’s Cave picnic and tour Join a short walk in a living museum in which fossils remain embedded in ancient rock to tell tales of a bygone era.
SPECIAL EVENTS 1 sunday Cellar Rats spring wine festival There is supervised entertainment for the children while parents relax and enjoy some of South Africa’s best wines in the countryside. Time: 11am–3pm. Venue: The Old Mill, Magaliesburg. Cost: adults R110, children R15; designated drivers free. Book through Computicket: 0861 915 8000 or visit computicket.com Heart Awareness Month Take advantage of the free healthy heart screenings taking place at Clicks Clinics nationwide. Contact: 0860 254 257 to make your appointment or visit clicks.co.za/Campaigns/hearthealth
6 friday Casual Day 2013 Purchase your Casual Day sticker and support people with disabilities. The 2013 campaign theme is Go Big. For more info on where to get stickers: visit casualday.co.za Klitsgras Drumming Release the week’s stress and tension with a therapeutic drumming circle around a cosy fire. Drums can be rented. No white clothes or high heels. For children 8 years and older. Also 20 September. Time: 7pm–10pm. Venue: Klitsgras Drumming Circle, plot 62, Garsfontein Rd, Tierpoort. Cost: R20. Contact Andries: 083 311 0025, andries@ klitsgras.co.za or visit klitsgras.co.za
7 saturday Afrikaans Music Festival Kurt Darren, Ricus Nel, Hennie Jacobs, Andries Vermeulen, Gerrit Woest, Leonard Schaafsma and more entertains. Funds raised go towards the Association for Autism. Time: 9am–9pm. Venue: Toutrekpark, 14th Ave, Gezina. Cost: adults R110, children under 12 free. Contact: email@example.com or visit afa.org.za Cooper’s Cave picnic and tour Visit the living museum in which fossils remain embedded in ancient rock with palaeoanthropologist Christine Steininger. Enjoy a picnic afterwards. Booking essential. Time: 9am. Venue: Sterkfontein Caves, Sterkfontein Caves Rd, off the R563, Cradle of Humankind. Cost: adults R375, children up to 14 years R150. Contact: 014 577 9000 or visit maropeng.co.za
Red Bull X-Fighters World Tour
The world’s most prestigious and challenging freestyle motocross competition takes place at the iconic 100-year-old Herbert Baker-designed building. Time: 7pm. Venue: Union Buildings, Government Rd, Pretoria CBD. Cost: R250–R450. Book through Computicket: 0861 915 8000 or visit redbullxfighters.com
Lavender festival and open day See, taste, smell and experience all the amazing lavender products on display at the herbal centre. Wander among the sleeping fairies in the Fairy Village, de-stress as you walk the sacred mile around the labyrinth. Time: 8:30am–4pm. Venue: Margaret Roberts Herbal Centre, on the R513 near Zilkaatsnek, Rd 16, Hartbeespoort Dam. Cost: entry R20 per car, R50 per minibus; lecture R100. Contact: 012 504 2121, 071 161 6441, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit margaretroberts.co.za Lyttelton Spring Festival Children can enjoy storytellers, traditional games, face painting, and art and crafts activities. There is a flea market and food stalls. Join in the Mosaic for Hope, a Guinness World Record attempt at the most people working on the same mosaic. Time: 8am–2pm. Venue: Lyttelton Library Complex, cnr Cantonments Rd and Unie Ave, Lyttelton. Cost: free entry, R150 per mosaic kit. Contact: 082 465 0494
8 sunday Spring rose care Learn how to care for roses and watch a finger pruning demo. No need to book. Entertainment for children is provided. Time: 10:30am–11:30am. Venue: Ludwig’s Rose Farm, N1 Polokwane highway going north, Wallmannstahl/Pyramid offramp, no 163. Cost: free. Contact: 012 544 0144, email@example.com or visit ludwigsroses.co.za
9 monday Discover SANParks For five days, South African National Parks offers all South
Me-Nuts Kids Like2Bike series Children can take part in a 2km, 5km or 10km race around a scenic cycle park. Parents are able to run alongside. There is entertainment for the children and food and drinks on sale. For children 2–12 years old. Time: 9am. Venue: The Big Red Barn Cycle Park, cnr Nelson Rd and Glen Rd, Sunlawns AH, Olifantsfontein. Cost: R100. Contact: 083 326 6721, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit like2bike.co.za
Africans free entrance into participating parks. Offer excludes Namaqua, Boulders and Tankwa Karoo National Park. Ends 13 September. Venue: nationwide. Cost: free entry for South African day visitors. Contact: 012 426 5000 or visit sanparks.co.za
14 saturday EWT conservation open day This open day is hosted by the Endangered Wildlife Trust and Dinokeng Nature Reserve to raise awareness around our ecosystems and threatened species. Various stalls are selling goodies. Children can enjoy face painting, treasure hunts, an art project and a fun bush walk. Booking essential. Time: 10am. Venue: Tussen-i-Bome, R573 Moloto Rd, Hammanskraal. Cost: adults free; children: face painting R10, bird walk R10. Contact: 084 224 1978 or email@example.com FUNdamentals cycling clinic This clinic is aimed at teaching children bicycle safety, control, respect and appreciation. Booking essential. For children 4–12 years old. Time: 9am–11am. Venue: The Big Red Barn Cycle Park, cnr Nelson Rd and Glen Rd, Sunlawns AH, Olifantsfontein. Cost: R250. Contact: 083 326 6721, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit like2bike.co.za
Carefree Kids gala concert Carefree Kids Montessori Centre is celebrating its 10th birthday with a cocktail evening and concert. The theme is “music through the decades”. Time: 6pm. Venue: The Musaion, University of Pretoria, Lynnwood Rd, Hatfield. Cost: adults R150, children R100. Contact: 012 348 7099, email@example.com or visit carefreekids.co.za
21 saturday Clover Irene spring race You can enter the 5km (all ages), 10km (15 years and older) or 21,1km (16 years and older) race. Register at the mall or on the day from 4:30am. Time: 6am. Venue: Irene Village Mall, cnr Nellmapius Dr and Van Ryneveld Dr, Irene. Cost: 5km R30, 10km R40 and 21,1km R50. Contact: 012 662 4446, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit irenevillagemall.co.za Zoo fun walk A 5km walk around a few of the animal enclosures. Babies in prams are welcome. Time: 6am; finish is 9am. Venue: National Zoological Gardens, 232 Boom St. Cost: adults R40, children R25. Contact: 012 323 0294 or visit nzg.ac.za
15 sunday Little Eden family fun day The farm cares for people with intellectual disabilities. There is a fun 5km walk or run, food stalls, live music and a jumping castle. Time: 10am–2pm. Venue: Little Eden, Elvira Rota Village, Bapsfontein. Cost: R20. Contact: 011 609 7246 or visit littleeden.org.za
15 September – Little Eden family fun day
24 tuesday Heritage express Take a steam-train excursion to the mining town of Cullinan. Wander down the tree-lined avenues with cafés, restaurants and art shops to view the original mine manager’s house and visit the hand-dug “big hole”. Braai fires are provided. Time: 8:30am. Venue: departs from Hermanstad Station, Miechaelson St, Pretoria. Cost: R200. Contact: 012 767 7913, email@example.com or visit friendsoftherail.com Rhino trail run Walk or run the 5km, 10km, or 20km off-road trail and raise funds for endangered rhinos. Time: 8am. Venue: Tyger Valley College, cnr Graham Rd and Valley Rd, Shere. Cost: R60–R100. Contact: 012 809 2879, lmcnocher@tygervalleycollege. co.za or visit tygervalleycollege.co.za
26 thursday Open day at Tyger Valley College Find out more about this independent school for girls and boys. For parents of children in Grade 000–12. Time: 4pm–7pm. Venue: Tyger Valley College, cnr Graham Rd and Valley Rd, Shere. Cost: free. Contact: 012 809 2879, lmcnocher@tygervalleycollege. co.za or visit tygervalleycollege.co.za
Slithery creatures Learn more about snakes, spiders and unusual animals during a visit to the snake and reptile park. Live shows and feedings take place on weekends. Time: 8am–5pm, daily. Venue: Chameleon Village Reptile Park, off the R104, Hartbeespoort. Cost: adults R60, pensioners R50, children R30. Contact: 082 469 2979 or visit chameleonvillage.co.za
a cupcake at the participating malls. Time: varies. Venues: Menlyn, Woodlands, Centurion, The Grove and Kolonnade. Cost: R10 donation. Contact: 073 208 6757 or visit cupcakesofhope.org
29 sunday Park Acoustics Enjoy an afternoon of South African music. There are generally three to four South African bands performing. Time: 11am. Venue: Fort Schanskop, Voortrekker Monument. Cost: R60–R100. Book through Ticketbreak: 012 326 0560, parkacoustics@ gmail.com or visit ticketbreak.co.za
FUN FOR CHILDREN
art, culture and science
Cupcakes of Hope They raise awareness and funds for families of children with cancer and in need of medical assistance. Volunteer to bake 48 cupcakes, or buy
FLL Disaster Blast Challenge Registration to take part in the 2013 Junior First Lego League is still open. This year children explore natural disasters, and
design and construct a working model using Lego bricks and moving parts to solve a specific problem. For children 6–9 years old. Competitions start 19 October. Venue: nationwide. Cost: R200 per team. Contact: 082 851 8892 or visit jfllsa.org Hartebeesthoek Radio Astronomy Take a tour of this working observatory. Space is limited. 7 September. Time: 4pm–8pm. Venue: HartRAO, farm 502 JQ Hartebeesthoek, Broedestroom Rd, Krugersdorp. Cost: adults R45, students and pensioners R35, preschool children free. Contact: 012 301 3100, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit hartrao.ac.za
classes, talks and workshops Children’s Craft Club Children try painting, pottery, origami, stamping, mosaic and other craft projects. Projects differ by age group. For children 6–16 years old. Time: 2pm–4pm, every Friday. Venue: Art Angels, Koedoeberg Rd, Faerie Glen,
Pretoria East. Cost: R200 per class, R450 for three classes (includes all materials). Contact: 071 675 2030, info@artangels. co.za or visit artangels.co.za
family outings Pretville’s film set Walk around the original film set of the Afrikaans musical, set in the late ’50s. Dress up and have your photo taken, pop into the diner for a hotdog and watch the movie. Time: 8am–5pm, Saturday and Sunday; movie screening: 9am, 11am, 1pm and 3pm. Venue: Pretville in Hartiwood, Hartbeespoort Dam. Cost: adults R40, pensioners and children R20, pensioners over 75 and children under 2 free; movie ticket R40. Contact: 083 266 8567 or visit pretville.co.za
holiday programmes Bustling holidays Structured art and crafts activities and supervised free play. For children 6 years and older. 23 September–4 October. Time: 7:20am–5:30pm, Monday– Friday. Venue: The Buzz Zone Holiday Centre, 916 Saint Bernard Dr, Garsfontein. Cost: R100 half-day; R120 full day; R500 for the week. Contact: 012 993 0277 or visit thebuzzzone.co.za Chocolate spring workshop Children get to make all things chocolate. For children 8–13 years old. 6, 26 and 27 September. Time: 6 September: 2pm–4:30pm; 26 September: 10am–12:30pm; 27 September: 12:30pm– 2:30pm. Venue: Snyman Sjokolateur
Chocolate Factory, Waterkloof Ridge. Cost: R120 per child (bring your own drinks and salty treats). Contact: 012 347 8497, 074 140 1087 or visit snymanchocolates.com Cedar Junction The park offers air rifle shooting clowns, pottery and puppet shows. 1 September: Mr and Miss Cedar Junction; 8 September: The Posh Car Show; 24 September: Heritage Day; 23–28 September: holiday programme. Time: varies. Venue: Cedar Junction Theme Park, plot 404, Graham Rd, Zwavelpoort. Cost: varies. Contact: 012 811 1183 or visit cedarjunction.co.za Kinderland holiday programme Crafts, cooking in the kitchen and free play keep children entertained. Activities change daily. For children 3–10 years old. 23–30 September. Time: 7am–5pm. Venue: Kinderland, 214B Meerlust St, Equestria. Cost: R150 per day (all activities, snacks and lunch included). Contact: 082 680 1368, email@example.com or visit kinderlandpv.co.za Staying at home during the September school holidays? Here’s some fun ways to get your children in on the spring cleaning action. Visit childmag.co.za/content/funspring-cleaning
markets Askari spring market Browse through the craft and food stalls, which are set up among the ox wagons and heritage museum.
1 September. Time: 9am–5pm. Venue: Askari Game Lodge, Plumari Private Game Reserve, Doornhoek, Magaliesburg. Cost: donation of a second-hand book. Contact: 014 577 2658/9, reservations@askarilodge. co.za or visit askarilodge.co.za Boardwalk Art Market Shop for fine art, paintings, sculptures and quality local crafts. There is a children’s activity area. Time: 10am–2pm, every Sunday. Venue: Boardwalk Office Park, cnr Solomon Mahlangu Dr and Haymeadow Crescent, Faerie Glen. Cost: free entry. Contact: 074 193 0094 or visit boardwalkartmarket.co.za Capital “Special Edition” Urban Market They showcase the art, crafts, culture, food and designs of local traders. 8 September. Time: 10am–3pm. Venue: Moyo Fountains Valley Nature Reserve, cnr Eeufees Rd and Christina de Wet Rd, Groenkloof Nature Reserve. Cost: free entry. Contact: 074 146 7255, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their Facebook page: Capitalurbanmarket/info Laezonia Country Market This community market has pony rides, a petting zoo, paintball target shooting, beading, a jumping castle, face painting, and art and crafts as well as a food court and various stalls. 1 September. Time: 10am–4pm. Venue: Skyview Garage, on the R511, Hartbeespoort. Cost: free entry. Contact: 084 593 1938 or email@example.com Pretoria Four Seasons market Stilt walkers, face painters, magic shows and a petting zoo provide entertainment for
station and garage. The venue also offers a putt-putt course, jungle gyms and a waffle place. Time: 9am–5pm, Tuesday–Thursday; 9am–6pm, Friday–Sunday. Venue: One Stop Entertainment, cnr General Louis Botha Ave and Serene St, Menlyn. Cost: varies. Contact: 082 463 2029, martieroux@yahoo. com or visit onestopentertainment.co.za 1 September – Laezonia Country Market
sport and physical activities children, while you browse the stalls. 29 September. Time: 11am–3pm. Venue: plot 29, Garsfontein Dr, Pretoria East. Cost: free entry. Contact: 081 707 6950, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit printshoppe.wix. com/four-seasons
on stage and screen Kung Fu Panda season 2 Runs daily at 12:35pm, from Monday–Thursday (repeat 10:55am on Sunday). Starts 9 September. Time: 12:35pm on Nickelodeon, channel 305, DStv. For more info: visit dstv.com Premiere of Felix The story follows 14-year-old Felix Xaba who dreams of becoming a saxophonist like his late father, but his mother thinks jazz is the devil’s music. 13 September. Time: varies. Venues: varies. Cost: varies per cinema. For more info: visit felixthemovie.com
playtime and story time Honey, I shrunk the town Children can dress up and play house in this mini town with a hospital, boutique, church, fire
Introduction to fly-fishing Learn the skill with experienced guides. Fly rods available for hire. For children 7 years and older. Time: 10am, every Saturday. Venue: Kloofzicht Lodge and Spa, Kromdraai Rd, Muldersdrift. Cost: adults R350, teenagers R300, children R250. Contact: 083 414 0391 or visit sundowneradventures.co.za Outdoor Adventure This involves obstacle courses and puzzles, similar to the reality shows Survivor and The Amazing Race. Braai and picnic facilities are available. For children 6 years and older. Time: 9am, 12pm and 3pm, every Saturday and Sunday. Venue: Pelindaba, Hartbeespoort. Cost: adults R225, children R165–R180. Contact: 082 895 2513, email@example.com or visit surviveorrace.co.za
only for parents classes, talks and workshops Beading for moms Learn various beading techniques. Booking essential. Time:
calendar 9am–12pm, every Wednesday. Venue: Willow Feather Farm Tea Garden, portion 37, Doornkloof, Rietvleidam, Irene. Cost: R90 if you bring your own beads, R240 for beginner’s package (includes a cappuccino). Contact: 083 979 6668 or firstname.lastname@example.org Introduction to the wonders of wine This course covers topics like wine styles and the effect of wine on the taste of food. 14 September. Time: 8:30am–1:30pm. Venue: Court Classique Hotel, cnr Francis Baard St and Beckett St, Arcadia. Cost: R1 195. Contact: 011 024 3616 or visit capewineacademy.co.za Montessori Information Session Find out more about the accredited training programmes that are on offer in 2014. 14 September. Time: 10:30am–11:30am. Venue: The Montessori Academy, plot 84 Zwavelpoort, Pretoria East. Cost: free. Contact: 082 900 3192, heidi@montessorisa. co.za or visit montessorisa.co.za Raising children This workshop teaches parents how to use practical communication and conflict-handling skills. 10 September. Time: 9am–12pm. Venue: 63 Nicolson St, Brooklyn. Cost: free. Contact: 082 904 8127 or visit parents.co.za
on stage and screen Helfgott’s Final Tour After 20 years of extensive touring, legendary pianist David Helfgott bids farewell to Pretoria with one performance. 7 September. Time: 7:30pm. Venue: ZK Matthews Hall, Unisa, Muckleneuk Campus. Cost: R195–R315. Book through Computicket: 0861 915 8000 or visit computicket.com Stellenbosch University Choir Enjoy an evening with the oldest and most successful choir in South Africa. 8 September. Time: 11:30am. Venue: Brooklyn Theatre, Greenlyn Village Centre, cnr Thomas Edison St and 13th St, Menlo Park. Cost: R100. Contact: 012 460 6033 or visit brooklyntheatre.co.za
out and about Bingo with hospice Try your luck at a game of ticket bingo in aid of Centurion Hospice. Bring a usable item to donate. For 18 years and older. 2 September. Time: 6pm. Venue: Viva Bingo, Centurion Mall, Heuwel Ave, Centurion. Cost: R150,
Deaf Federation of South Africa For assistance, consultancy and advice. Contact: 012 324 0950/2, deafeducation@ deafsa.co.za or visit deafsa.co.za
how to help
StokeCity WakePark Learn to wakeboard or waterski, or enjoy the BMX track, skate ramp and FMX park. Time: 10am–6pm, Tuesday– Sunday. Venue: StokeCity WakePark, cnr Olifantsfontein Rd and R562, Midrand. Cost: R30 entry, children under 6 free. Contact: 011 314 3589, email@example.com or visit stokecity.co.za
includes dinner. Contact: 012 664 6175 or visit centurionhospice.com Laerskool Pretoria Oos golf day Golfers from as young as 12 years old can take part in the better-ball competition and stand a chance to win prizes. Funds raised go to the school. 13 September. Time: 9am. Venue: Wingate Park Country Club, Norval St, Moreleta Park. Cost: R450 per player, R1 800 per four-ball. Contact: 012 362 1336
support groups Asperger’s and autism support Information and resources for individuals with Asperger’s Syndrome or autism, their parents and families, and interested professionals. Contact: 012 993 4628 Muscular Dystrophy Support System Support and advice for parents of children affected. Contact Jan: 012 998 0251 or visit mdsa.org.za Single parents support group A social club for single parents and their children that meets up and takes part in various activities once a month. 28 September. Time: 1pm. Venue: varies. Cost: free membership. Contact: 076 054 5510 or visit soloparenting.weebly.com
bump, baby & Tot in tow
classes, talks and workshops Antenatal and postnatal classes Classes prepare you for the birth of your child and guide you through the first few months thereafter. Time: postnatal: 10am–12pm,
antenatal: 6pm–8pm, every Monday (closed 2 September), Saturday antenatal class: 8am–4pm. Venue: Mother and Baby Wellness Centre, Kloof Mediclinic, 511 Jochemus St, Erasmus Kloof. Cost: postnatal: R100 per session; antenatal: R700 for five weeks. Contact: 012 367 4060, lucille.bam@ mediclinic.co.za or visit mediclinic.co.za Baby stimulation course A two-day (once a week) workshop that introduces you to stimulation. For moms with babies 0–12 months. 11 and 18 September. Time: 10am–12pm. Venue: Empowering Mothers, 366 Snowy Walker St, Garsfontein. Cost: R400 per course (including a brain booster kit). Contact: 084 220 0548, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit empoweringmothers.co.za
playtime and story time Playtime at Villa San Giovanni The outdoor play area has a jungle gym, jumping castle, swings and a sandpit. Parents can enjoy pizza. Time: 7am–9:30pm, Monday– Thursday; 7am–10pm, Friday; 8am–10pm, Saturday; 8am–5pm, Sunday. Venue: Wonderboom Airport. Cost: varies. Contact: 012 543 0501 or visit vsg.co.za
support groups Bipolar Kids South Africa Offers support and guidance to parents. Contact Lee: 083 227 2304, email@example.com or visit bpkidssouthafrica.co.za Breast-feeding support for mothers that want to breast-feed their babies. Cost: free. Contact: 012 345 4898 or visit llli.org
Dhladhla Foundation This NPO makes use of environmentally sustainable community projects in its attempt to eradicate hunger and poverty. You can assist with monetary donations or by donating a gardening item from their wish list. Contact: 012 346 2038, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit dhladhla.com Food from Heaven The Potato Foundation provides a cooked meal to 250 learners, four days a week at Booysens Primary. They request assistance with donations of perishable and non-perishable food so that they can continue to provide the learners with a healthy, nutritious meal. Contact: 082 967 6258, info@thepotatofoundation. co.za or visit thepotatofoundation.co.za Santa Shoebox Project pledges open Visit the website and sign up as a new donor or if you’re already registered simply make a pledge for the child who will receive your shoebox. The start of the drop-off period is in October. 1 September. For more info, drop-off points and to learn what needs to go in your shoebox: visit santashoebox.co.za Wetnose Animal Rescue Centre This right-to-life animal shelter is situated 15 minutes from Pretoria East. They are in need of dry dog food (adult and puppy) and cat food for the abused, abandoned and neglected animals that are in their care. Contact: 013 932 3941/2, wetnose@ absamail.co.za or visit wetnose.org.za
don’t miss out! For a free listing, email your event to pretoria@childmag. co.za or fax it to 011 234 4971. Information must be received by 30 August for the October issue, and must include all relevant details. No guarantee can be given that it will be published. To post an event online, visit childmag.co.za
itâ€™s party time For more help planning your childâ€™s party visit
this looks like a job for Superman!
rin is obsessed with a certain superhero who has a penchant for wearing tight pants and a red cape. At first, I thought it was just a fleeting crush. But it’s been more than a month already and her whole life revolves around Superman. She wants Superman socks, Superman bubbles and a Superman cake for her birthday, although I’m hoping she will have forgotten about him by December. She has also watched the movie about 17 times and can even hum the darn theme song. I have to admit to being a bit concerned. Is it really healthy for a two year old to show so much interest in a comic character with superpowers? She likes Winnie-the-Pooh, and she is a fan of Mister Maker, but it’s the man in red and blue that really gets her animated. I asked her what it was about this aerodynamic man in spandex that intrigued her, and she informed me that it was his “big red boots” and his ability to fly to the moon.
Erin, Anél and Conor
But I think the thing that impresses her most is his ability to save the day. When I struggled to load some parcels into the car recently, she told me, “Don’t worry, Superman can do it for you.” And I suppose there is something in all of us that wants to believe in a superhero; in someone who can rescue us when things go awry.
We adults are, of course, somewhat jaded. Many of us have given up on makebelieve and the notion that good can triumph over evil. But if Erin still believes that a man with a funky “S” emblazoned on his shirt can stop an aeroplane in midflight, who am I to shatter the illusion? There is plenty of time for her to discover that things are not always as they seem,
and that sometimes the baddie will win. I hope she believes in the tooth fairy too, and Father Christmas. She’s not so keen on the Easter bunny, but maybe that will change before it’s time to hide the eggs next year. For now, it’s enough for her to know that there’s someone out there who’s fighting the good fight, with his big boots and flowing cape. When she faces a difficult task, I remind her that Superman would tackle it with all his might and this motivates her to try again. “I’m supersonic too,” she tells me. It even helped when I needed her to take some medication recently. Yes, I hauled out the old “Superman would take his medicine” card. But you know, it could have been much worse. At least she’s not infatuated with Justin Bieber; not yet anyway. Anél Lewis is a political writer for the Cape Argus. She has to accept the fact that her daughter prefers wearing a red towel around her neck, as a makeshift Superman cape, to pretty jerseys with kitty patterns.
PHOTOGRAPH: STEPHANIE VELDMAN
Someone to look up to; red boots and all, AnÉl LEWIS uncovers the value of believing in superheroes.