Thursday, 30 September 2010

Wet wipes one of the essential items for baby/toddler

What did mothers ever do without wet wipes? I know, I know! The green thing to do is NOT to use wet wipes. We should rather use wet cotton cloths.

I am weak. Wet wipes are like white gold to me. Nearly as expensive and nearly as valuable to a lazy overworked mother. Wet wipes and a baby, now a toddler, go hand in hand. It’s good to clean the bums AND the mouth. We have wet wipes in her bag, in her room, and in the car.

Even our day care uses wet wipes for everything. Sigh of relief! Some day cares use one wet cloth to go through a whole bunch of dirty faces... The teen remembers how they used to wipe all the faces with a bowl of water and a cloth. Horrors! Why did it not bother me years ago?

The toddler agrees with me. She thinks a bag of wet wipes is one of the best toys ever! There is nothing as exhilarating as pulling out a wet wipe one by one. And then wiping your own feet, and the floor, and blow your nose in it, and cleaning Daddy’s face...

If not checked, you can find yourself being wiped by a snotty wet wipe...
The toddler LOVES wet wipes.

Wet wipes are one of those things I cannot go without. What is the essential thing you can’t go without with regards your baby or toddler?

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Passport headaches

The passport for the teen for the French tour next year. It turns out to be a big headache.

A signature is needed by the dad for his permission for the children to get passports. We got the signature! He signed the form a while ago. Nowhere on the form or on the website does it states that the dad (both parents) needs to be present when going to Home Affairs.

The teen and I went to Home Affairs on Thursday. No, they said! The dad needs to come as well! Oh, brother! The teen is seventeen, and by July next year she won’t have to ask him anything. But the French tour is in April already.

Now, the big question. Should the teen engage with him although she knows he is going to use it as big time leverage? Should she just plain ask him, but no further contact? He could say NO! A “normal dad” would have had no problem with stuff like this. But then, a “normal dad” would still have been in her life…

My divorce settlement states that I have “control and custody”, but unfortunately to them there should have been a word in there of “sole” or “only”. It is the first time that this seems to be a “problem”. Up until now I have made all the decisions with regards the teen.

I do understand the rules with regards passports, but I think there should be some special circumstances that need to be considered. We do not want to give up on her hopes...

(Photo: Arnia at Cedar Lodge in Krugersdorp over the weekend)

Monday, 27 September 2010

Monday heart ache: missing the toddler

We had a three day weekend with the toddler, and today we miss her terribly. It was a good weekend of fun and sun and playing with the toddler. She was in such a good mood this morning; she started to play and wanted her dad to sit with her. Complaining when he wanted to finish with the breakfast…

We had to take her for an evening drive last night at nine to get her to sleep. It is usually a 20 minutes drive, and we make a detour at the local McDs. I am actually beginning to look forward to these drives. (It happens about once a week now.)

Hubby and I get time to talk, and there’s coffee as a reward. What is better than that! (Huge smile!)

Dries said that he thinks that Mieka is the best BEST that ever happened to him. Not even our wedding day can compare to when she was born. He said it somewhat apologetically! But I am totally with in accordance with him with regards the major live changing importance of a child in your life. Nothing compares! She is the centre of our universe!

(I have the teen as well in my life. I have the same feelings about her! I knew that is the way you feel, but it came as sort of surprise to Dries...)

She fell asleep in the car on the way to day care this morning. She kissed, hugged and waved “Bye, bye!” to her dad. I was very upset when she cried when the day care person had to take her from me… (I still am.)

Arrgh! Another week…

(Photo by Grandfather James last week at Kentucky)

Sunday, 26 September 2010

The toddler saying her own name - not yet

The toddler does not say her own name.  She is 21 months. She says the names of her friends, and of her sister, but not her own name. Mieka is not a difficult name to say.

She copycats us when we tell her to say something.  She does not always get it right but she usually tries. That’s why it is strange that she doesn’t want to say her own name yet... A friend with a boy just three weeks younger than Mieka also says that her boy does not say his own name. He is also more verbal than Mieka.

Mieka is pointing to us and our faces. She says “Mama”, and “Papa”. She point to her own face, and we repeat with “Mieka’s nose, Mieka’s eyes, Mieka’s ears, Mieka’s cheeks” etc. She knows and points correctly. Maybe she still thinks we are extensions of her, and that’s why she does not verbalize her own name. (?) She gets it perfectly right to say “Arnia”, the name of her sister! Arnia is very difficult to say with that “r”!

Waiting for another milestone to cross...

When did your young ones say their own names? Can you even remember? I can’t remember when the teen said her name, 15 years back...

(Photo: Mieka with her sister, Arnia, reading in the background)

Thursday, 23 September 2010

The simple things in life – the world according to Toddler

We are crawling around with the toddler. On the ground, looking at ants, picking up rocks, and smelling the flowers! It is the simple things that get the toddler excited. The more she gets excited, the more we get excited with her... The more we appreciate the simple things in life as well!

Simple things are not stupid things. Simple things in life mean going back to what-really-matters.

The floor/ground is a wonderful place to explore. Do you know how many things you can pick off from the ground?

A speck of woolly dust provides hours of fun:
  • Blowing it up in the air.
  • Laughing your head off at the way the speck of wool fly and fall to the ground.
  • Falling down on your knees, looking for the speck. “Ma-ma-ma?”
  • Sheer delight in finding it again! “Ma-MA!”
  • Trying to blow it again. And again. And again!
I love being able to experience the world anew with the toddler. We get to look at the world again with new eyes! Every-thing is worth an exploration!

The world is a fun place, you know!

What is the little things that amuses your little one?

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

The toddler is 21 months

21 months on 21st September. The toddler is being more Ms Personality with every day passing. The teen exclaims a couple of times a day: “She is so funny!”

Some of the CUTE toddler things at 21 months:

Mieka knows how to say an indignant NO! When the dog bugs her, or takes her food. On the play ground with other children. She stands her own. This past Sunday we had to disengage her from boys much older than her. She was playing with some toys when two other boys wanted to come and take over. She was voicing her displeasure very loudly! Even though she was much smaller, she did not budge holding on. “No! Stout!” (naughty)

She has a strong sense of righteousness already. She gets very upset when it seems threatened. It happens quite a lot nowadays...

The toddler seems to be getting afraid of imagined things. She was staying at my parents’ house the other night. They have a sky light. Mieka was clinging to my mom every time they went past it. My mother tried to explain that they could see the stars through it... I see the same behaviour when we look at the stars when I try to get her to sleep. The shadows on the wall also get her very upset. I am not allowed to switch off the bed light when we go to sleep at night. She complains until it is switched on again.

The big bed has been a great sleep-saver! It seems all of us are getting more sleep. We start on our bed and carry her to her bed when we go to sleep later at night. When she wakes, I usually go to her bed and breastfeed her back to sleep. It works! (Yeah!)

Breastfeeding continues to be such a joy! She asks me for Boo-Boo! When she is nursing, she asks “Mamma?” which I think that she is trying to work out how it all fits together. The breasts are Mama’s. She usually points to my nose as well, and I have to confirm with a “Mamma!” After which she points to her nose, and I tell her “Mieka’s nose!”

She loves loves being outside. When the door opens up, she is there! Just this morning we struggled to get her back into the house when the teen gave food to the dog...

The toddler is a bundle of fun! We love you, little one!

Related post:
The toddler is 20 months

Monday, 20 September 2010

Fundraiser – things we learnt

The things you do for your children… Phew! The D-Day for the Fundraiser for the French tour of the French class at school finally happened on Friday. It was nail-biting and worrisome because we (Yvonne, the children and me) were fretting about getting in enough money to pay for the venue and show. Super Troupers, at the Barnyard at Cresta Mall in Johannesburg. Not even about starting to begin raising money for that French tour…

But we made it, and could pay back our due money last Tuesday already. And we made some money extra for the girls as well. We have declared it a success! But never again! You hear!

From now on my head will shake “NO!” when confronted with any misguided attempt of responsibility towards the school.

The things you learn when trying to raise money:

  • There are lots of very nice people who really try to support you. Some people even gave us donations when they couldn’t make it on the evening.

  • It took a lot of organizing between two of us to keep the ball rolling. I think it could have become too complicated when other become involved as well.

  • The children help a lot with fundraising. Involve them!

  • It helps to organize a fundraiser around a show and venue. We only worried about getting the tickets sold.

  • Posters and flyers do not bring in the sales. It is your own network of friends that’s worth the most when trying to get a venue full.

  • There are mean people out there. We got constant competition from a teacher at the school who organized the same type of event with the same show. We announced a long time before him what and when we were planning to do our fundraiser. (Very strange!)

  • That same teacher made a lot of promises, but never followed through. (Why?)
We are very relieved, and very glad about the money raised. The children have a bit more in their banking accounts. It will be able to cover the visas, al least. Every bit helps!

Thanks to everybody who supported us!

Friday, 17 September 2010

Ways to deal with the guilt of being a working mother

Powerwoman says enough is enough! Why do we have to feel guilty as working mothers when we have to leave our babies at someplace else when we go off to work? Some of us have a choice. Which is absolutely fine! Some of us don’t! Like me! I have to work to cover the finances...

I am compiling a silly (NOT!) list of ways dealing with working mother’s guilt:

  • Take out your payslip (note, not bank statement) and check the amount you get every month! Say to yourself this is what you are giving back to your family.
  • Buy your baby the expensive outfit when faced with choice.
  • When you are asked about your career say smugly that you are a working mom! Expand laboriously about all the skills and experience that you have built up. (Do not let on that you are secretly wishing to be a SAHM...)
  • Pour a glass of red wine at the end of a long working day! (You deserve it!)
  • Linger over a cup of coffee... Whenever! Especially when at work!
  • Spend some extra quality time with baby (toddler or child) when you arrive home. Do not immediately jump into house work, because the house is clean. (Supposed to, because nobody was at home to dirty it.)
  • Think of all the extra social skills your child are acquiring while at day care!
  • Pat yourself on the back! “Well done, working Mom!” Regularly!
  • Enjoy your own enjoyment when you see the look of delight on your baby’s face when you go to pick them up after a long day!
  • Cherish weekends with the baby! You are not feeling overwhelmed after a long week with children. You missed them during the week!
  • Marvel at the fact that you don’t get impatient with the little ones when they get whiney! You have built up lots of patience by being away from them every day!
  • You have a decent excuse when asked to do something at school! Use it!
  • You can go shopping during lunch-time without a toddler in tow!
  • You are able to meet a colleague/friend during lunch without having to drag the toddler with.
  • When Hubby complains about his working day, you are able to complain about your own working day as well! “Mine was the worst!”
  • You can expect Hubby to help out with ALL the housework! No sitting down with newspaper and beer /coffee for him after a long working day! No, Mister! (My Hubby does his fair share and more! Thanks, Dries!)
  • Pat yourself on the back! Again! “Well done, working Mom!”
It seems that this is a work in progress! Do you have any other suggestions? (It is a lot of fun!)

Working Moms rock! (Smug smiley face!)

Related post:
A day in the working mom

Thursday, 16 September 2010

The toddler and socialising

The working mother always stresses about leaving her child in day care. But one thing she doesn’t have to worry about is the socialising of the child. Day care or crèche or play school takes care of all the socialising needs of the baby, toddler and pre-schooler. Dionna at Code Name Mama reminded me again today that that is something that a SAHM (Stay-at-home-mom) have to be more aware off to ensure that their child is getting socialising skills. Maxabella also had something to say about mixing mamahood and work today - you have to deal wih the guilt that is a "permanent lodger".

Something that a working mother can check off! My toddler learns to socialise every day at day care! (Smug smile!)

On Tuesday I took the toddler and myself to the doctor. This year I can’t seem to shake the allergic sinusitis that’s been bugging me. And the toddler also struggles with it. We coughed terribly during the nights. The doctor wanted to book us off for a few days, but there is too much to be done. I asked her if it was okay if I took the toddler to day care. She said that it is not the ultimate solution, but that she understands. She believes in children going to day care because it is the best for their socialising behaviour. They do get sick more often – usually every two months – but that is something that is sorted by the time they go to school.

But I still felt bad when I went to drop the toddler off after that at the day care... (The working mother’s guilt!)

I have a teen that had to go to a day mother (and after that crèche) since she was three months old. She is now one of the best well-adjusted children that I know with regards her socialising skills. She is relaxed in every socialising situation and keeps her own. She has a lot of friends and we usually marvel about how easy she talks to anybody! Not how I remember myself as a socially akward child and teen who struggled through her school years. Luckily it got better during university...

Mieka, the toddler, also gets along with adults very easily. She does not shy away when somebody wants to engage with her. When I walk with her into day care in the morning, she starts saying the names of some of her class mates. One of the favourites is Ané. I hope that she will also benefit socially like her sister did.

(Powerwoman does the right thing! Yes, I need some positiveness today!)

(Photo: Mieka at Tiny Tumbles on Saturday)

Related posts:
A day in the working mom
The toddler - day care shuffles
Day care woes

Monday, 13 September 2010

My Dad gave us a scare

My Dad is in his early 70s, and still as busy as a bee. When he is not reinventing his garden, and replanting all the plants, he is busy driving the kids around at the day care in the afternoons. He is also involved at the Church, and goes with the regular prayer group to the hospital.

He is always available when somebody needs him, and usually looks after all the neighbours’ gardens and houses when they are away. He drives around every week for his mother, who lives nearby. On Thursday he was planting flowers at her house - and his house - before he had to leave for the afternoon to drive the kids around. After that he felt extremely bad, with a chest pain.

They identified hiatus hernia on Saturday, but had to confirm it with more tests...

Today he had two stents implanted in the veins near his heart! It was caught just in time! Totally unexpected!

Very scary indeed! Nothing that brings you close-up with mortality more than this! The heart [not attack] scare!

We hope you feel better very soon, Dad!

Mieka loves it when she sees him at the day care. He has to carry her around. Or swing (“swee-swee”) her to her heart’s delight on the swings! She sometimes gets very upset when he has to put her down to do his rounds!

“Oupa! OOU-PAAA!!” (Grandfather) sounds so cute when coming from the toddler’s lips! Every Time!

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Cellphone photos of the toddler this weekend

I DO play with cars as well!

Swimming - this is as far I got into the water

Shopping - this is the way I sit in the baby chair - standing facing backwards

Feeding the ducks

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Jinxed weekend

Mieka at Tiny Tumbles this morning
I should not have scheduled Friday’s post, loaded with all the positive gratefulness for the weekend ahead. Because I jinxed it!

The day started late. Not unusual for us. We normally manage to get us out of the door at a manageable hour. As soon as I got in the car, I noticed that I forgot to comb my hair. Luckily I had that quick check in the mirror...

I had cereal in a bowl on my front seat in the car. As I started to drive, I realised it was a big mistake. Cereal and milk were spilling. I tried to eat some on the way to the day care, but Mieka spotted it. At day care I had to give her a few spoonfuls before she was satisfied.

My car’s petrol indicator came on during the drive and I had to stop for petrol. That translates into a definite late! The petrol attendant also told me that three of my car’s wheels were at a higher level than it should be... Worrisome! We trust those guys too easily. I have been trying to remember where I had filled my car the previous time, because it was not at the usual place. I will not go there again!

I missed out on my morning coffee with colleagues because I was late. I also noticed that my scheduled post at 7 am did not go up. Thanks Blogger! I had to post it manually, something which I try to avoid at the office.

The rest of the day was not that bad... A meeting was cancelled, and on a Friday it’s a bonus!

We had to go to our nearby Mall last night because I had to buy a stork party present. Not my favourite activity! I love buying and giving the clothes, but stork parties is not my thing! (Only for my best best friends. Maybe!)

Today was the stork party. It took up our whole Saturday, because it is a whole hour and half drive away. Luckily there was no funny stuff, and for once I was glad that I had to attend to the toddler the whole time. She got a whole lot of attention from me! Dries found Barista (coffee) Pinotage red wine at the nearby shop, and that helped a LOT!

Now there is a wonderful lazy Sunday to look forward to. Dries is planning a nice meal, and we can chill for the day!

Friday, 10 September 2010

Friday thanks

Friday is the best day of the week. It makes me grateful for another week gone by.

  • Friday signals the beginning of the weekend! What is better than this!
  • Friday means more time with the family!
  • Friday means a weekend to spend with the toddler. We miss her during the week.
  • Friday means special get-togethers with friends.
  • Friday means special get-togethers with the extended family.
  • Friday means sleeping in on Saturday and Sunday if we want to.
  • Friday means spending time at home.
  • Friday means spending time with the Hubby.
  • Friday means red wine and great food!
What is better than this?

I LOVE Fridays! It is my best day of the week, because it is full of promise and potential.
What is your best day of the week and why?

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Extended Breastfeeding

There are many names for it. Breastfeeding the toddler. Breastfeeding past infancy. Extended breastfeeding.

When you are pregnant, or just had your little one, you only think of getting past the soreness and the 24/7 constant latching. No, at first you are only worried about getting it right, and being able to breastfeed. Your first goal is the 6 week mark, and after that you try to continue to 3 months. Then 6 months. Somewhere you realise that it has become easier, and you continue... until the next goal. One year. Two years!

And now I am contemplating going for longer... Until the toddler tells me that it is finished!

We have accomplished so much with regards to health and the medical science, but we still reach too easily for the formula. We know for a fact that it is better to breastfeed. Better for the baby, and better for the mother. But why is it that it is not a standard way of doing things? That we not know before the time that is how it is supposed to be? We have somehow lost touch with what comes natural. We think that it is okay that our children are able to survive on second-hand milk (chemicals), and don’t contemplate the effects on them.

I am very sorry already that I gave in to the occasional bottle when it was not necessary. I should not have gone the formula route when it was too early. I was also worried about the baby going to day care, and that she would not accept a bottle...

Our bodies are able and well adapted to sustain our babies well into toddlerhood. I know now to trust my “booboos” (as Mieka calls it now), and not to worry that it is not “enough”.

I will continue as is and show – just by doing it – that it’s the easiest way for baby way past toddlerhood. Your milk does not lose its healthy properties. Quite the opposite! The health benefits for the mother also increases, such as less incidences of breast cancer. Today we have information at our typing tips, and we can enlighten ourselves as we go along!

I cherish the breastfeeding moments with my toddler. Silently I have become a lactivist, a word that I did not know existed before I was breastfeeding my toddler. I want everybody to know that it is the easiest and most precious time you have with your little one!

It goes by in a *FLASH*! (I will remember the special times!)

Related posts:

Breastfeedng past infancy - very special

The joys of breastfeeding a toddler (guest post)

Wordless Wednesday #41 - Great Gran reading to toddler

Great Gran Violent with Mieka
Photo: James

Wordless Wednesday #40 - Littlest gymnastics

Tiny Tumbles

Tammy Smit

Monday, 6 September 2010

Dysfunctional Dad

I get the following message on Sunday from the woman married to the teen’s dad (the X – Cancelled One). Powerwoman has been on my soapbox in my head again ever since...

The message (translated):

...this sms I am sending which nobody knows about, but to ask you, no to implore you to ask Arnia to soften her heart towards her dad. I do not expect or ask that she spends weekends or holidays. I also have children and know that at this age they’ve got their own lives. I ask for making contact... coffee, or a restaurant meeting here and there. I know he has made mistakes. But I also know the one thing that kills him and that is not seeing his child. Please, Karen, you are a parent just as I am, and I am sure you can imagine what pain he must go through by not seeing is child. I would not be able to handle it, would you be able to? I could have send Arnia a sms, but I am sending this to you because we are the parents no matter how old they get. Please talk to her, and answer my sms. Thanks.
I did not answer her, and I am not going to. There are so many things at play here. At first glance you would think “Poor Dad!” BUT! There are REASONS why some children do not want to have contact with their dads.

Arnia decided all on her own at age 15 and a half (she is now 17) that she only wants to see her dad when he’s made some changes in his life. A very scared young lady sat at that time next to me, and read out some things that need to change. She came up with her own list. She decided enough was enough after he had his wife by the throat after her night out. She was in tip-toe mode around her dad, and had to make sure she gave him 100% attention, or she got some sort of repercussion! Events when she was being thrown around for “not given attention” (his own words) to him; just a few days after she had her appendectomy. Or having to listen to rants and raves when he had to pick her up when she was out with friends...

She asked that he be her Dad and not her friend. That he goes for anger management counselling, and see a therapist. She asked that he gives her time to be with her friends, and not complain when he as to pick her up. The dad saw it as demands which he is not obliged to fulfil. “Children can’t make demands on parents!” (Yes, they can!)

He has never tried to make things better. Or to change! Everything must come from the other party. It seems as if he is the wronged person, but in reality he has created his own mess. I support my daughter for her decision. The X does not contribute in any way towards his daughter. He and his wife say that money and love has got nothing to do with each other. I disagree! How wonderful to have all the fun and the good times with your children, and not contribute towards the stuff that is needed...

Why should his wife speak on his behalf? Why does he not make an effort and try to make things better? Why does he not start making a monetary contribution towards his daughter?

No, it is still all about HIM, the narcissist!

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Letting go of the cute clothes (cute baby)

No. 3 shoes
I get very attached to my clothes and shoes. Dries had to force me to throw out a pair of really yucky shoes the other day. This weekend I cleaned out the toddler’s cupboard, and had to finally throw out the 6-12 months clothes, as well as her number 3 shoes.

She is still able to wear some of the 6-12 months clothes – she is such a shorty – but she is now into the 12-18 months clothes. (She is 20 months now.) I find it a bit of sad. 6-12 months means “baby”, and now she is a “BIG girl”! I also absolutely love the clothes and shoes! I could have continued to still dress her in the adorable clothes...
Winnie-the-Pooh play set - 6-12 months
Luckily there are so many cute clothes for them to wear! Look at this dress she wore today. It is summer here, and we love being in the sun!

Goodbye baby! Hello big girl! (Forgive me the nostalgia!)

Related post:
The toddler - shoes and fluff of hair

Friday, 3 September 2010

Missing Dad

The Hubby was away for a day and a night! He was missed!

The toddler announced around every corner or sound: “Pappa!”

  • Going down the steps for breakfast (she is used to seeing him busy making breakfast in the mornings).
  • Opening up the garage door.
  • The sound of cars driving past in the complex.
  • Undressing her for her bath, and she running to the bathroom.
  • Footsteps down the stairs.
  • The sound of a door opening.

She exclaims: “Pappa!”, and looks at u with enquiring eyes! Then we tell her he is working, and that he will be back. But we are not sure that she understands us...

We missed him too... It feels like everything is out of zinc when he is not here. Nobody to help with the toddler. Nobody to make us wonderful food. (He is by far the best chef in our valley!) Nobody to tell about our day. Nobody to share a glass of wine with. Or to watch our favourite tv show V together...

We missed you, Dries!

(And now he is going way for the weekend as well! Sad face here! )

I am taking part in Java's Follow Friday 40 and Over. Please check Java's rules.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

The things you do for your children

I have found myself in strange situations because of my child(ren). I am not the baking/sewing kind of mom, but I have found myself at school in a kitchen helping out with food. Or washing large stacks of table cloths and ironing it. For the school! And afterwards always swearing never to say yes again...

I’ve done it again. The teen wants to go on that French tour next year. Another friend’s mom, Yvonne, and I decided that we should organise something to raise some funds. Now we are organising a fundraising event in two week’s time. And we are seriously worrying about getting all the seats sold to be able to pay back the hosting company. Why, oh why, don’t we learn?

Note to self: when toddler comes home with letters from the school to tick, or with open spaces to put my name in... Don’t do it! Take a deep breath. Let the guilt (parents are supposed to help out at school-guilt) pass! I don’t have to say yes to all, especially since I am a working mom.

We thought it was a good idea to identify a venue and show. I still think it is... Not the extra worries of organising and setting up a venue, or having to pay for the entertainment. We only have to worry about selling the tickets. Now we find it is hard enough to sell all the tickets.

Barnyard Theatre at Cresta Mall in Johannesburg is currently running Super Troupers, a musical show of Abba, the Bee Gees and the 70s. What are you doing the 17th of September? Please support us!

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