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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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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I’m Not The Mom I Thought I Would Be.

We all have a picture in our head of how we think we are going to raise our children, even before we have them. I’d say a large percent of that is based on the way we were brought up as kids, as naturally, we tend to model our parents – willingly or not!

I grew up on a plot. I played with newborn sheep and ate fresh apples out of the bowl. A weekend treat was a glass of Halls juice concentrate and once, after 7 days of solid begging, my parents actually took us to the shops – Fourways Mall – so I could buy a glass tank and some hamsters. I always had the best lunchboxes – gigantic sized things, several ice-cream tubs stacked on top of each other kinda size. My grocery-box consisted of morning, afternoon, lunch and in between treats. Fresh toasted sandwiches still warm and in foil. Individually cut slices of veggies and a homemeade dip. Frozen water that began to melt perfectly in time for hockey practice and thermos’s of soup in winter and for after early morning swimming training.

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Fast forward 31 years and I’m 9 months pregnant and so organised you could hear a pin drop on my day planner. Carters little newborn outfits are packed into individual zip locked bags, labeled, colour coordinated and sized. Clothes smell like baby scented Sta-soft and his room is the nicest place in the house.

Maternity leave was also quite peachy. All that time (ha!). I specialised in martyr and in between baby yoga and baby massage and baby reflexology I baked from-scratch cakes and whipped cream for the top, I hosted and wined and dined and exercised and maintained a home. I blogged and studied and got a diploma or two. I was practically the Martha Steward of Mothers, folks.

Things actually carried on quite smoothly even after going back to work. Barry and I passed like ships in the night – we still do – but we still each got to gym once a day, cook, parent, socialise and not drop any balls.

And then suddenly I was working and studying and training for a Half Iron Man and planning a first birthday party that had to be Pinterest-worthy and then planning my mom’s 60th and interviewing for a new job and maintaining a large circle of friends and then somewhere, something just cracked. It wasn’t a monumental explosion or a giant noise, I just suddenly lost the ability to do everything, all the time. If it hadn’t been for our full-time nanny who started in April I think I would have thrown myself off the nearest Pappachinos jungle gym before Winter hit.

The thing is, I take after my mom – we carry a specialised ‘A-Type gene’ where we are totally convinced that people will simply not like us if we aren’t perfect, all the time. The other thing is, that when we are like this we tend to alienate the people closest to us in order to make space for almost relative strangers. I often find myself moaning at my mom that we never do anything just the two of us, but the same can be said for me. I feel like I’m alienating my own son to try and make room for everything else. I’m missing his last day of school today because I have a career. He has never been to the zoo. On weekends I find people to watch him so my husband can ride his bike and I can go off to do my photography to try earn more money to buy him things out of guilt. We don’t have bowls of fresh apples (very often) and he eats more Marie biscuits than I could begin to remember.

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I feel like I’ve become lazy with the most important person in my life – my son. This past weekend I cleaned the sheet on his cot and was appalled to see that it had a face (literally) shaped hole in it. I’ve defrosted more frozen meals than I’d like to admit and the greenest thing on his pate at the moment are frozen peas. He doesn’t like books and I need him to like books. I don’t push it though because I’m always in a hurry, always rushing from one thing to the next. We both end up in frustrated tears every morning as I’m clipping him in his seat and he can feel the tension vibrating off of me. Meetings, traffic, late late late. I’m sure that’s all he ever feels.

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Oh, sheet!

I’m inconsistent in my discipline. I go from a smack on the hand to a ‘no’ to a ‘here you go’. I put the iPad on when I should be teaching him rhymes and songs. I beg him to play on the jungle gyms at restaurants so I can have half an hour to eat my food. I don’t feel like I’m doing very well at being a great mom.

Don’t get me wrong, my love for this cheeky little human is so big I wonder how it fits in my heart. He is my greatest achievement and my greatest blessing. But I need to treat him with more respect. I need to make the time to spend with him and have the patience to just be with him. Not looking for an out, or a distraction, or picking up my phone, just to be.

Last night we did something totally out of the norm and took him to a Christmas themed event and pantomime. It was late, and out of his routine and quite a drive. It was one of the happiest moments of parenting. The venue was decked from top to bottom in lights and decorations if every shape, size and colour. Carter was mesmerized and after about an hour decided he was brave enough to explore. He made a beeline for a display on the lawn. A few hundred lit up flowers. And for close to half an hour, he moved between every-single flower and stopped to smell each and every one.

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My little wonderful 18-month-old literally showed me how to slow down and stop and smell the roses.

So, my commitment this Festive Season is to try and take a deep breath and find some special time where it can just be us, our little family. Where we can take it all in and remind ourselves of just how lucky we are.

 

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The Magic Of Mom Groups

About a year ago I wrote this blog post on Mommy groups, and the absolute drama that generally accompanies them. Although I was referring 99% to Mommy groups on Facebook, I still alluded to WhatsApp groups. And I now need to retract a little bit of that article.

You see, for the past 8 months, I’ve been a part of a mommy Whatsapp group that has completely changed my previous perception.

At first, I was skeptical. The constant videos and posts chewed through my precious data and I confess – sometimes annoyed me. So I changed my download-over-wifi-settings and adjusted my mindset and watched as these ladies on this group turned into friends, confidantes and trusted advisors.

When you have a child, things shift. Friendships will alter. What you once had in common (last minute after work drinks, spontaneous Saturday braais and long lazy brunches) become less and less so. I often hear child-less friends talk about friends with kids and moan about how they’ve changed and how the friendship is different. And I totally get that. But there’s also a little bit of blame that needs to be placed on the friends without kids, because they – without realising it – do pull away. I have best friends who’s house I haven’t been invited to since Carter was born, friends who don’t even think of inviting us out because they assume we will say no, and friends who just don’t understand that I’m now a permanent +1. And that’s OK. I was that friend once too, and no matter how hard you try and try, the empathy can never be there until you are there.

So the slight shifting (albeit temporarily) of one friendship means there’s room for another – and I’ve found that in a group of moms who I tell my deepest darker secrets and fears to. Some of these ladies I’ve never met. Some are younger than me, older than me, some have 1 kid, some have 3. But the one thing we all have in common? Our children. We are a group of moms who – simply by having kids at the same school – have formed the most incredible bond. These are the people who check in daily about things, remember job interviews and dietician check ups. They were the first people to jump on board and support me when I took up photography as a serious hobby and who talked me off a ledge when I sent screenshot after screenshot of before and after photos. These are the ladies who are the first to offer help and food when your baby gets sick, who cheer on your child’s milestones and who have your back when you’re going through a rough time. These ladies know more about my son than friends of 25 years do. They share recipes and milestones charts, photos of cellulite and memes on motherhood. They smuggle Pick n Pay animal cards into your sons backpack and scour the shelves for swimming nappies for everyone an hour before the lesson is about to begin.

I’ve spent the last 2 days in hospital with a very sick baby, and the hourly messages of support and gestures from these ladies have meant the world. We laugh over post baby vaginas and cry over virtual glasses of wine whilst we share out lives through a smartphone screen. They have become an invaluable part of my life, and I’m forever grateful for the empathy and love they show not only me and my son, but each other as well.

So, whilst I treasure each and every friendship I have, it’s these ladies who have seen me through a few bumpy patches lately and I couldn’t be more grateful.

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Why I Can’t Have Nice Things (And other motherhood realisations)

I had big plans yesterday. I went to gym and hit the grocery shops straight after – which meant I would have a solid 2 hour break when I got home as Carter would go down for a nap. Two hours guys, clearly the peeps who built Rome weren’t moms, ‘cos if they were it would have been done in 90 minutes with time left over for (hot) coffee. Sadly for me, in an effort to get Carter to sit still in the trolley long enough for me to buy toilet paper and dog food, I bribed him with a strawberry milkshake.

A milkshake which, 10 minutes later, ended up all over him, his car seat, my car interior, me and the groceries. So instead of the blissful 2 hours off that I had anticipated, I spent it scrubbing my son, hosing down the car chair, vacuuming my car seats and trying to calm a screaming toddler with heartburn. Once he was sleeping passed out, I was already up to my ears in vomit and reflux juices so I decided I may as well take advantage of my dirty state and wash the dogs, do the dishes and clean the house.

Yesterday, a friend and fellow mommy-blogger Sheena posted on Facebook about reprimanding her son for standing in his spaghetti bolognaise. I read it, barely blinked (because naturally that’s what kids do with pasta) and moved on. But it led me to realise one very important thing. We took so much for granted before we spewed forth a human.

I will never again take for granted things like being clean and wearing white (I know, because I wore a white shirt yesterday. To a 3-year-olds birthday party. 14 seconds later it was covered in blue sucker spit and mud. 144 seconds later it was also then covered in more vomit and water, as my son had decided to throw up in the kiddies plunge pool.

I will never take again for granted the luxury of a completed conversation. Chats with other adults last no more than 4 seconds before you’re dashing off to rescue your kid from getting stuck in a trampoline spring/wrestle 2 mops and a dog leash from their hands/run off to stop them from falling in a pool/grab a knife out of their fingers/pluck a small stone from their mouth/stop them from shoving 3 pork sausages into your handbag*

I will never again take for granted shiny gadgets that once belonged to me. My iPad met an untimely death yesterday when (mid Paw Patrol) it was flung off the couch and on to the tiled floor and my computer mouse – now Carters favourite toy – got thrown in the bath.

I will never again take for granted the smell of a clean car. Somewhere, in the last 16 months something has died in my motor vehicle. I suspect a half chewed piece of biltong that will forever remain mysteriously hidden between two seats. Also, it now smells like strawberry vomit.

I will never again take for granted a solid nights sleep, eating food off a plate that’s not being grabbed at my grubby paws, shouting ‘don’t pull the dogs nose/ear/tails’, not having to padlock the grocery cupboard and having a disposable income

I will also never take for granted having my son, because the mess, exhaustion and poverty is all so worth it. Except, maybe not the poverty. Momma really likes nice things.

*All actual things that happened on Saturday.

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Proud.

I don’t have a Facebook account or an email address for my son. I have this blog, and from time to time I write only things about my son. This is one of those times.

You always think that you will remember every single second of your child’s development and life. But honestly, you don’t, and even though he’s only 15 months I’ve already forgotten the exact age he was when he walked, talked or hit a milestone. I don’t know what his first words were – everything in the early vocabulary stages sounded like ‘mom’ and suddenly, before I knew it, he was learning so much that it was hard to keep up and make notes of everything new he was doing.

What I do know for certain is that he is awesome, and my physical love for him is so large I feel it might suffocate me. He is funny, like really funny. He mimics and jokes and goofs around that sometimes I wonder how I made this great little kid. He eats non-stop – from sandwiches to snoek and kefir milk. He has this way of walking, while carrying a handbag that makes you snort laugh and he is interested in absolutely everything. He watches birds and ants and when not trying to eat miniscule grains of god-knows-what off the floor he is wobble-running and exploring and marveling at his surrounds.

Fiercely independent, he often drives me mad with his insistence of doing everything himself – from manually eating rice, to (badly) brushing his teeth and washing his face. He tells me what he wants and how, and lord help us if we don’t agree.

I enjoy spending time with him so much, but bedtime is still my favourite occasion. He’s become my number one photography subject and I fear I may need a million terabyte hard-drive to save every memory I’ve every captured.

I still walk in his room every night before I go to bed to kiss his little face, untangle arms and legs and cover him with a duvet that he never keeps on.

He’s my reason for wanting to better myself.

It’s not his birthday, or a special age, but it’s been a week – where big changes are happening as I’m leaving my job after three and a half years – where I’ve had a lot of time to think and count my blessings, and Carter James is by far my biggest.

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Fondant Pigs And Other Fun Reasons I’m Falling Apart.

It’s been a year, don’t you think? With economic crashes, dickhead presidents and the death of several entertainment leaders, we are all feeling a little “what the fucky”.

On top of the state of the nation and all that drama, work is the busiest it has ever been, my child is almost one – so I’m trying very unsuccessfully to plan a Pinterest-worthy party, I’m studying a pretty intensive course and training for Half Iron Man. So yes, a massive pity party for one happening here, except it’s not really a party, because that would involve time, and music and probably applying makeup.

Being a working mom is so hard. And I think you only ‘get’ that when it happens to you. I now have a KZN approach of zero tolerance, and try my best to manage my time like a German soldier – but every so often (read, every day) something slips. And the more it slips, the more it feels that I’m going to start cracking.

Yesterday I bought a tin of formula for Carter. No big deal – he’s been on the same formula for 9 months. Except, the formula I brought home yesterday was a completely different brand to the one he has been using for nearly a year. It doesn’t even look remotely that same. It’s a small thing as exchanging it is minor, or so I thought until I arrived at work today without a handbag, and the till slip I needed to swop out FOOD TO KEEP MY BABY ALIVE. Thank god I keep a tube of lip ice and a tampon in my back pocket, because that’s pretty much been what’s kept me going the entire today. Finding gifts and snacks for a dinner party I’m attending this evening though is another story. Reckon I’ll steal a 2l milk and someone’s tuna from the work fridge and hope for the best.

Let’s not even get started on the errands I need to run just to keep my house and life ticking over. When do other working moms get to these? I’m talking about grocery shopping, downloading photos from an 18-month-old memory card or going to the dentist? Is there a secret? Tell me, quickly, before my teeth fall out (it’s been 3 years since I last had a checkup).

And then there’s traffic, and money (or lack thereof) and getting home after a stressful day to start my 3rd job (yes, I have a 2nd job writing for these guys) to feed, clean, love and bath my baby. Then fit in a run of sorts and spend the next 5 hours standing in sweaty running gear making fondant icing figurines for a first birthday cake which generally ends in my downing fondant and picking up my laptop to carry on with work that just never seems to end.

And then someone – without a kid, a stressful job, a race or a party to plan looks at me and says ‘You have no idea how busy I am’ and I want to simultaneously fall to the floor and weep while punching them in the face with my notebook.

Then, I count to 10 and count my lucky stars that I have a supportive husband, a (newly acquired) domestic helper who works 5 days a week (thank the baby haysus) and a child who I love enough to spend 4 hours making an icing pig for.

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But still, it’s hard, and not because of one thing, but because of everything, and suddenly a pound of flesh needs to be 10, and 24/7 needs to be 365 and burning the candle at both ends means your candle just doesn’t have enough wicks.

Moms, fucking hell. Way to go. Good job. Pat yourselves on the back – because I’m pretty certain I’m not alone in feeling like I’m breathing in water and treading in mud. Every single day.

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Razor blades for breakfast (and other poor parenting performances)

If there was an anti-parenting award, I would be today’s proud recipient.

It started off badly. The gardener arrived at 6 am, naturally while I was naked and in the shower and my husband was somewhere on the streets of Fourways getting in his morning run. Semi-dressed and wrapped in a towel no bigger than a burp cloth, I ran to let him in and make him tea. Mid way through scooping the 8th sugar in to the mug I realised that my baby was being suspiciously quiet. Walking back in to the bedroom I found him casually on the floor sucking on my razor blade. By some act of God his mouth was still intact when I ripped the device from it, but his head narrowly missed the same result when he then FELL OFF THE BED FIVE MINUTES LATER. Why did he fall off the bed you ask? Because he took a crawling lunge at my dog at the very same time she decided to roll over. Result – head on floor, snot ‘en trane and yet another black mark in my mom book.

So, moms. For the sake of complete transparency, and to hopefully help us all feel like some days we just aren’t winning at parenting, here is a list of other incredibly glorious ways I’ve fucked up at motherhood:

  • When Carter was 2 weeks old I laid him on the floor at my feet so I could drink hot coffee without spilling on him. Unluckily for him, my dog Rupert happened to be sitting on the couch next to me. Upon heading a noise outside, Rupert jumped off the couch, jumped onto my newborn baby and bolted out the door. No, that’s not a birthmark on my child’s tummy. It’s a deeply entrenched pawprint.
  • I once left the grocery store, Carter in his pram and the handles laden with shopping bags. It was all going swimmingly while I pushed the pram to the carpark. It was only when I parked the pram to open the boot and the weight of the bags tilted the pram to an exciting 90 degrees, forcing my child to almost fall out, did I realise that perhaps online grocery shopping was a better idea.
  • A week before I had my baby I sent the dogs to the parlour to get them baby ready. Imagine my surprise when on their return, instead of the sweet smelling hounds I’d anticipated, they came back riddled with fleas. In a mad, pre-baby panic we fumigated 98% of the home and managed to kill off the infestation. Except, we didn’t. Becasue when Carter was 4 days old my mom found a flea. In his head.
  • It was 3 am and he had been crying for an hour. I was so exhausted I could barely see straight, and the only solution to calm him down was to give him a bottle. There were 2 bottles on the shelf in his room. One was a few days old, and the other was new. To this day I have no idea which bottle I gave him.
  • Last week, while I was cooking dinner and he was chilling on the floor playing, I noticed out the corner of my eye that he was eating something. Not overly phased – and assuming it was a piece of food that had fallen on the floor – I only paid attention when the last mouthful went in his mouth. And by last mouthful I mean wing. My child had devoured an entire hawk moth.
  • In other exciting eating news – he’s also snacked on a cigarette stompie (we don’t smoke), several rounds of dog pellets and a golf tee. You can imagine now how I chuckle when people ask when the right time to introduce egg is. My kid’s eaten a Marlboro, I think egg is the least of our worries.
  • I’m too lazy to switch feeding spoons between courses, so my kid eats tuna flavoured yoghurt and chicken flavoured teething biscuits.
  • In an effort to get him to eat and taste everything he can I popped a spoon in his mouth while making dinner. It was only after doing so that I remembered the sauce on the spoon was the curry paste I had been stirring.

He’s OK now.

  • According to the books – it’s very important to introduce new textures and sensory products. Excitedly, I set out to try this with shaving cream, thinking he would actually never eat the shaving cream.

He ate the shaving cream.

Don't eat the shaving cream.

Feeling like a slightly better parent now? You’re welcome.

 

 

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Nine.

A few people I know had babies recently. My neighbour being one of them. Most mornings as I’m leaving for work I see her walking up the road with her tiny newborn swaddled in her chest, and I watch as she has eyes only for him. I get teary everytime I see them, because I’m reminded of just how small and tiny my baby Carter was.

However, as much as I yearn for the days of having an infant, I cannot stop marvelling at just how much fun they are when they’re older. He’s not even talking but somehow his character shines with such enthusiasm, that I find myself in stiches, daily.

I’m not the mother I thought I would be. I have no baby books and milestone charts. I don’t have a Facebook page for my son and I’ll probably never get round to setting up an email address for him, but what I do have, is this blog. And it’s here, amongst other things, that I talk about my son and document his life.

And 9 months? That deserves its own little post. At 9 months pregnant I was huge, swollen, exhausted and riddled with heartburn. Now I have a 9 month old baby, and unlike pregnancy, it is going way too fast.

Carter James, you light up my day from the moment you wake up – all bed head and puffy eyes, to the moment you go to sleep – mouth dripping in spilled milk and knees filthy from play. You have an insatiable curiosity and I am dumfounded at your intense interest in everything. I can literally throw paper bags your way and a new adventure begins. You crawl faster than I walk and I still feel bad for the times when I couldn’t quite stop you from falling down the stairs, off the bed or bumping your face on the table. Funny, the falls only make you try harder, and I live for the tiny gasps and pants you make as you race up the passage for the 8th time, trying desperately to grab the dog food before they do.

It’s almost impossible to get a photo of you anymore, it’s a blurry mess, and my hopes of Pinterest worthy photo shoots have been bookmarked for baby number 2.

I catch you looking at me, and smiling, and I sometimes think my heart could burst. To me, you are the prettiest baby I’ve ever met. To me, you have the kindest nature and sweetest face.

I won’t miss the nappy change wriggles, or the tantrums you throw when I take something away from you. I take it away because it will probably kill you. I wish you knew that when we pick you up and remove you from a situation, it because it’s the best thing for you. I’m sorry you don’t get fruit at night anymore – but momma likes her sleep more than you like your sugar. I’m sorry you ate that moth, wing by wing, before I realised what is was. As for that Marlboro stompie, I’m very sorry you ate that as well. I’m sorry there are days when I count down the minutes until you go to bed. Please know that these nights always end with me standing over your cot, willing you to wake up.

I’m sorry that my love for you will always make me feel like I’m drowning.

So here’s to the next 9 months, and then some. I am so excited to watch you learn, and grow, and fill my heart with so much more.

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Trust Yourself.

You may remember this post. About the Mommy Groups. And while I still belong to the chosen few on Facebook, and several more on Whatsapp, I am getting more and more frustrated by some of the content I see.

Since when did someones elses opinion trump your own gut instinct? Daily, my feeds across all the socials are flooded with questions such as “My child fell off the bed, is bleeding from every orifice, has stopped breathing, and has turned blue. What should I do, mommies? LOL!”

DROP YOUR PHONE. GET HIM IN YOUR VEHICLE, AND TAKE HIM TO THE FUCKING EMERGENCY ROOM.

Well, that should be the answer. Instead, other moms from far flung corners of the earth reply with ‘well, how much is he bleeding’ or ‘shame mommy, I’m starting a healing prayer chain for you’.

Then when matters don’t call for alarmed reactions, more like some common sense, moms everywhere terrify the bejeezus out of other moms with answers to comments of “My nanny told me she likes apples, and I also like apples. Do you think she wants to kill me and steal my identity?”

“Yes. Your nanny is going to murder you in your sleep”.

Surely, as mother to said child who is now on the verge of death, or the worried mum who fears she may find herself organ-less in an ice bath in a matter of hours, should know best? Tell me you don’t believe that the opinion (of generally well intentioned) strangers trumps trusting your gut?

Now, before you lambaste me, understand that there is very much a need for these sort of groups. I derive immense value in a lot of the commentary, and will often ask a question of my own. (As an example, during the recent heatwave – I was glued to the groups in the hopes that someone could provide a miracle cure for turning my child’s bedroom from  a million degrees, to something less aggressive. Like 40 Celsius). However, I really feel like everyone needs to take a step back, calm down and think before posting ridiculous queries.

I’m a new mom, so I’m on your team, but I can promise you that there is no right way to raise a child – there’s your way. Your paed is not the best paed because he does XYZ, your baby will not turns into a zombie should you feed him a fruit before hes 12.2 months old. Yes, he can sleep with socks on, but he can also sleep with no socks. Baby has a temperature? Give him meds, or take him to the doctor, or go outside and pray to the fever gods. At the end of the day you will know, deep in your heart, what is best for you. My child has never been to a paed, we don’t even have one should he need one, has fallen over and smashed his larger-than-normal sized head more times than I care to mention, has slipped under water in-front of my very eyes, used a BUMBO (gasp!) and has hit a 41 degree temperature when teething. Am I a terrible mom? You might think so, but I think my style of parenting is right for me – I’m letting my child explore, learn, fall, learn again and cry a little bit. Maybe I’m also a little bit lazy. Yes, I’m also a little bit lazy. And cheap. have you seen the price of peads?

So moms, before you rush to your phone or PC to ask the world their opinion, remember that there isn’t always safety in numbers. Trust yourselves just a  little bit more. You’re doing a great job.

How to raise a child

 

 

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