Life Lately… And An Apology

Guys! , I know it seems as if I’ve fallen off a cliff face, and whilst it kinda feels like I have, I managed to get caught on the ledge and am slowly starting to make my way back up.

So, first off, my apologies for the radio silence. I know my 6 loyal readers have missed me terribly. But I’m back, kind of, and now that the craziness of the last few months has come to a semi-solid place, hopefully this little ol’ blog of mine will gain some momentum again.

So, where did we end off? Oh yes, having a baby leaving my job and starting a business. Somewhere there, I think.

Yep, I went back to work after maternity leave, and left. So, whist it was all very unexpected it was the push I needed to get my little business that I had been running for two years off the ground. You are now looking at (well, reading words by) Kate Rankin Photography owner founder and creator and Kate Kearney Consulting, owner, founder, tea lady, loo cleaner, MD etc etc.

The photo business, as you know, has been happening and thriving and doing better than I could have ever imagined (see what happens when you buy a fancy camera? ;)). The consulting business started recently, and sees me doing a little bit of everything – I’m running and managing the social media for some awesome clients and freelancing at a company in Sandton assisting with their project management. Its amazing and wonderful and BUSY as all fuck. So, if you ever need a photographer slash writer slash social media’r slash jack-of-all traders, you know where to find me.

So, that’s the work news.

Kid news? Pinch me, cos I got the best ones out there. Seriously. I look at my daughter and am filled with absolute awe that I made this inquisitive, big eyed, feisty, fun, friendly and loud human and I look at my son and cant believe this cheeky, smart, creative, anal, obsessive, quirky, shy and kind little man is all mine. And together, well they are just amazing. For those on the fence about adding a sibling to their brood, all I can see is, despite the manic chaos of it all, it’s a bond thats actually too beautiful to describe.

Whilst this all sounds super happy and posotive it’s been a really rough few months as well. I learnt some valuable lessons about human nature and trust, I lost out on so much sleep that my body went into a state of mild depression and I am still fucking fat after having a baby. (Side eyes rooibos tea. Dreams about cake.)

Those are the two biggest and most obvious parts of my life, and I guess it’s what I naturally talk about. But the past few months have also got me thinking about feminism, emigration, the menstrual cup, chronic fatigue, stress and weight loss. All things I’m going to be delving into deeper on this blog, because if I cant tell you the perks of a moon cup, the anxiety over whether to stay in SA or flee for ‘greener’ pastures or about how women are fed up with the patriarchy, then what use am I to you, really?

So, thats it really. My last 4 months in a very tight little nutshell. A hazelnut, really.

Thanks for sticking around, if you did, I appreciate every single (literally, single digits) one of ya.

xx

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Win A Love To Dream Swaddle

Yesterday I posted a photo of Piper in her Love To Dream swaddle, and the response I was just incredible! So many other moms and dads got in touch telling me how it’s changed their life in terms of baby sleep.

Now, I’m just a mom of a 4 month old and never-gonna-leave bags under her eyes, so I’m no expert – but I will do whatever it takes to get my baby down, and keep her down! So for me, I cannot live without four things when it comes to Piper having a sleep:

  1. A Love To Dream Swaddle Up
  2. A good dummy (I swear by those hideous ‘honey dummies’)
  3. A sleep du-du (there are so may on the market but Piper favours a little pink bunny)
  4. A full tummy

Since posting the pic, I have received so many questions  about Love To Dream , so I thought I would do my research and answer them all here:

Where do you get the sleep sack? I have been looking and cant find anything suitable

You can get them from The Bub Hub (and they now have an online store, yay!), Takealot, Kids Emporium, Baby Fantasy and A-Z

Do you find the sleep sack really helps to keep Piper sleeping? Grayson has started waking and I’ve been wondering if that might help him

Yes. I really do. It hasn’t got her sleeping through the night, but the aim isn’t for it to do that (that’s just baby to baby specific) – but it has been a lifesaver in helping her feel secure. Since she was born she’s suffered from a really bad startle reflex and kept waking herself up. In the Love To Dream she can’t wake herself up with that jerky arm movement, and so her sleep is deeper and much better. Sometimes she goes down for a day nap, without her Swaddle Up, and she sleep is only about 30 minutes long. Like today. She has literally just woken up form her sleep after 20 minutes (her swaddle is on the line, drying). I think Grayson may be too old for the original swaddle – but you can get him something called the ‘Swaddle Up 50/50’ which has removable wings and is made for babies age 4-8 months. This is what I’m moving Piper onto next.

 

I cant imagine how Stevie would handle it – she uses her hands so much to self soothe and get herself to sleep. Are her (Pipers) elbows bent and hand up by her face?

The Swaddle Up has been designed for exactly that! To allow a more natural “arms up” position which allows baby to self-soothe. If you look closely at the pic of Piper you will see how damp and grubby the arm parts are – because she literally sucks on them all the time.

What is the age range?

Birth to 3 years – the swaddles are available in 3 stages – ‘Original’, ’50/50′ and ‘sleep bag’.

Sounds like a winning recipe! How old was Piper when you started using it? I have one, but not sure what age to use it from

I think she was a few days old when we started, the second I realised how bad her reflex was, was the second I popped her in one. You can start now for your gorgeous little girl 🙂

Do they make these swaddles in adult sizes?

Haha, I was wondering the same thing!

How do you put them to sleep in it?

You literally pop them in, put their hands and legs inside and zip it u. Then you lay them on their back, or side, depending on their preferred sleep position

Check out this video to see a more detailed description of the Original Swaddle Up and how it works

So, I kinda bet you’re dying to get your hands on (and your baby in!) one of these Swaddle Up’s, right? Lucky for you I have one Swaddle Up™ Original in Pink, Blue or Grey in Small or medium to give away.

To enter, simply tell me what you would do to pass the time while your baby has a gorgeous long sleep in his or her Swaddle Up. Would you read a book have a nap, hit the gym or just sit and watch them sleep? I’ll be drawing the winner on Monday so make sure to drop your answer in the comments, follow my blog and like Rupert Approves on Facebook. If you want an additional entry, simply share this post from here, or my Facebook page, to your Facebook page.

Good Luck! 🙂

 

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On This Sleep Thing.

I had a conversation with a friend last night who is keen to start trying for a baby. His wife is (naturally) very nervous. Amongst other things (gaining weight, finances and hormones) she’s worried about the lack of sleep a new baby will bring.

And I don’t blame her. Carter is perfect in many regards, but when it comes to sleeping, he’s a bit of an under achiever. And he’s over a year. So it’s not as if I haven’t given him a fair chance to prove me wrong.

Lack of sleep is 100% guaranteed when you have a child. Your newborn might sleep through from 6 weeks, but like any wild animal they can turn on you at any time. I know friends who smugly told anyone they met that their newborn slept through. And then said newborn turned one and never slept again. I know moms whose eleven-year-olds have sleep regressed, and I know my story – a baby who naps beautifully during the day, falls asleep on his own within minutes, but who sleeps through the night only 30% of the time. He’s 14 months. Which means that I haven’t slept through the night in 5475 days. That’s a lot of no napping, a massive rest respite, a sad RIP REM.

Now, before you dash off to your nearest Doctors office and swallow a box of birth control, I do have two pieces of good news: 1. You don’t actually need that much sleep and 2. It gets easier.

The only way I can liken coping on little to no sleep is to compare it with fitness. Have you ever trained for a race? Let’s say you have, and let’s say it was for a 10k. Let’s also assume that you were starting at a zero base – couch potato level. Your program starts you off gently, maybe a 2-kilometer run/walk the first day. Your heart rate spikes, you’re out of breath and you finish sweaty and exhausted. It’s possible that you may wake up the following day fucked. Your head foggy, your body swollen and battling to function for most of the day. You wondered how you could ever do more. But then the following week you have to run a solid 3 km’s, and it’s bloody hard, but you didn’t walk once, your body is a little less stiff, and you feel slightly happier. Within 4 weeks you are cruising a solid 5k’s and possibly beating your time. When race day approaches you’ve got this 10 k in the bag. You finish, tired but unbroken, and suddenly you start thinking about another race – perhaps a 21 k this time?

Lack of sleep is a bit like exercise fitness. If you happen to be a parent, think back to a time when you were kid free. If you are currently kid free then, well, damn you, you well rested bastard. Right, so thinking back to BC (Before Children) – you were used to long nights of unbroken sleep and a routine that was all yours. Now imagine you went out on a bender, got home late after a wine-fuelled dinner party or were babysitting a small human. All of these actions are guaranteed to result in less and broken sleep. Remember how you felt when you woke up the next morning? Fucked. Your head was foggy, your eyes swollen and you battled to function for most of the day.

But then you had a child of your own and that first night back from the hospital meant no more nurses or staff to help you. And then your baby had to wake up for a feed every 3 hours and – like a blind drunk – you stumbled from room to room, boobs exposed, bleary eyed and tried to do what you needed to do. You’d wake up in the morning, and how did you feel? Fucked. Your head was foggy, your eyes swollen and you battled to function for most of the day.

This goes on for a few days – you’re probably still so used to not having a kid that you’re sleeping through some cries, your 2-am alarm and the baby monitor beeping. You wonder how you will ever get used to the constant waking up. And then a few weeks pass and suddenly you wake up without needing an alarm, feed the kid with military skill and it all starts feeling easier. A few months in and your baby is going through a sleep regression, teething,

Fast forward a few months and your baby is going through a sleep regression, teething, colicky or in pain. You sleep less and less but function better and better. By now you might be back at work juggling deadlines, demands and clients. On 18 minutes of sleep you’ve put together proposals, dominated meetings and finished budget forecasts. You are acing this. You are running your 10k.

Turns out, the less you sleep the easier it becomes to not need sleep, and little rest no longer means you can’t function the next day. Our bodies are amazing things, and simply adjust to help us cope with this change in our lives.

That being said, combining the two can often be dangerous. I went out on a wine fueled bender last night, and also happened to be on baby duty. I am fucked today, eating McDonalds at my desk, my head throbbing, my eyes swollen, wondering how I’m ever going to function again.

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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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