Why We Need To Stop Rewarding Our Kids With Junk Food

It’s amazing, when you become a parent, what gets you all riled up and what leaves you completely un-phased. I was at a recent school induction where the parents were up in flaming and flailing arms about teacher reshuffling, play vs. work ratio and school diaries. The one mom even wept through a sob story about how she had to take a weeks leave to assist her child to deal with the trauma of getting a new teacher. As I sat there, eyeballs wedged firmly in brain, I was brought back to reality when the topic of school lunches came up.

For some reason, children and vegetables brings out the demonic mother in me. I am genuinely so fatigued from hearing about how we have to disguise veggies in meals, about sneaky chock chip cookies made with – gasp – chickpeas! And about seeing kids menus at restaurants look like a future diabetes diagnosis. The other day I  saw this video doing the rounds on facebook and I felt genuinely sad

Parents are using junk food as a reward for eating healthy food, and we have to stop.

Remember the first time little Johnny used the word ‘fuck‘? Guess where he learnt it from? YOU. These kids are sponges and will mimic everything they see around them – so if your little sunshine gags at the sight of anything green on his plate, chances are that he has learnt that from someone else.

I have been in an environment with a family member who makes disparaging comments about vegetables in front of my children, and I have told that person that I will not let them be around my child if it carries on.

Look, I realise that some kids are just fussy eaters – and I also realise that I am hashtag blessed with my children when it comes to food. They will eat, literally, anything. My son and I fight over gherkins and olives and I have to cook double portions of my dinner every-night as he inhales fish and veg off of my plate like a wedding crasher at an open bar. Without actually licking my own arsehole, a lot of what they eat has got to do with the fact that I have never made food a big deal in my house. I love salads and veg and my kids have watched me munch my way through steaming mounds of broccoli as dessert. On the flip side, they’ve also watched me smash my fat beak in a party pack of cheese curls and finish it off with a spoon of cheesespread out the jar. And whatever I eat, I offer it to them. So to them, there’s no good and bad food, there is food that is more healthy and food that is less healthy and they (my son atleast) understands about moderation, but that’s it. he doesn’t associate baby marrow as the start of a painful journey to an ice cream end. He loves baby marrow becasue it’s delicious, and he picks it out the garden and helps me chop it and prep it. He has grown up sitting on the counter assisting with dinner and being a part if the whole process. When he visits my folks he dines on tongue and tripe and giant glossy apples from the fruit bowl. At birthday parties he eats his body weight in flings and Oros but knows that it’s a treat. Not a treat because he ate a salad. A treat full stop.

I realise just how revoltingly high and mighty I am sounding right now. I’m not, I promise, I just feel so strongly about not making my food issues, their food issues. I haven’t eaten meat in over 23 years – t I cook meat for my kids and encourage them to try and taste and get involved. My meat issues are not their issues.

A few weeks ago I was so hungover that the thought of prepping food for anyone in the house felt like actual torture. So I bought a Woolies meal for the baby and asked my son if he wanted to get a Happy Meal. The delight on his face as he clutched that red little box all the way home was too cute. I may have munched my way through a large friend on that trip as well.

It’s all about balance.

You ant your kid to eat better? You eat better. Do it as naturally as you would driving to work, turning on the TV or making conversation.

We need to stop rewarding kids with food. Because guess what, they will turn into adults who reward themselves with food. Trust me, you’re looking at someone who has spent the better part of 10 years trying to stop the bad cycle of bad day = wine/chips/cheese.

Right, rant over. It’s lunch time 😉

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That’s a Wrap, 2018

You know when you think you’re kinda holding it all together and then you realise you haven’t actually put proverbial pen to paper and blogged in several months? Not that anyone really cares, but me, although I have had a few loyal readers ask me when I’d be back. It gets harder, the less you write, and so I’ve put all blog things in the back of my mind cupboard and procrastinated hard about writing – because as much as I adore it, I also don’t want what I do wrote to sound contrived and forced. Because you should never force farts, friendships or writing.

So, I’m pretty grateful that I stumbled upon this Instagram post that was shared on Twitter. A,  because it resonated with me and B, because it’s the perfect structure for my re-entry into the blog-o-sphere. It’s also brilliant timing as I wrap up what has got to be one of the most hectic years of my life.

So, thank you @elmanga – I’m going to jump on board and take part in your virtual closing the loop retreat.

I began the year feeling…

SO excited. I was 7 months pregnant with my Piper and couldn’t wait to meet her. She was the absolute highlight of my year

The experiences that stood out for me this year…

My daughter being born

Leaving my job and becoming self employed

Understanding that I wasn’t at fault for a lot of the bad things that happened to me

Battling in my marriage and realising it’s been the hardest thing I have ever done

Finding myself falling more and more in love with my kids – I never thought you could actually love this much

Going solo and finding work and job opportunities around every single corner (why didn’t I do this sooner?!)

Getting my garden redone and FINALLY getting rid of our pink floors

I felt most supported by…

Strangely enough, strangers. I really feel as if I get the most wonderful and kind validation from my followers on Instagram and Facebook. I 100% realise we should never ever rely on social media to make you feel supported – but I guess it’s the whole concept of being able to talk more openly to relative strangers (you know, striking up a conversation with the person in line at the supermarket, or telling your hairdresser your deepest secrets). The kid words, blog shares, photography support and all round niceness that I feel from thousands of people I have never met is truly wonderful, I don’t think any of you realise just how happy you made me.

I have also had the support o a group of moms on a Whatsapp group – several of whom have become exceptionally close friends. It’s amazing how a daily check-in or ‘how was your day’ can make you feel buoyant.

I felt most inspired by…

Natalie. More on that below

My heart broke when…

A client/friend lost her baby boy to leukaemia. I met him when he was in her tummy, and then did his newborn shoot and so when he left to be with the angels I felt shattered for his family, for his life and for just how unfair it all was. Natalie, his mom, has inspired me every.single.day. She has made me realise that you have two options when something bad happens and she reminds me not to sweat the small stuff and to embrace, love and honour people more.

I continued to…

  1. Work my arse off. I feel like in between having a baby and taking 5 days off at the coast I literally did not stop working. hopefully one day I can reap the rewards, but man, I am tired.
  2. Start an eating and training plan and then stop. 2019 needs to be the year when I can be more consistent with my diet and my exercise and it shouldn’t be the result of a ‘fat day’ or boozy weekend. I need to treat my body kinder.

I let go of…

A friendship. It’s never easy but it had run it’s course and I think we both felt like we weren’t getting what we needed from the other person.

My body told me that…

It can make great babies. It is strong and powerful. It can feed said great babies and it can work just as well at 39 week pregnant as it can at 8 months post-partum. My body also told me that it didn’t like post-baby Kate and shifted and swelled and bloated and widened. After many thousands of rands with endocrinologists I do feel slightly better knowing that a lot of my grievances with my image are due to hormones, and out of my control.

I was exhausted by…

My workload. (I’m sure you’re exhausted of hearing it, but it’s true). I went back to working when Piper was 28 days old and basically haven’t stopped since.

I felt most alive when…

We took a spontaneous week holiday to the South Coast last month. On our last day we went for a long walk on the beach and saw dozens of whales in the distance. The salty sea air was spraying my face, my baby was nestled in her carrier and my son was jumping on sand dunes. My heart was the most full and content it has ever been. If I could bottle that feeling I would.

I was confused by…

How people can be so cruel. Both my husband and I have experienced something this year thats made me wonder about humanity. Thank goodness we are both removed from it now, but how people can treat other human beings has left me quite shaken. I unfortunately cant talk about my situation but I am genuinely suffering from some form of PTSD.

I was amused by..

My hilarious children. carter especially. He says and does the greatest things, and if I was a better mom I’d for sure have written a book by now

I tolerated too much of…

Selfish relationships. Although I say this every year and I do nothing about it, so I’m clearly a sucker for punishment 😉

I freed myself from…

An abusive miserable environment.

I learnt that…

Life goes on, and t goes on fast. People don’t change. Not many people can be relied on. What you give others is not what they will give back. People show love in different ways. You can survive (barely) on no sleep. You have to look after yourself.

I surprised myself when…

I solo parented my kids for 5 days. PROPS single parents. Jaysus but you have the hardest job in the world ;))

I also learnt how to be a bit more honest and push back – can’t say the people who have been on the receiving end of my new-found conflict skills were thrilled, but I suppose its new to them and me.

I placed top 10 in 4 Admired In Africa categories – a photographic competition that honours South Africa’s top photographers.

I had the courage to…

Become self employed with less than 24 hours warning. 6 months on and I couldn’t be happier.

So, I guess, my year in a nutshell. I would love to hear yours?

 

 

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Why Are We Not All Talking About The Menstrual Cup?

One of the greatest parts about being pregnant – apart from the obvious ‘baking an adorable baby’ bit, is that your period leaves you in peace for anything from 9 months to 2 years, depending on how long you breastfeed for.

However, as they say, what goes up must come down, and so when Aunty flow does finally come back, she brings her extended family and their in-laws and it’s a fucking party in your pants, and you’re reminded once again just how little control you have of your own body.

Men, queasy folk and those sensitive to gore, stop reading.

It’s a literal blood bath and renders you exhausted, anaemic and stocking up on hand washing powder on a monthly basis.

Roughly 2.0705 billion women in the world get their period. Yet no-one ever talks about it, and when they do it’s usually a poorly narrated Tampax ad with some sunkissed blonde haired beach babe wearing tight white jean pant playing volleyball or leaping in the air in a cream tutu while the camera slow pans over her crotch mid flight. Look ma, no blood!

And because no one ever talks about it, no one ever knows if what they are going through is normal. I just assumed that everyone was like me and went about my business for 21 years before finally plucking up the courage to ask some girlfriends about their flow.

I was shook. Apparently bleeding out like a sacrificial lamb for eleven days a month is actually not normal. Apparently having to change pads and tampons and underwear every 45 minutes is also kinda odd. So I’ve basically spent the equivalent of a newly legal American thinking that everything was OK DOWN THERE.

It was only when I started talking to friends that the channel of communication opened. One friend, after a Whatsapp conversation detailing the goriest details about my life, suggested I try a menstrual cup. She caught me at a weak moment and I decided that spending R250 on an egg cup shaped piece of silicon couldn’t hurt. Plus, it was pink.

I did some research, jumped online and 2 days later it arrived on my doorstep.

Honestly? I was terrified to try it. It looked big and bulky and I could not fathom how I would ever fit that up there. Turns out, a quick YouTube tutorial and I was good to go. They are remarkably easy to use – out the box you do need to pop it in a cup of boiling water to sterilise it, then in between cycles it needs another good sterilisation, but during your cycle you can simply rinse it off and re insert.

Let me interrupt my self here by saying that this post is in no way sponsored, I just had to share a product that Ive been using because I truly think it’s amazing. It does take some trial and error so I’ve answered the FAQ’s you probably don’t have yet, below:

  • Often referred to as the moon, cup, goddess cup, diva cup etc
  • Any woman over the age of 30 or who has had a baby (regardless of how said baby came out) is a size ‘large’
  • The cup can be inserted in a few ways – I use the C fold, but each to their own
  • The cup is designed to stay in for 12 hours at a time so you can (if you aren’t me and need to re insert a lot during the day) plan it so that you do it in the morning before work and at night before bed.
  • They hold between 20-30ml depending on the brand. It’s frightening to see how much you do or don’t bleed. For me it was enough to see my doctor and for him to be absolutely horrified. Again, sorry queasy readers. And my dad.
  • No, you cannot feel it.
  • Yes, taking it out feels totally weird. Tip – take it out slowly and at an angle. Don’t just yank it out unless you’re keen on a scene from Kill Bill
  • Yes, it can leak if not inserted properly. There are tons of tips online, I wont bore you here
  • Yes, if it’s in properly it will not leak. I have done a shoot with it, chasing a 5 year old, a 1 year old, a LabraDane puppy and a grumpy husband and it stayed put. An early Christmas miracle
  • It has a lifespan of 10 years
  • I got the ‘Pink Cup’ from Takealot, but there are tons of options out there.
  • Its eco friendly and saves you money on buying sanitary products. Fuck you Li-lets and your overpriced toilet-rolls-with-string!
  • I have now converted 10 mates to try this product, and I like to think of this post as a way of cutting out the bullshit from your period. Period.

Try it, and let me know?

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Life Lately… And An Apology

Guys! , I know it seems as if I’ve fallen off a cliff face, and whilst it kinda feels like I have, I managed to get caught on the ledge and am slowly starting to make my way back up.

So, first off, my apologies for the radio silence. I know my 6 loyal readers have missed me terribly. But I’m back, kind of, and now that the craziness of the last few months has come to a semi-solid place, hopefully this little ol’ blog of mine will gain some momentum again.

So, where did we end off? Oh yes, having a baby leaving my job and starting a business. Somewhere there, I think.

Yep, I went back to work after maternity leave, and left. So, whist it was all very unexpected it was the push I needed to get my little business that I had been running for two years off the ground. You are now looking at (well, reading words by) Kate Rankin Photography owner founder and creator and Kate Kearney Consulting, owner, founder, tea lady, loo cleaner, MD etc etc.

The photo business, as you know, has been happening and thriving and doing better than I could have ever imagined (see what happens when you buy a fancy camera? ;)). The consulting business started recently, and sees me doing a little bit of everything – I’m running and managing the social media for some awesome clients and freelancing at a company in Sandton assisting with their project management. Its amazing and wonderful and BUSY as all fuck. So, if you ever need a photographer slash writer slash social media’r slash jack-of-all traders, you know where to find me.

So, that’s the work news.

Kid news? Pinch me, cos I got the best ones out there. Seriously. I look at my daughter and am filled with absolute awe that I made this inquisitive, big eyed, feisty, fun, friendly and loud human and I look at my son and cant believe this cheeky, smart, creative, anal, obsessive, quirky, shy and kind little man is all mine. And together, well they are just amazing. For those on the fence about adding a sibling to their brood, all I can see is, despite the manic chaos of it all, it’s a bond thats actually too beautiful to describe.

Whilst this all sounds super happy and posotive it’s been a really rough few months as well. I learnt some valuable lessons about human nature and trust, I lost out on so much sleep that my body went into a state of mild depression and I am still fucking fat after having a baby. (Side eyes rooibos tea. Dreams about cake.)

Those are the two biggest and most obvious parts of my life, and I guess it’s what I naturally talk about. But the past few months have also got me thinking about feminism, emigration, the menstrual cup, chronic fatigue, stress and weight loss. All things I’m going to be delving into deeper on this blog, because if I cant tell you the perks of a moon cup, the anxiety over whether to stay in SA or flee for ‘greener’ pastures or about how women are fed up with the patriarchy, then what use am I to you, really?

So, thats it really. My last 4 months in a very tight little nutshell. A hazelnut, really.

Thanks for sticking around, if you did, I appreciate every single (literally, single digits) one of ya.

xx

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Win A Love To Dream Swaddle

Yesterday I posted a photo of Piper in her Love To Dream swaddle, and the response I was just incredible! So many other moms and dads got in touch telling me how it’s changed their life in terms of baby sleep.

Now, I’m just a mom of a 4 month old and never-gonna-leave bags under her eyes, so I’m no expert – but I will do whatever it takes to get my baby down, and keep her down! So for me, I cannot live without four things when it comes to Piper having a sleep:

  1. A Love To Dream Swaddle Up
  2. A good dummy (I swear by those hideous ‘honey dummies’)
  3. A sleep du-du (there are so may on the market but Piper favours a little pink bunny)
  4. A full tummy

Since posting the pic, I have received so many questions  about Love To Dream , so I thought I would do my research and answer them all here:

Where do you get the sleep sack? I have been looking and cant find anything suitable

You can get them from The Bub Hub (and they now have an online store, yay!), Takealot, Kids Emporium, Baby Fantasy and A-Z

Do you find the sleep sack really helps to keep Piper sleeping? Grayson has started waking and I’ve been wondering if that might help him

Yes. I really do. It hasn’t got her sleeping through the night, but the aim isn’t for it to do that (that’s just baby to baby specific) – but it has been a lifesaver in helping her feel secure. Since she was born she’s suffered from a really bad startle reflex and kept waking herself up. In the Love To Dream she can’t wake herself up with that jerky arm movement, and so her sleep is deeper and much better. Sometimes she goes down for a day nap, without her Swaddle Up, and she sleep is only about 30 minutes long. Like today. She has literally just woken up form her sleep after 20 minutes (her swaddle is on the line, drying). I think Grayson may be too old for the original swaddle – but you can get him something called the ‘Swaddle Up 50/50’ which has removable wings and is made for babies age 4-8 months. This is what I’m moving Piper onto next.

 

I cant imagine how Stevie would handle it – she uses her hands so much to self soothe and get herself to sleep. Are her (Pipers) elbows bent and hand up by her face?

The Swaddle Up has been designed for exactly that! To allow a more natural “arms up” position which allows baby to self-soothe. If you look closely at the pic of Piper you will see how damp and grubby the arm parts are – because she literally sucks on them all the time.

What is the age range?

Birth to 3 years – the swaddles are available in 3 stages – ‘Original’, ’50/50′ and ‘sleep bag’.

Sounds like a winning recipe! How old was Piper when you started using it? I have one, but not sure what age to use it from

I think she was a few days old when we started, the second I realised how bad her reflex was, was the second I popped her in one. You can start now for your gorgeous little girl 🙂

Do they make these swaddles in adult sizes?

Haha, I was wondering the same thing!

How do you put them to sleep in it?

You literally pop them in, put their hands and legs inside and zip it u. Then you lay them on their back, or side, depending on their preferred sleep position

Check out this video to see a more detailed description of the Original Swaddle Up and how it works

So, I kinda bet you’re dying to get your hands on (and your baby in!) one of these Swaddle Up’s, right? Lucky for you I have one Swaddle Up™ Original in Pink, Blue or Grey in Small or medium to give away.

To enter, simply tell me what you would do to pass the time while your baby has a gorgeous long sleep in his or her Swaddle Up. Would you read a book have a nap, hit the gym or just sit and watch them sleep? I’ll be drawing the winner on Monday so make sure to drop your answer in the comments, follow my blog and like Rupert Approves on Facebook. If you want an additional entry, simply share this post from here, or my Facebook page, to your Facebook page.

Good Luck! 🙂

 

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My Instagram QnA – You Asked and I Answered.

A week or so back I was inspired by a blog post that an Instagram friend, Gaelyn, had written. It was based on a whole bunch of questions that she had got people to ask her on the app. I told her I loved the idea so much that I was going to steal it, so I did. I had tons of fun with this – it’s been a bit of a slumpy few months in the writing department, and so this was just the creative unblocking I needed. You guys were the perfect writers block laxative 😉

Thank you to everyone who took the time to ask me questions, You guys were all super tame, I don’t know if I’m relived or not!

Let me know if I should do another one of these?

PS – I wasn’t sure who wanted to remain anonymous or not, so I’ve removed everyones names.

How is the weight loss going and how are you staying motivated?

You know the saying ‘a year ago you’ll wish you had started today?‘ Well, that’s kinda me right now. It’s been 6 weeks since a group of us made our #FatttisAndMoanies pact and I feel like I’ve fallen off the wagon too many times to count. That being said, the last 2 weeks have been really good in terms of consistency and training. I’ve started doing a bunch of classes at gym, which for me, are so much easier than following apps or plans. I tend to give up if I miss a training day on an app, but with classes it’s just easier to pick up where I left off. I’ve also been training with a friend which really helps to stay motivated and committed. As far as weight goes, I haven’t even lost 100 grams! Nothing is shifting which is really, really demotivating. So, I’ve actually decided that instead of stressing about fitting into my pre baby jeans I actually just went and bought 3 new pairs of bigger jeans to tide me over. Trying to fit into my thin clothes was causing me so much stress that I just want to put them away for a few months and not feel like an octopus in a condom every morning, trying to squeeze into them.

That being said – I am shocked to see how many retailers have inconsistent sizing in their shops – I recently bought 2 pairs of size 12 jeans from Cotton On. the one pair doesn’t even go over my knees and the other pair fits perfectly – something I need to remember when berating myself for being a certain ‘size’.

When are you starting solids and what are you starting with? (Need some solid inspiration)

We are going to try wait until 5 months, like we did with Carter. I’m not going to do any rice cereal as they just have such a bad rap – rather I want to try get her tasting all sorts of flavours and textures from the get go. I haven’t got a set plan in mind but I do want to (where possible) incorporate as much protein into her food as possible, because protein = sleep and well, we could ALL do with more of that around here.

How many adverts have you been “the voice” to on radio?

8 years ago? TONS. Nowadays, I think one ad that’s still doing the rounds in a Dubai IKEA 😉 When I took up photography, and when photography took off, I had to cut the amount of voice over work I did as I just wasn’t able to get to the studio when they needed me. I miss it, but I also had to be realistic.

What is your biggest fear?

How long is your piece of string? I am fearful by nature – everything from car accidents to retiring with no savings. My ‘silly’ fear is spiders and my ‘serious’ fear is something happening to my kids. Drowning, getting hit by a car, leaving a baby in the car seat. Everything! I’m pretty sure all parents feel this way and its true what they say, that as a parent you will never ever stop worrying. I also worry about my place in this country and our financial security and future. Man alive, thanks for the question, now I need a Xanax 😉

What or who inspires you every day?

Seemingly normal and everyday people. Just yesterday a woman I followed on Instagram shared a pic of an interview done on her in which she talks abut being a hot shot lawyer. My socks were knocked off – I had no idea! I am motivated by my friends for following their startup/entrepreneurial/study and travel dreams. I am inspired by the work I do – being a perfectionsit means I can never settle and am constantly striving for excellence. I am inspired by a random lady stepping off a taxi looking like a runway model, or how great someone looks in a messy bun, or the busy mom who still gets up to train every day at 5 am. I don’t really do the self help books or TED talks, rather, I look to my peers and society and use them all as one big Pinterest board.

Im looking at starting my own business. eek. do you have any advice? 

No, I have zero idea what I’m doing 😉 I have been doing my photography on the side for almost 2 years and so the advice I can give is this: Start small and start on the side, like I did. Open up a business bank account and allocate 20% for tax/SARS. Take advantage of platforms out there to help you with your admin (I particularly like Wave as my invoicing platform). Use your connections and gain trust by being reliable, reputable and kind. Don’t underestimate your value either and charge competitive rates. Offer discounts but try not to do too much for free. I had a rule when I started taking photos; The first of anything was free (first wedding, first newborn etc) that way, there’s less pressure but you also get great experience. Learn wherever you can – mentorships, online courses, YouTube tutorials and shadowing. Ask peoples advice and don’t be scared to put yourself out there. Lastly, fake it till you make it and remember that everyone suffers from some sort of ‘imposter syndrome’ and that is totally OK. Good Luck!

I just found out Im pregnant! can I ask you all the baby questions as i go?! 

Yay! Congratulations! And yes, absolutely, but my answer to the hard questions will probably be something along the lines of ‘have a glass of wine and don’t sweat the small stuff’ 😉 Kidding. Kinda.

Who did your micrblading? They are so perfect 

Firstly, thank you 😉 Secondly, what makes you think they’re not natural? Thirdly, who am I kidding, I have awful features. I had mine done by a lady called Melanie at a place in Clearwater mall. I’ve just tried to find her on Instagram but it seems she’s no longer on it… and I cant remember the shop name either. That being said, I’m pretty sure if you ask around you can get some great referrals for other brow artists. PS – I went a shade darker which means my hair grows blonde over them, and it looks a bit odd. I still tint my eyebrows once every 6 weeks and use a brow pencil (‘Brow This Way’ from Rimmel) to touch up the dodgy patchy bits.

Bedtime routine for two tots 

What is this routine you talk of? My once angelic boy now pulls out all the nightly stops to avoid actually getting into bed at the prescribed time. That being said, amidst the madness we do sometimes have moments of luck, so our typical night/bedtime routine goes like this:

Carter gets home from school at 5/5:30 and we play, chat catchup a bit. He then eats supper between 5;30 and 6:30 depending on his hunger levels. If we are both at home one parent will sit with Carter while the other carries Piper (because her royal highness will not be put down during suicide hour). My hubby always does the evening bath time at 5:45 with Piper. Either Carter will bath with her or shower with Barry later. Barry will give Piper her bottle at 6 and she’s asleep (again, not always successfully) by 6:10. If Carter is still in the bath while Piper is having her bottle, and only one parent is home, then we have a rule whereby we call out to him every 5 minutes and he has to answer, otherwise he’s not allowed to bath alone again. Carter’s bathed/showered and in his pyjamas by 6:30 and then he is allowed half an hour of TV before bed. Some nights we build puzzles or draw but 5/7 times he gets TV. I think our strict TV rule has worked well as its such a novelty for him that it keeps him occupied for 30 minutes and allows us to prep dinner, pop Pipers dummy back in 87 times or just sort out lunches for the next day. At 7 pm the TV magically turns off (thank you iPhone remote!) and Carter is then given the option of 10 more minutes of TV or a story in bed. The story usually wins and – if he’s not being a threenager – he’s in bed and sleeping by 7:30. We went through a massive wobbly when he was about 2.5 and his bedtime routine is only coming right now (thanks to spanking, bribing, shouting, crying, timeout, toy confiscation and wine).

How do you juggle marriage, motherhood, your career and still manage to go to gym? 

I have a spouse who carries 50% of the parenting load, for which I’m so grateful. He’s very big on us each getting our own time off to train and so we usually alternate mornings or evenings. So, one of us will go to gym in the morning leaving the other to dress the kid for school (ha sucker!) and then the other one gets to gym after work or go for a run in the evening. That being said, the arrival of baby 2 totally threw this off kilter as shit got super busy. Hard core training like Iron Man stuff has completely fallen by the wayside, which is OK, I mean, who really has time to train for several hours a day? We have both slacked in the exercise department, but I am now fortunate enough to leave Piper with the nanny for an hour, once Carters been dropped at school at 7:30, and head to gym. Barry’s started running a lot more and we have a stationary bike and treadmill in our dining room. When Piper is a bit older and we don’t need to split the bath time and feeding routine I like to think we will get back into a proper groove. As for marriage, I’ve always said that it is the hardest thing I have ever done. I think we both had a really big wakeup call a few months ago and so we are taking the time to be kinder with each other and go on a few date nights. It’s a work in progress but just these small changes have made us a stronger team. As for career – it’s tough for everyone – but we share calendars and can always see when the other person has a shoot/meeting/function so we can plan accordingly. It’s not perfect, but it helps.

Remember the day you, Lucy and I were counting microscopic ferns? Now you have Carter and Piper 

So, this wasn’t really a question as much a statement, but I loved it so much that I decided to include it. (thanks for the fun reminder, Zee!) The back story – I was told that I would battle to have kids, and me being me, I went into panic and planning mode. I bought this little lipstick sized ovulation microscope online that – when ovulating – showed up as teeny tiny fern like shapes. Well, I brought it to work the one day and the entire office had a go at seeing their saliva under the microscope. Imagine my surprise when it was my turn and BOOM! There were hundreds of fat ferns. Needless to say, Carter was born 10 months later. PS – it’s clearly a lucky charm as the three friends I lent it to afterwards all fell pregnant.

Why are you so hard on yourself? I ask because your honesty and humour when dealing with life is so relatable.I think you’re doing an amazing job

I have, for as long as I can remember, used sarcasm to hide my insecurities. I feel like I have always been the ‘good enough’ girl. good enough looking, good enough at school, good enough at sports. Nothing ever really defined me, and so I used wit to give myself an identity. So I guess what you see by me being hard on myself, is the only me that I know. Plus, aren’t we all? As much as I know that social media is almost entirely fake, where people only show their greatest and most joyful moments, it also makes me incredibly insecure, and so I swore that I would ever not be authentic on the platforms I’m on. So I show the good, the bad and the ugly – and as much as I want to – I don’t even use on of those face filter apps to make me look like I’m not mid-thirties with 2 kids 😉 But I promise I’ll try to be gentler on myself (after I’ve lost the 20 kilogram and had a boob job). kidding!

Why did you leave radio? 

I am a verbal person, and have always spoken my mind. Working in radio began to feel a bit too scripted for me – I didn’t feel as if I had an opinion or was actually making a difference. It was also the first job I had ever had and as much as I loved it – I still miss it – I wanted to see what else I could do with my life. I was worried that I would never grow in a professional sense and the corporate world seemed quite exciting. Even though I left commercial radio, I feel like my blog and my photography has allowed me to still be creative and express my feelings.

Tips for breastfeeding/sleeping through the night 

I’m not sure if you mean getting baby to sleep through the night, or mom being able to sleep after she’s woken for a feed, so I’ll give this answer my best shot:

Firstly, I chose to stop breastfeeding at 2.5 months. I battled in public and it was leading to massive weight gain (for me, not her ;)) However, when I was breastfeeding I would express, alot. Which meant Barry could do feeds and I could sleep, and visa versa. This allowed us both to get to atleast 5/6 hours stretches. I am also 100% routine mom and so from day 4 we tried to get Piper on a day and night feeding routine. I would limit her time on the boobs so she didn’t get lazy which meant she knew that at feed time, it was time to chow! We also didn’t feed in between her 3 hour sessions, unless it was an emergency. It’s worked for us and we know (sort of) what to expect.That being said, my darling daughter does not sleep though the night, and between her and Carters new-found night terrors, I feel like no one in my house will ever sleep again 😉

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Life With 2 Kids

There’s a reason it’s taken me 10 weeks to write this post. When Carter was a newborn I was oh-so-smug about churning out blog posts like confetti. It’s been a whole different ball game this time around. I took a whopping 29 days off before I went back to photography, shooting an 11 hour wedding when she was less than a month old. Not earning a full salary on maternity leaves means maternity leave is less cuddle and more hustle, and to be honest I.Am.Exhausted. I’m also dreading 1 July when I leave my awesome edit-from-home-in-slippers vibe and head back to my corporate job. I hope the dress code allows for fat pants and maternity bras.

So, busy-ness aside, what is it like to have a second child?

  1. It’s busy. I think I kinda alluded to that earlier, but it is. It’s amazing – I roll my eyes into my brain when twenty-something people moan about how constantly exhausted they are, because I had one kid and realised what the term ‘busy’ really meant. Well, moms of two or more, I totally get how you must have rolled your eyes at us moms of one. The first few days were so easy that I had another moment of (very short lived) smugness. Husband was on paternity leave (ya, let’s discuss that flash in a pan allowance hey government?) and that mean I could totally enjoy the snuggles and chill out time as I had a set of hands to help clean and cook and just chill with. The second he went back to work real life set in. Newborns, as teeny and tiny as they are, are are really very time consuming. From feeds to burps to nappy changes and everything in between. When they do sleep you are met with life altering decisions. Do I grocery shop, do I do some work, do I wash her clothes, do I clean bottles or do I blog? And then before you can even make a decision, the baby wakes up and all your plans for the day are long forgotten.
  2. It takes a toll on your marriage. Suddenly, two parents means one kid each which means zero down time. Our evenings are run with military precision as one spouse cleans kids while the other starts cooking. Bedtimes are managed with tears and screaming. Sometimes the kids also cry. A shit ton of wine is consumed and in between the grunts of ‘your turn‘ when the monitor goes off and downing carb laden easy food for meals, you barely have one ounce to even look at each other. We realised recently that we haven’t had a date, just the two of us, in over a year and a half. So yes, it’s safe to say that our marriage is basically in survival mode for the next few months while we try to keep two little people alive.
  3. The sibling will suffer. You can prep them until they are blue with boredom, but once that baby comes, someone is going to suffer. Carter adores his sister so much that my heart sometimes feels like it will explode with custard, and while this makes me smile sunbeams out my face, it also means that he’s taking ‘the change’ out on someone. And that someone is me. My kid, my crazy kind sweet beautiful boy has been a little dick to me since the day I fell pregnant. There are fleeting moments of adoration or hugs or loves, but I can tell you that 80% of the time I am his punching bag. And its Ok, because I know it wont last forever, but while it does, it’s still very hard. After a particularly stressful morning last week I sat, sobbing while googling ‘Aspergers in toddlers’ and telling my husband that we had to take him to a child psychologist. Thankfully, a hundred moms spoke me off my cliff and told me that acting out is totally normal, and no, I shouldn’t run to the adoption agency just yet. Little arseholes that they are though, these threenagers know just how to drive you to the brink of insanity before doing something totally adorable to remind you not to drop them off at the orphanage for the night.
  4. No one cares. First kids are exciting man, people wish you and praise you and come visit and bring food. Second time around, only your family really give two hoots. In a way it was quite nice not having 59 people in my hospital room at once, but in a way I’m pretty sad that Piper s arrival wasnt met with the same amount of joy as Carter was. I have friends who still haven’t even met her, and friends who haven’t even wished us congratulations. In a way its a good thing, as it’s reminded me who my real tribe are. I’m still sad no ones brought carbs food though.
  5. You will be more tired that you ever thought possible. I think, to allow conception of another baby, your body purposely forgets just how hard sleep deprivation is. I genuinely don’t remember it being so hard with #1. I am tired all the time, and my face looks like the before ad for botox. if one more person tells me how tired I look I might stab them in the face with a wine bottle.
  6. You are more flexible. With the realisation of this being your ‘last kid’ you change your approach somewhat. I hold her a bit longer and let her sleep me on me a bit more than I did Carter. I’m more flexible with her feeding and routine and I’m trying to enjoy and appreciate her as much as I can. She’s already nearly 2 and a half months and my heart is heavy at the thought of her growing up too fast.So, on that…
  7. It’s too fast. 10 weeks in and I’ve yet to go back to gym, update my blog, make photo books of their lives or clean out that draw that’s been collecting crap since 2016. Your day is broken up into 3 hour stretches during which 100 more important things need to be done. Working throughout has also added a new dimension to my ‘leave’ and every free minute I get is spent editing or shooting or invoicing or doing admin.
  8. It’s just as exciting. The novelty does not wear off the second time around. The first smile will melt your ovaries (I know, because mine are currently very much melted) and every milestone thereafter will be treated as if she were your first. Don’t think that this baby will be relegated to the backseat just because it’s not the first time. Each and every thing my Baby Piper does feels like the first time, because she is not her brother, she is her. She is different. She is unique. And every thing she ever does will be exciting because of that.
  9. It’s just how it should be. I never had those feelings of “how I’m I going to love another human as much as I do my first”. I always knew that I wanted two kids and always knew I had room in my heart for another. If anything, it’s taught me to love Carter even more (if that’s even possible). In a way I can’t wait to see who she grows into and what kind of person she’s going to be, but for the time being I am so content just sitting with her and touching her and breathing her all in (girls smell much nicer than boys, even when they’re babies).
  10. It is so, so worth it. So worth the weight gain, the breast-feeding hormones that make me fat, the lack of sleep, the mum dum, the stretch marks, the 10cm scar, the bags under my eyes and the exhausted skin, the tired eyes and the 8 pm bedtimes, the 2 am insomnia and the debt. It is so worth it, because I am so happy and so deeply in love with my two children. Motherhood may not be for everyone, but it’s one of the greatest achievements of my life.

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Surviving The First Month – Boobs And All (Plus, Win a Breastpump!)

Piper is nearing her one-month birthday. I KNOW.

It’s been an incredible (and incredibly fast) first few weeks. She is amazing. I’m drowning in every bit of her, because she really is growing up way too fast for my liking. In fact, I had a little moment this past weekend when discussing birth stories with friends (yes, this is what we talk about now) and I realised she will be my last every baby. I’m devastated that I wont ever have that experience again. But, I digress.

Coming home with a new baby is always a daunting exercise – regardless if you’re like me and it’s your second, or if it’s baby number 5 you’re bringing home to the family.

You forget everything. It’s amazing how the brain retains only what you really need to remember, and discards the rest. Jokes, you’ve just had a kid, Your brain retains nothing, you are all dumb now. So, in the spirit of helping other new moms keep their shit together, I’ve decided to put together a little ‘Surviving The First Month’ series and chat about everything from boobies and body to blood and ‘bloody hell!’

To kickstart, I’ve decided that the most important thing to discuss is feeding. And in my case, breastfeeding. Apologies to the formula mums – I will be there in a few months when I go back to work (although at times I’ve considered hanging up my boob straps and switching to Nan because of, well, all the below reasons)

The latching… Unlike Carter, when Piper was born they popped her directly on my boob and she latched first time, like a little star. I have nightmare memories of leaking nips from Carter days, so my hospital bag was 3/4 breastpads. Although, you don’t actually need them for the first few days as you are making tiny amounts of colostrum and baby really only needs a teaspoon or less, per feed. So all was good under my proverbial hood and little Pip latched and ate and slept and poo’ed. On day 4 my milk came in, and with it, my boobs doubled in size and became rock hard. Piper was still latching but it was so incredible sore that my toes would literally curl in and I would levitate every time she came anywhere near me. I was using these hideous nipple shields to try get her on (because on top of milk coming in and boobs growing, they also become so rock hard that for baby to get a grip is the equivalent of them trying to wrap their lips around a soccer ball). I was in agony and the breaking point for me came on day 5 when after a feed, I looked down and her little face was covered in blood. I immediately contacted a lactation specialist – Sally – from Noobebe Baby Clinic  who came to my house and sat with us for an hour teaching me how to properly latch my baby. That and a session of physio** helped me so much and I cannot stress enough what an investment this is. I can understand why so may moms give up trying to breastfeed, the pain of early onset mastitis, cracked nippled and rock hard goombies is enough to make even the most hardcore crunchy mom give up and grab a bottle.

The mess… Guys. You must never underestimate the messiness of milk. I can only speak from my experience, but when the milk comes in, it comes in fast ad furious. Like the cast of Absolutely Fabulous at a gin sale. No amount of breastpads can prevent this:

Or this (Incase you’re wondering, this is my duvet cover, which means I leaked through shields, a bra, a top and actual linen.)

And even if they do, its a fucking nightmare when boob is out, baby’s on and she suddenly pulls away. Milk streams out at ferocious 90 degree angles. If a forensic expert had to come in to my home they would find traces of Kates Dairy all over the house, from the curtains to the carpets. I took a break from writing this blog to feed Piper now, and this is legitimately what she looked like after her first suck:

My advice? Stock up on breastpads and keep them everywhere. Baby’s room, your room, under your pillow, wedged between cushion covers and in your car. Also, you will be very sleep deprived and therefore very stupid. Top tip? Don’t apply them sticky side down on your nipples. It’s not pleasant.

Feeding in public… I could never get this right with Carter and hated the thought of going out with him when he needed a feed. The amount of times the poor Woolworths change-room assistants let me borrow a stall is beyond me. It also got very expensive as every-time I used a room to feed I felt obliged to buy myself new clothes. Nursing covers are hot and stuffy and unpleasant all round, plus, they could be the size of a picnic blanket but you are still guaranteed a nip sip when shifting baby from boob to boob. I find it incredibly difficult as I have to help her get latched which means both hands need to be under my top, and in order to see what Im doing that also means that I need to also be under the cover. There is not less conspicuous than a hot sweaty woman with a bright pink shawl draped over her shoulders in 30 degree heat trying to wrestle an infant octopus between oversized leaky mammaries. If I have to, then I will feed in public. If not, I express, bottle the milk up and actually just save us both from tears.

 

Expressing and bottle feeding… I used the Medela double electric pump with Carter and am using it again with Pip. This thing is terrific, the only downfall is that you have to hold the pump in place while expressing which meant you were very limited for however long it took to get the milk out. That is, until Michelle from BreastPumps and Beyond came to my house to deliver, what I fondly refer to, as THE BIGGEST GODSEND AFTER HAVING A BABY. She also brought me chocolates, so she’s basically my favourite person.  It’s a click on bra that allows you to hook the pump in so you can operate hands free. This thing has actually changed my life. I can read, work, blog, watch TV, take hideous selfies or wash dishes while expressing. Jokes. I have a dishwasher for that.

I debated for hours over posting this photo, but decided that in the spirit of honest parenting, you needed to see what real motherhood looks like. It ‘aint pretty. 

I’m using the Medela Calma bottle and teat which mimics the sucking action of a nipple. (God, how many times can one person actually say ‘nipple‘ in a post?). I’ve been expressing from 4 days and giving Piper the occasional bottle since she was 5 days old – so I can get a break, or feed in public or so hubby can feed and I can sleep lie awake wondering if he’s going to remember to change her nappy afterwards. Oh, and also so I can drink. heavily.

So, what have I actually achieved with this post? Apart from perhaps causing a spike in the sale of the contraceptive pill? Well, hopefully to help you realise that you’re not alone in this messy journey of motherhood, and also to help you stock up on shit you really need, versus shit you really don’t.

Shit you really need:

Breastpads. Any brand. The large box. keep them everywhere

Towelling nappies. Not for nappying, for absorbing spillage and mess and milk and tears.

A Medela breastpump and THE WORDS GREATEST BRA. Get them here:

A nipple cream – I use the Medela lanolin. Yes you will gawk at the price. Yes, you will need it. (great for cuticles, too).

The number of a good Sister (like nurse, not biological or Whoopi) who can help you with your latch – chat to Sally from Noobebe. She also does vaccinations.

The number of a physio who can help you should you get mastitis or pain.

A comfy chair. I use the ComfyMummy chair with a foot cushion and it’s really helped with those 3 am feeds when you are so exhausted you can’ see straight Tip> Pay for Scotch Guarding. because, mess. FYI – they have recently moved their showrooms so give them a visit or have a look at their website.

Shit you don’t need:

Breastfeeding tops – They really make zero difference when you have to peel back layers of bras and pads anyway.

Overly warm breastfeeding covers – they are not fun for everyone

Nipple shields. If I can give up this crutch, so can you. I promise.

Judgy opinions. Do what works for you.

** Side note. When selecting a physio to caress, massage and laser your boobs, try not to book your husbands ex girlfriend. You’re welcome.

Competition Time!

The lovely folk at Breastpumps and Beyond and Medela want to try and simplify your breastfeeding experience, so we are giving away one Harmony manual pump to a lucky winner. I also have this particular pump as it’s super handy for on-the-go expressing. I’m shooting a wedding at the end of the month and will be taking it along to express between the ‘I Do’s’ . To enter, all you need to do is subscribe to this blog, like and share the post on your Facebook timeline (you can share it from here) and leave me a comment. Winner will be drawn and announced on Thursday.

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Introducing Piper Grey. Our Daughter.

I’m writing this from a very loved up cocoon. 13 days ago we met our precious daughter, Piper Grey. She was born via planned C section but came wide eyed and screaming into this world, just as I had hoped. She is perfection, All 3.42 kilograms and 50 cm of her. Just like her oder brother she was born with a mop of dark hair which I’m almost certain will, like his as well, fade, fall out, grow back blonde and then settle into a dark blonde. She has large almond eyes that currently, are a deep blue and a little rosebud mouth. Her character is simply delicious – soft and sweet with a ferocious crossness that comes every 3-4 hours when she’s hungry and needs boob. Her features are delicate and dainty but her hands, man those hands, those were made for something great. In fact, her hands were the first thing the gynae saw as he pulled her out, and as he did he said ‘she’s gonna be a 4 kilo’er’. I’m kinda glad she’s not.

Alot of people have been asking me about her name, and no, it didn’t derive from ‘Pip’. We were calling her Pip in the tummy because ‘It’ sounded too weird, and when we chose the name Piper it was simply a coincidence that it was 2 letters longer than her nickname 🙂

The whole C section and hospital experience was amazing – even better than the first. I had her at a different hospital to Carter and cannot tell you just how welcome, special and important all the nursing staff made me feel. The only downfall was the limited visiting hours for Barry and Carter and the broken aircon – she was born in one of the hottest weeks and I was uncomfortable for 4 days. It was like staying in a sauna.

And the boys? Well, they are simply besotted. Barry has been given 10 days paternity – which is great but in my opinion about 2 months too little – so has been with me for 2 weeks helping and bonding and being my rock. He goes back to work tomorrow and Im somewhat devastated. Carter is simply obsessed – I always knew he would be loving and nurturing but to see him with her, it can actually make your ovaries do the Macarena. She is his little light and he gravitates towards her like a beacon – he smothers her with kisses and soft touchers and whispers her name when he’s crying. I am the luckiest mom in the world.

Piper was born with several ‘stork bites’ on her face – a ‘V’ on her forehead, on her eyelids and under her nose. At first I was really upset – her perfect face felt flawed, and I gave myself a full day to mourn a little bit of her perfection. And then I sucked it up and told myself I was being ridiculous – she has 10 fingers and toes and is a perfect human in every other way. The docs said the marks will fade in a few years, and I’ve learnt to embrace them as part of her and who she is. I don’t edit them out in all my pics as I want her to look back at photos and see her for exactly who she was.

I have been loving my time at home with her. Not being able/allowed to drive is a tiny blessing. I’m trying this time do do less and be more. She is my last baby and so I want my waking hours to be spent gazing, touching and smelling this little bundle. Because I know all too well just how fast they grow up.

r-Grey

It hasn’t all been roses and custard, I did too much too soon and suffered a small bout of mastitis, afterbirth pains (we need to talk about that, people!) and threw in a dose of food poisoning for good measure.

She is 2 weeks tomorrow, and I actually don’t remember a time before she was here. Yes, the lack of sleep and 2 am feeds and constant soiled nappies and saggy tummy and exhausted eyes are leaving me more mombie than anything, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. She’s here, she’s ours and she has completed our little family.

 

 

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‘Pips’ Nursery Reveal

One of my favourite parts about having kids (I sound like Octomom) is being able to plan their rooms. I hate anything that’s too ‘themed’ and tend to go with a feel, rather. Carter’s room was grey and navy and because it had more room and space, I could do so much with it. When it came to putting Pip’s nursery together, I really battled. Not only is the room tiny but there is zero wall space, so it was trial and error trying to get everything we needed in there. I always wanted a bight, cheerful tropical nursery, and never realised just how popular the trend would become! Nevertheless, my love for flamingos trumped my disdain at being sucked into a trend, and I persevered. Although it’s not perfect, I am really happy with the room and how it’s come together. Its bright, light and calm, and already smells so damn good.

All of the furniture is a hand me down from Carters room (and several other babies before him!), the side table was one I found in the garage and repainted. The shelves are from @Home, the art is from Shutterstock, the painted flamingos were done by me and my moms friend. The cube shelves are Mr Price and the flamingo was a gift from a friend. I’m waiting on 2 more special items – a mobile lovingly and painstakingly being made by my mom and a delicious monster printed muslin blanket that I eventually caved on and bought online.

The nappy bag is also Carter’s (yes, he had a girlie nappy bag!) from Lou Harvey, the bottles I will be using are all from Nuk and the dummies I’m going to be trying out are from Nuk, Tommee Tippee, Doddle and Co and Avent. I’m not taking any chances that she will be a fan of those hideous honey dummies her brother (still!) adores.

Now just to pack hospital bags and I’ll be (almost) ready for her arrival.

 

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