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Category Archives: Babyice

Please Go To Sleep

I have been attempting to sleep train my children again. Most nights I spend an hour to 90 minutes laying down with them to get them to sleep. Gabby still nurses to sleep and even if she seems sound asleep, as soon as I move from her side I hear “Mommy where you going?”. It can be infuriating and I can get easily frustrated. Elijah has no problems falling asleep. If I am there he will usually fall asleep in about 5 minutes, which was also the case last night. The problem came in when I tried to get up to leave and Gabby started crying. I tried so hard to stand my ground and just let her cry it out. Then Elijah woke up and fed up with her crying, he started complaining. I was then privy to a conversation between the two of them, which I was relaying to a friend via WhatsApp while it was all happening. This is a transcript of that chat:

Both these kids are howling in bed. Snot en trane.

They are now plotting to run away together tomorrow.

They plan to take the fish with them.

Gabby is asking where my fish will be.

She doesn’t understand how the fish tank goes with them and my fish stays here.

Elijah says he will buy another tank.

Mommy is rude. Now they are talking about how they will move to Salma (a neighbour) and Salma’s mommy will make them food.

They have now realized they can’t have another mommy, that I’m their mommy no matter what.

This messes with their plans.

They are legit blowing their noses and having a mother of a snot fest.

I so much want to comfort them.

Gabby: I want boooooooobies!

Elijah: Mommy won’t come. She is rude.

Gabby: I got a plan now.

*whispering*

I can’t take much more of this.¬†

They hate me.

Elijah says I don’t care about them.

Gabby is screaming at me that I hate them. Why won’t I lay there?

Elijah: Mommy cares more about sleep than she cares about us.

Gabby is still shouting at me because I hate them. Elijah agrees, because I am doing this. They are each trying to take the blame. She hates me. No, she hates me. I wish I could record this. Gabby can’t stop crying. She needs her boobies. This is torture. Gabby says her heart is breaking for mommy right now.

Elijah tries to negotiate. Mommy, just give her 5 minute boobies please!

Gabby: No! I want INFINITY boobies!

I can’t take this. It’s killing me.

To my credit, they both feared leaving the room. They were warned not to. Every now and then I would tell them “I love you. Go to sleep!”, especially amidst all the “MOMMY YOU HATE US!”. Eventually they both mustered up the courage to shuffle slowly towards my room…very close together, in case either of them gets into trouble. Once they hit the threshold their confidence soared and Gabby climbed onto my bed. Elijah followed suit and suddenly all the tears were forgotten.

While I obviously failed at my attempt to sleep train these monkeys, I managed to redeem myself in their eyes I guess. I had to chuckle at their plans to move out and can now definitely see how parents can claim their kids gang up and plot against them. It was heart wrenching and hilarious at the same time.

Sleepers

Once they finally fall asleep they are adorable though

I don’t know what I am going to do. Sleep training one at a time is hard enough, but sleep training two seems impossible. Since Elijah doesn’t actually have a problem falling asleep, he is not my challenge. Gabby wakes him up when she cries and then they are both whining for some sort of comfort. I don’t want to spend so much time putting them to sleep each night. I need a little time in the evening to myself to unwind, gather my thoughts and relax before I go to bed myself. On the one hand I think that they are only going to be little for so long and eventually I won’t be welcome to lay down with them as they drift off. On the other hand I need to maintain my sanity.

What would you do?

Thanks for reading ūüôā

 

Something Fishy

Recently both my children celebrated their birthdays. The festive season is always a clusterfuck of sorts in my household. We have Christmas, a few days later it’s Gabby’s birthday and a month later it’s Elijah’s birthday. Financially speaking, it can get very expensive, very fast during the worst months of the year when it comes to trying to manage your finances. What to buy the children for their birthdays is always a struggle, without even bringing affordability into consideration. Personally I am not in favour of buying more toys, since they already have more than one toy box overflowing with things that they never play with. Of course I am in favour of buying them clothes since they are growing up way too fast and both of my children are incredibly talented at making huge holes in their pants. Gabby will usually come home with a hole in the knees of her pants, while Elijah has been able to rip a hole in the seam of even the most durable of clothing items. I bought them toys anyway, but nothing too expensive or big and definitely nothing requiring batteries. Their father decided to buy them pets. A fish tank to be more precise. I was dead set against the idea. NO PETS. No no no. I don’t want a fish tank, I don’t want fish. I don’t know anything about how to keep them alive, clean the tank, etc. I don’t want to have to deal with the heartache of the children when the morning comes where I am going to have to flush their fish down the toilet. What mommy wants doesn’t matter though. The kids were beyond excited and I surrendered.

Chill Corner

Chillin’

Cinderella and Ryan

Cinderella and Ryan

Tank Decor

Tank Decor

Goldeen

Mommy’s Fish

What came home was a tiny fish tank. A starter tank if you ever did see one. Rudi bought a filter and some stones for the bottom and 2 goldfish. One for each of the children. The children picked which goldfish they wanted for their own and named them.¬† Meet Cinderella (left with the black markings) and Ryan. I procured the “plant” you can see in the background. Next thing you know I’m standing in Stodels looking for fish vitamins, additives to help me clear the water and whatever else I can find to make these fish happy. Within a week I was more obsessed with the fish tank than the kids were. I wanted to decorate it and get a light installed. While getting the water clear has been an uphill battle and I’m still not happy with the clarity of the water, taking care of these fish has become a little hobby that I am quite enjoying. A friend of mine promised Elijah he would buy him something cool to put in the tank, but he was trying to find just the right thing. He finally found something really cool to put in with the fish. On yet another trip to Stodels yesterday I found a third item I thought would look good. I was a little worried I wouldn’t have enough space, but I luckily I did ūüôā
I bought the purple ‘coral’ and my friend bought the shipwreck which I think looks really badass. I really wanted to buy a plecostomus (sucker fish) for the tank, but the helper at Stodels advised against it strongly since they are tropical fish and probably wouldn’t survive in unheated water. I was quite bummed. I love those darn sucker fish and they serve a purpose as well. I was determined to leave with a fish though and I knew I wanted my own distinctive fishy. I looked for a black goldfish, but couldn’t find one…so….Meet Goldeen! Named after a generation 1 Pokemon that is also a fish with white markings ūüôā This is MY fish. I started feeling kind of left out not having a fish of my own. Why do the kids get to have all the fun? They don’t. I was so silly excited about this fish I tell you. When I got home I popped Goldeen into the tank and I could tell that Ryan and Cinderella were very accepting. They totally hang around in the tank together. There is a specific corner they like to chill in.

Fish friends! I was told that the maximum capacity of my tank is 3 goldfish. Now there are 3. Problem is…I want more. Now I’m contemplating getting a bigger tank. WHO AM I EVEN? I DIDN’T WANT THE TANK OR THE FISH. One night before I got the extra fish Elijah prayed at bedtime “Dear God, thank you that mommy is so nice about the fish, even though she didn’t want them. ” Seriously though…a bigger tank with more fish would be awesome. These things can get very expensive by the way. You’ll find yourself spending money on things you never thought you would want or needed. Yesterday morning, instead of getting ready for work, I pulled a chair up to the fish tank. I fed the fish and sat there watching them swim after the flakes. I may even have spoken to them. The kids do too. They kiss the fish goodnight through the glass and tell them to sleep tight.

After I got home from work yesterday I decided to overhaul the entire tank. I emptied it out, cleaned the filter, cleaned the glass and the stones and refilled the tank. I know usually you only do half and half when cleaning the water, but I had had just about enough of cloudy/murky water and thought this would help. It did! I managed to get better pics of the fish too ūüėÄ

Cinderella Fish

Cinderella

Goldeen Fish

Goldeen

Ryan Fish

Ryan

Clean water

Clean water

 

Having fish pets is kind of awesome. Who knew?

Thank you for reading!

 

I’ve Come Undone

I’ve been off from writing personal posts for a long time. There has been so much going on with me. There is so much I’m trying to work through. I feel like all the broken bits inside of me that I have been patching up from time to time have ripped loose. I’ve come undone. It’s such a mess and clearly the glue I’ve been using is of an inferior quality. Now I’m sitting surrounded by these shards of glass. I’m too afraid to touch them, if I do I’ll cut myself and bleed again, but I need to pick them up. I can’t just leave the mess. I have no idea how to piece things back together. I’ve made a start, but the pieces of glass are scary. I don’t know how to pick them up. I know which ones should be thrown away, but I don’t know where to put them. I know that I’m strong enough to do it, I must be. After all the demons I’ve faced in my life, I know I’m strong. I see the demons reflected in the pieces of glass and they also still scare me, these memories. Piecing these things back together isn’t a job that can be done wearing kid gloves. You need to ¬†get right in there and handle those things with your bare hands.

So in the middle of October as they do every year, my feelings started rising to the surface. I started suffering from anxiety and slipped into depression. There were days that I struggled to lift my head off my pillow and drag myself in to work. I would cry while applying my make up in the mornings and would continue on the way to work. By the time I arrived I would wonder why I even bothered putting on make up at all. This is the second year around Jamie’s birthday that I’ve started feeling this way, except this year it was a lot worse and it carried on way past her birthday. As I’m typing this I am still struggling with the anxiety and the¬†tears that just come. It is better now than it was a month ago, the depression did not hang around long. I had a few really tough days, but that eased off once Jamie’s birthday was behind me. A friend recognized my struggle and urged me to get help. I did, but it was a temporary arrangement that I cannot afford to maintain. Honestly, I did find it very helpful and I wish I could continue, but it just isn’t financially viable even though it is invaluable. Right now I’m left trying to figure it all out on my own. I’ve been avoiding the pieces of glass for so long. I thought I had it all together and handled, but it has become clear to me that I do not and now I have to do the work. There is no going back. There is no more faking it till you make it. I need to deal. I just haven’t figured out yet exactly how.

I went through almost a month where I didn’t even open my blog to write anything down. In my 10 years of blogging, this is unheard of. I stopped doing nail art for a few weeks. A first since my nail obsession started. I couldn’t even find the motivation to do a nail post, which is usually fairly easy for me. Luckily I had a few drafted posts that I could push out in the interim so my blog only went silent for about a week when they had finally run out. Writing on my blog has always been cathartic for me. I blogged though some of the most difficult times of my life with much success (or so I thought, that inferior glue). The deterioration of my relationship with my mother, the loss of Jamie, my grandfather’s illness and subsequent death. I just couldn’t sit down and pour out what is inside this time.

I am struggling at home. It is peak season for Rudi at work and this sees him away from home even more frequently than he was before. While I have adjusted somewhat, day in and day out it starts becoming too much. I’ve realized things about myself and identified why I react a specific way in certain situations. I know now that I am a bit of a control freak and if things do not go precisely as I want them (or very close) I get upset. So yes, having kids is super fun for me. I like to plan things down to the finest detail. I cannot “go with the flow” unless my plan was specifically to do so. Yes. It is weird, I know. When I was getting help I was given homework. I could not find the time to do any of it. I really tried. I did, but I just couldn’t carve out time in my day to sit and work on piecing the glass back together. When I get home in the evening I need to cook, clean, attend to the kids, bath time, etc. We get home around 17:00 and 20:00 is bed time. That’s 3 hours to get everything done. Gabby still likes to have a reunion feed when we get home, so that takes about 20 minutes in itself. Elijah will go and play with his friends and Gabby has started wanting to follow suit. I cannot let her go play outside alone, so if she demands to go I have to accompany her. Cue not getting anything else done. Trying to herd them back into the house for supper time (if I’ve been able to cook)/bath time can sometimes take a half an hour and usually ends with me picking Gabby up and carrying her home with Elijah in tow. Gabby has also suddenly become averse to bathing. She just won’t! A lot of nights she stands with one foot only in the bath screaming at me until I manage to wipe her down. Hair washing nights are very difficult. I lose my cool. ALL THE TIME. In between getting them out of the bath and dressing them I can be found sitting in a heap crying from frustration 8/10 nights. Before the tears comes the yelling. They don’t listen. I speak. I speak again. I speak again. Finally I shout. Nothing works. Not the speaking, not the shouting. Admittedly the tears also come because I feel like a horrible mother for shouting at them. I genuinely feel terrible for doing it, but I completely lose it and it’s like I can’t not. I have tried to stop many times. It is usually short lived.

Until we received a written warning from our body corporate complaining about the noise very recently. Somebody reported it. I really needed that written confirmation of my complete and utter failure as a mother. Thank you for that, dear neighbour. If I remove my emotions from the situation, I can envision that the complaint was made with good intent, perhaps even out of concern. I get it. The problem is and has always been that I have too many feelings. This written warning was a wake up call for me. My rock bottom. It made me feel like it is not only me that thinks I’m a shit mother. It is now a shared sentiment, common knowledge. Since receiving the complaint I’ve tried to be very careful. I’ve tried my best not to shout. The night after I received the e-mail Gabby was crying in the bath, standing on one leg wanting to get out. I tried to calm her, to quiet her…worried about the warning I had just received. I didn’t shout. Instead I sat sobbing by the side of the bath feeling completely powerless to do anything. Eventually I managed to suck it up enough to get her washed and out of the bath. It wasn’t the last time that night that I cried.

Sometimes I just want to escape. I just want to run away. I miss having help around the house. I miss it a lot. I am not going to get it back though, so I’m stuck feeling overwhelmed. Rudi is talking about applying for a new job where he will be driving long distance. He mentioned being away from home for 16 days at a time. I said under no circumstances do I want that for our family, but all he sees is making enough money to finally buy our own house. All I see is my children missing their father and time that they cannot get back with him.

The latter half of 2015 is kicking my ass. Come to think of it, this entire year has kicked my ass in different ways. In the beginning of the year Rudi was changing jobs and as a family we were under a lot of financial pressure for a number of months. This only settled down once he was made permanent in July. During that time my previous car broke and I had to buy a new one and it was very stressful not knowing if I was going to be able to pay for it. Just as the financial issues sorted themselves out, I had to adjust to taking on everything at home and a month or two into that my coping mechanisms gave in.

All in all I think I will be glad to see the back of 2015 and hope that 2016 will bring some sparkle back. Good riddance to 2015!

Thank you for reading x

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Dear Jamie

Dearest Jamie,

I know this year my letter to you is really late. Your impending birthday hit me hard this year again. It was bad last year, but not quite as bad as it was this year. It always starts in October. The anxiety, the constant crying. 7 years later I finally figured out why. It was about 2 weeks before you were born that we got the bad news. I don’t actively think about those two weeks, about receiving the bad news or the time leading up to the day you were born. Clearly somewhere deep down I remember regardless and the feelings come, whether or not I want them to.¬†Timehop is an application that lets you look back on your memories for the day across social media over the years and it became abundantly clear to me that it always starts around the same time. It is always a somber time for me and people notice that I am not myself.

This year Timehop gave me a gift of sorts. I don’t have any photos of us together, but this year I discovered one. It was taken just 2 days before you were born. I was at a Halloween party, dressed as a clown no less. It’s not the best photo of me, but it is the only one that I know of that I have of us together. I remember that party well. I knew that you would be born soon and had the desire to drown my sorrows, but I could not do it. I wanted you to be safe and as well as you could be until you were born, I still felt the responsibility to look after you until the very end, although it would not have made much of a difference in the grander scheme of things. It is a choice I am glad I made, a choice I am proud of. This is the picture I discovered:wpid-wp-1446576574674.jpgLook at that tummy! You were a big girl. We were just shy of 22 weeks together when this picture was taken and not long after is when everything fell apart. Our time together ended and I went through the darkest time in my life. It was something nobody could prepare me for and something that has still not healed completely. I tried this year to work through the latent grief. It has been 7 whole years and I feel like it is time that I start to let go and forgive myself. I still blame myself for so many things. Although I know that we did the right thing for you, it is still difficult to come to terms with. I can hope that I have started to move¬†towards more positive thoughts. I no longer only want memories of you to be painful and I am certain you would not want me to be unhappy. It seems impossible not to feel the pain when looking back, but it was not all bad. You prepared me in a way to be a mother to your siblings. It was something I was not sure I was ready for until after you were born. I think I needed that and so your birthday should not always be a sad event, even though you have never been with us.

Your brother and sister are getting big so quickly. Your brother is almost 6 and next year goes to Grade R, before you know it he’ll be in big school! Your sister is almost 3 and is really coming into her own. While your brother is soft hearted and compassionate, your sister is strong willed. They are both stubborn too. No guesses who they get that from. Like we do every year we celebrated your birthday with cake and let your brother and sister blow out the candles and sing for you.Jamie's 7th birthdaySee how big they are now?! They weren’t very impressed with my choice of cake this year. I got a marbled chocolate cheesecake. It was actually really nice, but I guess kids don’t really love cheesecake. Oops. After your birthday, things always get better. The feelings start to subside and my heart¬†calms down. I am hoping next year will be a better year for me in this regard, that I can move through this time of year without teetering on the edge of a nervous breakdown. I will continue to work on it and work through it. Maybe next year I can join in on the “Happy Birthday” song.

Sweet angel, look after Oupa GG there in heaven for me. I’m sure the two of you are having the grandest time. While he couldn’t see your brother and sister grow and participate in their lives like I know he would have loved to, I take solace in the fact that he has you.

Until we meet again,

Love

Mommy

 

Nudity and your Children

Hi everyone. Parenting is hard. There’s no manual. No, the Internet is not a manual. You should proceed with extreme caution when consulting the Internet! I want to talk about something today that has been mulling around in my head for quite some time. When I grew up I would see my mother naked all the time. Probably every day. When she showered or got dressed and she went to the loo with the door open. It was never an issue. I was not allowed to see my stepfather naked though, which was fine by me, but that isn’t something I want to explore in this blog post.

I have children of both genders and up until now nudity has not been an issue in our house. We do not hide our bodies in shame and when we are moving between the bath/shower/getting dressed we do not close the doors or hide. My son is going on 6, my daughter going on 3. The kids still bath together and sometimes they will bath with their dad. Personally I prefer to shower and the children don’t like showering, but I will shower in the same bathroom while they are in the bath. I don’t feel like it should be an issue, but I do feel like some boundaries should be put in place at some point. Since I’ve never done this before, I’m not sure when or where these boundaries should be. This is where the manual would come in handy. So many questions. I want my children to feel comfortable with their bodies. Of course I have had the conversations with Elijah about not allowing anyone to touch his body if he is not comfortable with it and not to expose himself to anyone. At times if I had put my hand on his shoulder and he wasn’t feeling it he will say “Don’t touch my body!”. I hope this means he gets it. If he touches himself inappropriately, I ask him to do so when he is alone and never in front of people. I’ve told him it is normal and there is nothing wrong with doing so, but that nobody else needs to see it. Gabby is still a bit small to understand these things. She has shown curiosity towards the differences in their bodies in the bath and we have had to tell¬†Gabby not to touch Elijah and for Elijah not to allow her to. This is not a frequent occurrence and¬†I suppose¬†in this way I have already started setting some boundaries.

I still have questions though. For instance:

At what point do we start bathing them separately?

At what point do we not allow them to see us naked, if ever?

Do we at some point start being more discreet in front of the child of the opposing gender?

Do we insist that they do not see each other naked at some point?

I just don’t know. I assume at some point they will start wanting their own privacy and will demand it, but is that already too late? Or is that the right time?

I also try to use the correct names for body parts and genitalia, but that is sometimes hampered by others. For instance the day mother doesn’t use the correct terms and refers to them as “pee pee” and “flower”. Elijah has asked questions about sex and I’ve done what I’ve read the right thing to do is and just answer the basic question honestly without going into further detail. There will have to be a sex talk sometime though. How do you know when the right time is for that? Do we discuss periods with boys? Surely they should know how these things work too so that they can be sensitive to it when they are older. I knew a boy in high school who had a sister and at the age of 17 still had no idea about periods and how they work. Obviously they don’t need to know the nitty gritty, but how much do you tell them?

Maybe if your children are older you can help me answer these questions. What worked for you?

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What 34 Looks Like

Purchased Myself Button

 

 

 

Sheesh. Another year in my life. GONE. I firmly believe the older you get the faster time seems to go by. As a child I remember a week feeling like 6 weeks. The December school holidays felt like months! It was glorious! It was also frustrating for someone who just wanted to grow up already, as most children do. Now I’m an adult. I don’t want to be an adult, but I’ve been forced to by the time thing. Stupid time! I think I’m managing to fight the wrinkles a *little bit*, at least when I’m about to have a full body massage…thanks Ginkgo!

wpid-img-20150719-wa0028.jpg

I actually had a really good birthday. Rudi was only scheduled to start work at 1 PM and I was on leave which afforded us some time alone together. It was honestly the first time in years that we have been alone together on my birthday. Even though he had returned home from a very long work trip late the previous night, he got up early and took the kids to the day mother and let me lay under the covers a little longer. Then he took me out to breakfast and walked around in the shops with me, waited while I tried on clothes, browsed through polish sections and puttered around the mall. Major brownie points scored ūüėČ While I was browsing polish sections I found OPI polish HALF OFF at Clicks! HALF OFF!! I would normally never buy OPI at full price because it is super expensive, but it was 50% off. So I bought 2. LOL. Rudi had to go off to work and I went home to play with my new polishes. This is what I came up with:OPI Austin-Tacious Turquoise and Can't Let Go with NailCandi crown charmOPI Austin-Tacious Turquoise and Can't Let Go with NailCandi crown charmOPI Austin-Tacious Turquoise and Can't Let Go with NailCandi crown charmI started off with a base coat of Revlon Calcium Gel Nail Hardener to protect my nails. I painted my index and middle nails with one coat of Sinful Colors Black on Black. I felt that the OPI which seemed very sheer on my nail wheel would pop over black. I painted 2 coats of OPI Austin-Tatious Turquoise over the black. On my ring and pinkie nails I painted 3 thin coats of OPI Can’t Let Go from their liquid sand line. GA GA GA GORGEOUS! Both of these! I sealed in the turquoise nails with Seche Vite and used some nail glue to adhere the crown to my middle nail which was a press sample from Nail Candi. Cos it was my birthday after all! I really understand why people love OPI. The formula on both of these was great. I barely had clean up and I can flood my cuticles with the best of them.

Throughout the day I received loads of messages across my social media channels. I was totally overwhelmed by the outpouring of love from all my friends and acquaintances. I really don’t care whether or not Facebook reminded people it was my birthday (and I know that in a lot of cases, that is exactly what happened). Each and every person paused and took the time to wish me and THAT is what counts! Thank you so much to all of you that made me feel special on my birthday. From the bottom of my heart! I had a really nice day and felt so very spoiled!

Other than that, 34 looks like I’m settled into family life and¬†I’m firmly in my¬†groove. My other blessings:
wpid-wp-1439026545395.jpegI just realized after this year I go from being in my “early thirties” to “mid thirties” and it’s downhill from there, right?! EEK! I’ve had a good year and I look forward to the year ahead! Thanks again for all the support and love I get from you guys. You’re the best!

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Rolling in the Deep End – Rudi’s New Job

Life has been super hectic lately. Rudi has been permanently appointed at his new job. This is absolutely great news for us! It means that we will at least have a basic salary to rely on at the end of each month as opposed to the drips and drabs we have been getting since the beginning of the year. He was supposed to be permanent from the first of June, but an administrative balls up at the office means he only signed his contract on the 16th of June. This means that all the work he did from the 1st to the 16th he was still classified as a contractor and will be paid less than he would have if his contract had been signed on time. It is so very annoying because we finally saw the light at the end of the tunnel, only for the light to be switched off. Not by Eskom, mind you! So he’ll likely only get half a salary this month and since the overtime cut off is the 16th of the month, any overtime he has worked while permanent will only be paid out at the end of July. Now we’ll be wishing another month away in the hopes of having some extra cash flow. He has been working so very hard. We barely see him. From the first of June he did not have one day off until the 21st where he finally got one day off, only to return back to the grindstone the next day. I have been concerned about him not having any time off and not getting enough rest, but he insists he is fine.

I don’t know who this is harder for, me or the kids. Elijah has always been very close with his dad. Since he was a baby, really and never having him around has been really hard on him. He regularly¬†expresses sadness because his father is not home with us. Often Rudi only comes home after they have gone to bed and leaves again before they get up in the morning, sometimes days go by without them seeing him. Since Gabby is very attached to me it doesn’t seem to bother her too much, but she is still really excited when daddy does come home before bedtime.¬†As for me…while I do miss Rudi, we chat during the day via Whatsapp and phone, so we do have constant contact. Rudi used to be very hands on when he was home. He used to cook and help out bathing the kids. Now I’m doing it all alone. Do we need something from the shop? I’ll get it. Do we need to eat? I’ll cook. Kids need to bath? I’ll bath them. The day mother needs bags packed? Sure thing (this has always been my responsibility). Dishes? Here, let me. Clean the house? I’ll get it! Kids sick? I’ll get them to the doctor, get meds¬†and administer them. It is chaos. All.The.Time. I knew I had it easy with all the help I had before. I appreciated it then, but even more now. ¬†Throw loadshedding into the mix and I am totally screwed some evenings. If we have the 18:00 – 20:30 slot and I don’t get home around 17:00 like we do most days, I can forget about cooking, we have to bath/shower in the dark and the kids go to sleep super early because it is dark and they are bored. If we have the 16:00 – 18:30 slot, I have to start cooking much later and that delays everything. I can’t exactly bath the kids at 17:00 and keep them indoors. Elijah wants to play with his friends outside/at their house so I have to wait. Thanks Eskom!

Sometimes my evenings look like this:wpid-img-20150603-wa0030.jpegwpid-wp-1435296954885.jpegThese 2 photos above were taken within seconds of each other. A lot of my evenings look like this at some point.¬†Sometimes Elijah is playing with friends in the complex and they possibly look like this (if I actually have time to give them my undivided attention between the cooking/cleaning/preparing for the next day):wpid-img-20150620-wa0015.jpegRudi has migrated Elijah into our bed since he is often not there or gets home¬†too late to go and lay down with him until he falls asleep. It’s a tight squeeze. All 4 of us in one king size bed. Although, I must admit while it is winter¬†this is a warm arrangement. Heaven knows what we’ll do in summer. Before Elijah came over, I was able to turn around and cuddle Rudi if Gabby was content sleeping unlatched by herself. Now I turn around and am faced with Elijah, which means zero cuddle time for Rudi and I. I miss that. While I realize some people may cringe at the idea of having their children in their bed and will cluck their tongues and say “You’ll never get them out of there”, this arrangement is working for us right now. It means nobody feels left out and everybody gets a good night’s sleep. In fact, I listened to advice from people before Elijah was born and moved him into his own room when he was 4 months old. I also made sure he always slept in his cot before he moved out of our room. With Gabby co-sleeping was the only option for me as I successfully breastfed her and I’m all about that convenience. No getting up out of a warm bed for feeds for me thankyouverymuch. After co-sleeping with Gabby for a while I regretted not doing it with Elijah. I really felt like I had missed out on something special with him. My mornings look like this:wpid-img-20150612-wa0002.jpegI have been getting a lot of comments lately from people about still breastfeeding Gabby. Actually, the comments are usually directed at her. “When are you going to stop drinking boobs?” “Gabby, it’s time for you to get off the boob now”. Really? I just don’t understand how it affects anyone other than Gabby and myself. Breastfeeding is the most wonderful thing in her life and the most useful mothering tool for me. Another thing I missed out on with Elijah. No matter what crops up with Gabby, breastfeeding is the answer. Tired? Boob. Get hurt? Boob. Overstimulated? Boob. Thirsty? Boob. Bored? Boob. Tantrum? Boob. Best.Thing.Ever. When people ask ME when I plan to wean her, I usually just answer “Maybe when she is in high school”. This is normally followed by nervous laughter. I’m starting to wonder if people think I’m serious. Perhaps the statement makes them realize that nursing a 30 month old isn’t so ridiculous after all. I don’t know and I really don’t care. My circus, my monkeys – Mind your own tits.

Breastfeeding selfie…can you even tell?wpid-img-20150622-wa0026.jpegRudi’s work schedule is still completely unpredictable, so we cannot plan our lives at all. He is always at work, so if we are invited somewhere or try to make plans, I usually have to exclude him from the equation. If he is able to come along, it’s a bonus. It isn’t like we had a roaring social life before, but it is rather limiting. We cannot, for example, plan to take the kids somewhere over the weekend, or commit to popping around somewhere for a braai. I can’t even plan something for myself as we do not have anyone at our disposal that can watch the children if Rudi isn’t there to look after them if I go out. It just isn’t logistically possible. While this part is sucky, I’m sure we will adapt. It is the kind of sacrifices we’ll have to make to have more money and to progress.

Rudi has big dreams. He dreams of buying a house of our own. I have learnt to have faith in his dreams. At the beginning of this year he said “2015 is my year. I can feel it.” I didn’t believe him. He was relentless and worked extremely hard and here we are. His first goal achieved, his first dream realized. Onwards and upwards!

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Antibiotics Required

Hi everyone. The kids have been sick. For almost 3 weeks now. I’ve been treating them with OTC meds and they have been okay. Coughing, snotty and the occasional fever…for 3 weeks. Gabby’s fever has now become more aggressive and I’ve decided it’s time to give in and take her to the doctor. I am certain she is going to come away with antibiotics and I have to be okay with that.

Just over a week ago I took them to a kiddies party and the next morning I woke up with a very angry looking red eye. I went to the doctor on the Monday and he confirmed I had conjunctivitis. That same day I noticed Gabby’s eye was also tearing and there was a small amount of discharge. This has happened before and I was prescribed the same eye drops that she used, so I gave her some too. Her eye is all better, but she is still coughing and the fevers are coming one after the other or at least once or twice a day instead of every other day. When her temperature shoots up she is also getting that look…that limp look where it looks like the light has left her eyes. So it is time. Her body is struggling to fight whatever has a hold of her. I’ll have the doctor give Elijah the once over as well, although I don’t think that he is as bad. I’ve only been able to get an appointment for them tomorrow afternoon.

So our 9 month streak of no antibiotics will be coming to an end fairly soon. I am okay with that.

When Life Gets Tough

In the last two months or so¬†my day to day life has changed dramatically. I have a very hands on and involved husband. He helps me tremendously with the kids and running the household. He has been stuck in a dead end job for many years. He didn’t¬†earn a bad salary for the line of work he was¬†in, but there is just no room for growth or any opportunity for promotion or even doing something different in the¬†company.¬†I have always been the breadwinner in the household and he has done his best, but if the things I hear are true this kind of thing bruises a man’s ego. Apparently men have a primal instinct to provide. I don’t really know, I’m not a dude. So just over 2 years ago he decided to try and do something to get himself into a better position.

His father is a truck driver. Has been for¬†over 30 years. He had spoken about wanting to drive trucks before, but I didn’t know how serious he was about it. Before I knew it he was writing his learners and we were booking driving lessons. He only had 3 and aced his code 14 or EC. He applied for and obtained his PrDP (Professional Driving Permit) and the job hunting began. For 18 months he hounded company after company. I would send out his applications to firms on a daily basis using details he had collected by browsing career websites and cold calling numbers on trucks. He never let up. He was turned down time and time again because he had no experience. Then he decided that his license clearly wasn’t enough and he went to get certification to transport dangerous goods and again aced the test. Rinse, repeat. He would often bring up the job hunt over a beer with whoever and not too long ago he mentioned it to someone in our complex who works for a trucking company. This guy put a good word in for him with the boss and they let him come in to drive and show what he is made of. ¬†The week that he spent training/driving was really rough. He left the house at 5:15 in the morning and came home after 19:00/20:00 and one night after 21:00. After 4 days of driving they put him alone on the truck and even got him to come in on the Saturday and gave him a truck to complete deliveries with no co-driver. He worked from early the morning till after 17:00 that Saturday. He came home with stories about driving trucks and how scary/complicated/dangerous it is that left me cold. If there is one thing I can say about my husband it is that he is an excellent driver. I trust him with our lives. He is by far a better driver than anyone I know. So the fact that he was driving well didn’t surprise me at all, but I felt like I barely saw him all week. Some nights he made it home just in time to kiss the kids goodnight. He was informed that he could start working there and that he would be on probation for a few months. He finally got a job after all his hard work.¬†It was¬†hard for me and for the kids. We missed him so much.

This job never felt “right” to me. He explained to me that the truck he was driving had no working indicators and the speedometer also didn’t work. That just didn’t sit well with me considering he was driving over mountain passes! He would also only earn overtime after working for 10 hours. The company is 35 km away from home in one direction. I had to pick him up a twice late at night with the kids in the car. Not ideal. The guy that put a good word in for him also told him that he always gets his pay on time, but hadn’t seen a payslip for the 8 years he had worked there. That kind of “under the table” thing doesn’t sit well with me. I’m a stickler for rules. I shut up and sucked it up, because I knew he needed the experience and that he is chasing a dream. I knew how hard he had fought just to get a chance.

On one of his days off that he took to sort out paperwork and resign from his old job, he took a chance and drove to a huge distribution center close to home. At first they wanted to turn him away, but one of the guys there told him to come in and take a driving test. It was scheduled for a Friday, but they moved it up to the Thursday. I happened to be on leave on the same day to get my hair done and run some errands. I took him to the distribution center early in the morning and went off to go about my day. He was the only one that passed the driving test. The next thing he knew they were taking his fingerprints and making him an access disk. He had landed the job! I was ecstatic! It is only 8 km from home and is a big retail chain, so much more stability and structure than a fly by night tax evader, no? He had to start the very next day at 2:30 AM! We immediately went out and bought a him a scooter (motorcycle) so that he could get to and from work independently.¬†We don’t even know what his new salary will be, but I’m pretty sure he is going to be earning enough overtime to bridge any gap there might be in what he is earning. I don’t know whether or not there will be more money coming in. I freaking hope so, considering how much less of him we see. Despite it not being about the money, fair is fair. Sacrifice should equal reward.

We are a little frustrated at the moment since he doesn’t get called in to work every day. He gets paid by the hour as he is not a permanent employee, so no work, no pay. He asks to work every day, but a lot of days there isn’t work for him. It looks like we’ll come up short in the budget again this month and it is really stressful. I work with the finances and I am a worrier by nature, so it really takes an emotional toll on me. Apparently they will be appointing permanent drivers really soon. We can just pray and keep the faith that he will be permanently appointed in which case he will get a basic salary plus overtime.

That aside, I now have to do the things he was doing plus whatever I did. I’ve always been against him doing long distance driving. I don’t care about the money. Money cannot buy your children’s childhood back. Money cannot buy missed events, missed memories. Money does, however, pay school fees/rent/child care/new winter clothes for the kids/groceries. Here’s hoping he will be permanently appointed very soon so that we can be guaranteed at least his basic salary as an income.

Cross all the bits please!

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No Antibiotics for 6 Months

Hi there! Early in September last year I wrote about wanting to try and get my children off antibiotics. You can read my concerns and thought processes at the outset here. A little over¬†a month later, I wrote this post about how it was going. At the time it seemed such a short space between the posts, but my kids were on antibiotics so often last year that it wasn’t completely unwarranted. Just the other day I was going through my Timehop¬†and realized that it has been an entire 6 months since either of my kids have had any antibiotics!

For the past few years I have been ill myself in February, usually with bronchitis. Like Elijah I am prone to chest infections and when I do get them I get asthmatic symptoms. I managed to skip the chest infections this year during February. The kids are doing okay too! We usually all get sick together. I’m convinced I pick up their bugs. Rudi is usually the only one that is okay. That man’s immune system is as strong as an ox! There have been sniffles, coughs, vomits, tummy bugs and insect bites in the last 6 months, but nothing that needed a doctor’s attention. Gabby hurt herself in the park a few weeks ago and we went to the emergency room to have it looked at. It was a Sunday night and I was beside myself because I had never seen her so inconsolable. Not even boobs would calm her down. She had been hanging from overhead chains in the park and likely somehow hurt her wrist while doing so. We gave her some painkillers, but she couldn’t/wouldn’t move her arm or let us touch it and it completely freaked me out. Fortunately the waiting room at the ER was quite full and before we got a chance to see the doctor the painkillers kicked in and she was right as rain. Dodged an expensive bullet there! She was completely fine the next day. Go figure.

Looking at my medical aid statement from last year (I can’t see further back than the current month), March, April and June were particularly bad months for us with the kids seeing the doctor very often. I know from my Timehop that we were all sick in February as well. I expect some illness around the change of season and in winter, but I’m hoping we’ll be able to treat the symptoms with over the counter meds and allow them to heal themselves as far as possible. Hopefully the sniffles and ailments won’t blow up into infections as they have in the past. Obviously I won’t endanger them or not take them to the doctor because I’m afraid he’ll give them antibiotics. I will take them if I think it is necessary. I’m just going to try not to run to the doctor first thing. This is the first time we’ll be going from summer to winter without our pet cat. I really feel that having the pet hair and dander in the house contributed to our illnesses progressing into infection. The kids would pick up the snots and it would get worse until they had full blown bronchitis/throat infection or the likes. The children they acquired these germs from wouldn’t need antibiotics and recovered without medical intervention. This is what led me to believe that environmental factors played a role in our constant doctor visits. We will soon find out if my gut feeling was right.

I must just mention that our spring season starts in September and March is our last month of summer, so we’re heading straight into the change of seasons which usually wreaks the havoc on our bodies and medical savings. We’ll have to see how it goes this year. I already feel like it is going better since we haven’t gotten sick this year yet. I’ve used the medical aid to go for a check up at the gynae and Rudi has gone once for a back problem as well, but the medical aid is untouched otherwise. I’ve been buying our over the counter meds cash to try and save the medical aid for when we are strapped for cash or at least so that it can last a little longer into the year.

I’ve been having problems with what seems to be a severe back and neck spasm. I’ve been going for physio because I figured after two weeks of taking anti-inflammatories and painkillers that I better fix the root cause. I’m desperate to get it sorted out. I even had some dry needling done, which only gave me temporary relief. I’ve had the shocky machines and even traction!

Traction

See? Traction.

 

I’ve taken painkillers on and off in the last 3 weeks (this is after the 2 weeks of constant meds I mentioned), but I’m finding their side effects less bearable than the pain, so I’m sucking it up. I’m starting to wonder if I’m not wasting my time with physio and whether I shouldn’t actually see a chiropractor. I’ve never been to one, but I know it will cost a lot more than they physio I’m currently paying for out of pocket and I’ll have to claim those treatments from the medical aid. Wish me luck!

Do you worry about antibiotic use? Does your medical aid last all year? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

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