- More places to visit on Father’s Day weekend
- On being a father
- Thoughts on fatherhood: the second coming
- Hey dada, be a man!
- Being a Dad: making it up along the way
- Thank you for being such a crazy dad
- Proud to be a dad
- De-coding the cry
- Christmas and nowhere to hide
- The little things in life
- Mommy’s boy
- My daughter, my heart
- Christmas – Money, Mystery and Imagination
- You scream, I wilt
- Being a father
If you haven’t discovered it yet, Jozikids.co.za is the most up to date and detailed resource for parents in the Gauteng region to find what you need including events, activities, venues, parties and lessons. You’ll also find us on your cell phone.
Happy Father’s Day everyone. If you haven’t yet decided what to do, here’s a list of places you can still visit today.
Wonderwall Kya Sands, 9am-6pm. This is Johannesburg’s premier indoor climbing gym. Whether you are a beginner climber or a seasoned veteran of the crag Wonderwall has all the facilities to suit you.
Lory Park Zoo, Father’s Day-10am-4.30pm. They will be selling pancakes for the special day and the Dads will be entitled to a R10 discount on their entrance fees. Bring picnic baskets for lunch on the grass or at the tables scattered under the trees around the enclosures.
Rietvlei Zoo Farm, Alberton, 8am-5pm. Bring your picnic basket, chairs, tables, umbrellas, picnic blankets and enjoy a day of fun in the outdoors! Bring a soccer ball, set up a volley ball net or a cricket pitch and challenge your family to a game You are welcome to bring your bicycles and explore our farm. Ride our fun mountain bike routes on the farm or just put on your walking shoes and join our fun walking trails. Other activities include: 9-hole putt-putt course or Zak Tractor Cart Rides. Children can feed our farmyard animals by purchasing veggie packs, or visit our bird aviary and enjoy pony rides.
Compu-Kart Raceway Zambezi Mall, Derdepoort , Pretoria
Go-Karting Menlo Park, Pretoria
Randburg Raceway Strijdom Park, Jhb
Dirt Ryders Adventures, Lanseria , Jhb
Compu-Kart Raceway Edenvale, East Rand
Kids Traffic Land Balfour Park, Johannesburg 9am-4.30pm. Kid’s Traffic-land is a unique and fun way for children to learn the rules of the road, by getting into battery operated cars or bikes and driving on make-believe roads with traffic signs and robots. Dressed up police officers are present to guide the children along the roads and teach them the basic operation of the vehicles and what to do at what signs
Serendipity Rosebank, Jun 17, Breakfast: 8.30-11.30am. Lunch: 12-3pm booking essential. Our lunch buffet is guaranteed to delight & includes a lamb spit-braai, roast chicken, vegetarian quiche and roasted veggies & potatoes with various salads, followed by an assortment of delicious puddings. Dads watch Sport on Tv whilst kids play in safe and fun garden environment.
by AJ Nel, a labour lawyer and partner in a recruitment firm , dad to two sons, Damian (6) and Ethan (4) who share a love of fly-fishing. Find him on Twitter
I remember as if it was yesterday, the cold winter morning when I for the first time realised what being responsible for the life of another means. I am pretty sure most fathers learn this through the same lesson… the panicked overcautious drive home from the hospital with your new-born. Then there’s the chasing to the emergency room at three in the morning when your three month old turns out to have “only” a mild tummy bug.
But the blessing so much outweighs the responsibility, the gift of seeing life through their eyes. They have such exuberance for life and want to do everything and do it now! Just yesterday we were cooking, building puzzles and creating Meccano monsters at the same time. The language they use tells you exactly how they’re thinking – “clothes live in a cupboard, dad”. They believe they can do any- and everything and show appreciation and awe with total honesty. Nobody can forget the first time they took their toddler to the zoo, the amazement at every animal they see; the exited shouts and the never-ending questions. They really do want to understand everything and Google-enabled parents they really believe we know everything. They give such passionate hugs and when they cry, you cry with them.
In the end being a father is best surmised in the words of Kent Nerburn:
“Until you have a son of your own… you will never know the joy, the love beyond feeling that resonates in the heart of a father as he looks upon his son. You will never know the sense of honour that makes a man want to be more than he is and to pass something good and hopeful into the hands of his son. And you will never know the heartbreak of the fathers who are haunted by the personal demons that keep them from being the men they want their sons to be.”
by Kojo Baffoe , editor of DESTINY Man magazine, a father, a son, a brother, a husband, a friend, a poet, a writer on a quest to make sense of this reality, with words. Author of Evolutionary
When my son – the Prince, as he is known on Twitter – was born, I found my rhythm quite quickly. I was zombie-like, in sleep-deprived shock most of the time, but I was able to get a handle on his personality and rhythms relatively comfortably. Of course, parenting puts you in a state of constant turmoil with the rules always changing, because babies often seek to do the opposite of what the books you happened to read said, but I did alright. I went through the possible permutations anytime he cried – hungry, wet, tired or just plain cranky – and even started to get a sense of why he was crying without even checking. The Prince and I were good.
And then, at the age of 4, he decided to throw me a curveball by having a sister, the Angel. The timing was perfect, the age gap exactly how we would have hoped. The Prince, while not fully cognisant of the mechanics was old enough to understand that he was going to have a baby brother or sister. We took him to a couple of doctor visits, he saw the scans, helped choose things like cots, clothes and toys and asked constantly when his sister would come out of mommy’s tummy.
I went into theatre loudly confident. I had done this before. It was the same doctor, anaesthetist, nurses, hospital, etc. Another caesarean, I knew the deal … where to look, where not to look, what nearly made me pass out the first time, etc. I was good. 30 minutes later, I’m sitting on the cold, hard floor in the brace position. I got up twice to hold my daughter, marvelled at her and then had to sit right back down. A sign of what was to come.
I had become a bit too comfortable with the Prince. I knew how to be a father to him. Now, there was someone new with her own unique personality. I won’t lie – it felt like she cried for the first couple of months. I’d pick her up, she’d cry. I’d put her down, she’d cry. I just couldn’t find a rhythm. The Angel came into the world and staked her claim as baby-in-charge of my household. Any illusions any of us had of being the centre of attraction was brutally screamed out of the window.
She will be a year old next month and her brother will be 5 the month after and I have gradually found my place within my family. Once I took a step back and tried less to impose what works for her brother on her, we started to find a rhythm. I have learned that, in the same way that we are all different, our children need to be engaged with on the basis of their unique personalities. The love may be as intense and complete for one as it is for the other but, when it comes to being a parent of more than one, one size does not fit all.
It is still early days but I am grateful that my children chose me to be their father. I am up to the responsibility and hope that I shall always do best for them.
Read other articles by Kojo about fatherhood on our blog
By Nicolas Callegari , on the one hand – writer, gamer, full-time sci-fi geek, and future rock star. On the other – first time dad, stumbling his way through parenthood one lesson at a time. Visit his blog
I’ve always been one of those okes who really didn’t think about having a family. In fact, for a number of years I was pretty outspoken about the fact that I actually didn’t want kids for a very long time, if at all.
The truth is that I was pretty comfortable in my life. I have a beautiful wife, a good job, a nice house, a motorbike, a V8 Land Rover and hobbies that include playing drums, PC gaming and paintball.
In all honesty, I was going to avoid the baby question as long as I could and eventually, well, let’s just say that time caught up with me. I turned 30, as did my wife, and the clock started ticking.
So I manned up – literally – and we fell pregnant. And so began one of the most disruptive, harrowing, stressful and tiring rollercoaster rides of my life.
But do I regret it? Oh hell no.
As a father, you’re no less of a man than you were before. Being a “man” means being a pillar for your family, using your manliness to protect and encourage your family and demonstrating compassion and love for those you hold most dear and being completely comfortable doing it.
I remember listening to a talk once by a pastor from the US named Mark Driscoll (here’s the talk if you want to have a listen) who spoke about what it meant to be a real man. He said a lot that resonated with me, especially that real men don’t lead with fear. Real men don’t resort to violence and bully people into respecting them.
Who’s more of a man? The guy who steps into a boxing ring and wins by knock-out in the first round, or the guy who sits and enjoys a cupcake made form mud at his daughter’s tea party?
Yes people will say that you’re delusional thinking that endless sleepless nights, sick children, your affected sex life, the lack of personal time and the stress of having a child, or children, is worth it when you get a smile or the first “dada” that come out of their mouths.
I concede, parenthood isn’t for everyone. There are people out there who are not cut out to be parents or just don’t want to be parents. And I respect that decision.
But, in the same way, I think parents, and fathers in particular, deserve the same respect and recognition for making the decision to be parents.
Make no mistake, it’s tough and it will test you and your marriage to your limits, but know this, you’re as much, if not more, of a man as a dada than you were when you were single and living the life of a predator.
All I can say is my son made me a better man and I hope to goodness that you feel the same about your kids.
We have two wonderful, young children (if you don’t count our three Dachshunds). My fatherhood journey began in November 2007 and it caught me almost entirely unprepared. I had a number of preconceived ideas about how to deal with a baby boy and I was forced to abandon them, one at a time, as it became clear that the rational theory was very different to the confusing, frustrating and frequently panic-stricken reality that I experienced in those early months.
What I learned is that being a Dad is perhaps more about dealing with my own fears and insecurities than anything else because I was virtually incapable of starting to become the father I hoped to be to my son until I dealt with my own stuff first.
By the time our daughter arrived in December 2010 I was enjoying my time with our son and was pretty apprehensive about going back to the beginning. Aaron was talking, walking and had figured out the TV remotes. He had his iPod Touch figured out and could feed himself. Faith was, like any newborn, helpless and suddenly in a strange, confusing world. Even though I had been there with Aaron already, it was still an adjustment for me.
Life with our daughter is different to those early months with Aaron. The confusion and panic is, well, not gone but I’m definitely more comfortable with her than I was with Aaron. People with more than one child often comment how different their kids are but I didn’t realize how different Faith is compared to her brother and those differences just enrich my experiences as a Dad. I can appreciate them as developing individuals and enjoy my learning experiences that much more.
My fatherhood journey has only just begun. Most of the time I try to be mindful of my stuff when it gets in the way of being a better father and I aim to avoid making the same mistakes. I don’t always succeed and probably fail more often than not but that seems to be the idea. Being a parent is as much about growing up ourselves as it is about giving our children better lives. It’s about growing together, I think, although that is a lot harder than it sounds.
by Walter Pike, father of 3, a writer, thinker, broadcaster, public speaker on how marketing has changed in the social world. Visit him on walterpike.net
My birthday present last year was a card with the words “thank you for being such a crazy dad” written inside it.
Time has flashed by, was yesterday really 23 years and some weeks ago. The day the arrival of my son turned me into a father. It can only be yesterday because I can still so clearly remember the branded paper towel dispenser above the basin in the delivery room in the Park Lane clinic and the fetal heart rate monitor as I coached his mother through that first natural birth.
Two years later the TV commercial production company had to include a “car phone” in their quote so that I could be called from location in case my second son arrived while I was away and some years later my daughter was named after the heroine of a school setwork book, a name that had captivated me since then.
My little five year old boy asking me to teach him how to play cricket took me on a journey to the top levels of cricket administration and highest coaching qualification obtainable and to far too many heart in the mouth days watching runs being scored and wickets taken until he too had been identified as one of the very best, although studying an engineering degree has changed his focus.
Cold winter nights watching club rugby practices and awards for best player for two age groups simultaneously, and later shivering next to hockey astroturf were combined with soccer coaching and club and provincial administration duties.
Nursery school admin, chairman of the governing body, school trustee and so on were also part of these years.
This year I joined the board of the Johannesburg Youth Ballet the company my baby daughter dances for.
I have had my heart fill with pride at cricket centuries and five wicket hauls, at goals and tries scored. I have been devastated by unfair decisions and cruel heartbreaking selection errors. I have barely watched my daughter, the top hockey goal scorer, dance like an angel through tears of pride and wonder.
I have had my embarrassed but smiling daughter walk as far away from me as possible as I turned a shopping expedition into a musical, singing my happiness.
I wanted them each to feel what it feels to be successful, to be admired and respected. I tried to insulate them from the mass socialization which is the aim of the school system to help them question and resist and to think freely.
In this I have been successful beyond my wildest expectations and I have been a dismal and utter failure. I have in total frustration questioned every step of the path I chose not understanding the mistakes I made along the way.
One day these three perfectly imperfect men and woman will say goodbye to me. I hope that they will know by then that I have loved every moment of being their crazy dad.
By Dave Martin, a divorced dad, who owns a tiny business, and lives for his daughter. Visit his business blog
I know that the subject of children in divorced homes has been thrashed to death, but it’s such an important and provocative subject.
I am the father of an only daughter, 13 years old (ouch!), who just happens to be the most rocking child on the planet. She is balanced, and loves spending time with her mother, AND with me. I should mention that we are divorced. This has been achieved by putting a few principles in place.
(1) It’s ALWAYS about your child – always – I know this is easier said than done, and in the beginning, it is SO difficult not to use your child as a negotiating tool with your newly “exed”. It’s tough not to feel like you are being used. You are the adult – act like it!
(2) Never bad-mouth the other parent in front of your child. Do that when your child is not with you, with the greatest pleasure, but never when your baby is with you. Apart from the obvious, all it does is weaken your childs comfort base. They don’t know whether to show solidarity with you, their beloved Dad (or Mom) or to protect the other parent, or to withdraw.
(3) Parents – keep reminding yourselves, and your exes that personal feelings towards each other mean nothing. If nothing else, you have a moral responsibility to focus on your child and to give them the best that you can.
(4) Don’t feel guilty about the split home. We have used this to our advantage. So, when Josie(the rocking daughter) is with her Mom, then she does girly stuff – they shop, constantly. They talk, all the time, they do crafty (as in arts and crafts) things. They are girls. But, when Josie comes to me, we ride motor bikes, go water skiing, watch tv, love rugby, go camping. Which does Josie prefer? Neither – she LOVES both worlds.
Finally, encourage your child to express when they miss the other parent – its not because she / he doesn’t want to be with you, it’s because she misses her parent – don’t take stuff personally – this way, she will be more comfortable, you will be her confidant. Just like her other parent is. It’s NOT a competition.
If you do nothing else, constantly add value in your childs life – this creates bonds.
Hopefully, if you can get all of this right, you will have a child, that on seeing you, throws herself into your arms and loves you unconditionally.
Have fun – your kids rock – BIG time!
By Nicolas Callegari , on the one hand – writer, gamer, full-time sci-fi geek, and future rock star. On the other – first time dad, stumbling his way through parenthood one lesson at a time. Visit his blog
Crying is probably the number-one thing that scares men away from kids. If you’re anything like me, you just come near a child and the tears start rolling.
It’s the one thing that can make you hate being alive and feel like a complete failure as a parent. But reality check, it’s inevitable if you are or are planning to be a parent so you need to know what it’s all about and how you can de-code what your baby is trying to tell you.
Unfortunately, babies aren’t born with the ability to articulate what he or she needs, so every word that comes out of their mouths will sound something like this: “WWWAAAAAAAAA!”
Not ideal. Especially when there’s a list of things it could be and you have no clue how to identify any of them.
Over the first few weeks of my son’s life, my wife and I managed to whittle the reasons for crying down to a list of four things. I can confidently say that any time my kid decided to bleat like a little goat (I’m not lying, that’s what it used to sound like), we’d use the process of elimination:
There are other reasons that babies cry, like being too hot or cold, being sick, or just plain bored, but in most cases, we found that one of the four listed above were the cause of the commotion.
The hardest part about crying is letting your baby cry for a while so you can figure out what type of cry it is.
No, I’m not heartless, letting babies cry serves lots of purposes. Most importantly, crying allows you to learning your baby’s cry-pattern or cry-disposition.
A cry-pattern is a very distinct pattern to how your baby cries when he or she is hungry, or uncomfortable.
Parents who have learnt their baby’s cry-pattern will easily be able to have a listen and predict what is wrong and if when the cry will end.
But to learn your baby’s cry-pattern you have to let your baby cry…sometimes for up to 45 minutes. And it’s the most heart-breaking thing in the world, but after a few days you’ll be able to tell if baby’s hungry, attention mongering, or being attacked by the Tokoloshi.
HIGH FIVE for progress!
by Barrie Bramley , a father, a husband and an eager student in the art of loving life. His passion is to create and see the world differently. From time to time he writes for ‘‘Jozikids’. Visit Barrie on his web or twitter page.
Meet Jordan and Carli. Ages 10 and 7 respectively. This is an important piece of information. Important because it’s Christmas time. Important because the odds of a 10 year old and a 7 year old still believing in Father Christmas are remote. With respect to these two beautiful little girls, I’m afraid that this is the case.
I’m Barrie. Father to said beautiful girls. 41, and afraid (see above). Afraid because I have learned that once children work out that Father Christmas doesn’t exist, things change. And when it comes to purchasing presents around Christmas time, everything changes. Dramatically.
I long for days gone by when my two girls looked to that rather portly man, with the long white beard, from the North Pole to meet their Christmas present needs. Those trips to the local shopping mall to sit on his lap and feed him specific hints and clues as to what they expected he’d drag down our chimney to be opened on Christmas morning. And the letters we wrote together, and then posted, and recently e-mailed to him, in his mystical toy building city in the snow.
And on Christmas day, as we gathered around the tree at 04:30 in the morning, there was always a sense of amazement and magic that he’d delivered anything at all. It didn’t matter that their entire list hadn’t been executed. He was a busy guy. He had a lot of kids to visit last night. That he stopped in at our particular geographic location was beautiful and fatty with the beard deserved all the gratitude my girls could muster.
<deep sigh> Those were the days. The good old days as many might say.
This Christmas things are different. This is the first year that Jordi and Carli have both known that fatso with the whiskers is a hoax. A cute fantasy invented by parents to create a romantic and magical energy around Christmas time. Together, I have learned, their new found worldview is powerful in it’s double pronged attack on me.
I have also learned that whoever invented tubby-in-red, didn’t do it for romance and magic. They did it for economic health and safety. This year, instead of a letter to his majesty of the north, they have a wish list for me. Two wish lists. And honestly, they’re not wish lists as much as very direct shopping orders with a double helping of expectation thrown in for good measure. I have nowhere to hide. I have no-one to blame when half of Incredible Connection and Toys R Us aren’t sitting under our Christmas tree on the 25th of December. I’m exposed. Naked. I have no escape from having to face the consequences of keeping this lie alive for so long.
I feel wronged by parents who have gone before me. Why didn’t they warn me of the regret I would one day have to face? I know why! They’re in the same boat as me, except with teenagers. They’re facing bankruptcy this year once again, and the only amusement they have is knowing that an entire new class of 2010 is being inducted as they were so many years ago.
Still it’s a wonderful time of the year in my home. I’ll recover financially by October 2011. And even though they know Father Christmas isn’t real, there’s still a magical feeling in the air. And why shouldn’t there be? When we stop for a while and think of those we love, and do our best to find some treasure that will light up their souls for a while, there can only be magic in the air. You’re a good guy St Nic. I just wish you’d survived for a little while longer in my home.=
by Mo Hassem, a Systems Architect and a father of four beautiful children. Having no manual he does the best I can in the parenting department. His bantering on life the universe and everything can be found at OPotB
Driving through the traffic on the freeway, completely engrossed in my own world, the silence is broken by my son Adam, strapped into his booster chair on the back seat.
“What is that?”, at two and a half he asks the age old question, asked by all children of his age, when he sees something that catches his eye. I glance over my shoulder trying to figure out what exactly has caught his eye (this is done in the flash of an eye as my mind unconsciously observes the direction he is looking in, compensates for the speed of the car, sifts through the traffic and spots the most outstanding object, applies some statistical analysis and assesses the probability that, that would be the object he would be referring to, as only a parent can-who said all that stuff you learn at school is useless).
“A big red truck”, I reply.
When talking to other parents, many a times I hear them say, how their lives have changed when the children arrived. I have often thought about it, and no doubt they have changed my life. I guess in my younger days, when my eldest son was born, just witnessing the miracle of a perfect human, in miniature, fascinated me. My youngest son, born just two and a half years ago, has a totally different impact on me as an adult.
As an adult, tempered by experience, it seems as though other things have become more important and priorities have changed. So much so that my life has been defined by these and my judgement has been tainted, and I find that it is more and more difficult to see the beauty in things. And this is what my son has brought back into my life.
I have rediscovered the joys of the simple things in life. A pretty little flower growing on the roadside, the petals of the roses as they unfold revealing the bud of the flower. The smell of lawn freshly cut and watered, or the freshness of the soil as the rain drenches it. The fresh scent of a bed of flowers, the smell of herbs cooking and infusing food with its delectable aroma and taste. And by far the most pleasurable of all, the love in those little arms as they fold around me, hug me and hold me close.
Thank you my son for being such a great teacher. Has anyone seen the big red truck on the highway?