Posts with category - Kids

Dear Family

My dear children, I birthed you all. I know you all better than you know yourself. I know when you are scared, happy, frightened and hungry. I know what makes you anxious. I know where you happy places are. I know you!

I also know where you go to school, who your soccer coach is, who your dance instructor is and how you need your shoes to be tied. I know what I need to know to get you to where you need to be.

What I do not know, however, is where you put your shin pads when you came back from soccer. I do not know where you put your school socks after you wore them. I do not know where your Lightning McQueen car is. I do not know what your English teacher said. I also have no idea where you glasses are or where your personal diary is.

I AM NOT THE ENCYCLOPEDIA KNOW-WHERE-YOUR-STUFF-IS!!! I DON’T WANT TO BE THE ENCYCLOPEDIA KNOW-WHERE-YOUR-STUFF-IS!!!

The good Lord has given you all a beautiful pair of eyes and a brain in your head! USE them to look for YOUR things or even better still – put your things in YOUR room – that way you will know where YOUR stuff is!

Despite popular belief I do not spend my days moving around just to mess with you. A part of me wishes I did have the time to do that!

I love you all more than I love dark Aero chocolate and vanilla flavoured coffee but if one of you ask me one more time where something is I am trading you all in for chocolate and coffee!

PS – please tell your father that the same applies to him!

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Help! My toddler has OCD

My day started off so well this morning. Despite my washing getting wet and being 10 minutes late for Yoga it was still a great morning.

Emma isn’t sleeping much during the day but she is happy to chill in her bouncy chair so I managed to get a lot done.

Then Jack arrives! And my zen all goes out the flippen window.

I know WHY he is acting out and that it is largely his attempt to get control but I still need some help in how to deal with it.

The biggest issue right now is his shoe laces! He will only wear this pair of takkies with laces (we have tried a variety of other shoes and he WILL NOT put them on). The shoes are fine but the problem is he doesn’t want to see the little loops that are made when you tie the laces or the plastic things at the end of the laces. So we have tie them and tie them until there is no more to tie and hide the plastic things. If the pop out all hell breaks loose!!!

HOW do I deal with this? He isn’t being naughty so I don’t feel that punishing him is the right thing to do? Taking the shoes away will solve the laces problem but then he will be bare foot which would be fine if it was still summer but its cooler now.

PLEASE share some words of wisdom with me.

On this note how would you deal with his other little “quirks”? It’s simple things that are relatively easy to deal with – like he will only eat with a certain spoon, only wants brown socks, only wants a specific shirt, only wears jeans (he now owns about 6 pairs of jeans), he only wants me to do things like put his DVD’s on, dress him etc.

Would you let those things slide? Indulge him? Or push through the tantrums?

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When you take your eye off the ball

Parenting is not only about consistency but also about never taking your eye off the ball – EVER!

It differs from household to household what you need to keep your eye on. In our house it’s homework, attitude, Kiara’s eating, Cameron’s hygiene and my stationery drawer. The minute we are distracted these things take a dip, they get IMG_0116forgotten (or stolen in the case of my stationery drawer).

The current issue is Jack’s behaviour, mainly due to me taking my eye off the ball and letting way too much stuff slide. It started as little quirks – like wanting certain shoes, certain shirts, his movies etc. For the most part they weren’t things I chose to fight about it but what has happened now is that we all pander to Jack’s wants. If he wants to keep the same shirt on for days – I try and fight but eventually cave. If he wants to watch Toy Story for the 8th time, we try negotiate and then we cave. He has eaten mini cheddars for breakfast, lunch and dinner for the last 3 days. He has now started being cheeky – tells us to leave him alone, shut up and go away.

In short Jack does what he wants, when he wants and how he wants. It is largely my fault because I am with him 80% of the time and I have not only taken my eye off the ball, I have dropped it.

Last night David had enough and spent nearly an hour bathing him, changing his clothes and putting him to bed. Jack screamed and fought him the ENTIRE time. I am not really sure where David got the patience and determination from but he stayed calm the whole time.

So now we have a reset and we have to almost start again. Set the boundaries, enforce them and get control back from the 2 year old. I know people are adverse to using the word control in parenting but in our house I need control. I need the children to listen when I speak, to know I am serious and co-operate. It is not even about there being 4 kids and 1 of me – it is about raising a child who isn’t a brat and doesn’t always get their own way!

There was drama at school too. He cried more today than he did on the day he actually started. I am hoping that now that we are back in a proper routine again he will settle quickly.

Consistent discipline and boundary setting is one of the harder parts of parenting. They need focus and attention otherwise it all just falls apart!

How are things going with your kids? Do you have drop-off dramas?

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The truth about Stay-at-home-moms

Last week (or maybe it was still this week) I stumbled upon a shared link about the whole, rather tiresome, working mom vs stay at home mom debate. I don’t subscribe to the site it was posted on because I don’t enjoy most of their content and the comments even less so.

The article was posted by a friend of mine who strongly objected to the article. At the same time as a little Facebook discussion was going on a twitter one was too where the editor got involved, he suggested my friend write her own opinion piece in response to which she declined. I considered offering to write one but for all the reasons above I decided not to. Also the whole debate is tired. It is monotonous and similar to the breastfeeding vs bottle/caesar vs natural debates – they tend to go around and around in circles.

That said, though, I have had this post in my head since the debate so I am going to do a little myth buster here and share what the stay-at-home moms I know do.

One of the things mentioned in the article was how sahm’s make working moms angry because they are around for their kids 24/7 while the working moms can’t do that. I am not even sure if the author of the article is a parent or even has any clue what parents actually do outside of the collection of quotes she received for the article. I am a stay at home and I missed every single one of Cameron’s cricket matches last term – EVERY SINGLE ONE! Last year I missed most of his galas. Kiara arrived at her dance concert last year without the required make-up or clothes for after the show – I never had time to read the letter properly.

Jack has gone to school in his pajamas before and both bigger kids have, on the odd occasion had to wear the same school shirt twice. Cameron has actually gone to school with his slippers on before. When they step out the car in the morning I say a small prayer that no one will notice the missing button, mis-matched socks and I promise myself to get to the mending,washing , school shop that day to sort it all out.

I am not going to launch into an account of all the times I have messed up, forgotten things or sent my kids to school looking considerably less than perfectly turned out.

The point is that just because I stay at home does not mean I have my shit together. In all honesty, the reality of staying at home full time is very different to the idea I had in my head. It is a lot harder than I ever thought it would be.

I know you are probably thinking “how hard can it be to have to take and fetch kids from school and clean the house” – I thought the same thing as I was about to jump into it. When I was a working mom I had a host of people around me helping me out, sharing the responsibility. I had a phenomenal after care who ensure that the kids were fetched and taken to their extra-muruals, they did home work with the kids, they fed them. I had domestic twice a week and because we got home late each afternoon the house remained fairly tidy. So yes maybe I missed a few matches, stopped at Spar many a morning to grab cake for Cake and Candy en route to work but the kids were sorted out by someone else. There was a time I actually didn’t even really know the times the kids finished – the after care took care of all of that for me.

Now all of this falls on me. With one child it wouldn’t be that hard, possibly then I could be a smug mom, but with two older kids with different extra-muruals on different days at different times and 3 school going kids each with different start and different end times the planning and organising really does my head in some days. I can’t be in more than one place at a time which is why one child generally has to understand why I can’t make the match or the gala. I very literally turn in to moms taxi from 13h00 every single afternoon until, on the worst day 18h00. Trust me, working moms when I say this, by 16h00 the sahm is wishing she was you! My evenings then turn into the same as those of a working mom – dinner must be cooked, homework checked and done, projects researched and the house tidied.

The article kept on highlighting this great divide between the two moms and I honestly have never felt this. In fact in my circle it is the opposite to how it was described. Working moms and stay at home moms work together to make life easier for us both. My friend Debby, who works full time, helps me out so much with Cameron and when she needs it I fetch her kids if she has a late meeting but she definitely picks up the slack a lot more for me at the moment. One of the working cricket moms and I work out fetching and carrying the boys to club cricket, I drop, they fetch or vice versa depending on who is available and when. If I have missed events there are other moms or teachers who full me in on how the kids have done or even send me pictures. No one looks down on anyone, we don’t judge or compete – we really are too busy trying to keep things together and running smoothly to have time for that.

The biggest misconception I think, is that moms who stay at home parent their children better. This is total and utter rubbish. Staying at home with my child all day does not, by default, make me a better parent than anyone. It is a naive statement to make. Parenting is not about whether or not you work nor is it about whether or not you attend every single sports event your child is in. If you are going to pass commentary on parenting then this is probably the very first thing you need to understand and know!

We need more content that builds bridges across these great divides and stops making women feel like they constantly need to justify the choices they make.

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While the children are away…..

I think I mentioned David was in Nigeria last week, he was away for 4 nights. I don’t enjoy him being away but the kids and I sort of break the rules a little when he is away. I make quick easy dinners that generally involve oven baked chips, we are all in bed by 19h00, I hang around in my pjs for most of the day. We make the most of it but this trip was probably the worst one for me.

For the most part we have settled into being a family of 6. Going out together is still a challenge but we are doing well, I think. BUT we are doing well as a family of 6 – NOT a family of 5. Handling 4 kids on my own was not fun at all. By Sunday when David got home I was so very glad to hand Emma over, not because she had been difficult but because I was the only one holding her, feeding her, carrying her, soothing her for almost 5 days – it was exhausting.

David’s mom was going to take the older 3 kids for me on Friday but then was invited away for the weekend so she took them all yesterday for a sleep over and bought her domestic to clean the house for me. It really was like Christmas in March! It was just the break I needed.

My friend Suzanne came round for coffee after they all left, we chatted over coffee – it was so great to talk about nothing in particular with a grown up person. Then Emma and I went to sign her up for Club V so I can start gym again. David and I were able to have a proper adult conversation over dinner and a glass of wine. Seriously I can’t tell you the last time we were able to talk (not whisper) uninterrupted.

Today has been just as good. I went to my first yoga class in 4 months! I managed to catch up on some admin, finish off some articles I am busy with, get some new ones started, update the calendars with kids exams, dance competitions, holidays and what not. Because the house was clean, my domestic who comes today could clean the cupboards and walls and other things she doesn’t get too. I ordered part of Kiara’s birthday present, got her invitations designed and her party plans organised.

I feel a million times more in control now than I did a week ago. While it wasn’t quite 100% kid-free time it was just the re-charge I needed!

What is everyone up to? Are you feeling in control?

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Dear New Moms

Dear New Mom,

If there is one thing I wish I could make you believe it is that it does get easier.

I know right now you don’t believe that.

You are the kind of tired that you never thought was possible.

You have never doubted yourself more than you do right now.

You have never felt more hopeless.

You are overwhelmed with a kaleidoscope of emotions.

You want to run away but you can’t stand the thought of leaving your baby.

Only another mother will truly understand what it is you are going through because we have all been there.

I was there with Cameron. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. He would scream and scream – all day, all night – ALL.THE.TIME. I felt helpless and hopeless. I walked, rocked, fed, drove, pushed, left, medicated – I did it all. Nothing seemed to work. I was exhausted and was convinced this was my life – spending my days trying to make this little thing happy. I battled to bond with him. My time seemed consumed by doing what ever stopped him crying, at least for a minute. I questioned the sanity of anyone who had more than one child. It seemed like an impossibly feat.

Everyone told me “it gets better.” – I could have quite easily beaten those people to death for lying to me. I was sure it would not get better! How could it? I was just a terrible mother who wasn’t fit to raise a child! It was that simple. I couldn’t wait to go back to work to get some peace and quiet.

It was a horrible time for me (and possible for my baby too).

But you know happened? It DID get better. My mom took me to a homeopath who gave us a bucket load of drops and what not and he stopped crying all the time and he slept.

Slowly I started feeling less exhausted, I no longer dreaded being alone with him. We finally started bonding and I started enjoying him. I started trusting myself more to make the right decisions for the both of us.

It did get better.

Having more than one child doesn’t mean you get the ones that sleep or that you miraculously learn to speak baby and know what they need, all that it means is you know, for a fact, that it does get better. You are more confident, you know that when your child screams solidly for an hour it is not your fault, you know that if you stop breastfeeding you aren’t a failure. You KNOW it will be ok. But trust me, even after having 4 children, I have had those moments where I sit and cry from exhaustion and pray so hard that she will please just settle so I can go and pee!

So please believe me when I say it WILL GET BETTER.

My advice to try maintain some level of sanity?

  • Throw away the parenting books! All of them! In the bin! Chances are if you have one you have more than one and each one will have conflicting advice – co-sleep, no don’t co-sleep! Breast feed, no give baby a bottle! Have a caesar, no push! This does not help. I know you think it does but it really doesn’t. And for the love of all things holy DO NOT GOOGLE when you are unsure of what baby has! DO NOT!
  • Lower your expectations! All your baby needs is for you to love them, feed them and change them. THAT IS ALL. They do not need to photo (3)be the poster child for newborns and sleep exactly 4 hours, drink the required ml, gain the chart weight, sleep through. They also do not need you to keep your nails freshly painted, your blog updated daily, gourmet meals cooked every night. All of that will come but not in the first few months. If your husband has issues – send him to Woolworths for dinner – they have their shit together!
  • Trust your instincts. This is one of the hardest things to do especially when you think the are hungry but they won’t eat. But despite that, you do know your child the best. You do know what they need better than anyone else. Trust that.
  • Shut out the noise. Everyone has advice and a remedy and a solution. Shut it all out. Find a few people you trust, turn to them for help and support. Listen to their advice and take what you need from it.
  • Ask for help! This is not a sign of weakness or failure. There is no shame in asking for help.
  • Do not compare! Do not compare your babies weight, milestones etc to another baby. Do not compare your feelings/ ability to cope, weight etc to another mother. Just do not do it. It will never end well! EVER!

No one can really prepare you for those early weeks. Even with an “easy” baby it is a huge adjustment and despite what the parenting section of Exclusive books says there is no manual!

Most importantly trust that this will pass and before you know it you will be planning 1st birthday parties, sleeping in on a saturday morning and planning baby no 2!

PS – it has taken me all day to write this post :)

 

 

 

 

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When moments feel like days.

For the first 5 weeks of her life Emma was a great sleeper at night. I never blogged or tweeted about it because you know how that works but she would go down at 7/8 and wake up at 2/3 – it was just like that from the first night. There were one or two nights where she woke at 1 but it was going well and I thanked everyone daily for it.

Then something happened at around 5 weeks and she woke up at midnight and then again at 3/4 – still not a huge deal because she would feed and then go down again. But then it started going 12, 2, 4 – starting to get a big deal now! Last night it was 12, 2,3,4h45 – a BIG DEAL because in between that Jack yelled for me and David is away.

Now I know a lot of you are going to say “growth spurt” and it is possibly but last night she never drank more than 10mls at any of the feeds except the midnight one so I am not sure she is hungry – surely a growth spurt means they eat more? Tonight I am going to try the dummy and see if she won’t settle without the bottle. She doesn’t scream and falls asleep super quickly.

Jack is feeling a little crappy. I am not 100% sure what is wrong with him but he is miserable so wants me ALL.THE.TIME for everything! If I can’t help him immediately he screams/whines until I get him what he needs.

This morning was one of those mornings that feel like a week in 2 hours.

Emma was awake at 4h45. Jack woke up crying. As we wanted to leave to take the big kids Emma had a poo nappy. Jack wouldn’t get in the car unless I carried him. When we got home I had to do a few chores – like hang up the washing – Jack stood at the kitchen door and screamed and screamed. He apparently couldn’t walk out the door, I carried him but he couldn’t stand (?????). Then Emma woke up crying. Jack obviously still needed me. I have never been happier to see anyone as I was to see David’s mom. I may have actually thrown Emma at her and escaped to the kitchen.

She took the two of them for a walk around the complex and I managed to hang the rest of the washing up, unpack the dishwasher and vacuum downstairs!

She has taken Jack with her for the evening but let me tell you by the time she left with him at 10h00 I was ready for the day to be over!!!

Emma and I alone have a little routine, even on the days she only wants to be in my arms I manage because it is just her and I. Add the toddler into the mix and it is chaos!

I am sure you all know about those moments that feel like days? They are rough and feel like they are never going to end but thankfully they always do.

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With great power comes great responsibility – Voltaire

Emma was 6 weeks yesterday so I took her to have her shots. I have been using our local Clicks since Jack was 6 weeks. I have never had a problem, the clinic sister who was there was great but the one she has been replaced with is not so great.

Before I go into the whole story – Emma is doing well, she is gaining nicely so all is well with baby le Roux.

BUT if you ask the clinic sister, she will advise that Emma is underweight and should have, by 6 weeks, doubled her birth weight. So instead of the 4.1kg she is now, she should, in fact be 6kg! SAY WHAT?

I asked her if she was sure it was 6 weeks and not 3 months, which is what I have used as a guideline with all 3 other kids. No she was adamant it was 6 weeks BUT I mustn’t worry she is still happy with the gain. She then plotted her on the graph and she is slightly under the 50 percentile line and by under I mean by 300g, so she is still actually perfectly FINE!

Sidenote – the 50 percentile mark was 4.45kg and 6kg would actually have put her in the obese bracket.

Then we turned to feeding and she asked me how much I was feeding Emma. Apparently the 125ml that the formula tin recommends for her weight is incorrect and I should be feeding her either 78ml every 3 hours or 100ml every 4 hours. When I mentioned that the tin says differently, again she assured me she was correct on this and the tin info was worked out according to the ICT (or ICA) and was not right.

Sidenote – do I let the formula companies know that they are giving us incorrect info?

Apparently, according to her, and the only information I agreed with, a formula fed baby should pick up around 700g a month. Now I am no mathematician but I do know that in order to double 3kg, Emma would have need to be gaining a lot more than 700g!

So, in summary, Emma is not gaining weight correctly and I should reduce her food.

Fortunately for me, and my child, I have 3 other kids so I know not to pay much attention to the growth charts and I have enough experience to trust my instinct of the growth of my child.

But what about a new, sleep deprived mom with a new baby? How stressful would that visit have been? You already feel a little unsure and now someone says you are over feeding your baby (she actually did say “you don’t want her to get fat”) BUT she isn’t gaining weight correctly.

I don’t think that people in positions like this realise the power they have. I understand that there is always new information being discovered about everything all the time and everyone is entitled to believe whatever they want but I do think a clinic sister must share factual information and provide support especially to new moms.

This doesn’t only apply to nurses but to anyone who is in a position to influence people’s actions and thoughts and where people trust what you are saying.

Have you had an experience like this with a healthcare professional (or anyone else)? Did your baby double their birth weight by 6 weeks?

PS – this is not an attack on the clinic sister as a person but rather on the information she shared with me because I do believe she shared with the best intention.

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What colour is coloured?

Kiara keeps us on our toes. She views the world in a very unique way so she never asks questions that are easy to answer.10x15cm

Today she asked me if she was coloured or brown. Now obviously this wasn’t simple to answer because I first had to try and explain that coloured is not a colour.

She couldn’t understand why people call her coloured if that isn’t her colour because I am white and black people are black! In her world coloured is a colour.

It took me a while to explain that coloured refers to her race and not her colour. This was not easy because I asked her what colour is coloured? She replied “I am coloured colour” – we went around and around like this for a while – eventually I asked her if she had ever seen a coloured colour crayola!

It appears that they discuss it at school a lot and her friends often ask her what she is?

Straight after she was finished with that she asked me what genes were! Never a dull moment with this child!

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I must confess – why I stopped breastfeeding

I Must Confess

Last week was a bit of a blur for me. I took meds to stop my breast milk and they knocked me out. I only started feeling normal on Friday.

I decided last week to stop breast feeding and like with the others (except Kiara) once I had made the decision I wanted to stop immediately which is why I got the meds and didn’t wean Emma slowly.

So why did I stop?

It is no secret that I don’t love breast feeding but I do accept the benefits and despite me initially not wanting to breast feed Emma at all there really was no reason for me not to so I gave it a go. Breast feeding however, is not easy and except for Kiara I have had issues with all of the other three and I am not going to go into past issues again.

My reasons for stopping with Emma were simple I had had enough but the longer story is….

  • Emma is tongue tied which meant I had constant cracked nipples. I did manage to get them under control but they were still sore constantly. (I can only see my paed in April to correct this)
  • I have 3 other school going kids. I was sitting for up to an hour in the morning feeding her while David had to supervise getting everyone ready. Same in the afternoon – I was feeding when Jack and Kiara got home which meant  I wasn’t able to be with Jack – even for a few minutes.
  • I am not one to feel comfortable feeding in public. It has nothing to do with breastfeeding but rather my own body issues and I don’t feel comfortable feeding on the sidelines of a soccer field or in the cricket clubhouse. We are out a lot at- times that can not always be set.
  • We got thrush – which was the final straw. My boobs were sore, Emma was sore, feeding was difficult etc etc. YES I know there are meds but honestly I was over the sore boobs.
  • Finally I wanted my body back. I realise this may sound super selfish but I was done sharing my body, of being sore, uncomfortable, having to be with the baby constantly or rush out in between feeds.

I will do almost anything for my children! I love them all without question! I will change bums, wipe up vomit, eat second hand food shoved in my mouth, watch endless cricket matches, spend the day at a dog and cat show. I will get up a million times a night for them, let them sleep in my bed, eat my last biscuit.

The one thing I couldn’t do though was breast feed.

I am ok with that. They seem ok with that.

Disclaimer: I am all for breastfeeding, IF it is easy for you and your baby. I have a great article over here if you are struggling. The views expressed above are MY experience and MINE alone.

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