Caleb’s story


Caleb has quite surprised me. He was struggling with pencil grip and so has never been that keen on writing. One day after Rachel had finished practicing her spelling words on the white board, he surprised me by saying that he want to write a story.

This is how the story starts. He tells me the words and I spell them out for him

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Caleb turned 5 last Friday. He is such a sweet child with his own way of looking at the world.

I thought it was a good time to write down all the things that he says that I might otherwise forget.

Caleb Funny’s

The one night while Rachel was away he was doing a show for us after supper with his toy Lion. He had the Lion balanced on a chair. The Lion fell off and without skipping a beat Caleb grabbed the Lion turned to us and said “Don’t try this at home” I am not sure where he heard that ( maybe the science show at the Cape Town Science Centre) but it was so perfectly in context and said so seriously it was hilarious.

The one day I was working at the computer on the dinning room table, we was talking to me from the school and I could not hear properly so I said that if he wanted to talk he need to come to where I was. He spoke for a while and then started babbling stuff about dinosaurs (his favourite) while walking around and around the table. I told him I would love to hear all about what he had to say, but that I needed to get some work done so we could go out. As soon as I was done he could have my undivided attention again. He wonders off to the school room and starts talking again. I scolded him about not talking to me from across the house. He was totally indignant and replied. ” I am not talking to YOU, I am talking to the bacteria!” ( his sister told him there was bacteria on everything.

I am not religious and so I realize some might find this less funny. We were driving along the road and he asked who planted the thorn trees along the middle island.
Me: I am not sure, maybe the road people.
Caleb: Maybe it was god.
Me: I did not think so.
Caleb: what does god do?
me: I did not think he did anything.
Caleb: well then what is he for?
Me: I don’t think he is for anything
Caleb: Maybe he is for decoration

The Song of your life
This is not really a Caleb Funny but it shows how his mind works. He was in the car one day and he told me very seriously that I must find the Song of my Life. He said that it is inside and that you must sing it. He then sang a little song so softly and faintly in the pure innocent child voice. It was too soft for me to hear but it was beautiful and you could hear it was from his heart.

He mentions it often, he tells me he was born to sing the song of his life. At first it worried him that he could not always rememeber the exact words that he sang before but now he is fine if it changes.

My friend Carle gave him the book Heartsongs by Mattie JT Stepanek for his birthday.

Mattie is the youngest of four children, each of whom inherited a rare and fatal neuromuscular disease called Dysautonomic Mitochondrial Myopathy. His mother, Jeni, did not know she carried the gene. She was diagnosed as an adult, after all four of the children were born. Mattie’s siblings — Katie, Stevie, and Jamie — all died before age four. Being the youngest, Mattie lived longer as more and more was learned about the rare condition. In addition to causing muscle weakness, the condition interrupts autonomic (automatic) body systems and functions, such as breathing, heart rate, blood pressure, digestion, and the processing of oxygen. Like his siblings, Mattie needed a wheelchair, ventilator, oxygen, monitors, medicines and spent a significant amount of time living in Pediatric Intensive Care Units. When Mattie was four, his mom began using a wheelchair for mobility, and years later, she also began relying on a ventilator to support breathing.

His poems are very cute and very powerful for a child, some really bring a tear to the eye. There is one called Heartsong that is like Caleb’s song, it comes from inside you. Caleb was fascinated that another child also knew that your song of your life/heart was inside you and that you had to find it.


I have a song, deep in my heart,
and only I can hear it.
If I close my eyes and sit very still
it is so easy to listen to my song
When my eyes are open
and I am so busy and moving and busy,
if I take time and listen very hard,
I can still hear my heartsong.
It makes me feel happy.
Happier than ever.
Happier than everywhere,
and everything and everyone in the world.
Happy like thinking about
Going to Heaven when I die.
My heartsong goes like this-
I love you! I love you!
How happy can you be!
How happy can you make this whole world be!
And sometimes it’s other
Tunes and words, too.
But it always sings the same special song.
But do you know what?
All people have a special song
Inside their hearts!
Everyone in the whole world has a special heartsong.
If you believe in magical, musical hearts.
And if you believe you can be happy
Then you, too, will hear your song.

-Mattie J. Stepanek

Mattie died at age 14 I think, he watch his 3 siblings die. I wonder how a mother copes losing all 4 kids?

Potty Training

With Rachel I did Elimination Communication or Nappy Free. I did used to back up with cloth nappies when we went out but mostly with a combination of timing and her signaling we did pretty well. She was totally dry at night from about 11months, with occasional accidents but these were few and far between. She was potty trained from about 15 months. She would reliably tell me when she needed to go and we had very few accidents after this.

Caleb was born in the UK which is colder and so being nappy free was harder, we were also renting and the place had carpet floors which meant that a missed wee was not easy to clean and so I used cloth nappies as a back up a lot more even at home. But still he always knew the cue for going to the toilet and would try when I remembered to take him. Life with 2 kids and my ex away a lot off shore meant that I never had the same time to focus on EC like I had with Rachel. But still he potty trained earlish for a boy I guess. He was out of nappies by 2 and although we had more accidents than Rachel. I am not sure if it is a boy thing but even now (just turned 5) he has a few accidents at night. Mostly if he drinks a lot before bed. I do try to remember to lift him for a wee before I go to bed and it is not that often. Up to 6 for boys for occasional bed wetting is considered normal. But I admit to being a little concerned as Rachel was dry at night from just under a year.

Titus I have mostly used nappies, it is hard to EC with 3 kids, a business, home schooling and housework. But like the others I introduced the idea of the potty very early and let him sit on it, made the cue sounds and praised him a lot of he did a wee or poo in the potty. He does really well, it is more my lack of time and remembering to take him that stops him being totally out of nappies.

Zoe from Baby Throne sent me one for Titus when he was little and it has been a huge help. He loves his potty and it means that he can sit comfortably. I used it on the base when he was little and it was convenient to move around as we needed it.

He can now sign toilet and so every time I take him to the potty/throne I use the sign.He is now at the stage that he has the seat on the toilet.I have a few toys in the bathroom which he likes so this helps him sit for a few minutes. Today was the first time that he signed toilet to me without me signing first. Nappy was dry and he did a big wee in the toilet – Mommy was very proud.

What I love about EC is the bond and the communication that it build between mom and baby. I wrote more about it on Parent 24 But with out drive to be more sustainable and environmentally friendly I have always loved anything that cuts down on nappy use. Be it disposable or cloth. I EC’ed the others by just holding them out over the toilet or sitting backward but the Throne really does help. I do make sure that when out and even at home on occasion we do try without it so that he is used to not using it if we are out or at another house.

How was potty training for you?

All is well

Caleb was an absolute star on Friday, he was brave and did not make a fuss at all for his needle biopsy. It was quite funny to watch him all spaced out with the sedative they gave him. My awesome GP managed to get the results for me the same day and it showed a reactive gland, in other words and infection and no cancer! Yay A huge thank you to Carle who let us going to the farm after the hospital to wait for the results. I would have been much more stressed alone.

What great news to get before the day before my birthday. I must admit that when he came to climb into bed with me Saturday to wish me happy birthday I gave him an extra long hug.What a great 35 birthday present.

I had a wonderful birthday weekend, it was spend with family and friends. The boys woke me up with presents in the morning, we then did some shopping, baked caked and got the snoek braai ready. Yme’s family came over, our friend Andre (and his nice car) and my friend Carle and her family and we just chatted and laughed and relaxed it was lovely.

I spoke to Rachel on skype and she was having a good time at her Dad for the weekend visit. I am glad it went well and they went to a lot of effort to make it nice for her. I just hope that it does not open a lot of old wounds for Rachel. She has come to accept a certain level of non involvement from her dad but they were always close so I wonder if seeing him again and having a nice time will make her sad and miss him more again. Maybe seeing her will be motivation for him to come and visit them ( one can always hope)

Sunday we did a bit of gardening and then went to watch F1 at The Green Barn. We have been trying to decide where to get married and for budget reasons we were going to do it at home but we decided to ask on the off hand that it might not be as expensive as ‘proper’ commercial wedding venue. It is a barn, rustic and has a huge play area. They do great pizza and so we can have pizza and then bring any other food we like. They have a bar so the drinks are sorted. There is a hall with a fire place and a lovely outside section where we can do the service. The kids area is fantastic, with jumping castle, huge wooden climbing frame, trampoline. We have kids and a lot of the people coming to the wedding, especially those coming from far away will have their kids. It feel odd to try exclude them as we are a family. So this play area makes it perfect.

I am really excited, by the time we fixed the garden, hired the extra tables, chairs, plates, glassware etc and thought about a jumping castle etc for home we would be spending more so I am very happy and it is still very much in keeping with our style. It is 5 minutes from home and we can decorate it in much the same way with a backyard diy crafty feel as we would have done at home.

All in all a great weekend, how was your weekend?

chicken news

Seeing as I am after all a chicken farmer according to my dad, I thought it was hight time you all got another exciting installment into the life and times of Pinky’s chickens.

If you remember we have the 2 fat while chickens and we had done the chicken surgery on fat Potter and managed to keep her going for another few weeks. One day I came home and noticed fresh blood on her and when we looked her neck skin was off almost right around her neck, you could just about peel her head. Very gross. Rachel always gets cross at the mention on us needing to get rid of any of the chickens. Last time Potter got hurt and we were not sure if we would fix it, she said things like “I will be so mad with Pappa if he kills Potter” and that time we managed to save her. But this time I knew we could not. I did not want her blaming me or The Geek so I made her come and look at the wound. She is squeamish and hates blood, yes this is my child who wants to be a wild life vet – I am thinking a career choice change is due in her future. She could see for herself that the wound was bad and so she was actually okay with us culling her as she was suffering.

Look away if you are squeamish. So poor Potter had to go, she weighed close on 7kg when we had weighed her a few days before. My domestic was only to delighted to come take her. I did say to the kids that this was the last chicken that someone else was eating, I knew they were fond of Potter so would not eat her but from now on we eat the birds we cull.

With Potter gone we were down to 7. But the babies are no longer babies and the “don’t name the chickens in case we eat them” did not last. The girls are girls and so useful as they will lay eggs, we have had a few small little eggs already so they are nearly at point of lay. I let Rachel and Caleb name one each. Caleb called his Paddy and Rachel called hers Jewel.

This is Paddy Caleb’s new chicken. A Koekkoek chicken almost at point of lay

This is Jewel on her naming day

And this is Knight the Rooster. He has really become a handsome bird, but he now crows loudly in the mornings. I have spoken to most of the neighbours and they are fine with him. I bribe them with eggs. But he wakes me and this is not cool. I am also worried about the neighbours further a field. So we decided to cull him, The Geek was going to do it but we would go to the farm for Carle’s husband and house keeper to help as he had never done this before. I had arranged it all and then I chickened out. He is just too pretty and I don’t think it is bad having a Rooster he is not agressive and it might help to have our own fertilized eggs if any of the hens go broody. I have solved the crowing problem but making The Geek catch him every night and put him in a box and then he is allowed to come out after 8am in the morning. After which he does about half an hour of crowing and then he is quiet for the day.

I am not sure how long we can keep him as The Geek is getting fed up of chasing him around the garden but we will see.

Will Knight live to see another day? Stay tuned for more from Pinky’s chickens

Nail biting

I was reading a story to Caleb last night and I noticed that he had his hands in his mouth a lot. He had been doing to for a few days. I finally got to have a look at his hands which I should have done earlier, but I have the never quite valid enough excuse, of being busy and distracted. I noticed that he had chewed all his nails off, the one finger he had even started chewing the skin.

I nearly burst into tears. I have never biten my nails and have never had siblings or kids do it before and I have this preconceived idea that it a manifestation of stress and worry. That sometimes kids don’t even know that things bother them but they do and they show in things like nail bitting.

So I need some help here. Am I right? Is it a sign of something going on or were they just annoying him. He said that I had not cut them and he was worried they would get too long. He knows I always cut them and if I might have forgotten he could just come and tell me that they are a bit long and I would cut them.

My heart bleeds that he might even subconsciously be worried about the appointment tomorrow. Poor thing. I have been very calm but will be glad to have the appointment and be on the way to finding out what it is.

Did you bite your nails?
Do your kids bite their nails?
Should I be worried or am I over reacting?