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.

Continue Reading

The Ten Commandments of Pregnancy. For Men.

Pregnancy is a glorious time, a time when your body grows a baby, your skin glows and the future seems bright and rosy-hued.

It’s also a time when your boob sweat mixes with 3rd trimester milk, your baby is honest-to-god getting jiggy on your bladder and a full night sleep was last spotted around the half way mark. You are hot, irritable, annoyed and any sudden move from your partner may leave you feeling filled with murderous intent.

Which is why, at around 3 am this morning, upon returning from my 18th trip to the toilet and having found my husband had removed my 6th strategically placed pillow from the bed, I decided not to murder him in his sleep, but rather write a short, easy to understand series of rules for all partners of preggy women, to hopefully save them the potential wrath mine might have encountered last night.

*Disclaimer* I am not basing the below on anything my husband may or may not have done. Please still speak to him when you see him on the street. Unless he’s sleeping on the street. In which case I have kicked him out for doing something on the list below and you may throw rotten vegetables at his head. 

Just because your wife is now knocked up and on a diet of water and heartburn meds, does not now mean you have a designated driver (insert ‘hey boet’ and high five jokes) for the foreseeable future. Unlike Uber, we do not get to kick you out of the vehicle at any time, charge you actual money for driving you around or give you a rating of 1 – divorce stars after a trip. We also don’t have the 2 am tolerance you do, are more often than not interested in hitting a jol until the wee hours and pretty much hate everything about you when you’re slumped in the passenger seat slurring at us to ‘get pulled over babe! These metro pigs will be in for such a lag when they breathalise you!’.

Pregnancy is an expensive time. The medication, the scans, the checkups, the UIF forms, the future unemployment, nursery decor, meds and a thousand other costs mean that mom-to-be is probably now a walking insomniac stressing about how she’s going to survive. And then, the fact that she will be at home for 4 months (give or take) looking after the baby also means that she will need to get out and about and spend money on things – at the sake of her not becoming a recluse who last washed her hair 18 days ago. You made half this baby, and so the fact that she is carrying it shouldn’t let you off that financial hook. Get the fuck involved, T Rex, and whip out your wallet. Better yet, give her a credit card so she doesn’t have to beg and ask for your 50% of the Doctor visit money or half a pack of nappies. Step up, pay up, give her a break.

Remember that lekker few weeks before you got married, when all your mates convinced you that you were about to end your life and the only thing that could possibly save you from a life time of ball and chain blues was to go out, shag a stripper and get so drunk you didn’t come home for 2 days? Well, this is not the same thing. Having a baby means you’re probably mature enough to accept that your life is going to change, so it doesn’t mean you now need to drink away the fear like a frat student on payday. As much as your pregnant, exhausted, hormonal and smell sensitive wife loves it when you get home at 3 am and vomit in her rose bush, don’t do it due. For real. Grow the fuck up.

Have you ever woken up and your Jack Russel, Roxy, has crawled into your bed and kinda shifted her way onto your left foot, and it’s all dead and you’re sweating a bit because Roxy is heavy and uncomfortable? Well, David, shame, because unlike you, who gets to boot poor Roxy off, we are stuck with a hot-Roxy in our stomachs for 40 weeks. Also, hot Roxy loves our bladder and is so large that she physically moves all of our organs up and away, like a Pixar movie. Hot Roxy doesn’t sleep when we do and loves nothing more than a midnight party in our uterus. This means two things – we wake up and have to wee because she’s bouncing on our bladder and all our food from the day before then erupts from our throats in a bilious volcanic explosion. This also means that we cannot get comfortable, like ever. It takes 12 strategically placed pillows for us to even consider getting into bed, so god help the man who then knocks the cushion fort down in the middle of the night because shame, he’s uncomfortable or has no space. A lesser human would kill you for breaching that safe haven, so don’t do it. If anything, offer her more pillows, my god man, buy out the whole of Coricraft if you must. Build her a fortress so large it could be a Kingdom on Game of Thrones. And if you’re really that bothered by watching your wife look comfortable for the first time in 7 weeks then maybe you should consider sleeping on the floor, or in the garden, or at your mate Steves house.

About anything. Yes, I know that sounds harsh but your wife/girlfriend/lover/one night stand now knocked up is going through a lot right now. She’s terrified, tired, exhausted and overwhelmed. If she does or says something that you don’t love, shut your mouth. Unless it is going to physically alter you in any way then rather bite your tongue and ask her how you can help her. Be the bigger, better person. Do not harp on pregnancy related errors she may make, pregnancy related smells she may poop or pregnancy related outbursts she may display. Trust me, she will remember them for much longer than you ever will. Don’t be a dick, be lekker.

The best part of any pregnancy, according to 99% of men surveyed, is the actual conception. Unfortunately, some of the stuff after that just isn’t as fun. Crazy hey? Things like admin and forms and booking beds and medical aid issues. These don’t all happen by the wave of a wand. There is a lot to do when prepping for a baby and most of the time the mom-to-be is lumped with the tasks fo prepping everything. Help her out – you will be making a huge difference and assisting her in a very important way. You will also be assisting your way to a longer life and therefore promoting a better future relationship with your unborn child.

“Hey Jimmy, where’s your dad?”

“Shame, ya, he’s dead. My mom killed him when I was in utero”

“Holy hell bru, why?”

“He didn’t paint the baby’s room when he said he would.”

If, like us, you are highly social people and tend to always have functions at your house, perhaps now would be a good time to re-assess your life a little bit. No-one, especially not your wife, enjoys making guests feel uncomfortable in her home, so she is going to be very reliant you to do that for her. Entertaining towards the end of pregnancy is awful for the mama-bear-to-be. She’s sober, exhausted and more than likely so deep into her nesting phase thats she’s wiping down the toilet seat everytime Brendan goes for a slash. She really doesn’t want people overstaying their welcome and is going to need you to understand that, and assist when guests overstay their welcome too much. Better yet, try cut down on the entertaining entirely and keep visits light and brief. I promise you, the ‘fun’ wife you had hasn’t died, she’s there, but she’s gatvol and probably just wants to fart in her home, alone. Bonus tip: Save the guest list and the good booze for when baby is here and she can join in on the fun She will thank you for it. I promise.

Your pregnant vagina: Critics are calling it ‘The Exploding Lotus’, The Loose Volcano’ and the ‘what the fuck did I just witness’. Please don’t ask for sex, ever. Unless your wife (and lucky you) falls into the 0.1% of females who actually enjoy intercourse while pregnant, just accept that she is sore and uncomfortable and making sweet sweet love to you is the furthest thing from her mind. Like ‘fun Sally’ your wife will be back soon enough. Grab a porn mag, find a free bathroom and stop your moaning.

So there you have it. Consider this your weekly public service announcement gents. Share with your mates to save them future pain, and while we’re at it, grab your wife a bunch of flowers on your way home. From work. Not your way home from the pub. You bloody muppet.

Continue Reading

Brace Yourself. School Holidays Are Coming.

Yesterday was day 1 of school holidays. I was working from home as I had taken a days leave to photograph at a birth, but it all happened so quickly that I was home by 8:30 and decided to just work from there instead of heading into the office.  Every year Carter’s school closes for the full month of December, and like every other parent out there, I shit myself. 30 days is a very, very long time for a small human to be at home. Lord, coming out of a long weekend with a kid feels like a scene from Braveheart.

This year we have had to hire full time a nanny just so she can watch him for one month of the year (most expensive salary, ever, right?). She started with us a few months ago and is absolutely fantastic, so I am feeling slightly better about leaving him alone as she’s great with him, and he simply adores her. But still, she could be Chicco the Clown made of actual ice-cream and he would still get bored after a month.

Yesterday was hectic. I take my hat, and all other items of clothing, off to stay at home moms. As for creche teachers? My god, they should be paid in Bitcoin and rainbows. Apart from trying to work and get my job done I was also trying to entertain a very busy, very active and very bored toddler. We filled his pool and swam, we cleaned the big pool we swept and mopped and scrubbed. We puzzled and read books and made dinosaurs out of playdoh. I took him to the shops to get baking ingredients and then we mixed and battered and rolled and cut out intricate Reindeer shapes and then decorated those and then we showered together because we both looked like a unicorn had sharted food colouring on us and then we cooked supper and ate fruit and fed the birds and played with the dogs and spoke about ‘Chippy’ our Elf On The Shelf and built pillow forts. And then it was only 6pm and I felt as f I had been hit.by. a.bus. What made it even harder was that his usual 2-3 hour nap just did not happen, so that felt like another eleventy hundred hours to fill.

And flip, after he went to bed and I cleaned and got back to my study and worked some more, I reflected on what a flipping fun day it was with my son. Fun, but not something I can repeat daily. Sorry, new nanny.

So now, back at the office until Christmas I’m in a slight state of anxiety about how I’m going to fill his time until 2018. I know I may sound like one of those moms who’s kid cant entertain himself, but its more just trying to keep his busy brain and body stimulated enough so that he’s tired enough t fall asleep at night. The biggest issue is that I’m not home and Kelly, our Nanny, cant really do much with him apart from in the house.

I popped over to the Crazy Store earlier and bought my body weight in arts and crafts supplies, playdoh, paper, paint and pencils. But let’s be realistic, that’s going to cover him for 2, 3 days tops.

Help, moms. What are your holiday solutions for keeping kids busy? Would love for you to share them in the comments section, and perhaps you will also be helping a fellow bewildered mom with some fun activities to do with their kids (or, for someone else to do, because, grown-ups have jobs) over the holidays.

PS – No moms were harmed (too much) on day one of school holidays.

‘Honest Dad! All I said was school holidays!’

 

Continue Reading

The Toddler, The Carseat and The Mother F*ing Sandpit.

I’ve often read posts by other bloggers where they take us (the reader) through a day in their life. And I LOVE those posts. I’m fascinated by peoples routine, what they eat for breakfast and how they run their day. I’ve always wanted to write one about my own life. It’s slightly narcissistic I know, but I figured if I’m as intrigued by your daily bowel movements and dogs walks then you might be the same about me.

This is not one of those posts. I was going to, until I realised that it would be the longest.post.known.to.mankind. Why, you ask, when everyone’s day only has 24 hours in it? Because, dear readers, I have a 2-year-old, and anyone who has a toddler understands that there are stages in your kids life when time actually just fucking stands still.

Let me talk you though one of these times.

It was yesterday, and I was fetching my son from creche.

4:45 – Pull up at the school, park and walk in

4:47 – Arrive at Carters classroom and observe this angel, the love of my life, for a few minutes. Agh sweet man, look at how nicely he’s playing on his bike and listening to his teachers, I think.

4:50 –  Walk into play area and Carter catches my eye. Drops bike and runs over to give me my hug/high-five/kiss combo. Yussis but he’s cute man. All dirty kneed and grubby footed.

4:50 –  Chat to his teachers about his day and what he did. Out of the corner of my eye see another kid grab the bike my son was on and start to play with it.

4:50 –  Spend several minutes trying to remind my son that we are going home and he doesn’t need that bike until tomorrow. Alternate between loving and scolding his teacher for then finding another bike that now looks exactly the same and making a song and dance of putting this now new bike in a secret place for safekeeping. (2 year olds, masters of manipulation since forever).

4:59 –  Have child, bag, tag and keys. Somehow manage to lose keys to child. It’s Ok, anything to now start the long walk to freedom.

5:01 – Magically manage to walk out of playground gate. Brain on high alert as I know just how many obstacles lie in store between me, the 250 m walkway, and my car.

5:01 – Child spots sandpit. The goddam sandpit.

5:01 – “Mommy, I dig”

5:01 – “No baby, you can dig at home, come we need to go.”

5:02 – “No mommy, I dig here.”

5;02 – Mommy with willpower of a legless Octopus concedes and makes small human promise to only 2 minutes. He is very sincere and I almost believe he will honour his commitments.

5:02:10 – 2 shoes off child has launched himself into a sea of sand and buckets.

5:06 – Perched on edge of sandpit, overlarge belly and all making small talk with other downtrodden and weary parents who also just now want to go the fuck home.

5:07 – Rationally tell him we have been here for 5 minutes, and not 2, and we must now go home.

5:07 – Alot of no’s and general toddler sounding moaning.

5:08 – Must stick to guns. Tells him in no uncertain terms that we are going home now, and proceed to walk away. Listen to the sound of his wailing get softer the further I walk.

5:10 – Try to not make eye contact with horrified parents who are witnessing this angelic little boy, clearly stranded in the sandpit, with no parent in sight. I am now half submerged in a jacaranda tree to A) avoid said parents and B) hide from my child. I am still convinced the panic of being deserted by his second favourite parent will make him run out to find me.

5:12 – No sign of son growing larger as he runs towards me. Only the sign of the nursery school gardener now carrying my inconsolable child to me in a bear hug.

5:13 – Snot everywhere (him, not me). Not even Orphan Annie puts on this good a show. Slow clap for the little terrorist.

5:15 –  Kneel down on unsteady hind-legs and look into his eyes. Try to rationalise with him about why we have to go. Throw in self pitying statements like ‘mommys had a shitty day at work and just wants to go home’ to ‘daddys waiting with sweeties!”. I will stop at nothing now.

5:17 – A glimmer of understanding, if not compassion in his small tear stained face. I even get a hug and a ‘love you’. Clammy hand in mine we actually start walking, I can sell the Q20 on the gate we are so close.

5:18 – Puppies. MOTHERFUCKING PUPPIES. Two of the adorable bastards. When did the school allow this sort of child heroin into its grounds? Christ almighty we must now stop and play with the most adorable jack russel siblings you have ever laid eyes on.

5:25 – Dogs thoroughly tackled and tickled and assaulted we are finally on the home stretch. People, I am so close that my pregnant bladder lets forth a drop or two.

5:26 – Aand we are at the gate. My god I have never been so excited to see these maroon bars. Excited high fives for all the guards and it’s next stop motor vehicle time. Yes, you baby!!

5:27 – Crap. He has my car keys. It must now unlock the vehicle and enter the front seat at a speed a sloth would find agonising. I’m-A-Big-Boy-Mommy must now insert key into keyhole and start the car. Very clever, praise, well done, go you go. Now get the fuck into your car chair.

5:29 – Again, with the sloth dance, it crawls from my chair to his chair in a ground breaking speed of minus kilometres per hour. We are now actually going against the speed of light. The earth has officially stopped moving. Winter is coming.

5:35 – Realises it doesn’t actually want to be in his chair. It wants to be back in the sandpit.

5:35 – With the strength of Grace Mugabe in a hotel room with an extension cord, I pin him down under my heaving bosom and sweat lined face and try to strap him – a 12 armed rubber toy fuelled by Red Bull, into his car seat. Both now crying.

5:36 – Reverse car at rapid pace with music so loud. Never has Highved Stereo sounded nicer than it has drowning out my sons screams as he unleashes the wrath of his mothers meanness on the world.

5:41 – The 2.1 km commute home has been filled with despair and decibels of glass shattering proportions.

5:42 –  Ironically, in a last minute plot twist, it now doesn’t want to get out of its car seat and starts clawing me with tiny toddler finger nails to stop the unbuckling of his chair. I attempt few hard klaps but end up hitting myself twice instead.

5:43. Leave him in chair and walk into my house which is currently a construction zone. Place myself under the sound of a metal grinder and breathe in the sweet sweet sound of something other than a 2-year-olds-tantrum.

** Disclaimer **

No children were harmed in the making of this episode

The child was removed for the vehicle by his first-favourite parent

Mom only sniffed tasted the wine that night.

 

 

Continue Reading

Super Rad Sh*t

Happy Spring Day my little fairies! I for one am loving the warmer weather, although I may be imagining it, but for the first time in months I’m in open toed sandals (gnarly troll toes and all) and not wrapped in a Game Of Thrones style coat. So yay, here’s to warner weather and plenty more sunshine.

So, I’ve been tinkering around with a new idea for quite some time, and thought -what better day to launch it than on Spring Day. New starts, fresh beginnings and all that jazz.

The idea for the theme of ‘Super Rad Shit’ came about for two reasons – firstly – I get sent a lot of really cool rad stuff that sometimes isn’t enough for a whole blog post, but has definitely made a positive difference in my life, and secondly, I buy a lot of super rad shit (and sometimes super shit, shit). I’m the type of person who pops to Dischem for deodorant and comes back with a thousand rands worth of stuff (yes mom, I know I should be putting this money into my bond). So, to ease the guilt over being such a product hoarder, I thought what better way than to share my love of all products and things with you, my besties 🙂

I will be posting my Super Rad Shit (Yussis, SEO best practice is annoying) stuff every few weeks, and there probably wont be too much of a trending theme. It will just be me reviewing random stuff I have bought and tried and giving you the honest low down – to potentially save you some cash dolla should you be considering making  the same purchase.

Some items are sponsored, some are the result of retail therapy. Either way – I’ll tell you, honestly, how I feel about them

My first post is dedicated to ‘Shit That’s Simplified My Life’. The last several weeks of pregnancy have left me a redundant human. Between the nausea, exhaustion and growing sense of hatred for 98% of all humans, I’ve had very little time for time consuming stuff. So here’s my round up of Super Cool Shit #1.

  1. USN Trust Bars

Sure, the name is more suited to a condom, but these bars ( and I have only tasted the Vanilla Cupcake) flavour, are delicious. I munched one for breakfast this morning and keep them in my draw, handbag, cubbyhole and camera bag for when I haven’t had time for a meal or I’m feeling hunger pangs coming on.

Verdict: Rupert Approves. Rupert like cake.

2. Badger Pregnant Belly Oil.

My tummy has already popped, and I am so worried about stretch marks with this pregnancy. I’ve been using this Badger oil on my tummy since baby was just two lines on a stick. It doesn’t have the vanilla fragrance that it promises on the box, but that’s probably not a bad thing. Preggie noses are not good with overpowering scents, so I’m preferring a more bland vibe these days. The oil spreads beautifully and sinks in quickly – no ruined tops of clothing. Alos, the packaging is stunning and I’m going to see if they have baby products for when ‘Pip’ is born.

Verdict: Rupert – the anti stretchmark Boston Terrier Advocate – Approves.

3. Matsimela Bath Bombs

The closest I get to a Spa day is visiting my actual Spar for bread and milk, so to be tricked into thinking I’m having one at home sounded amazing. One of the things I’m most excited about with our renovations is the oversized freestanding bath we are getting. It’s going to make such a difference when my two-year-old and future baby joins me. The thought of wetting both boobs and knees simultaneously makes me want to poop myself – which coincidentally –  is what these bath bombs look like once dissolved. Brown colour aside, they smell insanely beautiful and leave your skin with a soft oily finish. I will be stocking up on more of these for when my new bathroom is ready. I also have my eyes on some Lush products – although I need to save –  because I’m pretty sure their non-official payoff line is ‘Gots to be flush, for Lush’.

Verdict: Rupert doesn’t apprive of baths, but he’s totally giving the thumbs up on these bath bombs.

4. Essence Quick and Easy Sponge Nail Polish remover.

Speaking of shit I buy at Dischem, there is never a visit to that store that doesn’t result in me buying something off the Essence stand. Their cheap and cheerful pricing model means I can leave with a little treat without too much guilt. Seeing as I am a nailpolish slut, I figured it was time to try  this new nifty nail polish remover bottle, You basically dip your finger in and jerk it around for several seconds until the nail polish is gone. It’s apparently acetone free so I’m also happier to have it lying around the house in case my makeup obsessed son gets hold of it.

Verdict: Rupert says ‘Nailed it!’

5. Gel effect nail polishes

In a bid to save money, I quit having my nails done. Not the smartest move I’ve made as my hands are always showing – especially with photography. A lot of brands promise a ‘gel’ effect, but I have found that very few actually deliver on their promise. Another Essence favourite though is the ‘1 coat and go’ which is literally that – I can apply a coat of nail polish and have my hands dried, and coated, in less than 90 seconds. The paint chips after a day though – but I honestly haven’t found a product that doesn’t chip on me, even when having my nails done at a salon. I also tried the Wet ‘n Wild ‘1 step gel’ but hated it – the colour went on streaky and my nails were chipped within a few hours.

Verdict: Essence – Rupert Approves. Wet ‘N Wild: Rupert does not.

6. Silicon makeup sponge

I’ve been using the original Beauty Blender for a year now, but because I am as conscientious as a brick wall, I haven’t been cleaning it like I should, and it’s gone a bit mouldy and stinky. Eeuw. I have been seeing these silicon sponges around for a while now – they promise less waste and a smooth makeup application. Um, the verdict is out on this one. For R49 it’s not a devastating loss, but I found that my fingers work better than the silicon. It doesn’t really blend my makeup in as as much as it just smears it around my face. I’d give this one a skip. Side note – also pictured here is a new animal friendly makeup brand I’ve been trying – ‘MINA’. They have a store in Sandton City and every colour under the sun is available. they are well priced and I love the fact that I can wear their stuff, guilt free.

Verdict: Leave the makeup sponge on the shelf. The actual makeup? Rupert Approves.

7. UCOOK

Ok. I will be honest here. The only reason I signed up to try UCook was becasue they were promising a free Le Creuset dish to their first 100 new signups. Sadly, I was customer 101 (Story of my life) so I missed out on the dish, but my guilt also didn’t let me cancel my order. And I am SO glad I didn’t. The box arrived at work laden with ingredients and instructions for 3 meals. So far I have made the spinach, feta and mushroom ravioli and the butternut quesadillas. Both meals have been freaking amazing, and I’ve already signed up for next weeks box. The recipes are clear and the portions are really really generous (I ate my left over dinner on my way to work this morning. The fetus demanded it.)

Verdict, Rupert Approves (although Rupert is cheap and wishes these meals were a tad less pricey).

8. Sheryl Sandbergs ‘Lean In’.

I don’t know if it’s age, work history or what but I am really really battling with the huge amount of sexism I face on a daily basis. I have a vagina and am therefore incompetent and functionally useless. I bought this book a few moth sago after a particularly bad experience and am just loving how it verified everything about how I feel, and how all I suspect, a lot of women,  feel daily. Do yourself a fave – get it. Get it now. Your useless, incompetent and confused vagina will thank you for it.

Verdict: Rupert, and Rupertina, approve.

9. Blendid Smoothie Mixes

The only reason my NutriBullet gets used these days is thanks to these bad boys. They have literally been a lifesaver on mornings when my morning sickness is so bad that dry retching is all I can manage. They are packed (I cant finishs one) with ingredients and have the best names. I’m trying to convince them to name a pack after my current situation “Dumb pregnant vagina who vomits all the time”, catchy, no?

Verdict: Rupert, the smoothie connoisseur, approves.

10. HnM Maternity Wear.

It happened on Tuesday. I was sitting at my desk in jeans that were cuting off my blood supply, and I realised it was time to bite the bullet and buy some sexy preggy wear. I never wore them with Carter and have always been super against the idea – but my burgeoning tummy had other ideas. Luckily for me, and you, HnM (Mall of Africa only from what I’ve heard) has a really nice range of fat clothes. Stylish as well. Like these here black pants, which may not be sexy on top but are well fitted, nice fabric and look like skinny tailored work pants. They are also perfectly complemented by the bathroom bin and sexy morning selfie. *face cut off to save you that sight*.

Verdict. Rupert approoooves. And, exhale.

 

Continue Reading

Aaand, There Go The Nipples.

It happened this morning. As I lifted my pyjama top off my head to step into the shower, I caught a glimpse of myself in the bathroom mirror, and there they were. My brown marie biscuit sized nipples in all their dinner plate glory. “Barry” I shouted “Fuck!”. “What?” he asked, from the comfort of the bed. I stepped into the room and within seconds his face, full of expectation, had changed to one of barely concealed horror. His wife had ‘turned’.

I remember this happening with my first pregnancy as well, I think I stared at my boobs for close to 30 minutes. Overnight they had changed from perky 34Cs to heavy swollen appendages. And the nipples. Oh my god guys. You would think I would have remembered the fucking nipples!

So, barely 12 weeks in and my body has already decided it’s going to fast forward into alien mode. I think with a second baby your body is prepped and ready to go, so you get less time to feel normal before the changes set in. This time around it’s also been rougher on me. Debilitating exhaustion – to the point where there were days I would get home from work and be physically unable to run Carter a bath. Nausea, which I didn’t seem to have with my first, was always there. Brushing my teeth is still a battle of the gags and the constipation could win some awards. Poo’ing is such a great achievement that I may even tweet about it. Also, the anger. I pretty much hated everyone for several weeks. Normal conflict averse Kate was telling people to ‘go fuck themselves’ and I could barely contain my eye rolls in meeting. I could visualise stabbing people and I got into such a bad altercation with a taxi last week that I though I was going to be murdered on William Nicol.

However, it’s such a freaking thrill to know that I’m growing a another human bean in my belly. Fondly referred to as ‘Pip’, I count down the days between scans and am already rubbing my little belly. I don’t quite know how I’m going to have the patience to wait to meet this little he/she, but what I do know, is that Bulldog farts, food aversion and hubcap sized nips aside, I am totally in love already.

‘Hi!’
Continue Reading

The Time He Told Me He Loved Me.

When my husband first told me he loved me we had been dating for about 11 minutes. I remember it as if it was yesterday. We were celebrating his birthday at the now-closed Cantina Tequila. A huge storm was coming in and we were sitting at a table outside. Everyone was hammered, especially Barry who was about 18 tequilas down and speaking fluent Mexican. When he told me, even though I knew he meant it, I laughed because it was possible the least romantic timing. Seems it was a tend, because the day he proposed wasn’t much better.

When Carter told me, he wasn’t drunk (thankfully). It happened last week during our recent bedtime ritual of: Kid in bed, bottle, book leave the room. Repeat 100 times. Night light on, off, blanket on, teddy changed, “mommy more milk“. repeat. Fetch giggling child from behind the couch, place back in bed, repeat again. Give child a vegetable of choice to cuddle with (we prefer baby marrows most nights) repeat. Guys, this kid has more stall tactic than Zuma in court. I had been playing this avid game of bedtime Olympics for about 20 minutes at this point, and was totally over it. My wine was getting warm.  So, when he called “mamaaaa” for the 20th time I grumpily stormed in the room and said “What Carter, it’s bed time boy!”. So you can imagine the subsequent guilt slash clean-up-in-aisle-five moment when – instead of asking for a root vegetable or Nesquik- he said “eyeruvyu” (I Love You). He then said it again, said “sorry penguin” rolled over, and fell asleep.

BE STILL MY BEATING HEART.

So, here’s the thing. These kids can drive you to the brink of absolute insanity, and just before you feel like you’ve made a horrible mistake by having children, they bring you back down to love laden earth by doing the most incredible things.

I recently blogged about the ‘terrible twos’ and guys, no jokes, the first few weeks were a dark time for me. I felt terribly alone and worried. Nothing was going right – work stress, car accident, money stress, friendship stress and then a kid who shat in his pants instead of the toilet, urinated on the floor instead of a potty and screamed like a trapped goat everytime he had to get dressed. At one point I even seriously considered anti depressants. That was my proverbial edge, and I was about to jump.

But, since the ‘I Love You’ declaration of ’17 we have had nothing but smooth sailing. This adorable small human has whipped out all the charm cards and executed them perfectly. From glorious emoji shaped turds in the potty (apologies to everyone who’s house this has happened at) to impeccably timed hugs, cuddles and kisses. He even stayed in class last week to clean up the beanbags. Basically, he’s short one pair of angel wings.

So, if you are going through the toddler induced hell that I was just a few short days ago, let it be known that ‘this too shall pass’ And also let it be known that even if we have never met, and you live in some small corner of Uzbekistan, I’m here if you ever need to chat. Because you know whats worse than going through the bad times? It’s doing it alone. So whiles it may seems small fry to others, it isn’t to those who have been there. And to those who dismissed my dramatic appeals for help – go fuck yourself. Just joking, I hope one day when your kid sets fire to your couches in defiance of getting dressed that you remember this. Also just joking. Sort of.

With Love,

A-Temporarily-Smug-Mother-of-A-Two-Year-Old.

 

Continue Reading

Brace Yourself. The Terrible Twos’ Are Coming.

I remember watching a friend of mine battling with being a mom. Her vacant haunted eyes terrified me and I never knew how to help her. She made parenting seem awful, and hard and I was terrified that one day I would find myself in a similar situation.

Then Carter was born, 2 years and 11 days ago, and he’s been a 99% wonderful human. All conscientious charm and manners. He slept well, ate well and basically made life pretty freaking easy for us.

Until 2 weeks ago when – true to the textbooks – he turned 2. Holy hell in a hand basket, it has been rough AF. Not only did he start potty training, he moved into a new bed and also decided that to get dressed in the morning was not for him. And not in a ‘no thanks mum, this isn’t for me’ way. In a “I will beat your motherly compassion out of you with a hockey stick until you want to strangle me” way.

Guys. I am at my wits end. I spent the majority of my 90-minute (because also, fuck you traffic) drive to work in guilt-ridden state. Never mind the 2 hours this morning just trying to actually get him dressed for school. Will I ever be on time again? When I dropped him at crèche this morning I was truly happy to palm him over to anyone who wasn’t me, and up until about 10 minutes ago I would have very happily left him there for a week. Because I actually don’t even know if I’m cut out for parenting, let alone parenting a 2 year old.

Newborns by comparison are possibly the easiest you will have it. I’m sorry to break this to you. It gets really hard, like really hard. Granted, it’s adorable when they start to talk and engage and participate in real-life activities – but the down side of their newfound abilities is the realisation that they have an opinion, limbs and a really, really strong will.

Keeping him in his bed at night (which entails 4 stories, strawberry milk, 75 pickups and bed put-back-ins and about a gallilitre of wine), getting him dressed every day, taking him home from a fun environment and trying to prevent volcanic meltdowns on a daily basis – along with juggling two demanding jobs and trying to also not look like a heroin addict have me absolutely farging exhausted at the end of every single day.

It also doesn’t help that t’s been a pretty rough year culminating in my Mothers Day ending with me leaving work (because yes, money doesn’t grow on spouses nor trees) and being hit by a taxi. Not only did he hit my car but he then proceeded to verbally assault and intimidate me, along with several of his charming taxi driver buddies. It was a horrific and terrifying situation and by the time I got home from the police station, shaken and drenched in rain, I was determined to emigrate and leave this ‘hell hole’ of a country.

I am so angry lately, and I suspect that my son is picking up on my emotions. But then he screams like a hadeda with a grammar phone and wrestles me with his 18 limbs and I can’t help but get more and more stressed out. I’m surprised I’m even able to make conversation at the moment. And I have only one human, only one. How are the moms of 2 or more actually coping?

I’d like to point out – one page into this rant – that I desperately love my son and that he has only been like this for 2 weeks. And he’s also only an asshole for a few hours a day. The other 22 he’s a delight, and then I forget about the asshole phase and go ‘let’s make another one!’. So no, I’m not really going to actually take him to school naked, or throw him out with Pickitup, but I do need to know, from other well oiled and experienced moms that this too shall pass. And before you come to me with your tricks, I’ve tried them. They don’t work

  • Bribery
  • Putting him to sleep with school clothes under his pyjamas
  • Naughty corner
  • beating Smacking
  • Ignoring
  • Hugging
  • Shouting
  • Wine
  • Distraction
  • Protein laden snacks
  • Mommy groups
  • Vodka
  • Rescue Remedy (for him)
  • Xanax (for me)

Help. Please.

 

Continue Reading

Crushing on 22 Months

There are some days of being a parent where I wonder what the hell I’ve gotten* myself in to, and other days where it’s decidedly the absolute best thing I have ever done. I’ve had one of those days-turned-weeks recently, and I don’t know if it’s because I’ve bred a #LegendChild or because he’s at a certain age, but my little human has hit champion status, and I am absolutely loving him at the moment (not to say I don’t ever love him, but he’s just even more awesome than normal lately.)

Here are a few reasons why i’m totally crushing on 22 months.

  • He can understand, comprehend and communicate. Have you ever heard a parent say to their small child “I am so proud of you“? I remember hearing moms say it and I would puke a little bit in my mouth every time. What the actual fuck could you be proud of in a toddler? Proud that they didn’t shit their nappy? Proud that they didn’t have a tantrum? Proud that they were beginning to look like small adults? I totally get it now. When your child gets to the age where they mimic, talk, learn, copy empathise and communicate, when they start acting out instructions and learning routine and doing clever things like acknowledging life, you actually think your heart might explode from the proudness. I promise. It’s real. So don’t mock charge next time you hear a mommy coo’ing over their child’s seemingly mundane behaviour, because your kid learning to put a lid back on a toy, unplug the bath, wipe up a spill, tell you who their best buddy is  or hand you a steak knife that you’d accidentally left on their plastic dinner plate (not my proudest moment) without slicing their arteries open, is pretty much the equivalent of them bagging an MBA or receiving a job offer from Richard Branson.
  • They can be bribed. Which means resisting a nappy change can be halted in one fluid sweep with the simple threat of confiscating their dummy. Giving them medicine can be easily done with the promise of a sweet (or a raisins in my sons case) afterwards. Suddenly, every day goods become bartering gold mines. As long as the bribery object in question is treated with excitement and an air of pricelessness, your child will want it, and therefore will do everything to get it.

“Carter, if you don’t stop shouting I will not let you hold this plastic comb!”

  • They do things that are hilarious and video-worthy. Like the day my son learnt to say the word ‘fuck’, see below. It is both my most and least proud moment.

(I wasn’t going to share this as we had just returned home from overseas, my house is in shambles and I still have those nightmare inducing pink tiles, but hey, what the fuck right? PS – any flooring companies out there willing to do a makeover in my home? Let’s chat.)

  • They travel well. You may or may not know that we recently returned from a week away in Mauritius (blog post on that coming soon!)  and despite the “are you batshit crazy?!” comments from other moms who couldn’t believe we would be travelling with a kid under 2, he was better behaved than most of us. He even travelled well on an aeroplane, which may or may not have had anything to do with the ice cubes he was sucking from my breakfast GnT.

 

  • They can be trained. I may have lost a set of crystal goblets along the way, but my son can now bring me a glass of wine and replace said empty glass on the table when I’m done. I mean, if that alone isn’t worth having a kid, then I don’t even know what is.

*Dad, if you’re reading this, then yes ‘gotten’ is a word and no, I shall not replace it with something more satisfactory.

Continue Reading

Actually, It Gets Harder.

I dropped Carter off at school this morning and it was so buy that I had to park on a road down the street. It’s day one of school for all the bigger kiddies which meant hordes of smartly dressed children in oversized skirts and shorts, crisp white socks and heavy backpacks. The moms on the other hands looked like me – disheveled, eye bagged and a bit teary.

Have you guys seen how much stuff a Grade R and Grade 0 kid needs for school? Apart from 27 tubes of Pritt stick (do they inhale them that they need so many?) it’s the bags and books and uniforms and individually labeled pens and swimming towels and lunchboxes and things to go inside the lunchboxes and and and. It’s exhausting. Mothers formerly known as composed are losing their shit over A4 lined books and sew in labels for dri-macs. I’ll take my current situation of only having to remember nappies and a change of clothes, thanks.

Which leads me to the not-so-new but oh-so-true- realisation that I think we have it all wrong. Wrangling children gets harder, and actually not easier. I bumped into a social media acquaintance this morning and he was lamenting about his lack of sleep. He has a 5 week old. I hated to be that person but I gently reminded him that newborns are in fact the easiest age. Sure, they are very demanding for something the size of a large margarine tub, but if they aren’t eating they are sleeping. If my 20 month old son isn’t eating he’s either sitting in the dog food bowl, scaling an electric fence, eating a dead spider, trying to break into the pool gate, unraveling a dishcloth, cleaning up the rain with said dishcloth, taking the (still wet) washing off the fence, stealing salticrax and their accompanying weavils out of the pantry, re packing the coffee cup cupboard or yelling his chosen word of the day while zooming up the passage chasing the dog. FYI, todays word is ‘key’

You also can’t just put them down and leave them – they’re incredibly fast and incredibly sneaky. Like very small, very adorable magicians. I lose Carter, on average, once a week. They’re also incredible strong, both physically and in willpower. My newborn never kicked my uterus from the outside and my newborn also never jumped on my boobs so hard that a nipple shot out my arsehole. My newborn didn’t smear banana onto my new couches or hurl a Le Creuset mug at a flying insect. My newborn couldn’t cling onto my leg/neck/foot like a wet spider monkey and my newborn also never bit me, hit me, shushed me or smashed a wayward foot into my head.

My newborn was also dull in comparison. He couldn’t ‘help’ feed the dogs (read, drop one pellet at a time into the metal bowl because he enjoyed the sound of it). ‘help’ hang the washing or ‘help’ with other chores around the house. He didn’t communicate with me and couldn’t tell me what his needs and wants were. He didn’t stamp his little feet in a Michael Flatley impersonation when I was peeling a banana too slowly, demand all the music goes ‘off’ if it wasn’t to his liking or stop in his tracks and stare with wide-eyed-wonderment when he saw hail for the first time.

I’m both loving and despairing at this age. 20 month toddlers are tricky – they can talk but cant really communicate, they love other small humans but they don’t as yet play very well – which means there’s a lot of tugging on mom or dad for everything, and they are incredibly needy. They also don’t sleep through all that often, and don’t for one second tell me they do, because I belong to a Whatsapp group of 13 moms who will attest to this fact. They do not sleep through. Final.

So, if you are a mom to a newborn or a tiny baby and reading this, I implore you to embrace the easiness of your babies age. Get out the house, take them with you, go to dinner and parties and social gatherings. Before you know it they will be running yelling shouty things with minds of their owns and opinions of one. And then, before we know it we will be mourning the loss of our tiny little running yelling thing as we pack their oversized back pack with individually labelled pens and 27 Pritt glue sticks and sobbing into our cold coffee because our children are growing up, right before our eyes.

Continue Reading