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!’

 

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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.

 

 

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Moms Who Love Running? Thule Needs You!

If you are an active mom who loves running, then you will know all about the importance f having a good baby jogger. One brand that I have always openly lusted after is the Thule range. They have recently launched the new Thule Urban Glide and it is incredible. When I learnt I was pregnant with Number 2, I actually went into the store, just to stare at it. We have some crappy 4th hand job that has wobbly wheels and is about 30 kilograms too heavy. Not ideal when dodging city traffic.

If you too have been dying to try it out, then now is your chance. I am looking for one active mom, based in Jozi, who is free on 22 September 2017 and keen to take part in the FNB Jozi Run, using the brand new Thule glide.

All you need to do to enter is comment on the blog post and confirm that you are A) In Jozi available on 24 September and B) have a kid/baby to pop in the jogger. I can lend you mine if you want, he’s pretty awesome most of the time 😉 Winner will be announced on Monday 11 September

We will send you the jogger 2 weeks before, so you can do a few practice runs with it before the big race. We will also give you an R850 VIP package to the FNB Jozi Run as well as a gift to keep (sadly the stroller will have to be collected) – A Thule Vea Backpack valued at R2499!

About The Race
The FNB Jozi Run celebrates the sizzling city that is the beating heart and soul of South Africa … Jozi.  The 10km race is an opportunity to explore downtown Jozi on foot and celebrate this historical African city.
What the VIP entry will get you: 
This could be you. But you don’t have a Thule. 

 

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Win With Nike Kids!

I made the mistake of going to the shops on pay day weekend, because Carter needed new shoes. Again. I know they tell you that these kids grow up fast, but no one ever told you that this is directionally proportional to the size of their feet as well. I feel like all I do is stripper throw money at clothes for my son.

I know I’m not alone, because by the time I actually get to the correct section of the store there is hardly anything decent left in his size. It’s a full on mom vs. mom war in there – age 2-3 tshirts being tug-of-warred between Betty from Boksburg and Katy from Killarney and 5 pack undies being hurled from desperate mom to panicked dad in a move that would make our Bokke proud.

So, it is with great delight that I am giving one lucky parent the chance to avoid suicide hour (at the mall atleast) for a short while, and potentially walk home with a kids clothing hamper from Nike.

If you believe your child is a ‘Nike Kid’ then let me know why he or she should get an awesome clothing hamper from this iconic brand, valued at R1500.

The Nike kid has an insatiable appetite for play, an unrivaled desire to be inspired and an unfaltering confidence to dream… and the apparel to allow them to do so.

Carter is a Nike kid because he has all of the above traits – an insatiable appetite full stop, an unfaltering confidence ( I mean, who else can pull of Crocs better than a toddler?) and the confidence to dream with him is strong too – he still truly believes that he’s getting strawberry milkshake in bed instead of dinkum cows milk.

So, if you have a child aged between 2 and 7, let me know how they are the epitome of the perfect Nike kid, and you could be winning him or her a trendy new clothing hamper from Nike!

The Ts and The Cs

  • Your son or daughter must be between the ages of 2 and 7
  • Winner will be drawn randomly on Thursday 6 July
  • The prize is not transferable for cash
  • You can enter on behalf of a friend
  • You must like the Rupert Approves Facebook page and subscribe to this blog

Good Luck!

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

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Milestones Vs. MILESTONES.

Raising humans is all about milestones. From the second you conceive to the 12 week scan, from trimesters to hospital bags. From birth to burping and rolling to sitting. From standing to walking, to running. Teething and solids and sleeping and laughing. Every single thing out child does as they grow up is checked off against an invisible board. Carter hit his milestones beautifully, like a well oiled machine, and as proud as I am that he is the smiling owner of a full set of teeth, sleeps through the night (jinx that and I will cut a bitch) and has the hand eye co-ordination of a small genius, it’s the lesser known milestones that have truly blown me away.

One such giant leap of success happened this past weekend. Keep in mind that before he was an hour old he had been handed to a complete stranger in the recovery room to be ogled over and snuggled. Before he was a day old he had been passed around like a joint at a music festival and before we left the hospital after 4 days (also known as the one time I had 24 hour help) he had been met, kissed, cuddled and pawed by 51 different visitors. And I loved it. I wanted to raise my son to be outgoing, independent and attracted to strangers (nice strangers, not men in sweetie-van strangers). Alas, Nature had other plans, and despite my relaxed parenting style my son grew up wanting no one more than a select few teachers at school, grandparents and his mom and dad. Child friendly restaurants were wasted on us as friendly minders offered to watch him while we caught up over precious conversation wine, and instead he chose to sit on our laps and cling to our legs like an octopus monkey. He didn’t want to play alone and many an hour was spent literally sitting with him as he tentatively explored jungle gyms and swings. He is in no way strange, just slow to warm up, and most social events were spent coaxing him to interact with other adults and him only obliging as we were about to leave.

On Friday however, things changed. We went fora quick bite to eat at a kid friendly restaurant across the road and as we arrived my child spotted the sandpit. Excited squals of ‘san san san’ and he happily trotted off on his own to play. A few minutes later he voluntarily ran inside to watch a puppet show and actively chose to find a minder and sit on her lap. My heart grew and broke at the same time and like any sleep deprived irrational mom I then had to go in to check on him several times and take a all the photos. Barry and I stared at each other like dumb-wits from across the table and verbally declared our astonishment. Since then he has taken to independence like a duck to water and now treats the world slash garden as his oyster. Who knew that watching your child ramp his green push bike up a stair could make you feel like you’ve won gold at the Olympics.

So, thats it really. No major epiphany except the fact that I can marvel at him daily. People always say it gets better, and I never ever believed them. I thought they were just trying to make me feel better about the fact that they were always dirty and sticky and doing dumb things. But I can personally endorse this theory now – it gets so much better. Hell, these small humans are great hey?

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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.

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Let The Shopping Fun Begin With Toy Kingdom.

If you are anything like me – still stuck at the office until the 23rd and working frantically until Christmas, then you’re probably also really stressing about how you are going to get everything done in time.

Me. 2 days before Christmas.
Me. 2 days before Christmas.

We went shopping this weekend and fought the masses as we tried to check off a million to-do items from our list. Short of the actual kitchen sink we are almost up to speed on the shopping list. The only person left to buy for is my hubby, but I can throw a pair of running shoes at his head and he will be happy. Sometimes I also throw a pair of running shoes at his head because he’s being an arse, but that’s beside the point.

Unfortunately, trying to find the perfect gift for everyone else, 2 days before Christmas, looks a little bit like this:

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Luckily, shopping for the littlies will be the easiest thing you need to do this year. Because, let’s face it, they leave us fat, stretchmarked and poor, so splurging on gifts is as much for them as it is for us. If you are stuck with all the amazing choices this festive season, you can choose from the Festive Season gift guide in-store and on the Toy Kingdom website or get a Toy Kingdom gift card.

We headed off to Toy Kingdom in Sandton City a few weeks ago and my jaw literally hit the floor when I saw the goodies on display. When I was a kid my folks tied some ribbon to a stick and that was my entertainment. Growing up on a farm was tough, guys.

Carter, on the other hand, has no idea just how lucky he is. Going into Toy Kingdom to buy him a present brought back childhood memories of birthing sheep and said ribbon on sticks, and a definite lack of toy store visits, so I really had to hold myself back from buying everything I wanted (A Furby Connect and everything Barbie) and I had to rationalise (read: wrestle him away) with the husband that a Gold Hoverboard was probably a little bit too advanced for our clumsy 19 month old). Eventually we settled on something to keep help with his creativity and hand eye co-ord – so a mega-pack of ‘Bunchems’ it was, as well as something to bring out on special occasions – and something that will hopefully stop him stealing my iPad and lowering my street cred points on Youtube – a LeapPad Tablet. Then we got him something to wrap and open in a few years time – a Meccano 5 Model set car.

bunchems leappad-epic meccano

So basically, Carter is going to be living his best life come 25 December.

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It may sound like all fun and games but I have to be honest, choosing age appropriate, quality presents was actually very stressful. Barry at that stage was lost in a toy truck aisle and no amount of whistling for him could get his attention. Luckily I had the most awesome shop assistant helping me – he even went to far as to unpack several boxes of things for me to have a proper look.

I would highly recommend Toy Kingdom – there is something for everyone, and if they had top open up a wine bar next to the Build-A-Bear section I suspect I would never leave.

I can’t wait to share photos of Carter opening up his pressies on Christmas. For now they remain safely wrapped and tucked under the tree.

You can find Toy Kingdom in Jozi Town opposite Clicks in Sandton City or in Cape Town, Shop 407 in Canal Walk.

If you are really pressed/stressed for time then have a look at their ‘Top 50 gift guide‘. It helps to whittle down your choices and guarantees a great buy. It’s what we used – along with recommendation from in-store staff – to decide on what to buy. Pop in to their store and tell them I sent you – then share your purchases with me here or on their Facebook page.

PS – Next year I’m going back for a Furby. I don’t care what anyone says

PPS – I’m also going back for a Gold Hoverboard. Don’t tell my husband.

ABOUT TOY KINGDOM:

Toy Kingdom is Africa’s most loved toy store with 14 retail stores nationally, offering the latest and most recognised toy brands to families. Toy Kingdom brings together unrivalled quality toys, beautifully designed stores and friendly and knowledgeable staff who encourage children and parents to interact and play with the toys. Each store is designed not as a retail space but rather around the concept of play, creating a unique in-store experience of ‘toadally’ charming fun.

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