Ethan at 4 years old

I hardly ever do those birthday posts for any of my kids. I do a little shoutout on Instagram and Facebook but that’s about it. Does that make me a bad mom/blogger? Does it mean I love my kids any less? No, it doesn’t. It just means that instead of going all googly eyed and talking about all my hopes and dreams for my kid, I get to tell you like it is. So what can I say about Ethan….

Fighting
Even though he and Matthew have loving moments, where they’ll hug each other and be best buds, those moments are fleeting. They fight like crazy. And it’s normally Ethan that starts it. Granted there are times when Matthew teases him and he retaliates but mostly, it’s him. He wants something Matthew has, can’t get it, then starts scream crying. Only to stop mid scream when Matthew gives it to him. He’ll hit Matthew if he can’t get his way and has a bit of a temper.

Bathtime
For someone who loves to “swim” in the bath, he sure does hate having his hair washed. I thought we had gotten over this for the most part but just this weekend, Mark washed his hair and he screamed through the entire process. You would swear Mark was physically attacking him the way he went on. I’m sure my neighbours worry about what we do with our kids.

That said, we use the Baby Dove shampoo on him. Not only is it gentle on his eczema prone skin, but it smells amazing and makes his hair soft and shiny. I’ve had to trust that using this shampoo (and their bath wash) wouldn’t mess with his eczema and I think we’ve been lucky that he took to it so well.

 

Mealtimes
Mealtimes is another struggle. Ethan will eat most things. He’s also not shy to taste new foods (unlike Matthew). But unless it’s one of his favourite meals, you can forget about him finishing his food. He’ll mostly just eat the meat/chicken and leave the rice. He’s very fond of my mince pasta and most stew type dishes. He can devour sweets and biscuits in the time it takes me to finish a cup of coffee but food? I guess he must be in the mood or something lol

Other
Otherwise, he’s a neat kid who I don’t mind being around most of the time. He is loving and caring, loves to play by himself and watch Blaze and the Monster Machines, Paw Patrol, and Thomas and Friends. He loves construction vehicles, especially excavators (which he calls “esca-bator“). He sometimes thinks he’s Captain America and gets upset when we tell him he’s not. He loves holding Harper and making her squirm because he’s holding on too tight. He loves to help me when I’m baking, wanting to hold the mixer and throw the ingredients in. He’s a very independent 4 year old with abundant energy and the most contagious laugh. He loves the beach and throwing sand in his hair. He loves to crawl into our bed at 4am and kick me in the back. He loves to use his dad as a jungle gym and thinks he’s some famous gymnast. He loves great sneakers, looking smart and won’t wear anything if he’s not feeling it (probably gets it from his dad lol). He loves nature and being outdoors, he will crawl after a wriggly worm, run after a butterfly and spend hours playing with his construction vehicles in the sand. He can be gentle, boisterous, energetic, stubborn, independent, feisty, and a handful. We love him and wouldn’t have it any other way.

See, there I went all soft and googly eyed.

Sometimes, it’s hard

Being a mom is hard. There I said it. It’s not the easiest job in the world. It’s not all sunshine and roses. It’s not having a jol and living your best life. Nope, sorry. If anyone tells you it is, they’re lying. Don’t get me wrong. Being a mom is the best thing that ever happened to me. There are the moments that make your heart poop chocolates and you exhale glitter, the moments that you love your kid so much you can’t breath, the moments where you’d lay your life down for your child.

But honestly, those moments exist to remind us during the rough times. When your baby won’t sleep, she’s been awake since 1:06 and it’s 3:47 am and you have to get up at 5am to get ready for work. When your almost 4 year old is up again for the nineteenth time just to tell you that he ate his porridge and food at creche. When your 7 year old loses his 4th jacket at school and the second term wasn’t even over yet.Those moments remind us not to drop kick our kids like they’re a rugby ball and we’re converting for the Springboks. Those moments remind us that we’re not animals and can’t eat our young.

Can we just stop with the sunshine and glitter bullshit and tell new moms how tough this shit is? Maybe then those moms will be better prepared for how kak it can be. The neverending tiredness. The constant touching. The ‘mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy, moooommmmyyy!!’ that will make your ears bleed. The endless nappy changes, and bottle making, and bum wiping. The fact that even when you’re sick, probably half dying, and you still have to do all the things you do when you’re hearty and hale.

I’m not saying don’t talk about the wonderful things, I’m just  saying don’t gloss over the bad things.

I love my kids. Like with all my heart and I’d die for them type of love them. But sometimes, it’s hard….

Disclaimer – (can’t believe I feel like I need to write this but you know…) I love my children. I am grateful for them and for the fact that I could bring them into this world. I do not wish I didn’t have children. I do not wish that my children will just disappear. I will not eat them, seriously. 

 

My Mother’s Day and Embrace

Gosh I wish this blogging thing was easier. I’m stuck and I can’t seem to find a way out. But I’m not here to moan (even I’m tired of my moaning).

Mother’s Day was a week ago and I still think about the day I had. It was our third Mother’s Day without my mom and it hasn’t gotten easier yet. I doubt it ever will. My memories are filled with the things we did together, things she said to me, all the advice she gave me, and how she helped me through 2 pregnancies. I also spent an hour of my morning at Karl Bremer Hospital celebrating Mother’s Day Connect.

It was incredible, emotional, heart-breaking and so overwhelming. I went into that hospital not knowing what to expect. I was nervous because I didn’t know what I could say to a new mother. I was overwhelmed because I didn’t know what to expect or in which ward I would end up in. But I needn’t to have worried. The team leaders Tracey Porter and Lindsay-Leigh Thomas were so good at settling everyone and calmly explaining what we should do.

Each mom received a goodie bag filled to the brim with necessities and spoils. I got to meet a mom who had the most gorgeous twins. I met another mom who’s baby was in the NICU and she couldn’t hold him. I saw a mom who had just lost her baby. It broke me and yet also kinda made me stronger. It made me grateful for what I have. It put into perspective how privileged we are and how we take that for granted. Thank you Julie Mentor for starting Embrace and joining us to celebrate moms in all forms. I had such a wonderful time celebrating those moms and walked away stronger and more determined to live intentionally.

My mom isn’t here for me to tell her how this day changed me. She’s not here for me to tell her how much I love her and how badly I miss her some days. She’s not here to love on my babies and give them kisses and chocolates. She would’ve asked me about the mom’s at the hospital and asked me how I was feeling and tried to make me feel better by feeding me lol. I am grateful that she made me into the person I am today. But I’m not sad, I have an incredible mother in law who loves me as her own. She loves my babies and she’s always there for me when I need her. Love your mommies hard, tell them how grateful you are for them.

My favourite Superbalist.com kids shoes

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Shopping online has evolved so much in the last few years, did you know that the first item sold online was a Sting album – Ten Summoner’s Tales in 1994. There was a time we were too scared to purchase anything online, for fear of fraudulent activities on our credit cards, or we’d end up losing our money or not getting the items we bought. Some of us were even too scared to log into our online banking accounts. I’ve spent so much money buying things online, from clothing for the kids, birthday presents for loved ones, home ware, etc.

I shop at most of the well-known online stores but only recently found out that Superbalist.com has kiddies shoes. I was as excited as my boys would be if they were to see the entire Paw Patrol squad. I’ve browsed through their selection and here are a few of my favorites.

Kids Chuck Taylor All Star

Matthew will freak out if he must see this! He’s into this whole camo thing lately (no idea where it came from) and every second item of clothing we buy, needs to have this camo print on it. I need to keep these out of his sight. Plus it’s Converse, which is my favourite brand of sneakers.

Kids Superstar 360

Ethan is not a fan of laces, so these slip-on Adidas is just perfect. They have a similar print to the camo, so he won’t feel left out but is dark enough to hide all the dirt he’s bound to pick up.

Clark – Shooshoos

Superbalist.com sells Shooshoos!! Guys, I’m sorry to shout that out like that but I love Shooshoos and how cute is this white and gold pair? (Can you tell I’m excited that I get to buy girls shoes?) Gosh, this speaks to the diva in me.

Kids superstar 360

I wish I could get a pair of these in my size. Have you never wanted to twin with your kid? Only me then? I love these so much, it’s crazy and can’t wait to get Harper a pair. I think she will look so freaking cute in it!

Infants superstar 360

Clearly I have a thing for Adidas Superstar. I just love these shoes. I also love that it comes in girls, boys, baby girls and baby boys sizes. So the whole family can rock these awesome sneakers!

Gosh, I am a sneaker head apparently. I’m also one for a decent app, as I’m on my phone 80% of the day and don’t always get to shop on my pc. So I thought I’d let you know how amazing the Superbalist.com app is. 

It’s easy to navigate, has all the items on the app that is on their website and the best part? You can get R250 off your first buy with a minimum spend of R600. You can download the app for Android phones here or for iOS here. You’re welcome.

Silver linings

Staring at the blank screen, waiting for the right words to come. Worrying if the words I write will resonate with anyone who reads it or cause many to judge me. Wanting to get the words out of my head and hopefully find some quiet but so scared that someone will find fault and give me hell for it. For me, this is a constant struggle both for my blog and in my life. Wanting to voice my opinion and not be judged for it. Second guessing myself and everything I say so that I don’t offend anyone. I don’t always get it right and I’m glad I’ve reached a point in my life now where it doesn’t bother me too much when people find fault. I’m still learning how to let go and be brave but I’m trusting that I’ll get there soon.

Things feel a bit deurmekaar in my life lately. I feel like I’m not keeping all the balls up and it’s driving me slowly crazy. Add to that the fact that the kids haven’t been well and I’ve been on and off with some gastro bug, makes things seem impossible.

There is always a silver lining, we just need to keep a look out for it. For me, it would be the belly laughs from Harper, or the sneaky smile and massive hug I get from Ethan, or Matthew trying to squeeze the life out of me. Or just that hand on my shoulder or quick glance in my direction from Mark while the kids are in the bath or I’m putting Harper to sleep.

I’m grateful for my struggles as they make me stronger, grateful for my husband and family for they keep me grounded, grateful for my children because they made me a mom, and I’m grateful I get to spend my days with the amazing people I have in my life.

That night we gave the kids a break from us

As a parent, you will know how important date night is. We don’t always get there though. We’re too tired, or the budget is tight, or on the one night we decide we’re gonna go for it, one of the kids falls ill. Yeah, it’s a struggle and for us, the last time we went on a date night, was just before Matthew was born, over 7 years ago. So you can imagine my excitement as we were sitting in the car, heading off on our first overnight date since having kids.

We got a booking at Daddy Long Legs Unique Art Hotel in Long Street and were booked into the 501 room. This room is amazing! There are Levi’s everywhere. The stool is covered in old Levi jeans, the toilet seat has Levi’s pockets in the lid. It is literally a Levi’s Strauss fan dream!

We headed out to the V&A for dinner where Mark experienced his first Uber ride. Super stoked that he didn’t have to drive. We had the most amazing meal and bonded over steaks and cocktails. It was so amazing to have a conversation with my husband without having to answer a “kid question” every few seconds.

After dinner, we got back to Long Street and took a stroll to Stones to shoot some pool. I know, for a date night, we were being so boring. But we spent most of our dating life together playing pool at a local place. It brought so many memories back, just being in that smoke machine filled place, surrounded by other couples, with the loud music playing in the background. Heckling each other and joking around, I smiled so much that night.

The next morning, we had breakfast before rushing back home to the kids to take them out for lunch. I’ve been wanting to take them to the airport for the longest time. So we decided to have lunch there. The boys were in their element, staring out of the big windows at the airplanes, exclaiming over the big buses and tiny jets. I think I had as much fun watching their experience as they did.

Doubt – Thief of Joy

Doubt is such a thief of joy. It takes away a part of who you are and makes you believe that you are less than. Less than perfect. Less than enough. Less than you deserve.

Doubt makes us question whether we’re doing the right, made the right decision, are good enough parents, wives, husbands, children. Doubt is a liar.

We need to strive to let go of doubt. Trust in ourselves enough to know that we’re making the right decision, that we look absolutely amazing in the red dress, that we’re doing the best we can as a parent and our kids really do love us.

Don’t doubt that you can climb the mountain. Just take one step at a time and BELIEVE that you can do it. Before you know it, you’ve reached the top and let me tell you, the view up there is amazing!

I’ve succumbed to self-doubt more than once in the past few months.

• I’ve doubted my ability as a mother. Questioning what I’m doing wrong to make my kid act out the way he is. Questioning what I’m doing wrong that my breast milk is drying up so soon.
• I’ve doubted my self-worth. Always comparing myself to others, not learning from my mistakes, taking criticism to heart.
• I’ve doubted my family’s love for me. The real me. The me I don’t often recognise yet they do. I’ve questioned why they even love me.

This is such a dangerous and slippery road to be on and I’m so glad I managed to navigate this road and make it to the end. I’ve realised that I need to stop being so negative and just let go. Because when I let go, I let God. There are so many things out of my control and stressing and worrying about it will change nothing. Except fuel my self-doubt and make my life miserable.

Things I’ve done to deal with the doubt

  • I’ve started researching ways to get through to my child.
  • I’ve decided to let go of the idea of breastfeeding for a certain time period.
  • I still compare myself, but instead of asking myself why can’t you be more like…. I ask myself what can you do to be the person you want to be.
  • I booked a night away to reconnect with Mark so that I can remember that we were friends before we had children and that we enjoyed each other’s company. Maybe this will make me realise that he really does love me.

Do you often have moments of doubt? What do you do to combat that?

Life with a newborn (+ 2 kids)

Life with a newborn baby is hectic. Whether it’s your first baby or you’re a pro at this game and you have your eighth, those first 6-8 weeks can push us all to the brink. We’re in our fourth week with Harper at home and although it’s been hectic, it’s not as bad as I thought it would be. Wait, what? Yip, it’s not that bad (I may regret my words later). I thought that life life with 3 kids would have me pulling my hair out, having shouting matches with either the boys or Mark or sitting curled up in the corner nursing a cold cup of tea.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s crazy and Harper cries, a lot! The boys want my immediate attention when I really can’t give it at that exact moment. I go hungry, I have to wait to brush my teeth and I end up with a cup of cold coffee. But I thought it would be worse. I’m not sure what I thought it would be like but I had this idea that I would ‘sleep when baby slept’, that my kitchen would be overrun with dishes, that Mark and I would be at each others’ throats or that it would just end up being a madhouse and I’d call myself mad for having another child.

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Harper will be 4 weeks old tomorrow and I’m currently a Zombie Mom. She sleeps most of the day and is awake most of the night. During the day, I’ve tried keeping her awake, we don’t do quiet and there is always light. At night, it’s quiet, minimal light and no talking. Guess what? It’s not working. Recently, she started crying a lot, like she’s in pain. So much so, that Mark asked if we should take her to the doctor ahead of her 6 week checkup. I hesitated as I don’t want to be the mom who takes her baby to the doctor because of a pimple, you know. We realised this morning that she cries mostly when layed down flat. So I’m going to try some reflux meds before heading to the paed. She moans when breastfeeding and pulls off even though she still wants to drink. I’ve Googled (yes, I know) and it seems like she may have silent reflux. We’re going to try the meds and elevated sleeping for a few days.

The boys are still very much in love with Harper. Matthew is such a major help and takes his big bro position very seriously. He was holding her the other day and she started crying. He started rocking and shushing her and was so very proud of himself that he got her to quieten down. And my mommy heart just burst! Ethan just wants to hold her all the time. And when he’s holding her, he kisses her fingers or her forehead and just stares at her. I love that they are so careful and soft with her and I’m praying it lasts a little longer than a few weeks lol.

Harper 3 weeks

Mark is amazing. He wakes up with me during the nights and offers to take her to give me a break. I refuse as he has to get up and go to work in the morning but the fact that he offers makes me so happy that he’s on this journey with me. I can see the love shining in his eyes, I can see the fear in there as well. I need to explain what I mean about the fear but I’ll leave that for another post. I’m just so glad we’re together on this newborn train (lol) and that we’ll see the light at the end of the tunnel with each other.

It’s amazing how much you forget about life with a newborn. Harper is my third baby and I can honestly say that there are so many things I don’t remember from when the boys were her age. Mark will ask me, did Matthew cry so much or did Ethan also have issues with winds and I’ll sit there and think about it but nothing comes up. No memory, nothing. I guess it’s natures way of making sure we have more babies, this memory loss. I forgot how tired I’d be, I forgot the nipple pain from breastfeeding, I forgot the struggle to wind and the worry about how many poop nappies they’ve been through in one day. I forgot how utterly overwhelming it can get, especially when you’re sleep deprived and nothing seems possible at 3:10am. I also forgot how much your heart explodes with love. I forgot about that delicious fresh baby smell. I forgot what it felt like to hold a tiny baby in your arms, catch your spouses eye over the top of her head and feel yourself tear up.

I am truly blessed and so grateful to friends and family for checking in, popping by and giving me 5 minutes to myself.

Family update

I am so tired of this dark cloud that is following me around recently. I am sick of the mommy-guilt wracking me about not being present enough with the boys. I am so over being blue, and af, and I need to work out of this funk I find myself in. So we’re doing an update on the family post. Hopefully this will be a bit upbeat and make me feel better.

Pregnancy

I will be 13 weeks along on Sunday (can we get a hell yeah to the second trimester!!!) and I haven’t felt better health wise. I don’t want to jinx it but I didn’t suffer with much nausea, tiredness or aches or pains. Long may it last. I’ve started feeling little pops and bubbles and seriously cannot wait for a definitive kick that Mark and the boys can feel. I’ve lost 2kg since I found out I’m pregnant, not sure whether to be concerned or not, but will chat to my doc when I see her again. All in all, things are great with the pregnancy. People are genuinely concerned about my well-being and I need to remember there is no malice or offence intended when someone asks me how’s things going lol.

Matthew

This little big dude is generally a gentle, calm soul. He’s sensitive and emotional and loves touching (like holding your hand or hugging or rubbing your fingers). He’s had a bit of a rough week I think. He’s been crying every morning that he doesn’t want to go school. Now I’m not sure if something is going on at school or if he’s just tired. He sleeps about 8-9 hours every night but this is the first time that he has had to drop his afternoon nap. Will have to have a chat with him over the weekend about it. I wish employers would give mom/dad paid leave to be home with their kids during school holidays. I’m not even asking for the whole of the holidays but 2 or 3 days would at least help me with the mommy-guilt.

Ethan

Oh my independent, wild child. He’s the total opposite of Matthew. Wild, loud (he’s always shouting), energetic yet stubborn, kind and empathetic. He will fight with Matthew until he starts crying, then he will sit next to Matthew, put his arm around him and give him these little butterfly kisses while whispering shhhh shhhh. He’s gone through 3 week of potty training and you guys, I am so proud of this little guy! He’s messed his pants maybe 3 times since we started and he’s wet the bed about 4 or 5 times but we’re getting somewhere. I was really concerned that he would take a lot longer than Matthew did but he is about on par. I have a fight with him every morning where he does this scream/shout thing for no apparent reason. He is probably still tired thus the screaming but seriously, screaming??? At 5:50 in the morning?

Mark

Oh how I love this man. We’re together 16 years this October, married for half that time. You’d think knowing someone that long, you would know them inside out, dislikes, thoughts, everything. But you know what, you are constantly learning from each other. Learning new things every day about each other. Yes I know a lot of things about him, how he likes his coffee, his dreams and his hopes, his favourite food (it’s lasagne by the way) but we are all constantly changing, and we need to communicate with our spouse regularly to not feel left behind while they’re growing and changing. He’s having a bit of a stressful time at work at the moment, and it shows. I hope that things quieten down a little for him so that he can also enjoy this pregnancy a bit with me and not have to work such long hours (with extra hours worked at home).

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I am so lucky to have my sister and dad around to help with the kids when Mark isn’t around. He has to go away for a few days next week, and if it wasn’t for them, I am not sure how I would cope. These 2 people do so much for us, helping us out and just being there. I wish there was a way I could thank them more than I already have.

I have such an amazing family, my husband, my boys, my sister, my dad, my friends. Everyone is family. Everyone always makes an effort to be present in our lives and just be there when we need them. If you’re reading this, you know who you are and I want to say thank you. I don’t say it often enough and next time I see you, be prepared for a massive bear hug!

 

I’m feeling better after writing this, so it does help. Misery loves company right, so I guess happiness is an inside job then.
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I don’t always like my kids

Don’t get me wrong, I love my boys. But there are moments where I just don’t like them very much. Moments where I go a little crazy and act like a banshee. Moments where their shouting and running up and down drives me bonkers.

I know, I know, I got myself into this situation. And I’m not complaining about that, not really anyway. I’m just saying it like it is, I don’t always like my kids. And there are days where I just want to give them away for a few hours, or run away, or get into a box and hide away from them. Please tell me I’m normal and I’m not the only person that has ever felt this way.

They test the limits.

They throw toys and kick the ball in the house.

They fight with each other. All. The. Time.

Matthew is constantly pinching Ethan. Or Ethan is pulling Matthew’s hair.

Ethan still doesn’t sleep through the night. And we only just started potty training.

The tantrums…..

I don’t regret having children. I don’t regret my boys at all. I love them with all my heart and I can’t wait to add to the craziness with this little bunny in my belly. But it’s normally when I’m tired, stressed out, busy cooking, etc that I feel like hiding away from the madness and drinking wine straight from the bottle. So I guess I need to work on being a better person so I dislike my kids less and the moments where I don’t like them are less.

Or I’m just human. An overworked, stressed out mom who’s doing her best after a full day working, pregnant and exhausted, who just wants to come home to her children and love on them and ask them about their day.

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Just to add, there are moments where I don’t like my husband either…..