Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Breast feeding blues




I am still sad today about not expressing milk at work anymore for Mieka to drink at the day mother. But I was thinking about Arnia, my 16-year old daughter, who refused to take a bottle when she was 3 months of age. Ironically I had to stop breast feeding altogether, and she was forced to take a bottle after 36 hours. I also had to work, and she refused to take a bottle at the day mother.
Luckily Mieka is drinking from the bottle as well, and I am able to continue breast feeding her at night. It makes it far less traumatic, for me and her!
I now cherish our times together even more, because these past 9 months have gone by in a blink. I haven’t been complaining about the not sleeping anymore, because I have realized that one day I will think back to it as something very special. It is very special to sit with your baby, in the middle of the night, and she is drinking-sleeping on the breast, curled up in your arms. And strangely, the sleeping has been getting better and better. She goes to sleep now at 7 to 8 at night, wake up just after 11 (when we had just gone to bed), and then she wakes again at 3. I have to wake her at 6 in the mornings, and usually she wakes up by herself. We can handle this!

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Expressions

I am a bit sad today. I have been contemplating to stop expressing milk at work, but yesterday it came to decision time. I have been struggling to remember every day to express at exactly the same time. If I did not do it on the minute, my milk takes long to “come in”. Yesterday my milk did not come for both times. So I had only a measly portion of milk to send to school today. It becomes very stressful. The day mother also told me that Mieka does not like drinking milk, and mostly prefer her food. So, from now, I will only be giving her the breast at night, and early before she goes to the crèche. Because I am sad already, I wonder what I am going to do at the end of the year when I am planning to stop breastfeeding altogether?

Monday, 28 September 2009

Baby-talk

A glorious weekend has gone by, and we spent it with friends and family.
On Saturday we went to the Walter Sisulu National Botanical Garden where we enjoyed the beautiful landscaped and natural vegetation gardens. I was awed by the gardens still being kept in such a good condition. Is it because we are getting used to things falling apart? I hope not! Constand and Nelmarie’s son is 3 weeks younger than Mieka, and we had a wonderful time comparing notes and seeing them interacting with us and each other. Mieka did not like the grass, and complained when we tried to put her on it. Apparently she is a city girl already (Smile), and I made a mental note to remember to put in her sandals for the next time…
We saw Dries’ family yesterday, and again it was babies and children all over the place. It struck me that our conversations revolved around the children, and not much more. It seems that we are all in the baby bubble brain mode. But I don’t think any of us minded at all! Somewhere in the future we will have intellectual conversations again.
Photo of Mieka and CP in the Walter Sisulu National Botanical Garden

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Baby@work

I have no idea how mothers are able to work from home, staying with their babies. I took Mieka with me to work on Friday. I was totally exhausted, and struggled to complete even some of my daily tasks. She was mostly on my lap, also trying to “type” on the keyboard. My office looked like a playground, and my clothes covered in teething biscuit. I had to switch off the lights twice to get her to sleep for half hour breaks. She also complained when my female colleagues wanted to pick her up, but the men she had no problem with. I wonder if she already knows how she is going to manipulate her world… (Smile) But I really enjoyed having her with me for the whole time.

"Little Bit" of luck


Petite Peu, our 7-week Miniature Pinscher, has pulled through. Arnia said the puppy was extremely glad to see them when they went to fetch her. I thought that she would have been traumatized at the vet, but it seems that she is a happy puppy again. Dries had to pay a large bill, but this time we can at least show a little bit of dog for it.
She was sleeping on Dries’ slippers last night (see photo), and it felt good to have her back after 5 days at the vet.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Break & Petite Peu

The Little Bit of a life is still at the vet. We did not discuss it much today. I think we are saving ourselves emotionally, and trying to not get too attached. I feel extremely sorry for the poor little Miniature Pinscher when I picture her in the strange surroundings. Hopefully she is all sorted out on Friday…
We had a wonderful sunny break day in South Africa. Dries made the barbeque, as is required on National Heritage or Braai Day.
Arnia had to cope with the X’s (cancelled one) sister phoning, and telling her she is murdering her dad. Huh?? (She has made the decision to not speak to him at the moment because of his bad behaviour.) She put the phone down on her, and got a couple of messages saying she is not welcome at her dad’s funeral etc. Luckily she doesn’t play their emotional games, and did not respond to any of it.
Dries told me today that he feels very rich – with me, Mieka and Arnia in his life. I have been feeling the same, very lucky!

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Déjà vu

How difficult can it be? We want a little dog!
We are going through the same trauma again of a few weeks back. Little Bit, our 6-week Miniature Pinscher we got on Sunday, is on a drip until Friday. Apparently it’s only worms, but she got dehydrated. I also think it is because she is of a highly sensitive breed. She is traumatized, and we are traumatized. Dries phoned the breeder, and she says all little dogs have got worms, but usually it is sorted within a week. She says that usually there’s a bit of stress with the change of scenery. But this dog stopped eating, and the stomach got upset. I can only imagine such a small dog stressing in new surroundings again, having to stay in a small cage. Arnia says she is shaking. The previous Scottish terrier puppy also had worms, and after that she caught cat flu. I am holding thumbs that we are not going the same route again. And in the meantime the cash register is rolling…

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

9 months

I am extremely fortunate to have a day each month to go to the clinic with Mieka. It is a whole working day that I can pretend I am a stay-at-home mom. Mieka is now 9 months, and she is 7.8kg. She is a bundle of joy. At this stage she enjoys sitting, and when we take her by the hands, she stands up, and you don’t get her to sit again. She claps her hands, and she waves with the fingers pointing to her own face. (I think it is the way she sees us waving at her). She screams or yells, and then laughs with shrieks when we pretend we get a fright. She is better at rolling over, and she also enjoys it when I pretend that it is something extraordinary that she is doing. When she sees herself in a mirror, or her reflection in the stove or windows, she starts clapping or waving. We joke and say she is a real blonde, because she has such a positive reaction on her own reflection! I would have loved to have more of these little things each day…
Photo by Karin D'Orville

Little Bit of trauma


Wow! What are we doing wrong! The little Miniature Pinscher is at the vet on a drip. Again! We went through the whole traumatic experience the previous time with the Scottish terrier, and now the new little bit of a dog is sick as well. I told Dries to let the dog go/die, but apparently he’s got a softer heart than me. Again, Arnia spent two nights with the little thing in her room, and she is heart broken that Petite Peu is sick. Now we beat ourselves up. We should have gone to the SPCA, or we should not have bought a dog so soon after the previous one? Or we should have gotten an older dog?
We lost all reason when we saw her on Sunday in the pet shop. She was too cute! Please, Little Bit, stay with us!

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Petite Peu


We found our little Miniature Pinscher in a pet shop today. Because we were promised a dog of this breed, we got used to the idea. When we saw her in the pet shop, it did not take long for Arnia to convince Dries to buy it for us. Afterwards in the car he said he is now totally overpowered by females, and there is too much estrogen. He should have taken a male. Petite Peu (“little bit”) is very cute, and it looks as if she is going to be very cheeky. She and Mieka are both a bit apprehensive about each other. She starts shaking when Mieka screams (out of delight) at her. But when she barks, Mieka starts crying. It is going to be an interesting relationship…

Catching up

Sunday evening again and the weekend is gone. Most of our time is spend with the family, and especially with Mieka. We miss Mieka during the week, because we only get to spend the time with her in the evenings. That is the time when she is not at her best. And come the weekend, we try to catch up. During the day Mieka is more talkative and engaging. We miss out on quite a lot of her growing up. That’s why we do not like dropping her off to stay with my parents, or our friends. We miss her too much… The weekends are the best for catching up with our baby!

Friday, 18 September 2009

Dog stories


I and Arnia lived without a dog for 10 years now. Following the X (cancelled one) we moved into a flat, and we could not accommodate a pet. Only a gold fish and a hamster could share our space. Two years ago we moved into a townhouse, and we decided this year to get a dog. Friends of us promised us a Scottish terrier, and we counted the weeks when we heard about the Scottie’s arrival. We had a name before we even had her. Lula was only with us for two weeks, but she stayed more at the vets than at the house. She first had worms, and then she got the dreaded cat flu. Her immune system was just not strong enough to survive the ordeal. Our finances also took a bad knock because of the whole episode. Following the bad news, I heard from a colleague at work that they had Miniature Pinschers who were just born. We again got excited about a puppy, and got a name for the dog, Petite Peu. But again, it was not meant to be. Yesterday the colleague told me that her daughter had already given away all the dogs! Utter disappointment. I really felt bad for the sake of my daughter. Maybe we are supposed to go and adopt a dog at the SPCA?
Arnia got the job of looking after Lula at night. She did an excellent job, but the intermittent sleep got to her. She asked me: “Do you feel like tossing Mieka out of the window at night?” I laughed, and told her it is a sure sign that she is not ready to have babies for quite a while…
Photo of Arnia with Lula

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Thankfulness

I heard the story today of Tracy Todd , the quadriplegic woman whose life is an inspiration. It touched me when she said that the most important thing she wishes she could do again is hug her son. I am so grateful that I am able to hug my baby, and the people near to me. It struck me also that I am able to listen to inspirational stories as part of my job. I am a sound archivist of mostly Afrikaans radio material, and everyday is a new experience listening to people and their stories. I heard today how wonderful it is to be able to do normal things, like combing hair or going to the gym. We take it for granted, and our lives can change in an instant. Tracy Todd became a quadriplegic in an accident because she did not wear her seatbelt. I have been doing the same with Mieka, sitting with her in the back seat of the car when she cries. From now on we have to make other plans. I want to be around to hug my children. And I went to the gym during lunchtime… (smile)

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Teen blues


I have a beautiful 16-year old who has been a constant source of amazement to me. I am enjoying her on her own journey. The teenage niggles are just a bonus and worth a smile every day.
For example, I heard from my friend, Yvonne, whose teenage girl is the same age (in fact, they are 5 days apart, and we stayed in contact over the years), that Arnia broke up with her boyfriend on Monday. Arnia, or Kiara as she would like to be called, did not say a thing about it at home. I knew she liked the guy, and was hoping that he would ask her out, which he also did the previous week.
What do moms do in today’s age? You go to Facebook. (Smile) I immediately checked her relationship status, but it was still the same, and nothing in the status messages suggested something that she had broken up with the guy. Only “I am feeling down” message, which made me cringe for her sake.
So I had to ask her when we got home what the story was all about. She told us that he was mean to her and snubbed her when she stood next to him at school. She immediately ended their “relationship”, and said that his comments about not being a good day for him did not give him the right to treat her badly. Good for her! It made me very proud to know that she would be able to handle herself in a relationship.
Maybe it is because of her dad (the X, the cancelled one), whom she does not want to see anymore because of the way he treat those nearest to him. Now I know that he is worth something, because for the rest he has not been contributing to her life at all. Not emotionally (except in a negative way) or financially, or in any other way.
I am amazed at the person she is becoming.

New Fountain


I found this on my computer. I was just commenting last week on the thorn tree in our garden, and how it reminds me of new beginnings and the rhythm of life. We went through a very traumatic experience, but now we have Mieka to celebrate life with. Her name in Japanese translates to “new fountain”.


Ode to the unborn baby
4-2-2008
You could have been 14 weeks already. A unique human being was becoming our son. But on the 4th of January 2008 you were dead already. No life. You were only a very small peanut on the sonar screen.
It is one of the toughest things that ever happened to me, and it seems like it is something to shy away from. Very few people ask you how you are feeling, and even less people make a commentary about your precious life!
You had life. We had a new life in our midst, and we were starting to live a new life with you in mind.
I feel guilty to have felt those negative emotions in the beginning. We were not really ready for a new life. Would we ever be ready?
I feel guilty for having sensed your maleness and for feeling negative to bring someone into the world which I do not understand.
But I miss you! Intently!
We have continued with our lives. I have taken only two days from work, and even felt guilty about taking the time.
But I miss you the whole time: In the morning when I get up, and I feel my empty belly. My breasts that have returned to normal; it aches for you. During the day, at work, I think of you constantly. I do continuous searches on the Internet. To try and understand what could have gone wrong. Where did we lose you?
No! No, I am not coping well! You may think that! I am smiling, but it does not reach my heart.
I miss you!!!

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Precious


I took a day’s leave to attend a friend’s 50th birthday, and I could stay-at-home (smile) for the morning with Mieka. How precious to have time with your baby. I don’t think we always appreciate being with them and having time to spend with them. I want to try and cherish it even more, because I catch myself feeling guilty that I am not doing something. Such as washing or cleaning. Yug! I give myself permission to spend time with her, and to focus on her alone! At nearly nine months she is precious. She loves to see her actions having a reaction on us. For example sneezing or laughing, and when we copy her with exaggerated gestures. It is Precious how she laughs at us and making us laugh at her again.
Photo by Karin D'Orville

Friday, 11 September 2009

Summertime


How wonderful to enjoy the glorious sunshine. Our garden is growing and it is even showing up with lovely flowers, although not with much help from our side. (Sigh) We have been neglecting it since I got pregnant the first time in October 2007. The bump and tiredness first got in the way, and now Mieka is getting/demanding all the attention. When I walk past the umbrella thorn tree in the corner in our garden, it is with a sense of sweet remembrance. We bought the tree a day after we discovered that the baby did not grow, and I miscarried. I still think it was a boy. It was sad and traumatic at the time. But now we have Mieka, our beautiful baby girl of 8 months, and we are feeling very fortunate. Strange how things begin and end, and sometimes the endings feel too hard to handle. But after a while we realize we are laughing and smiling again. It was winter and now it is summer again… Thank you, Universe!

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Different pages


We went away for the weekend, to Crystal Springs near Pelgrim’s Rust. The drive back and forth took a very long time, and it was extremely exhausting with regards to keeping Mieka occupied in the car. When Dries spoke to my mom over the phone, he said “No, the drive wasn’t that bad”, and I wondered on what page he was, because it was definitely not on my page. I have been noticing this quite a lot lately. Dries tells someone “The sleeping is better!”, and then I am the one feeling washed up for having to get up a couple of times at night. We have different perspectives, and even though we sit next to each other (literally), we could be experiencing something completely different. (Smile) But we all agreed, we had a lovely weekend away with the family, and it was amazing to spend more time with Mieka, and with Arnia and her friend. It was so satisfying; I took an extra day’s leave on Tuesday. Now back to reality! AArghhh…

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Baby milestones

It is strange how we as mothers fall into the trap of comparing our babies and their milestones. I remember a time I told a friend that I can’t understand why we compare, because we are all different unique human beings. But we find ourselves doing the same. A week ago Dries came home and told me of a friend’s baby boy who is three weeks younger, and he is crawling already. We were immediately concerned because Mieka complains when we put her on her stomach, and she is not rolling over as yet. The baby books say she is supposed to be turning already at 8 months. Now we are doing extra exercises each night with her… (Smile)
But I marvel at the way we get excited about the smallest little things Mieka does. She started to wave a week ago, and now she is clapping hands. Great joy and wonder! A friend of us have send us a sms last night saying that her baby got his first tooth, and we all got excited about it. Why can’t we be as excited and in awe about everything in life? I think we can, and it is as easy as making the decision!

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

10-year Celebrations


I was reading Yvonne’s blog, about her husband’s infidelity and divorce, when the realization hit me that it’s been 10 years for me as well. On the 29th of August 1999 I walked out of our house with just a few of me and my daughter’s belongings. I was walking out of a marriage where emotional manipulation of a husband who was not working was part of the daily routine. It was a scary time with X (cancelled one) threatening to kill us, and me having to get interdicts against him. We had to hide, and I had to make sure my daughter was safe. Two weeks later when I went to fetch my stuff, X prevented me from taking it. At that stage it was very traumatic to lose everything, but later on I could describe it as one of the most liberating things of my life.
Today it’s 10 years later, and it feels to me as if I am telling stories about a previous life, one from which I reincarnated from.
I remember putting a smile on my face whenever the X came into the room. I was not feeling like smiling at that stage, because usually we were financially cash-strapped with X not working, but I did not want to provoke him. X also showed me his gun after he had put on a silencer. Why do you put a silencer on a gun when you want to shoot at thieves? X also demanded 100% undivided attention, and complained when I watched television or did the washing. I coped by getting into a mode of asking X if I could do the washing or whatever. And in the meantime X was at home, but not contributing financially or doing anything about the daily chores. The things you do for peace…
My daughter came to the same conclusion last year that she did not want to see X as well. It was after X grabbed his current wife by the neck in a fight. I heard in counseling that she also had to ask her dad for permission to go to the toilet or to do her homework. She was on edge the whole time to please X, and he also demanded her undivided attention. She even got a hiding – at 15 years of age - just after she had her appendix taken out for not giving X attention. (X told her that was the reason).

And now, I am married to a wonderful husband, who is working and doing his share at home as well. The ultimate 21st century man! We have been married for 5 years already, we have a beautiful baby daughter together and we have a teenage daughter which brings us great joy! Now my only trials and tribulations are contributed to not sleeping because of the baby, and trying to cope with the loss of grey matter (Brain bubble).
Just now, I had to go and order a new company card. Between last night when I left the building with the card, and this morning when I was responsible for a car queue in the parking area, I had lost the card. And the card was supposed to stay in the car. The mind boggles what I could have done with it…

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

"Wizened" mom

Being a mom over 40, I smugly believed I knew it all, and had done it all. I was prepared and in charge of the new arrival. Shocker! Mieka is a different baby, and apparently she did not read the same manual as me. (Sic) The sleeping has been a challenge since the beginning. Arnia, now 16, slept through the night very early on. We still haven’t mastered the same with Mieka. In the first few weeks it felt more like she was awake the whole time, as she was in a one and half hour cycle. Some nights we are lucky, for example last night, when I put her down to sleep before eight. But then she woke again after nine and me and Dries had to take turns trying to get her to bed again. She slept from ten until half past two, and that was great. I was struggling with the baby monitor at four, wondering why it was not registering the screaming, when we realized it was the neighbours’ baby across the road. That kept us awake until Mieka woke up again at five. Not a bad night, but night after night the same waking schedule is busy taking its toll…
Also I am still worried about her development. I thought I would be more relaxed about the whole idea of children developing differently, but now I worry because she is not rolling or crawling yet.
I realize I am not “wiser” being older or doing it again and that I have to tackle the challenge, Mieka (smile), in a different way. My resolution not to feel guilty for the things I can’t change is helping, especially since I have put it in black and white.
Luckily we have the Internet nowadays for researching, I am on mailing lists and we have wonderful gadgets to help with the baby. I thought at first that the gadgets are a waste of money, but now I am a big supporter of every little help we can get. For example, I know now with clarity that we should have bought a swing/vibrator thing to help with the sleeping…
Being older has humbled me – about the joy and miracle of having a baby, but also the realization that I do not know everything!