Monday, 21 March 2011

Shwe shwe chic

An exquisite mobile in original homegrown shwe shwe fabric, custom-made especially for Goran by my darling mate Brandon, owner / creative director of Phresh, a lifestyle co-ordination company based in Durbs.

Monday, 7 March 2011

Tyger, tyger

I’m always interested to hear how parents go about deciding on names for their kids. For Lee and me, it was a fairly simple process. We certainly didn’t agonise over a list of names for weeks or months at a stretch, like I’ve seen some people do.

Our surname is Gruben (German origin), and the only thing I insisted on was, if our baby was going to be a boy, that his first name start with the letter 'G'. For men, I like it when their first name and their surname start with the same letter. I think it looks strong on paper, and it usually rolls nicely off the tongue.

Lee's lineage is Norwegian and Portuguese, mine Dutch and British. For some reason, both of us seem to favour what I call ‘former Eastern Bloc names’ (if we had had a girl, her name would've been Milla). Anyway, fairly early on in our pregnancy, we were watching an episode of Law and Order: Criminal Intent. At some point, Lee made a comment about Detective Goren, which he mistakenly pronounced, or I mistakenly heard as ‘Goran’. I immediately latched onto it and said that I thought it would make a cool name for our baby, if it was going to be a boy. 

A quick Google search showed that Goran is a Slavic name, meaning 'highlander' or 'a mountain man', someone who lives in the mountains. Lee and I agreed then and there that we both really liked the name, so when, on 21 October 2010, we found out ‘it’ was indeed going to be a ‘he’, the decision had already been made: Goran Gruben he would be! As far as pronunciation goes, we've chosen 'Gore-ran'. Equal emphasis on both syllables, and no rolling of the ‘R’.

Then when it came to choosing his second name (I have one, Lee doesn’t, so it was less important to him than it was to me), I insisted that it was my decision to make as we had mutually stumbled upon and decided on our child's first name, and he would, by default, carry Lee’s surname. I have always loved the name ‘Blake’, which can be either a given name or a surname. Of Old English and Old Norse origins, it has several derivatives, the one I like most being ‘black’, as it evokes a sense of depth and strength – attributes I hope my son will possess. William Blake is also my favourite poet. The Sick Rose  is the only poem I can remember from school and recite off by heart to this day. But it's The Tyger which Blake is probably most famous for, kicking off with the iconic stanza:

Tyger tyger, burning bright,
In the forests of the night;
What immortal hand or eye,
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

Little did we know that this ‘tyger’ reference would have far greater significance in the months to come...

Although Goran was due to be born in the Chinese Year of the Rabbit (like his father), he arrived two months early, and was therefore born in - yip, you guessed it - the Year of the Tiger (like me). But wait, that’s not the end of it...

Every prem baby born before 32 weeks (Goran made his appearance at 30 weeks) is treated with Curosurf, a surfactant which quickly coats the alveoli in their under-developed lungs, stabilising them against collapse. And each of these babies receives a little soft toy from the drug company. When you walk into the NICU, one of the first things you notice is the myriad stuffed animals in each incubator, some brought by parents, others given as gifts by the drug company. There were four different types of Curosurf creatures that Lee and I counted in Netcare Olivedale Hospital’s NICU (where Goran spent the first 28 days of his life), and guess which one he just happened to be given? A tiger.

Pretty soon, my folks started referring to him as their ‘little tiger’, in reference to his fighting spirit and the miraculous progress he was making every day. (He weighed just 1.78kg at birth, and tipped the scales at a hefty 2.47kg when he was discharged four weeks later). And then my birth mom in Texas came across a plush ‘white tiger’ toy, which she said she simply had to get for him. The gorgeous black-and-white striped cat arrived in a box a few weeks later, along with a mountain of other goodies. (Goran is lucky in the respect that he has three grannies, and three grandpas: Lee’s parents, my adoptive parents, AND my biological parents – all of whom spoil the little guy rotten!)

And that, my friends, is the unabridged story of how our tiger got his stripes :)

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Self-fulfilling prophecies

Bizarre to think that one day these teeny tiny feet will be bigger than mine.

If the various old wives' tales and formulae used to predict the adult height of babies are anything to go by, Goran should reach around 6' during adolescence - and grow into a true representation of his name! Of Slavic origin, translated literally, Goran means 'woodsman', 'the man from the mountains', or 'highlander'. Metaphorically, it means 'tall as a tree', 'the big one', 'the tall one', or 'the good looking one'.

I can hardly wait to meet the man my boy will become.

Tonight I took another man into my bed

While his father was at work pulling an all-nighter on a big order (thank you, Jacob Zuma, for wanting your face on 5000 T-shirts), Goran and I took the opportunity to get to know one another a bit better...

Friday, 4 March 2011

Grooming Goran

As long as he doesn't grow up listening to or wanting to be with the likes of Britney, I'll be happy.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Too damn fabulous for Facebook

In June last year, my original three-year-old Facebook account was deleted. Looong story. All to do with me posting pics in one of my albums (a 'virtual moodboard' for my debut crime fiction novel, on which I was working at the time), which apparently violated their terms of use, blah blah blah. Chapter now closed. I'd rather not dwell on the past.

Anyway, I had to create a whole new Facebook account from scratch, and have spent the past several months reconnecting with all the people whom I felt added value to my life.

Then on 17th February I had this photo of my son's first bath removed from one of the albums on my new account because, and I quote:

You uploaded a photo that violates our Terms of Use and this photo has been removed. Facebook does not allow photos that attack an individual or group, or that contain nudity, drug use, violence or other violations of the Terms of Use. These policies are designed to ensure Facebook remains a safe, secure and trusted environment for all users, including the many children who use the site. If you have any questions or concerns, you can visit our FAQ page at

The Facebook team

My first thought was, oh boy, here we go again. How anyone could find a photo of a newborn in the bath 'offensive' was beyond me.

To add insult to injury, last night I had another photo from the same album removed, this time of me proudly showing off my 27-week preggie belly (three weeks before my son was born). Oh, and because I am a 'repeat offender', they are 'punishing me' by not allowing me to upload photos for seven days.

It was at this point that I decided it was time to shift my focus away from the whole Facebook circus, and forge ahead with a refreshing new project – this, my long-overdue MomBlog. So welcome, and I hope you enjoy the ride :)