Happy Birthday

to my son.

Born on the 13th of November 2008 at 10:18AM weighing 3.76kg and 54cm long!

dscn0838Looking forward to the next twenty years…

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Boys Will Be Boys

and boys love mud, don’t they? 11 months old, and has discovered the joys of the hose-pipe, and how to turn the entire garden into a wetland sanctuary for little boys. He loves it so much that when I switched it off, look what he did.

As if that would help…

About A Mommy

A meme, about being a mommy, ripped from Mama Mia.

1. How long have you been a Mom? 2 days short of 11 months.

2. How many children call you Mommy? just the one.

3. Girl? Boy? or both?: 1 boy.

4. Did you know what you were having? We’ve had this discussion before.  I couldn’t wait to find out whether it was a boy or girl. The Boyfriend’s Parents were thrilled at the idea of a boy, and The Boyfriend’s Father kept saying ‘when my grandson arrives….’ even before we’d found out. None of the doctors could tell me conclusively it was a boy/girl. Eventually I went to a sangoma. She told me it was a boy. She also told me I would have to have an emergency c-section because there would be a problem with the umbilical cord. She was totally right.

5. How old were you when you became a Mom? 22, and turned 23 the following month.

6. How long were you in labor? 12 hours or so. But it was very mild. My labour never progressed past the 1st stage. I was induced twice, but labour failed both times, because the umbilical cord was wrapped around the baby’s shoulders, preventing him from descending into the birth canal, so there was no way he was coming out naturally. Eventually had an emergency c-section. Read the story and see the pics here.

7. What’s your favorite thing about being a Mom?When the day is done, The Kid has been fed and bathed, and we’re both lying on the floor in his room, and I give him a massage while he drinks his bedtime bottle. He goes all sleepy while I rub his little limbs and his forehead and face. He loves being massaged, and the bonding time is great for us too. I also love bathing with him,  and having him lie on my chest while I rub his back.

8. What’s your least favorite thing? The shitty nappies, the crying when he’s tired and cranky. The teething. How early he wakes up.

9. Do you want more kids?I highly doubt it. Everyone keeps telling me I still have to have a girl, but I’m all like ‘this shit’s hard work, yo. One’s enough’.

10. Do you plan on having more soon? Hell no.

11. How many times have you been pee’d on? Once or twice, it’s not really a problem anymore. But I did learn one thing. Pee in the eye is better than pee in the mouth.

12. Barfed on? More than I can count. The occasional projectile as well.

13. Is your child named after anyone?  Not in particular. but there is a bit of a family tradition with the initials being ‘T.R’ – as are mine, as are my father’s and as are my son’s.

14. How did you come up with their name? I was pretty restricted by TR, and The Boyfriend really wanted The Kid to have his surname (we’re unmarried) so I cut a deal that I could choose the first two names, and he could have the last name. Which is just as well because he was coming up with some crazy-ass names like ‘Dutch’ and ‘Stone’. I know,  do you feel my pain?

15. When your child gets in trouble, who is the bad guy? I suspect it will be pretty evenly matched. I’m very strict, and it takes a lot to make me melt. But I guess we’ll find out soon enough. A tiny terror is definitely in the making.

16. What is the longest you have been away from your children? 2 days I think. I missed him occasionally, but it wasn’t unbearable, because I knew he was safe with The Boyfriend’s Parents, and I really needed the time to unwind. Although, I do remember the first time I was parted from him, The Boyfriend’s Parents came to take him off our hands for a few hours one day, so I could get some sleep. I was really excited about getting some shut-eye until I realised I couldn’t, because I was anxious at being separated from my kid.

17. Bedtime routine? Warm bath with bubbles and lavender oil, some splashing and playing with toys. Then a massage, while he has his night-time bottle, I dress him, swaddle him, and place him in his crib. And generally dont hear from him until 6 am the next day.

18. Are your toes painted? Not right now, no.

19. Last movie you saw in the theater? It was The House Bunny. Dont bother.

20. One thing you will not give up just because you’re a mom? My studying and/or career.

21. One thing you did give up now that you’re a mom: Partying every night of the week.

22. Best Mom perk: Seeing my son get so excited when he sees me after waking up from a nap. The fact that he shares his food and dummy with me – he insists I have some – even shoves it in my mouth, no matter how disgusting, I have to share. Sharing is a good quality to learn, and I’m amazed he’s learnt it so young.

23. Snack, you sneak bites from your child? See above.

24. When the kid is napping, you are: Studying/reading blogs/sleeping/having a smoke/showering/tidying up.

25. Where is your child(ren) now? Having a nap.

26. Favorite place to buy maternity clothes? Meteor Rose.

27. If I could do it over…I would have taken more pics of my belly, and The Boyfriend and I interacting with the bump. I would have kept a proper pregnancy journal. I probably wouldn’t have smoked. I would have enjoyed my pregnancy more, instead of trying to pretend it wasn’t happening.

28. Did it turn out the way you expected? Totally not. Being a mother is hard. People always tell me ‘oh, but it’s rewarding, doesn’t that make up for it?‘ Only someone with no children can say that. The fact that mothering is rewarding, doesn’t make it any less difficult, any less hard work, any less emotional and life-changing.

I tag: Angel, Briget, Can’t Hardly Wait, Jodi, Kicking You From The Inside, Neener,JentyCamiKaos, Zoeyjane, Stephanie, Katrina, Pia, Sweets, Cath, Jackson’s Mommy, Lisa, The Mad Momma, Wenchy.

and any other mommy/daddy who wants to do this.

Upgrade

The Kid’s pool has been upgraded from this:

to this:

how pimpin’ is it now?

Sleepless Night

1 month old

1 month old

The other night, after I blogged about ways to soothe your baby, mine did not want to sleep that night. Refused point blank, and cried, and cried and cried. No matter what I did. Tried giving him a bottle, putting his nightlight on, playing soft music and generally leaving him to cry it out.

Which, as every mother knows, is the MOST frustrating thing to do, because it is impossible for you to fall asleep while you can hear your child crying. So, eventually, sometime after midnight I landed up running a really hot lavender scented bath, lit two candles and lay in the bath with my son.

He at first thought it was playtime, because bathtime normally is. But, then I lay him on my chest and rubbed his back, and he eventually fell asleep in the bath. Then I dressed my sleepy baby, gave him a warm bottle, and put him to bed. He slept. But only for another 2 hours or so. He woke up crying unconsolably again.

I lay on the couch with him swaddled in his blankets, put his head on my chest, and wouldn’t let him lift his head up. Until eventually he fell asleep from sheer exhaustion from trying to fight me.

Why, after sleeping through since 5 months of age, did he suddenly now have one bad night, out of the blue? I reckon it’s because The Boyfriend’s Parents disturbed his routine. Normally he stays with them from Saturday night and gets back home Sunday afternoon, and he is bathed and put through his bedtime routine here. But this time The Boyfriend’s mother bathed him and gave him dinner way before she brought him home to us. She messed with his entire routine.

That just goes to show the importance of routine, I guess.

But, regardless of the fact that I didn’t get much sleep that night, it was a rare opportunity to spend some quality time with my baby at night. Lying in the bath, with him sleeping on my chest, rubbing his back, feeling his heart beat against mine, and watching the rise and fall of his chest as he breathed was something I haven’t been able to do since he was about 2 weeks old. He hasn’t slept on my chest since he was very, very new. Even though I was tired and frustrated, feeling his little weight on my chest was worthwhile.

And it’s a kind of bonding that dads dont really get to experience. Because, let’s face it, when babies are inconsolable, or completely miserable, the only person they want is mommy.

And sometimes. Just sometimes. Those mommy moments aren’t as bad as they seem.

Ten Foolproof Ways To Soothe a Crying Baby

aka ‘The Bad Mommy’s Guide To Getting Your Baby to Shoosh and Quit That Crying’.

1. Check the basics.
Wet nappy? Hungry? Hot or cold? Uncomfortable position? Cover all your bases before trying other things. Sometimes a crying baby is merely telling you he’d like a new nappy, or it’s time for some grub.

2. Massage.
Nothing beats a mother’s loving touch. First warm your hands; use a bit of lavender or camomile baby massage oil (diluted as instructed) and stroke your baby’s body with gentle but firm circular movements. He can be lying on a changing surface or a towel over your lap. This is an especially good technique when colic strikes or you have been apart too long. Massage every day if possible. I always do it after bath time, just before bed. Great way to make him sleepy, and is very relaxing for the both of you.

If you dont have lavender oil, use baby oil. Sunflower or olive oil can even be used, and is very good for dry, irritable sensitive skin. Massaging the ‘T zone’ – the forehead and bridge of the nose is a sure way to get my son’s eyelids feeling heavy.

3. Water.
Run a slightly-hotter-than-usual bath. Add some lavender oil, light a few candles and get some bubbles going (using baby-friendly products). Submerge yourself, and lie your baby on your chest to hear your heartbeat. I’ve had baths at 2am with my baby, even though it’s the last thing on earth I felt like doing, it really, really helped. It’s relaxing for both mom and baby. Try feeding in the bath as well. A hot bath is one of the best things that helped for colic. Dont make the bath hot to begin with, but constantly add a little more hot water so that your baby’s body adjusts to the temperature.

4. Movement.
Put your baby in the pram, and go for a walk. Wear your baby. Put your baby in a sling, and walk around the garden. Try a rocking chair. Even a swing chair. I had one of these. Miracle worker, I tell you. I even passed it on to another mom, who swears by it. Adores it, has bought enough batteries to last until her kid is 18. Put your baby in the car seat and go for a drive. Put the babyseat on top of the washing machine or dryer while it’s going through a cycle. The vibration is very soothing.

Put baby over your knees, on his tummy, and your hand on his back, and cradling his head, and bounce your knees gently. If there’s a wind that’s stuck, that will dislodge it.

5. Music.
Classical music doesn’t seem to be very soothing for my child, I must be honest. I bought all these classical music CDs thinking I was going to make my baby a genius, when it turns out that the music actually bothers him. Wanna know what he does like? Reggae music. That’s what soothes him. So find what music works for you, and turn it up! Hold your baby close to you, and sway gently with him to the music.

6. Get out!
Put the pram out in the garden, under a tree so baby can watch the moving leaves and branches. That’s one big mobile, right there, for free. Fresh air is great for making baby sleepy. Go on an outing. Sometime baby has the best sleep, in the pram, in a busy mall, while you can get a good dose of retail therapy.

7. Recreate the womb.
Your baby was used to a confined, warm environment – he lived in your cramped womb for 40 weeks. Remind him of the womb. Wrap him up like a burrito (swaddle him) hold him close to you, so he can hear your heart beat. Gently make a shushing sound, which will recreate the sound of your bood running through your veins that he heard constantly while in the womb. Dont try to make the house too quiet, as when he was in your womb he was used to a lot of background noise. So keep things on a low-level hum around the house.

8. Ask for help.
If you’re at the point where you’re tempted to throw your baby in the rubbish bin, give him to someone else and take a break. If there’s no one around, call someone and tell them to come quick, it’s an emergency. You’ll usually find that handing baby to someone who’s calm and fresh, is an instant soother. If there’s no one to help, put the baby on the floor for a few minutes and go into another room, and pull yourself together. Your baby cant fall off the floor, and it’s unlikely he can hurt himself.

9. Skin-on-skin.
Sometimes babies just need some closeness and reassurance. Skin on skin contact can provide this. Make sure the room is warm enough. Put a blanket over the two of you. Rub his back, run a feather or something light over his skin to tickle him. Distract him. Run your hands all over his skin and try to remain calm.

10. Sucking.
Offer a dummy. Dont worry about your child getting attached to the dummy, that’s a worry for another day. Focus on today. Offer the breast or a bottle. Sucking is a natural comfort reflex that fulfils a variety of different needs. Want to know how it works? Place your tongue on the roof of your mouth, just behind your teeth. Feeling of instant calm? well, that’s what a dummy does for a baby. So dont diss it til you’ve tried it!

Lastly…

“Remind yourself that you’re not always going to know what to do. You can’t keep a baby happy all day long. When you don’t know what to do, don’t think any less of yourself for it. Nobody’s perfect and not all babies are the same.”

Just try to remain as calm as possible. Baby is not crying to ruin your day, or manipulate you, even though it may feel that way. Baby is crying to communicate with you. He has a need that he wants you to fulfil.

It’s up to you to figure out what that is. Good luck.

You’ve Made Me..

Responding to this.

I never meant to be a mother. I never planned it, I never wanted it, I didn’t even think it could happen. And I was okay with that. I’d made my peace, and seen that my future should be child-free.

But, like all best laid plans, things never work out the way you think they will. One unexpected pregnancy and one emergency c-section later, I find myself being a mother.

It’s not the easiest job in the world, yet most women seem hell-bent on doing it. It’s something I never thought I could do, yet when I had the chance to back out, why didn’t I?

Because every morning, when I look at the tiny replica that is partly me and partly The Boyfriend, I melt. I can see my lips, my smile, my ears, and my sheer stubbornness and determination reflected in this small human. I see The Boyfriend’s eyes, nose, fingers and toes, and his temper and curiosity mixed in with all the traits that are mine. All the best parts of each of us have found a new arrangement and created a new person.

And a new person is not all that resulted from one unplanned pregnancy. I changed as well. Not overnight, like I expected. I didn’t instantly feel like a mother once my child was born, like I was hoping would happen. No, instead I slowly learnt that mothering is about putting someone else’s needs before your own. I would’nt say I’m more patient, I’ve just learnt to be better at hiding my impatience. I’ve learnt that mothering is part instinct and part trial-and-error. Somethings you just know how to do, and others have to be experienced. I’ve also learnt how to ask for advice, and how to take advice. And that doing so doesn’t make me a failure.

I’ve discovered that mothering isn’t all joy and sleeping babies, but that it’s okay to express the fact that ‘today has been the pits, and I’d just like a break from my kid, please‘. I’ve learnt that post-natal-depression doesn’t make you a bad person, or a bad mother, if you seek help. It doesnt even have to be medical help. I got help from my blogging friends, my boyfriend and my family. You’d be surprised, once you admit how you’re feeling, that so many other mothers have felt the same. Talking about your feelings doesn’t make you a sissy. Is another thing I’ve learnt.

I’ve realised that I can stop tears, I can kiss better a bruise, and I can tickle away any worries my baby might have. There’s nothing a hug or an elephant biscuit cant fix. I’ve become a person of routine, whereas before I used to fight every inch of routine in my life. Now routine is satisfying, and helps my baby feel secure. I’ve stopped worrying what other people think of me. The only person I need to impress is my son, and as far as he is concerned, I’m about the coolest thing out there. He wouldn’t trade me for the world.

I know that the smiles, the laughs, the milestones and the tears are all part of being a mother. And sometimes, when I wish he would hurry up and start walking, I realise that I’m wishing his life away…Which is the last thing I’d want. I just want him to be happy, healthy, and to grow and get lots of sleep.

Despite all the battle scars – the stretchmarks, the feet that went from a size 5 to a 6 and never went back. Despite the rings under my eyes, and the sheer exhaustion at the end of the day, I love him. I love being with him, I love stopping him from sticking his finger in the plug socket, I love digging my earrings out his mouth, and bathing with him, and crawling around the bedroom and playing peek-a-boo over and over and over. I love making him smile. And even though I’m not the same person I used to be, and even though I’ve sacrificed so much, I haven’t once, for an instant, regretted it. I love to love my son.

I just want him to be proud of me one day. As proud as I am of him. Proud of the fact that even though he was unplanned, his mother was always there for him. Loving him, guiding him, teaching him, and helping him reach his potential.