The inevitable baby toilet finding mission

The story begins

Yesterday, Thursday 25th October, I was faced with a great dilemma. One that I’m sure that thousands of mothers have faced this year alone, but one which I feel most South African fathers have not had to deal with. Finding a baby friendly toilet in a small shopping centre.

I visited a small coffee shop in the Fields Hill Shopping Centre in the morning with my wife to have a meeting about some work stuff. During the meeting my wife was doing most of the talking and low and behold the inevitable happened with our 6 month old boy. A HUGE poo.

Now, I’m a new age father and have no problems with changing poo nappies, getting vomited on and all the other good things that happen. So this wasn’t a big thing for me.

The Toilet hunt begins

The problem I had was finding a toilet in the centre that had a baby changing facility. The shopping centre toilets didn’t have; not

even for moms! How ’90s I told myself. No fear, next to the coffee shop, Sam Browns (which really is a great little coffee shop for anytime of the day coffee, good vibes and good music-see how nice the inside of their shop looks on the photo,) there was a lovely Virgin Active gym. This is a seriously busy gym in the kloof area. So I strolled into the reception area and made my polite request to the ladies behind the counter.

-Hmm, are you a member? Was the question I got.
-Well actually no, I’m sorry. All I need is to quickly use your facilities as a non member – which I’ll pay for, I hastened to add.
-No, sorry. It’s only for members. One of the ladies informed me.

At this point in time a lovely neighbourhood mommy was coming in and she advised me to use the nice clean couch in the reception area to change my baby. I probably have to apologize to this lady, as my response was not as sympathetic. I simply told her that I didn’t think that Virgin Active would appreciate poo on their couch. To which the lady behind the reception counter said I could use the shopping centre toilets. So let me paint you a quick picture.

Are your Local Shopping Centre Toilets up to scratch?

This is an old shopping centre in kloof, Durban. It’s recently had a facelift with some paint, some new plants and some other things that I couldn’t really see. The toilets however are quite old, especially the men’s. In fact I’ve got to be honest they’re dirty and pretty rank for the majority of the time. Any public member is allowed to use them, and they contain a single toilet with 2 urinals. It’s dark, smelly and reminds me of how I imagine Shrek’s toilet to be like. Enough visualisation?

So politely as I could, I replied to the Virgin Active employee by telling her that the toilets didn’t have any baby changing facilities in them, not the ladies, nor the men’s. “but you can still use them” I was told.

What, to put my baby on the floor? In the pee? And change him? You must be mad.

At this stage there were other people waiting to come into the gym and there was also an assistant manager and a floor manager of the Virgin Active gym. They must have all been members, as they seemed to get in with no problems. Or maybe it was because they didn’t have a baby in their arms. I wonder…

Anyway, the lady behind the desk said I could now fill in an indemnity form and I would be escorted to the toilets. Which I duly did, and we got sorted out – eventually.

I will say this though, the kids area, changing facility, child minder facility at this gym are excellent! Well done for this, Virgin Active Kloof.

Fields Hill Shopping Centre logo courtesy of Fields Shopping Centre

There we have it, all done and sorted. No, I won’t go into details of the number 2. Suffice to say it was prodigious! Well done my boy!

When we left I thought I needed to find the centre management though and find out their thoughts of this episode, and more importantly why the heck there were no baby changing facilities! I found them in the end, and the reply was that they were in the early phases of redoing the bathrooms and there would be facilities to change a baby in the them. But only in the ladies. Sorry guys, looks like we actually don’t count. Although after putting up some semi-heated arguments I think the centre manager of Fields Hill Shopping Centre in Kloof may consider spending some money on buying a wall mounted fold down table.

In Conclusion

My conclusion; simple. If you need the facilities of Virgin Active in Kloof – better be a member, or else be prepared to put up with nonsense until you can shout loud enough for someone to actually care about any other member of the public. Virgin Active Kloof you need to train your staff better. You can’t profess to be a local gym supporting the community when you clearly don’t support the community unless it benefits you! I’d rather go to one of the many private gyms in the kloof area. Fields Hill Centre, you need to come into the 21st century and realize that dad’s do need facilities for their babies as well. Seriously guys, catch a wake up! Next time we’ll have our meetings in Hillcrest corner. There I know for a fact they have nice family bathrooms.

But what do you think? Have you had an experience similar to mine? Let me know your pain – oh, and if you agree with my rant don’t forget to share the love.

Safety Tips that we don’t always think about when you’re on your own

Tips to save your life

It’s often the simplest things that we forget about and let slide that actually land us into trouble. Here are some tips that were recently sent to my wife that I think are awesome and very applicable for anyone, no matter your gender, no matter where in the world you live and most of all should not be just passed off as “oh, that will never happen to me.”

In daylight hours, refresh yourself of these things to do in an emergency situation… This is for you, and for you to share with your wife, your children, & everyone you know. After reading these 9 crucial tips, forward them to someone you care about. Share this post with your social profiles and anything else you could do. It could save a life and it never hurts to be careful in this crazy world we live in.

1. Tip from Tae Kwon Do :
The elbow is the strongest point on your body. If you are close enough to use it, do! This is great if someone grabs a hold of you and you’re in close quarters.

2.. Learned this from a tourist guide.
If a robber asks for your wallet and/or purse, DO NOT HAND IT TO HIM. Toss it away from you…. Chances are that he is more interested in your wallet and/or purse than you, and he will go for the wallet/purse. RUN LIKE MAD IN THE OTHER DIRECTION!

3. If you are ever thrown into the trunk of a car, kick out the back tail lights and stick your arm out the hole and start waving like crazy.. The driver won’t see you, but everybody else will. This has saved lives.

4. Women have a tendency to get into their cars after shopping, eating, working, etc., and just sit (checking their bbm groups, their what’s app, their Facebook/Twitter profiles, or making a list, etc. DON’T DO THIS!) The predator will be watching you, and this is the perfect opportunity for him to get in on the passenger side, put a gun to your head, and tell you where to go. AS SOON AS YOU GET INTO YOUR CAR , LOCK THE DOORS AND LEAVE..

5. If someone is in the car with a gun to your head DO NOT DRIVE OFF, Repeat: DO NOT DRIVE OFF! Instead gun the engine and speed into anything,wrecking the car. Your Air Bag will save you.
If the person is in the back seat they will get the worst of it. As soon as the car crashes bail out and run. It is better than having them find your body in a remote location.

6. A few notes about getting into your car in a parking lot, or parking garage:
A.) Be aware: look around you, look into your car, at the passenger side floor, and in the back seat.
B.) If you are parked next to a big van, enter your car from the passenger door. Most serial killers attack their victims by pulling them into their vans while the women are attempting to get into their cars.
C.) Look at the car parked on the driver’s side of your vehicle, and the passenger side.. If a male is sitting alone in the seat nearest your car, you may want to walk back into the mall, or work, and get a guard/policeman to walk you back out. IT IS ALWAYS BETTER TO BE SAFE THAN SORRY. (And better paranoid than dead.)

7. ALWAYS take the elevator instead of the stairs. Stairwells are horrible places to be alone and the perfect crime spot This is especially true at NIGHT!

8. If the predator has a gun and you are not under his control, ALWAYS RUN! The predator will only hit you (a running target) 4 in 100 times; and even then, it most likely WILL NOT be a vital organ. RUN, Preferably in a zig -zag pattern!

9. As women are always trying to be sympathetic: STOP It may get you raped, or killed. Ted Bundy, the serial killer, was a good-looking, well educated man, who ALWAYS played on the sympathies of unsuspecting women. He walked with a cane, or a limp, and often asked ‘for help’ into his vehicle or with his vehicle, which is when he abducted  his next victim.

Social Technology – it’s just a waste of time

Social Technology, often referred to as Social Media in South Africa, is the actual technology that is used when sharing data to multiple people across the Internet for social purposes. They vary tremendously in what they do and what they can achieve – both for business and personally.

Purpose of Social Technology

The basic purpose of Social Technolgies are to be able to create a community. This can be a community around ourselves, a business or even a product. Take Red Bull for example, this is both a product and a company. Through large scale efforts across multiple Social Technologies the company Red Bull has managed to create a vast community around it and it’s main product – it’s energy drink.

Name some Social Technologies

Blogs – a small website where you can put pages of content onto (your own views, good information, random stuff – whatever you want) and the general public will have the option to comment on what you’ve said, review it or even share it with their own social circles.

Facebook – a social platform that’s designed for people to write and add comments about daily activities in their life, or about articles that you’ve spoken about to your own group of friends. These friends can then comment or like what you have to say etc. It’s a great way to get the communication going.

Twitter – A free service that you can add your own comments, articles, message, pictures or whatever you like. But you only have 140 characters to do this, so it’s a bit like an sms.

LinkedIn – A similar service to Facebook, except it’s on a very business-like format. In fact, it’s a social network for professionals ONLY.

YouTube – A picture is worth a 1000 words right? So then how many words is a video worth? This is why YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine in the world. There are videos for practically everything on it, and yes people do look at them. If you’re lucky enough you may have hundreds or even thousands of people looking at your videos – like the lion, buffalo and croc video.

Google + – Similar to Facebook, Google has recently launched its own version of Facebook so it too can try and capitalise on the success that Facebook has had. In here though there is a lot more choice of who can be in your group and see what you want them to see. So your boss doesn’t have to know that you’ve got a horrible hangover just because you’re friends with him/her on Facebook.

And there are plenty more out there too…

So what’s Social Media then?

Social Media is any technology that allows users to share media of any sort (written content, images, video), and also allows other users to comment on that media, so that a conversation may be started.

The key though is to choose the right technology to use depending on your goal. My suggestion – define your target market first and then find which technology they are using, then get trained on how to do it properly!

Remember the added costs when thinking of your next child

What are the costs that you think of when thinking of babies?

Seriously. I suppose it depends on where you are in the world. Here in South Africa you need to have a good private medical insurance because most of the time you don’t want to go through the public medical system – which is only really good if you’ve been shot, stabbed or such. You know, the things that the doctors are used to dealing with in there.

So let’s look at some of the costs we remember.
You’ve got the normal things, like nappies ( or diapers depending on where you are), the cosmetics, the towels, the baby grows, prams, car seats, cots, compactums, other clothes and importantly the receiving blankets. On this point if you are buying 5, then maybe consider doubling that number. You can never have enough of those things, and once you’re all done with populating the world they make really great dust cloths and grease cloths.

But what about all the things that people forget to tell you. Let’s imagine it. You’ve just found out you’re going to be parents! Whoopee. After your initial shock, you start working out the costs, and you think ok this is cool, we can manage. You always find a way to manage. But nobody tells you that you may need to see the gynae between 4 and 8 times during the pregnancy. Add that up, plus the amount they charge for the birth, and it’s a lucrative business. But money can be no option for the safety of your child and the mother.

Then don’t forget to check well beforehand that you private medical insurance will cover ALL of the costs that your gynae, your paed, your anesthetist will charge, if they don’t then start saving too.

Once the birth is done you’ll also need to remember your new bundle of joy needs inoculations done. Depending on where you are these can be fairly regular and also vary in cost tremendously, anything from R100 to R700. but who gives these jabs? Don’t forget to pay the clinic, the paed, the ante-natal sister or whoever you choose to go to.

So what happens then? You’ve got the jabs done, but is the baby putting on weight? Is he or she doing ok, or is there a problem? Maybe you’ll want to consider going to a sister for a feeding consult. Don’t forget to add this to your budget too.

Whilst we’re at it you’d be better off putting some extra aside for when your miracle gets sick. At least then you’ll have the money to get real medical advise, instead of checking on Dr Google!

I know all this sounds like doom and gloom, but it’s all part of the course. It really isn’t that bad. It’s just that nobody tells you about all these extra baby expenses when you first get pregnant, or when you first decide to have kids.

Hopefully you’ll have learnt from my mistakes and will remember the above. I’m sure there’s some stuff I’ve forgotten about, but you can always tell me by commenting on my post.

Cheers for now