{Product Review} Feeding made easy with Nuk

Being the fourth child means Emma gets very little new stuff. From her clothes to her bottles to her cot. It’s not so much a money thing as a practical thing really. We had a lot of stuff and a lot of stuff got handed down.

Recently I was contacted by Nuk to try out their new feeding range. It was perfect timing because Emma is now on solids and has been using all Jacks old bowls. I do realise she is 8 months old and doesn’t care or know what bowl she uses but it is still nice to get new stuff.

We were sent a weaning set with cutlery that including a weaning bowl, weaning plate and cutlery set as well as the snack box.

NukPost

The plate has partitions which is nice to keep the food seperate and the bowl is pretty deep which I liked because it is less messy than the thinner bowls. The cutlery set is small, making it easier for little hands to hold and manouver.

My favourite was the snack box though.

Nukchips1

NukChips

It is small enough for them to hold it and has a soft silicone lid under the main lid that has little flaps so when they tip it, the contents don’t fall out. It really is super cool. You can also remove the handles which make it easier to store and all of the items can go in the dishwasher.

Emma only drinks Nuk bottles so it was actually a natural choice for us to move over to the Nuk feeding set anyway but I can highly recommend all three of these products.

 

 

4 easy steps on how to survive a shopping trip with four kids in

I tried to find a blog post I made about my first solo shopping trip with Jack and Emma when Emma was still a newborn but I don’t think I wrote one – it was THAT traumatic and we didn’t even make it into the shop. I have actively avoided taking the two of them alone anywhere since then – it was THAT traumatic!

photo (2)

Last week I organised a wine coffee date with some friends in the afternoon which meant I would have ALL FOUR kids with me, on my own. I was so desperate for the adult company and wine coffee that I blocked out the previous trauma and just did it! Usually when I need the toddler to comply I make sure Cameron is close by but he had media duty and then soccer so was only with us long enough to eat his pizza and then had to leave again. So I really was flying solo.

Overall the trip was a success, no one berated me for the toddler break dancing outside Typo (I think if I had left him a few minutes longer the crowd would have thrown coins at him). The lady in the lift on the way to our car was very patient while Emma screamed because she was over tired. The staff at Big Blue refrained from kicking us out even though Jack wound up the robot toy in the box before I could get to him (toddlers can move surprisingly fast).

I did learn a few things that I think helped make it successful.

  • Feed them! I made sure both Kiara and Jack had something to eat. Jack in particular gets very miserable if he is hungry. Kiara gets very whiny and dramatic. If she doesn’t have access to food (chips/chocolate or 2 minute noodles if possible) every hour then she is on deaths doorstep, I have been accused of starving her before.
  • Have a plan. You can’t window shop with three kids in tow and you definitely can’t browse the sale rack at Woolworths. You need a very set plan of where you want to go and what you want to get.
  • Don’t sweat the small stuff.This is actually fast becoming my mantra. Jack didn’t have shoes on, the fight to get them on, honestly was not worth it. Judge me – it’s ok :) My aim was to get what we needed to get and get out of there as soon as possible, if it meant letting Jack dance for while or allow Kiara to browse a little longer at Typo while she looked for a gift – I was going to do that. Because in the bigger picture does it matter?
  • Drink wine coffee with friends first. Ok this one isn’t always possible because you can’t always meet friends before you go shopping but it helped for this trip because I felt recharged, I had done a little something for me which I think helped to make me less tense for the whole trip.

Despite me vowing I would never take Jack to the shops again, I did and we survived. The security guard and Dischem did watch us as we approached, I suspect had we looked like we wanted to enter he may have actually closed the doors. We may even try it again this week.

Those of you with more than one kid – do you go shopping with them on your own?

PS – see how blurred this picture is? The camera on my phone has stopped focusing. I WANT TO CRY!

 

 

“If its functional, don’t change it” and other advice from the sleep professionals.

Emma

“Remember “this too shall pass” and that most children, even the worst initial sleepers, sleep very well by the age of 5 or 6″ comforting words from paediatrician Dr Claudia Gray at the Baby Sense Seminar on Saturday.

So I only have between 4.5 and 5.5 years left then?

This may sound a little too old but when did your child sleep through? (Kiara was 5 and Jack still wakes up more nights than not)

I was invited to attend this seminar for the first time last year I think but this was the first one I could actually attend and I am really glad that I made the time. It may seem a little odd for a mom of four to want to attend a baby seminar but I was actually very interested in the sleep part because as you know Emma doesn’t like to sleep, although we are back in the “shes sleeping ok” stage but it could change back to the “she wakes up every hour” stage at any point.

The seminar is the whole day long but you can attend either the morning or the afternoon spots on their own, depending on what you want to know. I attended the morning session where the following topics were discussed,

Stimulating your baby and toddler – Meg Faure

You Baby’s Health - Dr Claudia Gray

Mums know Best – Karen Hansen

Sleep Solutions – Sr Ann Richardson

I am not really going to go into each one in detail but highlight rather what stood out for me.

Meg Faure made a statement “Yet we cannot be responsible for our child’s happiness in every decision in life, but we can engage positivity with our infants to hard wire them for joy.”

My mom says this often too, as parents we are not responsible for our children’s happiness. We often feel like we are though and when our children aren’t happy we want to try and fix it and do what we can to make them happy but this is very seldom the right thing to do. We rather need to teach our children how to create their own happiness, find their own joy and not place their happiness on another person.

While a lot of what was discussed around sleeping we already know and have tried during the question and answer session Sr Ann Richardson said to one of the moms ‘If it is functional, don’t change it.” I think that is where we are with Emma to be honest. At the moment we are getting “enough”* sleep, we know she isn’t sick so there really isn’t much more we can do right now. This attitude was really carried throughout all the talks – if it works for you, then it is right. There were a lot of new moms and pregnant ladies in the audience and I think for them to hear this kind of attitude is refreshing because we all know how hard those first few months can be and if you are going into it with that attitude, you are probably going to have an easier time.

I can honestly recommend it to first time moms, there is a wealth of information shared by experts in their field who have a very open minded approach to parenting. All the ladies who spoke have children and share honestly, their failures and successes as parents.

While overall the morning was great, there was no tea/coffee on arrival which I thought a little odd because it started at 8h30 so I think we all would have appreciated  a cup of coffee while we waited. I am not sure where the hiccup came but we started late and because of the afternoon sessions there was no room for this so the speakers had to rush through their talks which I found a little disappointing but there was a little work book in the goodie bags that had all the information in.

There is a seminar in Cape Town this weekend that you can still book for.

Have you ever been to a baby seminar before?

*enough is relative – we are getting just enough sleep to prevent David and I from clubbing baby seals but not enough to tick the “I wake refreshed” block on our vitality tests!

PS – How cute is Emma in this photo??

Does uniformity mean you are conforming? The great uniform debate.

Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind. ~Dr. Seuss

A uniform does not a conformist make…..or does it?

We received a letter from Jacks school asking us to please vote on the implementation of uniforms from Grade RRR (which I think is the 3/4 year olds?) which means, if it is agreed on, that Jack will wear a uniform from next year.

I asked online what everyone thought of the idea and the responses where, as they always are with kid related stuff, divided. At the time I asked the question I was still very much undecided.

The biggest concern from those who said “no” was the issue of conformity from such a young age. Maybe I am a conformist, but I have never really got this argument.

Lets take Kiara for example, she is very much an individual, she is arty, creative and thinks outside the box, often I even wonder if she knows where the box is. The fact that she wears a uniform and has done so for 5 years now hasn’t done a thing to kill that in her. She dances to the beat of her own drum. I saw today that under her white socks she wears her lumo pink polka dot ankle socks. She has managed to maintain to individuality despite having to wear a uniform because no one says “You wear a uniform, you are all the same” to school children. If you can’t maintain your uniqueness in a school uniform then perhaps you aren’t that unique?

One of the cons for me was making school “formal” before it has to be but ultimately the way they are taught and the curriculum isn’t going to change because they all have the same colour shorts.

The uniform is very practical for their age – it is navy shorts and tracksuit pants and a golf shirt.

After discussing it with David we decided to agree to the introduction of a uniform and when I signed the form today I saw that it seems most of the parents are for the introduction.

How do you feel about the introduction of uniforms?

The baby may like us after all. I think. Maybe.

For many months I was convinced Emma didn’t like us, particularly me. She seemed unhappy all the time. Apart from the lack of sleep, she just seemed miserable. She hardly smiled and just always seemed like she didn’t like us much.

IMG_613

I battle to bond with my children as newborns, it takes me 2/3 months to feel confident enough to say “we have bonded” but with Emma it is only now that I am feeling that bond*. There always seemed to be something wrong. Breastfeeding was a nightmare (not her fault), then she had horrible cramps, then she stopped sleeping, then she stopped drinking, then we had her tongue fixed, then she carried on not sleeping, then she got sick again, she screams in the car even after I changed car chairs. She has these crying spells that last for up to an hour at a time.

It seemed like we were constantly going “Could it be….” and “Lets try this.” and I sent David more messages than I think either of us wanted to saying “I CAN’T COPE WITH THIS KID”

IMG_3620

After a really rough day with her last Friday, which ended in a 45 minute fight to get her to sleep, I was pretty convinced that she hated me. I had a rather large small cry about it in the bathroom after she had finally fallen (and stayed) asleep. After 5 months of trying pretty much everything anyone suggested and walking on egg shells around her, it just seemed like she was never going to find her place in our family.

While she is still not sleeping so well, it does seem like something happened over the weekend and she seems a little happier to be here. Even Cameron commented on the fact that she was laughing at him for the first time. She is interacting with us a lot more, she moans now instead of screaming. She is very calm during the day, she naps, plays, talks and just seems overall a whole lot calmer. It is finally starting to feel like she wants to be here and is starting to warm to me. (She laughs hysterically at Jack and Kiara and the dog so I know she CAN  laugh).

Have you had a child like this? One that you felt just wasn’t happy?

*Just in case anyone wasn’t sure – taking a while to bond with my kids doesn’t mean I don’t love them!

Swimming our way to an empty bank balance! What do extra muruals REALLY cost?

 

Somewhere behind the athlete you’ve become and the hours of practice and the coaches who have pushed you is a little girl who fell in love with the game and never looked back… play for her. Mia Hamm

 

 

Why I am not apologising for my kids anymore

One of the reasons flying with my kids makes me anxious is because you don’t get “kid friendly” flights that are made up predominantly of parents or travelling families. We have to fly with businessmen, single people, childless couples and parents escaping their children.IMG_2386

I spend the entire length of the flight making sure my child aren’t annoying anyone, making too much noise, crying too much – generally I squash them and stop them from doing all the things that kids are supposed to do for fear of a scathing tweet about the mother and her unruly spawn or screaming baby.

WHY?

Are we, as a family, less entitled to be on an airplane? Are we less important than the businessman in front of us trying to edit his report or the career women counting the seconds until she can turn her phone on to check her emails?

NO. We are not.

Flying is not the only time I feel like I have to muzzle my children.

Restaurants are another minefield. As parents we are more worried about ensuring those around us aren’t in any way inconvenienced or offended by our children talking a little too loud, or eating their macaroni and cheese with their fingers, or a toddler announcing to the world he needs to POO NOW! And we all now how people feel about breastfeeding in public.
Shops also cause much anxiety especially when toddlers would rather walk than be confined to a pram. Heaven forbid a busy little person runs across the path of someone, causing them to pause and walk around them or a mom has to stop suddenly because her daughter has to show her that there is Barbie on the yoghurt. We all know how much fun toddler tantrums can be and often despite our best attempts to avoid them, they happen but again, we are often more in tune with the glares and sighs of those around us than the wailing child.

I am kinda done apologising for my children being children.

IMG_2497Before you get your knickers in a knot I am not condoning badly behaved children, yours or mine. I am simply saying, when my child behaves like a child and that inconveniences you, that is YOUR problem, not mine or my childs.

Babies cry on airplanes, their ears hurt, they get hungry, they cry. It is normal. I will not apologise for that.

Toddlers do not have the ability to sit through an entire meal without moving. They need to run, walk, move. It is normal. I will not apologise for that.

Children aren’t born knowing how to behave socially. We teach them, it takes time. They will talk too loud, they will ask inappropriate questions. It is how they learn. I will not apologise for that.

They throw tantrums. They get tired, over stimulated. They test boundaries. It does not mean I am a bad parent or that they are a bad child. It means they are learning. It is normal. I will not apologise for that.

Toddlers love exploring, the love walking around the shops. Sometimes they get so caught up in it all, the forget to look in front of them, so they will bump into you and we will say sorry for that BUT I will not apologise for allowing him the freedom to walk around a little.

My children and I have just as much right to fly on airplanes, eat at restaurants, watch movies and shop as our childless counterparts.You may not like children, that is really ok because I don’t particularly like children, but you do need to accept that children are the next generation, they are here to stay and they aren’t perfect.

My children are noisy, they get excited over trivial things, they whine, the toddler hasn’t perfected eating with a knife and fork yet, the baby can’t talk so she cries when she is hungry or tired, they do still occasionally bump the table sending drinks and chips flying. If that offends you, you have the choice to go to another restaurant, stand in another queue or take another flight.

I am not apologising for my children being children anymore.

Disclaimer: If my children disrespect you, or anyone really, they will be reprimanded and we will apologise. I am not excusing away bad behaviour. I do promise to do my best to stop tantrums because, I promise you, they are even less fun for me to endure, if you promise to give me the space to do that.

 

BEE, sport and your kid

FAMILY

I was all fired up last night to write this post today, then Emma didn’t sleep last night and vomited repeatedly all over her cot, herself, me, my bed and about 10 towels and then all I wanted to do was write a post about how Emma vomited all over, the perimeter alarm kept going off waking Jack and David had abandoned us for some godforsaken African country.

So I wrote nothing.

Then I started getting antsy because there was no post today, so I considered writing about how terrified I am about Cameron’s new swimming adventure or how I am done apologising to people who don’t have kids for my kids or about the home made chicken schnitzels I made.

But I kept coming back to this topic.

During a chat I had with a sport coach yesterday he mentioned Cameron stands a good chance of getting into the provincial team because they do take their BEE targets seriously. OH! Ok then!

Obviously he can’t just show up, tick the coloured box and make the team. He does have to show serious potential BUT I am not sure how I feel about HIM making the team based on this should it ever happen.

I am not too keen on BEE in sport in general. I really feel it is one of those things that the strongest and hardest working deserve to make it, regardless of the colour of their skin. I personally feel we are far along in our democracy for this not to apply in sport any more and the more I think about it, the more I don’t want it applied to my kids. I want Cameron (and Kiara) to be chosen based on their performance and not on the colour of their skin. I think it almost takes away from them if they are chosen so that the team can reach its targets.

I also think that this creates a sense of entitlement, sort of like ” I deserve to be on the team because I am a person of colour” when in fact Cameron is growing up possibly more privileged that I did! I don’t want any of my kids thinking they have an advantage over their counterparts because of something like the colour of their skin.

I am possibly over thinking this whole thing especially since nothing has actually happened yet but it is stuff that I lie awake thinking about while I wait for the baby to wake up.

What are your thoughts on this?

How would you feel if your child was chosen for the team because they were the right colour?

Why I won’t take the toddler anywhere anymore!

jackorange

We had a pretty busy Saturday, I had a Reach for a Dream event, Cam had soccer and a contact lens fitting and then we had to make a “quick” trip to the Vaal for some work stuff David needed to do.

While Cameron was busy with the optometrist I quickly ran into Dischem with Jack. He was pretty chilled and was being rather cute. While I was waiting for our meds, I looked down and saw he had managed to slip his tennis ball passed me and was now bouncing it in Dischem. CRAP! Having boys means that I have to often to a quick check to make sure we aren’t shopping with the soccer ball or eating lunch with a bouncing tennis ball, but somehow this one got passed me. I didn’t make a big deal about it and figured the quicker we could get out of there, the better. En route to the cashier we had a little “Look mom I can bounce the ball like this” moment, immediately followed by a “MOM I CAN’T FIND MY BALL ITS MISSING FIND MY BALL MOM WHERE IS IT!” moment.

This probably was the moment I should have engaged the “get out the shop as quickly as possible” mode but instead I found the ball and grabbed us all something to drink. Jack ALWAYS chooses an ice tea. ALWAYS. He orders it as we walk into restaurants, its his thing. Until Saturday when suddenly the luminous red Energade was his thing. He needed it. NEEDED it like Kim Kardashian needs a reality TV show! I stood firm though. Took the ice tea and tried to herd him through the pens that are the queues at Dischem. I hadn’t thought the whole little trip through, so had no basket and the medicine I got required a BIG medicine cage.

I was now standing in the queue with my BIG medicine cage, 5 bottles of colddrink and a screaming toddler, wondering how it all went so wrong.

Obviously at this point, the VERY irate toddler decides to rather vociferously bounce his tennis ball while we are boxed in in the junk food laden herding pens. The ball bounces, once, twice and is gone, swallowed up by the MSG free corn chips and sugar laden nougat. By now I am sweating profusely, trying very hard to maintain my composure as my child again starts screaming “MOM I CAN’T FIND MY BALL ITS MISSING FIND MY BALL MOM WHERE IS IT!”. Fortunately the stars aligned briefly and about 10 cashiers suddenly freed up, possible fueled by their need to get the screaming kid and his mother out the shop as quickly as possible, so we were able to move around to the other side of the shelves where the ball had lodged itself.Once he had the ball safely in his little hands, he resumed the “I WON’T DRINK THE ICE TEA I DON’T WANT IT MOM I DON’T DRINK THAT” wail.

Finally, after what felt like an hour, we get to the cashier, Jack still screaming. I drop the drinks and medicine onto the counter and pick up the child, he starts kicking his legs, so I put him down. Now Jack has perfected this move, it is very similar to that moment in an action movie where the good guys catch the bad guy and he falls to the floor onto his knees, all very dramatic. So he drops to his knees, head on the floor and wails and wails.

By this point the entire Dischem has come to a dramatic stop. All eyes are on the mother of the clearly out of control toddler. What will she do?

I did what any self-respecting mother would do. I paid, with my head held high, took my stuff and walked out of the shop, with the screaming toddler trailing behind me.

Because really? WHAT are the options?

Leave my shopping? Wasn’t an option.
Smack him? How would that stop him crying?
Buy him the juice? I did consider it but for obvious reasons it would be wrong.
Yell at him? Again, probably not going to stop him crying.
Tell him “I hear you Jack, I understand you want the red juice but you can’t get that juice right now. Mom got you the ice tea instead”? Ja that has never and will never work on my kids because it wouldn’t work on me.

We did sort of talk about it afterwards but I suspect it had no effect because on Sunday Mr Price Sport banned us!

David left for the DRC early on Sunday morning so I knew I would have to get the kids out of the house for all of our safety. Stupidly I decide to take them ALL shopping. The quick Sportsmans Warehouse trip went well. The second Mr Price Sport visit, not so much. Cameron found a costume but wanted goggles, I said nope he needs to find one of the many pairs we have at home, I am not paying R100 for ANOTHER pair of goggles. Cameron, thankfully over the tantrum stage, was ok with that. Jack not so much. He grabbed a pair off the shelf and told me Cameron NEEDS these. I said “Nope he doesn’t” and put them back on the shelf.

Do I even need to tell you what happened?

There was wailing, Jonty Rhodes style dives across the floor of Mr Price, screaming and general brat behaviour! It was so much fun.

I have actually left out the incident at Spur on Saturday where he waved his knife, like some crazy ninja at his dad and then at a lady who was trying to introduce her son to him. I suspect you may all judge me too harshly if I put it all out there.

So I have decided that for now, it is safer for us, and the general population for me to not take him to any shop (or restaurant) for now.

Did your toddler throw tantrums in the shops? What did you do?

Being honest with your kids.

When I watched Idols for the first time many many years ago I made a promise to myself that I would always be honest to my child. I would never send them off to be ridiculed on national TV of they could not sing (or dance or whatever) because like Stacey said in this post, your kid can not be anything they want to be.

Cameron came home on Thursday very excited because he had received a form from school about provincial swimming trials on the 6 September. He really wanted to go, he wanted to actually go to gym that day so he could start training.
IMG_7774

He can swim and he can swim well BUT he has not been in a pool since March and even then it wasn’t really what can be described as training. He was swimming with the school team but I have watched the sessions and there is no passion from the coach, no motivation and no real training. So Cameron really has gotten by on pure talent but as he gets older he has fallen further back because swimming is something that needs constant training and hard work.

So we had to have the discussion. The one where I tell him that I don’t think trying out now is a good idea. I explained how the trials work and why I felt he wasn’t ready, but then to my own detriment, I added “NOT YET”. The “not yet” saved me from being called the “dream crusher” (again). But to be honest, there are times I am ok to be the dream crusher. Sending my kid to swim against some of the fittest, fastest 12 year olds in Gauteng knowing he is not swimming fit, is not fair to him and will do nothing for his self confidence. If he wants to do it, then we need to do it properly.

Every year at this time we have the cricket vs swimming debate. Every year I steer him towards cricket, mainly for my own selfish reasons. I grew up swimming and I know the commitment it takes, not only on is part but on our part too. He does enjoy cricket but I suspect he loves swimming, in fact I know he enjoys it more which is why we still have this discussion every year.

Last night swimming won. When I explained to him why I don’t think he is ready, I also said that IF he decides on swimming, then we will find a club and he can work really hard and be ready to try about next year. He thought about it all weekend, asked me questions, discussed options and finally yesterday he said he chooses swimming. So we go tomorrow to have an evaluation at our local club.

I will admit, I cried a little bit (ok maybe a lot) and mourned the loss of the little bit of spare time we have.

Are you honest with your kids? From the amount of rubbish singers there are on Idols, it seems that not many parents are.