Thursday, 29 July 2010

List of tactics to get them to sleep

Hubby is sick! Toddler is sick! THE FLU! They are a sorry bunch here! I am ignoring that irritating scratch in my throat. I was lying next to the toddler last night; on the ground (Take Note!), when I was thinking how many tactics we use to get them to sleep. ANY-THING, even something as sleeping on the floor, will sound a bit crazy when someone tells you about it. But not when you are into desperate measures for sleep.

I was reading Maxabella’s post at Real Bloggers United about her sleep deprived years and that she found that Patience was her partner. I was feeling very smug. It seems they had a much harder time than we are having...

Just for interest sake. I was sleeping on the floor in Mieka’s room, because Dries has BAD BAD flu and he was in our bed. Mieka did not want me to put her down in her cot. So I made us a bed on the floor, and spent the night there. Not very comfortable! I was cold the whole night, while she was burning up with fever... The things you do for sleep!

The tactics we use to get them to sleep (tactics that work):

  • Breastfeeding (one of my favourites);
  • Bottle;
  • Rocking them in your arms (although it is not one of Mieka’ favourites);
  • Sitting on an exercise ball while rocking them (used when Mieka was smaller.);
  • Walking with her on your shoulder while busy in the house (tactic of Dries);
  • Driving around in the car;
  • Wearing them in a pouch;
  • Pushing them in a pram. Back and forth, or going for a walk;
  • Lying next to them on the bed until they fall asleep;
  • Looking at stars. (added on 2-10-2010)
Any other suggestions?

(Notice that we don’t do the cry out method.)

Monday, 26 July 2010

Disciplining the Naughties

I was reading HT’s blog post about her decision to do things differently with her girls from now on – to teach them respect for other people... We sometimes have to back-track, and do things differently with regards to parenting.

I have made a decision that I want to use a different parenting technique with regards to disciplining. The natural or attachment parenting way makes just so much more sense to me now that I am older. I want to reward and focus on the positive, and not punish by hitting or by any physical means.

But the old bad habits seem to seep in if we don’t check them. Whenever Mieka got hurt, I slapped or hit the “guilty” object: “Naughty chair!” She caught on very quickly, and were hitting as well. It is a technique, and it works short term...

“Naughty floor!” Slap-slap!

“Naughty table!” Slap-slap!

Dries remarked that it is actually not very nice, especially when she started to hit us as well!

“Naughty Papa!”

I had to conquer! It does not work when we try to instil a discipline where violence is not part of it, but we are hitting at stuff when it is “Naughty!”

It was not at all difficult to change everything to “Kissing”!

She hits her head: “Poor Mieka, let me kiss the head!”

Kisses showered! And it works magically, every time!

Scary! We have to be very vigilant with regards to our way of doing things. What else do I do “wrong”, or fall back into default mode? Retorical question to self! It needs to be answered every now and again.

What have you caught yourself doing “wrong” with regards to parenting?

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Weekend of sun and the toddler

Why does a weekend end so abruptly on a Sunday night?

We had a great time with the toddler. Of course!

On Saturday she had another gymnastics class at Tiny Tumbles. She enjoys it tremendously! She goes into roll-mode with the head tucked in with every opportunity she gets. Even before we can get her to focus on a new activity, she starts dancing, rolling or whatever takes her fancy... She loves the new exercises. And of course: When Tammy tells us she is a bright girl because she learns fast, and because she gets the thread into the tiny holes, Mom and Dad smile very smugly to themselves... Of course, ALL the toddlers take to exercises like ducks to water, but we love to hear it, don’t we? (Wink smile)
Upside down with Tammy Smith
Tiny Tumbles

The toddler helped Dad with gardening; watering the plants, her shoes, his shoes...

We had a lovely sunny weekend. Spring is around the corner!

There is nothing as nice as going for pasta on a Sunday afternoon. Great way to end the weekend!

Friday, 23 July 2010

The duality of Teen

Patrick Pretorius Photography
Being 17 is a great number. I sometimes forget that they sit in the middle of not being an adult, but also not being a child. They are in “Middle World”, and they have fall-back/forward to being adult, but also being a child.

I feel sometimes exasperatedly guilty when the fall-back is to child, and I did not do my parent part as I should have. For example: We planned for weeks that I take my afternoon last week on Friday to go and sort out the passport for the teen once and for all. The papers were already in the car, completed! I picked Arnia up at school, and we drove straight to Home Affairs. Only there we realized: Arnia did not bring her passport! Swear-worthy moments!! What can you do? Put the car in reverse, and plan an afternoon for another month…

I am the parent! I should have checked! (Guilty as charged!) Yes, she should have checked as well, and I should have reminded her…

For example as well: She comes back from her hockey game last Saturday burnt as red as a beetroot! I have been preaching her since she was very little to always wear her sunscreen. “I forgot!” She says. She is also now on the very strong acne medication where she is not allowed into the sun at all… Guilty as parent: I should have reminded her!

When do you stop preaching, reminding, checking… and whatever parents do?

But then: She is also very responsible now. She has been working through her vacation, and she is now working over weekends as well. She is focused and saving everything for that French tour next year! That is very adult!

Sometimes there is a light flickering at the end of the tunnel… (Tongue in cheek smile)

Related posts:

The secret lives of teens
The Teen is seventeen
Teen update

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

The toddler at 19 months

Another month has passed! Another month of toddler cuteness! Oh, we love spending time with her! We sometimes wish we can freeze the moments with her – staying in perpetual toddler-ness...
Some of the things Mieka are doing now:

Singing the first verse of Barney: “I love you” [I luv uh] again and again, especially when she sees her Barney doll or Barney book. The voice is adorable. We encourage her endlessly because it is so precious!

The vocabulary is increasing a bit more. She sometimes copies a word, but do not repeat it again. New words: bye (used in conjunction with tata), bou (build), Mama Kaka (Karen), ouch, woef (dog). I am racking my brains now, but that seems like that for now! She gets by with the finger and pulling us along to where she wants to go or want.

She loves making jokes with us, and laughs her head of when she has an effect. She will repeat a “joke” like frightening us, and we have to be frightened again and again.

The repetitiveness of things is a big thing. Everything gets repeated, and she goes about it in the same excited way as it is being done the first time. Stuff like taking shoes off, and trying to get it on again. When she fails, we have to put the shoes on again. Then all over again; shoes off, shoes on...

Tonight my teen saw a flickering light out of the corner of her eye. She caught the toddler switching the bedside lamp in her room on and off.

It is sometimes a struggle to get her out of repetitive mode. It becomes a problem especially if it involves us having to do something again and again... The whistle tantrum gets used very effectively!

She waves now in the morning when I leave her at day care. She also said “bye” one morning. Most of the times I have to put her in the arms of a teacher when I leave. When I try to put her with the other children who are playing with toys, she arches her back and pulls up her feet. But she is contented when left in somebody’s arms...

The day care stays a big headache, but I know that you get small irritating problems with anybody you leave your child with. They are not you! (Duh!) They haven’t appointed a new teacher, and gave the assistant the job instead. The assistant has been with them for 16 years, but she speaks English (we prefer Afrikaans now), and she does not have a qualification. I have sorted the bottle story with them, and it seems that she is now getting all her bottles. Only five more months, then she moves on to the next section... Is it worth to move her now? (The perpetual worries of a working mother...)

I love the toddler at this age!

Related posts:
Symptoms of toddlerhood: The whistle and not sleeping
The toddler is a year and a half
17 months - toddler update

Wordless Wednesday #33 - Gymnastics with Dad

Monday, 19 July 2010

Symptoms of toddlerhood: The whistle and not sleeping

One of the symptoms of knowing that you have a toddler in the house: the tantrum! The shriek which comes with the tantrum has turned into the whistle with tantrum. Pitch-high! I’ve had a couple of “What de heck?”s. What is that? It is a steam pot! No, it is somebody whistling! NOOO, it is the toddler showing her displeasure.

Margot taught me about the shriek. Her Felix is a month older than Mieka and I was prepared. The whistle? Maybe it is because we are trying to ignore the tantrums as best as the situation allows. Not always possible when you are not at home... Luckily the divisive technique is a good one to follow! (Thumbs crossed!)

Another one of the symptoms of toddlerhood (babyhood) is of course the sleep disturbances. Friends announced tonight that they are pregnant, and I was thinking of them after we came back from another late night trip to get the toddler to sleep. When all else fails the most fail-proof method of getting our little one to bed is the car-driving technique. It works within ten minutes at the most!

We did the whole routine of bath, reading, and breastfeeding. I gave up after Mieka was still playing all over me and the bed. After that we called in Dad with the bottle! He also came walking down with her in the arms... Maybe it was the Pentaxim immunisation that she got this evening? Who knows? Parenting is all about guess work. Sometimes we get it right, and sometimes we are just plain lucky! Also of course those little angels working overtime...

Congratulations, Stefan and Irene, we know you are going to enjoy it! Yes, we do!
Even while we are complaining, we love them to bits! (Big smile!)

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Tiny gymnastics

The toddler had her first gymnastics class on Saturday. We spent a couple of weeks of clicker training with the dog, and we can still get the dog to sit (I must brag). We wanted to do something special with the toddler on a Saturday, and heard of the Tiny Tumbles classes with Tammy Smith.

I thought that we would have a crying or reticent toddler to start with, but after the first song with shaky hips and up-down shoulders she was all smiles and full of bounce. They were tumbling forwards and backwards, climbing through a tunnel, over, and forwards and backwards...

I can just imagine how valuable this is going to be. Mieka did not do crawling at all, and this will help definitely to get her to catch up with the crawling. She enjoyed the song and dances as well, and would not let go of another dad’s hand after they finished with the “Ring-a-rosy” song.

The rest of the weekend we caught her climbing dangerously on the chairs and tables. She also loves it when we do some of the tumble movements with her. This is a very fun Saturday activity for us with the toddler. We also enjoyed it, especially the toddler’s enthusiasm with all the activities. It goes to show – the more you feed the little brain and body, the more you get!

Friday, 16 July 2010

Keep flying the flag

We are a country who is proud of what we have done with the Fifa World Cup Soccer 2010. It doesn’t happen often that we are proud of anything. It is maybe linked to our history, and maybe linked to our inborn way of raising our children. Which then becomes of way of operating – we do not like blowing our own horns. We are not known to give praises, and when we give praise it is usually with a “But, you could have done better…”

(Something that I have to work on as well with my children!)

But we have done well! The call is out for everyone to keep on flying our flag. I have decided that I will wear my proudly gear every Friday until the end of the year! I am proud as well! South Africa has shown that we are capable of pulling off something this big! Maybe, just maybe, we will be able to pull it through to address our own social problems…

I saw on the Johannesburg newsletter that they are advocating the Keep Flying website where we can download email signatures as well as the Keep Flying flag icons. We will keep them flying to say that we as a country remain changed forever!
Powerwoman says we can do it!

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Shopping list for healthy snacks for the toddler

I was reading CodeNameMama’s blog post about 5 tips to develop healthy eating habits, especially giving the toddler healthy snacks to eat. The best is to not always grab for bread or biscuits when they ask for something to eat.

The worst time of the day with regards to snacks is when we arrive home at half past four, and the toddler is hungry and miserable. Then it is very easy for a working mother to give in to the demand of an instant unhealthy snack.

I was thinking that it would be nice to have a list available to take to the shops, and always make sure that I have the following in my cupboard/fridge. (I use most of CodeNameMama’s suggestions as well)



  • Humus
  • Plain yogurt/tatziki
  • Avocados (can be cut into bite-size pieces as well – my toddler loves it!)

  • Fruit (apples, pears, bananas, oranges, etc. – that can be cut into bite-size pieces)
  • Raisins, dried berries
  • Dried fruit
  • Nuts (when they are able to chew it)
  • Vegetables (raw – carrots, cucumbers, small tomatoes, etc. – that can be cut into bite-size pieces)
  • Frozen peas (only takes three minutes to prepare)
  • Frozen corn / corn on the cob
  • Chick peas (in the can)
I tend to grab cheese as well as an option, but I want to get away from all the dairy options. (One of the mucus enhancing foods.) I am not including it in my list. Also no meat and processed meats. (I try to be more healthy with more vegan options.)

What did I forget to include on my list?

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Breastfeeding moments

Following a weekend with the toddler, it is very difficult to get into the weekly routine on a Monday morning. Especially with regards the breastfeeding routine.

On a weekend we stretch the mornings in bed a little longer with the toddler snugly on the breast. She wakes anything from 5, but we are able to stretch sleeping well after 7 o’clock.

This Monday was the last time in a very long time where I could sit a little bit longer with her. The schools start today, and because the traffic is going to be back to normal (hectic), I stretched it until 6 while sitting with her on the breast.

I was looking down on the sleepy child with her arms wrapped around me. A picture of contentedness! How I wish I could sit her every morning until she wakes up in her own time... One of the working mom’s guilt trips! At 6 I had to start dressing her and take her down to her dad who made her a bottle while I had to rush to get dressed myself. Luckily the traffic played along and I was not late.

But today is going to be a whole different story. The schools start again after the end of the World! No more stretching the special moments with the toddler...

Stop complaining, Powerwoman, you’ve got it covered! (Chin up, smile wide!)

Monday, 12 July 2010

Funny weekend stuff

The Toddler

When she gets hold of a tissue, she goes into “one-track” mode and does not stop cleaning her nose, mouth, the table, floor…. Any-Thing! With the same tissue!

She found the perfect place for the potty. On her head! (Luckily a brand new one…)

She skipped her Sunday morning nap, and could not keep her eyes open when lunch was served.

The Finger she reserves for the dog. (We feel guilty; we scold the dog too much, it seems!)

The Teen

The Teen had her own funny story. She got a phone call from a shop in the nearby mall last week. She had handed in a couple of resumes for weekend and holiday work. She blames the bad cell phone signal, but she pitched up at the wrong shop on Saturday. There is a difference between a Gospel shop (which she thought phoned her) and a toy shop. Luckily the toy shop phoned her and asked her if she was still coming, to which she could reply “I am in the Mall already!” Now she is a casual over weekends, and that bank account is growing for the French tour of next year… (Sigh of relief!)

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Weekend withdrawal kicking in

Sunday evenings are the worst. Following a perfect relaxing weekend with the family; who wants to jump back into the rat race on Monday? Aaaargh!

May your Monday be a good one!

I am busy watching the last of the World Cup! My vote goes to the Orange Team, the Dutch. It promises to be a good game... Vu-vu-vu-ze-la!

Picture update:
Looking at the ducks with my friend, CP
Tres Jolie
Chasing the chickens
Tres Jolie
Not cautious about sitting on the donkey
Tres Jolie
Enjoying the jumping castle with Dad

Friday, 9 July 2010

Cute toddler things

The toddler is doing so many new cute things; I can’t wait for the monthly update. Things change so fast, and I am afraid I will forget some of it.

The most favourite word at the moment is “klaar” (finish). The food is “klaar”. The programme is “klaar”. The bottle is “klaar”. And the arms make a wide open swinging movement!

She even got it down to a perfect pitch. The teen caught her doing the following: she got a sandwich at day care, and saw the teen looking away. She dropped the sandwich, and when the teen looked again, she said: “Klaar!” (With conviction!)

She loves her bath. When we announce that it is bath time, she starts climbing up the stairs and we have to rush to follow her up the stairs. A friend of mine told me yesterday that her boy (who is three weeks younger) refuses to bath, and that she has been sponging him for the past seven weeks. Margot at joumaseblerrieblog also complains that her Felix throws tantrums when he has to bath.

Luckily our Mieka enjoys it and “helps” us with the washing, focusing mostly on her right leg. Not sure why (?). When she gets excited the Epizone E cream (we use it against the eczema) goes all over her hair as well! She loves doing the hair “washing” (anytime), because yesterday she came home with sticky hair (still trying to figure out what THAT was).

The sleep is a bit of a struggle at the moment. She is more in our bed, than in her cot. I suspect it was the holiday room-sharing that did the trick! Missy loves sleeping in the middle, and she kicks all the blankets off, and we pull it up again. She kicks, we pulls... The winter cold does not seem to have any effect on her. *Shiver*

The tantrums are here, but we are able to distract her. I try to ignore it as much as possible. So far it has been working. It is getting more difficult to go to restaurants. She is not as contented to sit in her table chair as she used to be. Same problem with the chair in the car as well... She goes stiff, and throws her back in an arch! (“This too will pass!”)

The teen says that Mieka seems to stay more with the teachers, than venturing around when they are outside. I see the same behaviour with us; she stays in our vicinity, and gets us to walk with her in the arms. I hope it is something that she will outgrow, because it sounds so very much like me. I was stuck to my mother's side when I was small, and they had endless problems to leave me. Luckily she goes to day care. I believe it helps a little with helping to get over the “cautiousness “(if that is what you call it?).

But: We are enjoying the personality more and more as the lights are being switched on! Really!! (no sarcasm here)

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Doing the egg-dance – in a reconstructed family

Funny how the same conflicts creep up on us again… And how we get caught up in it, although we try to stay as far from it as far as possible. But is not always possible when you are a mother, and you are implicated by your relationship as a mother. Reconstructed families are not for sissies, I tell you!

(Even Powerwoman sometimes wants to go and hide in the cupboard when the “bombs” explode!)

The teen, who blames it on PMS (that bad bad monthlies), opened her mouth once again. We were all busy with the daily evening chores/bores, and we were all very tired. Mondays are the worst! We are the most exhausted after a lovely lazy weekend, and we struggle to get into the Grind again. (Don’t you find it the same with Mondays as well?)

Hubby had one too many back-chats, and he reacted!

Luckily I am married to an adult. We are able to work through our differences! I do the egg-dance, not trying to take sides. But I DO see both of the viewpoints, and understand where both are coming from. I don’t feel that I am successful with the egg-dance, but I do try… If I say I want to stay out of the conflict, it is also not acceptable…

And I understand – by default I am a mother, and responsible for behaviour of child. (The joys of motherhood! Smile)

Mother-in-the-middle has to talk to the teen, and she has to put up a united front with the Hubby! I have to remind the teen of how much her other Dad is doing for her – he doesn’t complain about driving her around. His pocket is open with regards to her, and he even makes her school lunches for her in the mornings. He treats her as his own daughter! (I’ve got a great Hubby!)

That is much more than she can say about her absent Dad...

I have to agree with Hubby as well that he has to be able to ask the teen to help out. He grounded her for the rest of the month. (Shame!)

I think we are doing it better as time goes on… We can sort out the conflict the same day. With tears! But we can go on and laugh again the same night!

Doing the egg-dance… doing the egg-dance…

Related post:

Reconstructed families and relationships

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Monday, 5 July 2010

The Teen is seventeen

Arnia at uShaka Marine World

Seventeen years! As quick as a blink! Time has flown by so quickly.

That’s why I know to enjoy every little second with the toddler! We miss all the sweet cuteness when they turn into young ladies. (They are not sweet and cute! Other things, definitely! Tongue-in-cheek!)

At seventeen she is a young lady! Beautiful and full of exciting potential! I am very proud of her.

Happy birthday, Arnia! You are a great daughter, and wonderful person to know! Thanks for being such a responsible and wise young lady.

Seventeen years ago I was super excited to meet you! I remember the first time I saw you. I was totally mesmerised with the sweet little face that also seemed so familiar. All the well-known family features looking up at me. Love at first sight!

You were a constant joy growing up! You took everything in your stride! But you were very adventurous as well! I enjoyed your independence and self-reliance from a very young age. So different from me...

It is very nice to know you! Happy BDay, my girl! Enjoy your day, and the next year of being seventeen! Such a wonderful time in a person’s life!

(If we could all stay seventeen... *sigh*)

Related posts:

The secret lives of teens

Teen in love

Tursday and the teen/toddler

Teen blues

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Van Gaalen Cheese Farm

Van Gaalen Kaasmakerij
Van Gaalen Cheese Farm at Skeerpoort near Hartebeespoortdam is a great place for a Sunday afternoon lunch and a drive out of the city smog. Also a great place to take the kids.

The teen asked that we celebrate her upcoming 17th birthday with the family here. It was great fun, and the cheese platters are divine!

We did not know that there would be so many people there. They had a bicycle race event going down, and there were extra tents and music and people. And, of course, lots of bicycles! But it did not distract from a very nice outing!

It is winter here in South Africa, and there is a bit of a wind blowing, but we are still very lucky to be able to sit outside in the sun.

They have jumping castles and play gyms and a bit of animals for the children as well. The toddler enjoyed looking at the goats and pigs and ducks, and we all had to take turns to walk the Pointy Finger! Mieka is not impressed with jumping castles at this stage. Not too much of a downer – we are able to enjoy our lunch sitting at the table with the rest of the family. Not having to do the “jumping- castle- watch”! I know it is not going to last for ever... While it lasts, I am not complaining! (*Wink smile*)

Arnia and Stian, the BF!

Friday, 2 July 2010

Kisses from the toddler

“Kiss me!”

The toddler responds with a *KISS* - open mouth, sometimes…

Or the closed pouting mouth kisses that we so regularly give each other here!

And the best is when she gives a warm kiss all of a sudden, without being asked. Sometimes all over your face!

Dad says it is the most wonderful, best feeling ever! Warm and fuzzy!

This is what makes it worth it all! Being a parent of a wonderful little person, and receiving unsolicited love from her.

What is better than this? (I dare you to come up with something more rewarding.)

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Thursday and the teen/toddler

Arnia at Umdloti
It is the first of the second half of the year’s months. Amazing! How the time flies.

The teen celebrates her 17th next week, and we realized with a shock this morning that we have to make plans for Sunday for the family. I had it in the back of my mind that it is only in July… Now, wait! It IS July already!

I want to book at Van Gaalen Cheese Farm near Hartebeespoort Dam/Skeerpoort, because it is also very child-friendly. I will definitely post about it, next week.

The teen is working at the toddler’s day care during the holidays. She gave in her CV at a good number of places. In the end it turned out that the day care needed somebody extra to help with all the school children that stay there during the school holidays. It is not her favourite thing to help with children, but is the extra saving money worth! That school tour to France next year is not that far away anymore!

Arnia at Umdloti

What also helps with the teen working at the day care is that she can report back about the toddler. I am a bit fed up with them! The toddler’s teacher left a month back, and now they have two helpers sitting with the toddlers. Mieka had nappy rash again this week, and it seems that they are ignoring my letter (post) about her bottles. I sent three for her to drink, and I see that they only give her two bottles during the day. Apparently the head is interviewing people.

And the toddler is biting again. Is it also not a sign of frustration?

When do you decide to move your child? Do I wait for the new person before I make a decision? I will phone the head of the school again today.

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