The first week back at school

The first week back at school

I can’t believe we are starting week 5 this week. I wanted to share this post after our first week back, it has just been absolutely chaotic settling into this new routine and there has been so much happening. But here goes.

Needless to say, as the days grew closer to the boys going back to school, I started worrying if we had made the right choice. Mom guilt and stress, never far away.

I have 2 friends who are foundation phase teachers, who know Henri, the one was his substatute teacher for a term. They both told me that he will thrive and that the structure will actually help. So I kept reminding myself that we will get through this, it is a new adventure and we will take it one day at a time. And should we hit bumps in the road, we will tackle them together.

Deep breaths mamma…..whooooooozaaaaaaa !!!!!!

During the holidays we went and purchased the stationery box, I ordered labels and we started marking all their stationery supplies. Just before Christmas, I had bought the grey shorts, socks, and navy PT shorts already. But the Monday before school started we went to the school’s clothing bank to try on and buy their uniform. The boys had to try some things on as the sizes were all a bit weird, so I was unsure of which sizes to take.
My goodness, these boys were SO excited. We got to meet the Tuckshop ladies. Liam off course could not believe that they sold sweets at the tuckshop. Luckily the ladies from the tuckshop came to introduce themselves. They also assured me that they keep a watchful eye that the kids do not overspend and that they do not get forced to buy sweets for other kids, which honestly, I had not even thought of up until then.

On Tuesday before school started, class lists were made public and we found out who the boys teachers would be. Henri had to go for an appointment at the Orthodontist, then got all the stationary marked and ready. We washed and marked their uniform and their new school bags. We then went to get a short, neat, new haircut and we made sure we had an early night.


On Wednesday both boys were awake by 06:00. Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed ready to take on the day.
Everyone got themselves ready. It is a 20min drive to school. The car trip was filled with laughter and excited giggles. As we walked up to the school my youngest said “I am so excited” which just made it all so much easier. They were both excited (and nervous), they were looking forward to making new friends and meeting their teachers. If they were scared, they sure didn’t show it.
We went to Henri’s Gr3 class first. We were the first ones there. Henri’s teacher introduced herself and she and my husband cracked some jokes, immediately felt welcome. She spoke to Henri, showed him where his desk was and where he could hang his bag. At first glance, she seemed strict but lovely. For now, mom is happy.
We then took Liam to his class, big brother came along. Liam’s teacher was the epitome of a First Grade teacher, warm, loving, big happy, inviting smile. She introduced herself to Liam, showed him where everything was and asked if he would like to stay and maybe do some colouring. I was expecting him to say no and that he would want to stay with us a bit longer (we were there at 08:00, he only had to be there at 08:30) but suddenly came a loud “Yes!!” from him. He came running to me and gave me a big hug and kiss and said “bye mommy, I love you, see you later” This made me teary. Not because he was trying to get rid of me, but because he so happily wanted to stay and already felt comfortable in his new space.
So off we went, and for the first time dropping my kids off I was not an emotional mess. The first day of Daycare for both I cried, the first day of school I cried. But not this time. It was a weird feeling because I still felt very unsure, I still had so many questions, but their confidence and joy made me feel that everything was going to be ok.
For the first 3 days, the school finished at 13:15. The boys were so happy and little energizer bunnies with verbal diarrhea when we collected them those first 3 days, my goodness. First thing Henri said to me on the first day, he came running out with the biggest smile EVER “mommy I made friend!!!!!!!!”The boy came and introduced himself, his name is Noah and they have just moved from Johannesburg, so he and his family were also new to the school. How awesome is that?
Both my boys are very social and always make friends very easily, but I must admit I was a bit worried about my eldest. Starting Grade 1 with a class full of new kids is one thing, but starting in Gr3 and everyone already has their group of friends from the last 2 years, not so easy. I remember when I was little. I joined my school also in Gr3. I have to admit the friendships I made back then are still my best friends, so it wasn’t all bad.
But the fact that he had made a friend, who was also new to the school was just awesome.

So that was our first week. The boys happily went to school every morning and came home all 3 days with SO much to tell us. Neither of them were big fans of the school shoes, but they wanted to wear them every day, even though I told them, that the shoes are only compulsory from Gr4, they still both insisted on wearing the shoes every day. They seemed so proud once fully dress. Admiring themselves in their uniform, it was really so cute.
In the next blog I will share more about how week 2 and 3 went and what an amazing change I have seen in Henri in the last week.

Why did I Homeschool?

During the course of last year, I received a lot of questions as to WHY we decided to homeschool. Now, the concept of homeschooling was not new to me, I had played around with the idea since my eldest was about 3.

From an early age, I realised that my eldest didn’t always understand something the first time. You had to explain things a bit differently. I soon realised he was very visual. It also helped when I made things relatable to him. Using people he knew or things he loved to explain everyday concepts.

When I started teaching him the Alphabet, for example, he would remember a letter better if I associated with something or someone he loved. For example, T was for Transformer, B for Buzz and so on.

At age 4 we got a new book, a pop-up book about pirates. There was a note from the Captain to the kids in the book who helped him, one part read “…give the jewels to Parrot Pete and he will bring them back to me”
My son absolutely could not understand this. I explained that Captain James Jellyfish was somewhere else and the parrot would take it to him. Still, he did not understand. A month later my father in law was in town on business and that night, we read the book again and my son again said, he doesn’t understand what that means. Suddenly I realised I could use my father in law as an example.

I told him that if we want to send his grandmother something, we could give it to their granddad when he is here on business. So we do not see grandma, but we see granddad and he would then, in turn, give it to grandma when he sees her. Suddenly he got it, you could see his face light up, I could see he finally got it. This was when I thought that my child would struggle in a mainstream school.

I was worried he would be labeled “slow” because he doesn’t “get it” the first time. My husband experienced this in high school The math teacher explained new work, asked if everyone understood, some kids said no, she explained it (In the same way) 3 more times, every time asking if everyone understood, some did, some didn’t. In the end, my husband still had his hand up, saying he just doesn’t understand. Her reply: “Well, then you are stupid” I had since primary school experienced bad teachers. I use to love Maths and use to get a min of 80% for maths, till St.4 when I had a horrible woman as my math teacher, and since then my maths dropped to 50%, I hated maths, and still do. On the flip side, I had teachers who inspired me and pushed me to do my best, who believed in me and made me believe in myself.

I know not all teachers are like this. I do know that in a Private and Public school there will be good teachers that will go above and beyond for their students and there will be lazy/couldn’t be bothered, teachers. I think the fear at that time, was that, with a mainstream school, he would have to fit in their box and if he didn’t fit in, then the problem lay with him, not the system.

Besides the worry that they might perceive him as “slow” or having a learning disability, he is also a very busy bee, very fidgety. I worried that a mainstream environment of having one desk/spot in the class and having to sit at that desk the whole day/year would break his spirit. To sum it up, I had fears, a lot of fears.

We found a lovely Montessori school close to our house. My aunt is a Principal at a Montessori school and I have always loved the Montessori method of teaching. Without realising, our home and the way I had been raising the boys was already a very Montessori way.

So we decided to try it and see how it goes. We were at the school for 3 years, Henri started what would have been Gr00 at a pre-school. Over the course of the 3 years, there were a few things that bothered me at school. The school had lovely ideas and an amazing long term goal. Unfortunately, the Private school fees with 2 kids were getting out of hand for us, we just couldn’t afford it. Besides the financial side, I was not happy with many aspects of the school, I felt that we weren’t getting our money’s worth basically. We made the choice to take the boys out.

This was a difficult decision to make because the boys were both happy at school. They, and I, had made amazing friends while at the school. I could barely keep myself together on the last day of school saying goodbye to teachers. I even ended up having a massive abscess in my eye, which many said was stress related. But, financially this was by far the best choice for us.

All the schools in our area had long waiting lists. This along with all those fears I still had, we decided as a family that we would give Homeschooling a try and relook at our choice after 6 months.

There are many benefits to homeschooling. If you have a child that really struggles to learn or understand things and needs more one on one time, Homeschooling would definitely be an option for you. There are so many free resources that can be used, there are companies you can work through, that sends you all the workbooks and plans you need.

Besides the financial side of it, one of the things that started to bother me what that my eldest seemed to struggle with the freedom he had in the Montessori classroom. I was told that he loves maths and they struggle to get him to work with equipment from all the other “subjects” in the class. In the 3 years he was at the school I felt that his speech and writing didn’t improve as much as his peers did. Now in a Montessori environment, they have 3 years to tick all their boxes. So if they master all 3 years math in the first year awesome. If it takes them 3 years to master writing, great. BUT I really felt like the lack of the growth of his writing came from having too much freedom to choose what he works on a daily basis. So this along with the financial side of things is what made us decide to try Homeschooling.

For our full homeschooling journey please read my next blog.

Why the change?

Why did we send our boys back to school? Well, the answer is simple. I am not a teacher. I did not study to be a teacher, I do not know all kinds of tricks to help them learn certain things, I do not know what they are supposed to be able to master and by when, and somewhere along the way, the patience I had as a 19year old taking care of 15 kids at once has faded.

Last year was both the best and worst year for me as a mom. Yes, we got to have lazy, sleep in mornings while everyone else did the morning school rush, yes we could snuggle and play whenever we wanted, we could go to the Aquarium and have the whole place to ourselves. But on the flip side, I felt really under a lot of pressure. It was my responsibility to plan school work. It was my responsibility to set up a routine and actually stick to it. It was my responsibility to make sure they do not fall behind.
All of this while cleaning the house, doing the washing, doing the grocery shopping, cooking and still working in between. It became too much for me and I felt that I wasn’t doing any of the jobs I had on my plate properly. But most importantly I felt like I was failing my boys at being their mother.

I take my hat off to the Homeschooling mothers. I got to know quite a few the last year. Some have 3 or 4 kids and they manage it all, along with all other chores and some even have jobs as well. I am in awe of you. I simply can’t. I really struggled to do it all and to keep it all together.

I felt like I spent most of my days moaning at the kids. I felt like there were more negative moments than positive ones. It wasn’t all bad, we had good days, we had days where we spent the whole day playing, but learning about life, Biology, and Geography while playing, we did fun experiments. We got to spend so much time together, but it wasn’t quality time. I realise that I would much rather let go of my fears of public schooling and embrace my job as their support system, their Cheerleader in life. And if we should come across problems in the next few years at school, we will deal with them together.

I am proud of myself for giving it a try. I am proud that I helped teach my 6 year old to read, that was definitely my biggest accomplishment in 2019. We went from Jan 2019, where he would moan and fight and not want to work on 3 letter words, or even come near a reading book, to Nov 2019 where he would without being prompted take a book and start reading. He is now, not just reading 3 letter words, he is actually reading books and loving it.

While homeschooling I struggled with my eldest to write on his own. He was able to copy things I wrote on the board and did quite well with his spelling tests on a Friday, yet he would have epic meltdowns when he had to write 3 sentences for me. He would start saying that he is Stupid and he can’t do it. We tried all different ways of doing creative writing, none worked, it would all end in tears and frustration.

At one point in June, I realised how I had spent the whole day fighting and moaning. I just felt like I was failing them as a teacher and mother. We had good days, but most days I really struggled to stay positive. Many homeschooling moms told me to take it easy and let them work when they felt like it, to not force it. But this didn’t feel right to me. Sure it does work with some kids, but with mine, if I were to give them the option to do school work or not they would have always opted not to do school work as all other kids would and that worried me. So I set up a schedule and we stuck to it. It did get better but we were still fighting quite a bit.

I tried to incorporate playing with learning, but I found it hard to incorporate writing for my 7 year old into playing and reading for the 5 year old. We did experiments and played math games, scrabble, we took a “trip” around the world. But the 2 things I was trying to teach them we were really struggling with. I started to worry that they were falling behind. So after a lot of consideration, we decided the boys would go back to school.

Now the question was where do we send them? It was mid year, all registrations had closed. My husband wanted a public school and he wanted the school to have a good sports department. I had my eye on 2 other schools, but fees were just ridiculous. We registered them with a much loved Primary school very close to us, unfortunately, this school is very popular and we went on their very long waiting list. By Nov my husband said we should start looking at other schools outside our area, even if we had to move. Luckily we got accepted at a school 15min from where we live. We didn’t have to move.

Please look out for my next few blogs. I will be going into more detail about what we did while homeschooling, and what worked. I will also post about how the boys have adapted to the new school. I do still have fears of things that could go wrong but I am ready and I feel more positive about the year ahead than fearful. I will also post a blog about how I am helping to build my sons’ confidence. I have also since found out what has caused a lack of confidence. It was absolutely heartbreaking, but I am so grateful that I now know and we can now work on improving his confidence.

Kindness, would it kill you?

The world would be a much better place if we could all just be a little kinder to each other. It is really THAT simple. We don’t have to go out and give away all our food, clothes and money to the people who are starving or build houses for the homeless. Don’t get me wrong all of this is good, we should be helping in whichever way we can, but what I am trying to say is, if you are unable to help someone financially or otherwise, you could simply help them with an act of kindness. Even just a “Hey, how are you doing today?” Just take other people’s feelings into consideration for a change.

Would it really kill you to smile at someone walking past you on the street or in a mall? They won’t want to become your new best friend. You don’t know what they have been through, and you might just brighten their day and give them hope by simply showing some emotion as you walk past, acknowledging their existence. For some that could be just what they need, because at home they might be ignored or abused and your smile might just help them get through the day. I take our one neighbours for example. The husband pretends to not see you when he comes home and we happen to be in the driveway, the wife will see you but also try not to make eye contact.

People in the shops, oh my word, they are the worst. Would it kill you to cut a mom with 2 screaming kids some slack? Glaring at her across the queue at the pay points of the local shop like she is the worst thing that could have come across your path that day.  Sure you might be having a shit day as well, but she is trying, giving her the stinky eyeball helps no one.

If you have kids you surely understand the situation she is in. Her kids are demanding sweets after she has said no, she is standing tall, putting her foot down and not backing down just because they are now crying in a public place and disturbing your “peaceful” trip to the shops. It really gets my blood boiling when people look down on others or judge them without knowing them or their situation.

I have experienced both the good and the bad of people whilst out with my two kids. I have had people say to me “Well done, I love to see mothers who don’t just give in to their kids because they are in a public place”  “You are doing a great job” Or I have people commend me for breastfeeding in public. Or thank me for trying to raise my boys to have propper manners by asking them to be too loud in a restaurant.

On two of these day’s were I received these “complements” I was having a super crappy day and you know what, I didn’t know either of those women and they didn’t know me, but I almost cried and hugged them, both times because I was having such a tough day and I felt like a failure and the worst mom ever. Just by saying something positive to me those women made my day and made me feel better about myself.

I have however more often than not, experienced “the stare” You know it….
You can literally hear them thinking “just shut him up already” “just give him the sweets for crying out loud” “she obviously has no idea what she is doing” Or something along that line.

It hurts the most coming from another mom. You want to tell me your child is an angel ALL the time?? Why do you feel the need to make me feel even more shitty about myself than I all ready do?

I have written a blog before about people moaning at me for allowing my boys to play with dolls, or paint their nails stuff like that.
But I have had many other comments.
One day I had to go to Canal Walk to do a grocery shop. My youngest was 2 months and my eldest 2 years. After their mid-day nap, we started off with lunch at Spur. At Spur I had a crap experience with a lady who kept eyeballing me and shaking her head because I was breastfeeding my baby. Then my toddler ran away from me in Spur as we were getting ready to leave. Thank goodness the manager caught him by just as he was about to get on the escalator.

From there we went to Pick n Pay. Now, I was tired and all ready quite stressed out by what happened at Spur. My toddler was not happy about being in the trolley, but I did not want him running around in the shop as I had the baby with me as well. When we got to Pick n Pay I thought, let me place the baby in one of those baby seats. The first 10min went well. As the trolley became fuller, my toddler started saying he wanted to get out. He wasn’t moaning, just asking me to take him out. I realised that I would have to take him out as I would anyway run out of space. Now, yes I know, not the ideal situation to be in, but I had no other choice, I had to have both with me and I had to buy groceries. Anyway, long story short, the paw paw hit the fan in the dairy section. The toddler ran off, there was a lovely elderly lady at one of those sample tables, with some or other cheese. She grabbed my trolley, which had my baby and my bag on, and she said “Go get him, I have this” Ran after him, picked him up, plopped him in the trolley and said “sorry boy, this is where you are staying now”

Now my toddler started to moan. I kept saying no and I explain to him why he has to stay in the trolley, from here there was a lady that was always in the same aisle we were in, she kept looking at me shaking her head. Four aisles on, my toddler is now making a big fuss. I decide to move baby to the wrap and pack everything over to a normal trolley without the baby seat so the toddler could sit in the seat and not the actual trolley. So I had made a plan, the toddler was stil not happy as he wanted to walk/run, but I said he can’t and he was making his peace with it as I was standing my ground. The entire trip to PnP was now taking so long that baby was becoming fussy. I was now trying to wrap things up ASAP. I was mentally and physically exhausted and just want to get back home.

As we get into the queue I take a small bottle of Coke from the fridge. I felt the need for a sugar rush because I was actually shaking. The lady that had seen us a few times in the aisles and who didn’t approve my parenting/coping skills was at the till next to us. I take a big sip of the Coke. My toddler starts “me, me, me, me to mommy, me”

Now everyone who knows me would tell you I never gave my kids Coke when they were little. But after the day I had, I gave him a small sip because I was just absolutely excited and didn’t want to now have him upset about this. Yes, I caved, but I just wanted the day to be over. The lady at the till next to us “Do you have any idea how bad that is for his stomach” I literally had zero energy to even comment. I took another massive sip, left a small mouth full for my toddler. Handed the bottle to him, while looking at her and just said “Really? I had no idea. Thanks for that” Paid and left.

Now, sure, the lady probably thought she would tell me something I don’t know. But I was very well aware of how bad Coke was. But she didn’t know that. She also had no idea what had lead to that specific point. She had no idea the kak 3 hours I had just before that point. My point with all of this is, when you see a child having a meltdown and you do not agree with how the mother is handling it. Or maybe the mother is having a meltdown, whatever, there is no need to comment. Why do some people feel the need to but in? I mean, it has nothing to do with them. Ugh, I don’t know, maybe it is just me.

I just think being kind to someone else doesn’t cost you anything. Just the other day we stopped at the mall. My husband and I got out, 2 cars from us there was a mom moaning at a child in the back of a bakkie. She was clearly frustrated, hands on her hips “honestly, get out of the car please” was the first thing I heard. I looked over, saw she had a baby in a pram and clearly another child in the bakkie.
By now my boys were out. They looked over and you could see the lady felt embarrassed by what was happening. My husband commented “the struggle is real” and I said “I feel your pain, that is usually us” She replied “he doesn’t want to get out of the car because his pants are green”
We wished her luck and walked off. My boys asked “who was that” I said “I don’t know, but it is a mom having a tough day and I sympathised with her” My eldest “Why” Me “because usually, that is me”

“Kindness is a language the deaf can hear and the blind can see”  – Mark Twain

My first Birth was not how I planned it, and that is ok.

My first Birth was not how I planned it, and that is ok.

For those of you who are about to have your first baby and you are having a C-Section, this might help you prepare for what it will be like.

For me, my first birth was filled with SO much joy and yet also so much frustration, disappointment and anger.

On August 3rd 2011 I became a mom for the first time. I always knew I wanted to be a mom. I was 30 when I had my first son, I thought I was ready, but I soon realised that I was not informed well enough about the whole experience. I so desperately wanted to have a natural birth and specifically chose a Doctor who was also pro-natural, as to not have to fight with a doctor about my choices.

At my 36 week check-up, my doctor told me that he is 99% sure that my baby’s head will get stuck and that I would need to have a C-section. I then, of course, burst into tears, because this is not what I wanted and had planned. I really wanted a natural birth. My doctor calmed me down and started explaining to me. He said that there are 4 ways of delivering a baby. The first being natural birth; this is the best/safest way to deliver a baby IF everything is in order. The second safest way is an elective cesarean as the doctor is in control of the situation. Next would be an induction, but he said he is not too fond of doing inductions, as they tend to end up in emergency caesareans. And lastly is an emergency cesarean. This is the riskiest. He said that if he induces me and baby becomes stuck or becomes distressed for any reason they have to do an emergency c-section.  After chatting to him about this I felt a bit better about the procedure but was still not happy.

Thinking back I should just have gone for a second option, but family members told me to just listen to the Doctor as he knew best. Unfortunately, I didn’t listen to my gut and decided to go with the C-section. I was very confused as so many people that I had spoken to who have has C-section complained about the pain afterward, one friend said she could barely pick up her baby. I knew that my husband had to work I would need to be able to do everything on my own. This was one of the many reasons why I didn’t want a C-section. I ended up going for the C-section, my husband had to travel during this time for work, so being able to plan around the c-section date, did help with my anxiety about everything that was going on.

The big day had arrived. We had to get up early; we had to “check in” at the hospital at 6am. I wasn’t allowed to eat or drink anything after 10pm the night before. We got to the hospital and we were taken to our room. The nurses told me to get unpacked and settled in. During the next couple of hours, nurses came to check my blood pressure and temperature. They also attached an ultrasound transducer to my abdomen to check my baby’s heartbeat. I thought I would be super hungry but I was so anxious that I could barely think of eating.

Next, the anesthetist came to introduce himself and he also had a bunch of medical questions and does his calculations.

My time in theater was booked for 11:30. At about 11:00 the nurses came to wheel me off closer to theater. They took my husband to get dressed in his scrubs. I now became very, very nervous. Suddenly it dawned on me. I am about to have major surgery while being awake. I wasn’t scared or anxious about becoming a mother; I was petrified at the thought of having this surgery. 

I saw my doctor and his assistant, I suddenly felt very calm. He always made me laugh. They helped me onto the “table”. I was now becoming nervous again. I wasn’t aware there would be so many people. The anesthetist came over and told me it was time to start. My heart started racing, I hate needles. Is it going to hurt? How big is the needle? Luckily he was awesome, he kept chatting to me and explaining everything he was doing. This helped calm me down. My doctor was also great at distracting me. I receive a spinal block not an epidural.

The anesthetist told me that he would be giving me a small shot to numb the area before he doesn’t the spinal block. I was so grateful to hear this; I almost kissed him, as I was most afraid of the needle going into my spine. He told me the shot would pinch/burn a bit, and it did, but it wasn’t too bad. He then told me that he is now going to do the spinal. He said it would feel “warm” as the liquid goes into my spinal fluids and starts spreading. A friend of mine said that for her it felt like water running down her back. I had both sensations. I felt the warmth of the anesthetics spreading but also the sensation of water running down my back. It is a very strange feeling.

Once he was done the nurses helped me to lie down on what kind of looks like a crucifix. They placed a screen up, just above my stomach. On my one arm they placed a blood pressure monitor, which will help the nurses keep track of your blood pressure. On the other hand, they place a drip, the anesthetist can control your pain relief with this. My husband was given a chair right by my head. 

One nurse inserted the catheter and another had to shave me a little bit more, I apparently didn’t do a good enough job. My doctor told me that he is just going to check a few things and then he will start. 5 min later his head pops over the screen again and he says “can you feel that?” and I say “No” Suddenly I could feel a lot of pushing and pulling and it is becoming uncomfortable, now this was the most bizarre feeling ever. Feeling but also not feeling.

Both the doctor and assistant were both sweating. I hear the assistant say to my doctor “wow its hard work assisting you today” Apparently my little boy was quite happy where he was and did not want to be taken out. As the doctor had him he turned around. The doctor had to take him out with forceps in the end. The poor little guy had quite a few scrapes and bruises.

I got to see and hold him for a few seconds, then they took him away. Just behind my husband the paediatrician examined him and cleaned him up a bit. He also sucked out the fluid in his lungs. Perfectly healthy, all we ever wished for.

Finally, I got to hold him again. But also not for too long before they told me that he had to go into incubation. I was confused but so happy, relieved that he was ok, so I didn’t think anything of it. I told my husband to go with him. The doctor started closing the wound pain. Once the doctor was done closing the wound, I was taken to recovery for a couple of minutes. I asked the nurses where my baby was and why I could not hold him. They said because he was a “prem” (he was born at 38 weeks, which to me was not prem) he had to go into the incubator. I was so confused. He was 3,62kg and healthy, why? I moaned at them and finally they brought him to me, by now it was 3 hours after he was born. I was so upset. I was only now able to let him latch. He latched and started drinking. The remainder of the day was spent with my husband and little man in the room

The next day, just after 6am, 2 nurses came to clean my wound, clean the bed (bare in mind you are bleeding and you haven’t moved since the surgery) The one nurse removed the catheter. It didn’t hurt at all, the first time going to the loo did burn like a bladder infection, but was soon over.

The nurses asked if they need to assist me to take a bath/shower. I said no I will manage on my own and I did. My doctor told me that if I want to have a quick recovery I need to get out of bed as soon as the catheter is out and walk around the room. After my shower I felt like a new person, ready for action. I walked to the nursery to get my baby.

The 2 remaining days I was in the hospital was so crap, I just wanted to go home. I would fall asleep with my baby next to me, only to wake up and find that he was gone. I kept walking to the nursery to get him. I asked them why they kept taking him and they said: “you need to rest”. Yet people are in an out of the room the whole time, the baby never bothered me, they did.

My whole experience the first time around was not what I had expected or wanted.
1) I wanted natural and was told I had to have a C-section. Once I started doing research for my original Mommy Says website I realised I should have just gone for a second opinion. When I met one of the founders of Origin Hospital at the Cape Town Mama Magic Baby expo in 2014 as well as a maternity nurse who spoke openly to me about how doctors bully mom’s into having C-sections, just because it is more convenient for them. I was shocked at some of the stories. I felt very upset with my doctor. Why promote yourself as being por-natural when you are actually not.
Now I did find out the day after I had my son, that my doctor had lost a patient a few weeks before. The mom insisted on having a natural birth even though he had advised her otherwise. There were complications and the mom didn’t make it. Was he being overly cautious with me? Were there in fact signs that we would have had complications? I don’t know.

2) The fact that Henri was taken from me and I was only able to let him latch 3 hours after birth. I am 100% sure that this is why I struggled with breast feeding with him. I was only able to breastfeed him for 3 months. And only once a day because my milk supply was so low.

3)Besides that 3 hour gap, the other reason I think we struggled was that the nurses were feeding him NAN, without me knowing about it.
I was so upset. I walked into the nursery. Saw my baby listed on a board and next to his name it said NAN and then 10ml or 20ml. I asked them about it and they said it was “top up feeds” I mean, were they not suppose to discuss this with me?

So all in all this first birth was not ideal. But in all honesty, I have made my peace with it. For a very long time, I felt so guilty. I felt that I had failed my boy. I didn’t do what was best for him. I felt ashamed that I didn’t “give birth” to him. I felt like a failure. But you know what. He is a strong, healthy, kind, loving, happy 8year old boy. And that is all that matters. No, I did not “birth” him. No, I did not breastfeed him till 2 as I did with his brother. But he is perfect, in every way.

Your baby and your pets

Your baby and your pets

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.