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Category Archives: Breastfeeding

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.

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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 🙂

 

Breastfeeding at 3.5 Years

Some moments when I’m nursing my child I take pause and realize what an absolutely amazing journey this is. Perhaps the most special journey along with pregnancy I have ever experienced. I cannot describe the bond it has created between us. The closeness that we have because of it. Touch is my most prominent love language and I can not only speak this language to her, but she speaks it back to me at the same time. The other day I was nursing her for her nap, we lay there in silence, tummy to tummy. She wasn’t wearing a shirt so our skin was touching. I exhaled as she inhaled and I inhaled as she exhaled. She gently drifted to sleep and not long after that, so did I…but not before I was able to treasure that moment.

I felt compelled to write about this. I don’t want to forget how special this time together in our lives is. I don’t want to forget the little moments.

Nursing 3.5 years old

Over the weekend this post popped up in my Facebook memories. Three years ago I was so anxious that introducing mixed feeding into our routine would cause a sudden and abrupt ending to our breastfeeding journey. I never imagined that I would find myself nursing my 3 and a half year old toddler all this time later.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I never expected to successfully nurse past six months…or to a year, never mind 3.5! Gabby still loves to nurse and I still enjoy nursing her…most of the time. It can be very frustrating at times. On Sunday she was particularly needy and she was at the breast almost all day. I have felt irritated by this in the past, only to realize later that she was getting sick or needed to nurse for another reason. I try to be patient, but when you have a lot to do it can drive you insane. On the other hand when we you feel like you need some downtime, it can be a wonderful escape into doing nothing but being close to your nursling.

Nursing 3.5 years old

I do think about weaning. Whenever Gabby has engaged a poor latch and hurt me, I think “This is it. I can’t take this anymore!”, until I am no longer in pain and thoughts of weaning are forgotten again. We have clear boundaries that she undertands. We were out with my bestie and her baby at the mall and we stopped at a restaurant for lunch. Gabby looked at me and said “Mommy, no boobies here?”. I replied, “No, no boobies here”. “Mommy, boobies only by home?”, “Yes, Gabby, boobies only by home” and she ran off to play. She demands to nurse when we are at a neighbours house, but it is a venue I have conceded at before. Sometimes we will visit there and stay quite late, so I have tried to nurse her to sleep, but mostly she doesn’t fall asleep and is content with a nursing session. Our neighbours don’t mind, so if we are there and she needs to nurse I excuse myself for a while and return once Gabby’s needs have been met.

In the past week or so she has started doing something that she has never done before, where she nurses for a short while and stops to declare “Me done!”. I am usually the one to decide when we are done. It leads me to wonder if she is on the road to self weaning, or it might just be a new game for her to play. I really think she will be a long term nurser. I have, at times, thought that I might nurse her till 4…but that milestone is rapidly approaching and I don’t know if I will have the heart to wean her if she has not self weaned at the time. Perhaps I’ll have one of my “I’m DONE!” periods after she is 4 and actually start weaning her, but I cannot commit to that.

I have started employing some weaning tactics, without the intention to wean. If she asks to nurse and I am busy with something or not in the position to nurse her for an extended period of time, I’ll tell her “Two minute boobie” or “Count to 20 boobie” and most times she will just take what she can get and agree. It works quite well and she will end her nursing session when I say two minutes is up (it isn’t always) or once I count to 20. Sometimes her brother will count for us. Sometimes she will resist unlatching, but I reinforce that it was the agreement when we started and she relents.

There are things I mean to do before our nursing journey ends. I want to have a nursing photoshoot with her and I want to have a momento in the form of a breastmilk pendant or something before she weans, but I haven’t really had the funds to do either yet. I fear time will run out before I manage to get around to it, but at least we’ll always have the memories.

Nursing 3.5 years old

Broken Bone

Where does one begin to write a post about your child seriously injuring themselves? Right here I guess. My 3 year old daughter broke her collarbone. Proper broke it. She also broke my heart while she was at it.

I was booked off work on Thursday and Friday with bronchitis and feeling rather shitty. This bout had a quick onset and left me completely drained. On Saturday morning at 2 AM Rudi left for work and didn’t return again till late Sunday night. I had managed to get through most of the weekend unscathed and the children were dressed, entertained and fed.

We live in a gated community. The children run around freely and play with each other almost every day, depending on the weather and if they had escaped being grounded for whatever reason. This day was no different. There is a park right across the road from our place. The road is fairly quiet and the children know to look for cars. The park has a swing set and a basic jungle gym with a slide, some monkey bars and a tyre swing. One of the monkey bars has been missing for a while, but the distance between the platform and the other side is fairly short, so the gap doesn’t render them useless. The kids were playing in the park and I was sitting on my balcony keeping an eye on them. I went inside to go to the loo and when I returned Gabby was crying and walking back home complaining about her arm. Elijah said she had been swinging on the monkey bars and he had been holding her legs (as we often do when we are near). She then slipped or let go and he didn’t have a good grip on her and she fell to the ground, landing on her shoulder. Not too long ago she had also fallen in the park and refused to use her wrist while crying bitterly. I went into a panic and we rushed to the emergency room after giving her pain meds. While waiting to see a doctor the meds kicked in and the wrist was completely forgotten. For good. Fool me once, they say. I had struggled to get Gabby to sleep the previous night so I let her skip her nap. She cried for a long time and I nursed her to comfort her (yay boobs!). She kept almost falling asleep, so I talked her into bathing so she could go to bed. She had trouble lifting her arm, but I managed to get her bathed and dressed. I had given her something for pain and she seemed better.

The next morning she still refused to use her arm and I noticed her shoulder seemed swollen. I had already been off work due to my illness and Rudi was working a later shift, so I asked him to drop me at work and take her to the doctor to make sure everything was OK. I managed to get her an early appointment and she was sent for x-rays. My worst fear was realized. She had broken a bone. Rudi muttered something about possible surgery and I got my bestie to take me to the hospital. I was met with a very brave little girl who told me “Mommy, doctor fix mine arm” with a cute sling.

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Thankfully they didn’t operate because she is still so young. I was horrified when I saw the x-rays. When you can’t actually *see* the break it’s easy to minimize the severity of it in your head, until you *have* seen it and it is all you see when you look at your baby girl in her sling, almost as if you now possess x-ray vision yourself.

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As if it wasn’t bad enough that my heart was broken because my baby was in so much pain, Rudi blamed me for the accident. I know it wasn’t my fault and even if I had been right there I might not have been able to prevent it, because shit happens. It just does. It really got my back up though and I was furious with him for not being supportive, also considering that I was ill and had been tending to the house, children and myself all weekend with no help. When she went back to the day mother I got repeated scoldings from her as well about what an irresponsible parent I am. When I told Rudi about her judgement he was more forgiving towards me than he had been the previous day. Perhaps he had sufficient time to get over the shock himself, but the words hurt and fueled my mommy guilt even further.

I have been so very impressed with how Gabby has been handling this. She doesn’t complain and insists on doing things for herself, even when we offer help. She only has use of her non dominant arm, but climbs into the car and back out by herself. She barely requests help and has even adjusted by colouring in with her left hand. The first couple of nights she woke up around the time her last administered pain meds would wear off and requested more. By the third night she slept through and was sleeping on her side, back and stomach again.

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Whenever you ask her if she is okay or if she is in pain she smiles and says “Me fine!”. The orthopedic surgeon did not tell us to come back for a check up or another x-ray, only that she would need to wear the sling for 10 days. By the looks of things she is healing quite rapidly. I was surprised they didn’t try to line the bone up, apparently this happens on its own. They did mention she might have a lump there for 6 months to a year and that it is normal.

I’m so grateful that she is doing well and seems to be better every day. It could have been worse, but I sincerely hope this is the last time we need x-rays to see if everyone’s bones are intact!

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

Butterfly Signature

 

Breastfeeding 34 Months in

wpid-img_20150815_152957.jpgYeah. I can barely believe it myself. While I was pregnant with Gabby I had no hope for our breastfeeding journey. I didn’t think we would make it to 6 weeks, never mind 6 months…or 34 for that matter. I remember going to La Leche League meetings in the very early days, before Gabby was born and being in awe of all the breastfeeding mothers. Watching them succeed at something I had failed at before. When people would start talking about breastfeeding their toddlers, I never envisioned becoming one of them. Honestly it made me a little uncomfortable. I had preconceived notions about breastfeeding and somehow had also been indoctrinated to believe that 6 months was the limit. At the time my LLL leader, Kim,  was already breastfeeding her daughter who was well into toddlerhood, yet I did not think that I ever would. Kim would often say in meetings that nobody plans on breastfeeding a toddler, it just kind of happens. Ain’t that the truth! The saying “They grow up so fast” doesn’t come out of nowhere. One moment you’re still struggling through the early weeks of breastfeeding, worrying about your supply and before you know it you’re planning the first birthday party.wpid-img_20150822_115159.jpg

I often hear people saying that breastfeeding is more for the mother than the child when they get older. This is honestly one of the most ignorant things I have ever heard. Breastfeeding mothers of toddlers know that it is at most times difficult and quite often inconvenient. Currently I’m struggling with Gabby and her lazy latch. She is often squirming and moving around, or latches badly and this results in very sore nipples that often take a full week to heal if not further agitated. I have started correcting her position and telling her to latch with a “big mouth” and it seems to be going a bit better at the moment. I continue to breastfeed for my own selfish reasons though, right? Right. She also still often demands to nurse and with Rudi working very long hours it is not easy to lay down with her and feed her when I have a zillion other things that need to be done. It is especially challenging in the evenings when I get home from work. Most night Gabby would like to have a reunion feed after being separated all day, when I would really like to start gaining momentum with making supper, cleaning the house and getting the children bathed and ready for bed. Sometimes it breaks my heart. I know she just wants the closeness and comfort, but I have so much to do I really don’t have the time. Wouldn’t it be blissful to just lay down and nurse her? Yes it would, but supper is not going to make itself.

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Something adorable that I’ve noticed lately is that if Gabby and I get upset with each other for whatever reason, she will DEMAND to nurse. She will whine and work herself up to the point that it is the only thing that would calm her anyway. Sometimes even if only I am upset she would start to demand to nurse. It took me a while to catch on, but I realized that she was doing this because she was under the impression that nursing would make me feel better.  So she would see mommy is upset and want to comfort me, the only logical way to do so for her was to nurse because to her that is the ultimate source of comfort. Once I had understood this I realized that she is far more clever than I give her credit for. Even though I might be angry/irritable when she does this, nursing her does calm me. If you didn’t already know when you breastfeed a hormone called oxytocin is released, which makes you happy and feel in love. It is the hormone responsible for bonding and is not necessarily exclusive to breastfeeding. Men have oxytocin too 😉 Being so close to her often also gives me the opportunity to pick up things I might otherwise have missed. Just the other day she was playing, bouncing around and happy. She asked to nurse and I obliged. While we were cuddled together I noticed she was warm. She had a mild fever. I never would have noticed if we hadn’t been skin to skin since her behaviour showed no indication that anything was wrong, but I knew to monitor her in case.

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As it stands I still don’t know how long we are going to continue breastfeeding. Although at times when I have the very sore nipples I have many thoughts of weaning just because of the pain, once that is gone so are the thoughts. I thought my personal cut off might be 3, but I’m not 100% sure that it will be. Gabby’s 3rd birthday is creeping up very quickly and I don’t think she is nearly ready to wean. I can’t imagine actually trying to refuse her. She still asks often, so the “don’t offer, don’t refuse” weaning process would not work now at all. I guess we’ll just have to keep going.

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I must admit that I am a lot more discreet about breastfeeding now that she is so much older. It is so frowned upon by our society nowadays that it can be embarrassing. If someone asks I am honest about the fact that we are still breastfeeding, but I do not breastfeed in public unless it is absolutely necessary. For instance if we are out and about and Gabby gets hurt, sometimes the only way to comfort her is to nurse. If we are close to home (at the park across the road for instance) I will take her home to do so or I will seek a private area if we are out in public. I am all for the #normalizebreastfeeding movement, I believe in doing so myself. Right now though our society cannot even deal with infants breastfeeding in public, I think someone might just burst a vein if they saw a small child do so!

I don’t even have breastfeeding goals anymore, I’ve surpassed them all and have surprised myself. Now I guess our goal is for the strength to hold on through the sore nipples and allow her to gently wean herself if I am not ready before then.

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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My Bestie Welcomes Her Baby Into the World

Hi everyone! I have something a little different for you today. On the 17th of June my bestie finally gave birth to her little boy! I was so excited all day long waiting for him to arrive. At one point I was freaked out worrying something had gone wrong after not hearing from her or her husband for hours and hours. Eventually I phoned the hospital as I had arranged to leave early from work to go and meet the little man myself. They put me through to her room directly and I was relieved and overjoyed to hear that she had given birth just a little while earlier.

This baby really is a blessing for them. My bestie’s husband wasn’t ready to have kids for the longest time. They were married the same year as Rudi and I. She patiently waited. Her biological clock started ticking very loudly and became a drone she couldn’t block out anymore. Her husband gave her the green light and after almost 2 years of trying to get pregnant, they sought professional help. My friend suffers from PCOS and wasn’t ovulating on her own. When we were together at work and it was time for her injections I shot her up with some good hormones which allowed her to pop some eggs. Lots of money and a couple of cycles later she received the amazing news that the treatment had been successful and she was pregnant!

Her pregnancy flew by at the speed of light. It really felt like 3 months to me…zooooooom and she was in hospital to have her baby! Unfortunately she couldn’t have the natural birth she wanted because her stubborn boy refused to turn around. She has high blood pressure and our gynae decided that it would be best for her to have a c section. We share the same gynae and he is amazing. He is very pro natural birth and won’t do a c section unless it is medically necessary, so no questions asked. In fact, he was so busy catching unscheduled babies, my bestie was only seen to after 13:00, despite being booked into hospital from 5:30 AM. She was huuuuuuuuuungry!

Here they are!

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HUGE CONGRATULATIONS MY FRIEND! 

My heart is so full I could explode! All the best with your breastfeeding journey <3 I am so glad I am a part of your life and get to experience this joy with you.

8 Months with No Antibiotics – Almost Foiled!

Hi everyone! Poor Gabby has been sick since Sunday. She started off with a horrible dry cough that sounded like a bark. I suspected she might have croup. She started spiking fevers of over 39° and we medicated her accordingly. I sent her to the day mother on Monday where her fever persisted and I figured out that I often ran to the doctor because the day mother is a bit alarmist. On Tuesday she had said Gabby was laying around and not herself. Rudi was home from work and went over to find her playing with the other kids. I understand she may be concerned something happens to the kids while they are there, but it was suddenly clear to me that I often took the kids to the doctor based on her feedback without seeing myself. Gabby didn’t stay home with Rudi because we were unsure if he would be called away to work unexpectedly.

On Tuesday night her fevers carried on coming back and I decided to try and get her to a doctor. I stayed home with her, but the doctors were all fully booked at the practice where we normally take them. There are at least 6 doctors there, so clearly I am not alone. I made an appointment for Thursday. She went over 39° on Wednesday night and again at 3 AM on Thursday morning and I decided to keep the appointment. She had also opened up a snot factory in her head that was new and I was truly afraid she was going to cough so hard she would vomit in our bed. She has also not been eating well, but she has been nursing almost non stop so I am not really worried about her nutrient intake.

I changed doctors for this appointment. I chose a doctor I *know* doesn’t push antibiotics if it isn’t necessary. My grandmother often goes to him and friends of ours use him too. I just knew if I took her back to our regular doctor that we would leave with an antibiotic script in hand.

We went to see the doctor and he assured me that we were not at a point where antibiotics were needed. He advised that the flu was extremely persistent this year and it was not uncommon for him to see kids with fevers for much longer than normal. He advised which symptoms to look for when antibiotics would be called in. He said the clear runny nose was a sign of a viral bug and if really thick coloured sticky snot was present we were likely dealing with a bacterial infection. He gave us one or two extra meds for her symptoms and some peace of mind. She was such a star at the doctor and he said it was a pleasure to examine her. He also mentioned that she had a very sunny disposition for someone who was sick. I said I think the boobs had something to do with it and he said that breastfed children are often more calm and happy. The man knows how to score brownie points with me! (I am not saying bottle fed babies are unhappy/not calm at all. I am sure he was not either. I have a bottle fed child too.)

I was elated that he didn’t prescribe antibiotics. We are now 8 months antibiotic free and hopefully Gabby will get over this without them. The doctor said they are seeing flu that used to last 3 to 4 days drag on for 2 weeks now. I guess the bugs are getting much stronger…what with all the over prescription of antibiotics. 

Other than that Gabby is fully potty trained.  She has blown me away. At 3 AM when she woke up with a fever, she also asked to go pee. We have taken her off nappies altogether. Potty training is one of my least favourite parenting experiences. I did have quite a few unpleasant messes to clean up with her, but she has completely surpassed my expectations with the speed she has taken herself off night nappies in particular. After about 2 months of her waking up with a dry nappy every day I decided we are wasting our money on nappies.  Yay for her! (and us!)

Here’s hoping she is on the mend and that her immunity goes from strength to strength as we try to stick to this antibiotic free lifestyle 🙂

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Elijah’s First Cinema Movie!

On Sunday I finally took Elijah to see his very first movie in the cinema! I have been wanting to do this for the longest time and definitely wanted to be with him when he has his first cinema experience. Gosh, I haven’t been to the movies in so long myself, it was just nice to go again 😉 I was supposed to take him the weekend before as my Valentine’s date, but my Valentine’s weekend took a bad turn and it didn’t happen. I was lucky enough to have won 3D movie tickets at work and thought it would be the perfect opportunity to take him. I was a bit worried about the 3D part of things. I’ve heard that young children get scared by things flying out of the screen and also that they didn’t want to keep the glasses on all the time. Rudi and I explained to him before the time that he needed to keep the glasses on to see the movie properly and that the things that looked close were not real and that he didn’t have to be scared. He was so very excited. He was almost unbearable from the time we got to the mall directly after church, till the time when the movie started.

We went to purchase our tickets as soon as we arrived at the mall and then browsed through a few shops and bought a few grocery items. Elijah simply couldn’t wait! He kept asking when we were going. Eventually I left his father and sister in the parking garage and we set off to the movies. We did a toilet run to make sure nobody wanted to get up mid movie and then went to queue for popcorn. Maybe going on a different weekend wasn’t such a bad thing as the queues were fast moving and completely bearable. If we had run into the 50 shades rush I might have wanted to stab my eye out with a straw. We went the whole 9 yards with popcorn, a blue Slush Puppy and Astros for Elijah. I had popcorn, a mixed Slush Puppy and Smarties. We went to settle into our seats. Elijah could barely wipe the grin off his face. I saw another parent fetch their child a little cushion to sit on. I didn’t even realize these things existed! I quickly left the cinema to go and fetch one for Elijah too. Elijah asked when the movie would start and a few minutes later the previews began. Elijah isn’t one for ads. He asked me again when Spongebob was going to start. Yes! I forgot to say we went to watch Spongebob Out of Water 🙂 Eventually the movie started.

Elijah was transfixed throughout the entire show. He inhaled his popcorn, Astros and Slush Puppy throughout the movie. He sat completely still, did not fiddle with his glasses or try to take them off and only near the end of the movie told me he was Plankton after seeing Plankton in all his glory at the end of the movie. I had to word that sentence so carefully to not reveal any spoilers. You never know if an adult fan of Spongebob reads here 😛

Elijah really surprised me. I thought he would chatter non stop, be disruptive or get bored during the movie. I was so happy that he enjoyed it and look forward to taking him to the movies again! 🙂

While we were at the movies Rudi had his own problems to deal with. An overtired breastfed toddler with no mommy in sight does not a happy outing make. He took Gabby to Panarottis while Elijah and I were at the movies. She ended up throwing such a huge tantrum that he was forced to leave the restaurant. Luckily they were understanding (and perhaps even glad to have him leave with her) and cancelled the food order he had placed, letting him pay for the milkshake and beer he had as quickly as possible. While he was walking around in the mall Gabby fell asleep in her stroller and stayed that way until Elijah and I caught up with them there. Movie and a pizza? Sounds like a great date to me! Elijah absolutely adores going to Panarottis, so it must have been an amazing day for him!

Have you taken your kids to the cinema? What was your experience like? Tell me in the comments below 🙂

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Breastfeeding a toddler, Gabby is 2!

Here we are. 2 years later. Wow. Just over 2 years ago I was sitting at my first La Leche League meeting wringing my hands over my 7 months pregnant belly. I was nervous, very naive about breastfeeding and scared of failure. I am also not great at public speaking and even in this very small group of people I didn’t know, my voice was shaky and I was on the brink of tears. Sanita was with me for moral support. The mothers in the group were so nice, friendly, informative and helpful. One of the mothers let me view her baby’s latch up close. This was my first and second last meeting before Gabby’s arrival. Sanita attended many more meetings with me.

For the first two weeks after birth I was on cloud 9. I was on a hormonal high and not even the jaundice threw me. I admit, I had a small cry when Gabby had to be readmitted to hospital in order to be treated for jaundice and the sticking of the needles into her for daily blood tests certainly got my mommy claws out. The beginning of our breastfeeding journey was fraught with difficulty, uncertainty and tears. They wanted to give her formula for the jaundice. I stuck to my guns. Gabby’s weight gain was slower than the doctors and nurses would have liked, even for a breastfed baby. I hashed it out with my La Leche League leader, Kim (as I did everything else – she was my ROCK!), and we pressed on. For 12 weeks I was practically permanently attached to my baby. Even if she unlatched and fell asleep, I could not move from her side without her waking and crying for me. This is typical behaviour for the first 6 weeks or so, I did not expect it for 12. We soldiered on. I tried expressing for her for when she would go to the day mother and I sucked at it. I kept on trying. Eventually when Gabby went to the day mother at 5 1/2 months old we had to supplement with formula as my body just would not respond to a pump the way it did to my baby. I was devastated. I felt like a failure despite exclusively breastfeeding for 5 1/2 months. Still, I kept breastfeeding whenever we were together. I fought with the day mother on a daily basis. I was so afraid of nipple confusion and Gabby getting used to the flow of a bottle and rejecting the breast.

We started co-sleeping from the day she came home and it turns out it was the best decision ever. The entire family gets more sleep now that nobody is getting up for a crying baby. In fact, there is no crying baby. As soon as she starts getting restless, I’ll nurse her and she’ll instantly calm back down and go back to sleep. What an absolute pleasure. While Gabby still gets sick fairly often during winter (something I didn’t expect, I thought breastfed babies never get sick!) she always gets off lightly. If we all have a tummy bug she might have one or two bad nappies and a vomit and it will all be over, whereas Elijah (and the rest of us) will suffer for a full 24 hours.

Breastfeeding is still the most amazing mothering tool. It doesn’t matter what happens, nursing her immediately fixes the problem. It has also meant that I get to have more naps since I lay down with Gabby to put her to sleep and sometimes I fall asleep with her. Is this not reason enough to continue?! 😉

I never could have imagined I would still be breastfeeding 2 years later. Not in my wildest dreams. I also could never have imagined the bond it created between me and my daughter. I never knew how much easier it would make things. I also never anticipated how difficult it would be to deal with all the unwelcome comments and uninformed bullshit that spews from people’s mouths. I digress.

I knew I wanted to breastfeed, even when I was pregnant with Elijah and I really regret not reaching out to La Leche League when I was trying to get through the rough patch with him. To be completely honest, I thought breastfeeding would help me lose weight and that was almost my sole reason for wanting to do it. I was completely oblivious to how amazing it is nutritionally and emotionally for both mother and baby. I used to avert my eyes when I saw a mother breastfeed in public. I thought people that breastfeed for longer that 6 months are strange. WHY? I actually asked colleagues when they would stop breastfeeding their toddlers (as if it was any of my business – oops). Here I am, a changed woman. A toddler nursing mother. An avid breastfeeding supporter. A treasurer of breastfeeding moments.

Here we are. Two wonderful, happy and beautiful years with our little girl. Two years of holding her close and nurturing her. Two years of love and worry. It doesn’t get any better than this. Happiest of birthdays to my precious daughter!

 

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