The joys of having a threenager…

Riley has a mind of his own!  He is very strong willed and once he makes up his mind to do something, he will stick to it.  Like when he started creche in May last year.  He cried like nobody’s business – similarly to how Ethan was when he started, but after a few days, I could see that they weren’t real tears you know, and when I asked him about the crying and told him that there was no need to cry – he knew what school was about now and nobody was going to hurt him, mummy would always come and fetch him at the end of the day – his response was something like no, I’m going to cry, I have to cry!  The more I explained that he didn’t, the more he was adamant that he must.  This went on for a few weeks and then eventually he got over the crying as most kids do.

Fast forward to the beginning of this year.  We sent him back to school the day before Ethan started big school, wanting to give him our full attention for his first day, full well knowing that going to school on his own would probably be really daunting for him, not to mention changing teachers and not having big brother around at all, not even getting picked up together.  As we predicted, he cried on his first day back…not just any cry, but he cried as though it was his first time at school EVER!!  Day 1 was horrible 😦  My heart broke for him but at the same time, we’d gone through this before – the crying at school that is – and we knew that as the old saying goes “this too shall pass” and so on we soldiered to day 2.  On day 2, he cried just as much then, and when I fetched him from school that day, I asked him how it was and told him that there was no need to cry to which he said BUT I MUST.  Day 3 was less dramatic but there still tears.  When I fetched him from school that day though, he said I’m not going to cry anymore after today and that was it – not a single tear more. It was like he’d decided and he was done.  He decided of his own accord and he stuck with his decision.

I love that about him.  That he can make up his mind and stick to his guns even at the tender age of three but as you can imagine, it can get quite frustrating and I often have to fight with him (read: give him a smack on his backside and send him to his room) for him to do things my way.  Some examples:

Me:  We’re going to bath first tonight and then eat supper afterwards because supper is not ready yet…

Riley:  No, I don’t want to bath first, I want to eat first….

and of course, this is coupled with tears and sulking.  Thank God no massive tantrums!!

Riley:  What’s for dinner tonight?

Me:  xyz (this is honestly as random as xyz most of the time, sometimes something that he’s never in his life heard of before!)

Riley:  I don’t eat xyz, I don’t like it.

Me:  But you’ve never eaten xyz, you have no idea what it even tastes like.

Riley:  I know what it is and I don’t want to eat it.

Me:  Well, you have no other choice.  If you don’t eat it, you will go to bed to bed hungry.

Riley:  Okay, then I’ll go to bed hungry.  Good night everybody…

and he proceeds to walk to his room, open the covers and gets into bed.  [Of course this doesn’t work for me and every time, after a few minutes, I call him back and insist on him eating].

Mind of his own, decisive or full of sh*t?!?!  Determined or threenager?!?!  

Ethan is my water baby, not so much Riley, but over the December period, Riley started to love the pool so much more.  This was mostly due to the fact that nana and grandpa bought him a pair of armbands allowing my independent child to swim all on his own 🙂

After seeing how well he was doing with the floats and even that he was now happy to remove the floats and jump into the water fully submerged, face and all, we decided that now would be a good time to start swimming lessons!  After all, we didn’t want a repeat episode of this one.  And so I looked around and found a swim class close to home for him to start lessons on Saturdays.  I was so chuffed that he would now be starting lessons and soon, he’d be able to swim on his own.  I honestly think that he’s more than ready!

Well, according to him – he doesn’t want to learn to swim.  As soon as I mentioned he’d be starting lessons soon, he cried about it – yes, he cried, without even giving it a try first.  I brushed it off and was convinced that he’d get over it.  We didn’t mention the lessons again until the Saturday morning OF the actual lesson.  The minute I told him that he would be going to swimming lessons that day, he burst into tears saying that he didn’t want to go.  Again, I brushed it off, changed the subject and continued with the morning not wanting to give in to my three year old!  Half an hour before the lesson, I called the kids in to get ready to leave.  When I said we were going to swimming, Riley burst into tears.  He then proceeded to cry the.entire.way to the swimming school.  When he jumped out of the car at the venue, the tears had fortunately subsided and I thought it would be okay once he’d jumped into the pool.  Seeing the other kids in the pool got him excited but as soon as he realised that he’d have to get in, it was tears again.  Long story short, the teacher eventually managed to get him in 20minutes later in all his kicking and screaming glory, and he managed to keep it together for the last 10minutes of the class.  We even saw a smile, but as soon as he got out, it was tears again because I don’t want to do swimming lessons.

The following weekend, the swimming school cancelled the lesson and Mr was happy as a pig in mud.  The one after that, he was sick so I didn’t take him.  By this stage, we hadn’t been invoiced or anything and I didn’t particular love the school from the one time we’d gone there – having taken Ethan to a few different swim schools, I think I know what I am looking for and this school isn’t it!  So this past Saturday, we tried another place.  Getting into the car was okay and even driving to the lesson was fine.  Riley was convinced that I’d changed swim schools ‘cos he didn’t like the other one – whatever works!! 😉  We walked into the gym and he was absolutely fine but as soon as he saw the water, he broke down crying like he was being murdered.  I forged on trying to just brush it aside but this poor child literally cried the entire lesson.  We did see one smile and a wave at a stage, but thereafter, it was full blown crying and I was so glad when the lesson was finally over!!!

So I’ve been thinking about Ethan and his swimming lessons since then.  He started lessons from the age of 9months and every weekend, he’d get into the water with either dad or mum.  He absolutely loved the water and to this day, he still does, my water baby!!  Anyway, I digress…when I was around half way through my second pregnancy, his teacher suggested that he move to the bigger class which would mean that he would now get in the pool without us i.e. with a small group of kids and the teacher.  I could sit and watch, but I wasn’t supposed to swim with him!  It was horrible.  He cried blue murder for about 3 lessons and I eventually threw in the towel and cancelled swimming lessons altogether – this was also due to the fact that I was highly pregnant by this stage and couldn’t be bothered with all the drama at that stage!!  Anyway, when we took him back to lessons a few months later, there were no issues and he learnt to swim in literally 3 or 4 lessons.

So I’m wondering, should I do the same with Riley now?!

Is the crying him being stubborn or is continuing lessons ME being stubborn?!

What do you think???

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Let’s talk about school transport

Before I begin today’s rant (please bare with me people, we’re still settling into this school thing!), let me start by saying that I know that I’m very blessed – blessed to have two cars in our household, blessed that we have friends and family who can offer support, blessed that my children can go to school having had a good night’s rest with a roof over their heads and full bellies…but guys, being a full time working mum and living in Jo’burg is hard!, especially where lifts are concerned.

Full time job

So for Riley, it’s easy.  He goes to school with dad at 8am and gets picked up by me whenever I’m ready to fetch him, the latest being 5:30pm when the school closes, but I’m generally there around 4:45pm.  There’s no extra charge for him being there at that time and he’s very much entertained – in fact, they start watching movies at 4:30 every day as the kids start streaming out for the day, and on the odd day when I’m there before 4:30, he’s not been very impressed with me!  Even telling me that mum, you said you’d be here after movies and I didn’t even get to go to movies today *shock, horror, disbelief*!!

Anyway…with Ethan, it’s a different story.  With school ending after 1 every day, of course he needs to be fetched.  Now a few of you have mentioned aftercare – guys, let me be frank, we CANNOT AFFORD AFTERCARE!!!  Full stop.  If he were to go to aftercare every day, the fee for the year would amount to around 70% of the school fees we pay for the year.  Even if I left the office every day and fetched him myself then returned to work, the extra petrol I’d spend would only amount to about half of that.  But of course then it’s the time that it takes to leave the office, drive to the school and pick him up, drive home and drop him off then return to work.  We only live 10kms away, but with Jo’burg traffic, it takes forever and a day!  And then returning to the office after a full hour drive is really not ideal.  The focus is just about gone and to muster up that energy for want of one hour more in the office…it’s hard guys!!!

So at the moment, the lifts are working as such;-

Monday – aunty picks him up and fetches brother along the way…Mondays are a great day for me 🙂

Tuesday – the “lift club” picks him up together with her girls and drops him off at home – we’ll get back to this shortly.

Wednesday – I leave work early on that day and fetch him after his two extra mural activities.

Thursday – this day was supposed to be the lift club too but yeah…

Friday – I leave work at lunch to do the lift club.

I work a full day…7:30am – 4:30pm.  Leaving slightly later on a day where I have to pick up the kids due to work commitments is torturous!!!  That happened last week Friday and I was so anxious in the car knowing that I needed to get to both kids within half an hour on a Friday in peak hour traffic.  Needless to say, I made it with lots of time to spare (from the time I left work until I got home, it only took a total of 40min) but my shattered planning OCD nerves were a mess!  In fact, I had to lay down when I got home, hehe.

I’m quite prepared to work a shorter day and take a pay cut but unfortunately, this doesn’t work for my manager.  Last week, my lift club called 15minutes after Ethan was supposed to be picked up to say that she was stuck at work and couldn’t fetch him.  I raced to pick him and brought him back to the office, something that I won’t be allowed to do on a regular basis for obvious reasons!

Two Fridays ago, the pick up of the two girls and Ethan and the drop off took me…1h40min!!!!!!!!!!!!  I walked back into the office at 3:40pm…on a Friday…when other people were already walking out of the office for the weekend.  I ended up leaving around 4:35 and…IT TOOK ME 30MINUTES TO GET OUT OF THE PARKING ALONE!!!!  I still had to then rush to get to Riley.  Let’s just say that it was this experience that made me decide to send Ethan to aftercare last week Friday.  For an ad hoc day, it’s R130 – well worth the effort and stress that I don’t have to endure!  Oh – and the girls from the lift club didn’t need to be fetched, just in case you think I ditched them as pay back for last Tuesday, hehe.

Guys, the struggle is real.  I know this is a “first world problem” but it’s hectic!

Also, I must just say that from next week, my folks will be here every other week and when they’re here, they’ll be fetching the kids 🙂  So there will be some reprieve very soon in that I’ll only have to worry about this every other week.  But that’s making me feel a bit bad as well – I mean, they’re uprooting their lives to help ME.  There’s other people who go through this all the time, it’s not uncommon, yet I’m complaining, shame.

Okay *rant over*.

What do you do with your child and lifting – does he/she go to aftercare, are you part of a lift club, are you fortunate enough to be stay at home mum or work a shorter day?!

The future looks bright…

…well, at least there’s a possible granddaughter in it considering I don’t have any daughters of my own 🙂 🙂 🙂

So in the car yesterday, Ethan and I were chatting…as one does on the drive home from school.  I have no idea how this subject came up but Ethan told me that when he grows up, he wants to have three daughters and one son.  First he wants two girls and then the boy.  Depending on how the first two girls behave, he may want another girl as well.  So he would like to have three girls and one son one day.  Oh, and if the girl doesn’t behave, the boy will sort her out.

And then…this melted my heart and showed me that at least we’re raising this child in the right way!…when he gets home from work, he will sit with the children and spend time with them.  He will let their mum cook by herself and he’ll play with the kids.

The answer to whether he wants another brother or sister…no, not really.  Riley and I are too old.  But if you and daddy really want to have another baby, a little girl would be nice.  I then explained that you can’t choose whether you have a boy or girl, that’s up to God to decide.  His response:  mum, God will give you a girl.  He already knows that you have two boys so he’ll make sure you have a girl.

Oh my precious child ❤ ❤ ❤

Btw, he wants to get married at 33 or sooner (because, according to him, I was already married at 33 so he’ll be married by then too) so I only have another 27years or so to have a little girl in my familia.  Hehe.

*Kids say the darndest things*!!!

Let’s talk about my weight

After having my first child, my weight didn’t really bother me.  I was in that “first time mum” haze – loving every minute of having a baby but absolutely exhausted and food was my go too.  Not that it wasn’t before…I’ve always loved food and still do!…but it definitely made me feel better then.  Exhausted from the night before – pick me up meal in the morning.  Happy that Ethan had a better night’s sleep – celebratory milkshake in the day.  Counting down the days to nana and grandpa taking Ethan for a night so that mama could get a break – big fat burger for dinner because for the next few days I didn’t have to cook.  Honestly, food kept me going and my weight wasn’t an issue at all.  I’m being too hard on myself, I have a 3month old baby turned into a year and then two years later.  I was much heavier than I was at my 6week appointment where I’d lost all but 3.5kgs of my weight gained during my pregnancy (I gained 18.5kgs with Ethan and 16.5kgs with Riley).  Each time I considered starting to gym or eat better, I convinced myself that it was a waste of time because I wanted to have another baby – no use losing the weight if I’m going to pick it all up in a few months again!!

When Ethan was 2, I decided enough was enough and I started gyming again.  I also changed my diet and I was focused…and then…I fell pregnant again just as I started losing weight.  Of course I was in my element – I had wanted another child for the longest time.  I was however determined not to eat anything and everything during my second pregnancy as I had in my first pregnancy because I knew how hard it would be to lose the additional additional weight!!  Well, that didn’t work out too well.  The weight piled on, but after Riley was born, a few months later, I was feeling terrible.  I wasn’t happy to use the same I’ve just had a baby excuse.  I had a handful of clothes that I looked good in and I wasn’t prepared to buy a whole new wardrobe in a bigger size.  So when Riley was about 8months old, I started Weight Watchers.  It took me a few months but I lost 13.5kgs and got to my goal weight with just managing my food.  I didn’t do a stitch of exercise because I just couldn’t squeeze it in at the time, but my efforts paid off and soon, I was fitting into clothes that I had been wearing pre-Ethan (yes, I keep my clothes for donkeys years, hahahaha).

Weight Watchers was the first diet I ever did and other than the bonus of losing weight, what I love about the diet is that it changed the way I see food.  It was really a lifestyle change – as corny as that sounds – and close on 2years later, I eat whatever I want (within reason of course, it’s all about moderation) and I’m still close to my goal weight, about 2kgs over which is honestly good enough for me.

Over the festive season, I indulged a little bit too much and so on the 15th of Jan, I decided to do the 21day no carbs, no sugar thing.  I battled mostly with the fact that I couldn’t have the things I had gotten accustomed to eating since the 1st of Dec – wine, wine, WINE! (I limited myself to a glass a week) and luxuries of course.  I thought that during these 3weeks, I would lose weight…I didn’t.  Nothing, nada.  I can feel some centimetres have gone off my tummy/waist, but the scale hasn’t moved.  I would like to lose a few kgs – 5 max! – but I really don’t have the time for exercise.  Between dropping Ethan at school at the crack of dawn, preparing lunches, cooking, doing homework…oh, and I didn’t mention that FULL TIME JOB that I have…the only time I would honestly be able to squeeze it in is at 4:30am which I know I’ve done before, but right now, I think it would just cause me to combust!  Honestly.  I cannot stretch myself any further.

Last week, my nanny said to me…no skaam whatsoever…YOU’RE GETTING FAT!  [This after doing the 21day no carbs, no sugar thing…really?!?!?!]  On Saturday, Ethan asked whether I’m having a baby because my tummy is fat.  And then on Sunday, a guy at church asked whether I’m expecting with the pregnancy tummy hand signals and all.  I almost died!!!  Not even at church can a person be themselves, really!!!!!!!!

Anyway, in my opinion, from a food perspective, the only way to lose more weight is to cut out one of my meals in the day, probably supper which I cannot see making much of a difference – last night, as an example, I had half a piece of baked fish and that was it.  I don’t eat much carbs, especially at night.  Clearly my body has reached a plateau and cutting food out is going to do nothing much.  Yet I cannot fit in exercise!

I ask you with tears in my eyes…how am I going to lose more weight?!?!?!

*Rant over*

The one about school lunches

So we’re 2 weeks into school…2 weeks of a new routine and 2 weeks into packing lunches every day!  In creche, we were totally spoilt.  We didn’t need to feed the kids before school as they had breakfast there.  They were also given a full lunch and snacks in the morning and in the afternoon were provided.  I only had to worry about lunch for myself and the hubster back then, the good old days!  I remember one of the first ladies I worked with telling me that when I had kids, their school lunches would be amazing as I was so very organised.  At the time, I couldn’t even imagine having kids, let alone making lunch.  But here we are a few years later and well…like every mama bear, lunch preparation is an integral part of my day.  From buying lunch items on the weekend for the week ahead, to packing snacks the night before (I find this saves time!!), to making the samis at the crack of dawn so that the food is fresh for lunch time…yup, I think it’s safe to say that school lunch consumes quite a bit of my time 😉

Anyway…when we chatted about lunch in January, the hubster was all about packing samis, a snack and sweets, chocolates coupled with bottled juice or at times, bottled water.  I was dead set against this – in my mind, Friday is different – and where I’m not a “health freak” by any means, I really don’t see the need for children to have luxuries in their bag every.single.day!  Also, the bottled juice or water?!  No no no…too much money.  He can drink water for free from the tap at school, I mean, I don’t even buy bottled water for myself!!!!  So my plan was pretty simple…

  • Tuckshop – Friday treat 🙂 🙂 🙂  ‘Cos what child doesn’t like getting money to buy treats!!,
  • One sami for lunch every day – options being peanut butter and jam, peanut butter alone, jam alone, ham (I’ve since discovered that Ethan enjoys ham and cheese although he doesn’t like cheese alone), viennas (on a Friday as per how they did in creche),
  • A fruit or a yoghurt every day (although I’m worried about the yoghurt being messy so we’ll see how that works out…), and
  • A snack every day – my choices being rice cakes, cereal bars, dried fruit, pretzels (all stuff that he really enjoys btw).

Yes, I’ll give the odd treat as a surprise (like the easter egg he got today or the mini pack of super c’s last week), but in general, I think that having a set list of options also works quite good for me.  I briefed Ethan on the P of A so to speak before grade 1 started, and he seemed happy enough.

That is until school started…

Lunch

What I envisioned school lunch to look like for my son 🙂 

So on Monday, boy child asks why I give him the same thing every day.  So I’m like – I don’t give you the same thing, I give you xyz as we’ve already discussed *confused face*.  He then says that the way that things work at school is that at first break, they are allowed to have their sami and then any healthy snacks thereafter during the same break.  First problem for him:  ALL HIS SNACKS ARE HEALTHY.  So I told him to just eat his sami plus something small like a mini dried fruit roll, and keep the other item for second break.  I explained how he didn’t have to eat everything in first break and he cannot force all the food down in such a short space of time either.  Problem two, according to this child (and this is what I like to refer to as “first world problems”)…there is no variety in his actual lunch.  So I ask him what he would like.  [Side note: this is a child who is happy with the standard pb & j every weekend and every day of holidays…he doesn’t do “fancy”].  His answer…”like mince curry and rice or spaghetti bolognaise, real food mum“.  The hubster then went on to say that perhaps I should give him leftovers like we have the following day – um, HE’S 6!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  We had samis all the bloody way up until matric.  He can have samis too!!  I’m  not saying I won’t give him different things on the odd occassion – I’m thinking nuggets, fish fingers, childrens’ food so to speak – but a fully.cooked.meal?!  No ways.

For now, at least he’s eating everything in his bag with minimal fuss 🙂  I wonder if I can just ignore his ludicrous suggestions and continue as is?!?!…

School update

Wow, to say I’m feeling slightly overwhelmed may be a leetle bit of an understatement.  Since big school has started, not only have I been struggling with getting the transport thing sorted…not struggling really, but quite undecided!, after all, although my big boy is in school now, he’s still only 6years old and I have no inclination of sending him home with any tom, dick or harry!!…but the amount of information overload – WOW.  Now our school pride themselves on being great at communicating with parents but 10 e-mails in the space of 3days????  *shocked face*  And everything sounds foreign to me.  Then being in grade 1, the kids are transitioning slowly so until next week, there is no homework, no extra murals, school finishes early but still…we’re getting information for when homework starts, when extra murals start and when school times will be “normal“.  I’m quite an organised person so it’s not that I think I’ll drop the ball, but I just want to make sure that I don’t, you know.  So all this info has my brain in a little bit of a tizz.  Then there’s everything you need to get on top of the other stuff that’s already been got, and the things you need to remember – between packing lunches and snacks everyday, the blazer must go with to school, PE is on one day, swimming on another.  Cricket has already started (I had no idea this child was going to want to pay cricket?!?!) and cricket requires a special hat, white shorts and white socks, none of which were part of the uniform pack we bought last year.  Then the takkies for PE that didn’t even cross my mind!  My shattered nerves.  Anyway, that’s not the point of this post 🙂  That was just a quick rant!!!  Back to the actual update and more specifically, how my boys have been coping.

So we decided to take Riley back to school the day before Ethan started.  In that way, we figured we could give him individual attention, drop him together (both mum and dad, unusual for him!) and pick him up for his first few days.  In this way, we hoped that the transition would be easier for him – afterall, all he’s known since he started creche last year May is going to school together with his big brother.  A few days before school started, we tried to prepare him mentally…it wasn’t working.  For the first few days of school, he cried as if he’d never been to school in his life shame.  Other than the fact that he now goes to school on his own with no big brother in tow, he also has to wake up to no Ethan nor mum because we leave before he wakes up on most mornings.  Then of course, there was moving to a new class, a new teacher and a few new kids.  Boy child struggled shame, but I’m glad that it literally only lasted for the first two days.  On day three, he was a bit upset, but there were no tears and he’s been fine since then thankfully!

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Isn’t he too cute!  My big little man.

Ethan took to big school, grade 1, like a fish to water.  I am so proud of this guy!  He’s such an independent boy and from orientation day already (the day before school started), he’s been wanting to do things on his own including walking into class much to my mama heart’s dismay.  There I am wanting to walk him into the class every day (we can do this only until the end of this week so I’m milking it) but boy child won’t have any of it!!  Even saying goodbye…it’s like he cannot wait to get rid of me and do his own thing.  I can see that he’s going to thrive at school and I cannot wait to see him flourish in his new environment.

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My handsome ❤ ❤ ❤

On a positive  note, I seem to have organised a lift club of sorts with a friend so I won’t be spending every lunchtime rushing around like a headless chicken trying to get my child home.  Ethan is starting cricket tomorrow and for the rest of the week, nana and grandpa are here lifting #thankGodforgranparents ❤  From next week, it’s lift club in action!!

Riley has started swimming lessons…but that’s another story for another day.  My little boy is so head strong – totally wanting his way and it’s so unlike big brother so mum is struggling a teeny bit with that, but I’m hoping that this too shall pass.

Have a good week y’all xxx

Hello 2018!

I know, I know, we’re already days in, even more than a week but I’m finally getting down to writing my first blogpost of the year.  The reason…I just honestly haven’t had the energy to type, but I’m back guys 🙂  So compliments of the season to you all.  May 2018 be your year, the best year yet, and may all your dreams and wishes come true!!

I’ve been back at work since last week.  I took leave over Christmas and New Year to celebrate it with my family in Durban, at “home”, and I had a really good time away.  It was tiring, but a good type of tired.  I spent oodles of time with the kiddies and when I left on the 3rd, I left them with grandpa and nana for 10 extra days of holiday in Durbs.  So even though I came back to the grindstone on the 4th, the past few days have been relatively restful.  You have no idea what a difference it makes (until you experience it yourself!) when you come home from work to absolute silence and no responsibilities whatsoever.  The few hours till bedtime seem to last for many more when you don’t have to worry about bathtime, dinner, bedtime stories and mummy I need xyz when the lights are already off and little eyes should be shut and heading for dreamland!  The rather little traffic has added to the rustig-ness.  Oh how wonderful it would be if Jo’burg traffic was like this every day!!  Driving around would be an absolute pleasure instead of the massive pain in the you.know.where that it is when things are “normal”.

Having said all that though, I’m missing my boys terribly and cannot wait for them to get back.  Every day I call, Riley gets emotional during or at the end of the conversation and starts crying because “I miss you mummy“…my poor little guy.  Other than that, the kids are having a ball.  Being entertained every minute of every day.  Heaven alone knows how they’re going to cope when they return to their every day lives, hehe.

So a good start to the year, a year that I’m hoping will be absolutely epic.  Yes, I have a word for the year and that word is ME.  Selfish much?!  No.  Hear me out…this year, I really want to focus more on myself.  Having small kids made me lose my identity in a way and now that the kids are getting older (6 and 3, can you believe it!!), I find that life is a lot easier and I have more time.  That time I want to use to rediscover myself.

First and foremost, I want to be happy.  I want to focus on the blessings that I have in my life instead of the things that may weigh me down.  As always, I want to grow spiritually – is that one ever not a goal?!?!  I want to breathe more, enjoy life at a slower pace instead of being on the go all the time.  I want to chase my passion (more on that when I actually get my A into G)…yes I love reading, but I also have a real passion for music and the stage.  How I’m going to get into that, I am yet to figure that out for myself.  But I’m going to try.  Somehow, I’m going to start chasing my dreams.  I also want to make more time for my kids.  Yes, I know that that kind of negates the me, me, me goal, but it’s more now that Ethan is starting grade 1 and him finishing school earlier in the day.  I want to have more flexibility work wise and be able to be home to help with homework, find out about his day and actually pick him up myself (and Riley of course) without having to rush onto the next task.  Hard when you have a full day job, but I’m also working on that.  Watch this space!!  I’m now speaking it out loud, speaking it into the universe so to say, and hopefully my plans come to fruition 🙂 🙂 🙂

Other than that, I’m ready to take on this year.  I have lots of exciting things planned in my life and I’m trusting that God will work in my life to enable me to achieve everything I have set out to achieve.

Wishing you all happy 2018 xxx

Surprise!

…it’s December…

In my almost 35years on planet earth, there has been a December, without fail, every single year.  I’ve been out of my parents’ house for 17+years.  In all those years, there’s been a December where I travelled home some years, others where my parents travelled to us, but come hell or high water, there’s been a December with a Christmas believe it or not.  For 6years, in addition to there being a Christmas, there has been a December birthday (big boy Ethan) and for the last 3years, another December birthday (little boy Riley).  For the last 10+years, I’ve been working and almost all of those years, taken leave in December which means extra spending money right?!

SO WHY IS IT THAT DECEMBER ALWAYS SEEMS TO TAKE ME BY SURPRISE?!?!?!

Tight budget

That extended budget.  That early salary that you can’t wait for, yet you also know needs to stretch an extra week – for some people 2/3weeks extra – until January’s salary.  Last year I somehow managed to make my plan work…I bought a Christmas gift just about every month of the year so that by the time December came, my shopping was done.  I also managed to put money from my bonus aside and budgeted properly so that there was cash set aside for the kids’ gifts, Christmas, our nanny’s 13th cheque AND extra Christmas goodies that I wanted to buy seeing as we hosted Christmas last year.

This year…no idea!  I started shopping in NOVEMBER…very much unlike me.  2017 was a good year, don’t get me wrong, but the last few months of totally unexpected bills – between medical bills and school related items for grade 1 next year – I seem to have failed dismally.

In 2018, I am determined to be more organised.  I shall not let December 2018 slap me in the face like a big fat unexpected surprise.  No no no.  This woman is going to get her act into shape next year.  Now just to get through December 2017… 🙂 🙂 🙂

My baby boy is 3 today!

One of my favourite children’s birthdays is the 3rd!  I feel like at this age, children are able to really enjoy their birthdays – they get to really feel the excitement in the days leading up to their big day (if you make that excitement for them…which of course I do 😉 ), they know what it means when you tell them there’ll be gifts, and they know what a party is.  And all of this is what my baby boy Riley has experienced in the days leading up to today.  Today is his 3rd birthday.  Today, 3years ago, I was waiting with great excitement to be wheeled into theatre, ready to meet our second boy.  He entered the world with quite a bit of drama compared to his big brother, and he’s kept us on our toes since then.  This boy is a real character and we absolutely love him to bits.  Just like I did with Ethan over here, I want to note everything that is Riley too 🙂 …

  • Riley is a real little clown.  He makes jokes constantly and loves pulling faces and doing silly things to make us all laugh.
  • He’s started making up stories…his imagination is clearly running wild.  In fact, the other day, he had an accident in his pants at school.  When we asked what happened – he told us that one of the “friends” in his class wee’d on him.  When I pointed out said friend was a girl and would have literally had to sit on top of him to wee on him and so I asked what teacher had said when she sat on him…he told me that she was in fact a boy and he walked over to him, pulled down his pants and wee’d.  In case you’re worried that I missed something here – I definitely know the child is a girl and I also know that Riley just had an accident and no other boy wee’d on him!!
  • He doesn’t like to cuddle much.  You’ll often find him sitting on my lap but getting hugs and kisses from him is a real effort.
  • He jumps into our bed just about every morning between 5:30 and 6am and almost immediately closes his eyes and goes back to bed for another half an hour to an hour.
  • He still sucks his pointer finger on his left hand (any suggestions on how to get rid of this habit?!?!) and he also still has that ugly habit that I’ve mentioned before of him wanting to hold his “manhood” when he sucks his finger – this mainly happens at bedtime but also happens every now and then in the day.  I’m hoping we can kick this habit soon!!
  • He loves to tell on his brother!  The minute Ethan does something wrong or says something wrong, he’ll run and tell us.  But he also loves his brother dearly.  He wants to be with him and his friends constantly and thinks that he can do everything big brother can do too.
  • He’s obsessed with Paw Patrol!  He has just about every dog in the series and today, grandpa and nana made his day by buying him the big mission controller (I think that’s what it’s called?!) and Robo-dog.  You’d swear he won the lotto – I wish I could share the video here, it’s just too precious.
  • He loves his sweeties and Oros juice, no other juice, just “my O-ries” as he calls it.  His appetite has its days – I’ll leave that there.  He’s a very lazy eater though and if left to feed himself, he will often just stop eating waiting on mama to feed him.  In fact, Ethan has even fed him at times in order to just get him done!!
  • He really doesn’t like water and will only drink it if it has sugar in it, when he gets hurt and mum gives it to him to drink.  He doesn’t particularly like fruit either.  And he doesn’t like milk much.  Otherwise, he eats pretty much everything preferring meat to veggies unlike Ethan who loves vegetables.
  • He loves to ignore us!  Like he’ll blatantly not answer a question or not respond when you call, even turning his head the other way to show that he’s not listening.  A few months ago, that head turning was accompanies by a shaking hand in the air – like he was saying “talk to the hand”!  Needless to say, he’s had a few paddy whacks to try and correct that…let’s hope he outgrows it soon!!

This year, Riley started creche in May and he took quite a while to settle in.  Even after he’d stopped crying every morning, he wasn’t particularly chatty in class.  Teacher said she could see he knew everything, but he was just shy.  Over the last few weeks though, he’s completely broken out of his shell and his teacher says that she even has to ask him to stop talking at times 🙂  Next year, he’ll be going to school alone as Ethan moves on to grade 1 at a different school.  He’s already saying that he’s not going to the green group and he’s also going to the school that Ethan’s going to.  Hopefully the adjustment isn’t too hard on him.

Over the last few months, I feel like this boy has had a real growth spurt and although there’s been lots of sulking and tears, overall, he’s grown into such a lovely big boy.

Happy birthday Riley!  I hope that the party on Saturday, his first party that’s his alone (i.e. not a joint one with Ethan :-)), will be loads of fun.  May God continue to bless you to see many more and I pray that you stay the sweet little funny guy that you are.

I love you heaps xxx

Ethan is finally 6!

Sjoe, this year, we had a countdown of note to this birthday.  From about a month before – yes a month!  Btw, to a 5year old, a month makes just about no sense in terms of time.  Even teacher was counting down on the white board.  And then finally, the day arrived.  And it was the bestest day a little boy could have.  Ethan was so spoilt – he got the most amazing gifts, he got his rainbow cake for school and cupcakes for the teachers as was requested, and he got his dinner request – hotdogs (what an easy request for mama :-)) – a movie and quality time with his favourite aunt.

I cannot believe that 6years ago, I was holding my little baby in my arms.  The baby I prayed for, the boy who made me a mum for the first time, the first grandchild in our Tate (my maiden surname) family and the second in the Howe family many years after the first grandson.  So a day late, I wanted to note everything that is Ethan…

  • Ethan is such an emotional little guy.  And he’s not only emotional when something affects him directly, but even when it affects his family.  It’s like he’s tuned into our emotions too.  He’ll often ask what’s wrong with me, or even say nothing at all but will just give me extra cuddles wanting to cheer me up.
  • He’s a do-er.  He loves to help.  If he can do it himself, even better.  From setting out the coffee cups in the mornings with all the ingredients in them, to recently making breakfast for himself and his brother.  If he finishes dinner before his brother, he’ll often jump at the opportunity to help mum by closing windows and switching on the lights.  I think his love language, if I’m not mistaken, is called Acts Of Service?!
  • His other prominent love language is physical touch.  He loves sitting on my lap, loves jumping into our bed in the morning and just holding mum, he loves me to stroke his hair and he loves to cuddle with his brother.  In fact, the other morning when he woke up, he jumped right into bed with Riley and laid and cuddled with him ❤
  • Talking about his brother, he absolutely adores Riley.  Yes they fight.  Yes there are days when I prefer them to be in two separate rooms, but he’d do absolutely anything for his brother.  The older he gets, the more I see him trying to accommodate and include him and it makes my heart so glad.  He often says to him that when he gets bigger, he’ll teach him xyz.  Precious child!
  • He loves making jokes and inventing silly little rhymes and songs – this he definitely got from me.  As babies, I’d do this all the time for them.  And him and Riley spend ages singing these made up songs and dancing together.
  • His favourite food is hotdogs (hence the birthday request) and fish fingers and chips.  I never thought we’d get here, but he has a really healthy appetite.  Meal time stopped being a battle some time around the beginning of this year and boy child has moments where he eats like a teenager!  Don’t get me wrong, there are moments where he doesn’t have an appetite and I feel like pulling out my hair, but I’d say that overall, we’ve passed the food battle.  After years of fighting at every meal, I think that God finally had pity on me 🙂  Although the food fighting is still very much real with little brother!
  • He loves arts and crafts.  He can spend hours painting, doing puzzles and drawings pictures.  One of the items he’s put on Santa’s list is a mould that he can paint.
  • He’s reading so well and I’m loving watching his brain work through words and sentences.  Some time ago, it just clicked, and he’s been progressively so well.  Being the youngest in his class, we toyed with the idea of whether to keep him back a year or let him go ahead with his class, but I’m so glad we let him go ahead.  His teacher says that he’s the best at everything in his class – reading, writing, drawing, even sports.  He makes us so so proud!!

Ethan, as you enter the 7th year of your life, I pray that God will continue to bless you and watch over you.  You are a real blessing in our lives and I pray that you will stay the loving, kind, caring, funny, happy, playful, creative and smiling boy that you are.

Happy 6th birthday my son – I love you with all of my heart xxx