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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The Baby Stages – Newborn Vs. Not

I can feel my sister in laws eyes on my child, and I know exactly what she’s thinking: “Please don’t ever let my baby get to that age”. She’s thinking that because she has a 3 month old. A 3 month old who lies where she’s placed, mewls instead of shrieks doesn’t grab, tug, pull or play, and still naps for most of the day. As much as it saddens me, I get it. I thought that too when Carter was that age. I used to meet friends for coffee on maternity leave, and while my son slept in pretty much any position he was placed in and would stare at nothing for hours, other (older) babies always seemed exhaustingly busy.

I’ve said it before, but having an almost-8 month old is 100 times harder than having a newborn. It’s also 100 times more rewarding. The old ‘I hope my baby never grows’ up Kate is so relieved he did. However, there’s a small part of me that misses the newborn phase, and here’s why.

Newborn Mess. Sure, when your baby is a tiny infant he or she will undoubtedly vomit, shart or urinate over you. The thing is, it’s never a daily occurrence, and when they’re that small and ingesting only milk nothing really smells. It’s all very innocuous. Mess with a new born means delicately dabbing yourself and your baby with an embroidered, monogrammed cloth.
Baby mess. My son is eating fruit, meat, grains, egg, ants, the dogs feet and every flip flop lying around the house. His turds are Dr Phil worthy S shaped and the smell is no different to a grown mans. Solids entail 30% of the food being ingested by him, and 90% landing on me. (I get that number doesn’t add up, but that’s exactly how much excess food there is after any given mealtime). Crawling means black crusty fingernails, scraped knees and (unless you’re Martha-bloody-Stewart) dust, everywhere. Basically, you will never be clean again. I implore you, if you are OCD like me and thinking about starting a family in 2016 – stop showering for several months to prepare your body for the offensive odour it will permanently emanate once your child turns 6 months. Just to further drive my point home – last week I was changing my sons nappy. Apart from the usual excrement inside, I found a piece of chicken, a squashed wedge of paw paw, a block of cheese and a white slimey suppository shaped biltong stick. Mess with a baby means dabbing yourself with a cloth, then stripping down and hosing both you off with a pressure hose.

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It is NEVER clean.

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Newborn sleep. Oh Lord, is there anything more incredible than a newborn sleep? Sure, they wake up a lot for food but when they’re not drinking they’re pretty much sleeping. Carter could nap anywhere. I took that kid everywhere on maternity leave and he would nap in shopping trolleys, restaurant floors, peoples beds, carry cots, travel cots, car seats, laps, dogs tummies and concrete floors. I used to watch funny videos doing the rounds on Facebook – of parents ninja dropping and rolling to avoid their alert baby noticing them exit the room – and smugly praise myself for being the BEST PARENT EVER.
Baby sleep. I am now that parent dropping and rolling to avoid my baby noticing me exit the room.

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I’m just gonna nap here on dad’s chest. No biggie.
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Watch me whip, watch me nap nap.
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Not even the rancid breath of a hound shall stop me in my sleep mission.

Newborn noise. When not eating or sleeping, a newborn will occasionally grace you with their attention by making one or two adorable grunts and mewls. Heart melting, 1 x new mom would invariably whip out a video camera of sorts to capture said adorableness on video. Even a newborns cry is quiet – I’ve had dogs toys that squeaked louder.
Baby noise. There’s nothing better than your baby’s first laugh and giggle, and when it becomes a guttural belly laugh you think your heart might pop from excitement. Sadly as your baby grows in size, so does his vocal abilities, and according to the unwritten rule book of an almost-8 month old, the best time to screech like a goat on one of those Youtube videos? In a restaurant, in the quiet of a game reserve or anytime between 2 and 4 am.

Newborn stimulation. Feed, burp, rock, sleep. Every now and then you try in vain to get them to grab a toy or make eye contact with a plastic mobile.
Baby stimulation. Things they don’t really love: 200 brightly coloured balls and inflatable ball pit. Coloured spaghetti, water tables, blocks and boards, wind up toys, wind down toys, toys that sing, ring shout and offend. Books, teddies age appropriate overpriced toys or anything from Fischer Price. Things they love: Small insects, jewelry, smartphones, swimming pools and edible boxes. Basically, the more potential an item has of killing them, the more they like it.

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Newborns. Happy as a pig in sink.

My son is almost 8 months, so I know there are moms reading this who are snorting quietly (because they don’t want to wake their 2 year old who just passed out from tantrum induced exhaustion) and thinking ‘Just wait’. I know this, because I’m one of those moms who see your 2 year old throw said tantrum and thinks “please don’t let my child ever get there”. But he will, and when he does I’m going to remember my once-almost-8 month old and just like I did his newborn memories, think just how much easier it all was.

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Older woman aren’t really his thing.
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Carter as a newborn next to his 4 month older baby friend. Clearly not thrilled.
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