God there’s nothing as yummy as a spoon of melted chocolate. Any chocolate, dark, milk with cream (which tastes like BarOne sauce) I love it all, and always have, and break any health kick diet I’m on for it. It’s one of my biggest weaknesses. Why do I bring this up, because I’ve just had some whilst making my Bon Vivant cake for Shabbat. There’s nothing like turning on music, whirring the Kenwood and melting chocolate, in the dead of the night whilst everyone else is asleep.



I know I’ll regret it tomorrow, when I’m puffy eyed and a zonked zombie or a grumpy, fire-breathing dragon from lack of sleep. But for now I’m content. It’s a feeling I crave for and a state of stillness that I have strived all my life for. It’s this moment and I’m savoring it. Why don’t I do this more often???

It’s a question I ask myself as I add the small good things in life up which are so simple. Why don’t I blog more often? It’s so cathartic. Why don’t I turn the music on more often? Why don’t I sit in the garden whilst the Princes run around in their birthday suits, laughs of sunshine in the sprinklers more often? (Well the answer to that I do know. Johannesburg weather has been really weird. Incalcitrant, which is a non standard word, meaning stubborn, resistant to authority or control. It’s just refused to leave winter behind.) Going for a walk outside, breathing fresh air. Yes, yes, yes all the romantic things that cost nothing and I don’t do. I’m more often at Woolies doing a grocery shop.

Whilst I haven’t been blogging, I’ve been teaching Melton – an adults Jewish learning program, designed by Hebrew University. (I never imagined I’d ever teach, but there you go. I’m really enjoying it, although it’s a lot to juggle in time commitments.) I’ve also been spending a lot of time and energy grappling with reality. Reality as I want it to be as opposed to what is. I’ve learnt that I’m an idealist, and don’t cope well with what is less than ideal. I break down into tears, and that’s what I did one day a couple of weeks ago. I cried, and cried and cried. In the parking lot, in the shops (where I spend most of my time it seems) and all the way home. At home I need to stop crying so the Princes don’t freak out and ask that heartbreaking question – ‘Mom why are you crying?’ How do I answer that? ‘Sorry my darlings I’m not coping with reality.’

And what reality am I speaking about anyway, you’re probably wondering. At the moment it’s the reality of the school system. The reality of ADD, ADHD, which was explained to me the other day by a very sensible (I think) doctor, who explained that it’s about the right side of the child’s brain functioning very well, whilst the left side is less mature, and integrated. So we’re talking about our right brain dominant kids being in school, which is as system that’s 95% of the time left brained. The doctor said it, I didn’t. So all our right brained, creative geniuses are being put on ritalin or other to get them to focus for these left brained classes, not so that their marks are good (although they certainly improve) but for their self esteem. Which is very, very, very important. For it’s our perception of ourselves which is what we become.

I found the reality of it heart breaking. And I raged (as I usually do) against the injustice. The story isn’t over for me, but I now have a much better understanding of all parents who put their kids on ritalin. I’m not sure what we’re going to do with our talented Prince, who makes soccer fields from scratch out of paper, and a real live in house from a card board box. Who has a Peter Pan laugh and is highly intuitive, to the point of mortally insulting the adults around him, because he just says it as it is. That will be our story.

What I have done is ask every single mom I’ve met in the last few weeks to tell me their perspective on ritalin. Every single one, besides a couple, had a child on ritalin. I am not exaggerating. I was astounded. They were all happy with the results, although they acknowledged the downsides, as one of them said, ‘I taught in the class, when they needed a substitute teacher, and their was my son, and he was not my son.’ So she had to change the dosage. It’s obviously something that has to be closely monitored.

These are mothers who tried everything before – diet, therapy, and every remedy under the sun. You can’t make a right brain child into a left brain that easily. I just wonder at it all. I wonder if we’ll be judged by history and accused of being so backward and drugging a whole generation of children. I don’t say this lightly or even critically. I say it with wonder. I ask it of myself.

That’s without entering the whole discussion of how stressful the school system is on the children (stealing their child hoods away with tests and copious amounts of homework. I don’t remember having homework or tests like that in Australia) and the parents (stealing our quality time away with stressing about tests and copious amounts of homework). I sometimes wonder if I can send homework back and say, ‘Sorry we didn’t do homework last night. But we did cook a delicious meal together and have a lovely family sharing evening.’ or ‘We visited the Planetarium last night and saw Uranus crossing Jupiter.’ (I don’t think that happens but it sounds good). We could do such marvelous things with our kids in the evenings.

(And I just have to add that the school system is the best contraception ever invented. There’s no ways we could afford to have more children time wise, or any way wise, with all the therapies, extra murals, homework, projects etc etc etc.)

But those are my rambling, unrealistic thoughts. Because the kids have to learn maths, english and all sorts of useful things that they promptly forget and never use in real life once they’re liberated from school. At least that’s how I felt when I left school.

And now I must stop here, before I continue to rant and rage. Because that’s me not living in reality. Fighting tooth and nail, making my life and my hubbie’s life miserable. It doesn’t help anything. Once I catch myself as I am doing at this very moment. Take a deep breathe, and say ‘it is what it is’. Yes that classic line that all very smart, intelligent, in touch people seem to be saying these days.

I’ve been humbled. Very humbled back into reality with the realisation that I don’t have all the answers, that the medical world has theories and not all the answers either. There’s no point complaining. I never feel good after. So I’m stopping. I slip up as I’ve done this blog. But I’m trying to stop complaining. I still want to find solutions, but it’s not in complaining.

I like this no complaining, sitting with my discomfort of reality, space in a way. It’s real. I can work with reality on the ground more than in my head. And I live too, too, too much in my head.

Eating chocolate sauce helps this. It brings me back to my body. It reminds me of being a kid. It’s soft, silky and chocolate bliss. I highly recommend having some in the dead of the night. When it’s quiet with only the whirring of the oven which is now cooking my Bon Vivant cake right now.

NB I made a ghastly mistake of including an article by a Dr Peter Breggin – apparently he’s a scientologist doctor of sorts. VERY dodgy. I do like the fact he’s not into drugs. But it’s very, very dodgy to have an agenda which is a hard and fast rule. For drugs or against drugs. I don’t think it’s honest to publish articles without putting your agenda forward first. Anyhow he’s been involved in various law suits and who knows what. So anyhow…. it’s an enormous discussion ‘psychiatric drugs’, but one things for sure I know many people who’ve needed anti depressants and it’s worked wonders, especially with PND. So just to clear that up! Life’s as simple as melted chocolate and it’s really not simple, like Bon Vivant. Both can be delicious.

Two layers. White Nutty Bottom, Crunchy Chocolate Top. Gluten free.