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The secret to being a tough cookie

In the last week, I’ve had three people, people that I think are pretty flipping cool, tell me that they admire *me* for being tough. Me? Yes, me. Well, here’s my secret: “There is no spoon.” Sorry, I’m old as fuck and that’s a one-liner straight out of The Matrix. What I mean is that there is nothing mystical about hanging in there when times are tough. I have been working on what I call “mental toughness” for a few years now, purely as a coping mechanism for living with a disabled kid who switches from Kid Jekyll to Kid […]

Food diary

Here’s how much junk food I eat in a week [PHOTO STORY]

Sponsored post Hi, my name is Stacey and it’s been nine days since my last blog post. It’s easy to tell when my life is getting a little frantic because you can hear crickets when you visit my blog. *chirp chirp* The upswing in busy-busy-busy has coincided beautifully with my latest blog challenge from Entiro: I’ve been asked to keep a food diary for a week. I’m an eat-and-run kind of mom, and if you think I have terrible eating habits on an ordinary day, you should see how bad it gets when I’m stressed. For seven days in a […]

121H

Shhh, I’m hiding [and a quickie book review]

Sometimes when people ask me how many children I have, I’ll say four. People who know me will do a double-take and say, “Wait a minute – I thought you had three boys?!” Then they say: “WAIT! Hang on… does this mean… are you…” “Um, no, I’m not pregnant.” [When you have more than two kids, people are always assuming you’re a serial breeder.] What I mean is that I have three boys…. and a business. Actually, that would be a great alternate title for this blog. Because the only thing I love talking about more than my children is […]

252H

I am the arrow. The dew that flies.

They say that it takes a village to raise a child. (At least, that’s something they used to say before we started raising families in boomed off neighbourhoods, with security cameras hid in teddy bears and smartphones raised up between us like bright-shining drawbridges.) I lost my mother at a very young age. And the older I become, the more I appreciate how unusual my childhood was. You see, after she died, a village sprung up around me. A village of moms. You have no idea what a privilege it is to have been raised, loved and supported by so many […]

18H

The reluctant leader

In my first performance review at my first job – working as a junior sub-editor at a community newspaper – my editor-in-chief said: “You’re a dark horse, Stacey.” I went back to my desk and looked up “dark horse” in Internet Explorer. These were pre-Google days and I was having a series of email exchanges with some dude called Robin the Frog I’d met in an IRC chat room (I’ve always liked the smart boys, long before it became fashionable to slap the word “sapiosexual” on your Twitter bio.) I thought I knew what the dark horse thing meant, that […]

163H (1)

The Internet thinks I run a home for special needs kids, and it’s kind of amazing

This competition is closed and the winner is Unathi Mamane. Whenever I get an incoming call from a phone number that I don’t recognise, it’s someone phoning to ask if we have space for their kid at Living Lionheart. Did you know that I run a home for special needs children? Neither did I. But the general population of the Internet thinks so, and it’s all because of a quirk of the great big machine called Google. (And also because people can’t read properly.) It turns out that I have written so many posts over the years about our journey […]

263H

I have something important to share…

… and it’s difficult for me to write this. In fact, I’m typing this blog post as fast as I can to just get it out. It’s been haunting me. Like a toad lurking in a dark corner. The reason I’m finding this hard to write is because I feel guilty and shamed. Because so many of you jumped in to help out our family when we really needed it. You contributed time and money, and you bought into everything I had to say. For a while it worked out just like I thought it would, and then things went […]

autism and the xmen

Why I think autistic people are a little like the X-Men

Every week, I have someone phoning or emailing me, asking me if I run a home for children with special needs. I don’t, of course. But if I did, I would hang a sign by the front gate that reads: “Welcome to the Lionheart School for Gifted Youngsters.” If you recognise this wording of this sign, you’re probably a fan of the X-Men comics and movies. Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters is where Professor Charles Xavier teaches young mutants how to handle their powers. It’s a lovely piece of fantasy, but it’s closer to being a reality than you imagine. […]

Gold Reef City 2

Waking up in a silent theme park is utterly surreal [photo story]

If you’re familiar with Gold Reef City, you already know everything there is to know about this theme park straight out of Jozi’s gold rush days. There are rides that shoot down mine shafts at 100km/h, you can dress up in clothing from 1886 and watch molten gold being poured, and the buildings are set in that quaint Victorian style you still see in old Joburg, with broekielace and everything. Last year, we were invited to spend the night in the newly refurbished Gold Reef City – but we had to use our voucher by the end of March. In […]

244H

It feels like all the best people are leaving

There’s that one family in your circle of friends and acquaintances. She’s class mom, he’s the kind of guy pulling the 2am to 5am shift in the neighbourhood watch. When there’s fundraising to be done, their names are scribbled on the first stub in your raffle ticket book. They share photos on Facebook of their kids sorting through old toys to donate to the local place of safety. You kind of hate them a little, they’ve got their shit so very, very together. Until you’re manning the boerie roll table side by side at the school sports day, and it […]