Boxes, Glorious Boxes…

I don’t think that there is a mom out there, in this big wide world, that does not understand the value of a box.

Yes, I said a BOX.  You know, usually brown, fairly strong cardboard, cut out and folded and stuck together to make a square or rectangular structure – commonly used to move house, carry groceries and store ‘stuff’ in the garage rafters that we no longer need or use but just can’t part with.  A box to a kid, I would say, is like honey to a Pooh Bear – they just can’t walk past one without getting stuck in.

And who can blame them, I mean, they are quite exciting.  If big enough then you can climb into it, or turn it upside down and sit on top of it, or if you sit on the floor then mom or dad can cover you with it (a cut out window makes this a winner), and you can even turn it sideways and sit inside it like Pooh Bear would sit in his little house.

If my daughter receives a gift, and it is in a reasonably sized box, then please don’t take it personally but the gift inside is most definitely a second runner-up to that glorious box that it came in.  She will eventually drool all over the box so much that it will become a soggy mess, and we will have to take it away and chuck it into the bin, which will most likely lead to tears and a tantrum.  BUT THEN we will wave the actual gift in front of her – and that’s when the runner-up will become the new prize.  That’s just the way it is…sorry.

box - april 2014

my mom had been pushing Paige around in this box and when she stopped for a breather, then this is the unimpressed look she was given
box_20140405 -

see the Kalahari box … and see the gift next to it
which is getting more attention?

box_20140405

Point proven, goodnight

5265f7f7012c8e27b3ea03899e21f0da

Advertisements

Election Day Assumptions

Yesterday was South Africa’s Elections 2014 and yes I sort-of-followed the debates from the top parties and yes of course i voted.

However, this post is definitely not about the actual politics though so feel free to keep reading…

It was declared a public holiday to enable all registered voters to put their ‘X’ on the long stream of ballot paper, and the voting stations opened at 7am.

Terry and I decided to go at around 7h30 (which in parent speak means closer to 7h45/8h00) and were standing in the line by 8am.  We took Paige with us in her stroller, not to get to the front of the line, but because all of our usual baby dumping ground people were also voting.

We found ourselves standing behind a shy young girl who was voting for the first time, and in front of her was a young guy, clearly more confident about the day’s events.  He and I got chatting while Terry un-clipped the little monster and proceeded to walk her up and down the line to stop her from having an impending stropp in her stroller.  Mondli (the young guy) and I witnessed a few parents arrive and walk straight to the front, with their little ones in tow, obviously to score a place at the front.  He suggested we ask one of the officials if we could do the same.  I wasn’t sure but Terry was keen, so i walked up to the first official I saw.

Wouldn’t you know it, at that exact moment I must have started spewing pig latin or some other distant language from my mouth because the official looked utterly confused by my question.  I gave up after a minute of trying to use pointing and hand gestures to explain my complicated query:  “Can parent’s with small children go to the front of the line?”

When I got back to Terry, Mondli and Shy-Girl they thought the situation quite funny as they had overheard and witnessed it all.  Terry and I made the decision to not even bother as Paige seemed quite happy trotting up and down the line waving at everyone, so we stayed where we were, with everyone else, moving at a pace that can only be described as almost-backwards.

Terry, Mondli, Shy-Girl and I proceeded to have a few rolling conversations – you know how it goes, you start talking about one thing and by the time you finish you have been through at least 10 different topics, ending on something that has absolutely nothing to do with what got you all started in the first place.  It was quite pleasant 🙂

We were in line for 1 hour and 52 minutes (yes, I timed it) before we eventually arrived at the actual entrance to the building.  Then it was a short 5 minutes to get up the stairs, scanned and given our ballot papers to cast our vote.  And there, directly in front of us, was the reason for the almost 2 hour wait – there were only two ballot cubicles!  Thousands and thousands of people registered at this one voting station, who have to get through between 7am – 9pm that day, and they limit us to two ballot cubicles.  Idiots.

Anyway, on the way out we had to walk back down the line winding around outside, and jeez did we get some stinky looks from some of the people still waiting.

A few people made snarky comments like  “Can we borrow your baby so that we can also skip the line to the front”

Well, I was understandably NOT impressed by that, and I proceeded to slow down in front of that ignorant twit, and project my voice so that most of the line could hear…

“We waited in this exact line, with our 14 month old child, and a sick person sniffling and breathing on my back, for 2 hours just like everybody else, to vote for a better future for our daughter, so I suggest you focus on why you are here instead of for how long.”

And we left.

election day 2014 (7May)

5265f7f7012c8e27b3ea03899e21f0da

Sunshine & Rainbows…

…most of the time.

s my-rainbow-mdBeing a mom is such a blessing and I can honestly say that days spent with my little monkey are filled with joy and laughter…these are what memories are made of…good times.

The thing is though, kids are kids…and kids can be horrid little monsters.  One second it’s all smiles and sunshine and rainbows, and the next moment (usually when you are about to get up to go to the loo, or start dinner) it morphs into something else…a whirlwind blows in, bringing thunderstorms and lightning and crocodile tears the size of golf balls.

paige - beach with Roberts's (28Apr2014) .1

there literally was a rainbow the day before this beach day

VS   

crying - March 2014

Captain Cranky Pants, enter stage right
(our nickname for Paige’s cranky alter-ego)

My husband and I are actually getting quite good at not re-acting when Paige decides to throw a hissy fit because she wants to put the TV remote in her mouth and we won’t let her…among other things.

We quickly assess if she has hurt herself or not, and note the time to determine if she is due for a nappy change / food / nap…and if none of these apply then we proceed to ignore the heck out of her.

Don’t make eye contact with the monster – if you can’t see it, then it can’t see you…right? .
If you just ignore it then maybe it will go away.
(Ok, so not go away, but maybe calm down a little)

It usually only takes a minute before Paige realises that this tactic is not working, and she switches off the waterworks and waddles over to her play mat to do something more interesting.  This is when one of us will slide onto the floor next to her and play.

Important Parenting Notice:  DO NOT reward bad behavior!  

I realise that this is common sense but sometimes us parents out there just need a little reminder about the obvious.

Overall, Paige is generally a really happy and quirky little person.  She waves at everyone in the shops and often flashes her teeny pearly whites to who ever is looking at her.  And even though she can’t string a sentence together yet to save her life, she is quite hilarious and has some favourite little actions and noises that she pulls out when she’s in the mood for some banter fun.

I think the thing us adults need to remember is that kids are people to (duh) and we all have bad days sometimes (some more often than others) so of course our little angels are also going to wake up on the wrong side of the crib some mornings, and behave like they have been possessed by demons in the night.  BUT, this too shall pass, and in a few hours they will get over it and be back to their gorgeous happy little selves that we cannot help but love with all of our being.

It’s not always sunshine and rainbows, but I think a storm every now and then keeps us on our toes.

5265f7f7012c8e27b3ea03899e21f0da

The Wonders of Bum Cream

bum-cream

Before I became a mom, bum cream of any kind was just something you heard about from a distance, and spotted by accident on the shelves in shops.

Well! Since welcoming Paige into our lives, bum cream has become an extremely valuable item in our household.  Obviously it gets smeared on her little bum day and night, after each and every nappy change – and yes I have let the good habit slip a few times, but who hasn’t?!  I’d just like to add that she is now 14 months and has NEVER had a nappy rash! (yet…touch wood)

It is, however, also for other reasons that it is held in such high regard.

The definition of ‘nappy rash’ is:

“An inflammatory reaction localized to the area of skin usually covered by the diaper.  It can have many causes, including infections (yeast, bacterial, or viral), friction irritation, chemical allergies (perfumes, soaps), sweat, decomposed urine, and plugged sweat glands.”

And from mothers’ experience across the globe, it is most commonly caused by soaps, sweat & urine/nuggetts, which basically means that a nappy rash is a ‘burn’ of some kind – be it from chemical or body acids.

So, when I was cooking the other night, and my husband was working late and Paige was whining and crying at the toddler gate (which stops her from getting into the kitchen area), I got myself into a little fluster-rush while trying to finish our dinner, make her bottle, and talk to her in a soothing tone.

I removed the pot of boiling water from the stove, and of course you can see where I am going with this…yes it splished and sploshed over the side when I made an effort to side-step a toy that Paige had lovingly thrown at me over the gate…and the slightly warm (ie: *beeping* hot as hell) water splashed onto my stomach as I reached the sink.  Well, the profanities that escaped from my mouth said it all, and the skin on my tummy instantly turned a lovely shade of crimson and began to welt.

Being the organised person I am, I keep a fully stocked medical bag in my car at all times, which Terry had borrowed…so no burn gel.

Next best thing…BUM CREAM.

And wow that stuff worked well! I spread it on (quite generously) and by the time I hopped into the shower a few hours later, the swelling had gone down and the only proof of the evenings festivities was a small red patch to the left of my belly button.

I have now purchased an extra tube which is going into the medical bag…which will be returned to my car asap.

5265f7f7012c8e27b3ea03899e21f0da

 

Kids vs Tattoos

Okay, so I came across this blog post by The Ugly Volvo and oh my heck can I relate, so I just couldn’t help myself and had to share a few of my favourite parts.

pregnant

 



 

Why You Should Never, Ever, Ever Get A Tattoo (but Having a Baby is Fine)

By theuglyvolvo, April 1, 2014

…Listed below are the reasons my mother has always given me for why I shouldn’t get a tattoo.  And I understand that she’s from a different generation…I’m just saying that after having a child, I find it really hard to take any of them seriously.

1.  “A Tattoo is Forever”

Yes, a tattoo is forever.  Totally forever!  Except that a tattoo can, if needed, be erased with a laser.

2. “People are going to judge you all the time.”

They absolutely will.  You’re a terrible mother!  …

3. “Having one will limit the type of jobs you can get.”

It will!  Like jobs where you need time off to take care of your kids when they get sick!  Or jobs where they’re only hiring guys because they feel like hiring women is a liability!

4. “A tattoo will ruin your body.”

It totally will, right?  Also what will sort of ruin it is carrying another human inside your body for the better part of a year and then pushing it out an opening ten centimeters wide and then attempting to breastfeed it.  Followed by the stress of trying to raise it to adulthood.  Let me know if doing all that ruins your body any more or less than the butterfly on the small of your back.

5. “It’s going to be more expensive than you realize.”

It is SO expensive.  There are tons of basic costs at the beginning but I can’t even explain how much it’s going to cost to put this tattoo through college.

6. “You don’t know if it’s going to be clean or safe.   Also, you know it’s going to hurt, right?”

Luckily, having a kid can easily be summed up by the words “clean” and “safe.”  Also, “painless.”

7. “I know you think you want one, but you probably haven’t thought this through all the way.”

No, I hadn’t.

8. “You’re excited about it right now, but how are you going to feel about it in 15 years?”

You’re right, I’m totally going to want to strangle it in fifteen years.

9. “Is it that you really want one?  Because maybe you want one because it seems like everyone else has one.”

Judging from my Facebook newsfeed, yes, everyone does have one.  Maybe part of why I wanted one was actually wanting one, and part of why I wanted one was peer pressure.

10. “You think you’re going to seem so cool walking around with one, but really most of the time you’re going to look sort of ridiculous.” 

Sorry, I couldn’t hear that last one.  I was screaming the phrase, “DON’T EAT THOSE BUGS,” while pulling pieces of sweet potato and banana out of my hair and coat pockets.

5265f7f7012c8e27b3ea03899e21f0da

The Pregnancy Truths: “Morning Sickness”

morningsicknessecard

I mentioned in my last post that I suffered with “morning sickness” all day, almost every day, for my entire pregnancy.  It was definitely worse in the first trimester though.  I would wake up each morning feeling great…for a second…and then the nausea and uncontrollable urges to toss my tum would quickly take over, causing me to briskly walk to the loo to blow whatever chunks were left from dinner the night before (usually nothing).

I tried everything that experienced moms, grannies, aunties and strangers could suggest – ginger tea, crackers, sipping water all day, etc etc etc – nothing worked and most of the time when I did eat or drink something within an hour of waking up, it would end up in the toilet anyway, so what was the point.  The most annoying part about it was that I spoke to all the ladies in my immediate family (mom, gran, sister, aunty) who had already had their kiddies, and not a single one had experienced morning sickness, not even for a day or a week or a month, in any of their pregnancies.

For my first trimester I would basically dry heave each morning and then feel better for enough time to get dressed, drive to work and check my emails, dry heave again then have some breakfast and tea at around 10am.  The nausea would stick around for most of the day and some nights I would feel so green again that all I would manage for dinner was some marmite on a slice of toast.  I lost around 8-10 kilograms in my first trimester – who would have thought that being a little chunkier to start would have helped me get through those first 3 months.  Dr H was not too concerned about the weight-loss and he said that the bean would take what it needed, and as long as I wasn’t fainting all over the place from lack of nutrients then it should pass in a few months.

Well it didn’t.

My second trimester was just as eventful.  I would have good days where I would only have nausea and then a few times a week I would also be physically ill on and off during the day.  For a few weeks my diet consisted of 2-3 crackers in the morning, a mashed banana for lunch and the ever-trusty marmite toast for dinner, with a few peanuts and raisin nibbles during the day.  It reached a point where Terry put a tupperware container next to my side of the bed, containing cream crackers and marie biscuits, so that I could nibble on one before I even sat up in the morning – that would help a lot.

The third trimester was better, with more days of just nausea, and less days of actually being sick.  And I must just add that a few of my girlfriends thought I was completely batty by now as their questions about how I was feeling would be answered with “I wake up, I throw up, I brush my teeth and I get on with my day – it has become part of my routine”.

By this stage though I was completely off eggs, mince, pork sausages, anything too saucy, butternut & gem squash, almost all forms of dairy except for lactose free milk and don’t even get me started on how bad coffee smelled and tasted – considering I was an enthusiastic coffee drinker prior to the bump!  My mom and sisters used to tease me and say “you always have to be different – instead of craving food, you are hating food”

Well, on the day of my c-section (will explain about this another time) I was scheduled for surgery at 7h30 am, and could not eat or drink anything for roughly 12 hrs beforehand.  The kicker is that another preggy lady came in with an emergency and so I got “bumped” to about 9h30 am.  By the time they rolled me into theatre I was feeling so ill from morning sickness that I had up-chucked three times!  The nurses kept telling me it would be fine and I didn’t need to be nervous, and Terry and I kept telling them that it wasn’t nerves, it was “all-day-sickness”.

The thing is, there are baby books which tell you all about how things normally go, based on an absurdly small average number of pregnancy experiences around the world, and just because you mom or sister or aunty had a “textbook pregnancy” it doesn’t mean you will.

Just to be clear, the “all-day-sickness” was awful, but I would choose to have the same again in a heartbeat if it meant that everything else went well and that I would be blessed with a healthy, happy baby again.  A little up-chucking here and there for 9 months was a fair trade for having zero complications.

5265f7f7012c8e27b3ea03899e21f0da

The Pregnancy Truths – Part 1

having-kids

My husband, Terry, and I decided it was time to add to our family, so early 2012 we started “practicing”.   In May/June 2012 we found out I was pregnant and that news put idiotic grins on our faces for weeks.  We did our best to keep it all hush hush for the first trimester but were just so ecstatic that after 3 weeks we told EVERYONE – and I do mean everyone!  We told our immediate family and gave our moms the go ahead to do their “yellow pages” duty and spread the word to relatives spread across the globe.  We told our close circle of friends at a braai, but a few of them said they had already become suspicious because I had not been having my usual 2…3…4… drinks with them in past weeks.  And we announced to the rest of our distant friends and family on Facebook.

Needless to say it was an exciting time and we received so many well wishes.  The general feeling for Terry and I was that of possibility and an adventure into the great unknown…even though gazillions of people before us have successfully brought a baby into this world.

At 4 weeks it was all rainbows and sunshine and everything was going great.

At 9 weeks I was experiencing the well know phenomenon known as “morning sickness”, except I was getting it on and off all day long, every day, from the time I woke up, ’til the time I fell asleep at night…*awesome*.

On the plus side, I had my first OB/GYN visit with Dr H, and Terry and I were like a couple of little kids going to our first circus.  Seeing that tiny bean for the first time made it all real, but hearing that steady little heartbeat was a life changing experience for both of us.  Dr H used the scanner to poke and prod my mini-belly (which kick-started a few giggle outbursts on my part) and announced that everything looked great and he would see me in a month.

At 11 weeks the headaches began and the feeling of “ghosty” period pains seemed to come and go as they pleased.  It was right around this time that Terry decided that there was “no time like the present” to search for and purchase a cot.  We found the perfect one in our local Toys & Babies R Us, which was priced at R3000 – apparently a good deal – so Terry and I, being the practical people we are, began scouring the 2nd hand baby goods sites, and Gumtree found us a winner.  The exact same cot, pre-used, for half the price – SOLD!  We phoned up the seasoned mommy and met her in a shopping centre parking lot, paid the car-guard R10 to help Terry move it from one bakkie to another, and we were on our way.

At my 12 week scan the tiny bean had grown some, and definitely looked more like a baby and less like a bean.  It is the most amazing feeling, seeing the scan of what is going on in your tummy, and knowing that you and your partner are responsible for the creation of life, and then your mind takes a small step towards the realisation that you are responsible for a life.

And so it begins…

5265f7f7012c8e27b3ea03899e21f0da

Hello me

HelloWelcome_blog

 

My name is Lauren and I am a wife, mother, friend and craft fanatic living in Durban KZN, which is located in beautiful South Africa.  My husband, Terry,  and I are both 30 and have been together since 2003, and married since 2010.  We currently live in a regular semi-detached complex home with our 3 staffies, running a mock in the garden, and our 1-year-old daughter Paige ruling the roost.

I have wanted to start a blog like this for almost 2 years but just never seemed to make the time to do it.  So, about a month ago, I sat down for half an hour with my pen and notebook and started jotting down some ideas and experiences that I wanted to share.

When I was pregnant (2012-2013) I searched for mommy blogs to follow, that shared all of the good the bad and the downright scary truths.  While I did find a few that covered the general stuff, I couldn’t find one that I could use as my sounding board for what I was experiencing, as well as ideas for how to deal and fun stuff that I could do to make the journey more interesting and personalised for Terry and I.

And so this blog was born (a year after my daughter was I might add).  During my pregnancy and the first year of Paige’s life, I made little notes of things that happened and things that I did, so that one day I could share them with someone.  The advice and insights that I received from friends and family was invaluable, and I don’t ever want it to be lost through the generations to come.

I have decided that I am just going to post about stuff as and when I think about it, or as they happen going forward.  My mother also passed on her flair for the creative so there are a few ideas that I will share with you along the way, of stuff that I have done myself, and of things that I have found on other blogs and attempted – whether success or dismal failure.

You will find that most of what I write about is somehow linked to my family and friends – I like to think of them as my most treasured collections.

Please feel free to comment and ask questions, and if I post about something that you can relate to, or that makes you think of a friend/family member in your life, then please share it with them and tell me about your experience too – it can only help us all going forward.

My ultimate goal for this blog is to one day share it with my daughter (and any future bean), so that she can read about all the laughter, tears and creative craziness – but until then, I look forward to sharing my stories with you.

5265f7f7012c8e27b3ea03899e21f0da