Sunday, 31 October 2010

Camping - we should do it more often

Eastco Holiday Resort
Camping. It is a lot of hard work. A lot of preparations. And a lot of effort to get the campsite in a live able environment. To only take it down two days later when you camp over a weekend...

But we said again that we should do it more often. It is a necessity to get out more in nature. Especially for us city dwellers.

The toddler enjoyed it enormously. Ten months back when we went camping with her, it was a struggle because she wanted to be entertained and held the whole time. But now she enjoyed the tent, and walking, and playing with friends, and swimming, and looking at the ponies...

Sleeping was a breeze. The toddler was exhausted after all the excitement of the days, and we did not struggle at all during the night. Dries and I struggled with mattresses, and blankets, and the heat... But what is camping when you can’t complain of something the next day? (Sarcastic smile!)

The teen does not share our enthusiasm for camping. I can’t blame her. When I was her age, I also did not like the idea of camping. I now call her the “reluctant camper”! 

The weather played along. I was worried on Friday about rain, but we had sunshine and blue skies!

Aaahhh! If only we could stretch the weekend a bit longer....

Friday, 29 October 2010

Gone camping...

In January 2010 when we were camping at Manyane near Pilansberg
The toddler at her first camp in January 2010, with her sister, the teen
We are going camping again. We can't wait.
The toddler is bigger, and we think she is going to enjoy it much more now than when she was 12 months old.
It looks a bit rainy today, and we hope it is not going to be buckets... But we can't complain, we need the rain!
Happy weekend all! (Big smile!)

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Shadow waiters at Spur

The French students
The things you do for fundraisers! The teen and the French tour of the French class next is year is becoming more of a reality. The first payment needs to be made, and the budget is tight! And the tour gets more expensive it seems as the bookings are being made…

We organized a fundraiser with a local Spur (steak ranch) in our area. The French students had to shadow with the waiter, and they got 10% of the proceeds of the evening. Some got nice tips as well… I can recommend it to anyone. No stressing about selling of tickets before the time like we did with the Barnyard fundraiser earlier.

The students had a great time. They had a new experience as well learning about working in a restaurant. The teen’s waiter told us that she is a quick learner, and that she did very well for her first evening as a waiter.

The toddler kept us busy because she discovered the play area, and Dad especially had to follow that pointy finger! She was awake until nine when we left, but slept the minute the car was moving! Which is of course a very nice bonus for any evening!

The parents enjoyed the whole evening as well! We had a lovely meal and could catch up with friends again…

What do you recommend doing for a fundraiser that does not involve too much stress?

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Worst time of the day and working mother anger check

The worst time of day during the week is when you arrive home at half past four. The house is in a bit of a mess after we left it in a whirl in the morning. That needs some cleaning and straightening, and dinner needs to be prepared. Add a tired mother and a clingy demanding toddler and it gets a bit tricky...

I found myself last week screaming talking very loud when the toddler as usual was “washing dishes” with me. She was wet and the floor was wet... I saw the look of utter amazement of her face when I lost my cool! “What’s the matter, Mom?” or, more specifically “WTF?” “What is the BIG deal?”

CodeNameMama had a great article about awareness in anger last week. It came at exactly the right time! To become aware of the anger, to know where it is coming from, and to channel it correctly...

I did things differently from there! When the toddler wants to wash dishes with me, it is totally okay. I have decided not to freak out! What is a bit of water in the greater scheme of things? We take off her clothes for the duration of the washing session, and put it back on afterwards. And then dry the floor as well! It is not a train smash!

The biggest bonus! The playing with the water keeps the toddler occupied for a relative long period. Enough to get the dishwasher unpacked, and the dinner started...

How do you cope with suicide hour?

Monday, 25 October 2010

Taking the toddler to places and the T-dance

Nowadays we have to think twice about where we are going. We try to not let the toddler influence our decisions, but she does! And it’s fine for now. This too will pass! We can take the teen anywhere! (Wink-wink!) We know it will only be for a short while...

I had a bit of a bad experience with the toddler and her tantrums at the hairdresser on Friday. The teen went for a special deal at a new place. There were only two chairs to sit in, and one of the chairs had a Halloween spider web draped over it, and we were warned that it could get stuck in our hair. The toddler was afraid of the toy spiders in the web. So we couldn’t sit there, and the toddler wanted to walk around... (We are so not going to that hairdresser again! Not only was their service and hair cutting very poor, but they are definitely not in the business of people...) I had to drive home with the toddler, and go and fetch the teen later. I thought the T-dance was not so bad, but there was definitely a meltdown in that shop...

Ever felt a bit red-faced when leaving with a screaming toddler? That was it on Friday for me!

Yesterday we went for breakfast at Rusty Hook, very near to our “valley”. The toddler enjoyed looking and feeding the ducks and birds. We have some overcast weather here, but no real rain yet! Who would have thought that we could miss the rain so much!

The toddler had lots of fun putting stickers on her Dad. Who knew that a sticker book can bring so many hours of keeping-the-toddler-busy? A sticker book is now a standard item in the nappy bag, not only the nappies. 1. Nappies! Check. 2. Stickers! Check.

The big thing is; we do not let the toddler limit us going to places. We need to get out, and the toddler needs to learn how to behave in different situations. The toddler also enjoys any activity, and even more when we point out interesting things to look at. Interesting can be anything from birds, to insects, to cars to motorcycles... As long as we enjoy making her aware of it! She enjoys it even more!

Luckily there were not that many temper T’s yesterday. It sure depends on her levels of being tired!

(Photos taken at Rusty Hook on Sunday)

Sunday, 24 October 2010

The toddler's first concert

The toddler was on stage in her first concert on Saturday. The day care is busy with their yearly concert shows.

It is very cute watching the little ones. We were focused on our toddler, as were the other parents on theirs...  But all the children are a pleasure to watch!

Our toddler gave us some inclination of the dances and songs before the time. It is hands and arms and going down with her bum to the ground... I also now understand her fascination with the moon. Their songs are “I see the moon” and “Blinkoog sterretjie” (Shiny Star).

The toddler went into a small little jiggle every now and again on stage, and remembered sometimes to put up her hands. She also did a lot of clapping of her hands. We were amazed at how they got the whole group of children to stay in one spot the whole time. Impressive!

When a song was finished, we heard the familiar “Klaar!” (Finish!) That was our toddler!

We are still waiting for the photos and the DVD, and I will post a photo later. We did not see as much as we could have, because I took a bit too long before I bought the tickets.  That meant we were stuck at the back in the middle. And there are over zealous parents who had their cameras and video recorders up in front of us... (Waiting for that DVD now!)

Friday, 22 October 2010

5 Tips on how to survive Stork Parties

I am not into Stork Parties at all! It is one of my pet hates. Is there something wrong with me?

Having to go to a function where you mostly do not know the rest of the women. Where you have to Oooh! and Aaah! at every little present being unwrapped and at the cute baby clothes and gadgets being held up.

And having to listen to horrendous birth stories…

And then getting yourself terribly uptight when you are not being acknowledged for a present you put a lot of effort into selecting… (I am fickle that way!)

I have started to compile a list on how to survive it, (and actually enjoy it). Because sometimes you have to go because it is a dear friend or family member…

5 Tips on how to survive Stork Parties:

  1. To have valid reasons for declining the invitation. The following are totally acceptable and should be made law! You don’t have to say anything when saying you can’t come:
               - When you don’t have any children.

               - When you are struggling to conceive.

               - When you have had a miscarriage.

   2.  It is great when there is somebody familiar to start a conversation with. Or make a new friend! You can catch up while the proceedings are underway.

   3. Hover near the beverages and food. Keep yourself occupied that way, especially when alcohol is available!

   4. To cope with the horrendous birth stories, tell your own, and make it as gruesome as possible! Enjoy the look of horror on the face of the pregnant woman. (You are bad, Karen!)

   5. When you have other children, bring them along! It makes it easy to excuse yourself while running after them, and also to go earlier…

Do you have more tips to add to my list?

(Graphic: "Stork" - Microsoft clip art)

Thursday, 21 October 2010

A year ago Thursday Blog Hop #2 – The toddler is 22 months today

Mieka at 22 months
Today, a year ago: The toddler was ten months and I was still raving about bonus days I got for taking the baby to clinic and getting a whole day to do it. She had no hair and a McDonalds play thing on her head.

Mieka at ten months
 I am joining Mommy Only Has Two Hands in her going down memory lane Thursday Blog Hop. Go and check her rules when you want to join in.

Today the toddler is 22 months. I know I say every time she can’t get cuter than his, but she does! We are really enjoying the little person she is becoming.

The vocabulary is coming along very well. I was worried at one stage, but she says a lot more than we are able to understand. She stands in front of us and give us a whole blast of words! We hear babble, but sometimes we catch a recognisable word. The head nods very seriously while she tells her whole “story”! (CUTE!)

Some more 22 month things:

  • She loves drawing. She insists that we sit with her and draw with her.
  • She has a fascination with “goggas” (insects). She wants to look at them, but not yet touch.
  • We get feedback from the school that she hits and bites some of her class mates. I feel terrible about it! We try to talk to her. I do hope that it is a passing phase...
  • When I leave her at day care in the mornings, she’s got a new thing. She does not want to kiss me, but immediately turns her head when I put her in the arms of a teacher. Then she looks out of the window until I pass on the outside and she waves to me. She smiles and she waves... That helps me a lot during my working day...

She was sick again from the weekend. Nose and ears and eyes! Nothing new! I had her at the doctor today, and now we are throwing drops in all of the “openings”. Not a favourite thing for the toddler! The doctor says that Johannesburg is the worst place for children with regards the pollution. That’s why we struggle so much with the allergies. The fact that it does not rain, makes it even worse...

What happened with you a year ago?

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Birthday suit bandit - the toddler and undressing

My guest post about the toddler who loves running around naked is up at Authentic Parenting. Go check it out.

Mieka, our toddler, loves unbuttoning and unzipping her clothes and taking it all of. To try to put it back on immediately afterwards. Or simply just running around in the nude is a great pass time...

What are your thoughts about letting your toddler roam around in the nude?

Sunday, 17 October 2010

iThemba Walk against Breast Cancer

We walked a full 8 kilometers today for the iThemba Walk against Breast Cancer from the Marks Park Sports Complex in Greenside, Johannesburg. Everyone was pink, and we had a whole lot of fun!

We pushed the toddler, and for the most part she was happy to sit for the ride.

I had registered us for 5 km, but when we got our numbers back it was indicated we were up for the 8 km.  When we came to the split during the walk, we decided on the longer route. It was a good exercise as well. I am proud of us!

I am glad that we were able to contribute in a very small way in the crusade against breast cancer. It is a wake-up call every time I see people walking “in-loving-memory-of”!

The motto to remember” “Early detection saves lives!”

The teen and I had a bit of a scare last year when she did a breast examination and she found a lump. It turned out to be a fibroadenoma, and the gynaecologist confirmed this year that it is nothing to be worried about...
But we had a big scare! I can just imagine when you realize the lump is SOMETHING to worry about...

iThemba raises funds for breast cancer education and awareness in South Africa. A donation is also made to the Bosom Buddies breast cancer support group.

Friday, 15 October 2010

Taking back the power by speaking out

Time for the soapbox again. There is nothing that upsets me more than a house where there is domestic violence. It can take so many forms, but you know in your heart something is wrong when you are scared going back to your own home! When there is somebody that makes you being afraid for your own and your children’s welfare.

Two bloggers have spoken out his week. Kristin at Wanderlust in Australia found herself in such a situation that she was frozen into silence for two months. But she decided to speak out, because she realized that by keeping quiet she is relinquishing her own power. Her family have been subjected to real physical violence, and they haven’t seen her husband since...  She writes a very powerful post about domestic violence and her realization that it is all about being in control.

Closer to home Melany at SuperMom also spoke about her fear for her son being targeted by emotional abuse... 

It is very upsetting to hear such stories!  It also touches me deeply because I was in such a situation in my previous life! Someone controlling your whole life! Someone who demands that the world revolves around himself. But he does not take responsibility for his actions/inactions on the rest of the family. When he realizes he is losing control, and trying to keep it by threatening your existence... More than ten years later and I still get the jitters when thinking about it. Especially when my own daughter is too afraid to even ask her own Dad for a signature... Even today it makes me very angry!

I am proud of mothers/women standing up by speaking out, saying “Enough!”

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Creature of habit

The toddler is a creature of habit. She learns to do something, and she wants to do it the same way again and again.

The sleep routine is one of the most important for us if we want an uneventful evening. Of course, also if we want some SLEEP!

Sleep routine:
Bath time is at 7pm. When we announce bath-time, she says “bye” and starts climbing the stairs. I have learnt not to say anything about bathing when I am not ready. Or there is drama!
We undress her in her room, and she wants to take her dirty clothes herself to the washing basket. She has to throw in the clothes herself. Every-time!
She helps with putting on the cream we wash her with. 
She plays with the boats and other toys.
She “brushes” her teeth.
I have to dry her while she lies on her stomach and I rub her back in massage-like movements. Whenever I try to dry her while holding her on my lap, she complains.
Sleep at 8pm. When we announce bed-time, she immediately starts to say goodnight. Dad AND the dog gets kisses and a hug as well.
We “read” two books which she has selected, and she closes it herself. “Klaar!” is her declaration that she has finished reading.
She breastfeeds until she falls asleep!
As long as we keep to the “recipe” of 1-2-3 all is well in Toddlerville!

Other quirky habits:
- The toddler drinks her bottle while lying in her doughnut. The doughnut is the doughnut shaped floor mattress which has lost most of its sponges and does not look as “healthy” as it once was. But the toddler wants to drink her bottle in the thing. Every-time!

- Whenever she sees any one of us near the kitchen zinc she wants to help “wash” the dishes. We have to explain time and again every night we are not washing dishes right that moment... Until we wash it, and she happily “helps” us by pouring water from the tap into bottles until it overflows.
Habits are a very important part of how the toddler takes control of her life! We have to smile at some of the habits she insists on doing every time! I love the way we all accommodate these little behaviours. It is sooo precious!

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

One year of young teen love

The teen and her boyfriend celebrated their one year anniversary on Sunday. A year ago I was worried about the teen being in love. They proved me wrong. I should not have been worried!

One year for young love at seventeen is not bad!

The teen spent a lot of planning and thought around the day. Lots of thought went into the present as well. Chocolates and nuts and some sweet smelling stuff! She also spent a lot of time working on the card!
They had their own private picnic with Woollies goodies.

 She was super excited about the present she got back; a large fluffy dog! Aaahhh, love!
The best time of your life!

We like the boyfriend as well. It seems he treats her exceptionally well! She/we does not expect anything less! I know she is able to look after herself, and to set her own boundaries.

There is nothing more than any parent can hope for! Happy children!

(Photo: The teen and her boyfriend on her birthday in July)

Monday, 11 October 2010

Quirky toddler behaviour of the weekend

We think some of the things the toddler do are very strange, but apparently there is nothing abnormal about any of the behaviours. I was just reading Baby Zone, and now I won’t be thinking again that we have an abnormal toddler. Everything goes in Toddlerville!

The toddler and swimming

The toddler enjoyed “swimming” this weekend. NOT in her baby pool, but next to it. Playing with water and containers of any sort is the best toddler activity EVER! Notice the potty. It has not been used yet for what it is supposed to be doing…
The toddler had a ball drinking the water from the pool. She was carrying it to and from the pool, and pouring the water in other containers again.

The toddler is scared of the thunder

We had some thunder and lightning and some quick showers here. We get very excited, because it signals the start of our summer rains. It is very dry on this side of the world.

But the toddler is not impressed. She gets very scared. We noticed last night that she quickly came to sit next to us, and the next moment she was on my lap. We noticed that she had her eyes closed, and she would not open it again while the thunder was going on. It was some sort of blessing, because I soothed her by breastfeeding her and she went to sleep for the night! Poor thing!
We will keep trying to tell her that it is not something to be afraid of, because it signals the rain for us….

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Pooh made us leave

Did you ever forget something for the little one and had to leave?

I checked the toddler’s bag this morning.
Clothes. Check.
Food. Check.
Bottles. Check.
Toys. Check.
Wet wipes. Check.
Plastic bags. Check.
Tissues. Check.

Ready for church! We were just settled in when we smelt the recognizable pooh. Dries undertook the “very desirable” job of changing the nappy. (Great Hubby here!)

Luckily I saw my phone vibrate a minute later...
“Pregnant silence...” (My first thought was that his phone was calling me on its own. These touch-screen phones of nowadays!)
“There are no nappies in the bag!”
What to do? We had to go home!

Why did you have to leave?

Friday, 8 October 2010

Girl talk - short video of toddler on cell

A day in the toddler:

"Hi, you can’t believe the day I had today!
Mom had to wake me up, and I did not want to open my eyes.
Myer at school gave me such a headache. He pestered me the whole time. I wanted to tell Mom and Sis when they came to fetch me, but all I could muster was “Meya, Myea, Meya…”

It was raining, and Mom had to run with me with an umbrella. I think it was quite a big deal, because Mom was singing and laughing while the rain made everything wet.
Yes,yes, yes…(nodding)
Dad was working late.
I wanted to walk around in the nude, but Mom said I could only help her with the dishes when I had my clothes on again.
I got everything wet, but that was the highlight of my day!
I wanted to play more in Arnia’s room, but she was very busy. I don’t think it was homework; it was that card for the boyfriend she is working on. They are going out for a year now!
Bath-time was nice, but I got upset with all the thunder! Mom had to take me out of the bath and cuddle me for a while.
I was very glad when Dad arrived, and we could play with the crayons for a while.
What a day!
Bye! Bye!"

Thursday, 7 October 2010

A year ago Thursday Blog Hop - Why go vertical?

Thursday Blog Hops

I am taking part in Mommy Only has Two Hands A Year Ago Thursday Blog Hop.
Check out the rules on Mommy Only has Two Hands. The other two hosts are From PDX With Love and Wyatt Family Farm.

Going down memory lane - a year ago today. It is nice to see how far we have come...

I went back to last year's blog post on 7 October 2009. A year ago we were worried about our baby starting to walk while she did not crawl first. She only did the bum-shuffle or the crab creep. She was nearly ten months old. She finally walked at 13 months, skipping the crawl!

Why go vertical when you can go horizontal?

Mieka has not started to crawl yet, and it seems she is not going to. All she wants to do at this stage is walk, with us having to walk with her. She also enjoys the walking ring, but her favourite way of moving around now is walking while being held. Whenever we put her down on her stomach, she freezes in the position, with her arms straight, and complains. She only stops when we pull her up again. How do you get a baby to crawl, when she wants to walk already? I can imagine years of extra maths classes because she has skipped the important crawling phase in her development… Why worry? We will deal with that later! Now we are the enablers in her horizontal quest! I think she is super intelligent, and does not need to go through all the phases.
(Says the proud mom wink-wink)
Overrated, the crawling thing, I say now! We are dealing with the crawling in the little gymnastics. There are better things to worry about...

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

What little girls are made of?

I saw a discussion on Mommaliscious Mamma’s about the naming of private parts. I find it very interesting that people are still teaching their children funny or cutesy names.

The following came up:
Fluffy… (?)
Cookie pot
Cookie Monster

I did a quick search on Google, and saw that most of the search returned top for the use of appropriate names. We taught the teen appropriate names when she was small, 15 years back. “Vagina” and “Penis” were the only names she knew, and she had no hang-ups about it. She came to tell me a few times about children that use strange names, and it had everybody guessing for a while at the crèche. Names also like “paddatjie” (froggie), if I remember correctly.

I believe that it is much easier to make no issue about it, and to name any part of the body as correctly as possible. Badparenting believes it is a bad parenting technique, because toddlers can embarrass you when you expect it the least. Funny! (I’ve found it helps to keep a straight face…)

A family member teaches her sons about “verkeerde plekkies” (wrong places). When the Survivor series was on, the survivors were eating “verkeerde plekkies” of animals, according to them.

What do the funny names teach our children? That a normal part of their anatomy is not normal, and somehow “wrong”!

No! We are teaching the toddler the appropriate names. There’s enough for her to cope with already, and not to struggle with figuring out why there is strange names for some body parts. Hopefully not to end up with sexual hang-ups…

Monday, 4 October 2010

Breastfeeding the toddler - so special

Who would have thought that breastfeeding your toddler is such a pleasure? You don’t contemplate going past that first few weeks breastfeeding, and then you pat yourself on the back after the first six weeks.

We are now past 21 weeks, and the two year goal post is around the corner. It has gone by too quickly! I also treasure breastfeeding much more because she is my last baby. Boo-hoo! That is also something to feel nostalgic about... Being an older mom does not have any impact on breastfeeding as such, but I do think that it makes me treasure it even more.

Some precious moments when breastfeeding (BF):
  • The toddler announces she wants some “Boo-Boo” when she wants to BF. (The “Boo-Boo” comes from “booby”) I also ask her: Do you want some “Mama’s milk?” She knows when she wants it, or not. Sometimes the bottle gets preference.
  • There is nothing as special as going to sleep with her, BF in my arms.
  • BF at night saves us lots of energy and time. She goes back to sleep in no time. Translated: we goes back to sleep in no time. (At this stage it happens about once or sometimes just before the alarm bell goes at five in the morning.)
  • We get lots of special eye contact when she BF. That big special eyes looking so innocently at you – I always try to smile, and reassure her, and BEING with her in the moment!
  • She points to the other breast, and asks “Boo-Boo”? I have to acknowledge each and every time: “Yes, it’s Mama’s Boo-Boo.” (Establishing the own identity?)
  • She wants to shift regularly from one breast to the other. I can’t get her to keep on nursing on one breast when she has made up her mind to change. (Smile)
  • One “irritating” thing – she loves holding and poking the other nipple while BF. I saw that it is quite a common thing with toddlers. It makes it even more difficult to BF in public.
  • We don’t even try BF in public nowadays, because the blanket is a no-go. She just throws it off. And she does not BF in one go. No, it is sip-sip, asking a question, looking around, sip-sip again, changing sides... It does not really work to have it all hang out! (Smile!)
I would not want to change a thing! I recommend breastfeeding past infancy to anyone. I read a study last week that the benefits of BF past infancy with regards to healthy children only extend to sole BF. Not when formula is used as well!

Well, if then only for the relationship between mother and toddler... I am sure that it is worth it in the end!

Related posts:

Extended breastfeeding

Breastfeeding past infancy

The joys of breastfeeding a toddler (guest post)

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Being Otherwise

Tiny Tumbles gymnastics.
The toddler did not want to play along yesterday at the gymnastics class.
She is not sick, and she feels fine. But for some reason she wants to do her own thing.

She wants to look out of the window rather than take part in any of the exercises.

She does not want to walk in a straight line on the rope. She wants to pick it up.

She does not want to jump on the balls, but she wants to carry it around like handbags.

She does not want to move the lint up and down, or in circles. She wants to take it off the stick. Or wraps it around her arm.

But she enjoyed being moved from side to side on a big ball.

Some days are just one of those days. The toddler is allowed her “Being Otherwise” days!

Why not? We all need "Being Otherwise" days some days, don't we?

Related posts:

Wordless Wednesday #40 - Littlest gymnastics

Saturday gymnastics

Friday, 1 October 2010

The T-dance - the toddler and tantrums

The toddler goes into tantrum meltdown a couple of times a day. I like to call it the T-dance. The face goes into a wail. She stamps her feet. The very LOUD shriek!

Shame! It must be so very frustrating not to be able to communicate. Or to find that not everything goes according to “Toddler”! The toddler begins to realize that her universe does not revolve around herself... Come to think of it... It must be a huge shock!

We try mostly to redirect her attention. As soon as she is focused on something else, all is well again. It usually happens within a split second!

At the moment she loves “washing the dishes” with us. As soon as she sees that one of us is busy in the kitchen, she starts by moving the foot rest that we usually use for her to stand on. When we try to tell her that we are not busy washing the dishes, she goes into the T-dance. But when we start playing ball with her, or show her the horsey to ride on, all is well again...

I do not think the tantrums are such a problem that everybody says it is. Maybe we are lucky that Mieka does not go into complete meltdown. A friend complains that her son hits his head against the wall! That sounds a bit scary. We try not to let her T-dance for too long before we help her to focus her attention on something else. I think that is a good way of dealing with the Tantrum! We tell her “No!”, and “That’s not nice!” We don’t give her a hiding or discipline her in any other way when she has a tantrum. I don’t think it is necessary, and so far it has worked!

What is other ways of dealing with a toddler throwing a tantrum?

Related posts:
The toddler is 20 months
The shriek

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