Wednesday, August 26, 2015

independence

you have a big girl bed. and you've slept in it for the past two nights. i sprang it on your papa the night before last stating, "tonight is the night". i wish i had captured his face! i think this has been most traumatic for him. i knew it would be and that's why i made the decision and just did it. because if it was left to him you would be thirty and still sleeping in our room. i really didn't want to have any expectations of you and how it would go, i just wanted it to be what it would be and let it all happen as it needed to and i am so proud to say it went, and is going, so so well. yes we are only two nights in and it's still early days but that's why we have decided to leave your cot in our bedroom for just'in, you know?

in other huge news you went pee-pee in your potty! and it was celebrations and jubilation all round... we've had a potty for some time now and you've always been super enthusiastic about it and so, we've taken our ques from you and then it just clicked in your head one day. your teacher said you did a sprinkle that day at school and were super chuffed with yourself - i mean who wouldn't be! then that evening, you were half naked - as usual - you started holding your little jay-jay and running on the spot, so papa ran and got the potty, you sat, got the most worried look on your face, i mustered all my mama love, looked you dead in the eye, smiled my biggest most encouraging smile and told you "yes baby, that's right, you're doing it perfectly" and you let go! your utter surprise will be forever ingrained in my memory - it was magnificent. you got up, checked your pee out and then we all jumped around and high fived like we had just won the world cup od pee-pee-in-potty and it was pure joy! now we have to do it every time and that's totally cool by us. plus you tiny butt in knickers is next level edible!

finding nemo is the current movie of choice and, of course, so are fishies. papa overruled me an got you a fish which you named where-boo - which is how you say "where you". you adored him. alas where-boo took a ride down the porcelain express and has since been replaced with kurt, dave and chris - three fan tail gold fish. you love feeding them and it's our go to distraction when your attention needs diverting. thanks kurt, dave and chris - we will forever be indebted to your fancy-tailed-selves.

we visited the aquarium last sunday and arrived just as they started to feed the stingrays. what an experience. you were the first little person to stand right against the glass all by yourself, the other kids followed soon after. you looked up at one point and saw a group of kids to your left so you joined them and proceeded to be the loudest and cutest of them all, exclaiming loudly "what is this? what is this? fishies! fishies!" and high fiving the diver through the glass. papa told me later when we got into the car that just before the stingrays you had found two little girls, whom you went to go stand by and when he came closer you turned around, held your hand up and quite adamantly told him"no!" and to "go!" haha! god, i really adore you and your independent bossiness.

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Thursday, July 9, 2015

a peek inside

here's a peek inside bear's bedroom. not that she sleeps in it. oh no. gary and i are far to fond of having a tiny little snuggler in our bed and have yet to actually make a decision on when she will be moved into her big girl bed... i know we are probably shooting ourselves in the foot but it just doesn't feel right to have her so faraway from us. our home is a constant work in progress and so little bear's bedroom is too. i don't think she will ever sleep in here to be honest, next year uncle kyle is moving out and so we will make his much large bedroom her bedroom. shall we call this her playroom for intensive purposes?

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tent: cotton on / dresser: mistry's / mini lanterns & star light: mr p home / triangle decals & cloud mobile: motif  / have you seen my cowboy original illustration: leigh harrington-rielly / bespoke ceramic bear nightlight: the mud co 



Monday, July 6, 2015

two

i'm not going to write you an essay today but rather just share some photo's and a video clip from your birthday. we didn't make a trip to jhb this year but rather chose to spend your special day at home, which turned out grand because you were quite sick. we made decorations, confetti, baked a cake, wrapped your pressies and set it all up for you before we went to bed the night before so that when you woke your brain would explode with birthday awesome! and, that it did. you walked out the bedroom and went "wwwoooowwww" in whispered amazement. it was so so rad. you opened your pressies, played with them a bit and then we feasted on cake for breakfast. you're favorite part was definitely the giant balloon. it was a good day. happy birthday baby lila bear. we love you sweet girl. forever.

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we pimped your trike. papa lovingly sanded it down, re-sprayed it white and added some black and white ribbon tassels to the handles. turned out kinda rad, no?

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Thursday, May 7, 2015

my little girl

because that's what you are now, you have changed immeasurably over the past year and i have been so slack at writing it all down. that's your mama - inconsistent is my middle name. i wanted to especially write this down because we've seen such a massive change in you over the past two weeks. i look at you and no longer see a helpless baby but a little girl with endless energy, an inquisitive little mind and her very own opinions. a little girl who knows exactly what she wants (and how to get it). a little girl who adores school and gets thoroughly upset every time i walk into the kitchen to prep a bottle/coffee/school bag/breakfast then head back into the house instead of out the door. a little girl i cannot get enough of watching interact with her school mates, waving hello and goodbye as they do the same, little eye popped up over the door calling your name and then giving "sugar" (hugs). a little girl who dances and twirls so much she falls down with dizziness. a little girl who lives to be outside playing in the dirt. a little girl who will keep taking my hand and leading me to the gate while i'm trying to cook dinner or tidy up. a little girl who struts.

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you started talking a while ago and have had a few words for some time - mama, dada, papa, coco, no, hello, bye-bye, ky, kiki (your teacher nicky), gogo (teachers assistant who you all adore), doof (dog), mouw (cat), preese (please). sure, you attempted new words - mostly names here and there. some stuck, some didn't. then we arrived in jo'burg and it all came to crashing halt. you called us liars almost the entire trip - we couldn't even get you to whisper "papa" (probably the cutest thing you say because you won't talk it like every other word but insist on whispering it). you even stopped baby jabber. you went totally mute - bar the uncontrollable giggles when papa tickled you of course. had our little show-off gone all shy? were you feeling overwhelmed? the answer, a huge resounding NO. we now know you were taking it all in, learning, processing, getting ready to explode with new words, mannerisms and a deeper understanding of the world around you.

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you're love for the moon is finally verbalised as you point skywards, inhale excitedly and proudly proclaim "moo". could this mama and papa be more enchanted? and when it's morning and the moon is sleeping, we ask, "where's the moon baby?" you hold out your little hands at shoulder height with the sweetest expression of not knowing on your beautiful face. could you be anymore edible? when the sun baby rises and giggles in teletubbies you become so overcome, smiling, giggling, ecstatically stomping those busy feet and bringing both your hands to your mouth in absolute over-flowith-joy! when you see no-face in howls moving castle, wave and happily greet him "hello". the way you sing along in song of the sea. coming up from nana's and seeing you knock-knock-knock on the glass door, so polite and well mannered. you. blow. kisses. mama's morning delight - we drop you at school and papa takes you out your seat and we blow one another kisses and wave "bye-bye". you wave hello to everyone you who crosses your path and it's so sweet but also terrifying at the same time because you are way to friendly.

things that are still totally you but better expressed - well for one your total infatuation with your papa. you kicked me out the of the bedroom the other morning - we had woken, as we usually do on a weekend morning, and were letting daddy sleep in. on noticing the bedroom door was closed, you ran over to it and began banging on it and moaning, so naturally i opened it for you and followed you in. you took one look at papa, turned on your heel, pushed me out the room and then shut the door in my face. heart-breaking but freaking cute! i just adore your madamness. last night you picked up a cushion, laid it in papa's nook, climbed up on the couch and snuggled on in there - snuggling papa has always been your thing but now you do it so independently. you've counted along with me while i scoop the formula into your bottle since you were a few months old - i now hear the words forming in your utterly kissable mouth. you are still such a ball of energy and it's go time from the time those big beautiful eyes open until they gently slide closed at night. one day we shall have you a t-shirt made that states quite matter-of-factly "i came here to fuck shit up.". i do have to say that you are incredibly sweet and easy going for a little girl who’s a month away from your second birthday. the depth of that sweet, easy goingness never ceases to amaze...  

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keep being amazing lila bear.

love,
mama


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

being a mama - getting home, failing boobs and it really does take a village

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so excited that our most awesomely cool nifty250 prints arrived yesterday! i'm so pumped to frame them up and hang them in bears bedroom for her. our very lovely friend gareth gave lila this super thoughtful gift for her birthday. thanks gareth, they are just so cool.

i wanted to share a bit more of my mama story with you all today. so let's just dive in, yes?

our first night home was terrible. we were so nervous! lila picked up on it, of course, and she cried the entire night... it was terrifying. exhausting. I remember so clearly, in the early hours of the morning, gary and i looking at each other, fear etched on our faces, beyond not saying “what the hell have we done?”… we did. we were so freaked out we spoke those words. aaahahaha! a moment of pure terror.

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we had exactly one hour sleep that night... the photo above is most gorgeously deceptive- gary and lila snuggling the next morning. take the filter off and the glorious truth is revealed… tired, black shadows under her papas eyes. i’m happy to report we found our way through it and if us then could see us know, i swear we wouldn’t have believed it.

as parents we can sit and sprout off all the info and advice in the world but each families experience is unique and if i can give one bit of advice it's that i promise, you'll figure it out some how. you're doing it right! even though it really doesn't feel that way ninety five percent of the time : )

i did not get the baby blues. i didn't even have a teary day. i cried when she was born but that was pure joy. i feel guilty admitting this. isn't it like, a right of passage or something? i know it’s a very real thing for a lot of moms out there and can turn into postpartum depression very quickly. i had even had the talk with gary, warning him about the imminent “attack of the hormones” but they did not come... perhaps they stole through me in the night, i don’t know. maybe i was so high on happiness i didn't notice… the only tears i shed in those first few days were from excruciating pain. they we more precisely not tears, they we’re tinny rivers flooding and crashing down my cheeks. ugly silent flooding and crashing sobs caused from exquisite pain… self-inflicted pain. radiating from my gosh darn nipples.

i over did the nipple cream. in my defense i was only following what we were taught in antenatal classes… nipple cream. nipple cream. nipple cream! i literally made one of the most sensitive parts of my body even more sensitive! the poor girls… i spent two whole days in agony, silently sobbing, face scrunched up in pain through every forty minute feed… my mom walked in and found me sitting on my bed hunched over my baby, tears silently streaming down my face, trying desperately to get through a feed. she sat next me and soft talked me through it, urging me to not concentrate on the pain but instead to try push it aside and find my happy place. once we were done, she took lila from me and gave her to my step mom, she walked me gently to the bathroom and helped me wash and gently massage my aching swollen boobes under soothing warm water. she told me to lay off the nipple cream and try to dry my nipples out - i needed to toughen those bad boys up! i sat after each feed with giant ice cold cabbage leaves over each radiating boob – i had those schmoozie little boob shaped ice packs but the cabbage just did a better job. i also sat topless a lot of the time and even tanned them a bit in a patch of sun on my bed. 

sure, i had knockers to start off with but boy when your milk comes in do those puppies double in size. rock hard, veiny and full of tiny hard lumps that need to be gently massaged out during a hot shower. if i remember correctly my milk came in around the same time i left hospital, around day four.

if there was one thing i wanted to do the natural way (seeing as we opted for a ceasar) it was breastfeed and so i did. lila latched beautifully in hospital and we soon had the hang of it. i loved feeding her. there is such an intimacy about feeding your baby, a bond only the two of you will ever share. all was well and good. one evening i wanted to give the old breast pump a whirl and managed to express a full one hundred and fifty ml bottle in twenty minutes flat. from one boob! i hand an abundance of milk and it was the good nourishing kind. my baby was happy and putting on weight at an amazing rate. i found it incredible how in tune my boobs became with my babies feeding routine. my nipples would tingle and i would feel that unmistakable pull from inside whichever boob she was to feed from and it would start to leak seconds before she would wake. the first time i went to the shop without her, she was about three weeks old, ga and i had just popped to the baby store to get some odds and ends and i was thoroughly looking forward to an outing. what blew my mind was how my boobies behaved the entire forty five min we were away! they pulsed their protest at being separated from their baby! such a strange sensation - who knew? my mom did. but it's so hard to comprehend these kinds of things when you haven't experienced them yourself.

just a warning, when you get out of a hot bath or shower have a breast pad at the ready because they spray. literally. also you have to sleep in a bra. as well as being constantly leaky, he girls are gonna be pretty swollen and sore - you’re gonna want strap ‘em down. i found the most comfy bra to sleep in was this one. no clips, no adjustable straps, just a plain and simple cross over “crop” if you will with pretty lace detail. i also purchase a couple of these for day time and outings.

stock up on button downs, cross over and low v-neck shirts & dresses. it's much easier and more discreet to just unbutton and pop one out rather than having to lift your entire dress/shirt to feed you little.

at about three months i started to notice that lila would cry continuously in the evenings, her little tummy would rumble and her feeds were becoming increasing shorter… the midwife at the clinic assured me that it was quite normal for her to feed for shorter time periods as she grew because she was getting stronger and so better at sucking down her meal. the rumbling tummy was assumed to be wind. and the crying? well we blamed the wind. i dunno, something was off and i could feel it. she was such a chilled little human. it was totally out of character for her to cry. i knew in my gut something was up. i was still on maternity leave so there was no need for me to express and i was exclusively breast feeding her. but the crying persisted. we thought colic? we tried colic drops but nothing? her little tummy continued to grumble all the time. i really watched what i ate encase it was making her windy and drank a lot of water every day. no change. i even took her to see a chiropractor who assured me she was all in alignment. one evening, and i have no idea what spurred me to do it but i sat down on my bed with my breast pump and pumped. i pumped and pumped for two hours and do you know what?  i only got about fifty ml from both breasts... i thought my pump was faulty. turns out it was the old breasticles that were faulty! shock-freaking-horror!!! do you know how guilty i felt? my baby was starving and it was my fault! how could i have not known? why had i not picked this up sooner? thank god i thought to pump? why had it taken me so long to do this? i had failed her. the next morning i rang my doctor and got a script for some pills to help my milk production. i picked them up on the way to the clinic, i needed to know she was okay and that i hadn't done too much damage… 

the mid wife was very sweet and reassuring. lila had lost weight since our last weigh in but she assured me she was fine and as long as i substituted with a bottle while i got my milk production back to where it should be, she would continue to grow and develop. she assured me we would get my milk back and lila exclusively breastfeeding in no time at all. the plan was to express from both breasts, bottle feed her the expressed milk and give the balance of seventy five ml feed in formula. we would increase feeds by twenty five ml per week to allow her tummy time to stretch. i would need to express every three hours, mimicking our routine, until my milk was back to where i needed it to be. i did it and it was exhausting! getting up two – three times a night to feed your newborn is bad enough now i had to spend a good hour or more, sterilizing and then expressing after i had fed her. but i did it. for as long as i could. you see i got so paranoid that she would refuse my boobs after feeding from a bottle, sucking boob is harder work than sucking bottle. i started to feed her first on the boob and top her up with a bottle. it worked for a while but then she started to refuse my boob, which was heart breaking for me. she started to only accept boob at her first feed in the morning, i guess because that’s when my milk was at its highest. i eventually came to terms with a once a day feed – hell, one was better than none.

as more and more time passed the more she would refuse the boob. i remember the feeling of failure, how often i would cry to my mom and ga. i would beg lila to please, just bear with me a little longer, that i was trying. eventually,  i was so exhausted, sad, drained, tired and defeated that i took my mom’s advice and gave up after two months of trying to get it all right. it has, to date, been the hardest decision i’ve ever made. i had my heart so set on a full year of breastfeeding. it’s gotten a bit better as time has passed and i try to focus on the positive things; my baby is well fed and healthy and i am wiser for it. we had 4 months of breastfeeding and bonding. most importantly we still have each other. it doesn't matter that much, does it? i gave it my best shot. i really did. we are happy and healthy, lila is growing and developing and it’s given the other people in her life the chance to feed her too. i so still long for it. i still feel so guilty that i couldn't give her just one year. i still feel that stab of jealousy when i see other mamas feeding their tiny babies from their bosom. it sucks. but there is sweet nothing i can do about it now. i just hope that this post maybe helps another struggling mama. maybe you’ll see some similarities in what you’re going through and i hope it pushes you to express, if only for the “express” (hehe) reason of checking that your milk flow is where it should be. my doctor didn't pick it up, my mid wife didn't pick it up, lila’s pediatrician didn't pick it up and neither did google. i followed my gut in the end. 

if i can just add one last little bit to this post, having my mama's support, guidance, reassurance and encouragement at my disposal was one of the best life experiences i've had. i know some people view having a baby as "their" experience but for me/us it was a family experience. i am just so grateful that my mama and i are so exceptionally close. i adore her and wont make any sort of big decision in life without considering her council. i'm also so grateful that my mama is the woman she is, gentle and wise and internally loving. what can i say, she is the epitome of a mama ; ) even garrels calls her when he needs to talk about something. i just adore how close they are.  as a woman going through a lot of changes, having just given birth via cesarean section (a pretty major operation) for the very first time, it was so great to have her knowing reassurance (having born three of her own children by the same method) and gentle support. my family were all around us really, dad, step mom, brother, uncle, aunts and cousins. i am also so grateful for all of them. all of these incredible people allowed me to lavish in my new baby and cocoon away. we leaned on them and it was most certainly necessary at times. my mom would make me breakfast, lunch and endless cups of tea everyday, take lila after feeds and let me nap. she would advise us when ever we had questions or were unsure. we would sit and gush over our new little person and be all gooey-in love together. it was beautiful and real and profound. you know they say, "it takes a village to raise a child", well i believe.


  

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

dear one year old lila bear

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dear one year old lila bear, i didn't get to writing you a letter as i always do when we reach a milestone so i'm doing it now, ten whole days late! naughty mommy. i know you will forgive me because we've just settled back into some semblance of a routine after our very short but exceptionally busy trip to jozi-town for your first birthday party.

my little love, as you grow so does the love i have for you. if you told me when you were born that i would love you even more than i did then i would have told you to "shut-up!". but it's true. you just get sweeter and braver and more adventurous, inquisitive, expressive and oh so entertaining. we could sell tickets to the lila bear show and be sold out every night.

you have eight teeth, which you love to show off by tipping your head back, squeezing your eyes closed, scrunching up your teeny nose and smiling your biggest, cheekiest smile - as seen in the picture above. it's quite glorious really.

you just started walking. you had been practicing all of your birthday weekend which resulted in two lovely purple bruises on your sweet little face. you took your first non-falling-totally-balanced-steps at your nani and oupa's house the night before we left to come home. i'm so happy that you gave them that special gift because they don't get many special moments with us living so far away. you now penguin walk about the house and it's wonderful!! such a clever little tot.

now that you can stand you shake-shake-shake that sweet little boodie! it's freaking aaaaaasem!

we visited angie the next day at wolves because we were told, in no uncertain terms, that if we left jo'burg without her meeting you we would be in huge trouble. angie has always been one of your biggest fans and said to me that you needed to "win an award or something" for being so darn cute. well ain't it the truth! it was so great to eat some dumplings, twice fried beef and have a good old catch up! angie is pregnant with her first baby and had so many questions. we chatted and ate while garrels ran around after you. boy you're a busy little person and it is impossible for us to sit down and have a meal in peace. one of us always has to be on "patrol". anyway we wish you guys all the very best for the arrival of baby shangie tobias! you're going to be incredible parents!

you adore you nana! you become quite shy when going to new places and meeting "new" faces but not at your nana's. you were out of that little shell the moment we entered the house. i actually think you kinda remember her because it was such a seamless transition for you. i also think little poppet (nana's jack russel) helped an awful lot. you two are obsessed with one another and i was really excited for this trip because i knew there would be a little dogie that would love and play with you. our first few minutes at nana's you had crawled into the entrance hall and sat on the rug, little poppet got the total zoomies (you know when dogs get the wind up their bums and race about like crazy little creatures?)! from the lounge through the entrance hall to the dinning room and back she went. a bazillion times. you fell about with the hysterical laughter as she passed you each time. instant friends! you would hold her ball and offer it to her then hug it to your belly as she came for it (little tease) resulting in more hysterical laughter. you two even engaged in a little game of tug of war when poppet would try pull your shoosha (pacifier) out your mouth! pretty heart warming stuff. i wish we had a poppet at home for you... one day.

you've been able to say "mama", "dada" and "baba" for a while now but you didn't actually know what they meant. i am so thrilled to report that your first official (official in the sense that you fully understand what you you are saying) word is "ma" and that's meee! woooohoooo! haha! can't tell you how chuffed i am about that. it feels like a victory. every time i wander past you and you want my attention you say "ma". it's so grand. your latest word is "no". you fully understand this one too. and so you should because we say it to you often enough. we were sitting on sunday morning, watching mary poppins (you absolute favorite movie) and i offered you some more tea, to which you matter-a-factly replied "no" shaking your head at the same time. well, i couldn't get enough of that so i probably spent a good hour offering you "more tea"... silly mama.

what else, oh! papa is your absolute favorite. when i say that, i mean it. the poor dude can't even get home and change into his comfies without you kicking up a fuss. the minute you hear his voice you go berserk. the other evening i was giving you a bath when he got home and popped his head in the door to say hello. let me give you some context here, bathing is your "piggie-in-pooh". true story. there is nothing you love to do more than bath. you'd play for hours if we let you and getting you out is always a fight. so, papa popped his head round the corner and said hey and that was it, you would have no more of splish-splashing. no siree, mmm-mmm! you stood up, held your hands out to him and screamed your head off. i think he finds it a bit exhausting because you won't even let him pee on his own. if he hasn't managed to sneak past you, you beetle off after him moaning until he picks you up.

you're new little game is teasing people. you will offer to give something to someone and as soon as that person reaches out for the item in hand, you snatch it away and hug whatever you're holding to your belly and giggle. cheeky!

you're brave. too brave. i think most moms will say that about their one year olds because it's how you learn. you have to be brave and have no concept of fear in order to attempt to sit, crawl, stand, walk. if i hold your hand while we walk somewhere you often end up trying to run. little person, you haven't even master walking yet, can we slow it down a tad? i can just hear you saying "no!" in my head when i ask that question - haha!

well little love. i adore you. keep on being awesome, now see?

love,
mama


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