There are so many people that start to panic when it comes to bringing a baby home. You worry is your house going to be safe for your baby.
Calm down, take a breath…your house does not need to be spotless; you do not have to have a house that is so clean that you can eat on the floor. And if you have pets, don’t worry; you don’t have to get rid of your pets because you are having a baby.
I have read numerous articles written by Psychologist that state that a pet assist children with social problems. Having a pet not only provides companionship and entertainment for your baby/child but it helps with your child’s development and building up their immune system.
Before my husband and I had children, even before we got married, we had our 2 dogs. They were my babies. They slept on the bed with us and went everywhere with us. When I fell pregnant someone said to me “what are you going to do with the dogs?” My response was “what do you mean?” The person said, “Dogs are dirty and they will knock your baby over and steal their food. You will change your mind and you will get rid of the dogs as soon as your baby is here, just wait”
It is now 8 years later and we still have our dogs and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Both my boys love our dogs and the dogs love them.
I have had moments where Peanut, our eldest (Jack Russell) has licked yogurt of my eldest boys face. Now this isn’t something that happens every day and it is not something I encourage, but it has happened. Guess what? My child is fine, he hasn’t gotten ill because of it. He plays with the dogs on a daily basis. He sticks his fingers in their mouths, checking their teeth, he shares his chips and cookies with them, and he is still fine. As a matter of fact, if I look at some of his friends he is healthier than most.
Your pets are a part of who you are. Why would you get rid of your pet when you have a baby? Yes, you need to keep a watchful eye and see how your pet reacts to the new member of the family and should they become violent and act out you would need to address the problem. The sad reality is that a lot of people, instead of making the dogs part of the new experience, the lock them out. A once calm house dog who used to spend his days lying by his owners’ feet while they work and sleep in the owners’ bedroom now suddenly has to stay outside in the hot sun the whole day and even sleep outside.
Off course this dog will then associate the arrival of the new member with loneliness and rejection and might even become aggressive. But is this really the dog’s fault? No, it is our responsibility as pet owners to also prepare the animals of the house for the arrival of the newest member.
My dogs use to sleep with us on our bed. While pregnant I started moving the dogs to their bed at night, they were still in our room, but not in our bed. So the changes were made before the arrival of the new “brother”. The dogs are played with and get attention and love from us on a daily basis. When we brought our boys home for the first time, we let the dogs come and sniff and say hi.
The dogs were never kept away from the babies. The one dog, Peanut loves when the kids touch her, she lies still while the boys poke and prod her. Our other dog Lilly is a bit high strung, she is not too fond of being poked and grabbed. She normally just stands up and removes herself from the situation.
We had situations where our eldest when he was a baby, he would by accident rip out a hand full of Lilly’s hair and Lilly would bark or growl at him. I would not punish Lilly, as Lilly was right to growl or bark, my son hurt her and he has to also learn that dogs can and will bite him if he hurts them.
We learn something new on a daily basis and so do the pets. The pets will grow with your child and they will get use to the changes in the house, as long as there is a loving owner helping them along the journey. Don’t forget about your pets when you have children.
With everything that is happening in our country and all over the world, I decided to take a break from Social Media. I mean honestly, every second post on my FB feed is about death, rape, brutal murder, missing kids, robberies etc etc etc. I can’t anymore. I have enough going on in my life as it is and feel so stressed out. It sometimes feel like the walls are closing in and I just needed to step back, take a break and breath. So the last 2 weeks I have taken a bit of a break.
Last year, while my boys were in school, as usual things were stressful and there was so much drama, but I mean “kinder kak” (high school drama) at school and I lost it on a school group because of it. I realised then I needed less drama/stress in my life.
I have had a few mild panic attacks and one major one, 4 years ago. My husband and I thought I was having a heart attack and he raced me to the ER. I have to say it is quite scary. It felt like someone grabbed a hold of my heart, squeezed it and then started shaking it around. I started feeling like this 2 weeks ago again. Like someone was sitting on my chest and I couldn’t breath, that is when I decided to just step back. Probably also not the best time to be watching Mind Hunters and 13 Reasons why.
This year, with the kids being at home I promised myself NO DRAMA. I tend to overthink things and worry about everything. I wanted to have this year to spend time with my boys, making memories. Spend quality time, but it is September and I feel like we have had zero quality time together and I feel like time is running out and I am behind on work that I have to do with the boys. I worry about finances, I worry about health. I worry about the kids education, I worry about getting my business off the ground and start bringing in money, I worry about our safety. I do not want to read the news or go on FB anymore, it is just too depressing. I am completely behind #enoughisenough, because something has to be done, but for my own sanity, I just needed a break.
My biggest fear is not whether or not I am next but am I doing a good job raising these 2 boys. Am I teaching them the right things? I lie at night questioning everything I did during the day, could I have done better? How did what I said and did affect the boys in the long run? So all of this #menaretrash scares the shit out of me. Believe me I have had my fair share of trash men in my life, more often than not, so I know what I do not want my boys to be. I have been worried about how these boys will be when they are grown up, since the first day I found out they were boys, but these last few weeks have just made me worry about it more.
I am teaching them to respect everyone equally, with kindness, no matter their race, sex or bank balance. I teach them to stop when someone says stop, no matter what the situation. I am teaching them to respect their friends personal space, how to use their words to express how they feel instead of getting physical (the 2 brothers hit and push each other when they get frustrated)
But yes, men, even though they are not all rapists, they have all at some point in their life objectified a woman, cat called a pretty girl on the street, made a girl feel uncomfortable with a comment. So how do we stop this? We hold these young men in our hands, our boys are the futures men. It starts with us.
Every now and again I read the news and then immediately after reading certain articles I remember why I stopped reading the news. Enough is enough, but will it ever really change? I mean this has been going on for decades. Men raping women, people being attacked and killed. Sure it is getting worse, but this is nothing new. How do we stop it, how do we make things change? We hold these young men in our hands, our boys are the men of the future. It starts with us.
Three years ago I felt the same as I do now, overwhelmed with everything going on. I had seen 2 videos from 2 different countries where a pregnant woman goes to a hospital asking for help and both are told to leave. It just made me wonder. Do we really care so little about each other? Why is there so much hate and negativity in the world? Even doctors, who swore an oath to save lives don’t give a shit anymore. I mean honestly. How do you turn you back on a heavily pregnant woman who comes to you begging for help and because she doesn’t have medical aid she is refused help.
The one video I saw was of a heavily pregnant lady in the Philippines, who was homeless and asked for help. They sent her away, and right outside the hospital where she gave birth to her little baby. On the Pavement OUTSIDE the hospital.
The other video was so disturbing it still haunts me.
This happened in Cameroon. A pregnant mom of twins and a relative went to the hospital because the pregnant mom became ill. The staff at the hospital sent her away and she died outside the hospital. The family member that was with her went to buy a razor blade and a bunch of other supplies and cut open the mom in the hope of saving the twins lives. The babies were alive when she got them out, but due to not getting any medical attention, they both passed away minutes after being born.
This video is so disturbing to me, for so many reasons. 1. How, as a Doctor can you send this woman away? Ok fine, you can’t take her into the hospital because who is going to pay for it. But are you so dead inside that you have no urge to see if you can help her in some other way? You want to tell me there was not one Nurse or Doctor in that hospital that could have just taken a look at her, given her a minute of their time?
2. This poor relative, you can see afterward how devastated she is. She just lost a loved one. Not just that, she had to cut her open to try and save the babies. This poor woman will never be the same.
3. The hordes of bystanders, most of which are recording the event on their phones are all just standing there…. WTF !!! HELP the woman. What is wrong with people?
I honestly don’t know what is going to happen with our world if this is how we continue. What kind of world will my child grow up in? With every post about a child that has gone missing, or a missing person found dead, babies being raped, women being attacked, I cry for my children’s future.
We need to do more. The future is in our hands. If you see wrong being done, speak up, stand up for those who can’t stand up for themselves. If you see someone having a bad day, be kind even if it means just a few kind words. Stop judging and rather ask how you can help. Do some good, start in your family, then the street you live in, then pay it forward to your community. Let’s rather spread love than hate than negativity. I need to believe that we can do it, that we can break this cycle, for the sake of my boys.
When I was blogging a couple of years ago I wrote a blog named “We do not negotiate with terrorists”. I will see if I can find it and share it.
I find that being a mother is a lot like being a FBI agent, or CSI, Secret service, you name it. For example: The Hostage Negotiator. When dealing with tantrum like demands, we deal with it in a “cool as a cucumber” way. “We can do this the whole day, the answer will stay no” Trying our best not to give in and meet there demands. “No baby you can not run around the house with the steak knife, you can, however, help cut some mushrooms”
The CSI agent Your little ones are playing quietly, you decide now is a good time to go for a quick pee. Next min there is an all mighty crash. You get back to them to find broken glass everywhere. You ask what happened and suddenly you are dealing with 2 clueless angels. This is when CSI mom comes out, you have to scan the crime scene, picking up clues as to what just happened, trying to figure out which one of the 2 little angels is the guilty one.
When the kids were in nappies I have had moments where I resemble a Bomb squad agent. VERY slowly opening the nappy because I am not sure what it holds. You never know it might just go everywhere. If you haven’t had one of those nappies you haven’t fully experienced the whole teething process. I have to admit, having boys I sometimes have the Bomb squad agent pose when my boys hands me something and has a very suspect grin on their faces. I brace just before I open his hand to see what wonderful “surprise” they have brought me.
I sometimes sound like a Police Officer asking someone to step away from the car that they are trying to steal. “Step away from the stove, boiling pot of water on there”
Sure I will only turn into this next one during the teenage years but should I find out that my kids have been exposed to any kind of drugs I will most certainly turn into a DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) Agent. Thinking about this, it’s probably a good idea to start training our 2 dogs now to become sniffer dogs that can pick up the scent of any type of drugs in the house. MWAHAHAHA…
Now if all of the above just applies to me, I am pretty sure I am not alone on the next one. Every mother qualifies as a Secret service agent. The Secret service agents are there to protect the President, they throw themselves in front and on top of the president in dangerous situations. I think it is safe to say, that in a life or death situation every mother has this instinct in them, to through themselves in front or onto their children to protect them.
Lastly, there is the CIA agent. This side of me rears its head when other/new children come into my kid’s lives. They get put through a thorough screening process of background checks. LOL, not really, but I have to admit when the boys were in school, if I realised there were bullies, I would always, in a non-direct way get my boys to avoid them. Or, in Henri’s case, he had 2 boys in his class that could be very mean to him, but that would also play with him nicely. More often than not he would come home very upset about something one of them did. I would just remind him, that they are “mooi weers vriende” Only nice when it suits them. I told him that he now knows that they have a mean side and he shouldn’t let it upset him too much. On those days he should just ignore them and rather play with his actual friends.
Ok, so by now it’s probably clear that I watch a lot of movies and series that involve American Spy’s and agents. But what it boils down to is that Mothers are BAD ASS. Kids and Dad’s take note – Do NOT mess with us, our powers are unlimited.
I also feel every mother deserves a medal of courage and bravery. Motherhood is one of the most awesome experiences ever, but it’s hard work and we deal with a lot on a daily basis.
I believe there is nothing wrong with teaching your child from a young age to help with the chores in the house. Now I’m not saying that you should become Frau Rottenmeier and demand that chores get done before they are allowed to play or anything hectic like that. But it is good for kids to help around the house for more than one reason.
I believe that this will help your child learn responsibility, i.e. I make a mess, I help clean up. Your kids will learn new simple everyday tasks (being able to make their own bed) and this way become more independent.
Now, of course, the type of chores depends on the age of your children. At this point with my 2, they have a chore chart on the fridge. It is laminated so we can reuse it and the chores sometimes change. For example, my 8 year old helps pick up the dog poo as part of his chores, but on days where it was raining, we swapped that chore with something else.
So our daily chores for my 8 and 5 year old are: Make your bed Tidy up at 13:00 and 17:00 Do your dishes Pack away your washing Then for the 5 year old – feed the dogs and the 8 year old pick up the dog poo/make sure the dogs have water.
When they were little they still helped to tidy up whenever they made a mess. We use to sing “Tidy UP, Tidy Up, it’s Tidy up time” As they got older we started to make a game out of it.
The other “chore” is that the boys need to always take their bowls, plates, cups, etc. to the kitchen when they are done eating or drinking. This is again a very simple way to slowly teach him how the world works. You can’t just make a mess and leave it like that. If you made the mess, you need to help clean up.
Without me having to ask, Henri helps me every day with everything. He is really such a sweet boy. When I make the beds or put clean bedding on, he jumps at the opportunity to help me pull the sheets down and tug the fitted sheet in under the mattress. He has done this since a very young age. We use to live in a complex and make use of their communal washing machines, this was always an adventure for him. I would put him on top of the machine and he would get to through the soap powder in, place the coin in the slot and push the button. Even now, when he hears me switch the washing machine on, he comes running, screaming “me me me” He always looks so chuffed with himself once he has pressed all the necessary buttons and the machine starts.
Sweeping is another favourite chore that my 5 year old loves doing. Now lets face it, sometimes their help with things like sweeping is not really helping because they miss spots or they might actually just be making more of a mess. I normally do not correct them. If my 5 year old is giving it his best and he missed 2 or 3 spots I do not tell him “thanks, but you missed these spots” I thank him, make a note on their chart and then once he is out of the room I clean the spots he missed. I believe in rather looking at the positive instead of the negative.
Then off course anything that involves working with water. When they were little and before the water crisis I would let them draw with sidewalk chalk on our outside walls. Then they each got their own bucket and sponge. Once they are done drawing on the walls, they wash the walls. They are still allowed to draw on the wall and brick, but we just don’t wash it off anymore. Another favourite, washing their “road” carpet.
There is also another favourite, but doesn’t happen that often, giving the dogs a bath. Both boys LOVE this.
Every day the boys check off their chores on the chore chart and by Saturday evening, if all their chores were done, they both get R10. If they were super helpful during the week and did extra chores they obviously get a bit more. Depending on what they have done they can earn an extra R5 or R10 that week.
I really hope all of this carries over to when they live on their own one day, for the sake of their wives and society.
I think chores do not just teach them valuable skills for the future, but it teaches them independence, a sense of achievement and also show them that everyone in the house contributes. We are a team.
We were at a friends house for a braai. There was a new family that we didn’t know. The boys once went Mountain Bike riding together, but that was it. The 3 men were outside and the 3 women inside chatting. The 4 boys were all over the place playing.
We had dinner and then started playing 30 Seconds. The kids were playing all sorts of games and having a jol. All was well with the world. Then suddenly the power goes out. So the dad whose house it is gets 2 camping lights and puts them up. One in the playroom and one one the table where we were sitting. Candles were lit and we continued playing.
Suddenly the one boy kept running towards the table where the adults were sitting and he was shining the light in our eyes. This also meant that the playroom was dark. The parents ask him to stop but he kept doing it. Next, all 4 boys start running around the house and around the table where we were sitting. The one boy is now screaming/screeching really loud. My husband raises his voice and asks all 4 boys to calm down a bit and to please stop screaming.
Now before I continue, let me just give you some more context to how that week had been for me.
Three days during that week I had such a hard time with Henri, talking back, being very cheeky in the way he spoke to me and just generally not listening. I had spoken to him and also taken privileges away as punishment.
The Thursday night, my husband was out. The boys and I were watching an episode of Big Bang theory like we have done many evenings before. This episode started with Sheldon hearing creepy noises outside his office. I look at Liam (5), the reason for this is, Henri keeps scaring his brother at night. He hides and literally scares the living daylights out of him. To the point where Liam now does not want to go upstairs at night on his own. I have had many chats with Henri about not scaring his brother.
So back to that Thursday night. The episode continues, I tell Liam that BBT is not a scary show and Sheldon is probably just dreaming, suddenly something scary happens, Henri screams at the top of his lungs and with a very theatrical movement jumps of his chair and falls backwards (imagine hand on the forehead, fainting) Now his little brother is looking at me with giant eyes. I told Henri that he must please not do that because he is scaring his brother. Liam got such a fright because Henri was sitting behind him and he was obviously not expecting that. The next min a glow in the dark skeleton falls from the roof. Henri again jumps up and screams in the exact same way he did before. Which now lead to Liam getting the fright of his life and came to me crying. I held him, calmed him and then showed him that it was Raj and Howard who were trying to scare Sheldon, as it was Halloween. He said, “the Skeleton didn’t scare him, but his heart hurt when Henri screamed” So I again had a chat with Henri and explain to him why I don’t want him doing this. Needless to say, Liam couldn’t sleep that night and now doesn’t want to go upstairs at all on his own, day or night.
Friday morning, Henri hides behind the classroom door and give his brother a fright, to which Liam reacted by pushing him. Henri knocked his head on the corner of the table. He had a massive bump on the head. After icing Henri’s head I kakked him out and took more privileges away. I mean, didn’t we just have this conversation the night before? “No more scaring your brother”
So now that you have an idea of what my week was like and where my frustration levels were at with Henri, we can continue the story of what happened at the braai.
The parents of the “new” boy asked him to stop with the flashlight, my husband asked the kids to stop screaming and running around the table where we were sitting. Then the dad, who’s house it was asked the boys again to stop running around, stop screaming and stop moving the flashlight. Next minute they are off again, but now, my kids weren’t the ones screaming, but I notice Henri is chasing them. So I get up, I go to the playroom, I ask all of them collectively to please try and stay in the playroom as we can’t hear each other talking that is how loud they are. I then ask Henri to not chase the boys.
I went to sit down, not 10min later, running again and then a loud crash and crying. Henri had slipped and ran into the wall. Now I am getting angry, long past the point of being irritated or annoyed. I tell my husband that after his drink we are leaving. I go to check that Henri is ok and tell him “Henri, please do not scare anyone, and do not chase them either, it is too dark, and you just got hurt because you can’t see where you are running. This is your last warning” Ok he said.
I had literally just sat down and the one boy came out with the flashlight and there was screaming again. I walk to the playroom and I tell Henri that we are going to go home, they need to start tidying up all the toys. He looked at me with this blank expression and then laughed and said “sure mom” but with so much sass I felt like slapping him, I didn’t of course, I did, however, give him the look, you all know what look I am talking about.
Literally 5 min later all 4 boys come screeching out of the room, down the hallway and around the table, Henri at the end chasing them. As he gets to the end of the table where I am (he was opposite me, right behind his dad) I went nuclear, I was shouting like a demon. “HENRI, STOP!!!! TURN AROUND, FACE THE WALL AND SIT DOWN, TIME OUT!!! AND THAT IS WHERE YOU WILL STAY UNTIL WE LEAVE”
The whole house fell quiet. The other 3 kids quietly went off playing. My husband said “I think you overreacted” Now, sure to someone, like the other couple probably, it might have looked like I overreacted. But did I?
How many times must 6 adults ask 4 kids to STOP and LISTEN?. FFS man. And besides that, a lot had lead up to this point between me and Henri and this was just the last straw. I took 5 min to just breathe and calm myself, then I asked Henri to come with me because I would like to talk to him. This is just how I do things. When I lose my shit, and I do quite often, not to this extreme, but it happens. I always take that 5min for both me and him to just calm ourselves and then we talk it out.
The first thing he said was, “I was not screaming” So I said, “I know, but why do you think I only shouted at you?” “Because I was chasing them?” So he knew why he also immediately apologised.
I explained to him that all 6 adults at some point had asked them to calm down, and the fact that I specifically spoke to him twice about chasing and scaring the other boys and that is why he was in trouble. I also explained to him that the whole week he had been rude to me and wasn’t listening and I can’t just let things like that slide. There have to be consequences. He said “I know mommy, I am sorry”
I talk to my boys about everything. 3 years ago a bought a lovely book series that explains all kinds of emotions to the kids. “When I am feeling lonely, scared, nervous”. They are amazing, they help the kids understand their emotions. Now I am all for the gentler approach and I don’t believe in the “kids should be seen not heard” BUT I am also very old school, and if I have spoken 2 or 3 times, and I have warned you that the next time you do it there will be trouble, then you better know there will be trouble.
I honestly didn’t care what the new couple thought about me, I didn’t care if they thought I was a horrible mother. The friends, whose house it was, knows me, they know the type of mom I am, they know this is not the norm. All though I felt some guilt towards Henri for scolding him in front of his friends, I just feel that having friends around doesn’t make all the rules change.
Motherhood is one hell of a ride. I both back myself for what I did and know that it was right, but at the same time, I feel annoyed with myself for not dealing with it in a calmer manner. I could have pulled him aside and scolded him. Would that have had the same effect though? I had scolded him that same evening and it didn’t do anything.
I think because there is so much information out there on how we should be raising our kids we can all be hard on ourselves, second guessing what we did, and was it the right thing to do? Could I have done it better? But there is no rulebook, right? They didn’t come with instructions and we are all just trying to find what works for us. But wow man, some days are just harder than others and I think what I need to take from this is to not be so hard on myself and to just keep talking to my boys. Talking about how certain emotions make you feel and react.
So besides dirt, noise, creepy crawlies and injuries, what else should you be prepared for if you have a boy? Well, one word – PENIS. You will get to know the male anatomy very well.
Not only does it involve a lot of touching, poking and pulling, but expect to see a lot of naked butt cheeks. Boys love to just strip down and run around with nothing on. There are also times when you will be driving or walking somewhere and suddenly your little one says “Mommy I need to pee-pee, pee-pee is coming!!!” It’s not ideal, I know, but this problem is solved quite easily with boys, the one time having a penis makes things easier, oh no wait, having a penis makes lots of things easier in life.
Boys, just like men are constantly fiddling with themselves, or like my husband says “rearranging the package” I keep telling my son “don’t worry my boy it won’t fall off, it is still there” He just laughs. Men will always be touching their penises; this is something we, unfortunately, can’t change. When my boys were little I always tried to make them aware of the fact that they shouldn’t do it in public and that it is not nice to take it out and show it to people. I have had the odd occasion with both of them when they were little where they had gone to the loo and come back butt naked and go“nah nah, nah nah” while shaking their little naked butts and running around.
One night when they were little, I just had to laugh. Both boys were in the bath; first, it was the one year old that I found poking and pulling. I just ignored it and started cleaning him. Then I look over at my 3 year old and he is also sitting there pulling his penis. Now after all the fiddling it has of course gone erect. So I just asked him to please stop, to which he then replied: “I’m just loving it” but what made it even funnier was that he was stroking it like he would when I tell him to love/pet our dog. Enter hysterical inside laughter. I had to leave the room to have a giggle.
You also learn very quickly that the position of that penis in a nappy is quite important before bedtime because it could be the difference between a sopping wet baby in the night or peaceful dry sleep. Always down I learned.
Still, on the topic of Penises, I was quite shocked one day with my first-born. I went to change my tiny little 2 month olds nappy and suddenly he had a surprise for me, nope, not poo but an erection. I couldn’t believe it, he was only 2 months. I immediately called my husband who of course thought it was hilarious and told me it’s very normal. It’s not sexual in any way; it’s just due to blood flow to the area. I later learned that in most babies it also happens just before they have to pee.
A couple of weeks later, during a very hot summer’s day, I found myself calling my husband again. I got such a shock, his testicles looked different; they were very large, flat and hanging quite far away from his body. Again my husband said it’s normal, “It’s because it’s so hot,” he said. He again found it very funny that I was so concerned. But I mean hello, how am I supposed to know these things? Yes, I vaguely remember something about it from High school biology, but that was decades ago.
But now I know, when it is very hot the body makes sure that the testicles move away from the body, keeping them cool. When it is cold the opposite happens, the testicles are kept close to the body. The testicles will also draw up during physical activities like running; this protects the testicles from being knocked around. The testicles do this to keep the sperm at an optimal temperature. If sperm isn’t kept at an optimal temperature they can be damaged and this could lead to infertility.
Now that the boys are older, I am more clued up. Now I hear “oh my nuts” or as my youngest sometimes says “oh my nutballs” As they get older I know the topic will get more complicated and we will find ourselves in awkward positions during the teenage years. A while ago a mom with older boys told me a story of encountering stiff socks on her sons’ floor. After this, my husband asked me what I would do if I were to walk in on one of the boys masturbating. Erm, let’s just say I have made a promise to myself, that when a door is closed I will take the Sheldon Cooper approach to knocking. I shall knock 3 times to ensure that they heard me and also allowing time for them to get ready for me to enter the room, should they need it.
I will be open with my boys when it comes to sex and I have told my husband he will be in charge of the masturbation topic because I understand this could be very embarrassing for them. But I do hope they will always feel comfortable talking to me about anything and I will talk to them about any topic if they come to me with questions. But if I have a choice, that one specific topic will be my husband’s department.
How does the saying go? ‘Men, can’t live with them and can’t live without them”. I can honestly say, I can’t live without my boys.
For those of you who are pregnant with boys who are reading this, boys are loads of fun, there is never a dull moment.