Archive for the ‘Children’ Category


January 30, 2012

I’m really struggling with an issue at the moment. So much so that it’s keeping me awake at night. 99% of me is done with having more children but the other 1% is currently driving me nuts.

Chris has pretty much said no and that should naturally mean that is the end of that. There are so many reasons against trying – we are getting older (both 36 this year,although the embryos in the freezer are from 2008 when we’d just turned 32)

life is busier as the girls get older and I’m starting to do a lot of driving around

we are loving being so fit and the freedom that having a 4 and 2-year-old gives one

we do have enough bedrooms technically but 1 bedroom is right on the other side of the house

Chris’s car is only big enough for 4 (does that even count as a reason)

my folks look after the girls a lot and while I know they had 3 themselves, 3 is a lot to expect them to take on a few times a week so we can go off training or racing or whatever

I could seriously go on and on.

I also don’t do pregnancy or newborns very well at all. I was very sick while pregnant with Ava and I swore I’d never do it again – almost 9 months of all-day sickness is not great, the birth was a breeze, that I’d do again in a heartbeat. I also don’t like what pregnancy does to my body. I love running and being fit and I really need to do it. Having said that, there is a girl we know who had twin girls (they’re turning 6 this year) and she’s now having another girl. She’s 20 weeks pregnant and ran the marathon on Saturday. I think she took a bit of strain but she honestly doesn’t look pregnant AT ALL. I’m not just saying that, she is very skinny at the best of times and even in her skimpy running vest she still has a flat tummy. Incredible – she’s a doctor, as is her husband and the gynae said it was fine but not really something I’d consider doing. I ran up until 28 weeks with Zoe but not marathons. I came second in the marathon on Saturday. Amazing I know. I really didn’t feel like I’d run that well and I’m honestly not the competitive type but there’s no way I’d ever get back to where I am right now. I do think that pregnancy is more of a strain and takes more out of you the older you are and every time you do it. I am a control freak and babies are a control freak’s worst nightmare because even the most angelic baby hasn’t read all the books and so doesn’t tend to do things when they’re supposed to.

Getting back to my dilemna. Not sure why it’s hit me so hard. I have had  a few friends that have just had babies and for all of them it’s their third (for one her third and fourth – the most beautiful identical twin girls). Ava is now 2 and a half and I always said I didn’t want a big gap as Chris is 5 years younger than his youngest sister and I think that’s too big a gap. The clinic will keep our embryos frozen for 5 years (till April 2013) so we need to either use them or donate them and that’s where the other big issue comes in. Chris is happy to donate them and I’m having second thoughts. If the cycle was to be successful I honestly worry about the family “my” child would grow up in. The rational, sane part of me tells me not to be ridiculous but the “worrier” in me says otherwise. What if the child could somehow track us down and ask why we’d not had them ourselves? It is not like we cannot afford another baby. Is this not part of the IVF package? We chose had to use medical science to have children and now that we have extra embryos that don’t necessarily fit into our perfect plan, we give them away. Chris sees those embryos as a potential gift to another couple that ordinarily wouldn’t be able to have children. He is a glass half-full kind of guy. I know that I would think about the child/children constantly just as I think about the embryos all the time. At the end of the day the chances of the cycle working aren’t high (think it’s 20%) and they might not even survive the thaw. I also don’t think it’s right hoping that it won’t work, when I know there are so many couples desperate to have a baby. Using the embryos will be a mission – I would have to have my Mirena removed and then have to take a truck load of med’s/injections as I don’t respond to clomid, then I’d have to fly to Cape Town for the transfer and and and.

My girls are gorgeous. They drive me nuts sometimes but they can both speak and tell me what they need, they can feed themselves, dress themselves, go to the toilet themselves and they play beautifully together, it is so easy to go away/out these days. They sleep over at least once a week at my folks and all we pack are clothes and their stuffed animals – no bottles, cots, dummies, baby monitors, nappies, nothing. I don’t need to worry about nap times, snack times, making baby food or that we must be home by a certain time because we need to start the bath/bed routine. Just writing all this down makes me realise even more that I don’t want another baby and yet why do I feel like I do? This is an awful thing to say/think but I wish we didn’t have those embryos and yet Ava was at one time one of the frozen embryos. It is frightening to think that she might never have been if I hadn’t had the second miscarriage or we’d chosen not to freeze the embryos. I know that I shouldn’t think like that but I do. I wish I knew the answer. I know I need to pray about it more and try to work out what God’s plan is. I keep thinking and wondering whether it isn’t God that’s making me think about the embryos all the time. Is He trying to tell me something? I wish I knew the answer. I wish I could make it stop, it’s driving me nuts right now.

My thinking right now is to go and see my gynae (which I need to do anyway). Email the clinic in Cape Town and find out the procedure, then maybe get all the meds in April when we go down and plan everything for May because now that I know what I know I certainly don’t want a baby born at the end of the year.

How do I get all this past Chris? No chance I think. This year he is planning – Two Oceans, Addo 50 mile trail run, full Iron Man and Comrades marathon as well as going fully private…

Just wanted to say again, our life is busy but impossibly easy right now. I’m sure it couldn’t possibly get any better(but it hopefully/probably will), why mess with that?

Hopefully getting all this off my chest will let me switch off a bit so I’m off to bed (again).


Age gaps

March 5, 2011

We went to friends for dinner the other night and got into a discussion about age gaps between children. Our gap is 2 years and 3 months. One of the other couples have a 2 year 5 month age gap, another couple have an almost 2 year old and don’t seem too keen on having another and the hosting couple are 22 weeks pregnant with a little boy. The wife is a year older than me (36) and the husband turned 38 that day. He is an architect (our architect) and she is a doctor. The thing is that she first did a B.Sc and was a Maths and Science teacher and then went to Stellenbosch to study medicine. She is currently in her second year of internship and will then have a year of Community service before she can do her own thing. They are planning to start trying again immediatly. They did take a little while to conceive #1 but there are many people that I know who’ve taken a while with the 1st and then the 2nd one arrives without any trouble at all. We all tried to politely tell them that they are crazy but you know how it is before you’ve had kids, you’re full of ideas on what it’s going to be like when nothing on earth can actually prepare you for it. It is also very hard to try and imagine just how big the jump from 1 to 2 is and I strongly believe that the closer the 2 are together the harder that jump is. The more independent the older child is (which naturally comes with age), the easier it is to cope with 2 because there are always going to be times when they both need you at the same time and if the older one can at least understand that they need to wait, then it makes one’s life a whole lot easier.

On Friday I visited the friend with the 2 year 5 month gap and we got chatting about it again. We both know someone that is about to have her second and the first one is not even a year old. That poor girl is struggling (emotionally) and the 2nd one hasn’t even arrived yet. At the end of the day while a newborn is a bit tricky for the first few weeks, once they start stretching their nights and get into a bit of a routine, they’re actually quite easy (in my opinion) and sleep quite a lot, which is why it doesn’t seem like such a bad idea to try for another one when they’re 2/3 months old. As they get older though, they sleep less, get busier, a whole lot cuter (in my opinion), but also more demanding. The fact of the matter is that as soon as another baby arrives you need to divide your attention and one does feel guilty towards the older one. What about twins? Well obviously I don’t know as I don’t have twins but at least they are always at the same stage and you can do the same activities with them and that’s all they’ve ever known. I’m not saying that having a close age gap has any detrimental effect on anyone (mom, new baby or older child) I just feel that it’s an unnecessary stress to put everyone through. Pregnancy is tough on your body and to do that in such close succession can’t be ideal. I can understand that they’re a little concerned about how long it will take to conceive again and while 36 is by no means old it is at the age when female fertility does start to decline. If it were me I would just give myself 6 months at least. An 18 month gap is still okay but around a year or less isn’t going to be easy, especially considering their jobs. As an intern she has to do calls – that can be up to 24 hours or longer on duty at a time. The husband has a busy private practice. Imagine having 2 children under a year and then going to work for 24 hours straight. You can’t just come home and sleep as your children haven’t seen you for a day, never mind how you’ll actually function at work if you haven’t had a good night the night before. I’m getting nervous for them just thinking about it. I’m not trying to tell them how to live their life but I do think if both parents have busy full-tme jobs then to still go and have your children very close together you’re putting an awful lot of pressure on yourselves and your marriage. Once she’s finished with her community service she could easily get a half-time job for a while (if she wanted) or at least a job where she could dictate her hours a bit more.

We have 2 lots of friends with a 1 year age gap. Both couples struggled a little to have #1 and #2 came sooner than they would’ve planned. Both had planned more than 2 children and both are still to have the elusive 3rd and 4th. Makes me think. Funnily enough I am 14 months older than my younger brother. I think I’ve turned out okay and I think he’s turned out okay – I think he may read this so I have to be nice!!! We both have quite strong personalities so I think we made sure we each got enough attention. Obviously, I think he was spoilt and he probably thinks I was spoilt, being the only girl. We get along really well and are probably a very good advert for small gaps. My older brother is 2 years and a half years older than me so my poor mom had 3 under 3 at one stage. Having had 2 children myself though, I wouldn’t do it to myself and I had 2 “easy” babies. Well, one extremely easy baby and one slightly less easy baby but neither had colic, reflux or any other issues and both were sleeping from 7-7 consistently from 5 and 7 months of age and both started only waking once between 7pm and 7am from 6 weeks of age. My younger brother had colic for 9 months and din’t sleep through till he was over 3!! No wonder my mom doesn’t mind looking after our 2.

I really hope these friends of ours have an easy baby and that they don’t struggle to have another one but I also hope that they will at least wait a few months before TTC again.

Tempting fate I reckon

November 28, 2010

I have to just say that we really struck the jackpot with our girls (so far…). Last weekend we went to East London and Ava was really quite sick and despite being just a little subdued she was her usual happy self. Pottering around new, exciting but different surroundings, slept like a star for her naps and at night while running high fevers and in a strange room. She didn’t want to eat an awful lot but she didn’t cry or moan at all.

Took her to the paed eventually on Friday and he said that her spleen is a bit enlarged, oops, but that we should continue with the antibiotics we started on Thursday night and if her fever isn’t down by Tuesday then we should take her for blood tests on Tuesday. She still had a bit of a fever yesterday but it seems fine today and although she’s not eating as well as she usually does, she’s having bits and pieces.

Yesterday afternoon/evening we had a Christmas party at friends of ours. There were 16 adults and 14 children. Father Christmas even came so it was very exciting. Zoe nearly had a heart attack when Father Christmas arrived. The dads all put their names in a hat as to who was the lucky Father Christmas and the “host” of the party was the winner, much to his absolute delight but he did a great job and he terrified the living daylights out of his youngest child so they were definitely all fooled 100%. Zoe warmed up to him enough to even sing him a song and give him a kiss.

Ava started getting tired at 7pm and as their were no bedrooms left (8 of the children were under 18 months) I put her down on a mattress in a corner of the passage and she didn’t move and went straight to sleep. What a little angel, I could hardly believe it myself. I asked Zoe to go and have a sleep in the afternoon (she hardly ever sleeps in the day anymore) which she duly did, how obedient is that? We ate early, after the rugby and Father Christmas’s visit, so things were winding down and we decided to leave about 9pm as Zoe said she was tired and the older kids were all lying on a mattress in the TV room but much jumping on the mattress was happening and not too much sleeping. I picked Ava up and when we got home I changed her nappy and put her in her sleeping bag and never heard from her again until I woke both girls after 7am this morning. Yes, I’m lucky enough to have to wake THEM up after 7am. I’m an early riser, so always wonder what time they would wake up if we just left them to sleep, will have to give it a try one day.

I know I’m tempting fate but for now I’ll just be unbelievably thankful and grateful for my 2 healthy, gorgeous, easy little girls. May it last for many, many years. At the back of my mind I do worry what might lie ahead in about 10 or 12 years time but I’m not going to lose any sleep over it now.

That time of the year

November 14, 2010

Can’t quite believe the speed with which the weeks seem to be flying by. I forget every year just how busy life becomes as the festive season approaches and with the weather being so nice, all I want to do is take everyone down to the beach and have fun. It’s almost Zoe’s concert at school and I need to donate stuff for the raffle, buy her teacher and the helpers a present, send Christmas presents with my folks to the USA when they leave on 11 December, send a whole lot of presents down to Cape Town with Chris tomorrow and finish the rest of the Christmas shopping,etc.,etc. We’ve had dinner parties, birthday parties, baby showers, you name it lately. Chris wants to have some of his nurses and doctors over for supper some time, we’ve got a weekend away in East London, our home group family braai, my mom’s birthday, more kiddies birthday parties and it just carries on.

This weekend has been fabulous though. We had a dinner party on Friday night and the girls slept at my folks so we could go on a long run on Saturday morning. We got back, I fetched the kids while Chris quickly popped into work and then I went on a major shopping spree for MYSELF. Yes, once one has kids (especially girls perhaps) one tends to mostly buy stuff for them. Well, that’s what I’ve found anyway. One also doesn’t have as much time to shop so generally shopping for myself involves grabbing stuff at Woolies while I’m buying food. I don’t know about you but I’ve found that Woolies clothes have gone seriously downhill. I am yet to find anything for myself this season and even the kiddies stuff isn’t great. I’ve landed up buying a lot of stuff for the girls from Edgars (and Naartjie which I must stop with our VERY EXTENSIVE alterations looming, more on that later). I went to Ackermans and couldn’t find anything nice either (for them). I never really go into Truworths but goodness me was I pleasantly surprised, I think their clothes are great and I found tons of stuff that I liked. I spent rather a lot and could have spent a lot more but I’m desperate for a GHD so need to hold myself back a bit, never mind the gold-plated Richard Scott painting which I bought a while back. It should be arriving this week (I hope), so I’ll post a photo.

So, bought Chris some new jeans and a shirt, tried on and bought stuff for myself for over an hour, then did a food shop and just, yes, just as I’d finished at the till in Woolies my phone rings. It’s my mom, one of their friends is desperately ill in hospital and she phoned to ask if there’s anything they needed. The daughter (the kids are at Varsity and in high school) said that she’s cooking but she’s vegetarian and her dad and brothers are starting to complain about a veggie diet. Please could I go back and get a 1kg lasagne and a veggie meal for them asks my mom. Not sure what your Woolies food section looks like on a Saturday lunchtime but this one was chokker block full. If it wasn’t for quite such a good cause I might just have refused. Bear in mind we’d woken up at 5am to go and run 24km (and it was a hilly run with a rather strong wind blowing) and I’d just been shopping for close to 2 hours already – dressing and undressing a good 20 or more times and then stood in the queue at Woolies (twice).

In the afternoon we had a kiddies party which was an absolute ball. Chris bunked but most of the other dads (and moms of course) were there. There were some people there that I hadn’t seen for ages (since school) and it was very festive and the girls had a ball. Ava was like an animal on the jumping castle, not phased by anything or anyone, eating whatever she could lay her hands on. Zoe was obviously more reserved but because it was all her friends from school, she was quite happy playing with everyone and it was really hard to drag them home. We were in bed soon after 9 and if it wasn’t for Chris’s alarm going off at 5am (the fool hadn’t cancelled it from the day before) I could’ve slept more than 10 hours. I couldn’t get back to sleep after 5am. I’m sure the girls would’ve slept till after 8 if I’d let them. Ava was like a dead duck when Chris woke her just after 7, falling asleep after he gave her her milk twice. I eventually managed to wake Zoe at about 7.30am. The reason we wanted to wake them was that it was a beautiful morning and we wanted to go for a walk on the beach before church. Ava was in the back-pack and Zoe walked and we collected shells and the dogs did their usual running,swimming,digging,etc. It is the most perfect day today and I’m really glad we went. This afternoon my parents came for a braai and I “swam” in the jacuzzi with the girls while Chris and my folks watched the Grand Prix.

Hubert, the architect came around on Saturday and went through a whole lot of stuff with Chris (while I was shopping). It turns out he’s planning a proper pitched roof over the patio. This will mean that the ceiling of the patio will be at the same height as the house and we will have the option of closing off the patio with stacking doors on the 2 open sides which is fairly important when you live in PE. I’m getting a bit nervous as to what the costs might be for all of this – a full 2,1 metre boundary wall in front, some raising of other boundary walls, doubling the size of the garage, a new garage door, a new pedestrian gate, a new sliding gate for the parking area, the patio, a pool with solar heating and demolishing the 2 bed flatlet and significantly decreasing the size of the parking area and then re-doing the garden where necessary. This project started out as replacing the pallisade/brick front wall with a solid wall!!!! Now look where we are already and this is only phase 1.

The party girls

Very hard to get them both smiling and looking at the camera, then my camera's battery died just as they started getting it right!!

Plans ready for submission

November 8, 2010

Yip, our plans are being submitted on Wednesday, yay. We will also be able to get some copies to give to my dad (a Quantity Surveyor) and the builder/s to start getting a pretty good idea of what the renovations will cost us. Hopefully there’s enough money in the bond and a bit extra to do the “new” bits of garden and all the extras that invariably crop up in abundance when one starts to build. It is a massive pity that we can’t just move out and get everything done all at once but that will probably cost close to a million and we just don’t have that kind of money right now. I am a bit worried that we’re going to do the garden up, only to have it trashed by the second round of building in 2 or 3 years time. I keep reminding myself that at least if we get a whole lot of trees planted, they will have a few years of growth in them and grass is easy and relatively inexpensive to relay. I am starting to get a bit anxious about the whole building process. I really don’t like chaos, mess, dirt and disorder or lots of people in my space. We spend a lot of time outside playing in the garden and it’s going to be the height of summer when they are building so I’m not quite sure how we’re going to keep oursleves entertained as we also have a lot of play dates here at home. The builder said it will take 8 weeks and you know what builders are like. Having said that, when we did renovations in Cape Town our builder said 6 weeks and he was finished in 5 but that is fairly unheard of, unless one deals with this builder – he is a superstar. We have recommended him to quite a few friends and family and he’s alwyas done a good job, on time and on budget and if any little issues crop up afterwards he comes the same day that you phone him to sort it out.

Chris is also unbelievably busy at work and there are always so many details to be taken care of and decisions to be made and stuff to be organised, etc.,etc. and I know that most of that will be left up to me BUT, Chris is extremely particular about certain stuff (and which stuff can be fairly unpredictable) so that’s quite a responsibility. The last time we built, Chris was often home from work before I was and did most of the dealings with the builder. He also wants to make the gate himself and is now going to be making Zoe’s dolls house and I’m just not sure when all of this is going to happen as he keeps telling me he feels like he’s been hit by a train. I, on the other hand, am feeling remarkably good. No prize for guessing who has the easiest job at the moment.

Zoe and Ava are both being little angels at the moment – most of the time, which is pretty good considering they are 43 and 17 months old respectively. I am astounded by just what a caring, loving big sister Zoe is. Ava is prone to crying to try and get her own way or whatever object she desires. Now, a lot of older siblings will kick up a fuss or refuse and a huge fight will break out. Not Zoe, she’ll happily give Ava whatever it is she wants or if she reallly doesn’t want to give it up, she’ll fetch something very exciting to try and entice Ava with. She never really moans or complains if Ava knocks her stuff over or draws all over her picture and she’ll always try and include Ava in all of her games. Unfortunately, Ava isn’t very good about following the rules and is not always interested in playing all the games or attending “school” that Zoe holds in her bedroom for all her dolls and stuffed menagerie. Ava would far rather be stuck to her mother, why I honestly don’t know, surely playing with your big sister is much more interesting?? Most people tell me how the younger sibling is obsessed with the older one and always wants to be with them or doing what they are doing. In our case the roles are slightly reversed – Zoe just adores Ava and I can’t tell you how happy it makes her when Ava gives her a hug or tries to cuddle her or plays with her – it just gives her such a thrill and is so special to see. If Ava hurts herself she’ll run and get one of her special animals to cuddle. I know it may not be the best thing for Ava as she is very good about getting her own way and will probably become a spoilt brat. She has a bit of a naughty dare-devil streak in her (like her dad) while Zoe is a very obedient child (just like her mom). So, while Ava might be more of a handful down the line as a result of getting what she wants (where her sister is concerned – I try not to give in), it does make my life very easy. Zoe doesn’t even mind how much time I spend cuddling Ava (usually because of one of the numerous falls she has a day as a result of her dare devil furniture/window-sill climbing, running too fast falls, scooter-riding, bed/dog climbing, you name it antics).

Cough, cough, cough, cough,cough,…

November 1, 2010

That was Zoe last night. From just before 2am till after 4am and then she started again at 6am cough, cough, cough, cough. Her room is right next to ours and all our doors are open and I’m a light sleeper, so it kept me awake. Poor mite, she was also disturbed by it. Disrupted sleep is never good for a marriage or I should rather say, we don’t communicate very well in situations like this. Codeine suppresses a cough and Stopayne has codeine in it, and I think that Stopayne works better for our kids (to stop them coughing) than cough syrup. Zoe will take any medicine you give her, Ava won’t. She’ll sort-of swallow Stopayne but you don’t have a hope of getting cough syrup into her. But fortunately Ava doesn’t have a cough, at the moment that is. Now, I know that suppressing a cough is not actually a good thing but when the cough is keeping the child and her parents awake for hours then I’m afraid I don’t care. She’s 3 and a half, she’s not chesty or allergic and she doesn’t get a cough very often.

So, as we’re getting them ready for bed last night I ask Chris what we should give Zoe (she’d coughed on Saturday night quite a bit, although not much in the day on Sunday). He says Tussitot (cough syrup with a bit of drying up stuff and a bit of codeine). He gives her an extra spoon (so that she then has the same amount of codeine as 5ml of Stopayne). The actual Tussitot dose is only 1 spoon. (Bad parents). My vote would have been for Rinex/Mucospect and then Stopayne but I’m not the doctor. So just before 2am she wakes up for a wee and after that starts coughing. It carries on non-stop, literally non-stop for hours. She’s lying on about 3 pillows (1 is even a continental one), had water, even had 5ml of Stopayne (I gave it to her) and still it carries on. I keep saying to Chris that there must be something we can give her to make it stop. He says no, I even suggested Valargan (?spelling), absolutely not don’t be crazy he says. I am wide awke, he is dozing all these hours. How do I know? At one point he tells me that it sounds like she has the 100 day cough. The 100 day cough I ask. Yes, you know croup!!!! Now, even I know that croup and the 100 day cough are definitely not the same thing.  The 100 day cough is another name for whooping cough and croup (thank goodness neither of my kids have had it) is the one where you have to put them in a room full of steam and give them some or other medication – not sure if it’s adrenalin or steroids but it’s not whooping cough.

On hearing those pearls of wisdom I became very cross as I knew he was only pretending to be awake, not suffering with me as I listened to this poor kid cough and cough and cough. He then pipes up and tells me that he remembers coughing like this as a child. Well, no wonder he doesn’t know what to give her then. I DO NOT remember ever coughing like this as a child so obviously my mom knows about some or other magic medicine that he and his mother haven’t heard of. I phoned my mom this morning and she confirmed that none of us ever coughed  but she has no idea what she gave us and that we generally got ear problems and tonsilitis!!! I then stopped at the chemist and asked them what magic cure they could sell me. His answer, he doesn’t like to suppress a cough. What can he suggest, 1 teaspoon of Tussitot, AGGHHH. I told him that did nothing. If she coughs all night again tonight then maybe we can consider something to suppress her cough!!! The teacher said she coughed at school and she went to lie down now and rest and she’s coughing. Tonight will probably be worse and I have bookclub, so won’t be able to go to bed early and get in a few hours of sleep before the cough, cough, cough starts. Boo hoo. Please don’t misunderstand me, I do feel most sorry for Zoe and most of the reason I lie awake is because I’m worried about her coughing so much.

Plodding along

October 3, 2010

Seems like nothing very exciting is happening at the moment I’m afraid. I’m almost too scared to write but it’s been more than a week now and Ava has been sleeping brilliantly again. 7pm till 7 am without any waking up. Murphy’s law because I ordered Sleep Sense and also borrowed a friend’s sleep book (Solve your child’s sleep problems). What a waste of money, but rather I’d rather waste my money than have a child that isn’t sleeping anyday. I briefly looked at the book I borrowed and the one thing I found quite interesting is the amount of sleep children require. He says that at Ava’s age she should be having just under 12 hours sleep per day, total. She has a 2 hour nap at lunch-time (9 out of 10 days I wake her after 2 hours as she would happily go on sleeping). Both my kids have always woken up very happily (whether I wake them or they wake themselves) and because I like them to go to bed at 7pm, I prefer to limit their naps in the day, so that they’re ready to go to bed at 7pm.

Getting back to amount of sleep, though. Ava has 2 hours in the day and then is in her cot just after 7pm at night. I don’t wait till she’s fallen asleep and while Zoe is lights out almost immediatly (if she hasn’t slept in the day), Ava does sometimes chat to herself for a little while but never more than 10/15 minutes. She generally wakes  between 6.45 and 7am, so that means she has almost 12 hours at night, plus the other 2 hours which gives a total of 14 hours/day. For Zoe, it says she should be having 11 hours a day and she has 12, so not so much of a difference. I presume I must just be very grateful that they both sleep more than what is required as opposed to less.

We met with the architect again and hopefully we’ll have the final plans soon so that my dad can measure them and do the estimate and we can start getting quotes. It’s exciting but scary as well. Chris and I are both quite design-conscious in a way, him probably more than me, and to try and agree on everything is not easy. At the moment the pool is the big issue. Our plot slopes slightly so the patio is about 6 steps up from the garden. Should the pool be on the same level as the patio, at the same level as the garden or halfway between the two? I’m actually going to get some pool people in this week, as they should be able to help us a bit. The architect and I prefer it at the same level as the patio but Chris thinks it should be at the level of the garden so the kids can get out of the pool on all sides and run from the garden into the pool. I told him he should bear in mind that he has 2 girls and not 2 boys.

We were hoping to get lots of ideas from the Homemakers Expo but I was very disappointed. Last year there seemed to be so many more stalls that were applicable to us, but this year we hardly found anything. We did get a compost bin and a few business cards but there weren’t even any pool people there, no bathroom people, hardly any kitchen design places, minimal flooring ideas. It seemed to have about 20 different solar geyser/electricity companies. It was in a new venue this year (the bottom level of a shopping centre parking garage!!!) and was so badly laid out. No stalls were numbered and it was difficult to know where you’d been and where you still had to go. I really enjoyed the expo last year and we weren’t even about to start renovating so I’m quite cross about this year’s poor show. They kept advertising it as “bigger and better”, definitely not in my opinion.

Running training is going well, although I did feel a bit tired on my long run yesterday. I’m plannig on doing a marathon on 4 December and I saw a marathon training program where you do a 2 hour run, then 2 and a half hours, then 3 hours, then back to 2 hours, 2 and a half hours and 3 hours again over a 6 week period. This week was my 2 and a half hour run but the route I chose took only 2 hours 2o minutes and was about 26km. Not sure how I’ll find a 3 hour run for next week but there’s a website Mapmyrun that’s pretty good as it uses google earth street maps and you can plot your run quite easily. This week Chris and I didn’t run together (I ran yesterday and he went this morning) and it’s amazing how much nicer it is running with someone else. I felt much more tired on yesterday’s run and I’m sure it’s because there was no one to encourage me or talk to (not that I’m a big talker while I run). I’ve always prefered to run alone, so to reach this conclusion is quite strange actually. Chris and I run well together as although he is a bit faster than me in races, we train at about the same pace. He bought new shoes on Friday as his knees were a bit sore and fortunately they were 100% today. His shoes are only 6 months old but he is running more now than he has for a long time. As far as hobbies go, running is still very cheap, so if he has to get a new pair of shoes every 6 months, so what.

Harder than I thought

September 25, 2010

This morning Zoe flew to Cape Town with my parents. She will be spending 2 nights with Chris’s folks and then 1 night with my brother and his family (and my parents will be there). I am so sad and the house is so quiet. She talks absolutely non-stop from the moment she wakes up and it can get a bit much after a while but I can’t explain just how lost I feel without her. We have left them for the weekend before but this just feels a bit different. She started crying as we were saying goodbye so my mom carried her through security. I kept thinking, but this is supposed to be fun. She absolutely loves flying, which is one of the reasons she went along on the trip. I phoned my mom a few minutes later and of course she was absolutely fine. I hope she has a wonderful time. She really is such a little superstar. She has always slept brilliantly, never threw tantrums and is generally very well-behaved, a real goodie-too-shoes I’m afraid (although they’re very easy to parent). It’s only now that her less “angelic” sister has arrived onto the scene that we fully realise just how lucky we were with Zoe. Ava has very big shoes to fill and at the moment she’s failing dismally. She is the happiest, most adorable child but she is hard work – she already throws tantrums, is impossible to discipline (just laughs when you tell her no) and after sleeping well for 15 months has now developed a sleeping disorder that is driving us nuts. The night before last the girls slept at my parents as we were going out for dinner and then wanted to go for a long run yesterday morning. We bathed them and put them to bed at my parents and they didn’t hear from them until 7am!!! This morning (for her loving parents) Ava woke just before 5am!!!! Zoe would quite happily sleep till 7.30am every morning if we let her (I’ve had to wake her at 7am or a bit after since she was 5 months old) and they both go to bed at 7am. We thought (and hoped) that was normal for all children. We did absolutely nothing differently. My mom just laughs at me as my older brother and I did everything “right” in terms of being good babies and then my younger brother arrived. He had colic till he was 9 months old and didn’t sleep through until he was over 3. I suppose we should be grateful that we had 8 months of sleeping through. Maybe it’s her teeth but I’m not convinced – she managed to get the first 8 without any problems. Leaving her to cry DOES NOT work. She goes to sleep fine but somewhere between 12 and 2am she wakes up. We don’t pick her up, just pat her to calm her down and then once she’s quiet you have to stand next to her cot. You don’t have to have your hand on her, you just have to stand there or sit or lie down in her room. After a few minutes we try and sneak out, sometimes it works but more often than not she starts yelling again. This can go on for 2 hours!!! Then the next night she’ll sleep through again (if we’re lucky). Chris must obviously go to work the next day and I like to get up early to run, so this nightmare is driving us nuts. It’s been about 2 weeks I suppose. If we give her medicine, then we also don’t hear from her but we can’t do that every night (and her dad, being a typical doctor is very anti medication). So, the angel went off to Cape Town and the little monster is here with us. Ava is actually very easy in all other respects – eats her food, doesn’t say much, very sociable, can entertain herself and is a happy little camper. Just wish we could sort this one minor major issue out. Oh man, I’m missing Zoe and it’s only been about 2 hours. Still not sure how I’m going to manage when we go skiing.

One other thing, how ironic is this. Yesterday, we went for a long run and there was a strong wind that even changed direction while we were running so that we ran into the wind for almost 23 km’s. The children were with my parents so we could have slept late. Today, is a breathless day AND Ava woke before 5am.


September 20, 2010

I’m not really sure that I want to go down this road but since this is my blog, I’ll give my opinion. On one of the parenting/infertility forums that I visit someone mentioned giving their child some rice cereal at just over 3 months and a fling!!! Now, there is always the chance that the child crawled up to their big brother or sister and grabbed the fling out of their hand. Considering this is a first child and they’re only 13 weeks old I doubt it, but lets just give the mom the benefit of the doubt that she didn’t actually buy her 13 week old a packet of flings to eat – the child has the rest of it’s life to get addicted to flings, why you’d want to encourage your child to eat junk food I have no idea. We are bombarded by stats of the high incidence of obesity in children these days. While they are so young is about the only time we have any control over what they eat, so surely any sensible parent would rather give their child healthy food to eat and grow accustomed to? Obviously not. In response to other moms’ questions about the appropriateness of giving a 13 week old flings she said that she was the child’s mom. No one is denying that fact but I think we all know that just because you are someone’s mother doesn’t necessarily mean you know what you’re doing. I still have no idea what I’m doing but I follow the advice of my clinic sister and paediatrician, friends and family that I trust, books written by experts (I hope), etc. I chose to start solids just before 6 months with Zoe on the advice of our paed and the clinic sister and because she was happily sleeping through and showing no signs of hunger. She didn’t take to solids very well, it was a huge battle and the consequences were that she pretty much lived on strained oats porridge, yoghurt and fruit till she was at least about 8 months old. To this day she has an extremely sweet tooth, although she now eats pretty well and will eat whatever we eat. Ava also started solids just before 6 months and she loved it and she eats pretty much anything. She doesn’t have a sweet tooth at all, doesn’t like sugar on anything, won’t drink juice or tea only water, doesn’t like flavoured yoghurt only plain, doesn’t like biscuits or sweets or ice cream (yes, second children tend to discover all these naughty things a lot earlier). I can’t be sure but I’m convinced it’s because she ate well from the start and wasn’t exposed to as many sweet things as Zoe (in our attempts to get her to eat something). Maybe that’s just how she is. I don’t know.

I also started with solids “later” as I was quite happy just breastfeeding for the first 5/6 months, not having to worry about bottles and fitting in meals, etc. Both girls aren’t allergic to anything, poo up to 4 times a day (yes, it drives me crazy but when I read all the stories about constipated kids I suppose I must be grateful) and are normal-sized. Zoe is a bit skinny but she’s so tall that she’s just rather stretched out I think. Because she’s tall and skinny, I think of Ava as being short and fat but at her last weigh-in she was 82 cm and 11,3 kg which is just above the 75th percentile for weight and on the 95th for height. Zoe is always on about the 50th for weight and off the chart for height.

The one funny thing is that when we lived in Cape Town, friends of ours had a little girl that was 8 weeks younger than Zoe. She has Cystic Fibrosis and so should eat almost twice what a normal child eats as her digestion isn’t very good and she needs to take enzymes before each meal to help with her digestion. They started solids at 6 months on the advice of the Cystic Fibrosis clinic at Red Cross and her paediatrician. Well, she ate less than Zoe and had to be on Pediasure milk (as well as breastmilk) for ages to compensate. These friends then had a second daughter a few days before Ava was born. She doesn’t have Cystic Fibrosis (it’s a recessive linked genetic disorder) but they decided to start her on solids at 4 months bcause of the problems they’d had with Shannon. Nina took to solids like Ava did and one will never know if it was just the child she is or because they didn’t wait till 6 months.I don’t think there is a right or a wrong answer but I do think it’s important to wean your baby on a healthy, balanced diet and encourage lots of physical playing and also to set a good example by eating correctly and exercising yourself.

Just to set the record straight, I’m not one of those moms that don’t allow sugar, chips, sweets, etc. Like I said, Zoe has a very sweet tooth but I do try and get them to eat 3 healthy meals and healthy snacks wherever possible. When she stays with my folks Zoe likes to have toast with brown sugar for breakfast and when my mom tries to encourage her to have something else, she gets told, “But that’s what you have Nana.” My mom gives her the toast with brown sugar and tells her, “Just don’t tell mommy.” Gotta love grandparents although I’d be pretty lost without them so I’ll let the brown sugar on toast slide.

Just had to share

September 4, 2010

S wrote a post on mom’s being competitive, something which fortunately I don’t really encounter. Maybe it’s because in PE we don’t have such high standards??? I don’t know and my children have never been ahead of their peers for anything (except that Zoe does speak very well but she has issues in other areas so it’s all nicely balanced out). Anyway, this made me laugh. I get emails from Circle of Moms which is a Facebook thing I think. It seems to be full of Americans that all have a serious case of ‘My kid’s better than your kid’. Stuff like, ‘Is 15 months too early to potty train???’ I mean Duh, who is mental enough to even think about it at that age, you’d just spend your life taking them to the toilet and changing clothes because I don’t believe a 15 month old could possibly have control by then. Considering the only word Ava says is “Up” (and very irratically I might add) so at least I’m off the potty training hook considering she is 15 months today. She’ll probably be at least 3 before she can say “Wee” and “Poo”, thank goodness for that. Anyway, I just read one quite astounding conversation or whatever they call them. It went something like this, “My 20 month old can count to 7, what is normal for this age?”!!!!! I really don’t know what to say except laugh. The poor kid, can only imagine what else he is expected to do, add and subtract, who knows? The weird thing is, I’m yet to meet one of these little geniuses that can apparently do all this remarkable stuff. I meet a lot of babies, toddlers, little children, etc. and I know of only one that might have managed to do this and she’s almost too clever for her own good as she intimidates other children and because she thinks so deeply about everything, she has worries that no child of her age should even have. Maybe it’s because we had to fight a little harder to have them, but it just thrills me that I have 2 gorgeous little girls to cuddle, I’m unbelievably grateful that so far they are healthy and hopefully one day they’ll be normal, happy young women. They suck their thumbs, they whine, they moan, they throw tantrums, they wake us up at night and they don’t do anything remarkable but they’re mine and they’re happy and they bring me such joy that there’s nothing on earth I’d rather be doing than just being their mom.