WELCOME TO SLEEPLESS IN JOZI!
Here you will find articles on the everyday adventures of being a mom as well as everything that captures the little things Mom’s need to make life with a little one just a little lighter. I am a busy-body mom and wife who, you guessed it, lives in Johannesburg and who has a passion for learning and sharing all the joys a crazy awesome family brings.
Photo credit: www.canva.com
My sister phoned me a few weeks ago: she was almost 40 weeks pregnant and her cervix was not doing what it is supposed to do in terms of inducing labour. Her amniotic fluid levels were dangerously low and her placenta was calcifying – this baby needed to be welcomed into the world. R felt guilty and she was stressed – why was her body not doing what it was supposed to? Why was it failing? She felt as though her only job at this point in her journey through motherhood was to safely deliver her unborn baby and she was unable to do so.
I remember being given a pacifier shortly after our little Bean was born and being told that he better like sucking said pacifier or else he will probably want to suck his thumb. Oh, the horror! Being a first-time mom, I, of course, listened to this sage old advice, only to despair when he kept spitting out the pacifier. After a lot of tries, he eventually took to it in short spurts and it did help soothe him to sleep at night, but soon enough the pacifier was discarded and the thumb found its way into my little boy’s mouth. At that stage, I was beyond caring what was soothing him, as long as something was soothing him, so I left it (in fact I fell in love with the image).
I am sitting in my car outside Bean’s kindergarten and I am crying. Ugly crying: my eyes are swollen shut and red; my body is convulsing in sobs and I am wailing. It’s not a pretty sight and far from the happy vision I had about my Bean’s first day of nursery school. I have just dropped him off and he cried, a lot, clinging onto me for dear life. The teacher had to wrench him away from me so that I could leave. My heart is now in a million little pieces, heavy with guilt and worry.
‘Mamaaaaaa’ my two-year-old sobs as I place him into his cot. It’s almost an hour past his usual bed time and he starts crying hysterically every time I try to put him down. This is new to me; my Bean has always slept on his own without any drama and I am getting frustrated – I cannot stand and rock my toddler to sleep for hours at a time after all. This happened the previous night and during his nap time, earlier today and I realise that Bean is suffering from separation anxiety again. He is scared and he wants to be close to his mom. My heart melts, I sit down in his rocking chair and I sing until he eventually falls into a deep sleep.
I was very blessed during my first pregnancy as I received a lot of practical gifts and ‘experienced-mom’ to ‘first-time-mom’ advice (it was needed, as I was completely clueless) and so, when my sister found out she was pregnant with her first little girl, I was determined to give her as many practical gifts and advice as possible. Shortly before her recent baby shower, however, I found myself in a baby clothing store (while out on a supposed grocery shopping trip), with a huge basket full of the cutest little baby clothes. I simply could not help myself – it was all just so adorable! And it was all so impractical!
The pregnancy test is sitting on our bathroom counter and although I try to ignore it while it is ‘thinking’, I cannot help but stare at the screen in anticipation. Finally, the result is in and instead of the expected ‘Not Pregnant’ sign, the result is positive. Elation, joy and gratitude all wash over me as I call for my husband to come to the bathroom QUICKLY! Then, as he walks in with our almost two-year-old in tow, I feel a surge of panic and guilt.
I am pregnant – whoop! 17 weeks and counting and I have been craving peanut butter and jam sandwiches (something I would normally never eat). Not wanting to pick up all my pregnancy weight in one week, however, I have decided to make these nut butter and apricot energy balls.
One of the best things about being a parent is that there simply is no time to worry about your own insecurities and how the world perceives you. You just have to envision that almost cliché image of a young mother, toddler in hand and a baby on the hip, with spit up on her shirt, her messy hair in a bun and those tell-tale dark circles under her eyes, getting into her car to go to the shops or to do the morning school run, to realise that she is simply past caring what people think about her. And that is amazing!
Written by: Guest Writer
“Wake up Pascalle! Wake up!” That is all I remember in that moment – those seconds which felt like hours. I felt like I was in a movie – you know the part when the actress gets world crushing news and the camera zooms in on her face and the background blurs, as if the life around her is collapsing? That is how I felt as I sat on the toilet, staring down at the blood soaked toilet paper I was clutching in my hand. Just staring at it – and mentally yelling at myself to wake up.
If there is one word which sums up life with a toddler, it is the word ‘repetition’: the continuous words of admonishment (‘don’t touch that’, ‘it’s hot’, ‘get down from there’), the almost constant wiping up of spills and cleaning up of messes and the ever-repetitive cycle of ‘silence-crying-consoling’ because the said words of admonishment have once again fallen on deaf ears (‘what does mom know anyway, right? I mean, how hot can that heater really be?’).
The day I have been dreading has finally arrived – the day my potty mouth has made me fail as a mother: ‘Oh, shit!’, my almost two-year-old exclaims with glee as I am busy wiping up the water I just spilt all over the table. He is, of course, copying what I had just said a minute ago when I knocked my glass over, and although I try and ignore the words, not wanting to make a big deal out of the situation, Bean is now excitedly running around the garden repeating my profanity – over and over and over again.
When I was little, Easter was always a big celebration for the family. We would wake up, enjoy a large breakfast (my dad loved making us pancakes) and then head to church. Afterwards, the whole family would gather at one of our homes (we would alternate between my grandparents’, aunts’ & uncles’ and our’s), where all the cousins would wait in anticipation for the big Easter egg hunt, all of us ‘patiently’ hanging around outside. My grandmother would let us know that it was time to fetch our baskets by wildly running through the garden, trying to chase the Easter Bunny, calling on us to quickly look for the eggs.
Being an avid social media follower, I didn’t put much thought into posting pictures of my little Bean online after he as born. I posted pictures shortly after his birth, pictures of our first family outing, pictures of our first family holiday together and much more – these were special moments in my life and, as such, I wanted to share them with my friends and family. With social media being such an easily accessible medium of communication and such an integral part of our daily lives, it was only logical to upload them, share them and to immortalise these memories & moments forever.
I have, however, recently stopped uploading any identifying picture of my little guy (hard as it is sometimes – he is just the cutest after all) and here are the reasons why
‘The way we talk to our children becomes their inner voice’ is a powerful quote which has been popping up on my newsfeed a lot lately. It is so powerful (and so popular) because it is, of course, true. I briefly touched on this subject in one of my previous posts on discipline (read it here) when I mentioned what I had been told by an educator during one of the moms and baby classes I had attended. Namely, that children under the age of five cannot form an opinion about themselves and instead internalise their caregivers’ opinions. Once they have the ability to form an opinion of themselves, they use these internalised views as their main reference point.
Bean and I have been spending a lot of time in the kitchen lately. He simply loves ‘posting’ the various ingredients into the mixing bowl, mixing it all together and, of course, tasting all the little titbits along the way. Not only is this a great sensory play activity for him, it creates a special bonding time for both of us and I get to make healthy meals and snacks for my Little.
If there is one thing that we as a human race should invent, it has to be a system to store sleep. We live in a world filled with technological geniuses who create new inventions almost daily and yet no one has been able to find a scientific solution to the very common problem of sleep deprivation, except, of course, to tell us to sleep more. But as every parent knows, sleep is one luxury that is in very low supply.
This is such a quick, easy and versatile recipe for freshly baked bread, ideal for a picnic, a ‘braai’ or barbeque or simply because it’s so tasty and you feel like some bread. There is nothing better than biting into a warm slice of freshly baked bread, that delicious just-baked smell still wafting through the air, after all.
Bean and I are playing outside, blowing bubbles, and he decides that he wants to try to blow his own. He asks me for the container and as he unscrews the lid, he tips the container over, pouring the soap onto the grass. He cries, turns around and runs away, arms in the air. Once he calms down, I ask him for the now empty container back so that I can throw it away and fetch a new one. As I reach out for the container, he throws himself on the ground, crying.
My husband and I are celebrating our 5-year wedding anniversary this week and, as usual, we almost forgot about this significant milestone, my husband frantically phoning the latest must-visit restaurant for a last-minute booking. Neither of us was surprised that this day almost passed us by without even a mention – this is exactly what A and I do after all. We never make a big deal out of our love; we simply do not do big displays of affection. Instead, we focus on the small things, the small acts of love which show us that despite our routines, child- and work-driven lives, we still care.
I have to confess: I let my son’s routine run my life. And do you know why? Because it’s just easier, that’s why. It’s easier because he is easier to manage, making being a parent less tiring. I admit that I am that mom, the mom that lives according to a schedule, the same mundane schedule every day, not the mom that lives from one adventure to the next, child in tow.
These deliciously tasty, lemony and nutty banana muffins are Bean’s new favourite snack and my husband (who is not a fan of banana) steals one every now and again when he thinks I am not watching. They are super quick and easy to make and contain no added sucrose or dairy.
Last week I wrote a post about the bad days I experience as a mom, and in it I mentioned that no matter how hard a specific bad day is, the good days always outweigh the bad ones. Today I want to focus on the really good moments of being a mom: the moments which take my breath away, the moments of happiness and pride, the moments when my heart is so full I do not know what to do with all this love, the moments of pure gratitude and the moments which highlight the importance of my role as a mom.
Bean is sitting in his high chair staring at me with an obstinate glint is his eyes, his mouth shut, as I try to give him a spoonful of food. He swings his arm, batting the spoon away and the food goes everywhere. Before I can even think about what has happened my emotions get the better of me and I scream: ‘EAT THIS NOW!’. To Bean I must look like an angry bear in slow motion, jowls shaking, spit flying out of my mouth with balls of pure fury where my eyes normally sit. I have lost it.
Gone are the days when going on holiday meant late, warm and sultry evenings dancing the night away, nights philosophising about the meaning of life over too many bottles of wine with a loved one or friend, your words becoming a whisper as you hear the birds announcing the arrival of morning, and late morning lie-ins with brunches which become lunches, which become dinners. Those were the days when holidays were one spontaneous activity after another, with no set routines or places to be.
A while ago I wrote a post about needing to discipline my Bean. A few months have since passed and I thought I would share my progress, and the lessons I have learned along the way, with all of you. Before I dive right into the various scenarios however, I thought I should first give you some background about certain aspects of my personality.
The other day we were sitting in the doctor’s waiting room and Bean was busy exploring, when a mother with her two sons walked in. The younger of the two must have been around 3 or 4 and my 16 month old took a liking to him immediately. He promptly grabbed a children’s book (the first thing he could grab), ran up to the boy with the biggest grin on his face, saying “oooh ooh ooooh” and excitedly tried to give him the book. My heart almost exploded with pride – my little Bean was trying to make a friend! The boy, however, did not think this as cute and promptly waved Bean away.
My Bean is now 15 months old and although he is running around and he manages to keep himself entertained for short periods of time, he tends to get bored quickly. At home, this is fine, because we have a variety of toys and activities available for him, but when we going on holiday or on a day trip, it is simply not possible to pack everything he owns into the car. So, for our last trip, I put my creativity to the test and packed only 5 items. These items were affordable and lightweight and they could be used for a variety of fun (and educational) activities.
This recipe is based on my mother-in-law’s fail proof, easy-to-make recipe for scones. I simply changed the oil type and added in some cheese for flavour, so that Bean can eat them on their own as a snack or for breakfast. The scones take about 30 minutes to make and bake, so they are ideal for busy-body, on-the-go moms like myself and they are delicious: so much cheesy goodness! Best of all, this recipe has no sugar in it – so it is perfect for toddlers.
We attended a wedding last weekend and as I was listening to the pastor deliver his sermon, I was transported back to my own wedding day and the feelings of joy and elation I experienced in anticipation of something great. I remembered our priest saying that we had committed to being together, to finding strength in each other through times of abundance and happiness (and lots of wine), as well as through times of drought (and only water). As I took hold of my husband’s hand while we witnessed our friends committing to a life of happily-ever-after, I realised that our own fairy tale had recently started to fade, our marriage being characterised more by drought, than by abundance.
I am one of those lucky moms who was blessed with a child who loves his food and because he is always hungry, I am constantly on the lookout for healthy snack ideas. Sadly, most ready-made snacks are packed full of added sugars or preservatives and so, I have recently started baking. For those of you who know me: do not fall off your chairs in shock as you read this – I am still not a huge fan of baking but I have managed to find and create some fail proof recipes which are really easy to make!
My son suffers from separation anxiety: I always imagine us literally looking like a pair of monkeys when we go anywhere: the mother monkey walking along the road with the baby monkey attached to her, its little arms and legs wrapped around her upper body so tight that there is no way this little baby is being left behind, forgotten or dropped. Similarly, Bean wraps himself around me, clinging on for dear life, when someone comes to visit or when we first arrive somewhere.
My husband and I are both the eldest children in our respective families, our little Bean being the first grandchild. This means that we often end up in discussions with our younger siblings about whether they should start a family or not and if yes, when they should do this. I am so in love my little Bean that I am of course of the opinion that we should all have at least 4 children but my husband and sister tend to disagree. I have therefore decided to set up a pros and cons list so that we can settle this argument once and for all.
My Bean turned one a while ago and to celebrate this milestone (he has lived an entire year!) and because I love getting together with family and friends, we decided to throw a party!
‘Where is my Bean?’ I call into our living room, as I see the swaying movement of the curtains behind our sofa stop. The scurrying noises I heard just a second ago stop as well and I hear a stifled giggle as I make my way to the area where he is hiding and call out his name again. I peak behind the sofa and see my 13 month old on all fours ready to dart away should I come too close, with his head bopping up and down as he is trying to contain his loud laughter. I burst out laughing in child-like delight and pick him up in one swoop. ‘I’ve got you!’ I declare loudly as his laughter resonates through our house. He wriggles in my arm trying to free himself so that we can start the game again and as I place him on the ground, I realise how wonderfully adventurous it must be to him.