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.
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. …
The First Few Years Of Marriage
So here’s a post I have been sitting on for quite some time. I’ve debated clicking “post” for some time now because it’s not just MY story but OURS, for so long I wasn’t sure if it was just my experience, or others as well, but after speaking to so many of you on social media, I know I am not the only one to experience things, and I hope that this post can help some of you.
So here’s the truth about marriage….
The first 5 years of your marriage will be the hardest ever.
I’m grateful I went into my marriage completely open minded. I did not expect a fairy-tale, and I did not expect white horses. I knew my husband well enough to understand all of his personality traits and he knew me. I knew that there was so much more to marriage then then just “love”. It’s more about handling your expectations, tolerance and forgiveness, and self-respect.
However, even I was “unprepared” for everything that those first 5 years can throw at you. The changes you have to make to your lifestyle, especially as a woman and as you move through life’s stages. It is so important to note that my husband probably experienced ALL of the same things I did, in different ways. So I cannot speak on his behalf, this is my story.
You see, you go from being a “single” women, managing your own finances and doing whatever the hell you want really to suddenly adjusting to two of you. Now you may or may not have lived together before hand, we didn’t, so we had to find our feet when it came to finances. How should we split household costs, who does the cooking, who does the cleaning and whose money covers what. What each other’s EXPECTATIONS were of being a husband or being a wife. You have to learn how to cook for two people without too much food going to waste, and just as you fall into a little comfortable bubble, of you and your partner, lazy weekend mornings and sharing dish duty, bam….. you realise that you are pregnant (for some).
Your partner, who you have lovingly made the most important person in your life and adored on, needs to adjust. Nights filled with watching endless TV by themselves because you are simply too exhausted to move from growing another human. Your body and hormones changing and you are suddenly facing the reality that once this little human enters the world, your bubble is going to change (trust me, there is NO preparation for this). Who will assume the role as main breadwinner and who will be there 100% for your child? You have to be there for one another and support each other.
Enter your first child and suddenly, let’s be honest here, you forget to be a wife (I know I did). Actually, with one kid I think I was still alright, when the second came I was full on 100% focused on motherhood. Its OK. It happens, more often then you think. It’s a whole new roller-coaster of responsibility for you and your partner. Who does what? Do you share bedtime duty and diaper changes? Do you take turns to lie in on the weekends? Welcoming a baby SHOULD BE the happiest point of your marriage right? In many cases it is, BUT, in many cases, it is also the MOST stressful, and the MOST tested you will ever be.
Now, every partnership is different, but I can almost guarantee that at SOME point one party will assume a greater responsibility on these things. Whether it’s the cooking or the bedtime rituals at some point one of you will do it more, and with that comes a little resentment. Your nights of going out “together” will at some point become “your turn” versus “my turn” due to balancing baby sitting duties and you will miss being the “source of fun”. Every now and again though, you need to come back. You need to check in. While having children together is the most beautiful, bonding experience ever, it will also lead to the most intense struggles you have ever had. When to discipline, when it’s OK to lose your temper, what values are important to you; the list is endless, your partner and you were probably raised very differently and nothing brings that to light more then when you share a child.
In those first few years, you go from budgeting for 2 to suddenly budgeting for a family of 4 or 5. Figuring out how to cook family style meals and whose is paying for nappies, school fees or extra circulars.
The BIGGEST piece of advice I ever got is…and wait for it, this is going to ruffle feathers was; “not everything NEEDS to be equal, in fact in life nothing ever really is. You both have strengths and weaknesses. One of you will be able to carry more on their shoulders than the other. Work to your strengths and weaknesses. Don’t get taken advantage of course, but don’t expect everything to be equal.” This is GOLD! Look at your strengths and weakness of support each other in them. If you can throw away your expectations, you are in for a happier marriage.
Know that you can’t change your partner. And you should never have too. You fell in love with ALL of them, so embrace ALL of them. Flaws and all. By change I’m referring to their innate personality, not necessarily picking up socks from the floor, because that is trainable (ask my husband, he trained me hahahaha) 🙂
Realise as much as you love each other, at some points, you will come pretty darn close to hating your partner. Yep it’s a strong word, but it is a very fine line. For it is only the people that you love the most in this world that can crawl under your skin so much. The people that know you the most. It is how you handle the conflict that will grow you the most.
The bottom line is the first 5 to 7 years of marriage are FREAKING tough. You are building your family and life throws all the change it can on you. Be realistic, check in with your partner and acknowledge the tough times. But celebrate! Celebrate everything beautiful, count your blessings and cherish them. Don’t lose sight of each other and why you chose to marry each other. Compromise. Focus on what is truly important and toss everything else out.
I can safely say after almost a decade of marriage and 20 years of being in my husbands life, I still love him more than anything. He drives me up the wall and down again, he is the most stubborn, hot headed person I know, but then again, so am I 🙂 Whether you like it or not he gives you the harsh, blunt truth and has a habit of not sugar coating anything.
I look forward to the next chapter of our marriage, we are about to welcome our fourth (and very final) baby into this world and I know over the next few months new hurdles will come our way. The one thing I know, is that he is my constant and insha’Allah, he will be forever.
2020 – a year of Gratitude
It’s just past midnight on the 29th December 2020. The year the World “stood still”. Instead of jumping into bed as I planned on doing, I find myself typing at my computer, reminiscing on the year gone by.
You see, I am such a serial “planner” and “goal setter”, that I am always moving forward, thinking about the “next thing”. The New Year doesn’t mean much to me, to be honest, it’s just the start of another 12-month cycle, but what it does afford me is the time to actually stop. The time to pause and reflect on the months gone by and think about the possibilities moving forward.
Across the globe, the message is that 2020 sucked. It was the “year of COVID”, lockdowns, cancelled plans and disrupted schedules. It caused the whole world to rethink how we work and how we operate, but it also should us possibility and opportunity. It showed us which professions really truly mattered and it taught a large majority of the world, that working remotely, for most people, is actually possible. It taught us that we dont need exorbitant “Oscar” styled weddings or birthday parties that cost enough to feed a small orphanage. It gave the earth a chance to breathe, a pause from carbon emissions and thousands of feet walking through ancient cities. It gave us a chance to really miss those that are truly important to us, and it also showed us who we could do without.
Looking back at the year, once again, I find myself truly humbled and grateful. Under such circumstances there were truly some incredible moments and milestones that need to be celebrated.
It started off with winning an award, not just coming “runner up”, but actually winning in the “SA Blog Awards.” I didn’t dwell on it too much at the time, because there is a lot of drama involved in these awards, but actually, I should have. I work damn hard at what I do, creating content is not as easy as it seems, and it is something I am proud of. So THANK YOU, to each of you who took the time to vote. I haven’t entered again this year, I actually didn’t even get think about it, but it is something that I should be proud of, So thank you!
In February, literally a week before the world started to “lockdown”, we managed to spend two weeks with my sister and her beautiful family. An odd time for a “family holiday”, but look at Gods’ timing, giving us the chance just before we weren’t able to see each other again. We got to spend time in my family home all together, one last time before we said goodbye. My parents were surrounded by their grandchildren and days were filled with swimming and hammock naps. It’s been over 10 months since I have seen any family member now. My “baby” has grown up into a full blown, walking/talking toddler in that time and I am so grateful that we had those 2 weeks, at least.
We were thrown into juggling home schooling and working from home, as a family. Whilst I truly pray I never have to home school again, it taught me appreciation, like never before, for our teachers. I managed to find the balance that I always wanted, managing school drop offs, afternoon activities and work, yet I also realised that having “some” time in the office is sometimes a very good thing. I am in awe of the resilience our children taught us, taking every single thing in their stride. Never questioning “why” or “when will this end”. Wearing their masks every single day without complaint, they just accepted the new normal and moved on.
I realised, as a mother, that any guilt around screen time, especially during the hard lockdown period we faced in South Africa, should be thrown out the window. I was initially so against time on the PlayStation or too many cartoons, and had full days planned of activities to keep them busy. But, I actually realised, with the right games mind you, how it hasn’t hurt at all. In fact, it’s been a saving grace on many an afternoon when I have had deadlines looming. Of course, I try to balance it out with quality time, but I learnt to let go of misconceptions I once had.
It was the year that uncovered new passions, even pre-covid. Quizzing my aunts on old school household hacks and actually having the time to deep clean my home. I use the term home because, finally, our house started to resemble more of a “home”. Spending more time within it allowed us to give back more to it, with room renovations and painting, furniture restoring and ticking off goals. Without my handyman dad around, we were forced to do more ourselves and I can proudly proclaim that I now my way around a drill now, my husband is a pool expert and I have a re-found love for upscaling furniture. My organization skills were ramped up and I finally got around to projects like my pantry, kitchen cupboards and our constantly messy garage. All of these things deserve a moment of reflection and a “Wow, I did that” thought.
I was given the opportunity to work with brands that blow my mind, brands that I grew up with and companies that I stand behind wholeheartedly. Companies like Woolworths and Builders South Africa are a dream to me and to have the honour of working with them has been such a massive highlight of my year. My Instant Pot family have once again challenged me to rethink the way I cook and I adore being pushed to try new ways of cooking things, and boy did we cook this year! Who didn’t try recreating KFC or Nandos during lockdown? I am so grateful to every brand I have gotten to work with, being recognised by a product that you truly use everyday never ceases to amaze me. The team at Omo South Africa, Sunlight and Handy Andy, I am truly grateful. Being asked to contribute to LEGO will forever leave me in awe and words can’t begin to describe how much I value these opportunities.
2020 also gave us the biggest surprise, and challenge, yet. Finding out that we were expecting a 4th baby was no where near on our “plan”, but Allah is the best of planners. After the initial crash into a brick wall shock, we are both excited and can’t wait for our little girl to have another younger sibling to play with. Now I just have to deal with all my giving birth during a pandemic anxiety.
We threw ourselves into our work and while I do miss the office interaction, it also showed us just how much we could achieve at home. It was a year of promotions and awards, a year of learning and embracing new ways of working, new technologies and fresh portfolios. Pushing our knowledge into spaces we have never explored before.
It was a year which taught me value. The value of relationships, the value of our health, the value in every day moments and beautiful sunsets. Gratitude. Gratitude at keeping our heads above the water while the country around us battled this virus, not only physically but from an economical point of view. It gave us gratitude at the things we so often took for granted, being able to hop on a flight to visit our siblings or parents, or escaping the city for a “weekend break”. I experienced hurt and heartache, I saw competition and comparison rear its ugly head and a lack of support from areas I once turned to. Through it all though I am grateful, for showing me what is truly important and for the people I can truly turn to.
Gratitude in being able to pay our bills and provide our children with food, comfort and knowledge. It schooled me in thankfulness for my husband too. As much as I “complain”, I thank Allah everyday at the rock he has become. My foundation, my support. If you are reading this babe, I really, truly value you, and I am thankful for all that you do.
We went back to basics with crafts, with Raya Maryam starting to enjoy sensory play and at the same time we explored deeper activities with the boys, learning about crystals and science.
2020 was definitely a year of gratitude for me. I blogged slightly less, but I did more video content and like many of us, found myself on Tiktok more 🙂 Not taking myself so seriously.
For 2021, I have no grand plans or “goals”. I have prayers.
I pray for a healthy birth and delivery of our 4th child and I pray that Allah SWT keeps us safe from this virus. I pray for the people that have been affected, the families whose courses have changed. I pray that the vaccination is effective and quick to get here, because the 2nd quarter still seems very very far away. I pray for our economy, that we may recover somewhat, and that we are able to keep people employed. I pray that whatever may happen, my faith will continue to push me through and lift me up. We can get through this, day by day. 2021 is my year of hope, and lots of prayer.
Thank you, once again, for being a part of my community. Thank you for commenting, sharing and trying my ideas. Thank you for engaging and reaching out. We are all in this together, and without you reading this, my platform wouldn’t even exist! Happy New Year from us, and I look forward to growing more with you in 2021!
Why is saying goodbye to your childhood home so hard to do?
After well over 3 decades we have said goodbye to my childhood home. I never knew that something like this could have such a big impact on my emotions, but the fact is, I’m sitting here typing this with tears in my eyes. This was always “home”. My parents moved across the globe a number of times for work, but home was always there. Whether we were renting it out or not, it was always ours. It was always there.
When I was just 3 years old my parents bought a plot of dusty land about 20 minutes outside of Gaborone. Rocky, dusty, and filled with thorn trees, it was the start of something amazing. We didn’t even have a telephone line there, our first “phone” was a radio phone!
As a young girl, it was nothing short of magical. I played outside to my hearts content, running around barefoot, making forts under thorn trees and growing our own vegetables. We had so much freedom, riding our bicycles down the newly tared road, chasing cattle and donkeys out of the garden and saving our pets from snakes (puff adders and cobras mainly). I started driving down those farm roads at 12 years old with my dad and eventually at 14 would take my mums car out by myself (don’t tell the cops).
My mum always had grand plans of building a thatch style “farm” house, so to begin with, they put up a pre fabricated house, as a temporary start. Of course, life happens and the garden was developed around the house. Extensions were built and pipes laid, and that “prefab” house still stands today.
As a grew into my teenage years, I wished that my parents lived in town like the “cool” kids, it would make it easier for friends to fetch us or come visit us, nights out in town would have been easier but I am so very glad they never did.
The plan was always for my brother, sister and I to each have a portion of the plot as we grew up, and I always somehow felt that I would “return home” and take over my mums business. Life had other plans, and I settled down in another country and my grand life plan never did happen, but perhaps that’s why I still took every opportunity to visit home whenever I could, because some small part of me still clings to that ideal.
Whenever the stress of “city” life and growing up became too much, I drove towards home. Letting the rolling hills and thorn trees ease my stress and ground me again, the older I get the more I yearn for home. I love taking my children to experience the magic I feel. My sons love their narnie and grandpa’s house and I’m so grateful for the times I have managed to share with my older boys. We have picked veggies, roasted marshmallows on an open fire, looked for snakes, gone horse riding, ridden their bikes in the dirt and taken them on the river. We have swum from morning till sunset and checked if the chickens had any eggs. They’ve napped in the hammock and gone “shoeless” for days, relishing in playing with the kitties. Hopefully they will remember.
To see my children searching for “chongololos” or chasing the chickens around the garden like I did fills my heart with so much joy. Taking them at the crack of dawn to go pick their own vegetables, or letting them ride their bikes unsupervised is something I can never do living here in Johannesburg, but it’s something I did every chance I got when we were home. Washing as much of the “city” out of them as I could. Now that’s never going to be the same. They can never again wake up for a 6 am swim (In Botswana you can literally jump into the pool at any time of day its so hot), it will never be “our pool” again.
But what I have also realised is home is where the heart is. In this period my parents have lived in 5 different cities across the world, including islands in the South Pacific and the Caribbean. Wherever I visited, wherever they are is “home”.
I know it was a necessary move. As my parents grow older and need to downsize, this is the first move in the few that will see them land up in the UK, but I guess I just wanted more time. I wanted more time for my daughter to experience those things now. I wanted her toes to get all dusty and to take in the fresh “bush air”.
So as I say goodbye to our house for the past 3 decades, I realise it is just that. A house. It has a roof, a fireplace, a kitchen and a garden, It is two people that turned it in to a home. This house reflects the life and family my parents created together. The adventures and trials we have gone through together, and this home thrived because of them. So did I. I am always welcomed with open arms. I feel the most comfortable being me. I will always hold these memories and how they made me feel close to my heart. Memories of planting and selling vegetables to our local spar, spending Saturday mornings picking fresh spinach and radishes with my dad and rinsing them off in the swimming pool to taste. Building up bookshelves from scratch or redesigning my room for the 5th time. Having pool parties with my friends on the weekend or just driving around the farm roads blaring our favourite music to pass the time. This was the home that saw me through primary and secondary school, university and marriage. This was the home I brought all 3 of my children to as babies, to let Gogo Mary spoil them, as she spoilt me. This was the home that held first boyfriends and breakups, and staying up with friends until the sunrise and then trying to sneak back into the house. Weddings and family reunions, our house always had people in it, sitting under the lapa enjoying the cool of the shade.
So I may never drive down that gravel road again, the boys will never steal “chappies” from Mary’s shop again and I will miss seeing my mom’s garden bloom and flourish. I will miss walking into the house and seeing the familiar dark tiled floor or the cats water bowl in the kitchen, and It makes me sad. However, I also know that home is indeed where the heart is, and we will make new memories wherever my family goes.
Thank you Notwane, for giving me the most ideal childhood. For all the adventures and dramas, for all the love and warmth. I only hope that I can give my children the same freedom and sense of adventure that you gave me.
Wacky Box SA – Everything you need to entertain your kids, in one box
Lets see how many times you have googled “activities to stimulate my child” this lockdown… 2, 3, 4? As a blogger who focuses a large portion of her writing on activities for children, I have certainly noticed a huge increase in requests for ideas since COVID changed our world. Yet I still find myself at a loss from time to time at what to do. Working from home during this time has also left me with less quality time with my kids (believe it or not), because I am always trying to juggle between the two. I wasn’t finding the time to prep activities for them or to think in advance of things to do, not to mention my craft supplies were dwindling at a rapid rate.
Enter Wacky Box SA. The Wacky Box is brought to you by the Educational Box Company, and it aims to provide support, promote and empower parents in South Africa, giving them the ability and opportunity to spend quality time with their kids, despite their busy lives. Every Wacky Box is jammed packed with activities and follows a different theme for the month. The activities are tried and tested for each age group, and it comes with a detailed instruction booklet for parents, highlighting the benefits of each activity, as well as ways to step it up. The activities inspire both fine and gross motor skills, sensory play as well as arts and music. The box is designed to be completely used up, if fact, even the box and packaging are used as part of the activities.
Our boxes were themed for “senses”, so we had activities such as sticky jelly play, drawing on sandpaper, “listening” by creating shakers, making binoculars, physical movement and of course music themed activities. We even had cinnamon scented oats!
Double it up
My boys are pretty close together in age, so most of the time, I need activities that will engage both of them. One of the things I love the most about Wacky Box is that you can double up your box for siblings for just R110 extra. No more fighting over who gets to do what activity, now they can both do exactly the same thing.
At a time where we are at home more, Wacky Box has been a lifesaver. I haven’t had to think of themes, everything is provided for you, every piece of tape, piece of paper and inch of glue. The boys particularly enjoyed the physical activities, the ping pong ball races and spider climbing. It also prompted “out of the box” thinking (excuse the pun), letting us get creative by drawing on sandpaper to experience different textures. Another aspect I appreciated is that a lot of the materials in the two boxes (we got 4-6 years and 1-2 years) were actually the same. It was just the way the activities were executed that were different. Take the oats for example, For baby they were more of a sensory experience picking up and scooping, filling containers etc, whilst the boys used them to create art. This is a huge benefit when your little one wants to copy her big brothers all the time!
I jumped at the chance to get a box for my daughter, who is 14 months old. I find myself at a loss of things to do with her, as everything requires supervision, and she isn’t “old enough” for crafts yet. She is at a bit of an “in between phase”, always wanting to do what her big brothers do. We dug animals out of jelly, painted with bells on a brush to add another learning element (I loved this idea) and even reused our box to learn the concept to enhance fine motor skills. It’s been a treat to sit down with her and allowing her to discover new things.
How does it work?
You an order your monthly subscription at just R380 per month, with a different theme chosen for each month. Simply select your appropriate age group and everything is delivered to your door! There are also once off boxes available as well as gifting options. Delivery across South Africa is free.
For more information visit the Wacky Box website, and follow them on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and Pinterest.
We will be gifting one lucky parent with a 4 month subscription to WackyBox , worth R1520.
- Like and follow both In these stilettos and Wacky Box SA on Facebook and Instagram .
- Share this article so more people can find out about this awesome service!
For another chance to win head on over to Mommalikeme to enter!
Winner will be announced on 30 June 2020 and the chosen individual must have a child aged between 5 months and 6 years old.
** Disclaimer ** This article was written in collaboration with Wacky Box, however, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
Father Day Gift Guide 2020
Every year I find myself stumbling over what to get my husband and dad for Fathers Day. I’m sad to say for the last few years I haven’t been able to spend Father’s Day with my dad, but I hope he knows just how much I love him.
If you’re looking for something different to spoil the men in your life with this year, here are my ultimate choices to show Dad he’s Rad ! (See what I did there?)
From top left:
These gorgeous 100% genuine leather wallets from Journey Leather. They have a full range of products including toiletry bags. RSP: From R520
If you are going big, you HAVE to check out Lego’s latest masterpiece. Lego Creator Expert has a model of the Manchester United Football Stadium to keep dad’s busy while they wait for the Premier League to come back on! At R4,499.99 its a little pricier then your normal gift but so worth it!
For the golfer dad’s out there why not add in a little style, while giving back to a great cause?
Goodbye Malaria is a social benefit organization that fights against Malaria, in Southern Africa, Eswatini and Mozambique. All online sale proceeds go towards the eradication of malaria. Golf t-shirt: R350 – Shorts: R350.00 – Baseball cap: R200
Has lockdown got you fighting for TV space? Enjoy the home console gaming experience on the go and, even without access to a TV. Nintendo Switch fits around your lifestyle. Enjoy classic games like Super Mario Brothers, which is perfect to teach the kids!
LINDT Excellence features the likes of 70% Dark, 85% Dark, Mint Intense, Orange Intense and Sea Salt flavours in 100g tablets (RRP: R49.99; the 90% and 99% RRP R54.99). Flavours vary from intense through to sweet, with many combinations proving to be unexpectedly delicious and indulgent. Why not set dad up with a pairing? Jack Black, Cappucino, Rooibos tea – Lindt pairs well with so many things.
This Garmin Approach is the perfect tool for measuring your yardage for shots from anywhere on the course you’re playing. It’s compact and clips on and would be the perfect addition for any Golf loving dad.
For the foodie dad, Le Creuset is a special treat! They have launched the super stylish “matte black” range which fits in seamlessly to any kitchen. Shop Matte Black and exciting new Father’s Day promotions, including Cast Iron Grill pans, online or in store at www. lecreuset.co.za from 1st June 2020.
Who says fitness watches can’t be stylish? This Garmin Vivoactive Watch, from takealot is the perfect gift. It has interface with Android phones and all the latest gadgets with heart rate monitors.
Every dad needs in introduction to DIY work, this cordless drill from Leroy Merlin is the perfect starter tool. At only R389 its perfectly priced to spoil dad with this weekend.
Grasshopper has a full range of options for the dad in your life, whether he is running around town all day, or seated at a desk. The winter Grasshoppers range includes a style for everyone including the “brown rugger”, the Grasshopper take on the classic Chelsea boot. Available online via Bolton Shoes or visit the Grasshopper site for more information.
Got a dad that’s addicted to Cooking shows? This flavour injector is such an awesome foodie tool, simply pour flavourful stock or marinade into the syringe, attach the correct sized nozzle, and inject the flavour into the body of the meat. (I may just go by myself one).
I think this may just top all gifts, get your garage organised with Garage Guys. Garage Guys are the leaders in cost effective garage shelving. They create custom shelving solutions to fit your garage style and needs.
Build 11 awesome LEGO machines with this awesome activity kit. Machines that whirl, flip, punch and cruise! Including: a gravity-powered car, a boxing robot, a claw, a catapult, a spin-o-vision, a ghost mobile car, a rollin’ T-Rex, a whirling fan, a mixing machine, a micro movie maker and a gravity-drop coaster. Available from Takealot.com
If you are looking for the perfect starter toolkit, this it it! Tool set DEXTER 40 pieces bi materials comes with all the tools you need to keep your home in tip top shape. Available from Leroy Merlin
Garmin Watch, from takealot
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!
When Baby Goes On A Bottle Strike
We are well back into the swing of things at work after a beautiful 2 week break. Not having to worry about the rush of the school run, not having to worry about expressing in between breaks and while driving, not having to worry about how much milk I have left in the freezer for our precious baby girl.
Enter our second day “back to work” however and I got an urgent call from our childminder to say that our 9 month old was refusing to drink from the bottle. It all happened out of nowhere, she had always taken the bottle like an absolute champ, but suddenly, she was pushing it away, playing with it or simply sealing her mouth shut and shaking her head (this girl knows what she wants).
I briefly remember experiencing this with my first born, but it was a brief phase that passed very quickly. So I put a poll up on my instastories on who has experienced this and gathered together most of the advice received.
What to do when your baby goes on a bottle strike:
Apparently its more common then you think, especially between 8 and 9 months. They are starting to get more mobile, more distracted during feeds in general. Its way more fun to crawl and reach out to everything then sitting through a feed.
If your baby is going through the same thing, don’t worry. We tried a couple of combinations that worked for us, but these are the most common suggestions I received.
Offer smaller amounts more frequently
Drinking is not their priority. Try offering smaller amounts more frequently. It’s not ideal, but at least you are getting the mls in. “Snacking” throughout the say. Warm up half the amount you would normally do and offer that at different times throughout the day, or when they are eating their meal. Either way, you’ll want to measure the bottles in smaller amounts so you don’t waste the milk. This goes for both breastmilk and formula fed babies. If you are freezing milk, freeze it in smaller batches. With formula measure out half of what they usually take.
Change up the environment
Try feeding your baby in a different place. Take them outside or in a different bedroom the novelty of drinking in a new place may be enough to get them to finish their bottle. In the same breath you could move to a quiet room with less distractions. No TV’s or radios or pictures on the wall to look at. Sit in a darker room or draw the curtains to create a calming environment.
Change your bottles flow
Bottle teats have various different flows. What worked initially as a newborn may be too slow and difficult to suck. Change up one level to see if it has an impact.
Offer the Milk in a different bottle
We shifted to a sippy cup instead of the typical bottle and its worked wonders. Start with transition sippy cups to make the move from bottle to cup smoother.
Changing the temperature of the milk
Yep – this worked for us weirdly. I think it might have been the shock factor. Expecting something warm and then getting it cold that peaked her curiosity.
It often makes sense if you step back and just think about changes occurring in your life and how that may have impacted them. For me it was definitely all the time spent at home, feeding on demand and not having to worry about a schedule. Youll often find with a little persistence and time things will get back to normal. Sometimes babies may get into more of a reverse cycle feed and they will often end up drinking more at night whilst you are away in the day. As long as they are staying hydrated you shouldn’t worry. If they are refusing to drink even at night I would advise seeing your pediatrician.
What worked for us:
Babygirl is back to drinking her milk while I’m away at work. What worked for us was offering it to her in smaller amounts, out of a sippy cup, and in smaller amounts. She plays and crawls, and takes a sip. Plays and sips until the bottle is finished. Like most phases, this should just pass. Its more common then you think and persistence is key. She is still hugely distracted, even when feeding directly from me. She drinks for 2 minutes, pops up to look around and play and then carries on. Its almost a game now, with each time she comes up, a huge smile forms across her face.
Whatever method works for you, persistence is key. At times, baby can also start to “reverse” feed. Taking in more milk at night when they drink. It’s all part of growing up I guess. One thing is for sure, the way that they can adapt and the way they have such determination in what they do; babies amaze me!