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Repeat After Me

Surviving Life, Love & Babies..

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Motherhood

Summer Fun with Little Ones..

Don’t know about where you live, but here, when the sun comes out, everyone suddenly comes to life. Not sure what it is about a sunny day that fills people with motivation.. but anyway, with little kids, there are so many fun options when you can get out and about. Our Summer bucket list goes a little bit like this:

  1. Water play! This comes in all varieties at our place on a hot day – a blow-up pool full of plastic balls, a sprinkler to run through, a hose on the trampoline, a hose in the garden to make lovely mud, buckets and pouring cups, buckets and bubbles, washing the car, washing the windows (mum washes, kids spread water), a water slide made of plastic sheeting and bubble bath, and a sand and water table with water wheels and bridges. Nothing like getting wet on a hot day to make the kiddies smile!
  2. The beach. We walk, explore rock pools and shells, build sand castles and water ways for the waves to fill, chase waves and throw balls, draw in the sand with big sticks to make patterns or play hangman and tic tac toe.
  3. Local parks. We like to find and explore new parks and nature reserves in our area – there are so many! Just a different playground can inject more fun into a quick play stop.
  4. Rock Hunts. Paint rocks and hide them in local parks.  See if you can find rocks others have left. Start a rock collection and join a rock hunting page on Facebook to see who has found your rocks.
  5. RAK – random acts of kindness.  Leave little gifts for other kids in the neighborhood, bake cookies for an old lady on your street, make cards of appreciation for people who have helped you, or help out with chores that need doing. 
  6. Hidey holes. Pitch a tent, make a cubby out of sheets or boxes, put curtains around the trampoline, or build a real cubby house, for a shady place to play and read. 
  7. Arts and crafts. So many options! Painting, drawing, making stamps from recycled rubbish or potatoes, paper crafts, marbling, making collages, string crafts, .. the list is endless. 
  8. Baking. Green pancakes, decorated muffins and cakes, cut and iced biscuits, gingerbread men or houses, pastries or bread.. the kids love helping and making a mess!
  9. Bath fun.  When cleaning up, we still like to have fun – bubbles, bath toys and water pipes, shaving foam, glow sticks in the dark, bath paints and coloured water!
  10. Picnics. There is something fun about eating outside, whether it’s on the trampoline, on a blanket or in the back of the car on a windy day. 
  11. Nature walks. We like to explore different walks and tracks in our area..there are waterfalls and quarries, boardwalks and Bush tracks. We bring something home – a rock, stick, feather – to paint or make art with!
  12. Rides and races.  We get out all our wheeled things, including improvised ones, and race around the house. When that gets old, a ride to the local park works great. 
  13. Music! We have a collection of instruments that only come out some days (when mum can handle the racket) and also like to make our own with pots and pans, glasses filled with water, cans and tins as drums, and elastic bands around baking tins. There are also great music programs near us for kids which are on one day a week, so much fun and no cleanup!
  14. The library. Most city libraries have great kids sections these days, with toys and activities, and a reading day one a week for the kids. 
  15. Animals.  We have an animal park and a bird park near us, as well as a zoo not too far away. Or we have neighbours who sometimes drop their dog to us when they go away. Lots of fun for the kids.. and hopefully the dog, too!
  16. City events.  We are always on the lookout for fun things happening in our city. Movies in the park, night markets, morning markets, open days at playgroups, opening events and sausage sizzles, christmas parades and school fetes, international food days.. if it fits in with our schedule, we try to get out there! Sign up to a local events page on Facebook and get notified when things are on. 
  17. Kids cafes. Or kid friendly cafes. All cafes are not equal in this regard! Find ones with playgrounds and play areas so everyone can enjoy an outing with a friend!
  18. Garden fun. Give the kids a section of veggie patch to call their own, and grow seeds and plants from cuttings. Improvise a little hothouse, build a plant tower, or create a strawberry patch. Make bird feeders and bird scarers. Make garden decor – painted rocks, fancy plant name signs, or beautiful outdoor art!
  19. Tiki tours. We love jumping in the car and seeing where we end up. We are lucky to live in an amazing place with heaps of options nearby.. beautiful beaches galore, cute country towns to explore, a nearby tourist town with cultural activities and a gondola, lakes for swimming and fishing, and hot pools.. all within an hour’s drive from home. Pack some snacks and a pillow each. Throw in some car games and toys.  Stop for an ice-cream somewhere. 🙂 good times. Don’t forget the camera!
  20. Fun with friends! All of the above, but with friends or family to make things even more enjoyable! It only takes a little more planning to include others and intensify the fun. Take turns hosting in the yard or meet out there. And if mum is feeling brave, perhaps a sleepover;)
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Rock Hunting!! The new craze getting us out and about!

Rock hunting is starting to go viral here in New Zealand ! Apparently it started in the States, but Kiwis catch on fast and we are taking it to a whole new level 🙂

The idea is that you and the kids get onto Facebook and join a rock hunting page, and find out which local parks and reserves near you are rock-hunting hot spots. Then grab a bunch of promising-looking rocks from round the garden, neighbours flowerbeds, or landscaping shops, and paint them up with beautiful creations. Monsters, glittery rainbows, animals or messages – let the kids go crazy painting whatever they can think up. 

Rocks can be painted with acrylic paint or nail polish, and sealed at the end with clear lacquer or watered-down craft glue that dries clear, to protect artworks from the elements. In permanent marker on the back, write your town name, and the name of the Facebook group you are in, so that when people find the rock, they can upload a picture, and you can see who found it, and where!

If that’s not fun enough, now the real fun begins! Grab a snack and head down to a local park for a rock hunt! Hunt high and low, round trees and buildings, fountains and fences, and find as many rocks as you can!! You might find 3 or 30, but it’s the fun of the hunt that counts! 🙂 

Collect your treasure of painted rocks together, take a photo of them all, and then choose a favorite rock to keep for your own rock collection at home. Then re-hide all the rocks so that others coming later in the day can find some treasure too!! Or you might want to re-hide half of them, and take some with you to hide at a different park today or tomorrow. It’s fun to see how far the rocks can travel – some have gone across the country and even to other countries!!

When you get home, don’t forget to upload the picture of your treasures, and say where you found them, so that other kids can see their rocks online and enjoy knowing their rocks made your day fun. You can also watch to see if anyone finds the beautiful rocks that you worked so hard on:) 

Such a great way to pass a Summer day. Kids all over NZ are getting out and about to the different parks in their area, and parents are loving that the latest craze is good, wholesome, and almost free, fun 🙂

Winning the Gestational Diabetes Lottery..

Soo. I am currently 35 weeks in my second pregnancy.. so we’ve only got about 5 weeks to go now, little girl due technically on the 24th of Nov, but am having some trouble with gestational diabetes, won the lotto on that one with 4% of the pregnant population, lucky me, so am having to be very good with my diet and things and inject myself with insulin etc.. not much fun. At first I really did think it was the end of the world, and had to go have a diabetes clinic appointment at the hospital where they told me I’d have to eat a low carb, low sugar diet, and prick my finger to test my blood glucose levels 6 times per day till they knew how bad things were. Wasn’t very happy at the end of that appointment.

So i dutifully went home, ate salad and veggies, and pricked my fingers, only to see some unwelcome patterns in my bloods that basically included high fasting glucose levels (First thing in the morning, your blood sugars should be low, but mine were consistently over the limits set by the powers that be, even though all I was doing was sleep.) So.. joy.. the lovely ladies at the clinic told me that there was nothing i could do about overnight levels – pregnant bodies make most of their preggie hormones at night, and my body just wasn’t coping with the pregnancy. So i had to start insulin shots. I know, I’m a big wuss, but when they showed me how to inject myself there were plenty of tears – I hate needles! – and over the next few days I took deep breaths and steeled myself to push that damned needle in, but slowly the fear wore off, and now I do my shots like a good girl each night.

I think mainly it was the hump of having to do it at all! I just wanted to sit on the couch like a sloth and eat cake and get fat like so many other pregnant women, and eating rabbit food and injecting myself on a nightly basis didn’t exactly feature in my slovenly plans.

I’m also really hoping that I don’t end up with Type 2 as a parting gift from this pregnancy, but there’s about a 50/50 chance I’ll get it (if I don’t simply continue to have it after the birth) within a few years with my risk factors and all (being an older mum, being technically obese, and having Diabetes in the family) so lucky me! NOT feeling happy about that part! I have to lose significant weight right after the birth to lower the chances. I know, it’s technically a good thing, but I’m well aware how hard that will be since I put on 10kgs after my son was born.. Cos you know, sleeplessness and breastfeeding (provided i can this time) aren’t enough to deal with on their own… Anyhow.

It may also mean that I get induced early to keep little girl out of danger – I’ve got a raft of medical appointments on the 4th of Nov to decide if they are going to get her out early or not. So we shall see. One way or another as long as we both get through it, I guess it’s not the end of the world, but i was kinda hoping to have a natural birth like last time.. and the more they interfere the more likely I’ll just end up getting her c’d out. so that sucks, but i guess it’s too early to stress about that yet. The joys!! But if there is anyone else out there who has just been diagnosed with GD and is freaking out as much as I did, take heart, in a month or so you’ll be feeling a lot more comfortable with things again. It doesn’t have to ruin your enjoyment of your pregnancy and it IS something that you can deal with. I’m a huge wuss and I am managing. So take heart xx And I guess we do this one step at a time 🙂20161015_094728

Anything but controlled crying.

OMG. Currently trying to stay sane and not leap to the rescue of my cute little cuddly boy as he stands at the end of his cot closest to the door, screaming his guts out. I feel like SUCH a bitch. But it’s been such a long time coming. He’s 10 months in 3 days, and he’s been waking us up 4-8 times per night since the day he was born. He’s 11.25 kgs, so he’s a porker, he doesn’t eat much on the night feeds, and he just LOVES a cuddle. But mummy and daddy need some consistent sleep again.

SOOOO many people have looked at me like I’m insane when I say I still get up to him umpteen times per night. I get flat-out disapproval when I admit I’m still feeding him twice (I get 3-4 hours sleep after a feed, whereas I get him waking every hour without them). And I constantly have (well-meaning, I guess, but it doesn’t often feel like it) pushy family members going, ‘ he should be sleeping through the night, you’re just pandering to him. Let him cry and he’ll get the idea.’

WELL – here I am bossy bootses – listening to my little man scream.. we’re going on 15 mins right now. Whole-hearted screaming. This better freaking work or I’m going to punch the next person who tells me to let him scream. Ok, maybe not punch, but certainly tell them to shove their advice. The only thing making me stay in this seat is knowing that others have done it and succeeded, or else so many people wouldn’t give this advice. Right?? It’s got to be worth it in the end. It better be. This sucks.

I’ve been doing it during the day leading up to this joyous night. He takes anywhere between 10 mins to 1.45 hours to calm down and finally lie down and go to sleep. He’s not used to it, and this is his first time in the dark. Sigh. feeling horrible. 25 mins and counting. Looong way to go yet…

The Endless Questions of Parenthood.

The biggest thing parents DON’T bother to tell prospective parents is how mind-numbingly endlessly confusing being a parent is. I’d kill for a week off. Not literally of course; that would make me a psycho. But man – a week in Raro, umbrella drink in hand and my biggest worry how sunburnt my lilly-white ass is getting – that is my idea of heaven right now.

My son has just popped through his first little teeth. Happy joy, right? NO. No happy. No joy.

This last week has been back-to-back whining, crying, refusing food, refusing his favourite boobs, not happy when jumping with Daddy, not happy when rolling about on the floor, momentarily happy on the back lawn (if only the sun would bloody come out a little more!!), winging till he’s got mum AND dad’s full attention but not knowing what to do with it once he’s procured it, waking up at all hours of the day and night, 1.5 hour naps suddenly turning into 35 min ones.. sigh.

And that’s without all the questions. MY GOSH. THE ENDLESS QUESTIONS.

Is he pooping too much? Too little? Is his head too hot? Too cold? Too red? What is that red mark? Why won’t those rough patches go away? Shall we go to the doctor again for a better cream, or wait and see? Are those spots? Shall I google Measles and see? Have you given him a bath? Is every second day too long between? Does that create or ruin the routine? Why does he cry so much when he gets dressed? Do babies prefer to be naked? Will he get cold if I leave him naked for longer than 3 minutes? How long do you have to do nappy-free time for? Are those pants too tight for him tummy? Does he have a poop in his pants? Did I just put him to bed without changing his nappy? Does that make me a mean parent? Why is he crying like that? Should I pick him up? Should I leave him in the cot? Should I just rock him to sleep so we can all have a moment’s rest? Can he see the TV from there? Is that going to numb his brain cells? Is the screaming on the movie going to give him bad dreams? Can he sleep with that racket on in the background? Is it better to turn the white noise up or let him hear some household noise? Will it help him sleep longer? Am I overusing it? Why did he only sleep for 20 minutes then? Should I put him in the portacot now and then to help him sleep somewhere else? Should we just put him on a big bed and let him sleep there when we’re out? Should we even go out at bedtime or is it better to stick to the routine? What if he doesn’t sleep there at all and ruins the evening? Is it better to stay at home and bring people here? What shall I cook – can he eat it too? Should I be making sure he eats some green vegetables? Will he turn orange from all the carrots and pumpkin? Should I be making my own and freezing it? Do we need a bigger freezer? Should I be spoon-feeding or letting him mash it with his hands and make a huge mess? What if he takes a big mouthful and chokes on it? Should I just let daddy be in charge of eating? What about messy play? Am I a bad mum if I haven’t let him coat himself in avocado, ever? Am I too worried about the mess? Will he really not learn as much if I don’t let him get it all over him? What about learning rules though? Are the days of, ‘don’t play with your food’ all over now, are they? What about the wastage and the children in Africa? Should he sit in his chair only to eat? But what about if he’s just chewing on something? Will these rusks dry like concrete on my floor? What about if I’m out and can’t heat up his normal food? Will people give me dirty looks if he cries in the cafe? What if I can’t fit the pram into the cafe? Will I have to hold him the whole time? Should I be wearing him anyway? What if sitting in the pram all day is giving him abandonment issues? What about at home? Am I leaving him to play too long on his own? Should I be offering more interesting toys and activities? Should I look on Pinterest for more ideas again? What if he doesn’t learn to entertain himself and becomes one of those annoying kids who says, ‘I’m bored’ all day long? Shall I leave him longer when he winges? Will he lose trust in me if he cries too long?question mark

Just saying.

Baby Food, Maybe Food..

So. Continuation of the baby food exploration.

I’ve realised that my son has a sweet tooth the size of China, and I really need to do something about balancing that up. Was thinking about different flavours, textures and food styles, and am going to try to have a variety of them in his diet – just so he can keep trying new things. I so don’t want a kid who won’t eat anything but pasta and tomato sauce later!!

So:

Sweet – far too easy and obvious, but: Sweet Potato, Pumpkin, Fruits – Prunes, Bananas, Mangoes, Pears, Peaches, Grapes, Berries, etc, Carrot, canned Beetroot, Custard..

Sour/Tart  – Kiwifruit, Grapes, Lemon, Yoghurt, Sour Cream, Pickles, Cranberries, Pineapple, Lime..

Salty/Savoury – Crackers, Seaweed, Meat and veg mixes, Vegetable mixes..

Bitter – Rocket, Spinach, Kale, Brussels Sprouts..

Creamy – mushy peas, Avocado, Cheese, mashed Potato/Kumera, Egg Yolk, Peanut Butter, Corn..

Crunchy – Capsicum, raw Carrot, raw Apple, raw Broccoli, Snow Peas, Celery..

Spicy – Garlic, Chilli, Curry, Ginger..

Watery – Melons, Celery, Cucumber..

Chewy/Rubbery – Pita Bread, Broccoli stems, Green Beans, Lychees, Pineapple, Noodles..

Soft – Pancakes, Scrambled Egg, Banana, Avocado..

lemons

…..Off to make some scrambled eggs for breaky. If the boy is lucky, he might get some.. maybe.. 🙂

Baby Food Schmaby Food..

Vegetable-Colours-whiteGawsh, well I put this one off as long as I could, but I’m finally into giving my son solids, and he generally loves it. Problem is, I’m in a rut already. A couple of weeks in. Ha.

He loves his pumpkin, sweet potato and carrot. He hated rice cereal till I laced it with honey and pear, but then it plugged him up for 13 days, so that was the end of that. So on the ole mother-in-laws suggestion I started him on some oatmeal and pear, but when that didn’t work, I rang a community nurse who gave me heaps of good advice on how to get him pooping again and also happened to mention that oatmeal will plug him up more as his tummy isn’t ready for it till about 9 months. Joy. Too many rookie mistakes here!! So I started him on stewed prunes and pear, which he seemed to love for the first 3 days then turned his nose up at for the next week. Aaaaand, that’s about where I’m at.

In my other post I mentioned that I’m avoiding a whole raft of foods because they make dear son burp, fart and screech till all hours with tummy cramps, so I am not game to try feeding those things directly to him (seeing the miniscule amount he gets through breastmilk is enough push him off the normal wagon..) So. No broccoli, cauliflower, onions, leek, cabbage, lentils, beans, legumes, chocolate flavours or anything with caffeine (easy for baby but not for mummy!!) Cuts down my veg options a bit, which is annoying, as it’s all the cheap ones.

So I went off to look for new food ideas.

My friend and I came up with the idea to make coloured mixes of veggies for every day eating:

(And yes I know some of these are technically fruit, but I’m sticking with sweet vs savoury!! 🙂 )

Green Mix – Zucchini, Spinach, Beans & Peas, Bok Choi (for her, Cabbage & Broccoli as well)

Yellow – Capsicum, Squash, Corn,

White Mix – Parsnip, Potato, Yams, White Sweet Potato, Taro, Mushrooms (for her, Cauliflower)

Orange Mix – Carrot, Pumpkin, Sweet Potato (for her, onion)

Purple Mix – Eggplant, beetroot, turnip (Red Cabbage or Caulif for her)

Red – Capsicum, Tomato

And also some coloured fruit mixes:

Green – Green Apple, Kiwifruit,

Orange – Mandarin Oranges, Peaches, Nectarines,

White – Pear, Lychees, Coconut, Custard Apple,

Yellow – Pineapple, Banana, Mango

Red – Strawberries, Cherries, Raspberries, Cranberries

Purple – Blueberries, Prunes,  Figs, Grapes (no skin), Mulberries, Plums

I would have liked to add melons, but I don’t think they’d stew/mush up well for the freezer. I’m all into making a big batch and freezing some for another day. Why do more work than you have to??!!

So. We’ll see how I go. Want to try the green veggies mix first, or veggies other than orange at least, because my little man is going to turn orange soon!!

Repeat After Me: I will not end up feeding my child yoghurt at every meal instead of getting him to try healthy veggies and fruit 🙂

Sleep Training… Failure..

So. Sleep Training. What a joy. (fingers down throat.)

So my little man was the baby who screamed the hospital down. The poor boy had a squashed head from being stuck in an unfavourable posterior position for hours, was forceped out HUNGRY – and sadly, it took time for the milk to come in. So he basically screamed for 3 days straight (and every night, all night for about 2 weeks.) No honeymoon period for this puppy.

Quite funny in hindsight. These super-nice and super-experience midwives would come in, take stock of the situation (me in helpless tears, baby in helpless tears, husband looking on helplessly) and go, ‘Ok Love, now you let me take this little man out for a bit and you get some rest (exude confidence, look confident, sound confident and just a tiny bit condescending (in the nicest way possible) – huh, these young mums these days..tut tut). So I’d turn on a loud fan, stick my head under the fattest pillow, and listen to them struggling to comfort and quiet him as he screamed his way ceaselessly up and down the hallway. A few hours would pass, and in the end they’d bring him back, dripping with relief, going, ‘ Oh, Love, it’s time for his feed, here he is again!’ and quickly making for the door. Poor wee man.

All this while everyone else’s babies slept seemingly like angels and their new mums were walking up and down the corridor entertaining guests and enjoying their new progeny.  Sigh. A rough start.

Fast forward 6 months, and while we’ve got the hang of it a bit, and a lot of things have improved, he’s still waking up a lot during the night. Not too bad, mind, we’ve had a lovely sleep expert in who’s helped us get to 4-5 wake-ups per night between 7.30pm and 7am – instead of 6-10 (or more!), so that’s a start.

But I do wonder about going the whole hog and being a bit mean about sleep training. You know, the 5, 10, 20 minute thing where they basically cry themselves to sleep. Sigh. I really don’t WANT to do it, and I’m putting it off, but I do wonder if it’s the only option I have left up my sleeve at this point, having basically trial-and-errored everything else in the baby books. Happy days.

Getting just a little tired of my sister going, ‘What? Why did you do that? Why is he awake at that time??’ with that tone in her voice (HER kids slept through at 6 weeks..) when I say he woke at 12 and 3 and I fed him at 3am.. (an improvement in my mind!!). Maybe she’s right. Who knows.Baby sleeping smll

The only issue is that we’ve got a dummy, and as yet, our little man can’t put it back in himself (plus he’s been re-wrapped like last year’s Christmas paper, so he’s got no arms…) so it feels really mean to do cry-it-out knowing he can’t get his dummy back, knowing he has always had it to go to sleep thus far, knowing we tried to take it off him once before resulting in 5 straight days of screaming before we caved in and gave that sucker back. Sigh.

We shall see. I shall continue to sit on the soft side of the fence till I have the guts (or the desperation) to give it a go. Would appreciate any advice on this one! J

Can You Just Go To Sleep? I Can’t Eat While You’re Crying!

So I love my son dearly. Let’s just get that straight.

But he’s currently being rocked by Daddy after about 45 mins of listening to him grizzle. Not cry, just grizzle, and stop, and start, and stop again, and start again (after a just-long-enough-for-mum-to-get-her-hopes-up-pause) and make it so I can’t enjoy my Friday night pizza or the movie I was straining to hear over the noise.

Sigh. Poor me.

Not sure if any other mums out there have trouble enjoying their food while the baby is crying, but I really struggle to concentrate on anything else while he’s whinging. I know, ignore the monitor and all that jazz, but I’m constantly listening for that change in pitch, the squealy screech that means, “I’m serious now; I’m dying without you, Mum!” which is my cue to leap into action (or boss Daddy around so he leaps into action, one of the two..)

Sometimes people will be trying to continue a conversation with me, and while outwardly I feel the need to continue nodding and do my best to at least follow the train of thought, my thoughts have long since abandoned the conversation and I am willing my little man back to sleep, judging the pitch, listening for the squeal, watching the monitor to see if the little decibel metre goes into the red.. and I feel like saying, “Can you shush? Can’t you hear my kid crying? I need to listen!!” Even if the main thing I’m thinking while I listen is that I should let him cry it out if he’s not too serious, I should turn the monitor off, I shouldn’t be so ridiculous about it.. But it doesn’t work. Most times I remove myself from the company and go and sit on my bed to listen until he either needs me or falls back asleep.

Aaand……. you’re thinking, What a mum, right? What a caring, kind mum who puts her kid first! Lol.

Actually, I’m the kind of mum who thinks, ‘oh well, he’ll learn,’ when he plonks over from sitting to prone on the floor. When he’s sucking on a wooden spoon and he’s got the handle so far down his throat he’s gagging, I think, ‘Well, I guess if it gets too uncomfortable, he’ll stop.’ When he is waving a toy around and conking himself on the head on every pass, I figure, ‘He’ll work it out sooner or later.’ And when Daddy is doing 600 Aeroplane rides, I figure Daddy will finally work out it was too much without Mummy telling him so if he gets spewed on (in all fairness, I have told him many times before).

But this listening when he cries thing, it’s like a compulsion. I just can’t seem to get round it, or rationalise it away. It’s a tug on the old heartstrings, with a healthy side of mother’s guilt thrown in. It’s knowing that if I go in there, that little face will light up at the sight of me, and I can stop that unhappiness. And while right now, I just want to watch my movie and eat pizza in peace, I also want to rush in to my little boy’s room, pick him up, and cuddle him off to sleep (the sleep expert’s no-no).

Sigh. Conundrum. Motherhood seems to be full of these ridiculous tensions.

And a whole lot of listening….

Oh well. Repeat after me: I’m Doing the Best I Can 🙂

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