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Tag Archives: Children

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!

 

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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OV Optics is on a mission!

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Hi everyone! I have an interesting post for you today. You’ll remember that I attended the CT Mom Blog Meet a while ago. One of the sponsors of the Johannesburg event wanted to include the Cape Town Bloggers and reached out to me via e-mail. ZulĂ© offered me a pair of sunglasses for my son and asked if we could meet up when she came down to Cape Town with Tanya (who happens to be a qualified optometrist). This was far from just a product drop off. These two ladies offered the ultimate personal touch. They came to see me at work to deliver a pair of sunglasses for Elijah and also chat to me about their vision. In the time that they were here I learned so much about eye care!

We all know how important it is to protect our skin from the harmful UVA/UVB rays of the sun, but we often don’t think of protecting their eyes. A hat might shade their eyes, but that isn’t quite the same as cutting out the UV rays. I don’t know about yours, but my kids don’t love wearing hats or anything on their heads for that matter. It isn’t something I have really thought about to be honest. My kids do have sunglasses, but they have regular plastic lenses. I don’t even know if they have UV protection. Elijah’s pair was bought by my cousin as a fashion statement and of course Gabby had to have a pink pair too. I was quite shocked when ZulĂ© asked me if I knew that up to 80% of our total UV exposure takes place before we turn 18. I had no idea! When thinking about it for a second, it made perfect sense. Kids are always outside playing, during breaks at school, swimming at home or at a friend’s house and soaking up the sun as teens. As an adult I spend a lot of my time indoors, doing housework or working in an office. They made a cool infographic explaining how UV rays can damage your eyes. Check it out (click to enlarge):

Infographic - How UV Damages Eyes

See that statistic over there? Only 7% of people took eye health into consideration when thinking of UV exposure. That is a very low number! ZulĂ© and Tanya are working tirelessly to raise awareness and to get the word out to people about how harmful the sun can be. Personally I have very weak eyes. Not only is it costly for me to wear contact lenses and keep replacing spectacles and contacts, but it is an inconvenience. If I can do anything to help keep my kids from having impaired vision, you can sign me up! Enter O-V Optics. There are two different styles to choose from. Both come in black and the lenses are made from shatterproof and impact resistant polycarbonate. There are 2 sizes – Small, suitable from ages 4 – 9 and medium for ages 7 – 12. These are the 2 styles available:

O-V Optics Sport

Sport

O-V Optics Swag

Swag

Did I mention that these glasses are practically indestructible? They can bend any which way and the lenses are designed to pop out so if they do somehow come loose from the frame you can pop them back in again (this hasn’t happened to us though!). I was told that it probably wasn’t the best idea to show your child how flexible the frame is. To quote: ‘It’s a feature, not a challenge!’ LOL. Want to see just how flexible they are? See the short video below:

How cool was that?! I know Gabby has a tendency to bend the ears of glasses outwards and she has destroyed her pink Barbie glasses by doing so. She sometimes steals Elijah’s glasses from him to wear herself and now I don’t have to worry about her breaking them when she does this. I have the Sport style glasses and Elijah has decided he is not fond of the fit. This shape wraps around your child’s face. Elijah says it makes his “eyebrows uncomfortable”. I think the Swag would have been a better choice for him. Gabby, however, loves the fit of the Sport even though they are still a little too big for her (she is only 2) and wears them happily.

Another initiative ZulĂ© and Tanya were telling me about was Sunglasses at School. I mentioned before that children are outside every day during break times, not to mention sports days or after school sports activities. What OV-Optics would love to see is that sunglasses become part of school uniforms and be worn freely at school. That is part of the reason there are only 2 styles and both are black. Yes, sunglasses are cool, but this is not about the cool factor. I’m really hoping schools will adopt this. I also forgot to mention that prescription lenses can be fitted into the Swag frames, so your little one could still wear these even if they already wear prescription glasses.

It literally took me WEEKS to get my kids to stand still and pose for a photo wearing the glasses, but I finally managed it.

OV Optics Sunglasses

Too cool for photos…this is the best I could get O.o

OV Optics Sunglasses

Can you tell Easter fever is running high?

If you would like to buy a pair of glasses for you kiddo, check out the shop on the OV Optics site. Simply click here!

Stay Connected with The O-V Team!I would really love to hear what you think of these. Do your kids wear sunglasses with proper UV protection?

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No Antibiotics for 6 Months

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

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

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

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

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

Traction

See? Traction.

 

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

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

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First Day of Grade 0!

Elijah started at a new school today. He is now attending the same primary school that I did. We took him to an open day last year and left there blubbering. I expected today to be more or less the same. I didn’t actually think I would be able to take him as I have a half day at work today as I have a gynae appointment in the middle of the day. Going to the gynae isn’t something you can do in a lunch hour, as you inevitably wait that long just to see him. I also had to drop Rudi off at work before I could go to work because I needed the car to get around. Because of this I didn’t think there was a way for me to take Elijah on his first day AND make the appointment, but Sanita (even with her porridge brain) came up with a plan. I made all the necessary arrangements and was so happy I got to take him!

At the day mother, ready to go!

At the day mother, ready to go!

Rudi insisted on getting Elijah ready for school at home before we went off to the day mother to drop Gabby. He wanted him to look nice and put gel in his hair. We went off to the day mother where the kids had breakfast while Rudi and I had some coffee and cookies that the day mother had baked. Before we knew it, it was time to go to the school. We anticipated some traffic and wanted to take more pictures, so we left a few minutes earlier. When we got there the school yard was milling with children returning to school and parents were standing around with the Grade 0 and Grade R kids waiting to walk them to class. We snapped a few pictures:

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Ready to go mom!

 

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So happy daddy!

Elijah ran into a friend from his previous school last year. They shouted each other’s names when they saw each other, ran to meet each other and hugged. It was so adorable! They were so glad to see each other again.

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Elijah and Dylan

They opened the gates and we walked Elijah to his class. He ran right in, sat down at a table and started playing with some toys that the teacher had laid out. He barely said goodbye. I really thought I was going to be a ball of snot at this point. I had cried at the open day, after all…but there were no tears. I can’t even tell you why. Maybe because I didn’t think I was going to be there and I was just happy that I had the opportunity to see him off.

Look! No tears!

Look! No tears!

 

I’m not sure if daddy is crying behind the glasses 😉

This might not be Grade 1, but for me this is the beginning of his formal schooling and his school career. I am excited. It is daunting as the flood of letters with requests for x, y, z…monies, school photos, all this begins here. We had a taste of it at play school, but I’m sure it will start becoming more labour intensive now that he is at this school.

Did any of you see your kids or family member’s kids off to school this year? Were you brave? Share your experiences with me in the comments!

Thanks for reading 🙂

Bwess

My little girl is growing up so very fast. On the one hand I want to keep her small, on the other I’m in awe of each milestone and watching her personality blossom. She isn’t really talking much yet. She tries, but sometimes a lot of the words come out sounding the same, or are just sounds. I was worried about her not speaking much yet. Her brother set the bar high for speech. He spoke well quite soon and articulates his thoughts quite beautifully for his age. A couple of weeks ago I had a light bulb moment. Since Elijah is in play school now, we are trying to teach him to speak Afrikaans as well and therefore Gabby is not only exposed to English, but Afrikaans too. This might explain why she is taking a little bit longer to start speaking. Also, every child is different. It is quite clear that she understands us very well as she follows instructions and “answers” questions.

She has been doing the cutest things of late. She has started shrugging her shoulders when she doesn’t know something. It is too adorable. The other day she was in the kitchen with her dad and I was busy getting ready for work in my room. I sneezed (rather loudly, as I do) and she came running into the room, looked at me and said “Bwess” and ran off again. Huge heart melt moment right there!

At 23 months old she is still breastfed. While the snide remarks, disapproval and judgement from other people intensifies as she gets older, I am still grateful for this amazing mothering tool. I can’t tell you how much easier things are with her than they were with Elijah. Yes, they are different children, but I find breastfeeding invaluable in situations that would have worked well with him too. Recently Gabby went through a phase where she would start throwing a tantrum and latching her on would instantaneously soothe her and put a stop to it. With Elijah we would pretty much have to wait it out and just make sure that he doesn’t hurt himself while he was having his meltdown. If Gabby hurts herself latching her on also immediately soothes and comforts her. With Elijah it took ages and while a dummy was sometimes helpful, it didn’t always work. Breastfeeding works every.single.time. It also makes a great in between snack before dinner, instead of her reaching for a cookie, sweet or bread to fill the gap. Gabby is not a fussy eater at all, however her brother is full of nonsense when it comes to food. My friend Arkwife has noticed the same with her breastfed child vs. the one that wasn’t. I like to think that the two are related. One word Gabby has started using (a lot) is “boop” – read BOOB. Yup. She now asks for it. I have often heard people say “Once they are old enough to ask for it, they should no longer be breastfeeding.” While I respect the choices of others, their opinions don’t pay my bills. I actually had the guts to say this to someone who criticized me for still breastfeeding and acted disgusted that I still do, stating repeatedly it was “time to stop”. I am non confrontational and often don’t defend myself, back down or pretend not to be phased. I simply stated “Just let me know which one of my bills you are going to pay with your opinion” and she left it right there. It works. You should try it!

After my post about discipline, Natalie sent me a message on Facebook with information she has put together about discipline and what works for her. I had an aha! moment when she mentioned a reward chart. I remembered that we had used a reward chart for Elijah when we were potty training him and he really loved it. Once he was potty trained the chart was forgotten. We bought a magnetic white board and I split up the days of the week and areas that he could earn a magnet for. Currently on our board are areas we need to focus on: brushing teeth, playing with his sister, eating supper, picking up toys and listening. I drew a small picture for each category so that he can identify them himself. When we got home on the second day I showed him the categories he could potentially earn for and he really made a concerted effort to earn his magnets. I still have to figure out what we will reward him with at the end of the week if he does well. I think we might resort to money sometimes as he really seems to love money! So much so that he will carry around money in his hand at all times if he has any. One night he fell asleep with money in his hand and slept for over an hour with it tight in his grasp and then eventually let go. He is still very small, so I think we can start off with a small denomination like R 5.00. Perhaps this will also open up opportunities to teach him about saving, etc in the future. This is a very new development in our relationship and I am hoping that we can continue motivate him with the reward chart.

Last Friday Elijah went for an open day at his new school. We have enrolled him in the same primary school I attended. He absolutely LOVED it. So much so that he did not want to go back to his old school on Monday. The prospectus came home with him and there are a number of worrying things in there. There are a few things expected of him that he is not able to do yet. They want him to be able to write his name, know a contact number and our address. All things that we will need to cram into him for the remainder of the year and hopefully he’ll be ready next year. There are a few other things we need to focus on, but he is a bright boy and I’m sure we can get him to master everything before he goes to his new school. I am quite excited about him going. His previous school disappointed us in a few areas and I’ll be glad to have him move on. Hopefully he will be happy and flourish there.

Discipline

Discipline is something we really struggle with in our home. I guess you can’t say we are new to the parenting game since Elijah is nearly 5, but we are new to having to discipline someone! It can be so frustrating. I don’t like the idea of giving hidings. I don’t like for my child to be fearful of us. Time out and naughty corner have also never worked. Taking away privileges doesn’t seem to work either, which doesn’t really leave us with too many options.

I have noticed sometimes when I speak reasonably with my almost 5 year old son, he seems to get it. He also seems to go away and think about what we discussed as he sometimes comes back later out of his own and apologizes, but is that enough? We should be teaching him action = consequence, cause and effect, right? I suppose as a family you have to work out what works for you, but up to now we haven’t figured it out yet.

I am really worried that we’ll end up raising irresponsible and nasty children if we don’t get a handle on the discipline and I feel like time is running out for us to find a reliable way of enforcing rules. I try to discuss these things with Rudi, but he struggles as well. For example, if he is angry and wants to resort to a hiding, I usually intervene and get him to calm down to diffuse the situation. He is still cross though and then dishes out a punishment that he intends to follow through on, but often it doesn’t happen. He might say no sweets/treats/luxuries for the rest of the week (on a Monday!), but by Wednesday it is forgotten and a request for a cookie is not turned down. Or he’ll tell Elijah he won’t sleep with him for the rest of the week and when this results in a melt down, eventually cave. I know that the most important thing when it comes to discipline it following through on what you’ve said and if you don’t you teach the child that they will probably only bear the consequences for a short while if at all. That’s not so bad, is it? *sigh* I’ve tried time and time again to stress the importance of this to Rudi, but we keep slipping up. I resort to shouting, because ears are made of clay, but that doesn’t get results either.

While Elijah can be extremely cheeky, defiant and disrespectful (to us), he is actually a sweet child with a good heart. He is amazing with his sister (for now) and can be so cute. Yesterday he had 3 blocks of chocolate. His father told him to give his sister who was sitting with me in another room a block and he came to do so. He showed me his remaining two blocks. I asked him if one of them was for me and he snapped them in half and gave me his last block. I didn’t take it, but the fact that he offered it to me was so sweet. I made sure to tell him that and relay it to his dad in his presence. He beamed.

If we could just figure out how to discipline him while nurturing that sweet child within, I would feel much better.

I would love to hear from you what works for your family and if it was trial and error before you figured it out or how you figured it out at all.

Wedding at Hathersage

On Saturday Rudi and I attended a wedding that I have been looking forward to for a very long time. A few years ago I was reunited with my paternal family including my father’s half brother, Hentie. Even though he is my uncle, there is only a 7 year age difference between us, so when I was little we used to play together and are socially on a similar level. I was so glad we were invited! I have been waiting for the couple to get married since he popped the question. I am just so happy for them. I liked his wife from the first time I met her. She really is a gem and also really gorgeous (I’ll find something wrong with her at some point…she’s can’t have everything 😉 ) It is also the first wedding we have been to in about 4 years.

 

Anyhow, the wedding was at Hathersage in Somerset West. What a gorgeous venue! The weather was dodgy all week, but when Saturday dawned it was a stunning day. The ceremony was held outside at the venue. The bride looked absolutely amazing. The ceremony was lovely. The pastor threw in a few jokes which is always nice and keeps the guests on their toes.

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I am so happy for them! Don’t they make a lovely couple? I was pleasantly surprised to see even more family that I have not seen since I was a little girl! My aunt was there with her husband and 3 children, 2 of whom I had never met. I wasn’t even aware of their existence till I reunited with this side of the family. My paternal grandmother and grandfather who moved 2 000 km away about 6 months ago were also there. I was so happy I got to see them again. My grandmother has officially been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and it is really starting to show 🙁 She seemed disoriented a lot of the time. She just seemed so lost and it broke my heart. On the other hand my grandfather who has been receiving chemotherapy for stomach cancer got good news from the doctor saying he does not require chemo anymore. So awesome! It was very hard to say goodbye to them. Realistically I will never see them again and it is a bitter pill to swallow.

After the ceremony while the registers were being signed we collected bubbles and dried flowers to shower the new couple with as they walked past us on their way to take photos. We enjoyed some champagne and finger food offered to us by waitrons circulating with platters. We gathered in the venue, the tables were beautifully decorated. Simple, elegant and understated. The colour scheme was black, white and silver.

 

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The food was absolutely delicious! We loved *everything*. If we were eating at a restaurant I would go back there again. I also received the best wedding favour ever! The bride hand picked each wedding favour for the ladies. We all received a different one. I am SO in love with the one she chose for me and knowing she chose it especially for me makes it so special.

 

 

I mean, really. So stunning. I will treasure it! We had such a good time. Rudi and I even danced together for the first time in aaaages. We don’t get to go out alone much. We don’t have family that can just watch the kids for us any time and babysitters aren’t always readily available unless we can pay them, so an evening out gets very expensive quite quickly. We were more than willing to make an exception for this occasion though! The kids stayed with the day mother’s daughter and grandchildren while we partied till midnight. We got pictures of the girls teaching Elijah netball and playing dress up with Gabby. It was so cute!

 

 

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It was just such a wonderful event and day. While we were at the wedding I received a notification from Facebook and found out one of my friends had given birth to her baby. I was elated! They decided not to find out what the gender of their baby was, so everyone was waiting with bated breath to find out if they were having a boy or a girl. It’s a girl! She is also breastfeeding her baby and I hope to be able to support her and help her if she needs it.

 

Thanks so much to Hentie and Karen for sharing their special day with us!

Nitpicking

A little while ago the day mother advised us that there were sisters staying there who had lice. She advised the parents of this, which led to an altercation between the mother and herself and ended in the two children being removed from the day mother. The youngest sister, however, continued to attend school with Elijah. Their teacher was also notified. The children were checked at the day mother, but nobody seemed to be infected. Nicole is one of the day mother’s granddaughters (she is in high school already) and often plays with the children’s hair. She was the first to spot the lice infestation and she does spot checks while she is playing with their hair every now and then.

 

Nicole noticed Elijah was scratching his hair and checked but didn’t find anything. We started to notice at home too and asked that she check again. When we checked we only saw what looked like dandruff. Sure enough, when she checked again, both Elijah and Gabby had an infestation! She couldn’t find any live bugs in Elijah’s hair, but found a couple in Gabby’s hair. The horror! I arranged to leave work early as I wanted her to check me as well. I share a bed with Gabby and on the nights where Rudi plays darts Elijah sleeps with me too. I stopped off at Dischem and purchased Controlice products and quite an awesome comb for combing out lice/nits. I already had all the Tea Tree stuff and have been using it as a preventative measure, but one of the other mothers contacted me and advised me to get something else as she found the Tea Tree products ineffective. R300.00 later I collected the kids and Nicole went home with us. The kids were put in the bath and we started putting them through the treatments. The products have a strong liquorice smell, which isn’t too bad and it seemed gentle enough as the kids didn’t complain of any burning or anything other discomfort. While Nicole was combing and applying treatments I was stripping the bedding that had been changed two days prior, as well as scarves and caps that they have recently worn and filling the washing machine with buckets of hot water. After the wash everything went into the tumble dryer on a hot cycle. Rinse and repeat in 7 days. What a mission!

 

I had 3 people check my own hair, including the nurse at work and Nicole. Everybody said it was clear, but when I took Gabby to the doctor today I had him check me too…at least I got the green light! It would also seem that my children are the only children at the day mother that were infected. That is so strange to me, but it sort of confirms the suspicion that Elijah picked it up at school and likely passed it on to Gabby. It is a good thing though, since this will minimize the chances of the lice coming back. I don’t know how thorough other parents would be about getting rid of the infestation (the mother of the girls where it started was in complete denial about them having lice), so I would be worried about the kids picking it up again if there were other children infected. I think perhaps some people are ashamed of it as there seems to be a stigma attached to it. It seems that people are completely unaware that lice actually like clean hair and find it easier to cling to. A lot of people seem to think it is due to poor hygiene that lice infestations occur, which simply isn’t true.

 

I have also sealed all our hair accessories in an airtight container for a few days, washed my brushes with hot water and disinfectant and thrown my own scarves in the wash. Can you say “Paranoid”? Hopefully we’ve wiped them all out…I really don’t feel like going through this again!

Back at work

I returned to work on Tuesday. Reluctantly, of course.  I was surprisingly calm about everything. Monday night was normal. I packed my pumping equipment, handbag and baby’s things on Monday throughout the day. I hadn’t used my handbag in six months. I had been rocking a nappy bag which I just chucked my wallet into. I did my ‘back to work’ manicure, which I had planned more than a month prior when I bought a polish I felt would be perfect for it. I’ll do a post on that later. At no point did I panic thinking about going back the next day. I didn’t have “Sunday night blues”. I was numb. I just felt nothing.

 

 

I have had the most amazing maternity leave this time around. It was relaxed and I got plenty of rest. PrincessIce is such a chilled baby. I had a lot of breastfeeding hurdles to overcome, but none of them required intense physical activity or anything other than patience and determination. I watched a lot of series while breastfeeding which I had to do constantly for almost 12 weeks. PrincessIce isn’t the best sleeper during the day and after her 6 weeks of constant sleeping switched to cat naps  it became a little harder to nap with her. She did like to sleep “late” in the morning though. Once her brother and father left in the mornings she would have a quick feed and we would doze back off till around 9:00. It was heavenly. I bathed her in the early afternoons as not to occupy the bathroom in the evenings when everyone else needed it. Life was a peach. My maternity leave with Babyice was not as pleasant. He was a difficult baby. He cried a lot. There were also always a lot of bottles to wash and sterilize. Always something to do. My nesting kicked in after he was born so whenever he slept I was cleaning. With PrincessIce I tried to clean the kitchen on a daily basis, but other than that I slept when she slept, or rested while she slept. I’m not sure if the difference was simply their different personalities, or the fact that I was more experienced or perhaps because I was breastfeeding instead of bottle feeding. Whatever it was, I thoroughly enjoyed being at home with my baby.

 

 

I dreaded coming back to work. I was immensely saddened by the thought, but I didn’t panic. On some level I was trying to be an adult about it. No use pouting about it. Yes I complained a bit, but who wouldn’t? I know we don’t have any choice but for me to work. I know it is a fact of life and reality for most parents out there. I need to work and I need to accept that. I was at peace with the fact that I would have to return. Still very sad, but at peace. One of the things that made me so sad is the realization that I would be seeing my baby SO MUCH less. We finish work relatively early (when Rudi doesn’t work late) at 16:00 and then make our way home. If we get home at 17:00 after picking up the kids and maybe stopping at the shops, we have about 3 hours before the kids go to bed. Well, Babyice goes to bed around 20:00. PrincessIce goes to bed with us. Those 3 hours are filled with activity including bath time, supper preparations and sometimes getting things ready for the next day. That isn’t quality time. It would be even worse if we worked later. Having 3 hours a day with your children during the week should be a crime.  I work weekends sometimes too. Not every weekend, but that is more time apart from them. It is one of the reasons I insist on having a domestic. When we don’t have one we spend the majority of our weekend cleaning and ironing. More time we are not spending with our kids. Life is so busy. They grow up so fast. SO FAST. Such a cliche, but it became one because it is so true! I don’t want to miss my kid’s childhood because I’m too busy cleaning. I’m already missing enough of it because I am working. I have to work to sustain them, I wouldn’t work just to keep myself occupied (at least not before they go to school). If I didn’t need the money, I wouldn’t do it.

 

So the day dawned and I got up at sparrow’s fart, which is my regular wake up time. Actually even earlier because I have to fit in a morning feed for PrincessIce before we leave. I get up and get myself ready, then change and feed PrincessIce while Rudi gets himself and Babyice ready. I arrived at work and saw one of our admin ladies first. I managed to bite back the tears. I almost manage to make it to my desk when I was intercepted by another colleague that thought it a good idea to give me a hug. Rookie mistake. He inadvertently turned on the waterworks. Shame. He felt so bad, but it wasn’t him. Two of my friends at work decided to make up my desk for me as a welcome back.

 

Balloons and "welcome back" sign

Balloons and “welcome back” sign

 

Laminated pictures of the kids (stolen from Instagram it would seem)

Laminated pictures of the kids (stolen from Instagram it would seem)

 

A photo frame with pictures of PrincessIce

A photo frame with pictures of PrincessIce

 

 

There was just no stopping the tears then. I was truly touched by the gesture. Especially the pictures of the kids. For some reason it hadn’t occurred to me to bring pictures of PrincessIce to work.

 

 

I felt sad and tearful the entire day. Apparently PrincessIce felt the same at the day mother. She must have really enjoyed the long weekend spending time with me or perhaps she picked up on my feelings the morning.

 

I found a place to express at work. It is a quiet room on a different floor in our well-being area. Unfortunately you can’t lock the door. I discussed this with the lady that runs the well-being side of things and she made a sign for me to put on the door to prevent any unexpected interruptions:

 

Expressing Sign

Expressing Sign

 

The lights in the room have a weird dimmer switch and I didn’t know how to operate it. My first express was in the near dark, but on my second time someone showed me how to operate the lights and now I don’t have to worry about where to express at work.

 

 

My team have been very gracious and have been understanding and are helping me ease back into things slowly. I was actually scheduled to work my first weekend back, but they even re-scheduled the entire weekend roster so that I don’t have to. I was so relieved that they did. Co-incidentally I was invited to attend a Huggies event on Saturday which I wouldn’t want to miss.

 

It’s day 3 back at work and I’ve started doing some actual work. It already feels like I never left. How sad is that? I was gone for half a year and in only 3 days it is as if that never happened.

 

Onwards and upwards!

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