Friday, March 6, 2020

The unofficial launch of Say With Play

So I am one week in and it’s been rollercoaster with this constant dialogue in my head as my over thinking attempts to sabotage Ultra Mel.  Melancholy Mel is being a royal pain in the arse trying to undermine Ultra Mel but I am one determined woman and I don’t give up, ever!

I can’t believe it’s only been 1 week since I have resigned.  I don’t miss the work but I really miss Isabel.   I am going to go over next week so she can tell me to calm the farm and I can tell her straight back.  She might need to slap me around a little.

So what have I achieved?  Well I have bought and made some cool stuff for my practice.  The temptation to buy everything in sight is hard but unfortunately/fortunately I don’t have the money so just starting small.  I literally had the most awesome stuff to use from my own kids but everything has been given away over the years or sold at their garage sales for a pittance.   I am still hoping friends have kids books and little figurines, dolls, musical instruments or anything really they want to pass on I can use in my practice.  Lexi is making my felt superhero cut outs and Claire is hopefully helping me to sew the capes. 



I washed all the lego which smelt of cat wee which is disturbing considering I have no such pet!  I sorted out my study and have my toys and art supplies in boxes.   Sofes and I made a cool feelings game that I am looking forward to trying.  You actually don't need much to get started.

I met with an experienced play therapist who was incredibly helpful and generous with her knowledge.  I made a google form for the parents to fill out.  It also needs some tweaking!   I had my 1st 2 sessions at Bright Lights.  The space is far from ideal and having a mobile practice requires a lot of thinking and planning.    One kid left mid session but that in itself is a breakthrough as things got a little real for him.

Most importantly I visited a wonderful small school that would love to have me 2 days a week working with their kids.  Some pro bono and hopefully some paying clients.    I do need to earn an income at the end of the day but I also have another idea for something on the side and met with a good mate this week to see if we can partner together to make some magic happen.

I fluctuate being terrified and overwhelmed filled with doubt and then excited and driven and knowing my very best self is when I work with children.  14 years ago I started Bosom Buddies which was meant to be my new mothers support group re breastfeeding advice, weighing etc. of babes.  I spent all my money and all my brave and it failed.  But…as most of you know the charity side of it flew and I founded and grew this incredible NPO which still thrives today as Mama Themba so it’s a reminder.  Reminder success is not always what we originally planned.  I not only made nothing from Bosom Buddies, I spent thousands keeping it going.   This time around I have been more careful with the name and bought saywithplay.com and saywithplay.co.za


So what will happen with Say With Play?  Will I grow it and have my own premises and feel equipped and confident and be able to register with medical aid and earn a decent income?  Because that is what I really want.  Or will it become another non profit where I train other volunteers and we start a free therapy NPO for the thousands of traumatized children in our country?   Both are big and scary and both fit my criteria of what I categorize as success.   Fulfilling my potential, stretching myself to learn and grow, and making a real difference in the lives of vulnerable children dealing with trauma.   Gary has only just started his business and Daniel is a fresh one year in so if it’s the NPO then they will need to make a truck load of cash so money is not an issue.  Although having my own money was awesome so option 1 please!  I want this business to be successful.   I will get there.  Maybe not in 1 week but I will get there.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

So long, farewell, auf wiederseh’n, goodbye….


I leave you with an earworm from The Sound of Music as you read this post

After 14 amazing months of hard work and plenty of laughter, the time has come for me to leave Limina and finally start my own career as a social worker specializing in play therapy.  Today is my last official day and it's rather bittersweet.  At 48 year’s old it’s high time to follow my calling and passion!


I leave my work and my colleague/boss/darling friend with all the love in the world knowing we are both ready to part ways after building the base of our business together.  I say ‘our’ because I will always have a vested interest in Limina and in Isabel’s journey. 

I read an article recently written about the late Kobe Bryant.  For those who do not know who he was, he was a basketball player in the NBA playing for the LA Lakers and father to 4 daughters.   He was also a man of excellence who worked incredibly hard.  He speaks about his 4:00am.   The American public got to watch his games and his brilliance and talent.  But every day they slept soundly while he was up at 4:00am training hard and complimenting his talent with hard work and dedication.   His death was a big loss to so many.

Our courses are amazing.  Just next level excellence and super engaging and exciting.  I cannot imagine a single teacher who would complete one of our edtech courses and not be crazy inspired which their pupils will ultimately benefit from being crazy inspired too!   And guess who is up at 4:00am working insanely hard to make sure they are excellent and deadlines are met? No, not me!  Isabel, of course!

Limina is committed to being part of the change in education in South Africa working closely with the Department of Education.   Our courses are CAPS aligned and language and literacy is woven into subject matter like hidden veggies in a kids’ pasta.   They learn in all areas, the content of the subject, in the utilization of the incredible free edtech tools out there and they advance the crucial element of language and reading in every single subject.     

Limina courses are currently mostly in the Western Cape but not for long.  Isabel is off to Gauteng soon and the other departments around South Africa are hearing rumblings of how great our courses are and we will cover province by province transforming the way teachers teach and engage with their pupils.  In 2019 we had less than half of the grade ones passing matric 12 years after they started school in 2008.  This is going to change and it has been amazing to be part of that change.   Part of the solution.

Limina is going to continue to grow and thrive and I will always be proud of my time as one of the Limina rock stars.    I am going to use my social work degree I worked so hard at for 6 long years.  I have found my own 4:00am and I will do all it takes to get my play therapy practice going continuing to work on the same principles Isabel and I shared in the fairly brief time we worked together.  Excellence, fun, passion, hard work and lots of laughter.



So long, farewell, auf wiederseh’n, goodbye 

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Sushi Moments


Sometime last year my mom and I had a conversation about this random special little moment she had.   It’s been a long journey for her, for us, nursing my father through his cancer and then working through the inevitable grief and PTSD you experience after the trauma.  When you meet someone at age 14 your lives and love and self become so intertwined you need to re invent yourself, and that is what she has done and is still doing.

So Mimi had this moment.  It was 4:00 in the afternoon and she had a glass of wine and a platter of sushi and was watching something on Netflix.  She paused and took a little step back and so appreciated the simple joy of that moment.   The next day I had run a half marathon in town and went to Clifton beach afterwards.  I was totally alone and the sun came out and I had my book and delicious snacks and I felt pure simple bliss.  I messaged her to tell her I was having a sushi moment and the term stuck.



She decided just before Christmas she would write down a sushi moment everyday and put it in a tin and read her moments at the end of the year.  I started the same thing on January 1st and I hope I can keep it up for the whole year.  Some days are rough days and it’s harder to find a sushi moment.   But it can be the simplest thing.  A perfect juicy peach while you are sitting in the sun is enough.  And then I have big sushi moments like my day at the river that Saturday.  It was a helluva trek down there.  Especially when you have a bag in your hand and your balance is off.  I knew I would probably struggle to do this in 10 years time and I appreciated my health.  We got down to the water and it was ridiculously beautiful.  Rivers and mountains, my thing! I looked at these 3 people and had such a wow feeling.  I made these people.  I made my own best friends.  They are all unique with their own value and belief systems but Gary and I had a big part to play in the formation of their character.   My children, so much older now at 15, 17 and 23.  Smart free thinking open minded gorgeous young people.  My kids?   It was like I was back in the past but I looked at them from the outside and it was so cool that this is what life gave me.   Really?   Mel you grew up and you had 3 children and by trial and error you raised them and here you all are enjoying each other’s company.   They made me jump off this kak high rock and I was SO not keen but they were having none of it.  Mom had to jump!



You know how gender fluid is a thing?  Well age fluid is too.  Some days I feel my age and others 20 years forward or 20 back.    I am very aware that my body will eventually give up on me and it already has it’s aches and pains.  My damn eyesight is not great and my 1.5 reading glasses a staple in my life and mofo huge text on my phone.    Life is damn hard being grown up.  The past 6 months have kicked me in the balls a few times but I am not going to sink into negativity and declare this the worst time ever or those usual labels.  It’s life and it’s challenging at present but every day has a sushi moment and I will keep writing them down.  Pausing when they happen and being grateful for them.  They are enough to keep me going.  They are enough.