The teething monster

It’s happened again.

It seems to come in cycles. We are sleeping and having fun for a few weeks and then it all changes.

The teething monster has bitten the little one.

The following symptoms have returned:

  • His gums are very red and swollen.
  • One cheek, or both become flushed and red.
  • He seems to have earache on the same side as the erupting tooth. He rubs his ear while moaning.
  • Biting and chewing. Sometimes he puts his entire hand in his mouth while uttering a garbled scream.
  • He refuses to brush his teeth. This worries me and I’m still trying to find a way around it.
  • Disturbed sleep. For the entire household, especially for mommy. The dogs in their kennel have probably been woken up by his unhappy midnight screaming. Some sleep can usually be achieved if I put him in bed with me, but then I get woken every few hours by a kick in the ribs or the head. The poor little thing must change position a million times.
  • Decreased appetite. He turns his nose up for his former favourite foods. Fish fingers and chips with tomato sauce get distributed from his high chair all over the living room. The only thing he is sure to eat under all circumstances is Paaper Bites.
  • He becomes very unhappy and irritable in general, unless you give him his way.

Brief periods of peace and happiness 😛

The following works for Ewan and gives us some quiet time without screaming and moaning.

  • Let him play in the garden for as long as possible. He completely forgets about teething, at least for as long as he is in the garden.
  • Take him for a walk in his pram. This has more or less the same effect as playing in the garden. Ewan loves to hang out of his pram and take in the neighbourhood sights.
  • Let him play in the bath. Ewan loves water and his latest thing is to pretend he can wash all by himself.
  • And swimming season is starting soon…

Teething timeline 

It seems the little man still has a way to walk with the teething monster, even though he already has a mouth full of teeth.

The remedies

I’ve tried all the conventional remedies such as teething gel, homeopathic remedies, pain killers, teethers and other chew toys.

Where it was successful when he was smaller, nothing seems to work for long at the moment.

But we are almost through the worst, so we probably just need to hang in there and push through. 🙂

My child(ren’s) culture

As a South African, I face an unique situation in raising my child and possible future children.

Three different cultures

Ewan has a cultural heritage of at least three different cultures, actually more, if you dig deeper into our past.

His mother is Afrikaans, his father English and his one grandfather is Dutch.

His culture of choice

So far he seems to have adopted the English culture. 😛

His only Afrikaans words are “bad” which gets repeated several times a day when he asks to take a bath. “Stout” used to be another, but that naughty word mysteriously disappeared. 😛

He is mostly exposed to English as he stays with granny and will go to English playschoSoul from next year.

Is English best?

Maybe learning English as a first language is better for his future school career, as he lives in a country where the dominant business language is English.

Other cultures

However, I’ve recently started thinking, how do you expose a child who will have a predominantly English upbringing to other cultures?

We live such hectic lives that we hardly even have time to spend on the basics with our children.  How will we still get around to teaching them about other cultures?


Teaching him Afrikaans is relatively easy, as there are still plently of available resources, such as books and tv programmes, even though the language is not as widely used as before. And mother will be available to help with homework…

His Dutch heritage

But then there is his proud Dutch heritage,  a culture which seems to be slowly disappearing from South Africa, a former Dutch colony for many years. These days you can’t even find my favourite Dutch snack, stroopwafels, in the shops anymore.

Travelling Frouws

And we are such an interesting family and so well represented on the world wide web. 😛 You get 51 500 hits for Frouws on Google Search.

All over the world

We are all related. It all started here in the Netherlands and we can trace our heritage back to approximately 1580. Today we are far and wide, all over the world.

There are relations in Canada, America, Australia, South Africa and Netherlands, our country of origin.

It is evident that this family has got travel in its blood. The cousins, aunts and uncles are always going everywhere, hopping over to Europe or some exotic country.

My one uncle is an avid cyclist who has probably been all over the  world.

Culture transfer

This got me thinking, what better way of transferring my culture to my child(ren) than to travel with them?

Unfortunately we are dependent on the South African rand, a weak currency.

But if I start saving now, who knows what might be possible by my 40th birthday, which is only in 4 years.  😛

How I survive as an introverted working mother

As an introverted working mother,  who spends her days in an open plan office, I face my own unique set of challenges.

Alone time

Introverts need alone time to recharge.  Unlike extroverts we get drained from constantly being in contact with other people.

However, if you work in an open plan office and then go home to a busy toddler, you need to make an extra special effort to find some alone time.

Survival tips

I manage to get my “alone” time in the following ways.

  • I have a very long commute to work every day (more than two hours). In the beginning stages of my new life as a working mother, I found it frustrating and depressing. However, it  has turned out to be a blessing in disguise. I have two hours in which I can read or work on my writing projects. These are luxuries for which I don’t have time at home these days, but which contribute greatly to my sanity.
  • I sometimes do activities with my son which also allows me some form of “alone time”.  For example, I take him for long walks in his pram over the weekend or on days when I’m on leave. He is spellbound by the beautiful scenery in our neighbourhood and is quite happy to sing and talk in his pram for a while.  I also get much needed exercise and an opportunity to unwind from the stress of the working week.
  • Swimming season is beginning again soon and the little man will swim with me. He is crazy about water,  asking to bad (take a bath) several times a day. 😛
  • The little man also likes to play by himself for stretches of time in the garden. I just ensure that I’m closeby to keep an eye on him. We’ll play for a while and then I leave him to do his own thing. It’s interesting that he requires much less attention when he is playing in the garden then when he plays in the house.
  • Naptime can be an important time of solitude for mother. At the moment he still sleeps between one and three hours a day. At first I used this time to do things around the house, but lately I’ve also been using this time to take a break or to spend time on something that is important to me.
  • When he gets older and does not want to nap anymore, I will attempt to introduce quiet time. I will encourage him to read books and pursue creative activities during this time.

So, I make time for myself when I can and I enjoy the time I get to spend with my son. After all, he is growing up so fast and I don’t get to spend that much time with him.

My boy is growing up

It seems to be happening earlier and earlier these days.

My boy is growing up

The little rascal who was a baby with skinny little legs just the other day, will be going to “big school” next year. At the age of 21 months, my little man will be entering the world of social intrigue.

Well, not really THE big school, but close enough.

Playgroup will be a new adventure:

  • He will learn to play with other kids and hopefully share and co-exist peacefully. (I hope for their sake, because he does seem to have the occasional violent streak.) 😛
  • He will learn to make things.
  • Hopefully he will become just a little bit more independent and it will be an added bonus if they can sort out his fussy eating habits.


I noticed that there seems to be a lot of girls at this school and Ewan and the little girls seemed to regard each other with great interest. 🙂

A step into life and learning

I am excited that he is taking this step into life and learning. At the same time, I’m also grateful that he only has to go half days and realise that we are very fortunate that he also has a granny and family members who can look after him. Many people don’t have that option.

Come January, Ewan will be ready for the challenge.

My intrinsic motivation

I have an intense desire to do my work in a way which I perceive to be right and efficient.


Recently I became aware that this way of thinking and being may be misconstrued. This forced me to consider some aspects of my personality.

Obsession with being efficient

Believe me, none of this is intentional. I simply have this obsession with being efficient and I’m not even a perfectionist or workaholic. You’ll never find me up at 12 at night, proofreading those work documents yet again.

I’m actually not too sure why completing the project efficiently is good enough for me, while other people may want an increase or bonus to reaffirm their good work. This is just the way I’m wired.

The driver

It might also have to do with my social style/personality type of being a driver.

I’m the results focused driver who focuses on the end result and getting the job done.  Being efficient and completing a project successfully is the most satisfying aspect of the job for me.

Characteristics of the driver

  1. We want the job done efficiently in the shortest possible time.
  2. We work quickly and effectively.
  3. We don’t have time for nonsense and we’re not interested in what we consider to be petty arguments.
  4. We don’t want to know about people’s emotional issues and problems.  We want answers and solutions.
  5. We are very determined people who will  run a project with an iron fist and finish on schedule.

The dictator

Apparently I will also make a very good dictator.  I wish to differ with this one, as I do believe in free will and free speech, but under the right circumstances, who knows… 😛