Win a Photoshoot Valued at R2500!

“Please take a photo of Carter and me”.

This is something I ask my husband atleast once a day. Why? Because I have no photos of my child and I together. (slight exaggeration, but you get the point). I am always the one snapping the hundreds of people holding my baby, and capturing those tender moments between him and someone who isn’t his mother. I must have several thousand photos of my husband with the kid, and a few thousand more of my dogs, grannies, friends, friend’s kids and friends babies with my baby. Hell, even my domestic worker has her own album on my iMac.

Every now and then my husband does remember to take a photo. Unfortunately it’s generally at 5 am when Carter is lying in the bed next to me, when there’s dried snot on my cheek, my face is puffy and lined from sleep, and I look like this:

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Arsehole.

It may be the wannabe photog in me, but there are atleast a dozen moments throughout the day when I’m perfectly posed for a pic. TAKE MY PICTURE YOU IDIOT I want to shout as I’m lovingly gazing into my baby’s eyes, he’s gazing lovingly back and there are fucking violins playing in the background. But no, unless I ask someone nicely to snap a pic, it wont happen, and even then the moment is undoubtedly lost when I get a forced “Ok look up at the camera and say cheese!’.

So, it is with muchos excitement that I’m running this competition on my blog. This one’s for all the moms who took the time to wash their hair and apply makeup in the hopes that someone would snap their pic of them and their baby…and then were asked to hold the camera and take a photo of someone else.

My good friend – and photographer extraordinaire – Clair Fraser from Fraser Photography (you may remember her for our engagement shoots) recently did a photo shoot with me and Carter (and the dogs, but they are incredibly needy, so I’ll let that one slide). I adore these pics so much, and just love how Clair is with the babies behind the scenes. Carter had an absolute blast, and to thank me for it he delivered a gigantic poonami from hell later that day, but I digress.

Clair has kindly offered to giveaway a photo shoot, valued at R2500 to Rupert Approves readers. And if you’re anything like me, then luxuries like personalized photo shoots are almost impossible given the price of nappies, formula and wine. Three vital things needed when raising a child.

Even better – the shoot isn’t limited to a newborn – it can be anything from maternity to a family lifestyle shoot. So, if you’re feeling bad because the last time you updated your family album was in 2012 using an old Instagram photo, then this is the competition for you.

I know you’re busy (washing your hair and putting makeup on and all that) so entering is really simple. All it takes is 3 easy steps:

  1. Follow Rupert Approves.
  2. Like Clair Fraser Photography on Facebook.
  3. Comment on this post and tell me what shoot you would like to win (Maternity, Newborn, Baby, Cake Smash, Toddler or Family Shoot)

The winner will be drawn and announced this Friday (7 August) at 7 pm.

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 The Ts and Cs

  • Winners must make their own travel arrangements to and from the studio, based in Fourways, Johannesburg.
  • Prize is not transferrable
  • Prize must be redeemed before 30 November 2015
  • Photoshoot categories are limited to: Maternity, Newborn, Baby, Family and First Birthday Cake Smash
  •  Entrants must abide by competition mechanics listed above in order to qualify

*update*

Congratulations to Mellissa who has won this amazing prize! To everyone else, thank you entering. Clair from Fraser photography has kindly offered a 10% discount to everyone who entered – simply quote the word ‘Rupert Approves’ when booking your shoot through her. The discount is valid for any shoot until the end of the year.

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He's A Dad, Not A Babysitter.

I read this article a couple of years ago, before I was even considering having children, and even then, young and carefree, I thought to myself “this. This is how I plan on working a baby into our lives”.

To quote the article – a father should never be called or seen as ‘the baby sitter’. To imply that they are merely there as a temporary carer implies that their role is of lesser value and importance than the moms. As an example – you would never say to a mom who was out at the grocery store “Oh, I see you’re baby sitting today?”. So why would you ever say that to the dad?

When Carter was born there was an almost silent agreement between my husband and I that this was a dual role. That they baby was ours 50/50, and caring for him would be just that.

Even before he was born Barry came with me to every single ultrasound and checkup. I insisted he pay half the bills when my medical aid had dried up and we will split our childs cost equally going forward as well. Am I a bitch? Am I high maintenance? Absolutely not. I am one half Carters parent. Therefore I rely equally on my other half to come to the party when raising him. Not ‘help’ me to raise him. if I want help I’ll call his granny.

From day one he has been a hands on dad – we have split the night feed duties in half, he packs the nappy bag when we go out and changes the car seat base between cars (most of the time…). Just last night it was his turn on night duty (of course our baby then slept for 11 hours straight), and when I told people this, they were more shocked about the fact that he does ‘night duty. Yes, he bloody well does night duty – he also changes the nappies, baths him and puts him to bed on most nights. In fact, he comes home at a decent hour on most days, not to allow me to go run, but to give me time from my ‘job’ of mothering to go and exercise, to get some much needed ‘me time’. Plus, he knows that on Sundays he gets to disappear for several hours to hit the trails with some of his mates.

In less than 6 weeks I will be going back to work – which means we will both be full time working parents. Is it going to be easy? No. Is it going to be do-able? Absolutely, because my husband will do one half of the creche run, one half of the cooking (although I think that may be news to him) and one half of raising our child. 

I get that I am so so fortunate, and that many dads still see their role as the silent observer type. I also understand that there is a lot a man cannot physically do for his child, which may leave him feeling helpless (nursing being the biggest), but in times when a man can’t magically grow a set of boobs, he can bring his wife a glass of water, or make her a cup of tea. If baby is particularly mom-fuss on a certain day, hubby can help with the washing, or cleaning or cooking. Because it is 2015, and I know very few woman who don’t bust their ass every day in the office and work hellishly long hours too. 

Simply put, I try keep my hubby out of my blog, but sometimes a gals just gotta brag a bit. 

I got me a good one.

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Babys Best Buys

Remember Bonnie from Bonnies Best Buys? This is exactly the same, except entirely different.

Bonny.
Bonny.
Not Bonny
Not Bonny

Leading up to having Carter, I was kindly gifted with so many ‘must have items’ from fellow moms. And once he was born, I discovered a few of my own. 

In the spirit of promoting our GDP – here are several baby items I just cannot live without:

1. Towelling nappies. To be used for everything except actually nappy’ing. These bad boys soak up any liquid, from baby vomay all the way to your snot and tears when it’s 4 in the morning and you’ve put the nappy on backwards for the 3rd time in a row. 

2. Itzbeen ‘Pocket Nanny’. I didn’t really start using this bad boy until a few weeks ago after I attended a sleep talk, and decided to start enforcing a stricter day time sleep routine on Carter. This handy little device times everything from feeds, to naps to nappy changes. It times up to 24 hours, but if your baby happens to nap that long I would seriously consider getting sterilised.

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(In this image you can clearly see that Carter has been sleeping for 1 minute. He sometimes like to show off like that)

3. Baby bouncer. Another revoltingly coloured plaything with a repetitive jingle? Check. However, this crafty bouncer is probably the only this that occupies my child for longer than 2 minutes. I can pop him in there when I’m pouring a glass of wine writing a blog and he merrily pulls, bounces and stares at the plastic loops for minutes on end.

4. Plastic loops. I think these are called linking loops? I call them presents from Jesus. For about 40 rond you can grab yourself a pack of these ingenious little toys and attach them to just about anything. (like a baby bouncer). In about 2 weeks Im going to try use them to hold him down on his changing mate so he can’t roll over while I pour another glass of wine scour the house for a nappy that fits

5. Formula. Im still giving him ye old boob juice, but for days when its inconvenient to breast feed (read – ANYWHERE in public) I simply give him baby protein powder. It’s helping to make the transition for when I go back to work easier, plus it keeps him fuller for longer (hello 10 hour sleeps!)

6. iPad apps. Yes, I’ve introduced my child to the iPad. No, I don’t think Im going to kill him by doing so. Fisher Price have the most incredible apps for each stage of babys life – I’m currently using one called “Contrast Colour’ which is a series of interactive black and white and colour images designed to stimulate baby. I used it on him for the first time last week. About 2 minutes in he was fast asleep and I was gleefully hopping from one video to the next. (addendum, it’s great for adults too)

7.Clever clothing. Fark you onesie manufacturers who make putting your outfits on tiny wriggling humans a sweat inducing challenge. Your buttonless outfits are about effective as Donald Trumps combover. Enter – the clever and oh-so-cute companies like Tous Les Jours who actually put thought behind their products. Like this little outfit – cute, practical and easy to use. 

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Oh, the packaging! Tres chic.
Oh, the packaging! Tres chic.

8. Honey Dummies. Often met with ‘erm, thats an interesting thing in your babies mouth’. These dummies are the red headed step children who turn into Prince Harry. Super cheap, ugly as sin, and a firm favourite with my kid. The best part? If he loses it I don’t have to fork out a small fortune to replace it.

9. Bibdannas. I don’t know if it’s his age, or if he simply gets a kick from me changing his outfit several times a day, but my baby is a drooler. Thankfully, bibs have come a long way from the ugly square plastic neck accessories they were. Mamma and Nanna make some awesome ‘bibdannas’ which double up as gob-catchers, whilst looking trendy at the same time.

10. Car seat mirrors. I am paranoid about my baby and his breathing. In hospital I would sleep with him in his bassinet next to me, and wake up every 18 seconds to put my hand in front of his mouth to test if he was alive. So, you can imagine my paranoia when driving with him in a  rear facing car seat. A mirror that goes on to the head rest of the car seat that he’s facing allows you to view him through your rear mirror. Plus, my baby is incredibly vain, so he gets to gaze at himself for hours on end. 

What am I missing here, moms? Any ‘must have’ items on your list? (and don’t worry, I already have vodka on it).

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The Problem With Mommy Groups.

Falling pregnant is (relatively) easy. Being pregnant, and then spawning a baby, is the hard part. It’s only until you have this tiny, helpless infant in your arms that you think to yourself “shit, now what?”. 

I think I spent my entire pregnancy in denial – under a false illusion that once baby was here I would know exactly what to do, and that everything would magically fall into place. Except, it didn’t. Suddenly, I had this brand new, pink, squeaking, frog-like human in my arms and panic set in. How will I know when to change its nappy. What size nappy? What brand of nappy? When does it eat? How does it eat? How much does it eat? OhMyGodWhenAmIEverGoingToEatAgain?!

And so, I sought advice from the experts. Other moms. 

Facebook, with all its faults, does offer us one great thing – groups. And if there’s one thing a mommy loves, it’s a mommy group on Facebook. Before my baby was barely more than some drying wee on a dipstick, I had been added to more Faceook groups than I could remember. Breastfeeding groups, gentle parent groups, Joburg groups, groups about groups, groups abut those groups who group together. You get the point. 

My newsfeed was filled daily with panic stricken moms asking for consultations on their baby’s rash, moms asking for reliable family photographers and moms looking to sell little Johnnys ‘barely used’ burp cloth.

At first, I loved it, I sucked in the information like an alcoholic on relapse. Everything fascinated me! No ‘is this poo even normal’ question was too much for my insatiable appetite, no requests for ‘it’s little Julie’s birthday in 7 minutes and I need one hundred million gluten free Frozen themed cupcakes’ could scare me away. Oh no, I was mommy group befok. 

Until I started asking my own questions.

They started off innocently enough. One day I asked if anyone could recommend a good book to read during maternity leave (and we laughed and laughed). I also posed on the group the day before my son was born, and the love poured in. Then, I had the absolute gall, the CHEEK, to post about something that required a point of view. Circumcision. Words like ‘baby massacre’ and ‘genital mutilation’ spring to mind. My post elicited hundreds of responses where women, who I have never met and who have never met me unleashed their verbal abuse. 

I’m not alone. I have seen hundreds of moms torn to shreds for even mentioning the word ‘bottle fed’ or (gasp!) ‘C Section’. Questions around how many ml’s a baby should be drinking were met with very angry women lambasting anything that didn’t come out of the boob. Cute pics of ‘baby’s nursery linen’ were followed with Internet links to cot deaths and SIDS stats.

Eventually, I started to unfollow most of the groups, and retreated into the corner like a scolded school child. From there, I observed, and watched more innocent ladies fall to the merciless hands of the know-it-all-parent.

I have chosen to remain on two Facebook groups, where abuse is met with a quick removal by the page admin, but having been burnt a few times I am hesitant to post anything more than an innocuous update about something that can’t offend anyone. (puppies running through tulips, and that sort of thing)

Motherhood is fucking tough. We all have our days where we have no idea what we’re doing. I’m still so grateful to the few groups I remain on and the 99% of moms out there who are genuine and helpful, and don’t mind a difference of opinion.

To those moms, the invisible personas behind the profile pictures, I thank you. We may have never met, but you have helped me in more ways than you know.mommy wars

PS – I still can’t help anyone with a hundred million gluten free Frozen themed cupcakes. Sorry. 

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Blake Lively, You Are Not helping Matters.

I just took a light jog with the dogs and the pram. In my nursing bra. My oversized boobs were literally flying into my mouth.

Why did I just take a jog with 2 dogs and a baby you ask? No, it was not to taste my own boob milk, nor was it to proudly display my multitasking skills whilst I clutched dog leash in one hand and bouncy breast in the other.

You see, my face slash body double Blake Lively has also recently given birth to a baby. I’m not sure of its name. Probably God. 

Have you seen Blake Lively post partum? Wait did you see her pregnant? Holy mother of all things fertile, the woman looks like a Victoria Secret model. She’s all lean arms and legs, luscious hair and flat tummy. It’s depressing dear reader – and don’t for one second try to tell me she’s wearing spanx under her dress made of human skin. I tried them things. All that happened was that my post baby belly went from sitting around my waist, to being squished up around my chest, resulting in 2 sets of 36 D’s to deal with. 

She has time to wear a hat?
She has time to wear a hat?

Seriously?

I mean COME ON!
I mean COME ON!

Im still wearing the pregnancy leggings I lived in for 9 months, and when I dare to wear a tight top I look 5 months knocked up. You guys, my cellulite has cellulite.

I had an easy pregnancy – so I guess this is my big pay back – the fat that won’t come off. What makes it even worse is that my bordering on problematic pregnancy cravings (white chocolate, vanilla cake, Kit Kat chunkys and toasted cheese sarmies have not at all abated). Harder still is that junk food is the easiest thing to eat when nursing a baby in one hand and fondling my fat rolls in the other.

I did go back to gym. Once. I signed Carter up to Club V, left him there and waddled off to the floor mats. There, I bumped into a lady I used to work with, who has the body of Blake Lively’s twin sister. She told me, very kindly, to go easy on myself. 12 months is a very long time to be stagnant, but I was too stubborn to listen. 8 jumping squats later I could actually feel myself starting to black out. 1 attempted plank and a handful of running lunges later and I think I actually DID pass out. 

EIGHT DAYS LATER and I was only managing to sit down n the toilet again without crying. 

I know I need to be patient, I know its only been 7 weeks and 6 days since I gave birth (and all the lard in the world is worth it when I look at this perfect little kid) but man, am I feeling crappy about this post baby body. 

I guess, in a perfect world, I would have a nanny to give me some time off to hit the gym, a slew of maids to do the washing and drying and cleaning when my baby vomits all over his brand new outfit (again) and a million more hours in the day to get everything I need to done. 

For now, I will take running up the street, clutching heaving bosoms in a nursing bra, whilst holding on to a pram and 2 hounds. 

Welcome to motherhood. 

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How to grocery shop with a baby (and other handy hints)

Yesterday I started a baby massage class. I was disappointed to find out that it would be me massaging my baby, and not the other way round. Surely I deserve a little bit of deep tissue love? It should be payback for never having any time for myself.

Carter’s going through a growth spurt (well, that’s what the books say, as apparently ‘possessed by demons’ isn’t appropriate). This means that my days of having 3 hours in between feeds while he napped and I leisurely applied makeup, showered or pumped boobs are over – atleast for the next few days. Just yesterday I ate an omelette with my hands, like a sandwich.

I have the deepest amount of respect and sympathy for moms who have had niggly babies from day 1. It’s tough – you love them more than wine, but it’s near impossible to do anything if they don’t let you put them down for even a second. Short of drugging them, the only thing to do is wait for hubby to get home from work or wait for the growth spurt to be over.

With this in mind, I wanted to share a few handy shortcuts to motherhood that I heave learnt in the last 5 weeks.

Venturing out. When leaving the house for any reason at all, make sure you are always in gym clothes and are slightly disheveled. (Moms, I hear you laughing ‘cos how ELSE does one go out with a new born, right?). The reason for this, and no, it’s not to actually Go to gym, silly, is so should you bump into anyone you know, or even don’t know, they will automatically assume you’ve come from a 90 minute spin class, and will immediately think you Wonder Woman for exercising while looking after a baby. Extra points for smudged or no makeup and vomit on your top (people will just assume it’s  protein shake).

Cooking. When making anything, anything at all, make sure you make enough to feed a soup kitchen. Then freeze the leftovers and re-heat for breakfast, lunch and dinner the following week. Your husband will grow to love tofu noodles, promise.

Exercise. IF you ever get the inkling to actually do anything of the aerobic nature, then having a goal is key. And by goal I mean a fancy cappuccino or blueberry muffin. I like to take brisk walks to the local Seattle down the road and reward myself with a grande latte and a cheese sandwich. You may not ever lose weight, but it’s a lot more rewarding than going to the gym.

Wine. Is very important. I am not ashamed to admit that I now buy wine in boxes as its a lot easier to pour when you only have 1 hand. Just be careful you don’t drop the glass. I mean the baby, don’t drop the baby.

Makeup and personal hygiene. Invest in a deodorant that promises 48 hour protection, and you’ve saved yourself a day. Sleep with waterproof makeup on, and wear the sports bra to bed that you plan on wearing the next day. That pretty much leaves brushing your teeth and tying your hair in a mom bun, and you’re good to go.

Grocery shopping. I made the fatal error of going to the mall when my baby was asleep in his pram. Taking full advantage of this I thought it was a magnificent time to buy all new wine glasses, drinking glasses, soup bowls and blankets for the house. This left me walking back to my car pushing a pram, a trolley of breakables, a nappy bag a handbag and a 6 pack of milk. School girl error. If you need to do a grocery shop then leave the baby in the very capable hands of another adult and go alone. Although I can’t promise that you won’t dash out for sesame seeds and nipple cream and come back with a thousand rands worth of Woolies goodies and a new lounge suite.

Oh, and before you think “but the bitch has time to blog” please note that baby is with granny and I’m writing from the comfort of the hairdressers chair, while holding a dog named Leo. As you do.

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Wishing It All Away

When I first fell pregnant, people would comment about ‘how my life was about to change forever’ that ‘I wouldn’t have time for anything’ and to ‘forget about blogging ever again!’.

Towards the end of my third trimester (or as I call it, 2019) people would say how it was ‘easier out than in’ and remind me to sleep while I could.

Then, he was born, and amongst the genuine warm wishes and congratulations came the well intentioned advise of ‘don’t worry it gets easier’ and ‘just wait until he’s 3 months, that’s an awesome age!’.

I’ve also been told that it gets better when he smiles, or when he learns to sit up, walk or talk. 2 years of age is awesome people exclaim, whilst others tell me that 5 is the magic year.

I have had countless people message me, or email me to ask how it’s going, and whilst I am always honest (“Oh, he was a bit niggly today” or “he’s waking up more during the night”) I never paint a picture of doom and gloom. Even so, almost every single person automatically responds with a ‘don’t worry it gets easier’. It’s almost as if they haven’t heard me when I’ve told them how much I’m loving it, or how good he is, or that I’m so fortunate that I’m a creature of habit and so the daily routine for is not a burden, but a joy. I haven’t found it hard (yet?) so why does everyone expect me to?

Why are we always wishing time away?

I don’t want to close my eyes and wait for my baby to be bigger, I don’t want to wish away every single day. Already my heart is sore at the thought of leaving him in 3 moths time to go back to work.

I’m so tired of people trying to get my child to grow up before his time, that I’ve decided to find something new, wonderful and special abut Carter every single day. It’s not difficult. Some days it’s the sound he makes (exactly like a hadeda) for no reason at all. Other days it’s the rocket fire diarrhea just as I’ve changed his nappy. Today, he came with me to a studio and chilled for 1 and a half hours while I did five voice overs. He’s also started smiling, and gazing at objects for hours on end. Sometimes he grabs my finger so hard it goes white, and other days he patiently waits while I fumble with his nappy, trying to get the bloody frills out. I even love it when he wees all over me during a change, projectile vomits down my hair during a burping session, or head butts my boob during a feed.

My baby boy is 4 weeks today, and already I feel like time is going too fast.

The sitting and the walking and the slamming of bedroom doors in his teenage years can all wait. For now, I want to breathe it all in, and enjoy every single second that I have with my new (ish) born baby.

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8 Things I've Learnt As A New Mom

I have been a mom for 16 days. 16 amazing, exhausting overwhelming confusing, love-drunk days. So many people have asked me what motherhood is like, and what it is that I do all day with my ‘free time’.

Here are 8 things I have learn about being a new mom:

You have no idea what you are doing. Oh yes, I read the books, downloaded the apps, browsed the forums, joined the groups and asked fellow moms. I always knew that I wanted to breastfeed, and that I wanted a routine, but I never thought further than that until he was here. Suddenly, I had a million new questions – How often must he eat, how much does he eat, why are my boobs leaking everywhere, do I wake him to eat, why is he crying, am I a bad mother for leaving him in his cot while I brush my teeth, if I’m buying premium nappies then surely they can change themselves?!

Your time is no more. We have Carter down on a 3 hour routine – which sounds great in principle. 3 hours in between to do what I like – long walks in the park, afternoon naps and Box Office Movies. Ha! Having a baby is like running a small army. Sure, one has 3 hours between feeds, but if a feed lasts 30 minutes, a burping session lasts 15, a nappy change 5 (I’m getting faster, promise), putting him down to sleep takes 10 minutes (if that even happens) then that leaves me with 2 hours to get myself dressed and ‘presentable’, eat some food, express some milk, sterilize bottles and gear, wash a million tiny baby things and see actual human beings, then your time isn’t really yours, at all.

Babies cry quite a bit. Let it be known that my child (and long may it last) is heaven sent. He is a delightful baby who cries a regular amount. (I’m basing this on a little equation: Regular amount = not wanting to kill yourself from frustration. However, when he does cry it could be for a multitude of reasons. As I am now obviously an exert (being 16 days in and all) I have worked out the following reasons as to why your baby might be crying:

  • He is hungry
  • He is tired
  • He saw the speed of your ADSL line
  • He woke himself up and got a fright
  • He has a dirty nappy
  • He has a clean nappy and prefers the feel of a dirty nappy
  • He saw the price of nappies
  • He spat his dummy out
  • He saw you have that glass of red wine and is now laying a guilt trip on you
  • It is bath time
  • It is naked time
  • The dog farted
  • He sharted so loud that it woke him up
  • He saw his mom up close for the first time and realized she hasn’t tweezed her eyebrows since March.

They are a lot smaller than you anticipated. When Carter was born – at a sizeable 3.64 kilograms – he was still tiny. We had to rush out and buy newborn clothes for him, which he still drowns in. Note to self – always have a few tiny baby things for your newborn, they actually don’t come out ready to wear 3-6 month baby grows.

You leak milk. Everywhere. Breastfeeding is the messiest activity I have ever taken part in (and that includes the one time I vomited tequila on a friends shoes in the Billy The Bums parking lot.) I doubt there is one surface area in my house that has not been drenched in milk leaking from one of my oversized pendulous bosoms. My poor child is soaked through before he even gets close to my chest. This makes feeding in public a rather risky and messy affair. Praise the Lord the inventors of the breast ump came along before my child did.

Baby blues are a thing. Everything I read leading up to the birth of my child warned me about the ‘day 3 blues’. “Beware” they warned ominously “the 3rd day of having a baby shall be your darkest day yet”. I was terrified and put my husband on high alert (after hiding away all sharp objects in the house. Then day 3 came… with my milk…and went. As did day 4. On day 5, Mothers Day, after a lovely lunch out at a restaurant with my angelically behaved child, my hubby and I climbed in the car to go home and I burst in to tears.

“Why are you crying babe, what’s wrong”

 “I don’t know”

 “Are you feeling sick?

 “No”

 “Are you sad?”

 “Yes”

 “Why?”

 “I don’t know”

This went on for about 15 minutes while my poor husband tried in vain to gauge just what in hell was going on with me. Turns out I was sad for no apparent reason, and the more I cried the guiltier I felt, so the more I cried. Hormones are bastard things ladies, and if this ever happens to you, know that you are not alone (I know this because I Googled ‘Am I the only new mother alive sobbing uncontrollably for no apparent reason”)

I wasn’t.

You will mourn your former life. And that is OK. Everything I do now is with Breitling precision. Need to pop out to the shops? Do it between 1:15 and 1:45. (but get someone to drive you because you’ve still had major surgery and can’t drive yourself). Want a glass of wine? Make sure you’ve expressed some milk, or that you drink it with 2 hours to go before the next feed. Want to wear jeans? Haha, cute.

Having a baby means that your life gets turned upside down and hung out to dry. And that’s OK, because

You will love like you have never loved before. I battle to imagine a life BC (see what I did there?). This tiny, perfect creature has landed in our lives and turned what we thought we knew about patience, tolerance and love on its head. I battle to not stare at him for hours, or rub my hand over his tiny shoulder blades or crave my finger to be grasped in his fist. I miss him in my sleep and I cant stop kissing his tiny milk scented mouth.

I still even find his screams endearing.

Motherhood, you can stay.

I call this one ‘honest parenting’ 😉

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A Letter To My Unborn Baby

Dear Sprout

I can’t believe the day when we finally get to meet you is so close. At times this pregnancy has felt like it would never end, and at others I wonder where the time has gone. (To be fair, that’s happened once, and was a very fleeting moment. 38 weeks in gestation time is around 4 years in non-gestation time)

Just the other night as I arrived at the hospital for an impromptu checkup, I had a moment of panic when I walked in the doors. 50% of me was kind of hoping the doctor would tell me you were on your way, and the other million % of me was terrified out of my mind. Terrified. A thousand “ohmywordwhatarewedoing” moments flashed through my brain. I’m sure that’s normal though – and I know that the second you are here with me, those fears will all fade (to be replaced with “he’s crying – now what!?”)

I’ve had 38 long weeks to think about you, and imagine this wormy, wriggling yoga thing as an actual human being. There are so many things I’m dying to find out – do you have hair? (the gorgeous heartburn you’ve given me implies yes), will you be as heavy as your read on the ultrasound machine, what colour are your eyes? Will you match the name we’ve chosen for you? Just what kind of a small person will you be?

I have so many dreams and wishes for you, kid. Huge pressure considering you have yet to take your first breath.

I hope that from the moment you come out into this terrifying world you know, above anything, that you are so loved. You were planned and wanted and waited for. Nothing about you being here was accidental.

I hope you go forth into this new life with sincerity, compassion and empathy. I hope that you choose to see the good in everyone, yet aren’t naive when it comes to giving 3rd chances. The majority of this world is good, and I hope you get to experience that good without being taken advantage of.

I hope you inherit your dads Excel logic, sporting skills, directional abilities and eyelashes. I hope you get my wit and sense of humour. You come from a strong line of Kearney’s who are always talking, always thirsty for knowledge and always learning – I pray that you go about life devouring new experiences with voracity.

Travel. I sit here now, and regret always being the one to abide by the rules, never exceeding my leave allocation and always saving instead of jumping on that plane to an exotic destination. Go to places only limited by your imagination – and for gods sake – eat the damn durian! I hope the more you travel the more you realise that Africa is your home, but I can’t be so naive as to think that you will live here forever. It’s hard in this country at the moment, and it may just get harder. Don’t ever stick around for us, but if you do leave, make sure you have enough money to fly us over to wherever you find yourself, so we can visit and cramp your style like all good parents do.

I hope you learn from us, but don’t feel obliged to follow in our footsteps. Go forth and make your own destiny – don’t let anyone’s previous actions hold you back from your future. Don’t let them tell you that you cant – figure that out for yourself.

Read a ton of books, eat more than what you’re familiar with. Vegetables are delicious, truly. Smile at strangers and let people in traffic. Be bigger than you are. Give yourself to others, but don’t be a pushover. Learn to say no when it’s needed.

Try and do new and scary things as often as you can, but don’t be foolish. Follow the rules, live honestly and with integrity. Be a good person and treat everyone well.

Be generous. I’m not talking about buying flashy things, I’m talking about generosity with your time, your willingness to help those in need and to sometimes not look at the price tag. Don’t be frugal. No one likes that person who double dips the tea bag.

The most important thing my parents taught me was how to respect others, ask questions and remember my pleases and my thank-you’s. I hope I instill this in you too.

At the end of the day, my wish for you is to embrace this life you’ve been given, and know that you being here is for a reason. I hope you find that reason and use it to its fullest advantage.

This life is yours for the taking.

I cannot wait to meet you.

Mom

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9 Months… Now What?

On Sunday, this not so little baby bump will be 9 months old. Before y’all panic and wonder why I’m not sprinting shuffling towards the closest hospital, remember that one is actually pregnant for a whopping TEN months so I still have a good few weeks to go. Yep, 40 weeks gestation, just another mind fuck us preggie woman are confronted with during our baking sessions.

I always wondered why, when you asked a pregnant woman how far along they were, they answered with some eye-rolling inducing answer like “26 weeks and 4 days”. Really? why couldn’t they just say 6 months? I’ll tell you why, it’s because every day we harbour this little human in our belly feels like an achievement. I know that sounds terribly self-involved and a bit ridiculous, but it’s true. I have gone through the past 35 weeks (and 4 days) knowing exactly how far along I was – to the day – at any given time.

Pregnancy becomes this great countdown – There are the big events like the trimesters, the important ultrasound dates like the out-of-the -danger-zone-12-week-scan and the all-important ‘baby is as big as a cucumber!’ milestones.

Imagine running a marathon – you have 42.2 kilometres ahead of you – and the only way you are going to cross that finish line without dying or faking a sprained ankle is to plan the race…every step of the way. You go in well fed, pre-race pooped, fit and with the right kit. You know that to reach the 21km mark means you are half way (20 weeks!) and that every 3 kilometres there’s a water point (baby ultrasound days, yay!). Closer to the end you find a burst of energy (OK, so this never happens in pregnancy) so by the time you cross over that finish line you are still alive, albeit slightly bruised and battered. (Your vagina).

So, forgive me for celebrating this very big milestone that is Sprouts 36th week in the womb, because it’s ended up feeling like a very long 36 weeks, and as anyone who’s ever had a freshly squeezed kid will tell you – the last month sucks, a lot.

You may remember, I wrote a blissfully glowing report on things I had learnt in pregnancy. Well, friends, that was in the first 12 weeks when my skin glowed, I maintained my weight due to some delicate food aversions (read – sobbing over a fishcake) and every single thing about growing a human child was a novelty.

Fast forward several months and I am pretty much 100% over it. So, an update on things I have learnt (later on) in my pregnancy:

  1. EVERYONE will give you their advice. At first you suck in it like kitchen roll, fascinated by the stories, the anecdotes, the remedies. That shit was liquid gold. Until, it’s not, and you just want everyone to shut up and stop telling you all the things all the time. OH, you think it’s best if I get natural birth? Thanks very much. I’ve never once thought about how I’m going to get this baby from the inside to the outside.
  2. The weight gain is all cool, until it’s not cool and one day you wake up with a fatter face, fatter arms and the inability to shave your legs without seeing cellulite in your ankles.
  3. You are hot, all the time. I really didn’t battle with this until a month ago when the cooler weather set in, resulting in office heaters on full blast, and me melting in my desk chair covered in boob sweat.
  4. Your tolerance levels for pretty much anything drop to a winning low. This hasn’t necessarily been a bad thing for me, Mrs-Hate-any-sort-of-conflict, and I now find myself directly confronting issues and people I have issues with. Just the other day I sent a scathing email and didn’t even add a smiley face to the end – I mean, that’s telling ‘em right?
  5. People can and will say stupid things. Just a few pearlers from the last few weeks:
    1. “Do you have a special Doctors note that allows you to still be at work?”
    2. “Are you having natural or a Joburg special smash and grab?”
    3. Are you going to be a real woman and have natural?
    4. ‘I’ve noticed you’re gaining weight, and not just in your tummy”
    5. “Are you sure you’re not carrying twins?”
  6. You walk slow, and with a duck like waddle. I used to be one of those woman in the mall, who walked sofastallthetime and would roll my eyes in passive aggressive irritation at dawdlers and window shoppers. I am now that person causing 4 body pileups outside of Edgars, and forcing people walking with me to step backwards every few minutes so as not to leave me in their dust. Try as I may I cannot go faster than granny pace, and If I do I’m convinced my baby is going to physically fall out of me.
  7. Reflux and heartburn are the devil spawn. I constantly feel like I have food rising in my throat and wake myself up most night by vomiting pure bile in to my mouth. On good days I can’t sleep, swallow or lay my head lower than a 90 degree angle. On bad days I think about this
  8. At night your bladder turns into a vindictive little girl bitch that fills up rapidly and insists on being emptied, every half an hour, one pitiful teaspoon at a time. It’s cystitis on steroids.
  9. Nesting takes on a whole new level. Just last week I found myself walking around the house, wiping down the plants with a dishcloth and coconut oil.
  10. Every movement, pinch, jab, roll, kick and pain makes you assume that you’re in labour. THIS IS IT! you think, as the tiny ferocious child inside you smashes his head against your womb for the 18th time that hour. It’s not.

All the moans and groans and aches aside, I seriously still need some time before our little man makes an appearance. There are very important things that need to be done still, like packing his bag, packing my bag, and locating my nether regions to get them waxed.

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