Tag: parenting

Rolling with the Punches – Making The Best Of Stressful Situations

Rolling with the Punches – Making The Best Of Stressful Situations

When it all unravels……

For us personally, 9 out the 10 times we travel, one of the kids will get sick.. I don’t know what it is, but it is something we can pretty much place a bet on. My sister was the same growing up, she was the one who would always fall sick as we were about to embark on the 13 hour car journey. Perhaps that’s why I roll with the punches and go with the flow, because I expect it.

Its been a while since I wrote a “from the heart blog”, and I miss it, it’s the reason I started this blog. To reach out to moms and parents to let you know you aren’t alone. We have all or, will all be there at some point. So bear with me as I tell the tale of our past weekend.

Rewind 5 days and we are packing for our first little family getaway for the whole year, yep, our first weekend away in 365 days as a family and one that was desperately needed. My eldest had not slept well the night before and when he woke up in the morning he complained his tummy was sore, but “Its OK mummy, it’s because one of the boys’ in my class had a sore tummy too”. OK, not too bad, I can deal with a tummy bug. I ran out in the morning to organise a few last things before our afternoon flight and got back home at noon to a little boy with a 39 degree temperature. I gave him his first dose of Nurofen for kids, and packed up the last few things in the bags, expecting the fever to drop. No such luck, hubby comes home from work expecting to change and jump into our cab for the airport, only to find our son crying of a sore ear now and his fever had only gotten worse! I was not a popular person….

They say you need a balance In every relationship, and my golly we got one in ours 🙂 I am typically the calm one, “it’s going to be OK”, “It’s not too serious”, “we will get through this”, and my hubby is well, to put it lightly, clearly not 🙂 He wants to cancel everything and not go. Enter my “mummy make a plan mode”. I first check, to appease my hubby largely, the likelihood of us changing our flights to the next day. (Not going to happen and the price was ridiculous). Next move is to add Panado into the mix this time (which dropped the temp) and thirdly I packed Zip Lock bags packed with ice for face cloths to travel with to bring the fever down.

I know kids, rather, I know MY kids. I know when things are very serious, and typically when it’s something that’s “part of life”.. This (I was hoping), was the latter. By the time we reached the train station and airport the Panado had kicked in and our little man perked right up. Though I confess, I decided, after many years of not using one, to whip out the stroller. I was not about to make a sick kid run through the airport.

We made the flight with literally 2 minutes to spare (hubby was convinced we were still turning around and going home) and seemed to all be OK. Until we started to descend…. My eldest has always had more sensitive ears, and now we with some sort of ear infection/tummy issue going on it tripled the pain. He had fallen asleep on the flight but as we started to descend, we woke up screaming, and he didn’t stop. My poor baby. Now mama was feeling bad, I shouldn’t have made him come. Bubble gum, food to chew, swallowing water nothing helped and he didn’t want anything either. I just held him tight and told him to chew chew chew.

Then came the puking, luckily that was not on the plane, and was actually the only thing I feared when travelling with him. However we were safely at our destination, and it actually made him feel better. Remember my post on what to pack when travelling with kids? At the last-minute I left my Celestamine at home because the bottle was a bit leaky, and boy oh boy did I regret that. Poor little poppet couldn’t even breathe properly at night he had such a bad post nasal drip.

But the very next day, my baby was ALMOST right as rain, a bit of a gunky eye, but he had a weekend filled with swimming and beach fun. It was a weekend filled with late nights and adventure, and one we could have missed.

The late nights of course, slowly catch up though…

So to anyone who saw us at the airport on Sunday, I publicly apologise for the melt down my youngest had. My boys, I’m thankful to say, are typically well-behaved. Except on this occasion. Waiting to board the plane, with 200 other passengers lined up around us, my little one had the melt down of the century. I had bought them little planes from the sweet store, so they could “fly their planes” as our plane flew. Expect my “smalley” didn’t want a plane, oh no, he wanted a race car, and he let every single passenger know. I’ve never received “looks” before, but oh boy, I received a crap load of them in that moment. I gently told my son the reason why I bought two planes that were the same, instead of his beloved race car (because I knew that when it came down to it, he would have cried for the flying object) and ignored him until he was done crying. I will not shout at my child and cause a scene in public, they have already done that for all of us. I told him his behaviour was unacceptable, explained my reasoning and told him when he was finished, if he wanted, he could have his plane. 10 long minutes later he came up to me and said, “OK, but can I have the orange one please”. The looks I received though, with my wailing child walking behind me, will stay with me for a while.

Thankfully our flight home was much calmer, with no dramas or ear ache. Everyone is back home and now it’s my smalley’s turn to fight this bug. Funnily enough a lady we sat next to on the plane ride over said “we were amazing, and had ‘aced’ parenting”, probably the best compliment I have ever received 🙂

My point of this post is really that life happens. Of course, not every person would deal with this situation as I did, some people may even think it was selfish to still travel. Of course, If I felt my son was horribly ill I would have cancelled everything. If he got worse the next day I would have stayed with him every moment. My life Is my children’s. I was blessed with the honour of bringing them into this earth and it’s my duty and privilege to be there every single moment. But life also happens and sometimes things unravel. Plans don’t go according to the way we hoped. We adjust, we do the best we can in situations, and that is all that anyone can ask. Embrace the chaos, and roll with the punches mama.

We have a weekend filled with beautiful moments now, and after a long stressful year, I wouldn’t have changed any of it. Thankfully, hubby had a great time too 🙂 Now I just need to teach him how to calm down in stressful situations 🙂 Any tips on that?

Surviving Two Under 2

Surviving Two Under 2

I remember the very first night we were home as a family of 4. Aadam used to sleep through the night in his own room at that point (I don’t know how we have regressed so much), and toddle into our room at about 6 am. He came through to our room while I was feeding Yusuf and proceeded to break into the most heartbreaking cry ever. My little 18 month old baby was devastated that mama had another baby on her chest and just couldn’t understand why I wasn’t holding him.

I am certainly not the first mother that’s had two under two, in fact in my circle of friends the majority of us have had two under two at some point (clearly we are all daft), but looking back, I wouldn’t change a thing. NOT ONE SINGLE THING.

I remember being pregnant with Yusuf and looking at my 13 month old toddler trying to take his first steps, wondering how on earth I could have another baby in a few months when my baby was just a baby. I worried so much about Aadam and how he would adjust or how I could ever give him the attention he deserved. Having such a small gap between my boys meant two things. Firstly, I had an extremely active second pregnancy. Climbing my jungle gyms and pushing a pram while I was 9 months pregnant was normal. The second being I was absolutely determined to have my second baby naturally as I could not fathom walking around with a Cesarean section scar aching while my toddler was running around. People underestimate the monumental shift that going from 3 to 4 is. Gosh, I had just gotten used to being a wife when I had to adjust to being a mum for the first time and a family of 3, and suddenly we were transitioning to 4 !

Through it all, I made it, and now my boys are the best of friends. They fight like cat and dog, but they also proudly declare that they are each others best friends and it is the most beautiful thing to see. So here are a couple of pieces of advice I gathered when dealing with 2 under 2.

1.Call in the troops

If your mother or mum in law offer to come and help out with the new baby, TAKE THAT HELP! You will need every extra paid of hands you can get in those first few weeks. Dinner time with a 16 month old and newborn around? It’s a little trickier than before and having that extra set of hands is a welcome relief.

2. Prepare your partner 

You have only just adjusted to your new little family when suddenly you are welcoming one more. It is stressful on your partner and they may get bumped down the ladder in terms of priority for a few weeks. Make sure they know you love them and together you will weather the storm. Make time wherever you can to sneak in some alone time. We had our nanny in one weekend for an hour one Saturday and quickly snuck off to the beach while the babies were having their morning nap. It was just one hour but I will never forget that time.

3. Your toddler will get jealous, your baby will not.

I know this sounds harsh but my aunt gave me this piece of advice and I never looked back. Apart from feeding and nappy changes a newborn doesn’t “require” a lot. Have a mobile bed set up in your living area and whenever baby is sleeping try to devote your time solely to your toddler.

4. Get your kids excited about the baby

Easier said then done when your toddler is only 15 months old. By the time I was 8 months pregnant though, even though he couldn’t speak yet, Aadam would kiss my belly at night and give his brother “hugs”.

5. Invest in a carrier 

I feel like this should be priority number one in terms of importance. I had various slings and wraps when Aadam was born but to be honest, I never really used them or got the hang of them. Fast forward 16 months and my baby wrap became my best friend and saving grace. With a toddler you NEED that pram and you NEED two hands. I would carry Yusuf around on me most of the time and had my hands free to tend to “big brother”.

6. Try to synchronize nap times

However you do it, it doesn’t matter, but it will be a game changer. Of course one being a newborn and the other a pint-sized toddler they wont sleep all at the same time but for your toddlers morning and afternoon naps try to get in 45 minutes where you can. I have no shame in saying many a time I chucked them both in the car and drove around until there was silence.

7. Balance your attention

Think of a triage system in hospitals, and yes, your house will resemble the emergency room quite a few times. I typically prioritize based on whose need is bigger or more “urgent”. If the toddler is crying because he can’t get because he can’t reach his toy, and the baby is crying because she is hungry, the baby wins. But if the toddler is crying because he just fell down and needs help, and the baby is crying because he needs to be burped or held, then the toddler wins that time.

8. One day at a time

This is the GOLDEN rule. ALWAYS. One step forward, one foot in front of the other, one day at a time. Each day it will get a little easier, each day they will grow a little bigger. The younger baby will grow up much quicker and the moment he/she is sitting you will blink and they will be crawling, and then…… well then the real fun starts!


How To Parent Children With Different Personalities

How To Parent Children With Different Personalities

It’s something I should have always known, no two children are the same. Growing up with two other siblings, our personalities were all different, yet we had largely the same upbringing. It still surprises me however, just how different they are, and just how difficult it is to parent different personalities. Do you change parenting styles according to your children? How can I be the best parent to each one when their needs, interests and quirks are so drastically different?

You are the same person, you love your children all with the same devotion and vigour, give them all the same opportunities, and to a large extent try to balance out the same attention. Yet they are not the same people and they never will be, I’ve started to learn that you most definitely have to adapt your parenting styles.

One might be more timid and easy-going, while the other is highly social and passionate. One adapts to change, while another might need extra time to adjust. Same parents, same house, same culture, yet two completely different personalities.

The Soft Soul

I have two boys, pretty close together in age (so I haven’t changed much), my eldest is a soft soul. My husband thinks almost too sensitive. He’s not shy at all, in fact quite the contrary, he loves his friends and has the confidence to speak up in a room filled with 100 people. He thrives on praise and has the softest heart in the world, but you just need to look at him with a little disappointment or anger in your eyes and he picks up on it and will cry. He cries for a lot. He is highly empathetic and will cry if he feels he has hurt you.

I know however that is future is bright, he is empathetic, he understands others feelings. He would make a great therapist/doctor one day (though all he wants is to race for Ferrari in Formula One).

Then we have our defiant one

My youngest, he’s a force to be reckoned with. He is not even 3 yet, but yesterday this little guy, in the middle of a meltdown, actually said “Daddy and I both have short tempers”. How right you are my little munchkin. He also adores praise, and love, however, when he decides he wants something, he WANTS that thing, it’s all or nothing and boy oh boy he will break you till you cave. He throws things, he gets cross if things don’t go his way. To put it frankly, he is stubborn as hell.

I know however that if I can nurture this passion properly, I can help him to become a great leader, a confident CEO of a grand empire (though all he wants is to play Golf).

How do parent different personalities in the most effective way?

I’ve come to realise a few things, looking at their “love languages”. The outcome needs to be same because that’s fair but the parenting style needs to be tweaked a bit for their individual style. My eldest thrives on praise. Words of affirmation and encouragement. My youngest doesn’t actually need the encouragement as much, he knows hes got this down and has the confidence to jump right in. While he also thrives on praise, I have also learnt with him to stand strong to your word. Don’t falter, because he does test you. He requires an enormous amount of patience and guidance. I also know that just because he is more “strong willed” it certainly doesn’t mean he is not sensitive. In fact, in a way, he is MORE sensitive and the “aggression” often comes from not knowing what to do with that emotion.

It’s important to give all your children the same amount of attention, take a day in the week or month for some undivided one on one time. Let their own strengths shine through.

Steer clear of labels (which is exactly what I just did when i described them), by repeatedly referring to a child as “naughty”, they will believe that they are indeed naughty, and use that as an excuse to fall back on. I’ve heard my youngest a few times saying “I’m naughty hey”.  Don’t over emphasize their differences either.

The truth remains that even when there are two boys being raised by the same two parents, they will be different for so many reasons. I’m looking forward to seeing how they continue to develop and watch as their personalities develop even further. I think as long as you instill the same values and principles in life, the same positive belief in each child you are on the right path. This in an ongoing journey…challenging me every day, but I’ll be sure to keep you updated every step of the way.

I know one thing is for sure, if they can keep the same bond they share now throughout life, they will lead lives filled with adventure with each other by their side.