Tuesday, 31 July 2012

I don't have to contemplate my grey hair...

I know where it is coming from...

One hour on a Saturday morning, and I know!

The morning started very calm and peaceful with more watching of the Olympics, and a later breakfast at home... A perfect Saturday!

Then all hell broke loose!
The Toddler all of a sudden complained about her stomach, very low-down. Something was hurting her quite badly, or so it seemed judging by the screaming, and the whirling and curling around, AND THE CRYING!

It started just when we were beginning to get ready for the day and her Tiny Tumbles' classes...

We could not see any mark on her stomach, but we put on some cream.

We took off her panties just in case it might have irritated her.

We carried her upstairs to lie down in her bed.

We were trying by some questioning to get to the root of the problem. You know all those questions that immediately swirl through your brain when your child is in pain:

- Did she hurt herself at school/at home?
- Did she fall?
- Did somebody else hurt her?
- Did she hurt her vagina? (Especially just after reading Melinda's concerns this week about her greatest fear!)
- Does she have worms?
- Is she naughty?
- Is she trying to delay getting dressed and going to the gymnastics?

There were even some "exchanges" going on between the "elders" about the correct handling of the situation... (In terms of "Is she naughty?" or "Is there something really wrong?")

A final blood-curdling scream gave the answer! With the bed and the Toddler getting soaked in pee!

She forgot to go to the toilet! (We did not remind her!)

After a bath she announced she was feeling just fine , and we were just a little bit late for her gymnastics lesson on Saturday...

I do not have to wonder at all where my grey is coming from!

Monday, 30 July 2012

"Mountain climbing" at the Botanical Gardens

The Toddler keeps on asking us that she wants to go mountain climbing. 

I think she got the idea from us after our visit to Cayley Lodge in the Drakensberg mountains. We did a bit of hiking with her, and after that she was hooked...

We took her to one of our favourite spots nearby: The Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens. There is a steep hike next to the waterfall to a lookout on top of the black eagles' nest. 

Going up went very well! Much better than I thought she would do for her first time, and she walked most of the way.

She even wanted to carry on walking on the walking trial when we got on the hill top ...

Going down was a bit more daunting, and she had to be carried for most of the way.

The Toddler loved it!

This is still one of my favourite spots for a Sunday afternoon!

You will definitely find us here when we want to take a breather in nature. Especially since it is just around the corner!

Related posts:

Friday, 27 July 2012

Mini Olympics - tips for children at home

The Olympic Games will start today in London, and there is nothing that inspires one but to see the greatness of physical achievements in action.

I still remember how we used to start exercising vigorously when we used to watch the Olympics when we were children...

Tammy Smith, gymnast and owner of Tiny Tumbles, has posted a list on Kidzworld of Mini Olympics we can do with the children at home. The Toddler still has tiny gymnastics classes each week with Tammy, and I think we will definitely continue as long as possible.
Mieka enjoys it immensely, and I can see how far she has progressed since she started doing the gymnastics.

Tips to help your family to enjoy the fun and games of the Olympics:

1. Some favourite games that can be played:

    - Egg and spoon race (with boiled eggs)

    - Wheelbarrow race (The biggest of the two holds the second person at the knees while they run on their hands)

2. Gymnastics:

    - Handstand competition (stand with you back against the wall and place hands on floor. Walk with your feet up against the wall, and see who can hold the position the longest)

   - Walking on a low beam or pole at home without falling off (an extra one put in by me)

3. Ball sports:

    - Balloon volleyball (helps with hand-eye coordination and much easier to control than normal balls. See how many times you can hit it back and forth without it landing on the ground)

4. Wrestling:

     - Pillow fights (on the bed with cushions. If you get knocked down you get tickled.)

You can read Tammy's list here: Mini Olympics Games ideas for children

I am sure there are a lot more Olympics Games to think of.
Do you have any more ideas?

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Crocodile Creek visit

We saw a sign next to the road for the reptile park, and went in search for Crocodile Creek near Ballito in the Tongaat River flood plain in Kwazulu-Natal.

Hubby nearly turned around because the roads are a bit tricky in that area, but some road signs beckoned us on with "You are nearly there!"

Crocodile Creek houses 7000 Nile crocodiles, also alligators, slender snouted and dwarf crocodiles. The eldest is a 70 year old Nile crocodile which weighs 600 kilograms which is still being used in their breeding programme.

We had a very enthusiastic guide who climbed into the cages and even went and picked this one out of the water.

The Toddler could touch a smallish crocodile (even hold it, but that she refused), and she thoroughly enjoyed looking at all the crocodiles and paraphernelia.

After that we had crocodile sosaties for lunch. It tastes something like chicken... Not bad at all!

Next time you see that road sign when you are on the North Coast. Take the exit! It is well worth the trip!

Related posts:

Monday, 23 July 2012

She's leaving us!

There were some angry words spoken!
She said she's leaving us!
She got on her scooter and drove away!
Right round the dining room table...

We had used a hair elastic from the Toddler to put in the dog's hair. I asked for permission two days back, and it was fine then. Today she wanted it back, and got real angry with us for not allowing her to take it out again...

First threat from our fickle Toddler! Never a dull moment!

Movie Clip Monday #26 - Toddler and the waves. Finally!

Yes, we did it! 
By the end of the holidays the Toddler had her feet in the waves. 

(Sorry about the sound quality. There was a strong wind blowing on the beach.)

Related post: 

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Sleep sorted! Really?

Three years and 7 months. You would think that sleep is not that much of an issue anymore. That sleep should be sorted by now...

Surprise, surprise!

Sleep is a total different ball-game for a three year old...

Maybe she has got our late night owl genes, or she's just a normal three year old?

The most recent phase is one where she goes to sleep in our arms. Demanding literally to sleep in the nooks of our arms... And also when waking up. Which can be a couple of times a night!

Getting her to bed at an acceptable time and getting her up a the break of a day. Not so easy...

Which means that she spends most of her sleeping time in our bed. Also no surprise, and I am not complaining!

There is nothing as sweet as waking up into that sweet face in the mornings...


We had a break from reality for a week. With sleep routines going for a dive!

But she went down even before her normal bed-time tonight! (Definitely something to do with that skipped afternoon nap...)

Fingers crossed for a good night's sleep before we check back into the rat race!

Happy sleeping!

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Tips to improve school projects

We are side-stepping the start of the new term, and rush-hour traffic, and early morning trying-to-get-eyes-open times! We are still on the beach.

And we have a little one not yet into school projects....

But it won't be long before it will be time for us to know where to go for those important school projects. I don't think my saved-up Huisgenoots will do the trick anymore?

You tell me?

Taryn O'Brien from LiveWired send this to me on my email, and I thought it would be a good future refence for myself and those dreaded school projects.

"School projects can place their fair share of stress on children, not to mention parents. The standards set by schools for students to achieve top marks are higher than ever before, and students need to put in a great deal of effort if they want their project to stand out from the crowd.

Luckily, thanks to the internet, software applications, printing services and the likes, it’s relatively simple for children of all ages to produce colourful and creative projects from the comfort of their own homes. In addition, thanks to websites that offer downloadable templates and other tools of technology, costs can be kept to a minimum.

While toddlers and young children are easily distracted, help is at hand for mothers who are seeking activities that are both enjoyable and educational. The Internet provides a wealth of resources for younger children – think colouring templates that can be printed out for children to colour, paint or decorate. Websites such as “Kidopo” and “Twisty Noodle” offer hundreds of templates that are free to download and contain novel ideas such as alphabet pictures for colouring and a host of other concepts that make early learning fun.

There are a number of tools and methods that can be used to enhance the look and feel of projects for older children, adding an extra element of effort, in addition to a more lightheaded approach to the learning process.

To this end, the Kodak Express Store services can be used as to print your creative projects on canvas or textured paper, as well as to add photographs and colour into school projects. User friendly printing kiosks make uploading images for printing easy, which makes turning school projects into creative masterpieces that much easier. For more special projects, Kodak Express Stores even offer brilliant photo-book services that are wonderfully quick and easy to use.

It is also possible to make use of techniques such as scrapbooking, different types of paper and the like to add special points of interest to a project. It’s all about thinking creatively and taking a fresh approach to the usual one dimensional presentations that teachers have grown accustomed to receiving from their students. Ultimately, with a little time and effort, modern technology makes creating colourful and interesting school projects a simple, fun and cost effective process.

About Kodak

As the world’s foremost imaging innovator, Kodak helps consumers, businesses, and creative professionals unleash the power of pictures and printing to enrich their lives.To learn more, visit www.kodak.com and follow their blogs and more at www.kodak.com/go/followus."


Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

The Toddler and the sea

Two years ago we had a toddler who was not impressed with the sand and the sea...

We now have a toddler who plays in the sand on the beach, but she still do not want to go near the ocean.

Only when safely in the arms of her dad!

It is an improvement, at least!

We hear it is extremely cold in Gauteng, so we are very pleased to be here.

There is a mean wind blowing here, but it still is not the icy cold of the weather that we have left behind...

Missing the student back at university!

Signing out from KZN!

Friday, 13 July 2012

The extra set of eyes

The Toddler is fascinated with the contact lenses, especially when I tell her I have to go and put in my eyes, or take out my eyes...

She loves looking at me doing it, and looking at the hard contact lens in the palm of my hand.

It's a concept that's not easy to grasp, and I try to tell her it is like having a small set of glasses on my eyes...

The contact lenses are a daily reminded to me of how grateful I still am of still having my eyes.
Even though I do not have perfect vision (far from it), I can still function and do all the "normal" stuff. Like driving and working on computers and reading...

The contact lenses can become very uncomfortable, especially since it's hard contact lenses!
When something falls in the eye, even the smallest of a dust speck, it feel like an enormous rock! It also becomes quite dry, and sometimes I have to put in eye drops...

Yesterday was one of those dry eye days, and even after the eye drops, my eyes were still blurry.
I tried taking out one of the contact lenses, and the next moment there was nothing. Not a contact lens in my eye, nor a contact lens in my hand!
As I was sitting at my desk at work, I froze to limit the range of where the contact lens would land.
These small lenses are not easy to spot when not on the eye!
Especially since I now only had one functioning eye to search with...

(I have many years of experience of searching for contact lenses that's gone missing! It is usually not very successful!)

I sat there frozen, and checking my eyebrows, my clothes, my work space...

The telephone rang, and I told Hubby my lens was missing. He usually just sighs because it drives him crazy.

As I was searching, I suddenly noticed that my vision had improved again.
The contact lens was still on my eye.

Imagine when I told my husband that I found the contact lens.
On my eye!

Thursday, 12 July 2012

We are nearly there...

"Please, please don't get sick. The beach holiday is around the corner!"

(We are going to sidestep winter for a bit.)

Dad went to pick her up at school, and off to the doctor....

Please, please! *Holding thumbs!*

Update from yesterday:

The doctor reckons it's the start of an upper respiratory infection, and only a viral infection at this stage. I even asked that if it is possible, that we can sidestep the antibiotics...

Guess what she did? She prescribed those antibiotics! (Even though she told me it is a viral infection.)

It feels more and more that I can't trust a doctor to make decisions for my family's health!

We are treating the fever with a bit of Panado, and did not send her to school today...

I am not going to give her the antibiotics! 
I Googled again today about antibiotics and viral infections, and the conviction is anonymous.
It does not work! It even worsens the situation!

Anybody knows of a good doctor who are more concerned about our health than just prescribing medicines?
I feels like I have wasted our time and money going to the doctor yesterday....

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

The best thing I did with my newborn

Spending hours and hours in the same chair, holding her and breastfeeding her.
Our Little Tortoise.

Looking at her.

Holding her.

Breastfeeding her.

Again. And. Again.

I now know it was the best best use of my time!

I will never get that back again!
But I will cherish those special months we had together...

Too soon we do not have to say again: "This too will pass!"

What was the best thing you did when you had a newborn?

(Photo: Debbie Rogers)

Monday, 9 July 2012

Partying with the youngsters, or so it feels!

We had a 19 years birthday celebration this weekend, and there was much excitement in the house.

It feels like we went to a party ourselves!
(The stuff that happens to parents of all younsters! I know!)

On Friday night the girls were off to a club, and we could only sleep soundly again after they came home at 3 in the morning... (The lights on, with us checking our cellphones regularly...)

They of course had a ball of a time!

We were worried
- about them being at a club;
-  had given loads of speeches of never leaving their drinks unattended;
- about letting us know when they arrive, and when they leave;
- worried about them being stopped at road blocks (even though the designated driver did not drink);
- worried about them being out so late!

I tell you, its easier having a toddler that stays by your side and in your house!

(Photo: The Toddler was not impressed that her sister was going to a party without her, and could only be placated when she was also allowed to wear her party dress!)

Friday, 6 July 2012

19 years today

19 years ago today she was born.

I was not there to witness her face when she breathed her first air. (The doctor did an emergency caesarian which I still think was because he wanted to go home for the day...)

But I immediately recognized the sweet face when she was brought to me! So much familiar features! The chin and the nose and the whiff of hair!


She was such a cute little thing growing up! Very independent!

I also remember the blonde hair, always loose because it was such an issue just combing it...

It has been such a wonderful experience to have her in our lives...


Happy birthday, beautiful girl!


Thursday, 5 July 2012

Three steps to handle those meltdowns - "She is not being difficult!"

Crying, tantrums, melt-downs...

That's what Toddlerville looks like now!

It gets very difficult for us to handle it!
We get the feeling that she is just being naughty difficult!

The immediate gut-reaction from our side is to label it (as being difficult!), to threaten her with some sort of punishment or to ignore...

The more I read about it, and the more I try to understand the outbursts, the more I know that she is  not being difficult!

- She wants to express something to us that she is not yet fully able to understand herself!

- The only way to express her feelings is through crying, tantrums and melt-downs!

- She wants us to understand what she is trying to express! She is having very strong feelings about it!

I heard a very sane way of handling it (on Groeipyne, on RSG, an Afrikaans radio station), and it can be done in 3 steps.

3  Steps to approach a meltdown (tantrum/crying):

1. Try to understand what the child is trying to say?

2. Reflect her emotions (that is lying underneath the behaviour) back to her!
"I can hear you are angry/upset/frustrated because you ...."

3. Allow her to have the emotions and scoop her up in your arms or stay very close. Be accepting of her feelings and emotions!
It does not mean you have to give in to all her demands.
She should be allowed to have those feelings and outbursts!

Our job is to learn them how to handle these outbursts and emotions.

Or else we will still have a door-slamming, swearing, raging individual when she grows up... (those Adult tantrums!)

Related posts: (I see I have quite a few ;-) I am still learning...)

How to survive the terrible tantrum

The t-dance: the toddler and tantrums

Symptoms of toddlerhood: the whistle and not sleeping

The evening WHINE

Monday, 2 July 2012

Movie Clip Monday #25 - Feeding the birds & squirrels


"Squirrel! Squirrel! Birds!"
"Where are you?"

 Clip from weekend camping at Kokoriba the previous weekend.

Working moms and volunteering at school

Working mothers can never compete with SAHMs when it comes to volunteering at school. It is just not always possible to to be there.

With hindsight I am really grateful to my parents who always pitched in at school when there was a call for help. Now I really understand the effort on their part!

I have said yes to a couple of volunteering efforts at school, and afterwards felt that I had to overcommit and overextend myself! (The things you do for your children...)
Such as The Fundraiser last year!

One thing I have taken away from all these. It is okay to sometimes say NO! Your children will understand.

I read this nice list over at National Nannies that seems to be a good way to get involved without feeling done in afterwards.

10 ways working moms can volunteer at school:

  1. Coordinate class parties through e-mail.  
  2. Cut out or prepare things at home.  
  3. Send money to help with a project. (I vouch for this one!)
  4. Make calls at night.  
  5. Provide extra school supplies.  
  6. Ask your nanny to stand in for you.  (If you are as lucky to have a nanny!)
  7. Join the PTA or PTO at your child’s school.  
  8. Chaperone a field trip.  
  9. Help with set up for an evening event.  
  10. Volunteer to work at the concession stand.  
(Read more over at National Nannies)

The best thing that I have learnt is to always try to make an effort, but if it is not possible, 
never to feel guilty about it!
I am working because I have to, and because I want to give my child a better life!

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