A Family Photo Shoot

A few months ago I was lucky enough to win a shoot with Robyn Davie photography, through the Rattle and Mum blog. As most of our weekends then were spent training for Half Iron Man, we decided to push the shoot out to July when we had a bit more free time. And I’m so glad we did – even though it was rather chilly – the light, the grass, the crisp air and the gold leaves were all perfect for the relaxed shoot in Delta Park.

Robyn is awesome – she is all about capturing the lesser spotted family in their natural habitat – relaxed, un-posed and roaming free. I adore how our photos have turned out, and am so glad she captured Carter’s cheeky grin and toothy smile.

You can find Robyn on her website, Facebook or Instagram.

Tell her I sent you!

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The Devil Is In The Details. Jokes. The Devil Is In The Sippy Cup.

Being a parent is hard, right? So why manufacturers of children’s products must now go and make things for parents to use even harder, blows my mind.

Take this here sippy cup. A pretty innocent looking device, right? Wrong. This here cup o’ Satan was bought en route to Clarens a few months back, when we realized we had left Carters one at home. The easiest part of using this plastic shit storm was taking it out of the packaging. From there it was all downhill. No matter who I called, what I Googled, or how many times I read the instructions (and I mean really, a sippy cup that comes with a ‘how to’ guide should have already raised some red flags) I just couldn’t get actual liquid to come out the straw. Husband, driving, scoffed at my red face and angry neck vain. Except then he tried to make the fucking thing work and also failed, miserably. Upon arriving in Clarens my mom and dad rolled their eyes at us, but they too succumbed to the devil that is this cup. Not even trying to cut or burn a hole in the rubber straw of death would result in actual liquid coming anywhere near my child’s mouth.

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He looks like he knows what he’s doing. He doesn’t.

Apart from the cup that now resides at the bottom of a landmine somewhere, other ridiculously difficult parenting items I’ve encountered are:

  • Car seat buckles. Is it just me or is getting your toddler strapped into one of these the equivalent of trying to put a bra on an octopus?
  • Speaking of car seat buckles, what about the actual car seats? If prompted with a million Rand or a full nights sleep, I still don’t think I could get the thing strapped in properly. There have been multiple times that I have broken down sobbing in a car park, on the side of the road and even in my garage because the car seat had been removed and had to be put back in. When Carter was 6 weeks old I went away with my folks to the bush, as my husband had to work. This meant moving the car seat and base into my dad’s car. FORTY minutes and several YouTube tutorials later the thing wasn’t even remotely stable and we had to drive to a neighbours house in the hopes that they could help.
No babies were harmed during the making of this very dramatic attack on infant car seats.
No babies were harmed during the making of this very dramatic attack on infant car seats.
  • Battery operated kids toys. I mean really, who has time to now find a battery, a screwdriver and a PHD to try get Thomas the fucking tank engine to actually engine. Not I, sir. Not I.
  • In-ear thermometers. We splurged on a Braun device that nearly cos us our home loan. The thing has never given an accurate reading. One time my child, the pot plant and a mug of coffee all clocked in at the same temperature.
  • The spoon dispenser that comes in a formula tub. People, if you really need NAN to give you a leveler to level some powder, then I feel you probably should never have had a child. I’ve assembled a dining room table faster than I have this ridiculous spoon.
Just complete this quick puzzle, and the spoon is all yours.
Just complete this quick puzzle, and the spoon is all yours.

 

Luckily, not everything made for babies is adult proof, and some clever companies out there have actually realised that a parent generally has about 1.3 fingers available to do anything, and have actually helped cater for this. So, credit where credit is due. I present to you: baby products that don’t suck.

  • Colour coded onesies. Oh, you think you don’t need these, until your child learns to move. And then you wonder how you ever lived without them. The geniuses behind this brand know that changing a baby is like standing one-footed on a bucking bronco whilst holding a tray of fine china. Impossible. These onesies come with colour coded pop rivets, so you get it right the first time. Happy baby? Check. Potential of mom keeping her sobriety that night? Double check.

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  • Dummy straps. Again, in Clarens, we forgot ours and panic ensued. I resorted to buying some ribbon and a safety pin (excellent mothering, I know) to make an impromptu one. If you have a dummy loving baby, you do not want to forego a dummy strap.
  • A sippy cup that does actually work, and won’t leak everywhere. Meet your NBF. It’s adult still proof (I know because I’ve tested it on several family* members with no luck) but the kids love it. Did I mention its spill proof?
These are from Munchkin and are available from any and all good bottles stores. See what I did there?
These are from Munchkin and are available from any and all good bottles stores. See what I did there?
  • Tupperware. In any shape or form.
  • Toys that require no setting up, switching on or batteries. I’m talking plastic balls, rubber dinosaurs, building blocks and the contents of mom’s makeup bag.
As long as you'e not standing on it at 2 am, then building blocks are the perfect no fuss play solution for your little angel.
As long as you’re not standing on it at 2 am, then building blocks are the perfect no fuss play solution for your little angel.

Disclaimer: It’s taken me hours to think of anymore. Surely not all baby things are adult proof? What kid device has changed your life?

*I’m beginning to worry that maybe these products aren’t at fault and that perhaps I just have stupid family members?

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Moms, I Need Your Help.

“Aren’t you glad you’re past that stage?” Someone asked me this yesterday. She was referring to Carter being a bit older and past the whole newborn/infant part of his life. She asked this because just minutes before, my brand new pink shiny niece had been born in to this world, and I was gleefully counting down the hours until I could leave work and go visit her.

Truth? I’m not glad. I’ve had a heavy heart since yesterday. I envy my sister in law. A fresh mom, drugged up and in a love coma. Those 4 days in hospital are some of the greatest memories I have with Carter. It was 4 days of chaos, of people, of snuggles and of learning all about my brand new baby. What then followed was 4 blissful but hard months of being a stay at home mom. 4 months of the most quality time that I will ever have with my son. Nowadays I see him for an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening. Weekends actually feel long in comparison – I feel like I’ve forgotten how to be a great mom – and it’s breaking my heart.

My Niece, Lea.
My Niece, Lea.

The thing is, I want to work. Coming back here has rejuvenated my soul. Adult conversation, healthy lunches, Excel! (Look, I’m still using a calculator to work out simple maths, but they do say one the mommy brain hits, it never goes away.)

I started writing this piece, with no answer in mind. For once, I’m at a loss for ideas. How can I utilise my time better with my baby? I don’t want to think back on his infant years and only remember the mundane; wiping drool from his chin, mixing up bottles and buying nappies. I want to remember the play, the laughs and the learning.

So, I need your help. How have you mastered the art of a work/baby balance? How do you counteract the guilt? Do you spend less time socialising and more time at home? Do you attend mommy baby classes, or are you too just trying to fit everything in, while trying not to panic at time wasted.

(While you have a think, browse through the latest selection of Carter photos. because hes cute as fuck, and because, as MD, owner and director of this blog, I’m allowed a little shameless self promotion.) 

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To Thai For – Win One Of Two Experiences with Enmasse Massage!

Guys, I hardly ever do the spa scene. I am truly the most awkward spa-goer there is. Firstly, I always wear the wrong things, I feel completely lame in front of the therapist and I generally lie there as stiff as a rod wondering if my feet smell from the pumps I was wearing that day. Don’t even get me started on bikini waxes – when suddenly my cellphone becomes the most important thing in the world while the therapist pulls and yanks things that not even my husband has seen. So, it was with slight hesitation that I agreed to accompany some friends for a Thai massage this week.

I’m so glad I said yes though – because Enmasse is absolutely amazing. It’s not your typical spa – all burning incense and humming dolphins. It’s beautiful; dark, stark and minimalistic – with modern music, a tea bar and extraordinarily friendly staff.

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Assuming this would be the typical spa experience – where one emerges as oiled up as a Brakpan mechanic, I arrived suitably prepared with 3 day old unwashed hair. Awkies. One remains clothed and un-oiled the entire time. (Because, according to Enmasse, it’s not that kind of party). The massage process, for want of a better word, is neat and clean, there are no standing beds with head cutouts, instead the massage areas are partitioned off by white linen walls and patrons lie on the floor on fancy feeling duvets and pillows.

My masseuse, Thandi, was lovely – she didn’t even snort when I apologized for being fat. She simply made me feel totally at ease while she bent and manipulated every part of my body. I didn’t even worry about sweaty feet. Alas, the loser in me reared her awkward head at the end of the massage when Thandi left me lying on the ground. Do I wait here I wondered? Ya, I’m sure I wait here. So waited I did, as still as a plank. After 5 minutes with no return of the Thandi I started hissing for my friends. ‘Lauren!?” “Jasmine??”. “Guys?”. Eventually I stood up, only to find all the massage areas completely empty and made up. No sign of human life remaining. I skulked into the main parlour and found them giggling (not at me, they promised) on the couches drinking herbal tea, or ‘betrayal beverages’ as I now call them.

Check out their website for their offerings. They even do pre-natal massage which is something I desperately needed when I was preggers. Sadly, asking my husband for a foot rub didn’t quite do the trick.

So, even though I may have overstayed my welcome a tad, no-one made me feel uneasy. Not even when I dropped an earring under a chair and had half the staff on hands and knees looking for it. I am not kidding when I say I’m that person.

The fabulous owners at Enmasse would now like you to experience what I went through (minus the sweaty feet and awkwardness, of course). I’m giving away two 60 minute massages valued at R420 each.

Entering is easy:

  • Like Enmasse on Facebook
  • Follow Rupert Approves
  • Leave a comment on this post. Any comment will do, but I will be swayed by bribery of ‘You’re so pretty’ and ‘Gosh you look thin today’.

The Ts and The Cs and the thank you pareese.

  • Enmasse is located on Corlett Drive, Sandton. Winners must make their way to and from the venue
  • The competition closes at 5 pm on Friday
  • The prize is not transferrable
  • Competition mechanics must be followed in order to stand in line to win
  • I was only kidding about nice comments. Kinda.

As an added bonus. Enmasse is offering R100 off a massage for every Rupert Approves reader. Simply use the top secret code word ‘Rupert Approves’ when claiming and booking.

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WIN A Four Week Baby Reflexology Class

Maternity leave. A time filled with long lie ins, serene walks in the park with your sleeping baby, and endless cuddles.

Atleast, that’s what people think.

In reality, maternity leave is the most manic, chaotic 16 weeks of ones life, with very little time to actually get anything productive done. In between all the washing, cleaning, burping, feeding, rocking, crying, eating, sleeping, farting and second-guessing, it’s extremely important to actually get out the house and do things with your new baby (and oh-boy – have I done my fair share! – more on that coming soon).

Cue: Baby classes. Oh, sweet baby classes. Possibly the greatest invention since sliced bread Magnum wine bottles. Baby classes give the new mom the perfect opportunity to explore a world beyond vomit stained leggings and bottle sterilisers. They are also the perfect place to meet fellow vomit stained legging wearing moms and discuss everything from engorged boobs to post baby sex life.

If frequent flyer miles were awarded to attendees of baby classes, then I would be the proud recipient of a round the world trip by now.

One of the courses I attended was a 4 week Baby Reflexology Class, held at The Bub Hub in Broadacres. (Disclaimer – don’t ever go to the Bub Hub unless you are mentally stable enough to receive debt counselling. You might even consider selling your baby to buy all of the things they have in store)

Hosted by Sarah Vorster (she calls herself a ‘Therapeutic Reflexologist, Pregnancy Massage Therapist & Doula’ but I like to call her a ‘Magical bearer of wide smiles and cupcakes’). The classes were awesome – Over the 4 weeks we covered aspects such as colic, calming and comforting, wellbeing, teething pain, blocked ears and ailments. Apparently, the actions work just as well on humans as they do on babies, so I chatted to Sarah about finding the pressure point to win the lottery, get a full nights sleep and fix my Telkom line. I’m still waiting for her reply. It’s probably still pending due to Telkom issues.

baby reflex

Sarah was fantastic with the tiny babies, but it was how she handled us adults that really blew me away. There is no bigger baby than a new mom working on 18 minutes of sleep. She handled our farting, crying, laughing, napping and feeding offspring with the grace of Kate Middleton. Bless you Sarah for not judging me when I came in one day one after a ladies night, child in one hand and a litre of coffee in the other.

So, whilst I may not have learnt how to save the world using 5 toes and my finger, I have learnt how to squeeze a big toe in just the right way to alleviate Carters distress. And that, my friends, is priceless.

I’m so excited to be giving one of these courses away to a new mom! You can also enter on behalf of a mom who you think would love to win a 4 week course with Sarah.

The winner can pick from one of the following courses starting on the following dates:

2 September @ Simply Expecting Pilates in Illovo

18 September @ The Bub Hub in Broadacres.

All you need to do to win is tell me where on the big toe is the pressure point for turning water into wine.

I jest.

To enter:

  1. Like Boho Mamas on Facebook
  2. Follow Rupert Approves
  3. Comment on this post and tell me if you want this course for yourself, or a friend, and which class you would like to attend

Don’t forget to share this post and tag any friends who you think would like to enter!

Good Luck!

Masseuse massaging little baby girl's foot, shallow focus BR 1 BR 2   

BR 8

BR 4

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Ts and Cs

  1. This competition ends at 7 pm on Thursday 20 August 2015
  2. All entrants must check the blog post for the winner announcement
  3. Competition rules must be adhered to in order to win
  4. Prize is not redeemable
  5. Winner must be available over the selected dates
  6. Winner must make own travel arrangements

PS – You may have noticed the new Rupert Approves logo…. a massive thank you to the superbly talented (and dad-to-be) Don from Front Sky Media. If you need equally awesome design things…erm…designed, then check out his Facebook page or email him on don@frontskymedia.co.za

*UPDATE*

Congratulations to Kerry Scott on winning this prize! Please pop me an email to katenicolekearney@gmail.com so we can arrange your course 🙂

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I Don't Love You.

I love wine, but I don’t wake up thinking about it (well, not every morning). I love a good book, I love carbohydrates and I love a traffic free route to work. But love you? It’s not enough. The feeling I have for you is so all consuming, so large and so overwhelming, that it scares me to death.

When you were born and placed in my arms, my life changed, yes. I loved you then because I had been loving you for 9 months already. But then, something shifted. I commented to someone the other day that I wasn’t sure how I could ever love you more. That newborns were my favourite of all the baby brands. That nothing could, or would, beat having a teeny tiny thing in my arms. But then you grew, and smiled, and laughed, and rolled, and grasped and connected, and my heart felt like it might explode.

A big part of my pregnancy was spent worrying about how I would know what to do when you were here, and how would I care for you. But when you have a baby an incredible thing happens, your instincts kick in, and although I may not always know why you are crying, I alone can make you stop. Sometimes, when someone is holding you and you are wailing louder than a fire truck, I know why. I know it’s because you prefer to be held in a certain way, that loud voices can startle you, and that you actually prefer a certain dummy over the other. I can’t tell people that obviously. I don’t ever want to be that helicopter parent, but it’s part comforting, and part terrifying that I alone am responsible for your happiness. At least for the time being.

Another big no no I had BC (Before Carrter) was the amount of you that I would share online. But then you burst into my life and everything excited me. Your triangle toenails, that tiny dent in your skull, the one eyelash on the bottom of your eye that grows at a 90 degree angle. And so I share these things, because to me you are perfection. You wont ever remember, but when I feed you at night I rest my neck against your forehead, because it’s a perfect fit, and I run my thumb over your tiny fingers, and massage your Michelin man thigh. I want to record every sigh and sound you make, and bottle them for future consumption. I have even, at times, held your tiny mouth to my ear when you are screaming, because I need to absorb every inch of you.

This afternoon you napped for 2 hours and 44 minutes. I crept into your nursery 6 times to stare at your face and kiss the top of your soft head. There’s a lot I can get done in 2 hours and 44 minutes, but at times I cannot tear myself away from you. When you sleep I yearn for you to wake up and give me that gummy smile. (to be fair, when you’re awake I kinda hope you’ll nap again soon).

This afternoon, when we were lying on the picnic blanket on the lawn, watching dad install a light, you would jolt in fright each time the drill went. I have to remind myself that everything is new to you. That finding your toes is possibly the highlight of your day. Watching you jolt with noises, and coo in delight with familiar objects brings me to my knees in the most humbling of ways.

Every day with you is a delight.

I am besotted, obsessed, enthralled, in awe and head over heels for you.

Carter James, I adore being your mom.

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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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