Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘twins’

Every generation blames the one before……

It is just a rusty old tin. Inauspicious with its peeling paint and dented sides.  It once held the weekly cookies and young hands manoeuvred the lid off as quietly as possible to avoid the eagle eyes of a vigilant mother. It has an important portfolio now even though it appears insignificant. It perches alongside with all the grander inhabitants of the work bench. The shiny drill and the sharp saw compete for the honour of being just ‘the right thing for the job.’   But this revered receptacle has tradition on its side and is aptly named The Poppie Tin. It began out of necessity about 30 years ago when The Honey Do List was initiated in the Morkel household. A few ‘jewels’ handpicked by my dad started off our collection and it has been added to by the engineers of the family that never miss a valuable find. It contains screws that fit, bolts that are just the right size and bits that I have not worked out yet. One thing is for sure that it comes to the rescue of my ever increasing list of Mr Fixit chores!

I know I am a prisoner to all my Father held so dear….

Do I really have to do this again this year?

Do I really have to do this again this year?

As with everything here in Canada there is a time and a ritual to the different seasons of the year. The pumpkins have been thrown out to the bottom of the garden. Halloween is over and this mother witch has packed away her broom for another year ….that’s what they think! The witch and her wizard of course……have been busy with the ritual of winterising the house and surrounds. Piles of leaves stand ready for collection, water pipes are drained and the larder is filling up with Yuletide delights. There is a strong feeling of Christmas in the air. My neighbour has even hung his Christmas lights! Clever man that he is! I can see us shivering along the roof as we hang our strings of sparkles. But one thing is for sure, come rain or snow……those lights will go up!

A winter Christmas.....

A winter Christmas…..

Say it loud, say it clear you can listen as well as you hear….

Gone are the bright annuals from along the side of the road. Instead coloured piles of leaves decorate our walkways. The change is evident and the feeling of expectation reigns. As we change our clocks back to daylight saving time, we move into the final ritual of the year. We will celebrate Christmas. I reflect on all my past Christmases especially my earliest memory which was when I was 3. I remember waking up at some ungodly hour. I dressed myself in my new Christmas dress. What a feat that was as it had buttons going down the back! I crept down the passage and proceeded to wake Mother and Father Christmas. Need I say that my zeal and a 4am wakeup call was not well received by my sleeping parents. Broken hearted, I crawled back down the passage and jumped into my bed. Note to self……remember this incident when the twins decide to do an action replay of this event on their Nan.

Mother and Father Christmas get in some early party fun.......

Mother and Father Christmas get in some early party fun…….

One feels your roots and recalls so much of your long forgotten childhood when traditions and rituals are followed. Some might seem insignificant but there is comfort and pleasure in repeating history, knowing full well that it is what makes us all unique. Whether it is the Gluwein served on Christmas Eve or the Ice Hockey Game that is part of the proceedings on Boxing Day……it is a time for us to practise those customs. Need I say that I love Christmas! Preparations are well on their way in this home. We have the added excitement that all our family will be with us here in Canada. It has to rate on the scale of happiness as being right up there!

The toddling twins.....

The toddling twins…..

 

Say it loud, say it clear
You can listen as well as you hear
It’s too late when we die
To admit we don’t see eye to eye

 

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

It is time. It is time to bid summer farewell. The trees at the bottom of the garden are changing colour. Iridescent green has given way to a hint of gold. Each day we notice a few more leaves have succumbed to the transformation. Some are further along the path and have curled up and fluttered across the deck. There they await the Fall clean up in the ever increasing pile.

The first signs of Fall...

The first signs of Fall…

I have always been fascinated by trees. In South Africa I could rattle off the names…..White Stinkwood, Ficus Ingens and Acacia to name but a few. But here in Canada I am a mere novice and a maturing brain does not permit me to commit so many of these names to memory! This does not deter me appreciating them. They stand tall and stately at the bottom of our garden and along our meandering creek. As I observe their changes, they prepare me for the different seasons.

There is a flurry of activity as the squirrels gather up their supplies in our garden for winter. They are strategic about their placing too. The larder is scattered around and some have even been dug into the pots at the front door. I do hope they are plotting the whereabouts of these nutritious nuts and that the position will be recalled after their long winter sleep. I find myself committing to memory some of their hideouts along with all the other irrelevant things that we mothers are required to memorise.  For example……where are my socks?

Josh squirrel hunting.

Josh is a keen observer of his environment too!

The animals are not the only ones who have read the signs. The builder next door is racing ahead to get the walls up and the roof tiled on his new dwelling. There is a bulldozer across the street digging a huge hole. Road works are being completed down the street and everyone is resurfacing their driveways.
Across the way a tree was felled…..a majestic maple tree. I heard the squeal of the saws all day as they worked at reducing this beautiful specimen to pile of logs. I felt sick as I looked across and decided to walk over once all the workmen were gone home. There was a huge sign FREE FIREWOOD. I wanted to pay homage to this gracious lady. I stood a while, moved closer and ran my fingers along where the blade had sawn through the golden wood. The moisture that had been drawn up by the roots clung onto the wood in vain. Amongst the pile was the largest of slices. My fingers traced the growth rings……..she had seen 50 Canadian winters! This maple syrup- producing grand dame  had once had a twin. Inside the tree were 2 separate crowns that later decided to collaborate and had become one enormous tree!
Need I say that I am partial to twins, as we have had a double feature in our family too.

Our wiggly twins....

Our wiggly twins….

As I gazed across at the sad pile I decided……this baby has to come home with me! I scurried off and fetched the wheelbarrow along with my long suffering male contingency. We loaded our slice of gold up and gently wheeled her back to the safety of our back garden. No fireplace for this beauty! She will be well cared for and is at present attending the Morkel Spa where she is being exfoliated and oiled.
She will rise again on her new legs and will grace the Morkel household in the Great Room with her beauty.

The Morkel Spa hard at work....

The Morkel Spa hard at work….

 

Read Full Post »

You can call me queen bee…..

The bright face turned around in the queue at Starbucks. She smiled when she heard us discuss the prospect of our ‘grab and go’ breakfast. Changing her stance discreetly, she continued to examine our faces. I wondered what could possibly be of interest to her so early in the morning. I felt like I had egg on my face! Most of us were just trying to hold ourselves together before that first cup of coffee! The morning face had been slapped together haphazardly and all other faffing had been done in record time. We had a plane to catch and we still had to make it through the Seattle commuter traffic.

That familiar coffee aroma wafted through past us. Mmmm….. I could not wait to take my first sip of the delicious bean beverage. The intrigued onlooker darted another glance our way. Was it our South African accents? Did I have some remnant of our cuddles with the twins stuck to the front of my raincoat? I thought back to those two sleepy faces and their precious sweet baby smell. We were going to miss them but would keep a close watch through skype and rejoice in all their milestones.

Goodbye cuddles with Jack and Kate.

Goodbye cuddles with Jack and Kate.

The queue shortened and we placed our orders. In no time the frothy steaming cups were passed across the counter.

Two grande latté

At last, I made my way across to the service table to grab the cinnamon. In my mind this was the piece de resistance. Three shakes would suffice and I automatically continued my routine as if in my own kitchen.

How y’all doing?

I glanced up and there stood the friendly face of our gawker. Did I really need this now? All I wanted to do was to knock back my first cup and to be left to wake up properly.

The melodious southern twang continued to tumble out. The questions ensued and we gave answers between the first sips of our coffee. It turned out that she had been to South Africa and was drawn to us as it brought back so many happy memories. Her eyes sparkled as she recounted her trip up to Kenya too. Then she stopped, almost in mid-sentence and looked us in the eye.

Y’all look like Ken and Barbie!

There was much laughter. Those who were old enough to recall my favourite toy joined in. Maybe we could pass for Ken and Barbie’s grandparents!

What a delight our stranger was. She brought amusement and a feeling of rejuvenation.  On those mornings when we creak out of bed and dare to look in the mirror, I gently toss over my shoulder…..

“So how is my Ken doing this morning?”

Ken in his other role....

Ken in his other role….

Kate enjoys the sparkles that Barbie has to offer....

Kate enjoys the sparkles that Barbie has to offer….

Read Full Post »

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=129kuDCQtHs

The two pairs of eyes were fixed on me as I danced back and forth clicking my fingers to the rhythm. I had fetched the twins just after 6 that morning as their parents were in dire need of some catch up sleep.
‘Ok kids, it is you and me for the next few hours!’

We turned up the volume and the sounds of “Old MacDonald had a Farm’ wafted through the air.
I bounced down the staircase to the basement guest room with Leo, the family dog, at my heels. My arms were bursting with all baby katunda that I could carry.  This included two soothers, two baby seats, and a healthy supply of nappies. I remembered that I had forgotten the toys and decided that whatever I could pull out of my case would have to suffice. My silver bracelets are always firm favourites and the shine usually did the trick.

Jack with his Nan.

Jack with his Nan.

I gazed across at them as they snuggled into the covers. Jack with his long gazes and his slow wide smile. Those deep blue eyes shone with wisdom. Heaven help us! I could just imagine some of the questions that would no doubt arise on my watch …..

‘Nan, where does the sky go to? ‘All the more reason to keep on my toes and to keep the head sharp.

Kate with the cute button switched on.

Kate with the cute button switched on.

Then there was Kate with her twinkly mischievous eyes and the smile that filled her little face. She had already mastered the cuteness button and was bound to use it masterfully. The game was on as they interacted with one another and Nan watched from the side.
The Seattle sun streamed in through the window and 2 little soporific heads nodded off.  But the reprieve was short lived and the relay of wet nappies and hungry tummies kept me on the hop.

The morning had raced by and it was time to get myself up and dressed. A warm shower was called for but i would have to think of a way of amusing the twins so that i could do just that.

Jack and Kate before the finale.

Jack and Kate before the finale.

So the finale began…..my fingers clicked again to the music. I must add that the said music was a collection of nursery rhymes that I had pulled up on YouTube. The little eyes followed me as I moved backwards and forwards. I turned on the water and adjusted the temperature and placed my towel where I could reach it. The 2 little bodies began to squirm in their seats. This was just not exciting enough and I was going to have to add some other dimension to ‘Jack and Jill climbed up the hill.’ I pulled off my sock and swirled it around and tossed it to the other side of the room. Peals of laughter ensued from the two bouncing seats. Then I pulled off another sock and added some clicking, singing and a few dance moves. The amusement continued and I managed to plunge myself under the water and wash. Every now and again I would stick my head out and throw something else into the air. A stray toothbrush and a comb went winging across the room. Some wobbly singing was added to the mix and a few intricate dance steps topped off the whole ritual. Then little chairs bobbed and looked over in anticipation. Yes, it was done. Nan was dressed and ready for the day.

But first I had to gather up the whole array of articles that I had flung around during my final act.
I think my second childhood has begun.

Can’t start a fire without a spark……..

 

 

Read Full Post »

I can see the stars from America….

The elusive winter sun streams through my window. Its deceptive beams promise of warmer days but in the meantime it is time to keep snug and to dream……
I make no apologies for being sentimental and for enjoying time spent in the past. It is where I dream and visit my happy place. We are continually bombarded at the start of the New Year with all the tips for achieving this elusive state of ‘happiness.’ Everything from striving to be present to achieving glowing health! Each to his own and there is no harm in finding out what works for you. But one can’t help but ponder this insatiable quest for utopia.

Jack

Jack

 

My little dose of happiness came in the form of a visit from Seattle of our young twin grandchildren, Jack and Kate. They intrigued us with their sense of wonder and kept us on the hop as we strived to attend to their needs which included entertainment. I must add that they are only 6 months old…..so heaven help us! Being twins the parents needed some much needed sleep, so we stepped in and played the surrogate role. This involved the feed times as well. Jack was just too happy to oblige and took to the bottle like a real pro. But Kate was not having any of it. She arched her little back and a bit her lip. No bottle was going to pass her lips! I think if she could have stood up, she might have stamped her feet. I could almost hear the little voice giving her nan stick! (I must add that I won’t take any blame for these genes, although my family think differently!) However, instead she let out a loud wail and nothing I did would console her. While I admired her persistence and the strength of her  little backbone, it was not doing much to add to the sleep session of her weary parents. This ‘old mom’ also noticed that there were no real tears but merely dry crocodile ones. Me thinks you protest too much, Kate!

Kate

Kate

I sang a lullaby…….

I then decided that another tactic was needed to convince this little madam that the bottle was certainly an excellent second option. The reasoning began……. “You see Kate, it is like this. I do not have the right equipment anymore.” I pointed to the relevant parts….. Her big eyes stared at me in disbelief. I am not sure who was more surprised. Was it me talking to myself or Kate?  But this desperate grandmother ran through the advantages of quenching the thirst and satisfying the hunger pains. All this time Kate was riveted as she digested the contents of my soliloquy. The added bonus would be if sleep ensued after the tasty meal. It was in short supply with teething little ones. I nervously lifted up the bottle. Miraculously no loud bellow erupted forth. Instead Kate gave a long sigh, relented and latched on like a dab hand. She drained the contents in a flash while she quizzically studied this new face. I would have given anything to have known the thoughts that ran through that little head. But sleep came to both of them and so to the rest of the house.

All of these stars will guide us…….

Too soon the visit was over and these two little mites made their way back to the US. Thankfully with modern technology our happiness continues as we rejoice in all their milestones.

You don’t have to see the whole staircase just the first step.

 

 

Snow rides in the back garden.

Snow rides in the back garden.

 

Read Full Post »

 

“Over here, this way!”

My hands waved around as I tried to make myself understood. I had heard the din outside and had run out to catch the flighty garden service. They whirl in, do as little as possible and then disappear. It infuriates me!  I am trying to revamp the garden of a newly moved into house in Seattle. It does not help matters that the weather has not lived up to expectation. Seattle is much like Cape Town where one always has an umbrella handy. So much watering has ensued and the new shoots are peeking through the brown crusty surface. The lawn was in dire need of a trim and I was on a mission to make sure it was done!

The Constant Gardener...

The Constant Gardener…

 

In my haste I grabbed yesterday’s top as I clambered out of the shower. Time was of an essence here and I grabbed whatever clothing I could find.

 As I ran up the basement staircase I looked down.  I realized that I had forgotten to slip on my underwear!
“Oh never mind, I am sure my dress covers all the ‘bits and pieces.'”
I must add that it was not a long one, as I usually wear leggings under it. But morning brain and lack of sleep had resulted in a bit of fog. My other job had been to act as a pair of helping hands to my new grandchildren…a set of twins. So that explains the lack of IQ points. But I had to put modesty aside and stick to the plan: Catch these shirkers!


Many years of teaching foreign children had fine tuned my gesticulations. I could make myself understood in any language you throw at me. It just involves much face pulling and exaggerated hand movements. My shouts and arm flailing were competing against the thunderous drone of the lawnmower. But this did not deter me from my mission and I continued to attempt to get my message across. Suddenly I remembered the fact that I was minus my under clothes and I tugged discreetly to keep my decency.

 

But very soon my one man act paid off. My dignity was still in tact and the garden looked beautiful!

The 'new nan' explores the Seattle Islands

The ‘new nan’ explores the Seattle Islands

Read Full Post »

 

The tiny hand stretched and grabbed my thumb. The grip was inexperienced and relied on reflex. It opened out again and the slender fingers bounced back to regain their position. The delicate skin was soft and new. It belonged to my ten day old grandson, Jack, and I marvel at the life force that emanates from his tiny 2 kilogram frame. Oh how I relish those words…. ‘ my grandson!’ There are tell tale physical signs of his lineage too. The shape of his mouth, his ‘Morkel chin’ and a few other bits and pieces that I feel certain he would not want you to know about. No doubt they will be pulled up for an embarrassing anecdote at a 21st or some such like event. There are bound to be some ‘streke’ that will be displayed in a fractious toddler. I expect that will be all ouma’s fault. I have come to realise that in an all male household, I have to take ownership of ‘my streke.’ One thing is for sure it will certainly give him character!

A tiny hand....

A tiny hand….


She nuzzled up close and opened her eyes. It was as if those one week old deep blue eyes were sizing me up. So who do we have here? She watched me move and turned her head slowly towards me. I jabber on and she listens attentively. The tiny rose bud mouth puckers as if she is dying to add to the conversation. This is my grand daughter Kate. Oh to have a little girl in our family!She is soft and feminine and already has her dad wrapped around her little finger.


It is my watch and as their Nan I keep a close eye. I observe these 2 new little people and notice that Kate appears to show an interest in the family that tends her. Her deep blue eyes track me across the room. Jack on the other hand gazes out of the window and picks up on the movement outside. I wonder to myself if this is indicative of the little personalities that we shall soon get to know 


Kate  is curled up next to me on the couch and Jack is in his ‘swing seat’ on my left. The little bodies sigh and squeak softly. Peace reigns for the moment and all is right with the world. The twins are asleep.

 

Nan on duty....

Nan on duty….

Read Full Post »