I don’t like to brag, but there is a cool trait that I have that I am so happy to have. I have a great sense of direction. Plonk me in unfamiliar territory, give me a map or just a vague sense of where I am and where I need to go, and I can figure it out. My internal compass is pretty damn strong, and I do well with remembering streets, landmarks and a general sense of where I exist in space. It has made travel much more enjoyable, as well as made moving cities way less daunting. After driving somewhere once or twice, I can find my way there and back again without too much hassle. It’s sort of like in those Ubisoft open-world games – I sync my map internally and then I can access that info whenever I need it, even years later.
For a long time, I figured this was just an innate trait. I mean, sure, my father taught me about reading maps, and we had cool map drawing classes in my Waldorf elementary school, but in actual fact I was drawing maps even before then. When my brother would play games, I would be the one drawing maps of dungeons, telling him where we needed to go. He was the one doing the controls, but I was always the navigator. However, after doing some digging, it seems that there was something else I did that helped give me a sense of direction, and it really isn’t hard to pass this awesome ability on to your little one… and maybe even improve your sense of direction, too.
I am a careful driver. I don’t have any history of accidents, whether from my own doing or anyone else’s. But I also don’t have any illusions – almost every other day I have some kind of close call situation. There are always people who don’t look before driving, or who change lanes without checking their blind spots, or who reverse out of a parking spot without checking. Sometimes, I’m even guilty of those things and only remain accident-free thanks to good luck and quick reflexes. With Harley along for the ride, I’m even more aware of the risks, and the importance of car seats, particularly rear-facing car seats.
When I was getting ready to start work on this campaign, I was chatting with Mandy-Lee Miller, the awesome lady of Pregnant in Cape Town and mastermind of the #CarseatFullstop campaign. We were talking about moving her adorable little girl into a rear-facing car seat and how it had made her even more worried about getting rear ended. I hadn’t even thought of that! Would Harley be more at risk in a rear-collision? Or what if we were hit from the side? Actually, no, and it all comes down to science.
Since Harley was born, I have had a continual stress – she didn’t have a birth certificate. It was a real nightmare, and a bunch of you were awesome and helpful, tweeting at Home Affairs in the hopes of helping us out. It just kept dragging on, and I was getting worried that it might never get resolved. After the ladies in the hospital refused to help us, we escalated and moaned and tried all sorts of solutions. Home Affairs had a rule that the ladies in the hospital had to be the ones to help us, and with their refusal it was becoming an impossible situation.
After getting some help from the twitter manager for Home Affairs, and getting referred to a variety of managers, I got some advice that was similar to other advice I’ve gotten in different situations. Just go to Home Affairs and try to register. If they refuse, go back a different day and try with a different person. Just like when dealing with other service providers, it seems that some things are always possible depending on your interpretation of the rules, so you just need someone with an interpretation that works for you to help. Plus, my crazy American ability to speak to people in charge certainly helps.
There was a point on our trip to Knysna, driving along the single lane highway, when Dean was struggling to get our little car to overtake one of the many trucks along the route. Our Chevy Aveo does just fine most of the time, but loaded with 3 adults and a baby in her awesome car seat, plus the pram and all our baggage in the trunk/boot, it wasn’t quite as strong as we needed. Kris said it quite well in that moment – the car was overweight and underpowered. “Just like me”, I quipped from the backseat of the car. We all chuckled, but it’s been irritating me because it’s true.
I made a promise to myself (and to all of you) that I wouldn’t pass my body image stuff on to Harley. I don’t want her to grow up worrying about her weight, something that so many women (all women?) worry about. I also told myself that I’d give myself a year before worrying about getting back into shape after Harley came along – I figured it would take that long before we’d have a routine and stuff that let me carve time out of the day to go to the gym or at least do home exercise. But then I went for my post-baby checkup and I had actually lost weight. I even took pictures of my before and after body at that point. But I may have spoken too soon.
If you don’t follow me on social media (and really, you should), you might not realize just how much fun I had last week. Dean, Harley and I went with Dean’s friend Kris from Iceland down to Knysna. I had been promised that Knysna was beautiful, that it was a land of whales, oysters and wine. I’ve been wanting to go there for years, but the timing never seemed to work. Until last week, when we all piled into our little car and made the trip down. Yes, that’s right, we did it as a road trip, making plenty of stops along the way.
I tried to do a bit of an update while I was away. In fact, I had planned on blogging while I was gone. But it just wasn’t really doable from my iPad, so I instead decided to enjoy my time away and worry about putting it all into words when I returned. So, here are all the words.