Easter in Yzerfontein

Hi lovelies,

I’m happy to say that we headed out on our first family holiday over Easter this year – and it was our 6th anniversary too … which is why I absolutely love the month of March. 😉

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We were quite excited to take some time out and be away from home as we’ve had an almost non-stop stream of visitors coming round to see Amelia. I won’t lie, it was pretty fantastic to have friends popping in and keeping me company – as I didn’t have time to get lonely – but it was only recently that I realised I haven’t had a single week to myself with just Amelia at home (gasp!).

20160319_10115920160319_10120620160319_11081420160319_110930So with the long weekends of Easter coming up and our anniversary, we decided to spend a whole, blissful week with just the three of us – before inviting my parents to join us on a family holiday.

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We enjoyed board games, home cooked meals with some Tangled Tree wine, and even a few trips to the beach – though sadly, the weather didn’t quite cooperate. In short it was heavenly!

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Have I ever mentioned how much I love Yzerfontein as a town? For those who don’t know it, it’s a perfect seaside village outside of Langebaan with secret beaches, family-friendly restaurants with lovely owners that were completely okay with me breastfeeding Amelia which is a big plus in my books.

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Easter morning was a quiet affair at home before we decided to head back to Cape Town to beat any kind of crazy traffic. I naturally went a bit crazy with the camera and took a million pictures. I whittled them down to the below. You’re welcome. 😉amelias-first-easter-18amelias-first-easter-17amelias-first-easter-19amelias-first-easter-2120160327_132700amelias-first-easter-25amelias-first-easter-2720160327_13193920160327_132531

I honestly can’t wait to return and suspend time as we enjoy baby giggles, amazed stares at seagulls, wrinkled noses at the scent of braai food, and happy cheer and togetherness with those I love.

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Things I’ve learnt during my first 100 days of motherhood

It’s funny how time takes on a whole new meaning when you’ve got a little life depending on you for everything. And how easy it is to get so wrapped up in your own world of snuggles and cuddles, late night feeds and hours of walking or rocking that little angel, all the while praying that they’ll fall asleep so you can rest your weary eyes.

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Days seem to slip away as you stare at tiny eyelashes, smiling at contented sighs and feeling your heart start to melt as five little fingers curl around one of yours. As that little head rests softly on your chest and cuddles close to you, heat and heartbeats shared.

So it’s with some amusement and much love that after the first 100 days of motherhood, here are a few of the things that I’ve learnt:

* The motherhood glow is real – though I have a sneaky suspicion that mine was caused by cuddling a beautiful little furnace – during the 40°C heat wave we had.

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*Mommy brain is also a real thing. Ever had it? No? Well, it’s the sort fog that draws over your brain as you stare in awe at your little gift at 3 in the morning as they nuzzle into you, and then you try to form coherent sentences to your significant other at 7am as you cook breakfast over a hot plate, despite having been awake for close to 24hrs. Oh what fun that is. Now repeat it every day for close on two months.Yep. There’s a peek at mommy brain for you. Also, I feel mildly cheated of this fortitude back during the odd all-nighter.

* Post pregnancy hair loss is a myth – or at least it was for me. I never once woke to strands on my pillow, or wound up having my drain clogged by clumps as a horrified friend informed me I would. Boy, did I feel smug about that one. Instead, what I did find was that my sweet little dumpling loved to reach up and tug with her tiny fists, which though adorable also slightly terrified me as it hurt to have her yank out single strands out of my head where they were firmly attached. She started to do this all. the. time. And it was so painful!! Seriously though, aside from tugging by my little darling, the rest of my hair stayed firmly where it belonged on my head. Smugness intact. 😉

*Friends will pop in almost daily to visit and meet your little angel, which is great because it’s good for them to start learning who their aunties and uncles are (and let’s face it, adorable baby snuggles and cuddles are too good an opportunity to pass up on regardless of heatwaves).

 

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*You will never be afraid of any kind of bodily fluid your little one may provide. Which is both heartwarming and terrifying considering the coming years and the dreaded potty training. Luckily, there are many, many, many moons still to go before that happens.

*Baking mini breakfast cupcakes with bacon and cheddar, spinach and feta, and carrot and cinnamon, becomes a soothing and a lovely way to grab a snack in the morning if you don’t have time to do a full breakfast of any kind.

* Washing and arranging tiny, cute outfits doesn’t get old – or at least, just over 100 days into motherhood, it hasn’t yet. It still brings a smile to my face as I tip in those teeny tiny little pants, tops, dresses and blankets into the washer and run it through the rinse cycle twice. Because since she’s inherited my sensitive skin, I can’t be too careful.

*Gummy smiles are the cutest things in the whole world. Especially when you realise that they look like an angelic Nights Watch member  … you doubt? Humph. You know nothing Jon Snow!!!

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* Possibly too TMI but at some point everyone will ask you if you can tell when your milk comes in. To anyone wondering: yes, yes you can definitely tell when your milk comes in. Though it’s name “Let Down” may fool you into thinking it’s some kind of gentle process – in the early days, it’s not. Instead, it’s a thousand tiny fire-hot needles stabbing you that lead to you knowing when your milk for the baby has arrived. Yay.  Word to the wise: feed the tiny human asap because engorgemegive is an even worse feeling  … (I told you tmi). However, it doesn’t last forever and it really does settle into a normal ‘feeling’ of “oh, the milk is here” after the first two months or maybe I’m just cursed special.

*Taking photographs of those moments, along with other moments is a great way to pass the time and make memories to cherish. If you ever find time to print them for that album and scrapbook.

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*Sleep deprivation may make you cranky, but you’ll find ways around it that work for you which sadly, usually don’t include sleep. I found drinking something after every feeding session, coupled with having something to eat every three hours did wonders at improving my mood throughout month two (those midnight snacks were sooo good!!). What did I drink, you ask? Well Schlehlens tonic with water, apple juice and rehydrate sachets for one, along with healthy dolings out of coconut water, regular water, water with lemon cordial and that single, aromatic first cup of coffee. Oh coffee! I miss you so …

*Watching your partner cuddle your sleeping child suddenly becomes the most magical sight in the whole world. Especially if they both snore softly together.

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*Tiny finger nails are deadly weapons that give you the human equivellant of paper cuts. One minute you’re happily chatting with your tiny person in arms, the next your finger (or arm, or face, or cheek) starts to ache and there’s a tiny red line going down it from the talons of terror (not even joking). Cutting them while your child is asleep is the only safe way to do it that I’ve found.

*Soft sighs of contentment into your neck make everything worthwhile.

* My little lady had colic – and while it seemed to last forever, it does finally pass. It’s not pleasant (in the rocking in the corner crying with them way) but it does become more manageable over time. While my daughter didn’t have it as badly as some babies, it was a series of late night unsettled cries that were pretty impossible to soothe. Long story short, we finally realised that she had a dairy allergy and after I eliminated all milk products from my diet for a few weeks (which also cut down on the amount of gas Amelia had), her nightly cries pretty much vanished. So if your baby suffers from colic, and though it’s not a popular solution nowadays, chat with your paediatrician about doing an elmination diet if you breastfeed or switching to a different brand of formula and see if that helps. Because being told by everyone you know that it’s normal for all babies to cry when your gut says somethings wrong means ignoring convention and going with your instincts.

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* Cradle cap is the most annoying thing in the world once the tiny white bumps (milia) have done their rounds on your babies beautiful skin. After trying baby shampoo, gentle brushing, olive oil, and even aqueous cream to remove it, nothing worked and it was as stubbornly staying put as ever. Eventually I tried coconut oil which cleared it up in a week! I seriously can’t recommend it enough as your first option.

*You can never have too many spare nappies in the car, despite however many you pack in the diaper bag. Likewise, another pack of baby wipes and a spare outfit in the car can’t hurt.

*The baby superman pose of arms being held high above the head when sleeping doesn’t get old. And somehow seems to grow more adorable the longer you gaze at it.

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*There are plenty of people who’ll give you advice, from the lady in Woolworths to the parking attendant. Best scenario: Take in all advice graciously and apply or disregard it as necessary, especially as you know your baby best and what will work with your lifestyle.

*You will at some point think that your child looks like a cranky old person and you’re not wrong. They definitely get that “what do you think you’re doing, whippersnapper” look in their eyes a lot once they start focusing.

*That first bite of those forbidden foods you couldn’t have while pregnant are so. So. SO worth it. Here’s looking at you, sushi.

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*You’ll never forget the first bathing experience you have with your baby. Mine had a look of wonder on her face as I put her in the water and she started crying when I took her out. It made bathtime so much easier than originally anticipated and it’s now an activity we both love at the end of a long day of play.

*If your baby is sticking out their tongue, they’re most likely hungry. If you’re wrong, they’ll likely be hungry in 20 minutes. It’s how it goes.

*If you’re inclined, read up on baby language (also called the Dunston method)  which consists of five basic cries: neh, heh, ah, eair, eh. For our little girl, it helped a heck of a lot in the beginning when trying to figure out what could be wrong. It could also have been complete hogwash and I’m just completely and utterly  in tune with my little angel, so there’s that too. 😉

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*When you leave that hospital room and the comfort of people checking in on you, to go out into the world with your precious gift and start the journey of being mom and dad, at some point you’ll realise, “I’ve got this”. It’s not a wondrous, terrifying journey anymore but a happy, comforting reality of daily diaper changes, cuddles, playing, feeding, bathing, laughing, crying and cuddling. You’re in a place where time doesn’t matter and the points you assign to various things don’t mean anything (yep, I’m a huge Who’s Line fan).

Because in the end, as long as your baby is growing well and you’re doing fine, you really can say to anyone who asks how you are: “I’ve got this”.

I’m Still Alive … Sort Of …

Hello lovely,

With glandular fever (aka mononucleosis) turning my usually active life into one of lethargy, long naps, and pain-filled days, it’s not an overstatement to say things have been a wee bit hard recently, especially regarding my normal habits, routines, and New Year goals.

Which is fairly ironic since my New Year plans overall were to get a handle on organising my life and planning ahead. It would seem that despite my best intentions, life is telling me to slow down. So instead of playing catch up with my pre-planned posting schedule and entertaining you with various places visited and changes at home, I’m going to give you a quick rundown of how I really have been these past few weeks. And no, it won’t be the usual “Hanging in there” response I’ve been giving out to those around me (along with whatever kind of smile I can muster up – which I hope is brave – I try to go for brave. But whatever, they get a mouth twitch and sometimes teeth).

The effects of Glandular Fever

For the past 2 weeks I’ve been fairly complacent and unenthusiastic about everything in life (barring an audition for Midsummer Night’s Dream that I somehow managed to haul myself out of bed for in the first week of my illness. As it turns out, I’ll be behind the stage as a production secretary instead of performing on it, but I’m quite happy I’ll be working with  awesome theater peeps in March – as I really am hoping to be well by then!).

Since that awful first week, which started off with odd lumps behind the head and a sore throat (which I got cortisone and hystamines for with instructions to return the following week if the bumps were still there), I’ve been unmotivated and quite literally unable to read, text friends, change out of my PJs, or do any of the normal things one usually does (and which I usually enjoy doing, like putting on a touch of makeup, running a bath, and reading in the evenings).

The pain medication I’ve been on has helped quite a bit, especially with the swollen lymph nodes that cropped up in my wrists, behind the knees, and in my hands (which truly made me feel as if a 90 year old man had invaded my body). But, said medication also send me to dreamland in pretty short order and then there’s the (gross!) tummy troubles which I won’t go into detail about because I like you ^_~. Needless to say I’ve cut pain meds out completely since the achy joints are finally gone, as of week 2.

I have been off work for 2 weeks and under strict instructions from my doctor not to participate in anything strenuous, including but not limited to contact sports, jarring my abdomen (no tight waistbands), or heavy lifting. I have to refrain from eating rich fatty meals, citrus, or anything along those lines due to the enlargement of my internal organs being unable to properly process the foods (the main affected organs are my liver and spleen).

Because these organs are so enlarged from fighting the virus, they’re pushing on my stomach making me unable to eat more than a small bowl of oats in the morning (which is a great choice for those out there starting this), a few nuts or a slice of dry toast or cracker bread in the afternoon, and if I’m lucky, half a bowl of soup for supper – with the caveat of no onions, garlic, or cream being in it. During the first week I hardly ate at all, and tried to stay hydrated with fluids – water, tea, re-hydrating sachets, aloe and fruit juice mixes, and iced teas. Turns out, this is the recommended option during the early stages (with the mention of broth soups – but meh). Week two was a bit better, with the above mentioned items tiding me through a day, though I usually skipped supper since I couldn’t handle the acid reflux I was getting (you get super sleepy after eating and lying down is a no no for reflux – you feel like you’re dying. Really. It plain sucks).

As of week 3 I’m feeling a bit more human and motivated (though the energy comes and goes in waves like an oceans tide, or sunlight peeking out on a cloudy day, which is all too quickly gone again). I’ve found a few olives a day help with energy levels (likely due to Vitamin E), and I’m taking a probiotic and liver support to nourish my internal organs, along with drinking lots of water and teas, like ginger, fennel, and rooibos. Coffee is prohibited (and those who know me know how much I hate this, because I love my coffee!) purely since the caffeine has a negative effect on the adrenal glands.

On the plus side, I think getting into shape and eating healthily will be a breeze when I’m well again, since I’ve already lost quite a few pounds due to my stomach shrinking, and I’ve already kick started the healthy eating plan (albeit in baby-sized portions, which I’m confident will return to that of a ‘normal’ adult some time soon). So yeah, the only plus side I’ve found with glandular is weight loss.

How am I coping with Glandular Fever now?

In short, when I have spurts of energy, I feel like me again – but those usually only lasts for half-hour spans, before disappearing again; leaving me wanting to close my eyes and rest. Since South Africa only allows for 3 weeks of sick leave, for every 3 years worked for a company, and I’ve taken 10 days of sick leave already, I feel terrible having to take more … which is why I went back to work this past week.

I hung in Monday and Tuesday, took, Wednesday off to rest and try and recover, then worked Thursday and Friday morning. I was sent home before lunch on Friday afternoon because my manager could see I wasn’t myself.

It’s so busy at this time of year and I feel incredibly guilty taking time off work to come home and rest, and do little else but sleep (I think I could manage fairly well on email and do most of my work from my bed throughout the day, but that’s sadly not an option). Then again, on the other hand, it’s my health – and it’s the only health – and life – I have. So I need to start realising what my friends and colleagues keep saying is true, that “work will wait” (but I love my job!). 😦  I need rest, lots of TLC time, and to just let go and let God handle the rest.

Going into week four will be interesting. I’m hopeful my body will kick out this inconvenience and I’ll be feeling more like myself in short order (trust me, if I knew which idiot sneezed or coughed on me with this, I’d kill ’em. Horribly. Think fire ants and honey, or a vat of boiling oil). In reality, only time will tell at this point how fast I’ll recover, but I promise I’ll start posting more regularly here as my energy returns.

Have you ever had glandular fever? What have you done to cope with the symptoms, and how long did you take to feel like your old self again?