Mothers After Infertility or Loss: Eleanor’s Story of How She Lost Logan

mothers-after-If-and-loss Welcome to my first person in my new series on mothers after infertility and loss. Eleanor hails from the friendly city of Port Elizabeth (where I was born) and has a touching story to share with us. You can go over to her social media and blog links at the end.

  • About Me: 

As of pretty recently I’m a WAHM which means I freelance, write and create for my soon to be launched online store with a kid attached to my leg. I love crafting and spending time with my family, I talk way too much and trust too easy but hey, that’s who I am.

 
  • About Us:

I wish I could have a romantic, cute meet; I don’t. Rob (the husband) was in the army when his cousin gave him my mxit details; she thought we would hit it off as friends. We were both single but going on dates with other people and would fill each other in on dates and things; it became that we couldn’t end a day without chatting, and I’d come home from hanging with friends and couldn’t wait to chat to him… I saw him for the first time 6 months after we met and I thought he looked scary, all bald head and army uniform, but there was a gentleness to his spirit, I felt safe… What sealed the deal was when I was very sick and he ended up walking 10km in army boots with his bag on his back just to catch a bus to see me… We laid eyes on each other for the first time Dec 2007 and were married Dec 2008… He left the army and the rest is history, sort of… He became an industrial fire fighter and then a detective. I went from entertainment reporter, to fashion and lifestyle, to head of layout and design to news reporting and now trying to type quietly so I don’t wake a 2-year-old.

  • About Your Loss: 

This is exactly what I wrote when our first born Logan died 3 years ago. I know it’s long but I don’t know how else to share the story. Rob had just that day finished police college and we were ecstatic to bring our baby boy into the world:

Our baby died, it’s a hard message to convey, surreal, unbelievable, scary.
Logan was with us for just a day and a half, that’s it, he was loaned to us and was so special God couldn’t bare to be apart from him.

Last time I updated I was soooo excited about doing a 4D scan, we would finally see our little man, and we did, the scan was incredible, the radiographer referred to him as the busiest baby they had ever scanned and definitely one of the cutest, he wriggled around, covered his face, playing peek-a-boo and made both Rob and I melt inside.

I left the office on Monday on cloud nine, telling my friend how it was the best day EVER! I received my new phone, saw the scan and was on my way to a early supper with my husband.

When I got home I rushed to show scan pictures and videos to my parents who were equally elated. How exciting in a few months this little busy body would be in our arms; but life had other plans.

That night I suffered from stomach cramps. It gradually became worse and I had no choice but to go the emergency room. Still convinced I had just eaten something dodgy, the doctors set up a few tests, and that’s when they found out, I WAS IN LABOUR!!! I was having contractions and pain set in hard and fast, suddenly I was fully dilated and being rushed to the labour ward.

Pain and blood: that’s all I remember, My placenta had ruptured and with every push all I got was blood clots and pain. My water was broken but was stained green (still waiting for test results). All I knew was I was going to do what doctor said, push through the pain and stay calm.

My placenta had ruptured, a rare condition which causes your placenta to become unattached to your uterus: no warning no nothing, suddenly me and my baby were in critical condition.

“I want my baby!” I shouted, but the doctors wouldn’t make eye contact, the message was clear, he was not going to make it. “I want my baby!” that’s all I could remember thinking, with Robin at my side, holding my hand and praying non stop, I weaved in and out of consciousness. I had lost a lot of blood and having a rare type, this meant more blood had to be rushed from another hospital. In a bid to save our lives they did an emergency cesarean, cutting me from my belly button down. The baby was taken out and I still had no idea how he was; the sad faces around the operating table gave me no hope and I immediately passed out.

Rob tells me I wasn’t doing well, weaving in and out of consciousness begging for my baby. I was told Logan was alive and my fight started. My body was weak and extremely painful, every movement was pure agony, but I was going to do anything to get well for my baby. I took the bare minimum when it came to medicine in a bid to stay awake for him and tried to stay as upbeat as possible.

Meanwhile Rob did the rounds, spending half his time with me in ICU and Logan in NICU where he was still fighting for dear life in an incubator. Rob would send me pics and videos and I swear from the moment he heard he could have lost both of us he didn’t eat or sleep, he just stayed by my side and Logan’s, being there for “his family” (He took pics and videos so we could see each other).

The Tuesday Logan was fine and I was getting better. He was kicking around and all diagnoses looked good – my tall handsome boy would be ok, I’d see him the Wednesday and sing to him like I did while he was in my tummy, he would hear my voice and be okay. But that was not meant to be, despite trying my best, I could not get there in time and my angel was taken away.

With my grief stricken family looking on (still amazed that I had made it through) they brought my perfect little man to see me, the spitting image of his father. In every way he had the same fighting spirit as his dad, but his body was just too small, not formed enough, weak as he was, he couldn’t fight off the bleeding on his brain and his organs which gave up slowly after.

In a way I think he saved my life, if it wasn’t for him I would never have come to the emergency room (not a fan of doctors) and if I didn’t have him to fight for I would probably have given up on the operating table, but him and his father kept me strong.

They still do; his dad hasn’t left my side except under heavy protest and he has been my pillar of strength.

This is all a bit much at the moment, hardly an hour goes by without tears and like someone told me, we will never get over this: just learn to live with it. For now I’m in pain physically and emotionally but I know God will heal wounds :)

We gave Logan a beautiful send off (They let me out of hospital just in time) and although I’m practically confined to bed the future looks a little brighter each day.

  • About My Family:

My family is basically me, Rob and Aidan with little Logan looking on from heaven. I often get asked when we will add to the threesome, but Aidan came into the world quite traumatically another emergency c-section. He couldn’t breath, I was in ICU he was in NICU… So right now I’d rather be a whole mom for him than risk him losing me trying to give him a sibling. I might change my tune, but right now I’m very happy. Aidan is my world, he is smart and annoyingly independent and I love him to pieces.

 
  • How has this loss affected your parenting?

aiden My late aunt said at the time that this makes you or breaks you and luckily for Rob and I it made us, we grew closer and we knew from the start what the plan was. We wanted a child, we would try and if it didn’t work we would adopt, we had love to give and we would… so I always knew I had his support.

I remember deciding to have Aidan and I recall the fear I had carrying him, I struggled to get attached. I had to deal with people’s opinions and the risk from my blood clotting and my scarred uterus. I just wanted him to be here already, but even then he was sick and I had to watch him in NICU, I struggled to feed him after he was fed through a tube for a while, he struggled to breath, it was hard. I could not let myself connect with him. I felt so inadequate and kept thinking you see why Logan was taken! You can’t even burp, feed, put to bed, Logan is the lucky one look at poor Aidan… I didn’t sleep I just stared at him in his crib, he had bad reflux and I kept thinking he could choke. I wanted so badly to do right by him, I can hardly remember most of the first few months…

 
  • How do you find it affecting your life, even now?

I still get the most morbid thoughts, like I take note of things and think; if he died we could play this song, he likes it, if he died he should wear that he loves it, I must make sure I put this toy in with his coffin. It’s insane I have to snap myself out of it, I think it’s because I didn’t have pictures and things with Logan so I just want to keep every little thing, just in case…I go to worse case scenario in my head a lot like I hear a car screech and I think, “Oh no, they hit Aidan, he is dead…” But this isn’t a ongoing thing it’s these little “Hey – snap out of it!” moments, most of the time the loss works in a more positive light, I appreciate him, I adore every moment with him and I realise how fleeting it is, it has also made me more sensitive to what I say to people… I had awful things said to me like: “You should be over it by now”, “You are using his death for attention”, “You should be glad it’s over”, “Really, you are so selfish, just have a baby, I’m sure you won’t die man.”… So whenever I hear of something like this I give my email address and give the mom an ear, because sometimes we just want to say our kid’s names without being judged.

 
  • My Advice:

It’s worth it, yes it’s hard and it sucks and very few people get the pain of a single strip on a pregnancy test and even less know the pain of putting your hopes, dreams and heart in a tiny white coffin and burying it in a cold coffin or having a urn of your child’s ashes (or not even getting to have a proper send off) , but trying again is worth it, no matter how you do it… pregnancy, surrogacy, adoption, fostering… Once you have a mother’s heart you are a mom and that love needs somewhere to go :) But if you don’t want to that’s up to you too :)

newborn loss

 

Thank you, Eleanor, for sharing your story. You can connect with her through her blog and social media links here: 

“Don’t Argue With A Pregnant Woman!” Chris Forrest Takes On Parenthood…

Chris Forrest has a humourous take on Parenthood

(Image courtesy of El Broide)

They say that laughter is the best medicine, and after having that wonderful shoulder massage, Chris Forrest certainly did the trick in tickling my funny bone. Every aspect of the baby journey was brought up for ridicule and it was so good just to sit and have a good laugh. Sometimes I think we take ourselves too seriously, trying to be the perfect parent, and it was good to just release all that tension with someone who in a lot of ways has had a similar journey to many of us.

chris-forrest-belinda This was going to be a special date night with my hubby, but unfortunately he got struck with a bad case of bronchitis. There were some familiar faces though. I did see Belinda  and her hubby, as well as Funso.

Something many of you may not know is that I have met Chris Forrest through swimming lessons that he attends with his daughter Kayleigh. We all have fun doing wheels on the bus and other cute songs while learning swimming basics. He didn’t mention the lessons in his set, though, I’m sure he will use it in the future!

I also saw him on Celebrity Master Chef. (I admit I did not properly watch it, I am normally making supper and other kitchen things during that time, but I would poke my head in and see every now and then). I liked his creative cake which told the story of his Master Chef journey. And he must have had cooking skills to win! And beat Patricia Lewis nogal!

The show “Who’s Your Daddy” was just brilliant, and I encourage all parents to go and have a good laugh at yourselves. Here are some nuggets I took away from the show that I really enjoyed.

The "trying" portion of the baby journey 1. He acknowledged there is a portion in your journey for trying to have a baby. Granted, they did not need medical intervention like we did, but he poked fun at all the people that keep asking and the pressure married people face to have a child. Chris even used an app that shows you the “green” days on which to procreate. Mmm.. maybe I should investigate that…

2. He was very adamant not to argue with a pregnant woman. This was re-hashed throughout the night with extra audience participation from the husbands of the pregnant women there. If that doesn’t work, give chocolate or leave.

3. The antenatal class he attended sounded very similar to the one we went to at the Genesis clinic. I found his take on this hilarious, especially when he described the conversation about circumcision with the Jewish couple and how the Muslims didn’t want to watch the boobs on the breastfeeding video. I think this is what is so appealing about Chris: he takes something that people get so worked up about and just pokes fun at it.

4. He is pro breastfeeding! Yay! But I loved the way he described how, in the recovery room, every female was trying to latch his wife and child. He went as far as saying why doesn’t the cleaning lady also give it a shot. I could totally identify with this experience, as a new mom, how my boobs were manhandled by all and sundry. Their experience though, was that they were unable to latch and did the pumping route. (I also pumped for the first month) He has a funny anecdote of how, at four months, Kayleigh was making a sound to indicate that she was hungry (imitating the Medela pump).

5. The funniest joke of the whole night for me was when he said: “Take the love you have for your favourite pet, and multiply that by a million times…” (this is where you’d expect people to say that’s the love you would have for your child) but he said: “That’s how much you will miss sleep.”

True that.

There’s a lot more, but you’ll have to see the show. If you want a good laugh (and especially if you are pregnant, you might land up with a hamper of Huggies!) go and book at Strictly Tickets.

chris-forrest-banner

I Got Pampered… Thanks McDonalds! (I’m lovin it!)

having a manicure and drinking water I think if you ask most mothers what they would really like for mother’s day, it would be some time to themselves. “Me-time” is a coveted thing for moms who spend their days at the beck and call of little humans and their nights trying to catch a bit of sleep in between cries. Time out is great: pampering at a spa is even better. I have to hand it to the team at McDonalds who came up with the idea to spoil us. This was such a relaxing, releasing and enjoyable experience for me.

This event was held at the Life Day Spa in Rosebank. A beautiful location; with soft music and water features adding to the relaxation effect.

We were met with tea and muffins. I could not resist those McDonald’s muffins. (See how my diet is going downhill because of muffins…). Telma Tsironis, the marketing manager of McDonalds told us some interesting things that are in the pipeline. They are going to have reading corners and even use books with the happy meal instead of a toy. Great idea… They are also having an open door day and I will post more on that when I go.

After that we were matched up with our beauty therapist. I hit the jackpot with Lemees. I have had quite a few bad experiences with massage therapists, where they don’t listen when you tell them where you need work and just continue with their set massage. This lady not only listened, she concentrated on my shoulders and even used the hot stones. I did not even feel any abrasion with the stones, they were so smooth. She really worked that area.

It turns out I have a real problem with my shoulders. She said they were in spasm. The day before I pushed Nicky’s big pink car (see video here) around the front yard twenty times, so I’m sure that did not help! (It needs fixing). I also have strain from holding Nicky and also being hunched over the computer. She thinks I need a chiropractor.   But I have to say I feel much more relaxed and loose about my shoulders. The massage was just wonderful.

spa-nails We then went downstairs to get a manicure and pedicure. I don’t normally do a manicure, what with washing dishes and such, but it really made me feel pretty. I’m hoping the pedicure will last longer. I went for a light pink on my hands and a deep purple on my feet.

After all this spoiling we had some food (I had a wrap and strawberry frappe). It was a delicious end to the day.

spa goodies We even got some nice goodies to take home, including the very comfortable slippers. Massage oil and soap will continue the pampering. My family will appreciate the voucher. That will be this weekend’s treat!

I only looked at my phone during the manicure after ignoring all emails all day, which, for me, is also a form of relaxation.

I went home in such a softer frame of mind.

So thank you, McDonalds for a fabulous mom’s day off! I really appreciated it.

Starting a Series: Mothers After Infertility or Loss

mothers-after-If-and-loss I’ve been inspired by Cindy Alfino, who has successfully run series on her blog on “I’m a Mom With Tattoos” and more recently “Behind the Scenes of a Mixed Race Family”. I thought, why not do a series myself? Of course, I don’t think I’ll manage to do this every week; I’m going to more realistically aim for once a month; but I’d like to build up a resource of moms who have been through infertility or loss and can share their stories and advice.

If you’d like to take part all you have to do is:

  • Answer the questions below.
  • Send me a fabulous picture (or more) of yourself and/or your family.
  • Send me your links to any blog or social media you have.

 

The questions are:

  • About Me: Tell us some background about yourself, if you work, and what your interests and passions are.
  • About Us: How did you meet your partner? Give us the love story.
  • About Infertility: Tell us your infertility (or loss) story. It can be as brief or as long as you feel comfortable sharing.
  • About My Family: Tell us about your family and about your child(ren).
  • How has infertility affected your parenting?
  • How do you find it affecting your life, even now?
  • My Advice: What is your advice for those still in the trenches of infertility, or for those trying again?

Well, that’s it, folks! If you’d like to participate, email me: heather@onestepatatime.co.za, with your answers, pic and links.

I thought I’d start the ball rolling by answering my own questions…

  1. About Me:

After I finished matric I went to Rhodes to study journalism. I didn’t make it into Journ 2, but I discovered Psychology and enjoyed that and English a lot. I got as far as Psych Honours, and after spending a lot of time with kids in various activities, including holiday clubs, Camp America in Pennsylvania and teaching English as a Second Language in Taiwan, I was inspired to do a Montessori diploma and become a teacher. I spent eight years teaching (half preschool and half Grade 1) before having my own kid.

I think I’ve come full circle as a stay at home mom, because now I use my studies and experiences on my kid and I write about them. I guess I’m a kind of an online journalist of sorts – I enjoy writing. My dream is to make blogging a career and help others do the same – that’s why I’ve founded SA Mom Blogs.

 

  1. About Us:

I met my Dear Husband on the internet.

I was working in Taiwan and we chatted for seven months on the internet. He also used to phone me. (He had to take out a loan at one point to pay his phone bill!)

Within weeks I knew this guy was The One. Before I met him in person I had already arranged to move up my furniture. I moved to Joburg and we were married a year later in December 2003.

I remember the night he proposed. We went to the Broadwalk in PE (holidaying with my parents) and he took me out to supper. We went for dinner and movies. He was so nervous. (The movie was Tolkien’s “The Ring”!) It was New Year’s Eve and as the fireworks exploded around us he did go down on one knee. He made a big deal of asking me everything else that started with an “m” before he asked my hand in marriage. To this day, I will say the thing that most attracted me to him, and that keeps us going through all the bad times, is his sense of humour.

I’m glad I said yes that day.

 

  1. About Infertility:

I’ve already written my full story here.

The shorter version is this:

It was five long years. We started off in 2007 with an awful gynaecologist who quite frankly put me off treatment.

I took a bit of a break and did a lot of research after that. I went to a homeopath and listened to talks at an online fertility conference. I came away with better knowledge and tools.

In 2010 we went to our second doctor who was an improvement, but still no dice. The failure was worse because I invested more time and effort into other things such as acupuncture and diet.

In 2011 we went to Medfem and they were able to identify that I had internal (endometriosis) problems, plus antibodies and thyroid conditions. After an operation and medication I was able to conceive.

To this day I am so grateful to them and to God for my miracle child.

 

  1. About My Family:

toddler-in-tree Nicholas is an amazing little boy who has taught me the meaning of joy. He loves cars and dirt. He has made us a family. Read more about him on this blog!

 

  1. How Infertility Has Affected My Parenting:

I’ve actually written a post about this here.

Essentially I’ll say that having been through the bad, I can value the good. It has also made me paranoid that something bad will happen to my child, (When will the other shoe drop? What’s the catch to this blessing?), but I try to ignore those bad thoughts and focus on enjoying the present with my child.

 

  1. Infertility and My Life:

I’ve written a post about how infertility has empowered me here. I think there are a lot of positives on how it can make you stronger, how determined it can make you, and how much it can teach you about yourself. It is also a marital strain and it is a credit to us that we have pulled through it.

 

There are a lot of negatives too, and I know that the scars will always be there. Infertility does not end with a live birth: it continues throughout your life: through every cycle, though every pregnancy announcement, through every story of another woman’s struggle or no struggle: I will always carry it with me. Yes, my child has healed me a lot, but it lingers like a bad dream.

My challenge is to live in the moment and be thankful for what I have.

 

  1. My Advice:

35 months “Comparison is the Thief of Joy” said Theodore Rosevelt.

It’s hard, but don’t compare your journey with another. You don’t know that your own family is in God’s hands and that he has the perfect idea of what your family is going to look like. You may have your own ideas of how that should happen, but the bigger picture is past our human understanding.

My practical advice: go to the best fertility clinic first. Don’t waste time with bad doctors. You may be surprised that you may not need to go the expensive route to get what you want.

 

 

Working Through Emotions Through Play

using toys to process toddler emotions over potty training So, we’ve established that Nicky likes to have a comfort item near to him – a toy, a car, a biccy, and most recently I posted about his “Zee-bra”. Well, the zebra has been lost for a while, but Nicky found another toy he likes – a wooden bunny given to him as a newborn by my mother-in-law. It has a spring; it’s meant to dangle above a cot. Nevertheless this toy and others have extended their baby life into something even more useful: working through emotions through play.

We spend a lot of time playing with bath toys in the bath and the other night I observed more closely the meaning behind what he was doing. Nicky loves to squeeze his fish to make it “pee” and attempted to make it squirt so that it would “pee in the potty”.

I think the whole potty training thing is stressing him out as much as me…

bunny-and-fish-bath-toys The bunny had his own potty. He used a cup that usually gets used for pouring water. Nicky said “Pee in potty!” to the bunny.

The wooden nature of this bunny is a lot of fun to play with in the bath. He was gurgling happily away and when I looked closer he was pushing it down and watching it float back up. “Bunny!” he laughed.

Bunny then went swimming in the bath. He was told that he must “Kick! kick!” Yes, I do ask Nicky to kick during swimming lessons…

brushing-bunny-teeth Bunny even got his own teeth brushed when it came to brushing teeth time.

***

Quite a few years ago, long before Nicky was born, I was a volunteer play therapist at a church. We saw a lot of kids going through divorce. They played out their emotions through the toys. Disaster zones were created, with fire engines and ambulances. Life boats with survival equipment were brought to life.

Nicky is  a lucky boy. He is living in a loving home and he hasn’t experienced the trauma that these kids have.

But I am reminded that little things do trouble him, and he is working through these with his objects of comfort – toys that he becomes attached to – for whatever length of time.

 

***

By the way we are making some progress on the potty training. Yesterday he told me he needed to pee and then he pooped on the potty from start to finish. Yay! Today… well we got there halfway through. But I know it is a process and he will get there in the end. I have become more accepting as I realise that he does not need my extra stress.

Nicky, and Bunny will get there in the end.

#JoziMeetup thoughts….

jozimeetup-thoughts

 

 

Well, the #JoziMeetup is over. We had an absolute fantastic time, although there were the normal ups and downs along the way.

I’m not totally sure why, but this particular meetup was very draining for me. It could have been the hour I had to spend in load shedding traffic afterwards. It could have been the late night packing of tea cups only to find out the next day I did not need them after all. It could have been having to sort out food, chairs and tables and run around for teaspoons at the last minute. It could be the battle to fill the goody bag (thank God last minute sponsors came through for us!). It could have been the battle to find 50 people to come and only land up with 17 and no money left over. It could also be the broken sleep my child keeps giving me….

At the end of the day, all these bumps were just detours to a better place.

You know what I’m grateful for?

1. Our setting was perfect for a smaller number of attendees and probably would not have done as well with more. The Bub Hub is run by the sister team of Delia and Tara, who run a lovely baby shop which also does classes. See their website for more details.

coffee 2. We landed up being spoilt with Mugg and Bean giving us free coffee. The best news ever.

drinks 3. We had lovely cocktail Contreau drinks from Butterknife PR.

4. I have a new appreciation for Free Range and what they did for us in February. Sponsoring the venue, cappuccinos, platters and furniture was something we took for granted. Seriously. Respect.

laura-and-heather 5. I am so grateful to Laura. I think that we make a good team because we each think about things the other hasn’t thought of.  Laura is just bubbling with ideas and I think that she is going to take us places. So watch this space!

karen-du-toit-and-dube-sisters 6. I am grateful to blogging friends for helping us out. Even though Shaney couldn’t come she put me in touch with a lady who gave us some sparkly mascara. Nastassja helped us out by speaking without charging anything. These are valuable friends who could sum up a situation and do what was needed. I appreciate you. I am grateful to the bloggers who support us at these events, time after time. Thank you. I am grateful for Jolene coming early to help set up. Thank you.

7. I am grateful for Cindy in Cape Town. Running the meetup by yourself, getting 50 places filled and landing amazing goody bags. Respect to you! I think we need to learn something from you.

8. I am grateful to my husband for looking after Nicky the whole day. I can see it has strengthened their bond. I am also very grateful that he got the little one to have his afternoon nap.

Wish you could have been there? You can still grab a goody bag which has some Amway makeup in worth more than R1000. Go to my post on SA Mom blogs here.

Our current object of affection: “Zee-bra”

toddlers have objects of affection - my child likes a zebra at the moment. “Zee-bra!”

This was Nicky’s plaintive call at 4:30am in the morning.

“Zee-bra!”

“Nicky, I don’t know where your zebra is, can we not just go back to sleep?”

Zee-bra!” rather insistently now.

(If you’re wondering why he is saying it with an American accent, it is all our fault. We let him play Goodnight Safari too many times on the IPad and he has learnt the pronunciation that way. Sigh.)

“Okay, Nicky, let’s go look for your Zee-bra.” I admit defeat both in the accent and for loss of my sleep.

Nicky takes turns in enjoying various objects of affection, and right now Zee-bra has pride of place. He got lost round about the same time we found his lego “man” so that was a relief.

Picture me walking around the Randburg Wholesale Market (fruit and veg shop) while Nicky cries for his zebra. I thought he might have dropped it when we walked in so we looked around. A fruitless task.

It was in the car all along. After he was found again this toy was in favour again. Zee-bra was initially bought as part of my efforts to teach him the alphabet ( Z for Zebra) but Nicky grabbed him before he could go back in the box.

We traipse in the semi darkness to the lounge. I know his zebra is there. Nicky likes to line up all his cars in a row and also likes to place lots of things (ie smaller cars and animals) on top. So Zee-bra is sitting next to the upturned red truck, along with other small toys who were enjoying the ride.

I’m still pretty tired but my mind is turning over as I try (unsuccessfully) to get Nicky back to sleep. I start remembering that time I was a Grade One teacher and did zebra biome boxes with my pupils. I start talking to Nicky about zebras, how they like to eat long grass, run on their toes and how each have unique patterned stripes. I take him to my laptop and pull up my notes and pictures and read them to him. I show him the life cycle. The sun shines on the grass, the zebra eats the grass, the lion eats the zebra and then the vultures eat the lion. We start looking at pictures, and then I hit on the great idea to show him YouTube videos of zebras.

I found an amazing long video about how the zebra migrates across Botswana and let him watch it while I get going on breakfast and getting him dressed. I really liked the way it did show the life cycle – there were lots of lions and vultures.

The only bad part was when a stallion killed a newborn zebra. This isn’t something I could ever understand, but the narrator explained that the kid was not his and therefore would not get his protection.

 

zebra-on-washing-machine Yesterday morning as I did the laundry he happily stood there watching it go “round and round” munching a biscuit, some apple, and Zee-bra was there to watch too.

When nap time came he needed Zee-bra and a car before he could go to sleep.

zebra-at-work Yesterday evening when we went to fetch DH the toy came with and watched while he played with the phones.

When we went to bed, it had to be fetched from the car where it had been left.

I think this close relationship with a plastic toy is special. It is amazing to watch how he prefers spiky plastic to a soft toy to comfort him. He loves cars and certain animals. I think these objects of affection play a special role at this age, and it is a privilege to watch this play out, apart from those times when it has to be so early in the morning….

Update on things:

-Nicky can say “raff” = Giraffe and “phant” = Elephant. He can say dinosaur now.

-Potty training … is just not going well at all. A few steps forward and a few back. He manages well out of the house.

-He likes to pull of all his clothes and “dump” on the trampoline. Then I must “dump” with him, and sing. I must jump over him until he says “dop!”

-My diet… well … I’ve kind of altered it a bit and kept what I liked, but no carbs and four potions of protein at night is getting old so I’ve changed that a bit. I’ve kept all the snacks, and I love the lunch of 3 beans chili and mashed potato.

Laura and I are working hard on making the #JoziMeetup a super event and I’m looking forward to Saturday!

Oh, and today we lost both the zebra and the man. Fun times. But I managed to distract him with a car.

Cars are still very much in favour.

 

What kind of objects of affection has your child had?

When Lego Becomes Art: The Art of the Brick Exhibit

our trip to the art of the brick exhibit in Johannesburg We celebrated Freedom Day today with my parents at “The Art of the Brick” exhibit at the Zone, Rosebank. This is the kind of thing where the adults enjoy the art work and the child enjoys playing with the actual lego at the end. This is why it is an excellent trip for families of all age groups.

Lego is a staple toy in every home. One of Nicky’s favourite toys is a lego tractor which hooks up to a trailer. (He loves things that hook together). It has a clown, giraffe and a fork.

I have to tell you it had been forgotten for a while but the other day we found the clown. There was much excitement and the whole thing was assembled again. Then the clown got lost. Nicky was very upset. “Man!” he cried. We looked everywhere for this blessed man.

lego-tractor Eventually last week when my maid did not pitch (again!) and I had to do some basic cleaning in preparation for our visitors, I found the clown behind the curtain in our front “pool” room (it has a pool table). I told Nicky he was busy looking out the window! In any case he was very happy to put the whole lot together again.

In any case, getting back to the exhibit.

2015-04-27 11.40.04 As you enter, there is this cute photo booth where you can place your head in the middle of a poster of the sculpture of a yellow torso spewing lego bricks. This was the first of many photo opportunities.
nathan We were then shown a short movie clip about the artist, Nathan Sawaya. He used to be a lawyer until he decided to do what he loved: creating lego art. Around the exhibition are his thoughts on the creations, as well as some quotes. He also details how long it took him to make the sculptures – some took weeks and others, like the two dimensional paintings, took a few days.

IMG_0642 He replicates a lot of famous art works e.g. Mona Lisa, The Scream. One of the neat things he does is create a sculpture out of a painting: in other words, create three dimensions from two.

the scream painting created into a lego sculpture

lego scupture turns kiss painting into a sculpture

 

lego sculpture with ball Nicky liked the man holding a ball. We took a picture of that one. There was also a cool one of a pencil.

toddler with pencil lego sculpture

lego sculpture for the grandparents 2015-04-27 12.14.22 A special sculpture, considering the grandparents were with us, was this red creation of an older couple. The caption was “Everlasting” and it talked about how love can last. This is something I admire in my parents and aspire to myself.

lego sculptures depicting grief, nightmares

The section I found most interesting was the one entitled “human condition”. This is where the artist displays emotions. He shows grief with a parent holding a child. He shows his ultimate nightmare: the loss of his hands: in a sculpture. One item has the head removed (to remove clutter he says).

breaking through barriers I liked “Gray” which shows a person breaking through a barrier. He says: “Taking a leap is hard. I used to be a lawyer. There was nothing wrong with being a lawyer, but I always knew there was another me, an Artist Me, lurking inside. Then one day I decided to let the Artist in me out, and I never looked back.”

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I think this is a great inspirational quote for encouraging you to follow your dreams. “Taking a leap is hard,” yes, but at the end of the day it’s worth it.

uplifting art Another fabulous creation for following your dreams is this red one suspended from the ceiling. “What will lift you up?” is a really good question.

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The largest sculpture was a dinosaur. How awesome was that?

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IMG_0688 After all the lego exhibits came Nicky’s reward. A place to sit and play with lego. He immediately went for the cars and linked them all up like he does with his one at home. He had a lot of fun. DH then helped him build a garage for his cars.

 

dad helping Nicky build lego

 

By now we were really hungry and headed off for lunch. We took some fabulous pics with the grandparents.

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Thanks for a great day out, Grandpa and Granny!

This post is not sponsored and is my own opinion. The Art of the Brick Exhibit (http://www.theartofthebrickexpo.co.za/) runs until 2 August 2015.

 

 

Raising A Reader

raising-a-reader Now that Nicky’s little bed has been put away and he is consistently using his big bed, a new space has been created in his room. All the books next to his bed were in disarray and falling over so I moved a bookshelf from another room in the house to take up pride of place next to the window. Creating a bookshelf is one of the methods I am using to raise my little reader.

I thought this would be a great opportunity for him to choose his own books, now that he could reach them, but he is still grabbing any old book. Although he really likes the book on trucks that he can open and shut. We also have a few faves I know he likes that I save for last (we read 3 books each night) like Dinosaur Versus Bedtime, Good Night Little Bear, Molly and the Night Monster, Seymour and Henry (about two ducks).

This week we finally did something I have been wanting to do for ages: we went to the library.  I recently read this post on A Fine Parent (http://afineparent.com/simplify-life/how-to-be-a-good-parent.html) about how if you want your kid to read, you had better start reading yourself. (The article was about being a lazy parent and they made the point that if you sit and read for 15-30 mins per day they will get the hint that reading is important).

The challenge I’m finding with library books and following your toddler around is that you have to really be careful. Our trampoline collects water in pockets and I just put the book down to jump with my son for a bit and next thing I know the book is starting to get wet.

It was a mad dash inside for me and a few minutes of frantic work with a hair dryer. I managed to restore it to its former glory.

Then we have the sand throwing and diving.

However I have managed to find a few nice spots to sit in while he plays. Let’s hope I manage to finish this Susan Howatch trilogy in three weeks! And that the book remains in one piece…

Book lovers will also be interested in this bit of info that popped into my inbox: that there is a Book Fair  (http://www.southafricanbookfair.co.za/) happening in Johannesburg at the historic Turbine Hall in Newtown (managed by The Forum Company) from 31 July to 2 August. The three day Fair is a veritable playground for lovers of reading. Promising to bring the focus back to books and their authors, this year’s Fair has planned an exciting literary programme that will feature book launches and signings, author interviews and discussions, poetry readings, literary workshops and forums, exhibitions and displays, and an exciting children’s zone. Friday is a dedicated schools and library day, with a carefully crafted literary programme for learners and educators.

Another thing I’ve been working on with Nicky is assembling an alphabet. I’ve printed out letters and collected plastic animals for each. I’ve done one three period lesson teaching o, a and d. He managed to get as far as the second period matching the octopus, anteater and dolphin. It was a bit haphazard and I think we’re going to need a lot more practice. But ever since I was a teacher it has been a dream of mine to teach my own kid the alphabet, so I know it will come.

If you’re wondering about how I’m doing this, I’ve created a new freebie on the menu bar and also at this link: http://onestepatatime.co.za/free-stuff/. (I have no idea why my internal link thing is not working grr…)

I’ve always enjoyed reading in the past, but lately it seems to have fallen by the wayside. I’m hoping to get back into it so that I can inspire another generation to be a book lover.

 

 

Putting Two Words Together

the development of speech of my toddler - putting two words together Every week there is more development in Nicky’s speech and it is amazing to watch.  He can name a lot of animals. He can say if he is “wet” or “hot”. He can demand “duice!” or “wator” or “eat!”. He can name all the members of his family “Mama, Dada, Co Co and Ilo” (the last two are the dogs Coffee and Milo – we also call Coffee Coff Coff so I guess this is close enough for him). Nicky is a late talker but lately there have been a lot of single words coming. So it has been interesting to see this week  how he has actually been linking two words together more often.

Of course Nicky has done this before, if you remember “Out, Dad!” but this week was the first time he has said it referring to me.

toddler on balance bike next to water The other day I was busy in the kitchen he got on his scooter outside the door and very insistently said “Mama, out!” He wants me to come with him to play outside. He continued like this until I had to explain to him that I needed to cook but he could come and help me. A bit of tears but I got him to “help” and he had fun throwing beans in the pot.

toddler with bat and ball

We did get to play outside. Nicky loves playing cricket. I am so enjoying playing cricket with him. I think it is therapeutic after being useless at sport and having horrible PT teachers to have this bundle of joy enjoying throwing balls at me and the bat. He even picks them up if they are not on his side. Bonus.

Nicky gets a real thrill out of saying “Mama!” and me answering “Yes?” He thinks this is hilarious and will do it again and again.

Another word he has learned early on is “biccy”. Oh my word. If Nicky could live on biscuits he would happily do so. It  is “biccy” when he wakes up, “biccy” at odd times during the day, and “biccy” last thing at night. He will even take “biccy” to the bathroom to sit on the potty and munch at the same time. (Oh by the way we are still continuing with the potty training, with prompting he is doing well, but still pooping in his pants. Sigh.)

In any case, this evening it is bath time, and to soften the blow of the “trauma” of bath time a comfort item has to come too. Often it is a car, but tonight he wants a “biccy”. I explain to him that it will probably get wet, but anyway.

Off we go, he does his pee in the potty (yay!) and then it is bath time. The biscuit is placed on the edge of the bath. We have a great splashing time in the bath. At one point he is out sitting on the side of the bath with all the toys and he notices, to much dismay, that the biscuit is wet.

“Biccy!” Nicky says in tears.

toddler after bath in onsie pajamas

After the bath in his onesie

I explain to him that if you bring a biscuit into the bath, of course it is going to get wet. I start laughing and fortunately he sees the funny side too and soon we are playing a game where he is throwing the biscuit (No! I don’t want your soggy biscuit!).

At another point we have switched sides and he considers the biscuit.

“Wet,” he says, in deep thought.

“Biccy. Wet.” He laughs and laughs and repeats this over and over again.

Well there you have it, folks. The development of language contained in a wet biscuit.

***

toddler sleeping in the car with IPad Enough about spoken language. I also need to mention that during our long car trips when we are stuck in traffic, Nicky is gaining an education on the IPad. He traces letters, numbers and shapes. He forms animals with shapes. He matches letters. He even selects words. I am so proud of my little man who is learning independently in this way. He is paving the way for reading and writing.

And sometimes, when he hasn’t had his afternoon nap, car trips are a great place to fall asleep…