Short baby breaks recharge the batteries

We arrived back from Cape Town on Sunday morning. The flight back was pretty chilled despite the fact that Jack was still very miserable. Emma was super chilled and did not cry once which made it much easier to deal with Jack.

Cam and Jack

It was a really great holiday, being with my family always makes me miss them so much more when I get back. Having my mom around all the time was all kinds of awesome. Even though it felt like most of the time we were dealing with either a screaming Emma or a sick Jack, we did have a great time and I managed to get some great photos of the 5 cousins.

David’s mom took both the babies yesterday morning and they both spent the night with her. As much as we all do miss them when they are gone it is good for all of us to be able to spend some alone time with the older two and because they are low maintenance, by default David and I also get a chance to catch up and actually talk without one of us rocking a baby or wiping a toddlers bum.

It is so easy for me to get caught up in the babies that I forget that the older two also need attention as much as the smaller two do so these breaks are great for all of us. Today the three of us chilled, went to gym together, did some shopping and just enjoyed being able to talk and watch what we wanted to.

Kiara and Mae

It is also too easy for both David and I to get so focused on the two babies that we often pass like two ships in the night (or sleep deprived zombies as the case may be) which is why these kid-free moments are so special. We are able to re-connect, re-charge and re-group as a couple which is so important because we are individually and collectively more than our children and there will come a time when they are off doing their own thing and we won’t have the distraction of school trips, birthday parties and midnight wake ups.

Finding time for everyone in our family is one of my biggest challenges especially now while Emma is still a baby so I make the most of any opportunity I get to spend a little quality time with the kids and David.

How old where your babies when they first slept out (with family or friends)?

Advice from a small town doctor

Last year when we were here in December I had a little eye issue – remember?

I never met the Doctor so decided this trip I needed to meet him. Jack got some tummy bug earlier in the week but then started complaining of a sore neck and well Emma wasn’t sleeping. So paying the chemists rent for July we decided that maybe we need to just get the doctor to check them both out.

So off we go.

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I go in with Emma and Dr S is about 100 years old. He is a tall, thin elderly distinguished looking gentleman. He starts asking me what’s wrong.

We had the following conversation – he was not being mean or dismissive but rather sarcastically humorous. (It was actually very amusing)

Me: This child seems very unhappy. She cries a lot, doesn’t want to sleep EVER.

Dr S: Ok…..

Me: We have tried everything (and I list all the things) but still she just screams.

Dr S: Shame.

Me: (starting to question my sanity in bringing her) None of my kids have done this.

Dr S: How many do you have?

Me: Four

Dr S: So then WHY are you here? Don’t you know whats wrong with her?

Me: NO!

Dr S: Ok so what do you think is wrong? What is your gut telling you?

Me: I don’t know. That is WHY I am here.

Dr S: You must have an idea?

Me: I don’t. My mom thought it would be a good idea to come to the Dr, just to rule out a few things.

Dr S: How thoughtful of your mom.

Dr S examines her.

Me: Oh we have also been putting ear drops in because she had wax coming out of her ears.

Dr S: Yes babies do have wax in their ears.

Me: Ja but none of the others ever had it as bad as that so I didn’t realise.

Dr S: Well now you know.

Dr S: There is nothing wrong with her. She is a healthy, beautiful baby.

Me: Ok then – shall I go get Jack?

Dr S: You do that.

I was by now laughing a little hysterically and praying that there was really something wrong with Jack because I suspect if there wasn’t he may have called them to lock me up in the local nut house.

We did discuss a few possibilities though but basically whatever is causing her to have these screaming tantrums is not health related.

Anyway the point of all that was that he was right asking me what my gut said. My instinct was that she wasn’t sick. I was 99% sure that whatever is wrong with her was not health related. But that didn’t necessarily mean I did know what was wrong.

I do look forward to our medical adventures in Montagu when we return next time.

 

 

Sleepless in Montagu

My mother and I are day dreaming of sleep. We would dream of it, if we actually slept long enough to dream.

Emma has regressed terribly this week. Last night she slept for three uninterrupted (not consecutive) hours. My mom managed to get her down at around midnight for an hour. I took over and she slept in my arms while I sat for an hour. Then at 3h30 we fell asleep on the couch until 4h30 when Jack was looking for me. It was all kinds of special.

We have tried EVERYTHING. EVERYTHING!

Emma

I had her at the doctor yesterday (which was an experience – there shall be a post on that) and health wise she is fine. Ears are clear, throat is clear, no tummy sounds. We have tried buscopan, stopayne, gaviscon, teejel and ear drops!

We know she is healthy but she just does not sleep. *sigh*

I was doing some research last week and came across a spa near Harties that has a “sleep room” that guests can enjoy. I am seriously considering using our grocery money on a visit there to catch up on my lost sleep. Although do you really ever catch up on lost sleep?

So right now I am definitely pining for sleep with warmth a close second!

What are you pining for?

Selfhood begins with a walking away

There is a special bond between a mother and their first born. They are, after all the one who inducts you into the world of motherhood. They are also the ones we mess up the most with because most of us don’t really have a clue what we are doing when we are handed that little squealing little bundle.

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They are the only ones who have your undivided attention. They are the ones you sit and stare in wonder at for the longest. The ones you experience everything first with.

They are also the one you have watch walk away first.

A few afternoons ago I walked into Cameron’s room, he was sitting on his bed, ear phones in listening to his music. Nothing out of the ordinary really except it was, well to me anyway. It was him separating himself, not in a bad way but in a “I am almost a teenager and don’t want to sit and watch Toy Story anymore” kind of way.

It’s been happening slowly but he is definitely starting the long, lonely walk to selfhood! His voice has broken and every time I talk to him over the phone I have to check that I have called him because he sounds so grown up. He has started IMG_2986worrying about what he looks like and asks often “do I look better like this or like this?” He studied all on his own for his exams this term. He is almost as tall as I am. We can have conversations about a wide range of things – he talks to us instead of rambling on about silly things. He is forming his own opinions, his own tastes and he wants to do his own things.

When your toddler starts dressing himself you sort of feel a little sad because he no longer needs you to dress him but when your oldest starts becoming a young adult you feel a deep sadness because you know they are going to start needing you less and less with each passing day.It is possibly, for me, the hardest stage to muddle my way through as a mother because once he reaches the end of this journey, he will no longer be my baby but rather my oldest child leading his life.

Of course I know that is how it is supposed to be but it is still a very bittersweet moment. I know we will always have that special bond that only a mother and her first born child have but we will have it from a distance.

Behind a scatter of boys. I can see
You walking away from me towards the school
With the pathos of a half-fledged thing set free
Into a wilderness, the gait of one
Who finds no path where the path should be.

Just when you think you have this parenting thing done, your son turns twelve and you feel totally unprepared for what lies ahead!

Poem is by C Day Lewis

Bedroom Makeovers

I moved Emma’s cot into Kiara’s room on Wednesday. It didn’t go as well as I had hoped and apart from a few naps she isn’t really sleeping in it yet. I actually think she prefers the camp cot over the cot but anyway my aim is to get Emma moved into Kiara’s room by the end of the holidays (mid July).

We have been planning to re-do the bedrooms so I thought that this move may be a good time to start with Kiara’s room make over. The challenge is that Kiara and I have VERY different tastes – not actually different rather polar opposites. The feature wall in her room is currently a deep pink but she has decided to rather make the room orange, so a lot of her decor is now orange. I really like the pink. All Emma’s decor is pink.

Can you see my dilemma here?

One room, two identities!

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Anyway during my “room make over research” I discovered that Sheet Street have a new kids range of linen out. It is pink (and blue) and would be perfect for Emma’s side of the room. Kiara would actually LOVE this set. The boys duvet would actually be really cute for Jack’s bed as well and Cameron is a lot more easy going when it comes to this sort of thing.

I am not really sure where to start to be honest – could pink and orange even go together?

I really love the decor I have up in Emma’s space in our room, I don’t want to get rid of it and it doesn’t really match with the decor in our room.

So what to do? Repaint the feature wall a more neutral colour that would accommodate them both? Or keep the pink and work with the orange.

I have tried Pinterest but if you search girls rooms it’s all pink, frills and bling so not much help at all.

What would you do? Do your kids share rooms? Did you share a room with your sibling?

WHO moved Spiderman?

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So there I am minding my own business, trying for the 6th day in a row to get my About Me page updated, when I hear the words that make me go cold, “MOM! WHERE’S MY SPIDERMAN?”Sully

I quickly retrace our steps from the last time I saw Spiderman – he was in the car, then we took him out, he never made it to the bath so he must be somewhere downstairs. I check the toy room, unpack the boxes, look under the shelves – he is not there. While I was getting my heart rate up looking for the man in red, my toddler was repeating “Where’s he mom! WHERE IS SPIDERMAN!” I think it may be my greatest failure as a parent – my children are unable to look for things.

I dismantle the couch cushions. Nothing. In the kitchen cupboards. Nothing. Outside. Nothing. At this point I think the people of Poland can hear my son’s screams of “WHERE IS MY SPIDERMAN”

IronManEventually after exhausting every option I blame David and say Spiderman is in Dad’s car. Obviously that never went well and I suspect David heard him shout “IT IS NOT IN MY DAD”S CAR”.

By now I am cursing Spiderman under my breathe and admit defeat, sit down, put my ear phones in and carry on working on my About Me page.

What happens next do you think?

Jack saunters into the toy room and says “Oh there is Spiderman!”

WHAAAAAAT?

There on the floor, in plain sight is Spiderman!IMG_3055

HOW! HOW! I looked there. A few times!

HOW DOES THIS HAPPEN?

We do this little dance a few times a day. No matter how much I watch the toys I know he likes to have near him, no matter how often I do toy role call, they STILL disappear!

I do realise in the bigger picture with issues like poverty, the rising cost of food, that this really isn’t an issue except it IS! It is when your toddler is having a tantrum that will scare the big man from Game of Thrones into submission. It is when the toy just randomly appears RIGHT where you just looked!

PLEASE PLEASE tell me this happens in your house? Please tell me the toys also torment you?

Sleep – a collection of tips

Emma is sleeping much better. She is sleeping nicely during the day and better at night. I suppose it is a work in progress.

Over the last few weeks I have been offered so much advice. I have tried a lot of it, some of it worked and some didn’t but I thought I would share them all in case there is a mom out there who is also battling with a baby who isn’t sleeping.

  • Is she too hot or too cold? It is so hard to really know for sure if they are too cold or too hot. But it is the easiest one to “fix”. You can add a blanket or remove one or put a heater on and see if it makes a difference. We tried a sleeping bag and that seems to work well because she stays covered and Emmasleepingwarm even if she pulls the blankets off.
  • Maybe it’s the formula. I tried this with Emma and it never really made much difference with her sleep but it did help with her cramps and she started eating much better when we changed. Changing formulas can come with it’s own set of problems so try avoid changing it often.  It does also apparently take around 2 weeks for the old formula to “work out” so give it some time.
  • Is she hungry? This is the first thing people ask when they here your baby isn’t sleeping. Introducing solids isn’t necessarily going to solve your problem because introducing solids takes time and it is only really when you start with protein that it actually makes a difference.
  • Could it be sensory? This is like the hot/cold thing – its trial and error. When I was discussing this with Julia she said “some babies like something on their face” so I watched Emma and she fell asleep easier when the blanket was over her face. Some children need a taglet or a teddy or no blankets or lots of blankets.
  • It might be her teeth? Cameron teethed horribly. He was sick with every tooth. Obviously pain can cause sleep disruptions but the baby should be unsettled during the day as well. So unless there are other signs for teeth I wouldn’t start with teething (or pain) meds.
  • There may be too much stuff in the cot. I actually read this online somewhere. Babies don’t like lots of stuff around them. I swapped the cot for IMG_0464the camp cot which is bigger and took out all the blankets, toys and bumpers.
  • Rescue to the Rescue. A friend of mine suggested rescue drops 2/3 feeds before bed time. I never tried it with Emma but I have used Rescue on all 3 of the others. It does work to calm them and does help if your baby has a suicide hour.
  • Move her out of your room. This one is a little tricky because Emma obviously has to share with Kiara but I have just moved her cot into Kiara’s room this morning so we shall try this. But if you can move baby into her own room then do it. I did it with the older two and it does make a difference.
  • Massage. A friend of mine was shown a variety of massages that can help a baby to sleep. There are certain spots that you massage. (Don’t google this – rather visit someone who is experienced in baby massage so they can show you properly what to do.)
  • Let her cry it out. My yoga instructor actually tried this with her non-sleeper. She said it worked but was very hard to do and went against everything she believed. I don’t think either David or I have the ability to do this but we are leaving her longer and longer in the cot when she does wake up.
  • Has she reached a milestone recently? I never realised this disrupted sleep but this seems like it may have been the main reason for Emma’s break in sleep. Once she started sitting she settled down.
  • Hire a sleep trainer. There are a few good sleep trainers out there who will help you through the process.

There are so many things you can (and must) try to get your baby to sleep. While it is true that some babies are sleepers and others aren’t, ALL babies NEED sleep! You need sleep. So do what you need to to get sleep for everyone!

Thank you to all the moms who offered advice – I really do appreciate it!

{Product Review} eco.kid Products

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I think it is possible that we have tried every single hair product on the market for Kiara. We have used nearly every range of sprays, gels, oils and conditioners – the cheap ones and the expensive ones. We have used them all to try and make managing her hair easier. When she started dancing we faced the additional challenge of having to control her wayward curls. For the concert last year I think we used a can of hair spray and I still help my breathe during the dances that the curls wouldn’t escape at random.

This year, for the competition, we had eco.kid Bubbalicious shaping gel and it made the world of difference.

It is ideal for smoothing
out all the little “fly-away” hairs which head lice use to transfer from one kid to another and ideal for wet braiding.”

This product uses organically certified products including essential oils so there was no spraying of artificial rubbish onto her hair and it held her hair so well and tamed the fly-away hair. You don’t need to use a lot of the gel for it to work so it lasts well. Kiara loves using it.It smells nice and doesn’t make your hair look like straw like some of the gels and sprays do.

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The other product we were sent was the Call Me Bubbles bubble bath. Jack and Emma both thoroughly enjoyed this product.I could see the difference in their skin when we added the bubble bath to the water – it wasn’t as dry as it was after a bath without it. It does not burn their eyes which is great because Jack loves dipping his face into the water. Jack also loved the fragrance – he kept telling me it smells beautiful.

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To find out where to find eco.kid products visit their website.

The things we do

Yesterday Cameron had a soccer match so we all went to watch. Jack needed to way about 5 minutes into the game and the toilets were far so I took him to a tree and he wee’d. About 30 minutes later he comes to me and says “Mom I need to poo so I am just going over there ok!” MMMM not so much my boy. I spent yesterday baking for Jack’s party. Each year I swear a little about it all but I do actually enjoy it. My cupcakes were ready to be taken out the oven so I looked around the kitchen for the dishcloth – it was nowhere. So I did what any self respecting person would do, I grabbed Emma’s bib and took them out! There may not always be dishcloth’s lying about but there is always a bib! Emma This got me thinking about other things I have done like this…. Like taking Jacks Spiderman water bottle to gym because it was in the car and I left mine at home. Or eating dinner out of a Cars bowl because all the others are dirty. Wiping a toddlers nose with a sock because it was the closest thing. Or eating the kids gummy vites because you needed something sweet and that’s all there was. You buy flings for every party you have and braai you go to “for the kids” but the kids stopped eating them years ago. Using bottles to measure everything. Or having conversations with Woody and Buzz because they seem to be everywhere you are. (Ok maybe this is just me?) Swaying side to side even when you aren’t rocking a baby to sleep. What have you done?