A letter to my son

Dear Ewan,

There’s a lot of things I want for you, but the main one is this – never get “stuck”.

Be free and happy

I know this is one of your favourite words at the moment, but please never get stuck in life.

Especially don’t get stuck in a job. It’s simply not worth it. And before you know it, half your life will be over and you haven’t used most of your talents or spent nearly as much time with your family as you wanted.

Be strong and creative

By this I’m not saying that you must never get a job or live off other people’s hard work.

I’m simply saying:

  • Make sure that you never have to sit bored out of your mind in an office somewhere, simply for the sake of having a job to pay the bills.
  • It’s true that you need work experience, especially when you first finish studying. But keep on studying and learning whatever you can from who you can, especially successful business people.
  • Develop an entrepreneurial spirit and think long term.
  • I want you to feel empowered and motivated. You should believe enough in yourself to take your destiny into your own hands.
  • I want you to think anything is possible and that you will be able to accomplish it.
  • Know that you may sometimes fail, but that your parents’ door will always be open.
  • Never be afraid. It is fear of the unknown that often kills entrepreneurial spirit.
  • Remember that each day brings new possibilities. I don’t want you to ever be in a position where you sit in a boring job, just waiting for the days to pass. This will be like a slow death for your strong and independent spirit.

Become “unstuck”

If you ever do get stuck, please make sure that you don’t stay like this for too long. Work to get yourself out of this situation, while you still have some motivation and zest for life. Don’t become a mindless drone.

I’m sure you will do very well and get everything you want in life. Already, at the age of two, you have the demeanour of a hard-headed and determined entrepreneur.

You’re a cheeky one and you will be a leader some day. I’m looking forward to see you grab life by the horns.

My lovable little man

And so, I’ve been away from my blog for a while.

Emotionally and physically, it has been a tough and somewhat draining year. I haven’t really felt inspired to write over the last few weeks.

Interesting “new” behaviour

But recently, the little man has started displaying “new” behaviour, which I feel has to be documented.  😛

Signs of empathy

Upon being abused by the little bugger, I simulated some very fake and rather horrible crying. Where before he would have found this hilarious, now he didn’t know what to do and seemed rather uncomfortable.

He gave me a worried look, and asked me “what’s wong?” Then he looked away shyly and gave me a quick hug.

The next time I did this, he asked me “why mamma sad?” and I got another shy hug.

Game

However, this quickly became a game when he discovered what mamma was doing.  😛

The game goes something like this – you get whacked by a small hand and if you fake crying, you get some hugs.

Kissing

I’ve also taught the little bug to give kisses. He comes to you tight-lipped and then gives you a smack on the mouth.

He’s not adverse to kissing, but you can forget about getting more than your daily allocation. 😛

A proper little person

So while he was still a baby a few short months ago, he is now becoming a proper little person who cares about others’ feelings and sometimes not.

I’m looking forward to see how he will develop in future months. 🙂

 

The joys of toddler development

When I look back, the little man has developed so much over the past two years. From a cuddly little doll wrapped up in a blanket, he has developed into a walking, talking (almost) fully functional human being. 😛

Development over the last few months:

  • It took him a while to achieve mobility. He wasn’t keen on tummy time and only started crawling properly at around 10 months. At around 9 months, he started dragging himself around sideways, almost like a crab. At 16 months, he finally gave his first, shaky steps. It was touch and go for a while and a few crash landings took place. I think he finally mastered the art of walking at around 19 months. Now he runs like a loonatic, especially away from you, when you want to brush his teeth or dress him. Or he sprints outside, especially when he hears a helicopter, usually shouting “Copter!” at the top of his voice.
  • He also drives his little plastic bike like a maniac. A natural born biker like his dad, he has superb control and is very agile. He tries to do wheelies, which at the moment ends with him falling off on his bum. This development is a bit worrying for future, teenaged years. 😛
  • From baby babbling he has now advanced to words and even full sentences. You have to be careful what you say around the little guy, because he repeats everything. EVERYTHING.
  • He finally drinks water and juice, ever since he started crèche. Before then he refused and mostly subsisted on milk. It was a battle to get water into him.
  • Tantrums. My sweet little baby has been taken over by the terrible two’s monster. Mother usually just ignores the outbursts.
  • These days the little man also dabbles in the creative arts, like drawing, painting and playing with dough. Drawing and painting should preferably occur under supervision. Otherwise you will find the bath and toilet decorated with scribbles. His scribbles inside my new bookcase, are apparently “ducks”.  😛 Safest is just to give him chalk and let him draw on his blackboard, but unfortunately he has a tendency to eat it.

Now if he can only get over the creche syndrome, so that we can enjoy more of the fun stuff. :p

A letter to Ewan on his 2nd birthday

Dear Ewan,

Your 2nd birthday was this weekend.

Two years of hugs and laughter, but also tantrums. Lots of fun, but also hard work.

Many hours of lost sleep, especially when you are ill and you only want to sleep in mother’s arm or curl up tightly against her back. Precious moments, even when I’m dead tired the next day.

I wish I had more time for close contact with you. I was fortunate that you were wholly mine for six months before I had to return to work. Now you are my evening, weekend and holiday child.

How you have changed:

  1. You have become a little person over the last two years. You walk and talk and have a strong will of your own. 😛 You want to do things your way and at your pace. You quickly tell us to “go away!” or “stoppit!” if we don’t do what you want.
  2. You’ve developed an impressive vocabulary. It’s actually become easy to have a conversation of sorts with you. We don’t have to interpret grunts and cries anymore.
  3. You’ve also started to realise possession and that you can tell other people, “It’s mine!” But you are very good at sharing, especially for a child who doesn’t have any siblings yet. You like to share your food with mommy and daddy.
  4. The quiet, meek little baby has become a strong and noisy little boy. It’s become more and more difficult to pick you up and control you, especially when you are throwing a tantrum. 😛
  5. Two years ago the house still belonged to the adults. When you became mobile, we started the process of baby proofing. These days we have to try and put things high out of your reach, as you have become such a tall boy.
  6. Your size and level of development often means that people think you are three years or older.
  7. You are not always that accepting of infinite hugs and kisses anymore. Mother gets pushed away when it becomes too much.

I look forward to sharing your 3rd birthday with you.

Love

Mamma

Why women in their thirties gain weight

In my twenties I had an easy ride weight wise. I could eat what I wanted without gaining much weight.

I had plenty of time to burn excess kilojoules by going to gym and walking to work.

Then the thirties struck and my life changed. I finally became part of the modern lifestyle statistics.

The following contributed to my weight gain:

  • I got married and we moved far away from work. My former exercise time now became sitting on public transport time.
  • We had a baby, which further decreased time to spend on ourselves. I try to take him for walks over the weekends, but lately he has been sick a lot, which means I’ve been spending most weekends inside looking after a sick child.
  • Public transport time (which is also often delayed), still doing shopping some evenings and then fetching the baby, means we have no time for exercise when we get home during the week after work.
  • Chronic sleep deprivation when little man is sick or doesn’t sleep well. Apparently this can completely mess up your metabolism. I just want to eat after such nights, especially chocolate.
  • Stress and constant business. You are running around between caring for the child, house and holding a full time job. Sometimes you just put stuff in your mouth for the sake of getting some energy…

The root of the problem

So for those of you out there who also carry excess weight – sorry, I can’t really offer constructive advice. It’s all good to tell people they must exercise, eat healthy and lose weight. What if this is not the root of your problem, but really the lifestyle that is causing you to eat unhealthy and not find time for exercise?

Lifestyle change

I don’t have an answer at the moment, but I want to look at my lifestyle before anything else. I’m just going to put more stress on myself by trying to maintain a stringent exercise routine that I can’t keep up at the moment.

Lifestyle changes don’t happen overnight, but I want to make this my long term plan. Life is not meant for just surviving. Not being tired all the time and better quality of life are my future goals.

A work in progress

I’ve come to the conclusion that my life is a work of progress.

There has been steady progress in most areas, but nothing seems quite finished, including myself.

Works in progress:

  • Our number of family members. We are still hoping to have another baby, after terminating a Down Syndrome pregnancy earlier this year. One child is not enough, even though he is already a lot of work. 😛 It will always feel as if someone is missing from our family group if we don’t have another child. The little man also needs a brother or a sister and I can just see him as the loving older brother who gives his sibling the occasional smack.
  • The house and garden. Great progress has recently been made on the garden and it has become a quiet and relaxing retreat (as well as play area). This has encouraged me to want to sort out the messy house as well. Main problem being that we seem to have too much crap with too little storage space. The husband has started working on this challenge by building me a ginormous bookcase. Other people probably won’t amass enough books to fill it in a lifetime, but I can see myself doing so fairly soon. 😛 Now I just need to put him to work building storage cupboards for our granny flat, which I want to turn into a study/office area.
  • I feel like I’m in career limbo at the moment. I want to continue my studies and I have an idea for a business, which is a long-term goal and which requires me to upskill myself. However, I first need to know what’s going to happen in my immediate work future as this will also partly influence how I structure my studies. Hopefully clarity comes soon.
  • And I want to lose weight, eventually…
  • Ewan – potty training to start this weekend. Watch this space. 😛
  • Luckily my husband is perfect and adorable, no improvements needed. 🙂

So, while I’m actually a bit of a control freak who wants to finish projects, I’ve come to realise (probably with age) that life is mostly a work in progress and that this is fine. One should enjoy the journey, even the minor irritations and mishaps on the way. It’s when your life becomes stagnant, with no growth and no love, that you need to worry.

The “not so super” working mother

After reading various blogs and articles on how to be a super working mother, I have concluded that this is simply not possible, at least not for me, at this stage of my life.

Keeping up 

With a small toddler and a full time job, I sometimes feel as if I’m only just managing to keep up with life. From what I’ve heard from mothers with older children, it doesn’t get any better as they are faced with a multitude of after school activities and homework.

The ideal super working mother

There seems to be a largely fictional creature that is the super working mother. She is a super achiever both at work and at home.

At work, she climbs the corporate ladder at an astonishing pace. She makes valid contributions and her work is always stimulating.

At home, she’s got well-behaved children who are always clean and do their homework. They are high achievers at school. She manages her household with an iron fist and the house is always perfectly clean and neat. She cooks delicious meals for her family.

She eats only small salads and has the body of a teenager at 40 years old.

This super woman also has the perfect relationship with her husband and he values her for her super qualities. They somehow manage to spend a lot of time together, even though they have three children.

My reality 

If you are like me, the reality is more like the following:

  • I have a lovable, but cheeky little boy. It’s a challenge to get him to listen. Luckily he’s too small to have homework yet. 😛
  • I can’t cook and my house can get incredibly messy, especially when I get home late every night and I’m busy over the weekend.
  • I eat chocolate when I stress and I’m overweight, as I also have no time for exercise because of my long commute to work every day. I keep losing a few kilos and then picking them up again. I vow to lose a lot of weight – someday soon. 😛
  • I love my husband, but we don’t really get to spend enough time together, because of our work, travel and child rearing activities. We try our best. Luckily we share a weird sense of humour which binds us together.
  • Work – I try my best, but there’s been days, especially since having a child and getting little sleep, that I spend most of the day staring at my laptop screen and procrastinating around the actual work that needs to be done. The fact is, if I’m too tired, I can’t focus and be productive. Some days I’ve been effectively useless, but the reality is that you still have to go to work to earn an income.

So for now, I think I’m just going to have to do the best I can.

Maybe taking small steps will put me on the road to becoming a super working mother (not). 😛

The Observer

I am an Observer. Like the Observers from the science fiction television show, Fringe, I am stoic and calm. Possibly monotone even.

Misunderstood

I think people often misunderstand me. I may come across as conceited or unwilling to become involved. But actually I’m just watching them and trying to make sense of their behaviour. And spending too much time with too many people just drains my energy resources.

Time traveller

I have the tendency to withdraw from the environment around me, as there is the sense that I might change something that is supposed to happen, if I become too involved. Almost like a time traveller from the future.

I’ve learnt from past experience that if someone is on a certain course, it’s best not to get in their way, as there is very little you can do to change their fate.

Interesting people

On the whole, I just find people so interesting and very different from myself. They make so much noise. 😛

Some people are meant to entertain the world and I am their audience.

Sense of power

It also gives you a sense of power if you share your true self with only a few people. There’s a certain satisfaction in keeping quiet about a contentious issue when everyone else is giving loud and eager feedback. 😛

Introvert

All this has probably got a lot to do with being an introvert.

I just want everyone to be real and honest, so social settings with complex undertones just stress me out.

The verdict

I actually do like people, just in small numbers and far away. 😛

The sick child

My little man’s only been sick three times and he’s almost two.

The dreaded croup

But the recent third illness almost made up for all the other missed illnesses. He got the dreaded croup and at one stage he was wheezing so badly, I was afraid that we would have to rush him to hospital.

To make things worse, the shortness of breath increases when they cry or become upset and the little man is a well-known tantrum thrower…

Peppa pig

In a desperate attempt to calm him down, we ended up watching Peppa Pig on my cell phone in bed.

Everything is right with the world as long as the little man has Peppa Pig and eventually, after a dose of cortisone, he stopped coughing and went back to sleep.

Creche syndrome

Ewan started crèche recently, so now I’m hoping he doesn’t fall victim to the dreaded crèche syndrome and catches every disease.

Especially since he’s been coughing mother awake for the last week and now mother’s also sick… 😛

Strengthen the immune system

The only thing I can really do is to try and strengthen his immune system, by feeding him:

  • Vegetables. It is somewhat of a challenge to get Ewan to eat these. We’ve now resorted to vegetable chips. It seems his crèche teacher may be more successful in getting him to eat healthy food, than mommy and granny.
  • Fruit. This is easier. He loves apples and bananas. And the occasional “gape” which is sometimes mistaken for an acorn (icorn).
  • A few drops of Reuteri in his milk, especially since he’s been using an antiobiotic.
  • Creche guard (vitamins) etc. This is also easy to sneak into the milk.

Care for the sickie

Luckily granny provided assistance when he was too sick to go to school.

It’s the sad realiy of being a working mother. You feel guilty when you take leave to look after your sick child and then you feel guilty when you leave your child behind to go to work, especially when his arms are wrapped around you and his head buried in your neck.

But those are the challenges of being a working mother…

Let’s go to school

Recently, at the age of 21 months, my little man started going to playschool.

Adjustment

It was quite an adjustment for the little fellow. Used to playing outside and sleeping whenever he wanted at granny’s house, he now has to follow a more regimented routine.

There is a time for:

  • playing outside
  • creating art
  • a nappy change
  • snacks; and
  • lunch.

The protest 

In the beginning, he apparently screamed loudly when it was another group’s turn to play outside and he couldn’t join them.

He also protested vehemently when he was dropped off in the mornings. But things are going better these days and the little terrorist even seem to be enjoying himself. He hasn’t brought any little friends home yet, but I look forward to that happening in the future. 🙂

The positives 

  • My boy is turning into an artist. Every day he comes home with some little work of art full of paint blotches and scribbles. A lot of teacher assistance is involved, but still. 😛
  • His vocabulary has grown exponentially. He has even started to count, sometimes until ten, if he feels like it. He uses acorns or “icorns” as he calls them, for his counting. He also sings an “ABC” song, even though he doesn’t get very far. And he says “SCHOOL” in a very serious and formal way, as if this concept can only be expressed in capital letters. 😛
  • He is learning rules and to fit into society, even though I don’t always know if that’s such a good thing.
  • He is mentally stimulated and has more variety in his life.
  • It is really a privilege to see him develop from a baby into a rather clever little boy.

The next steps

So, I give him a few more weeks to get settled in, then we can start with potty training…