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Category Archives: Rudi

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 🙂
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 🙂 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 😀

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!

 

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!

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!

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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 😉 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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I’m a Quitter

Hi everyone. Today I want to talk about smoking. Both my mother and stepfather smoked growing up, so I guess it was inevitable for me to light up at some point. That coupled with the fact that my mother always told me that if I wanted to, I should smoke at home and not hang out on street corners to do it. That’s an open invitation, right? I’m not going to blame my mother for my decisions, even if I made them at a very young age where I could probably have used some firmer parenting. I can’t say that it would have made a difference, I might just have rebelled anyway. It is what it is.

I think I first lit a cigarette when I was around 14 years old. I remember it was a box of Benson & Hedges No 1 that my mother had purchased for me. I made a pretty big deal of it. I ran myself a bath, put out my cigarettes, ashtray and lighter and had a smoke while relaxing in the bath. So very grown up. At that point I decided I didn’t like it. Why would anyone want to make their mouth taste that way? No 1’s were so light, I didn’t even get light headed. I gave the pack back to my mother. This was a funny story to tell her friends, wasn’t it? Fast forward 2 years and I was in high school trying to fit in, just like everyone else. I took it up again, smoking a stronger brand this time. I smoked all through high school (not at school, although I did a few times. Shameful, I know!) and continued when I started work. I was never a heavy smoker. If I smoked 10 a day it was a lot. When I got married in 2007 I spontaneously quit. I had never had the desire to quit before and I always said I would quit when I am ready. I just didn’t see the point any more and quit cold turkey. It was during winter and I remember knitting at work to keep my hands busy when they were idle. I also went through a large number of lollipops for the oral fixation. It almost seemed too easy. I remember being really upset that I could quit smoking so easily and do something so good for myself/my body yet I struggle to lose weight.

Since then I have relapsed a few times. Usually during very stressful periods in my life. I managed not to smoke throughout all of my pregnancies, which I am grateful for. I lit up again when Jamie died and then I quit. I lit up again when my grandfather died and then I quit. Rudi started smoking full time again since starting to drive trucks. He says if he is sleepy it helps him stay awake. Yeah I know. Scary, but I would rather he stay awake. I started smoking socially while on a project in one of our other buildings and before I knew it I was buying smokes again. I started smoking full time for the first time in a long time. Again, not heavily. A pack of 20 would last me almost 5 days, but I was still smoking. So I’ve quit. Again.

By the time you read this post it will be 3 weeks. The cravings are still strong sometimes and it takes some willpower not to just go and have one if I’m annoyed about something at work or particularly stressed at home. For quite a long time I got away with smoking one here and there socially. Some people who always saw me smoke in social situations were puzzled when I told them I wasn’t actually a smoker. I guess I’ll never completely be a non smoker. Just like an alcoholic stays an alcoholic even if they are not drinking. I have had thoughts about having just one socially, but that’s a slippery slope for me as of late. Previously I could really just have one or 2. Now not so much. I’m not sure why. I am not particularly stressed right now. Not like I was when my loved ones died. Not even nearly. I felt that smoking again under those circumstances certainly was justified and a better coping mechanism than drugs or alcohol. Although…cigarettes are nothing more than a legal drug, aren’t they?

I have a little countdown app that displays how many days it has been since I last had a cigarette. I was thinking of quitting quitting and decided to put it on my home screen as a reminder of how well I’ve done and to motivate me to keep going. Will I relapse again? I’m not going to lie. It’s likely. This seems to be something that I will keep going back and forth on for the rest of my life. I’m just grateful that I do manage to put it down again every time I start. A quitter for life it would seem.

Do you have a vice? Something that you just keep going back to even though you shouldn’t?

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How You Know You’re Married to a Truck Driver

Hi there!

I thought I would write this in light of how our lives have changed recently*. I dreaded Rudi taking on this specific profession as all I could see was the probability of long distance driving and loose women at truck stops along the way. So here is a little insight into what it is like to be married to a truck driver.

  • You have to set the alarm for obscene hours. No time is sacred. Whether it’s midnight/2 AM or 5 PM, your body clock will never be the same again. My husband makes me set the alarm on my phone. I also have to turn it off. Thanks for that honey!
  • You suddenly have an unprecedented respect for truck drivers everywhere and allow them ahead of you in traffic.
  • You begin to understand that driving a truck is a very skilled job and not just any guy off the street can do it and do it well.
  • You cringe at the stories of daredevil escapes on mountain passes where the edge of the tire literally touched the boundary wall on the outer side of the mountain.
  • You’re very proud when your husband tells you about the amazing job he did reversing a 12 meter trailer into a very awkward spot, so awkward it drew a crowd that applauded when he got it right.
  • You laugh about and can relate to people in the CBD jumping out of their seats while dining alfresco to make sure that your husband doesn’t scrape their parallel parked cars in the narrow street.
  • You constantly worry about your husband not getting enough sleep.
  • You’re starting to understand how hard single parenting must be (bar not having a second income) because there is just nobody around to help.
  • Every time you see a branded truck on the road you rubber neck to check if your husband is driving it.
  • You are now expected to cook every day for the first time in 15 years and have no idea what you are doing.
  • You marvel at your husband’s ability to work a 22 hour shift and still have the energy to take care of (and request to take care of) husbandly duties.
  • You are grateful that your husband is safe every time he sets foot in the front door.
  • You are so exhausted from trying to keep all the balls in the air by yourself that you are not ashamed when you fall asleep with the children at 8 PM.
  • Your bed now hosts the entire family since there is often a big blank spot where your husband used to be.
  • You’ve seen (photos of) the inside of a truck for the first time in your life and wonder if you need a pilot’s license to be able to drive it.
  • You know what a splitter box is (this truck driver blog explains it, good luck understanding it!)
  • Your husband can quote the Fast & Furious movie in all seriousness by saying “I live my life a quarter mile at a time”, because he never knows what’s around the corner and whether he is going to make it o.O

I hope you enjoyed this post! I certainly enjoyed the original* 🙂

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*I was inspired by a funny post on Cindy’s blog to write this. You can read her post about being in a relationship with an architect by clicking here.

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.

Blessings Among The Trials

The strangest thing is happening in my life. We are in the tightest financial position we’ve been in since my mother put me in such a deep financial hole that we didn’t have food over 8 years ago. Wow. That sounded bad, but it is the reality of what it was at the time. We aren’t starving and the bills are paid, but there are no frills at the moment and the fact that I didn’t have a car payment completely saved our bums over these last few months, but that is all about to change.

As my readers will know I had to buy a new car, then this past week my washing machine packed up. It was like the motor just conked in and was not strong enough to pump out the water anymore.  Doing laundry was chaos. There were buckets involved and McGyver’ing of pipes. Only problem was that we had zero flexibility in our budget to purchase a washing machine, even if we put it on the budget on my credit card. The installment still needs to be paid. I was speaking to my mother about this and she said she would buy the washing machine for me. That I should put it on the budget on my credit card and she would hand over the monthly installment for me before the end of each month. Of course, I know that I cannot trust her to give me the money. I might as well draw up a contract on toilet paper, use it and flush it down the drain. That is how much it is worth. She got extremely upset with me for even suggesting that she wouldn’t hold up her end of the bargain and went on about how she needs a chance to prove herself to me again and that she can’t get me to trust her if I don’t give her an opportunity. I slept on this and then decided that I could take a calculated risk. The washing machine had to be bought, no two ways about it. I figured even if she pays it for the first month or two, by that time Rudi would have been permanently appointed and we would be able to afford the installment on our own. So I purchased the washing machine.

We bought a 13 kg Samsung top loader. Our old one had a 7 kg capacity. Upgrading to a larger one was actually long overdue since the size of our family has doubled since the first one was purchased. I found it on special at Game, but they didn’t have stock. I went to Hi-Fi Corporation, they had the same machine on special for R 200.00 more. I asked them to match Game’s price, but the manager refused at first because Game didn’t have stock. What a dick move. I said I would wait for stock or source one from another branch.  They quickly changed their minds and gave the machine to me at the same price I would have paid at Game. Sorted.

Leebeesa has just married her true love and they are emigrating to Ireland at the end of this month. Consequently they are selling all the contents of their house. Unfortunately they had already sold the washing machine by the time mine conked in, but they did have an awesome Coricraft couch they were trying to sell. Rudi and I still had a hand me down couch and a large couch we bought from my mother second hand when we moved in together. I had told Rudi that we could buy a lounge suite once we no longer had a cat, since she would just claw the crap out of it. Amber has been gone for quite some time and he has been trying to hold me to that promise. He was eyeing a 20 k leather lounge suite for YEARS. Literally. I told him about the couch Leebeesa was selling and he seemed interested and went to look at it while I was at work one day. We decided to take it. I had to suck the funds out of my savings (which have halved in the last few months), but it is a reasonably new high quality couch at a price we just couldn’t pass up.

 

On Saturday our downstairs neighbour was kind enough to help us collect the couch and washing machine. He has a nice big double cab bakkie (pick up truck) and a trailor, so we managed to get everything in one trip. When we got home we discovered that the washing machine just didn’t fit underneath our counter like our old one did. Rudi wanted to chop the counter, but I was dead set against this as we are renting. So we played tetris in our kitchen and started shifting around appliances. Our dishwasher is now standing where the washing machine used to and the washing machine where the dishwasher used to stand. The tumble dryer used to be on top of the dishwasher and obviously we cannot put it on top of a top loader, so it has been exiled into a corner in the lounge. Oh to have more space! Rudi was a great handyman getting everything reconnected and all the pipes and things sorted. The couch was also moved into the lounge and it really is a winner! It is an L shaped couch and the one part is perfect for me to lay and breastfeed Gabby, while the boys can comfortably fit on the other side. It’s wonderful! Check it out:

Coricraft L Shaped Couch

Plenty of space now!

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Just a small size difference

In other news, Rudi has been informed that as of 1 June he is permanently employed at his new job! This is a HUGE relief and hopefully means this is the last month that money is so tight. Next month is going to be really tough as Rudi hasn’t worked all week. Apparently there is very little work at the moment and I suspect the agents are giving preference to those who will not be permanently employed soon when the work does come through. At least once Rudi is permanent he will receive a basic salary and we have a guaranteed income from him. No more worrying about whether he is going to work or not. I am so grateful, it is a huge relief for me. I am a worrier by nature and I take a lot of strain when there is uncertainty in our lives.

So somehow, we have acquired all these new things, while the going was really tough. Let’s hope we can stay on the upward swing!

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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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