I hope you know how loved you are. How you changed my life and how you made me so brave. I hope you know how special you are and that your potential is limitless.
Managing Fevers in children
With 4 children I have certainly managed my fair share of fever’s in 8 years. It still constantly amazes me how each child’s body react differently to fevers. As a first time parent one of the scariest things is not knowing how to bring a fever down.
I was laying in bed, after a night of dealing with 2 feverish children, thinking of all the old wives tales out there and I suddenly thought I should write down my tips in a blog post. First and foremost, I am not a medical doctor. I am merely a mum of 4. Always follow your doctors advice, and hopefully this article won’t go against any of it.
I follow some incredible doctors and have an exceptional Paed as well, check out their websites here (Dr Maraschin) and here (Dr Nadia Khan).
A temperature is your body’s natural response to fighting an infection, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing, but, it does need to be monitored and managed. I think it’s also very important to know your own child’s “core temperature” as well. For example, I have one child (my eldest), who typically ALWAYS feels ‘warmer to touch’, so when he gets a fever – he burns up quickly, like roasting, and often peaks over 38 Degrees Celsius. I also know, that with him, the second he hits that 39 mark, his bodies natural reaction is to puke (happens every time he gets a fever like clockwork). So we do everything we can to keep it low and monitor him closely. I have 2 other children that are naturally ‘cooler to touch’. Now with them it’s actually harder to tell when they have a fever, sometimes the only way I can see it is if i touch their chest or under their feet (without a thermometer). Their fevers generally take a bit longer to climb.
I’ve heard way too many old wives tales over the years, vinegar socks (please don’t) or vicks on your feet to name a few. Regardless of them, a fever needs to be managed and a high fever can cause seizures so it is important to keep an eye on them and control them.
Here are some of the top (medically approved) tips I’ve learnt over the years:
Don’t forget to always seek professional medical advice.
Unplanned, Unassisted Home Birth – How our daughter arrived in style.
The first thing you should know is that somewhere deep down, I have always wanted a home-birth. The calm, tranquil environment and being in the comfort of your own home always appealed to me. But with having a V-Bac, I always had the “what ifs” in the back of my mind. I have also opted for a shot of pethadine with my other 2 children, so I knew that having a birth with no pain relief of any sort, wasn’t really something I was sold on. My gynae and I joked about it and I said I didn’t think I was strong enough, and how much I admired those women who could “sneeze a kid out”…. Well, be careful what you wish for 🙂 This is the story of how my fourth child entered this world.
It started off like any other day. My second day of maternity leave, I dropped the kids at school, played with my almost two year old toddler, did some grocery shopping, homework and afternoon activity pick ups. I had been feeling generally uncomfortable the whole day but nothing out of the ordinary for 38+ weeks and all of its general bowel and constipation issues 🙂 I made dinner for the family and tried to do a few yoga stretches to relieve the feeling. Taking the kids up to bed, I remember snapping at their hooligan antics at bedtime, telling them my tummy was sore and they should just relax and go to sleep. After putting them to bed, I took a long warm bath to help relieve the discomfort and general feeling of pressure but there certainly weren’t any contractions to take note of. My previous pregnancies also went all the way upto 41 weeks, so I wasn’t expecting anything different this time around either.
At about 10h45 pm I remember feeling the first few contractions (or surges if you follow hypnobirthing), but they weren’t very strong and certainly weren’t in any sort of pattern yet. Never the less, I told my husband to come to bed early because we may be making a hospital trip at 3 or 4 am (based on my previous labors). He came up to bed at about 11h30 pm and at this stage they were more frequent and definitely strong enough to be considered a “contraction”. I started to actively time them, but they still weren’t lasting for a minute so I thought we still had a long night ahead. I plugged in my ear phones and played 2 Surah Maryams (verses from the Holy Qu’ran) as I lay down to try and rest as much as I could at home. By midnight, my eldest son had jumped into our bed and in the next 5 minutes the contractions went from bearable, to me actively having to focus on breathing through the pain. Time to switch up to my “rainbow rhythm meditations”. I was going to get up to move my son back to his bed at this point but the next contraction was a little more painful and I let out a little whimper so I thought right, time to shower and get to the hospital now. Husband and son fast asleep in bed, I went into the bathroom and was suddenly hit with another contraction. Swearing under my breath at the “stupid meditations not working” (well rather not the meditations itself but me for not being able to relax), I focused my breathing into my tummy like I was told (so grateful for that hypnobirthing course now) and decided to draw a bath instead of a shower (thank goodness). The moment I jumped into the bath at about 00h28 (I checked because I was timing those contractions now), I felt my waters break, but not a normal break like they did with my son or daughter, a huge gush. “OH SHIT” I thought, there is no more time. “OK BABY… OK BABY…. I’m coming, hold on for me, we getting up now, we’re going” I literally said out loud, like my baby could hear me and was going to hold on.
Gripping onto the side of the bath for support I stood up and felt baby’s head. Crap….. “What happens if my husband doesn’t hear me” was my first thought, my second was I could hear my two year old crying in her room so now the kids were awake too, and my third thought was this baby is coming now! “Ahmed…. Ahmed….. BAAAABY” I cried to my husband, “Whaaat”… a sleepy sound emerging from the bedroom came back, obviously roused by my daughters crying too, “Heeelp BAAAAABY”.. 1 x sleepy husband stumbled into the bathroom in a shocked state “What? What do you mean? What must I do ?” “CATCH HER” I said and in literally two breaths (I literally don’t think I even pushed), one for head and one for her body, this super rocket human was brought into the world. Thankfully, I married a skilled cricketer and he caught his daughter before her head touched the water, I pulled her forward onto my chest and lay back in the warm water. Less then 10 minutes from the time my water broke to the time when my baby girl made her appearance. There was no time to “feel pain”, no time to “panic”, my body knew instinctively what to do and I just followed it. This little angel basically birthed herself.
“Go back to the room” I heard my husband telling our son, who clearly had heard everything and was in a shivering state, “I’ll come to you now, just stay in the room”. “What must I do” my husband repeated again. “Call an ambulance and get me some towels”. Trying to assess my newborn in a dark, candle lit room (Yes I actually freaking lit a candle before jumping into that bath), I noticed she was wriggling in a weird way and was still quite blue, then I saw the cord around her neck. Alhumdulliah, THANK YOU to God, for showing me that in time. I unhooked the cord and held her close to me. I can hear my husband swearing at the operator on the phone and realised he had phoned 10111. “NO MAN” I shouted “Call Netcare” (Our private ambulance service).. Thankfully my cell phone was in arms reach and we both ended up calling them at the same time. I can still hear the sheer shock in my voice as I replay the conversation to the operator. “Hello Mam, I need an ambulance, I just had a baby” :), not quite believing it myself. Ahmed brought some towels to me, and then went to tend to the kids, My poor children, had NO IDEA what was going on. Thankfully we have the most incredible live in nanny so next up on speed dial was Servie to come and sit with the children.
The Netcare ambulance were amazing. Within 10 minutes, we dialled them at 00h37 and they were literally there by 00h47. The female paramedic came in and cut baby’s cord, handing our princess to her partner to wrap and warm up. We sat in the bath for about 5 more minutes waiting to see if the placenta would come as contractions had already re-started, but no such luck yet. She suggested we get out the bath and transfer me to the hospital as I needed to deliver the placenta as soon as possible. I got up, put a gown on, my husband grabbed the hospital bags and off I climbed into an ambulance at 1 am holding my newborn baby. YAY now the second round of contractions were really starting. Can we just speed this up I mumbled.. I begged the ambulance to transfer me to Parklane hospital which is where my doctor is, and not TOO far away, however emergency protocol dictates they drive to the closest hospital, which in this case, was Sunninghill.
Here’s where the story turns a little nightmarish…. The casualty ward at this hospital has no maternity casualty unit attached to it. They have a maternity ward, but no maternity casualty facilities and there was no OBGYN on duty. Now for a labour to progress effectively, you as a mama, need to be relaxed and your body needs to be producing that oxytocin, a casualty unit is really not very conducive to a calm, serene environment.
For first time mums, if you are planning a natural birth, after you give birth in a hospital, you normally receive a shot of oxytocin to help deliver the placenta faster. It should come by itself, but this just speeds it up if need be. So whilst my baby girl was safely in my arms, her other “home”, my placenta, was still inside me. The longer it’s inside after birth, the higher your chance of haemorrhaging.
So there I was, like a deer in headlights in this casualty unit. The staff take their time and do all the admin work, connect me to those battery wired heart monitors, and literally joke about how they have no experience with maternity patients to the doctor. I’m hearing all of this, and looking around this strange, cold room and everyone is “waiting” for me to deliver this placenta. The contractions are now beyond painful, worse than the birth itself and in comes in the head casualty doctor/surgeon dude (and he was a big guy). “MAM he said, I need to catheterize you”, we need your bladder to come down do we can get this placenta out now, “No Sir (I literally called him “Sir”, please wait I’m in the middle of a contraction, please don’t do that now, just wait 5 minutes… “I cant wait, you are cramping because the placenta is still inside you, we need to get it out now” he says as he starts to punch my stomach. “You are punching my stomach while I am having a contraction, PLEASE STOP”, I shouted… “MAM if you do not push this placenta out I am taking you to theatre”….( I did not go through a homebirth just to go into theatre dude) “Do you not have a gynae on duty, Is there no midwife here?”, I asked. In between all of this I had a lab guy come into the room to take my blood and to do my COVID SWAB ( I punched the guy, I’m sorry lab guy, it was bad timing), (Seriously, no wonder I couldn’t deliver the damn thing).
Then, I heard someone mention Syntocinon (a synthetic form of oxytocin), (It was the female paramedic who came on check on things) “YES”, I shouted “Do you not have any synthetic oxytocin, please, that will help me.” FINALLY after 45 minutes in ER and 7 failed attempts to find my veins, they insert a drip with the Syntocinon. Less then 3 minutes of that being injected, Sergeant Major doctor dude was back punching my stomach, again I remember telling him to please “STOP THAT” (as my 2 year old shouts), wait for the oxytocin to kick in. “MAM this placenta is retained, it is not going to come out, I am taking you to theatre”…
Queue the singing angels as I see a midwife in a maroon uniform finally enter the room. FINALLY… almost 45 minutes of absolute agony, I have SOMEONE by my side who knows what they are doing. “OK, let’s see why we are having trouble here” She said, and in the correct manner, apologising and saying “Sorry mam”, I’m going to have to check you internally” (take note sergeant major) she told me to push and with a little pull from her side and a push from mine, one fully intact (thank you God) placenta was delivered, and I now burst into tears. “THANK YOU THANK YOU” I said to her, thank you so much for helping me.. And also , screw you Sergeant Major.
All this time my sweet baby girl was being handed from nurse to nurse to hold. I kept asking them to remove the towels and wrap her in blankets. Finally, after the whole ordeal was over they wrapped her up for me. At about 4h30 am I was wheeled into a general ward, my husband went home at about 5h30am to check on the kids and get some rest and I was finally transferred to the maternity unit at 6am. At last, I could relax. Of course, any new mom will know I got ZERO sleep until 8pm that night, but it was worth every minute.
So there it is.. Our little Aaliyah’s dramatic entrance into the world. One thing is for sure babygirl, you were born one determined little sausage. The first thing I noticed was your beautiful almond shaped eyes and your mop of dark hair. You didn’t give a loud cry or scream like your siblings with all the bright hospital lights, but rather some gentle gurgling sounds. Your warm body lay on my chest for 15 minutes just you and I, quiet in our moment and in a bit of shock at what just happened. Your birth was BEAUTIFUL and I wouldn’t change it for the world (except for maybe actually planning it and having a midwife to call instead of going into the hospital), but still, you gave me what I subconsciously wanted, an unmedicated, unassisted, home-birth. A water birth in a sense lol. You gave that to me and you took away any pain. I cannot wait to see the plans that Allah has for you. You are incredible and I thank you for showing and teaching me so much strength. One week later and I am still in absolute awe of what out bodies can do. What we are capable of. This is a salute to all women out there. WE ARE AMAZING. If you are planning a natural birth, TRUST your body. You CAN do this. I hope this inspired you in some way. …
Do breakfast “with heart” with Jungle Crunchalots
Are you a “breakfast” kind of family? My kids take after me with their love for cereal – the boys literally go to sleep planning what cereal they will have the next day. I used to have fights with my parents as a child because every night I would want cereal for supper!
As I have become a parent myself, I have realised and witnessed first-hand, how important a balanced breakfast is. It replenishes your body with a supply of essential nutrients and keeps your little one’s energy levels up throughout the day. I have seen a direct correlation in my son’s moods if I give him a typical “sugary” cereal versus a more wholesome one. As a result, I have recently started to pay much closer attention to the ingredients and nutritional benefits of my breakfast cereals I’m buying.
Have you looked at the cereal aisle lately? There are literally a million options; many of which claim to be healthy when they’re not. How do you know which healthy breakfast cereals taste good? Words like “whole grain”, “all natural” and “sugar free” are thrown around, but which is best?
When we were asked if we wanted to review “Jungle Crunchalots” I jumped at the chance, knowing that my cereal monster would love to try them out. Any cereal that contains Vitamins A, BI, B2, B6, B12 and Niacin, calcium and iron as well as dietary fibre is a winner for me. The Jungle Crunchalots cereal comes in all the favourite flavours – strawberry, honey and chocolate flavor and has 32% less sugar*. But would they like it?
Firstly, my kids were excited about the brightly coloured packaging. They were instantly drawn to “Oaty Cerealot” and his crew of monsters and of course my younger son wanted to try the chocolate flavor first, while mama wanted strawberry. One of the things my son loves the most is that the cereal stays “crunchy”. He often stops eating his breakfast when the cereal gets soft and soggy but Jungle Crunchalots remain solid and crunchy a lot longer.
Most bought cereals fall into the unhealthy category because they’re heavily processed or full of added sugar and additives, and this means they simply aren’t what I would consider a quality breakfast for your body. I love the fact that Jungle Crunchalots is made from oats and are high in Vitamin B, Iron and fibre. In addition to being a convenient source of nutrients and tasty start to each morning, by adding in yoghurt or milk it contributes to a portion of your daily calcium needs. Chuck in some fruit and you have a completely balanced breakfast.
One of the biggest benefits for me is the fact that Jungle Crunchalots has less sugar than any other cereal, at less than 1 teaspoon per serving, this is a HUGE advantage for me with my little sugar monster over here! Crunchalots also came in the top 3 cereals when profiled with the Nutrient Profiling Model (NPM).
Safe to say, I’m adding Crunchalots to our monthly shopping list and will certainly be repurchasing them for our breakfasts from now on.
*Disclaimer – This post was sponsored by Jungle Crunchalots, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.
Mothers Day 2020 – Making the most of lockdown
For many of us Mothers Day will not be the same this year as a result of COVID-19. That familiar hug and brunch with the family will be replaced by Zoom calls and smaller, more intimate family traditions.
Most shops are still shut, but if you have budget to shop there are a couple of options out there to look at to make Mothers Day during lockdown an extra special occasion.
Woolworths has their winter pyjama range out, which is always an annual Mothers Day gift in our home. Spoil mum with some of their PJ’s, some slippers and a super soft fleece blanket to snuggle up with. Or, if you are anything like me then the last 40 days have been spent living in sweatshirts and hoodies. Netflorist has a great range of personalised hoodies, gowns and cute socks to make mums day. Perfect for the colder weather we are heading into! I also adore this Charlotte Rhys scarf set which adds a little luxury back into life.
Why not stock up mums pantry for an online cooking course, or if you are living at home you can whip her up a MasterChef style 3 course meal.
You may not be able to take mum out for lunch or breakfast, but you can still support business by ordering through your favourite Restaurant through Uber Eats. Breakfast in Bed with croissants from Fournos or get some lunch delivered from our favourite Polpetta restaurant.
A pamper hamper is always a winner and thankfully bath and body products are considered essentials. Have a look at Netflorist’s range here for some super indulgent bath time treats. The Body Shop and Lush South Africa are also allowed to sell selected ranges.
Top on a lot of mothers wishlists’ is an Instant Pot, and trust me when I say this is one gift that will make her life a whole lot easier! Spoil the special mother in your life by getting her one from YuppieChef and while you are there you can shop for more Level 4 goods, including some specialised tea and coffees!
Most households have had to tighten the belt financially, so if you are looking for a few more homemade options why not consider a “home spa”? Have a look at our homemade bath salts, with a little essential oil added in these are such a wonderful bath time treat. Pair them with some homemade bath bombs for the ultimate pamper experience.
If bath products aren’t her thing, have a look at these 3 easy DIY alternatives, with a few basic craft supplies you can create some wonderful keepsake treasures for mum.
Say it with flowers
Flowers have always been a traditional Mothers Day gift and the incredible Fields of Colour has the most exquisite, freshest flowers in town! They are open for delivery and for every Mothers Day order you place, they will add in a free face shield to keep mum safe. Now that’s innovative thinking! Available for Gauteng only.
Upgrade her home office
I think we can all agree that lockdown has turned our houses into home offices. Suddenly we realise all the supplies we need at home that make our life easier. Printers, computers, stationery. Logitech has a sleek addition to add to mum’s desk with this portable Pebble Mouse. It’s a modern and sleek mouse that fits into your lifestyle wherever you go, perfect for throwing into your handbag when you need to work remotely. This slim mouse comes in three pretty colours to suit any personality off-white, graphite and rose pink.
Cherishing the memories
You may not be able to have a photo shoot to mark the special day, but why not book one for the future? Robyn Davie Family Lifestyle Photography is running a promotion on the most exquisite photo books that would make an incredible gift, or book a shoot for a future date with Kate Rankin Photography.
Happy Mothers Day to all mother figures out there and up in Heaven. 2020 is certainly one for the books, so lets make the most out of every moment!
Healthy Eating During Pregnancy
A healthy diet is important to us all, but even more so if you are pregnant. There is so much conflicting advice out there on what to eat and what not to eat. In addition to all the worry on what you can and can’t take, you also have to deal with 3 or 4 months of having little to no appetite due to nausea, the next 3 months of eating everything in sight, and then your last 2 months of not being able to eat more then a golf ball sized amount before feeling full! Diet and your appetite in pregnancy is a roller-coaster ride!
I recently spent a morning with the team from NUK and Lila Bruk, a Registered Dietician, where we learnt about pregnancy and post pregnancy nutrition, and we got to cook up some balanced, healthy meals that are perfect for pre and post partum mums.
Here are some Top Tips to get you through a healthy pregnancy:
- Don’t Eat for Two – I know this one is easier said then done. Whilst I didn’t “eat for two” during any of my pregnancies, I certainly indulged in more then my fair share of ice cream! Excessive weight gain during pregnancy can predispose you to conditions, such as pre-eclampsia, so try to keep up a healthy, balanced diet as you usually would. I varied between gain 12 and 15 kgs throughout my three pregnancies.
- Increase your calcium – This is the serious part. Calcium is essential for your baby’s growth and if you don’t get enough calcium through your diet then your body will have to rely on your own stores to compensate for these needs (i.e; your teeth and bones. Yes my teeth suffered the most from my pregnancies). You can get calcium from dairy products (e.g. yoghurt, cheese, milk), but also in tofu, and fish with edible bones (e.g. kipper, sardines, pilchards). If you are taking your calcium as a supplement, be sure NOT to take it with fibre, caffeine or Iron as it interferes with absorption. (Another gem I didn’t know).
- Stock up on Healthy Fats – Essential for your baby’s health and brain development. Healthy fats include those found in nuts, seeds, avocados, olives and olive oil. It is especially important to ensure that you eat enough omega- 3 fatty acids, which are essential for your baby’s brain development. Omega-3s are found in fatty fish (e.g. sardines, pilchards, trout), walnuts and flaxseed. I couldn’t take Omega-3 supplements as they contributed to my nausea but I upped my nut and fish intake.
- Fill up on Fibre – Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy, I cant emphasize his one enough. Especially in my last pregnancy, I really had to actively increase my intake. You can get your fibre from oats, bran flakes, fruits, veggies, wholegrain starches, (e.g. brown rice) and legumes. I used to add a couple of spoons of oat bran to my yoghurt in the morning.
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate – When you are pregnancy your blood volume increases. Aim for at least 10 glasses per day to meet your fluid needs. Soups, water and herbal teas count as water, but anything with caffeine does not. If you don’t cut out caffeine completely, then keep it to a max of 2 to 3 cups per day. Funnily enough with my last pregnancy I couldn’t even stomach the thought of a cup of tea for the first 4 months!
- Pump up the Protein – You are building the muscles of a tiny human! Try to increase your protein by eating more fish, meat, eggs, poultry, cheese, legumes and dairy.
- Don’t forget the Folic acid – My doctor once told me, if you take only one thing during pregnancy, make sure it’s folic acid. Some pregnancy vitamins make me more nauseous, so her advice to me was to cut out the vitamins but keep taking the Folic acid. It is important for the development of your baby’s nervous system and is necessary to prevent neural tube defects (e.g. spina bifida). Ideally you should start taking a folic acid supplement 3 months before conception.
- Check your iron levels – I struggle with this on a good day, and it is always a concern in my pregnancies. If you don’t get enough iron, you can develop anaemia and you may start to feel extremely fatigued, pale and lethargic. It is a good idea to focus on eating more iron-rich foods, such as red meat. DON’T do what I did and eat livers, because that can actually have bad side effects for your baby.
So what should I eat?
I have put together a table to make it easier for you. Personally, I would only focus on the “No” portion, and keep eating as you normally would, with an increased awareness of upping your vitamin and mineral intake. This was an eye opener for me, when I was in my last pregnancy my Iron levels were extremely low. So I turned to what I normally do when I feel anaemic, good old Nando’s livers. I had NO idea the effects that livers could have on my baby. Thank goodness I only had one or two!
Next week I’ll be sharing some more information from the morning, specifically for post-partum and breastfeeding mums. A healthy balanced diet is crucial to milk supply, so check in next week for more. Let me know below if you would like recipe ideas.
Thank you to the NUK team and Lila Bruk for sharing this knowledge with us!
Ultimate Lunchbox Tips
Whether you are ready or not, the new school year is upon us, and with that approximately 197 lunch boxes to pack! Yep you read right, the average school year had 197 days in it. I don’t know about you, but I always start off the year strong, with a nice variety of options and creativity and then it dwindles with fatigue and exhaustion as the year progresses. Two heads are better then one, so “Mommalikeme” and I decided to get together and write about our top lunch box ideas, some of our store bought favourites and a few hacks to make your life easier throughout the year. Be sure to check our her blog post here.
I also have two other Articles that you can refer to for inspiration, find out all about my original lunch box inspiration here and check out some healthy options here.
My kids tend to “snack” more, and between all the playing at break time, bento style boxes work better for us, so most of my boxes are smaller portions with more options.
Daily Lunchbox Inspiration
- Pesto Pasta – I list this every year but it really is a winner with us. If your child prefers warm pasta you can buy those nifty flask type containers that keep your food warm as well.
- Yoghurt Pot
- Biltong Strips
- “Deconstructed Pita” – Basically Pita Bread with some Meatballs, Hummus and Cucumbers served separately.
- Grapes and Berries
- Nut Muffin
- Cheese Quesadilla (I toast two tortillas in a pan with melted cheese in the middle and cut into 4.
- Served with Avo (I have one that likes Avo and another that cant stand it, so I may omit the Avo as well)
- Yoghurt Choobie (Yoghurt tubes from woolies)
- Trail Mix – My kids love the one with little yoghurt drops in from woolies
- Chicken and Cheese Roll up Wrap
- Mozzarella String Cheese
- Banana Muffin – you can view my recipe for banana muffins here.
- Carrots/Sugar snap peas
- Egg Muffin Cup
- Cheese and baby tomato skewers
- Granola Bar
- Chocolate Covered Raisins as a treat
We’ve designed an easily printable “cheatsheet” list for you. Allowing you to quickly pick out options from each of the suggested food groups to create a healthy lunch box. Grab one thing from each category and you are good to go!
Store Bought Favourites
Now lets look at some of my store bought favourites. These are lunchbox fillers that I buy to make my life easier. Some friendly on the pocket, and some are definitely more of a splurge so it just depends on how we are for the month 🙂
In no particular order:
- Oven baked munchies (salt crackers)
- Playful Penguins (South Africa’s answer to goldfish)
- Granola and Nut Bars
- Biltong/ Dry Wors
- Yoghurt covered rice cakes
- Cheese flavoured rice crackers
- Fruit Bites
- Kiddylicious Cheese Straws
- Kiddylicious Coconut Rolls
- Kiddylicious Fruity Bakes
- Happy Kid Banana and Chocolate Bars
- Trail Mixes
- Nature Valley Granola Bars
- Chocolate covered raisins
- Laughing Cow cheese cubes
- Mozzarella Cheese String
- Yogi Choobes
- “Oh My Goodness” Moon Melts
Lastly here are some of my personal lunchbox “hacks”. Things that I do to make my mornings run as smoothly and as quickly as possible (and this is still a huge work in progress).
- Get your kids to “pack” their own lunches; “make a snack station”. Okay okay, my kids are a little young still, but this was a responsibility that I had from the age of about 12. So what I do is have a “snack shelf” in the pantry, where the kids can pull out their “store bought favs” from. Easily accessible they can choose what they would like to pack. If you are a little more organised then me, you could sort these into categories like proteins, fruits etc.
- Prepare what you can before hand– Pack all fruit, yoghurts etc the night before ready to go and on a Sunday night I normally prep what I can for the week ahead. For example; I will cook a whole bunch of drumsticks and sausages, ready to pop into lunchboxes when needed.
- Use Drinks as Ice packs – Freeze your water bottles and it will double up as an Ice Block in your cooler bag.
- Compartmentalise – if you don’t have a bento style lunchbox, use silicon muffin cases to hold and separate your foods.
- Use Skewers for small meats or cheese – Presenting things in a smaller, prettier way makes it more appealing for the kids to eat. I got some super cute skewers from Lily and Lace.
- Use Cookie or Sandwich Cutters (But don’t waste) – My pet peeve about using cookie cutters to shape bread is the amount of bread it wastes. Cloud and Co stock some awesome shapers that almost fit to size, ensuring that you don’t waste alot of the bread. I have my eye on the rocket ship!
- Make Use of a thermal flasks – again, Cloud and Co sell some super cute Thermal flasks which will increase what you are able to pack as lunch options.
- Send a little love note – Make use of pre-printed stickers like the ones from Tower Labels.
There you have it! I hope you have found these helpful and you use them in your daily planning. Don’t forget to head over to Mommalikeme for some more lunchbox inspiration!
Times Are Changing – As You Turn Six
We have a birthday fast approaching in our house and it’s leaving me more than a little anxious. For me it signifies the end of a chapter, one that I loved with every single inch of my soul. One that I have a passion for, one that holds growth, learning and curiosity.
Six, it signifies the official end to the “preschool/toddler” years.. The start of being a “big boy”, am I going to lose my baby?
When I was an Au Pair, I used to joke that when I had kids, once they reached the age of 7, I would ship them off to my mum and dad until they reached the age of about 14, because it was my least favourite age to look after. Of course, my mindset has changed now that I actually am a mother myself. Yes, while these early childhood years have been tough – waking up multiple times in the night, trying to negotiate your way out of tantrums and dinner time, I can’t help but think about all the things I’m going to miss..…
Those chubby cheeks and hands.
Over the last year I’ve noticed how my sons’ body has changed (no we haven’t quite hit the teen years yet), but he’s lost his overall soft “roundness”. His hands have lost all chubbiness and his cheeks have evened out into a young boy’s face. His legs are becoming more athletic and take up so much more of the bed now.
I know most parents drop nap times a little earlier, but I have always insisted, that the boys nap in the day. My eldest can still pass out at the drop of a hat if we are in the car, and my youngest will fight it until he just cant open his eyes anymore, but for the most part they don’t nap in the day any longer. I’ll definitely miss that quiet zen time but most of all ill miss those “I just woke up” cuddles in the afternoon.
They just don’t keep still long enough to cuddle anymore. My eldest has already stopped giving me a big kiss at school in the morning (at least he still holds my hand). Bed time is our cuddle time, and I have the boys in each arm, though I know that this wont last for much longer. I’m holding onto every single hug while I can.
Endless days to explore and adventure
Up until Grade One, both my husband and I have always had a laid back approach to school/playschool. They aren’t in formal school yet and until they are, I steal every moment I can to spend with them exploring and going on adventures. We love taking a day to go to farms or parks, read books and bake at home. From next year however, the real school begins, and we wont be able to do this anytime we wish. Seeing the world as new through your child’s eyes is one of the most amazing things about being a parent and it’s something I’m going to miss witnessing first hand.
The cute way they talk
“Mommy, do you know….” Almost every sentence begins like this when you are 4. The excitement to tell me every single thing is electrifying, and sometimes they get so excited the sentences form too quickly for their little mouths to speak out. The made up words and overall grasp of the English language are one of my favourite things to listen to. Pretty soon though, all I will be hearing is “cool” and I’ll be an expert in all things slang.
My toddler mom group
There are no better friendships then the ones formed over toddler mom groups. I can already feel our paths diverging, with our kids in school more formally. Weekly meet ups have become bi monthly get-togethers or quick catch ups at birthday parties. I will love these ladies eternally and hold all of our fun memories so close to my heart. I’m going to miss our kids all playing and exploring together.
Their special toys
My eldest has a soft “kitty” teddy, a kitty who has been washed so many times he can practically roll up into the palm of your hand, a kitty who has been loved so much he only has one eye left. A kitty who is the one toy that will get selected to accompany us where ever we go. He has been a part of the “family” since Aadam was about 5 months old and has proudly been displayed at many “show and tell” days. For the last few months though, the requests for Kitty to be in the bed at night have dwindled.. a sure sign that times are changing, I think I know how Woody from Toy Story felt!
YES IM GOING TO MISS YOUR TEETH! Baby teeth are just so damn cute. Every day my eldest keeps asking, “mama is my tooth wobbly yet?”. I keep telling him that the longer he has his baby teeth the better, but he is just so darn excited for one to fall out like his classmates. Slow down my baby boy, I love those tiny little teeth of yours.
Being their entire world
For the past 6 years I have been everything to you (Ok Ok I’ll give your dad a bit of credit too :)), but my boy is a mommies boy (In a good way, and I’m proud of it). At times its been completely and utterly draining and I’ve sometimes wished you would ask for your dad more, but in all honesty, I have loved every single second. It’s what I was made to do, you gave my life a sense of purpose. The special bond we have had during these early childhood years has changed me as a person completely and I pray in some way, we can hold onto it forever.
Even though I’m mourning a chapter, I know this thing called “growing up” has to happen and I’m a little excited for the “bratty” years ahead. Seeing how you develop into an independent boy, watching your interests and hobbies grow and watching you learn all the basics of Maths and Science. All the sports days and swimming competitions we have to look forward to , and all the school projects ahead. Your first crush…
I just pray for the kind heart I see in you now to always stay firmly in place. For you to always wake up each day filled with optimism and hope. May you always be as affectionate and kind as you are now. Be a student in life, as well as a teacher. Learn from every opportunity, and when you know something, share your knowledge. I want you to win at all the thing you love, but I also want you to lose, with grace. For its from those failures that the wins become even sweeter and your character will be built. I hope you never stop dreaming, your dreams of becoming a Formula One Driver or Moto GP racer fill my heart with joy, and I hope you never lose that passion.
Happy Birthday to my Six Year Old! You changed our worlds for the better, and I am so grateful that God chose me to me your mama xx
If I Could Give You One Thing
If I could give you one thing my child, it would be optimism. In todays’ world of high anxious children, high crime rates and pressure at school, if I could give you one thing it would be eternal optimism and hope. Hope for a better future, hope for a better world, hope to make a difference.
It’s the one of the things I am grateful for the most in my life. The tendency to always see a glass half full so to speak. Don’t get me wrong, I do stress about things, but I know in life, you have to deal with things as they come. There is no point in worrying yourself sick about something until you are actually dealing with it. Since I was a young child, my two motto’s have been “The worst that can happen is they say no” and “just keep swimming”. Being optimistic about things gives you courage and confidence. It lifts you up and raises those around you.
It starts with us.
The way a parent talks and reacts to problems and stresses around them often become a child’s inner voice. Children are like sponges when they are experiencing the world around them. Behaviour is modeled off their parents or key care givers and their reactions are learnt. By being an optimistic parent you will handle situations more successfully, but it will also help your child do the same
The world needs optimists now more than ever.
The belief that a single individual can make a change. The belief and self-belief that EVERY person matters. The belief that they are someone!
But how do you go about raising an optimist?
- The first – and I think I have my Dad to thank for this, is QUIT COMPLAINING. Be aware of the words you use around you children, they pick up on your anxiousness and worry more than you possibly know. “We’re never going to get a parking”, “We are always running late”, By focusing on negative thoughts and frustrations you are bound to raise a pessimist. The more your kids hear you moaning about your day at work, or the stress of life, the more they will do the same thing. I’m not saying “shelter” them, but be aware of the WAY you react to your daily stressors. Broken Geyser? Its not the end of the world, yes you may have one cold shower which is an inconvenience, but there are worse things that could happen.
- Give them responsibility – Kids won’t develop an optimistic, “can-do” attitude unless they have the opportunity to prove their worth. Entrusting our kids to complete tasks makes them feel capable and gives them a chance to feel proud. From the age of 2 children can pick up their own toys, put dirty clothes in the wash etc. Get them involved and see how seriously they take their assigned tasks. Its the cutest thing.
- Curb the negative self talk – Children are naturals at this, especially once they enter the primary school years. I often hear phrases like “I cant do it” or “Im not big enough”. Its our job as parents to lift them up. I’m not saying offer false praise, because that may erode their trust in you. First empathize, hear them and listen. Then work on small bits “what do you think you did right”, “how do you think you can do better next time”. Help them focus on a solution rather then the problem.
- Encourage humour – If your kids can see you approaching life with a little humour and the ability to see things with a lighter heart it can help them not take themselves so seriously.
- Love – love, love and more love. Strong love, soft love, tough love. Even when we are disciplining them, try to discipline with love. By that, I mean explanations. Explain clearly as to why they are being disciplined and the importance of it.
Optimism is a critical skill for happiness, health and success. It creates resilience and helps combat anxiety and depression. It brings hope, for a fresh new start.
I pray that you always see the world for its beauty, for its good. To see yourself through my eyes. You are amazing, always remain pure. Always have hope.
— Hope is a powerful weapon, and (one) no one power on earth can deprive you of— Nelson Mandela
Third Time Around – A Birth Story Of A Princess
Hearing a good birth story is extremely powerful. I used to read through dozens when I was pregnant. Listening to other women’s stories empowers and educates you for your own, it inspires courage. This was my third baby and second V-Bac and I hope that it gives comfort to any of you out there, wondering if you can do it. Our bodies are absolutely incredible, listen to your body, listen to your gut, you can do whatever you set your mind too.
Here is Raya’s story:
To our beautiful baby girl, at just over 3 months old I think its time you had your first little letter dedicated to you and your birth story. I’ve written about your brothers and before it starts to get all hazy and memories fade I thought let me put yours down.
Your pregnancy was by far the most trying one I have had. Not that it was awful, it just felt like I was pregnant forever. I also had every single pregnancy “ailment” one could think of which made me so uncomfortable. But, Alhumdullilah, both you and I managed to stay healthy and strong throughout it.
I was determined to have a second V-Bac; having had an emergency c-section with your brother and a V-bac the second time, I knew the natural recovery was a waaaay easier option. I knew my body could do it and I wanted you to come on your own accord. I even contemplated a home birth with you and considered an all natural option.
You kept me waiting right until the end, like both of your brothers. At 41 weeks, I was due to go in to have either an induction or a c section on the Thursday morning. Wednesday was spent dropping and fetching your brothers from school, eating dates, drinking Raspberry Tea and walking to try and get you here. Thankfully, you heard my prayers and just before Midnight on Wednesday night, as I was doing some last minute cupboard organisation (and climbing up and down off a chair), my waters broke. This wasn’t my first rodeo, so I went downstairs to tell your dad, double checked everything was all packed and tried to get some sleep. I was in no rush to head to hospital just yet, and I wanted to stay comfortable at home for as long as possible. Your big brother woke up at about 1h30 and I took him back to his room and lay with him, timing the contractions as they came. It only took about an hour until they were 3 or 4 minutes apart and started to get a “little” sore. The warm waters of a hot shower helped to ease the pain and I got dressed, did my make up (of course I did) and at about 3h30 am woke your dad up to tell him it was time to get to the hospital. He woke up, had a cigarette and was taking his time in the shower! You’ll soon realise that I don’t swear much at all, but at this point, as I was trying to breathe through the pain, I “politely” told your dad that now was not the best moment to take his sweet time.
4 am seems to be our “go to the hospital” time, its the same time we went to the hospital with your brother too. I held onto the crash bar and lifted my bum off the seat the whole way to the hospital (the bumps on the road were so uncomfortable). We walked into the hospital just before 4h30 and did all the pre-checks and paperwork. I had to hold on to the counter for support and couldn’t talk while the contractions happened, so I knew you wouldn’t be too far off. All the normal labour rooms were full so they put us into the examining room and drew the curtains. I can safely say at this point there was about a minute or two between the contractions and they were more than a little painful. We had the coolest mid-wife who was chilled and calm about everything and was rushing between our room and another. She was hip and told me to “do your thing mama” and didn’t keep me strapped down to the monitors, which I was grateful for. She joked we would end up delivering at the same time as next door and I estimated you would make your appearance at 6h30 am. By 5h30 am, I still hadn’t received my requested shot of pethidine (I think the midwife was trying to get me to go natural) but at this point my tiredness was taking over, and I craved relief from the pain. She finally came back with it but I’m convinced she didn’t give me a full dose because it didn’t really “take the edge off”, or it could have been because I was too tired. Your daddy was there supporting me as always, but when it comes to labouring I am super frigid. I don’t want to be touched or talked to, I want your presence next to me but don’t freaking touch me 🙂
The doc arrived just before 6am and at that stage I was pretty much 9 or 10 cm and she just told me to call her when I felt that “urge to push” – (mama’s reading this, you know what I mean). At 7am I still hadn’t had the overwhelming urge (I mean it was there, but not really strong like it was with your brother) and was starting to worry as the lady next door had already delivered. Being a V-Bac I knew time and progression was of the essence and I sure as hell didn’t want you to be an emergency C-section. So I told a little white lie and told my doc I was ready (in hindsight maybe not the best option). I had 2 or 3 pushes and then it seemed like my contractions weren’t strong anymore, I couldn’t feel them as much and it felt like they were taking too long (could have also been the pethidine). I was pushing and bearing all the weight down in my neck (I felt it the next day) and not enough into my legs. They pulled out the stirrups and on push 3 Doc told me if your head didn’t drop down more she was going to have to use the vacuum (I had no objections), but if the vacuum didn’t help pull your head down she was going to operate… Push 4 and what seemed like a never ending push (I ran out of breath, have you ever tried taking another deep breath whilst still pushing down?? Its freaking impossible); you finally entered the world.
At 7h24 am on the 18th April 2019 you were placed on my chest for the first time, I will never forget the feeling of holding your warm, slippery body on my chest. You were so so warm and my body temperature by then was so so low. The first thing I noticed was how big you were and what an incredible amount of hair you had (explains the 2 solid weeks of agonizing heart burn I had). You weighed 3.68 kgs and opened your eyes immediately. Your daddy cut your cord and whispered Azaan in your ear. I almost gave up. I said to my doctor in that last push that I couldn’t push anymore and “I give up”, but the moment you were placed on my chest everything was forgotten about. Everyone else disappeared and in that moment it was just you and I.
I hadn’t had a drip or anything while I was in labour so they put that in afterwards while they cleaned up a bit and waited for my blood pressure to stabilize before wheeling us to our ward at 9 am (I lost a decent amount of blood with you). The first thing I did was order a giant bowl of hot oats and a pot of tea 🙂 Your daddy went home to get some sleep and you slept on my chest the whole morning, skin to skin. Of course I didn’t sleep a wink yet because every 30 minutes in hospital there is a knock on the door, checking blood pressure, changing dustbins etc. I realised at about 10am that I hadn’t even tried to “feed you yet” (it shocked me because Id done that immediately with your brothers, but you hadn’t even cried!) and you latched with ease and strong force. By noon I begged the nurses to let me go and bath and get cleaned up, I didn’t want your brothers seeing any “mess” when the came to meet you. They came in awe to meet their baby sister at about 2pm and were so unsure and cautious. It was so precious and I’m so glad your auntie was there to capture the moment.
Your narnie spent the night with us in the room and once the doc came around the next morning to do her rounds she gave us the all clear to go home if we wanted to! So you came home and completed our family of 5 on your very second day.
Raya Maryam you have always been with us, it’s like you have always been a part of the family and are the sweetest baby ever. You are happy, smiley, patient and you hardly ever fuss. Your brothers are obsessed with you and you are your dad’s baby love. I cant wait to adventure with you and watch you discover the world. We are so in love with you and will always be by your side, lifting you up.
all newborn shoot photos were done by Slumberlings Photography and all photographs are subject to copyright.