Handy Tools & Advice, Parenting

How do I know my child is safely strapped in?

Anyone who knows me can vouch that I’m pretty intense when it comes to car safety for littlies, especially Caitlin and her car seat who seem to have a love/hate relationship… This mama does not allow any form of back seat (or worse, front seat) driving when mom’s around! Blame the anxious, paranoid parent in me – or the fact that I love my child to absolute death and trust no one when it comes to her safety (yes, I’m that bad!).

It’s funny how we purchase a safety product, have a quick run-through the manual and ‘Bob’s your uncle’ you now know how to manoeuvre this exceptionally intimidating contraption (at least that’s how I felt when first having to deal with an upright carseat…?) So, you strap your little one in, they absolutely hate it (Caitlin doesn’t enjoy it…as you can see from the picture… haha!) and yet you explain to them that it is for their safety and look, mommy and daddy are wearing their safety belts too! They get used to the car seat and you continue with the knowledge you know on how to use the car seat, but do you really know, I mean REALLY KNOW that the pinnacle of your existence (I’m referring to your child, btw ;D) is 100% safely strapped in?

I sure thought I did! Yet, sometimes we are in a hurry (man are we in a hurry!) and you think you securely locked the buckle with no knots in the harness and somehow a piece of clothing or part of a toy gets stuck and manages to jiggle out the buckle. YES, this has happened to me once or twice where I ended up being completely freaked out at the thought of what could’ve gone wrong!!!

Since then, I try to take it slow when buckling up for a drive out; ensuring that Caitlin is fully buckled up before I get into the car and do the same for the driver (aka this MAMA).

Now, as a firm believer of turning to ‘the GOOGLE’ when in need of help (as we all tend to do when we feel uneducated about a certain subject or matter), I tend to research things in order to better equip myself with the required knowledge so that I do not make the same mistakes time and time again.

A few tips that I’ve found useful by incorporating them into our drive out routine to ensure that the little one is safely buckled up in her car seat:

  • Ensure the harness isn’t twisted and is correctly placed in front of the body

At a certain age, toddlers tend to try their luck by ‘unstrapping’ themselves as they remove their arms out of the straps, even though the buckle is still safely secure. This is a big NO-NO! To avoid this from happening, try the BeSafe Belt Collector – a nifty add-on that ensures your little one’s belts remain in the correct position (along with their body posture) whilst blocking them from removing/escaping out from under the straps.  

  • Once the buckle is locked, pull back on the harness without unlocking the buckle to ensure it is safely clicked in. 

Since my mistakes of not checking the buckle post locking it, it is part of our ritual and Caitlin knows that no toys are allowed on her lap whilst we buckle up. This is mostly due to the fact that it is usually her ‘teddy’ that gets caught in the buckle causing it not to click in 100%. By pulling on the straps/belts post locking the buckle, you can see that it is locked properly and also evaluate if any clothing or toys or blankets may or may not block the mechanic from working properly.

  • Check for any unwanted items that may block the car seat’s safety mechanics ie. buckle, straps, harness

As mentioned in the previous point, any unwanted items (by you as parent, they are usually very wanted by your child at that point) must not be in the way of buckling up for a drive out. That means all toys, clothing, blankets… anything.

  • In winter, avoid too puffy coats/jackets

Extremely think/puffy jackets or coats may keep your little one all snuggly and warm in winter, but it can also cause the car seat to not work properly. We tend to use a blanket over Caitlin once she’s buckled up safely in her car seat to ensure that she stays warm and put her jacket on after we’ve reached our destination and unbuckled her.

  • IMPORTANT! Do a test – the upside down test

This is probably THE best advice to ensure that the car seat you own is safe for your little one – no matter what may come your way whilst on the road. The main aim of a car seat is to protect your child in the case of an accident – guarding their little bodies as the car flips, rolls or hits an object. It cannot do this job 100% if you do not use it properly – I cannot emphasize it enough! No matter how much you paid for that car seat – whether its a fancy 6-digit car seat or an el’cheapo that was a hand-me down from a family member or friend – always check that it is in its best working condition by doing the upside down test.

How to do the upside down test:

  1. Take the car seat out of the car – yes, OUT of the car.
  2. Buckle your child up safely and properly as you would do if you were going for a drive out. No less than a 1 to 2 finger space between their bodies and the harness straps!
  3. Now, pick your child up as they sit in the car seat and hold them upside down.
  4. Your child should remain safely in their car seat. This is how you know that it’s a keeper (the car seat, of course!).NB! Always have someone for an extra pair of hands when doing this test. Accidents happen quite quickly.

 

And that’s my tips to a happy, fun and safe driving experience for both parent and children. For more information on car seat safety, follow #CarSeatFullstop on social media platforms and join in the conversation by liking, sharing and commenting on this post (and others)!

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2017 #CarseatFullstop Logo & URL

Much love,
C xx

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Life Right Now, Random Thoughts

Sit down, let’s catch up…

Jeez… three months since my last blog post! Where has the time gone?!

Life’s turned into such a rat race, hasn’t it? Rushing from the one to-do to the next. No wonder ‘mental overload’ is making burn out a reality! After a very long study session today, I’m sitting on the couch writing this post as Caitlin watches Despicable Me 3 and hubby watches his own programme in the bedroom. I can’t help but ask myself: since when did ‘screen-time’ become ‘me-time’? Or ‘family-time’, for that matter? Has the modern age of having our needs available at the click of a button changed our habits this drastically? Clearly, the answer is ‘yes’.

I truly miss the days when our catch-ups entailed a drive out to a destination unknown, chatting whilst the playlist of our favourite songs play in the background. No worrying about all the goods you need to pack and take with… just in case. Life was so much easier as a 22-year-old. Haha!

But, I’m digressing…

What’s happened since we last spoke?

Well, a lot and not a lot – all at the same time, really. That totally makes no sense, but somehow it sums it up perfectly!

Things are crazy – most of it self-inflicted, really. My own doing. The cost of turning out to be quite an ambition woman with dreams.

We’re closing up on our moving day… with the exception of hubby’s DVDs, not a single thing is packed yet! Second semester exams start next week and will continue up until a week before we move, as well. And work… work… work…

In between it all, Caitlin’s growing up so quickly. Our baby girl has turned into this bright, funny and whimsical little girl. Every day shared with her in our lives is so special! Who knew you could have your heart walk around outside of your body?

Being a parent is hard, being an anxious mom is worse. Still struggling to figure out how to manage the anxious part of being ‘mom’, however, I’ve found a few ways that help reduce anxiety and stress:

  • Exercise.

Exercise is one of the most important things you can do to combat stress. Last year I had a walk buddy that really helped, but since she moved, I kind of let exercise fall away as part of my anxiety management. It’s something that I’m keen to take up again once we live in our new home as it is in a secured lifestyle estate, whereby now, we don’t have that luxury of added security when walking in the neighborhood.

  • Consider Supplements.

I have learned to take a few basic OTC supplements that helps keeping calm and relaxed. It really does help during exam times or extremely busy times at work.

  • Light a Candle.

Somehow a candle and the ocean has the same calming effect on me. Soylites candles remain a firm favourite of mine, however, having a toddler in the house its not the best thing to have around.

  • Reduce Your Caffeine Intake.

Something I really do struggle with is reducing my coffee intake. Especially on weekends. At work I’ve taken accustomed to drinking filter coffee rather than instant as it has a stronger taste, which in turn reduces the amount of coffee I drink per day.

  • Write It Down.

Not really something I’ve kept up to date with, really. Although, as a writer by profession it really does help getting your emotions out through putting pen to paper.

  • Chew Gum.

Or in my case, eat Halls. However, the sugar intake is absolutely shocking thus I’ve ended this semi-addiction and replaced it with a fidget spinner. I know, really… a fidget spinner?! But, honestly it helps.

  • Spend Time With Friends and Family.

I love spending time with my family and friends! Life gets so busy that it’s not always possible, yet it is an instant pick-me-up and stress reliever.

  • Laugh

It’s the absolute best remedy and one of the many reasons why I love my peoples (close circle of humans I can connect with) so very much! They know me, accept me and can lift my spirits in an instant – whether it’s a silly joke, a fun dance to music, a movie with tons of comedy scenes or just reminiscing about the good ol’ days.

I always ask myself – when did I turn into this anxious person?! The answer always remains the same. Somewhere between becoming an adult and a parent. AKA responsibility… Seems simple, right? Absolutely!

Mix it up with ambition and a pleaser personality trait; you’re left with a moderately anxious human being. So whilst the most stressful part of 2017 starts, I’m promising myself to make self-care a priority from now on. Starting with the above-mentioned things to help relieve stress and anxiety. Because being a better you means being a better mother and wife.

Do you also get anxious or stressed out? Share your advice on how you effectively manage it by commenting below.

Much love,
C xx

Life Right Now, Parenting

The Potty Training Games

I have to admit something: so far, this whole parenthood thing has been quite easy. I mean, easy in the word that it could have been way harder – we’re lucky in that way. I’m only saying this because raising a child, as challenging as it may seem, can be a thousand times harder than what we think our current situation in parenthood is. (My current situation is struggling with a stubborn toddler that refuses to go to sleep) But somewhere out there in the world are other parents, just like us that are facing other challenges, some that we cannot even start to imagine, of raising a happy, healthy and loved child. We’re not alone in the hood of parents.

Yet somehow, it can feel that way. I tend to feel this way sometimes. Especially when my anxiety, fear of failure and fear of disappointment gets the best of me. This usually happens after a long day at work, having to try my best to get through household to-do’s and suddenly ending up with a screaming toddler that refuses to ‘to-go’ poo-poo on the toilet or potty.

I call the current phase of our journey in parenthood: The Potty Training Games.

I call it this for a very valid reason. Potty training, to date, has been the hardest part of parenthood for this mama. We’ve been at it since Caitlin turned two years old. That’s a whopping 18 months of on and off trying to get her to “be a big girl” and use the potty. “Babies don’t wear diapers”. Well, she reckons that she’s my baby, so it must be okay then to still use diapers. I’ve tried what seems to be all the tricks in the non-existing manual of raising a child and so far we’ve only managed to get half way through the process. Sometimes it feels like we’re never going to get it right.

And then I feel like I’ve let my daughter down. Failed as a parent in successfully teaching her something that surely should come naturally to her to grasp. 

We’ve had a rough ride in the potty training games that may have contributed to our struggles. Constipation, diarrhea, medication to treat the two, unwillingness to eat fibre and veggies, as well as changes of a new teacher, friends and school – they all play a part in why we haven’t managed to get a handle on it yet.

Potty training can be done in many ways. There’s no set time as to how long it can take, no set methods to success as each child is different.

In Caitlin’s situation, she’s a bright little girl that easily gets shy when it comes to ‘doing her business’, she’s an extremely sensitive soul, thus get’s easily upset and all of this makes the process so much harder, frustrating and quite frankly exhausting.

We’ve managed to accomplish certain stages of potty training:

  1. Acknowledging that you need to-go
  2. Ask or tell an adult you need to-go
  3. Use the potty to-go pee-pee

The stages that we cannot seem to crack:

4. Acknowledging that you need to-go poo-poo
5. Use the potty to go poo-poo before making an accident in your underwear

Something you need to know about me: I always worry. And in this case my mind tends to run away with me. What if she can’t get it right? What if they start to tease her at school? I don’t want that! No parent wants that!

In the world of motherhood, it can feel like everyone’s children are perfect – Instagram perfect! – so why isn’t your child? The fact is that they are perfect… perfectly human. Little human beings that are learning. And learning takes patience. Something that I’m not good at and learning along the way. It’s a process and something that I’m hoping that we get through soon (before my nerves give in!).

Tell me moms: Did you have any challenges like ours when potty training your little one? If so, how did you manage to successfully potty train? I’d love some of your tips! 

Much love,
Cxxx

Winter Family Exploring in Cape Town
Out & About

3 Things-To-Do with Kids In Cape Town During Winter

Brrrr… Mama, it’s cold outside! Question is: What do we do to keep the kids busy?

We all love the sunny skies and sandy beaches that Cape Town has to offer during summer, but when winter comes we all tend to head indoors, snuggle up on the couch (or in bed) and enjoy some quality time in front of the tv (or other technological entertainment). This may be your natural hibernation instinct, but what we tend to forget is that little ones want to be active, run around and explore. They’re not made to sit still for hours on end. Staying indoors and keeping ourselves busy with technology also causes us to be less active.

Whilst we sing the ol’ song of ‘it’s raining, it’s pouring. The old man is snoring…’, perhaps some insights as to what’s available for us to do during winter with the kids?

We’ve done the research and here’s our top three things-to-do with kids in Cape Town during winter that’s sure to keep them actively entertained in the cold months:

  1. Indoor Playparks
    Let your little one get rid of some energy in a fun indoor play area. Not only can you sit and enjoy the view of them climbing, sliding and exploring with a big smile on their face, but they’ll be sure to make some friends and work up a good appetite along the way. Our favourite play park has got to be Bugz Playpark in Joostenberg Vlakte. It’s any kids play paradise! Not only a fund place for summer, but their indoor play areas are ideal for the winter months.

    Better yet, if you’re stuck on birthday party ideas for your winter born child. Bugz Playpark’s got you sorted! A few themed party packages available – the most difficult part for you mom, will be selecting the guests!

    What’s more, they’re open seven days a week, from 9am to 5pm.

  2. ArtJamming
    Adventure doesn’t always require running around. Sometimes, the biggest adventure can start with a mere blank canvas and a whole lot of imagination! Being a creative mom, more than the adventurist type, I simply love the concept of ArtJamming! With our closest branch being at Willowbridge Shopping Mall, ArtJamming offers entertainment through getting creative with paint, music and movement… they even offer Messy Play classes (and that means no cleanup for mom!).

    A special kids zone offers set 1-hour classes and they also cater for birthday parties. Read up more on these activities here.

    Creative, messy and great fun – indoor exploring has never been this fun!

  3. Indoor Adventures
    Get exploring and show your child a world outside of their own. Make use of the opportunity to add some education to your adventures and outing by visiting establishments such as the Two Oceans Aquarium or the Iziko Museums’ Planetarium. Learning about new and exciting places, things and creatures will sure bring up some memorable conversations and experiences with your little one.

Do you have any additional places of recommendation that we can add to our list? Share with us in the comment box below.

Cxxx

Life Right Now, Random Thoughts

Life Update – #truthfultuesday

“Kids make life the best kind of busy” ~ Anonymous

I haven’t posted a new blog in quite a while. No, I’m still alive and well. And so is my family. Even though my first semester exams have finished, life’s still been busy. You’d think there’ll be so much more time available, but catching up on all sides of life is quite needed after finishing a series of five exams.

So what have we been up to, you may ask? Well, we’ve been fighting some mean, green and just plain awful sinus infections. That said, a lot of rest and TLC was needed. It was our third round of sinus infections for the year, with Caitlin just recovering from a cold a week after her sinus infection cleared up. Crazy, I tell you! Sometimes I pray that she becomes a doctor one day in order for me to at least feel that with all the doctor and pharmacy bills we’ve somehow contributed to her future career path. Haha!

Don’t get me wrong, she used to get sick a lot more, but as she grows older it seems to get ‘easier’ – if that makes any sense? Less paediatrician visits, less hospital submissions.

Apart from fighting the winter’s nasty cold and its friends, we’ve been enjoying some much-needed family time. I’ve realised that my little girl is growing up so incredibly fast that some days it feels like I’m missing half of her life, milestones and tiny moments (you can probably smell the #momguilt a mile away, right?). I’ve learned to take it a bit easier on her and though it may mean that she’s not in bed by 8pm, it also means that my child is getting her daily dose of love, affection and attention.

Our kids change our lives for the better. And though it may be challenging some days with you feeling like you just want to crawl into bed and sleep for days. I would not exchange this journey we’re on for anything in the world, dark under-eye circles and all!

So here we go, with the thought of sharing more blog posts in the coming weeks as we return from our hibernation and hope to engage a bit more with you all as we start to approach the fun, upcoming months of Spring and Summer! For now, I’m quite enjoying the winter weather and the indoor adventures it brings. 🙂

C xx

 

Life Right Now, Parenting

How-To: Teach your child about money values

When Caitlin was born, I handed over the pink piggy bank that I grew up with over to her by placing it in her room. Every so often, we clear out the small change from our wallets and throw them in there for her as a start to a savings account.

Fast forward a few years and Caitlin’s grown accustomed to putting money (small change, mostly) into her piggy bank. Every now and then her father will help her to count her money and place the high values in a safe place, starting the filling up ‘piggy’ process all over again.

Whilst Caitlin is probably still too small to understand the full value about working hard for your money and reward yourself for it, we’ve started to slowly explain the fact that if you behave, mommy and daddy will give you some money that you can either save in your piggy bank (which is what we prefer) or alternatively, you can buy yourself a sweetie the next time we go to the shops.

IMG_4061

So this whole process got me thinking about how I was taught money values and how it influences your approach towards money, spending, saving and so forth. Whilst I was one of those very fortunate kids growing up in a home where there was never a shortage of anything necessary, I still had the value of hard work entrenched into me. My parents are entrepreneurs by default, which means that shop-talk was always present and there was (and still is) always work that needs to get done. Whilst my kid-self didn’t understand why they were constantly working like all…the…time, my adult-self understand that raising four kids and maintaining a functioning household takes a lot of extra hours and hard work.

To me, understanding the values of hard work and the value of money totally goes hand in hand. So, the basic steps that we follow in teaching Caitlin the value of both are as follow:

  1. Entrench that money doesn’t grow on trees. We don’t usually carry a lot of cash on us, but it also provides the opportunity to show Caitlin that money isn’t always readily available and we need to work well with what we have.
  2. You can’t have both; sometimes you need to make choices. There’s always that moment in the shops when there is more than one item that Caitlin would like. Now, whilst the easies option would be to buy both for her, it also gives the opportunity to teach her that you cannot always get both that you want, you need to choose what you’d like most.
  3. “I need it” vs. “I want it.” The difference between need and want is still a difficult one for little ones to grasp, however we’re trying very hard to teach her the difference (especially when it comes to sweets and toys)
  4. Include her in the paying process when going to the stores. We always give her the opportunity to hand the items she wants from the store to the cashier and give her the opportunity to hand over the card (even if it’s just the store loyalty card) for payment.
  5. Combine money, math and chores. If you help mommy with the washing or picking up of toys then you are rewarded and so it adds up.

IMG_4063

There are various other ways of teaching money values to kids, however the above, I’d like to think, is currently appropriate for Caitlin’s age. As she’ll grow older, we’ll include her in decisions like:

  1. Setup a savings goal. 
  2. Decide which item is the best buy. 
  3. Making money in fun ways. 
  4. Giving to charities. 

Ultimately, we hope that teaching Caitlin the value of money and hard work will equip her for adult life.

Why not share how you teach your child(ren) the value of hard work and money?

Much love,
Chantelle
x

Encouragement, Handy Tools & Advice, Random Thoughts

Never lose sight of who you really are… trust in yourself

wom·an·hood
ˈwo͝omənˌho͝od/
noun
  1. the state or condition of being a woman.

What seems to be missing from the above is the mention of ‘superhuman with the ability to play multiple roles at the same time’ – don’t you think?

Somehow in the midst of being everything to everyone, we reach a point where we start to lose sight of who we really are. We allow the opinions of others affect us and we give in to the pressure of the feeling that we’re ‘not good enough’. As women, we put ourselves through numerous attempts of changing ourselves, ‘making ourselves better’ with the hope of feeling better about ourselves and accomplishing acceptance amongst others.

Throughout life, you’re surrounded by others guiding you through it all, ideally providing you with the necessary life skills to keep you strong against all the ‘bad’ outside there in the real world. Sometimes, you find yourself surrounded by people that aren’t in it for the enrichment of life, but rather for personal gain. A matter of ‘what can I get out of this relationship’? These people add even more pressure to our lives on top of what we already experience as women.

You must be sexy, you must be smart, you must be nice… things that don’t add value to life or your worth as a woman. You also have to be a wife, a mother, a sister, a daughter, a friend, an employee – each role with sub-roles that you have to fulfill. You, as a woman have to be so many things to so many people! Are you relating to what I’m saying right now; nodding your head thinking ‘yes, she gets me?!’

I think it’s due to the fact that most woman, especially when going through the dual journey of motherhood and womanhood, find themselves in this particular situation like the one that I’ve just described. You got to deal with all this pressure, sometimes hearing that ‘you’re not good enough’. Meanwhile, all you want to do is gain acceptance for you – just that, being your true self. That in itself is being something great, isn’t it?! It completely shatters you as a woman, as a human, when your self-worth, your self-esteem gets knocked down as you get consumed by the pressure and the obsession of trying to be SuperWoman.

Wouldn’t it be the most tragic tale ever written if the treasure of a human being that you really are and the talent that you possess was buried under the mountain of opinions and expectations of others?

“You’re a bad mother. You’re a terrible wife. You’re an awful friend.” You’re just plain, no darn good if you try and do anything whatsoever that makes you happy. Sound familiar? Those thoughts have run through my mind before… “Don’t you dare do something for yourself, forget to do the washing or take your eyes of your children for one second! You better be there… all… the… time.” That’s the messaging that mothers get. Did you know that this particular message has the power, the ability to drive someone totally insane whilst she tries to be everything and do everything?!

The most important skill that you as a woman can have in protecting yourself against losing sight of who you really are and keeping your happiness is to learn to trust in yourself. Stop hating yourself for everything that you aren’t and start loving yourself for everything you already are. You have the right to be happy!

As a fellow woman, mom, wife, daughter, sister, friend and so on – I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I’ve never tried to make myself better by giving in; giving into the pressure of it all, because I have. Sometimes I still do, even if it’s just to keep the peace momentarily. We’re only human and it will happen occasionally. What I’m saying is don’t let it consume you.

Never underestimate the investment you make in yourself. You have the right to be happy in life and in yourself. It is what fuels you from the inside. Your happiness in yourself is what sets the tone for every relationship you have in this world. The more you work on it, the better life will become. Don’t lose your way, lose sight of your true self and what makes you happy.

Be wise, learn from your past mistakes, take better care of yourself and ensure that you do what makes you happy. That gives you the ability to take care of others at the capacity that is required in life as a woman and all the numerous roles that we play on a daily basis.

Surround yourself with people you can grow with and avoid the people who are only in it for personal gain. Motherhood… womanhood… it’s considered a tribe. The most important thing we must remember is that we can learn from one another and support one another.

Stay true to yourself. Trust yourself. Never lose sight of who you really are. And know, that others, your fellow tribe members and your true people will always have your back.

Much love,
Chantelle

Handy Tools & Advice, Uncategorized

The Silent Treatment Smoothie… for Constipated Kids (& Adults!)

Something that not everyone is too keen to talk about… constipation. It’s all good and manageable when it is yourself (or another adult… hubby?) to worry about. But when it comes to your little one (no matter what age), it’s always a bit more of a daunting task.

Since we started Caitlin’s potty training (she was about 2 years old when we started… the same time when toddlerhood came in at full force) we noticed that she became more and more constipated. Not only was she more outspoken towards the food that she wants to eat (gone are the easy days of feeding veggies and fruit in a jiffy) but she also started showing her independence, of which one was to ‘hold it in’. This duo display of ‘I have a say in what I want to do’ caused havoc on Caitlin’s gut… ultimately, causing constipation issues.

We’ve tried everyting recommended by the GP and Pediatrician… all of them saying ‘it’s just a temporarily solution’ and ‘a lot of toddlers go through this period in their growing stages, this too shall pass’ (no pun intended). After different medication attempts that had us sitting up in the early mornings with a tummy going from completely bloated, constipated and sore to runny tummy crying on the loo sessions with multiple diaper changes in between.

As we went through it all, I decided that the medication’s not going to resolve our problem with the aftermath it had and I still needed to potty train Caitlin. So I decided to go the more natural route, researching ways to get her to eat more high fibre through dishes that she enjoys.

A year and a half later, we’ve now reached the stage where she is fully potty trained for #1 and have a toilet routine in place to get her used to doing a #2, alongside good list of food items that helps us get her tummy to go as close to normally as possible. This list of food items includes:

  • Squishies (these funky little packs are ideal all season long and the fruity flavours that includes tummy encouragement like prunes, guava, mango and pear are always on the shopping list) Visit their website for more info by clicking here.
  • Wholewheat pasta (Caitlin LOVES pasta, thus when I make her favourite Spaghetti Bolognaise, I always use wholewheat pasta. Fatti’s & Moni’s being the favourite in our house 🍝)
  • Digestive Biscuits (a favourite of mine that Caitlin adapted to eating, we sometimes treat her with the Baker’s Betta Snack Digestives that have a bit of extra love with some Chocolate or Caramel on… sugar rush galore, but as part of our morning coffee routine it fits right)
  • Wholewheat or Multigrain Bread (I usually opt for Albany’s Ultima range and a firm new favourite is their new Ultima Calorie Controlled Brown Bread. Simply divine and even better with less guilt. Top it off with Oh Mega Peanut Butter and a smidgen of golden syrup…your little one will be licking their fingers off!)
  • Hidden Veggies (hiding veggies is probably my biggest challenge with Caitlin. She immediately knows when there are veggies in a dish and refuses to eat it, even though she eats all her veg at school. Umatie’s Macaroni & Cheese is the only one that I’ve found Caitlin to enjoy and not picking up the veggies hidden in them. Hooray!!! PS. even onions count as a vegetable in Caitlin’s frame of reference 🙈)
  • Plain Double Cream Yogurt (We usually opt between Woolworth’s Double Cream Plain yogurt or Lancewood’s High Fat Double Cream yogurt that’s absolutely delicious with honey and fresh berries and/or nuts for breakfast)
  • Fresh Fruit (A staple in our home are Strawberries, Apples, Banana and Blueberries. I tend to buy berries from the gym’s health shop or direct from the source, the closest to us being Hillcrest Berry Orchards)

And lastly, a new discovery I’ve made is that Caitlin absolutely LOVES smoothies! Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner – it doesn’t matter, she’ll have a smoothie anytime. I’ve taken a bit of advantage of this by adding some ‘good for your tummy’ food items that she wouldn’t necessary eat (her exact words being “Ugh, Sleg Mamma!” with some additional mouth gestures and sounds 😄). The brilliant SMOOTHIE has come to this Mama’s rescue!

The Silent Treatment Smoothie: Gut Happiness in a Glass

  • half a cup of frozen banana
  • half a cup of frozen blueberries
  • half a cup of papaya
  • 3/4 cup of double cream plain yogurt
  • 1tsp honey
  • 3/4 cup of apple juice (or for something less sweet opt for milk or water)
  • 1tbsp of oats

Blend it all together for about 2 minutes and serve for immediate consumption.

If you struggle with a little one that’s at the age of eating solids and struggling to go poop, why not give our smoothie recipe a try? Packed with all the goodness of mother nature provides for us.

Much love, C
xxx

 

Encouragement, Random Thoughts

Breath & Know… that you are good enough!

This past week I came across a blog post written by one of my favourite local blogger mama’s, Cass from leatherjacketfoxes.com titled “The lies we believe as women” upon which I found myself reading the post that touches on a matter that myself and a dear friend were discussing earlier in the week – comparison. (If you do have a moment, be sure to head over to Cass’ blog and sniff around.) In her post, she focuses on the ‘little lies’ that we as women tend to tell ourselves.

 

For example: ‘I’m not a good mother’, ‘I’m failing my husband as a wife and life partner’, ‘I’m not attractive enough. I wish I could look more like her’ or ‘I work so hard, and yet my best is just not good enough’.

 

In the modern world that we live in today, with social media keeping us connected 24/7 to what others around us showcase as the highlight reel of their lives, it’s become easier for us (women) to swing the wrecking ball called comparison against our self-esteems. We compare our lives, our appearance, our lifestyles, our possessions, our careers with those that we seem to have the need to be ‘connected’ with. On top of that wrecking ball  I see a wicked little witch sitting and enjoying every moment as we break down our confidence, our ambition, our self-love and appreciation of what we’ve been blessed with in life. The outcomes of the comparison game in which we continuously find ourselves in leads us to believe the little lies that we tell ourselves (I used to call them my demons, quite dramatic I know, but Cass’ manner in calling them lies really changed my view on them) causing an unhealthy manner of dealing with our emotions, interaction with others around us and situations that we find ourselves in.

 

Upon the age of nearly 30 (yes, I’m turning THIRTY this year… eeeccckk!), I’ve realised over the past year or so that these little lies combined with the unfortunate personality trait of having other’s opinion influence my personal views on my own value caused many internal insecurities that kept me away from the potential that God has given me. In taking small steps like evaluating my feelings, the value of other’s opinions and rationalizing the emotional effects thereof I’ve learnt to adapt through (the only way that I can explain it) building a filter for these little lies. In return, it has spared me great heartache and given me the strength and ambition to realise the numerous blessings that I have received in my life, to work hard for my dreams by using my potential and skills, and to enjoy every moment that life throws my way. In Cass’ words: “We no longer become slaves to our lies or insecurities, instead we become free and empowered in who God has called us to be, despite our flaws.”

 

Don’t get me wrong, we’re only human and in being human we are flawed – we are not perfect. Thus, every now and again when I find myself tired, overloaded and weak in a situation where one of those horrible little lies knock on the door and say ‘hello’, I  blindingly open that door without looking at who (or what’s) knocking and get slapped in the face with the aftermath of feeling insecure. It is in those instances where the love of those close to you step in to reassure you of your worth. I would not be the woman that I am today without those in my life that I hold so dearly and it is in those moments of weakness and insecurity that they are the ones that hold me upright, dust off the insecurities and push me in the right direction.

 

There are numerous ways on how we as women can guard ourselves against these little lies, and I urge you to do so as it is on us to teach ourselves the necessary skills of protecting our self-esteem so that we may carry them over to our daughters (and sons) for them to effectively know how to deal with the challenges of self-esteem. They are growing up in a world of information overload that can cause emotional overload at the snap of your fingers.

 

Now… take a look back at the examples of little lies that I gave in this post and understand that the golden thread through each and every one of those little lies boils down to telling yourself ‘I’m not good enough’. Today, I’d like to say that the statement of ‘I’m not good enough’ cannot be further from the truth! Look in the mirror, breath and know that you are good enough! Tell yourself that each and every morning. Go the extra mile… put on a daring lip colour and take on life knowing that you are worthy of all your desires, your blessings and if you ever feel weary and weak from your insecurities I dare you to just look at the expression of your child(ren) when you look at them and you’ll see the love and appreciation there solidifying the fact that YOU ARE GOOD ENOUGH!

 

Ps. If it makes any difference at all, know that the examples of little lies given in this post are the insecurities that I’ve dealt with for as long as I can remember. I’m by no means sharing this insight with you to obtain any affirmation but am being open and transparent with you. 

 

Lots of love, Chantelle

xxx

Life Right Now

How-to: Teach your child to deal with change

They say that change such as starting a new job, moving into a new home or having a new baby are the top three that cause the greatest amount of stress on a human being. This got me thinking…

If moving home or getting another addition to the family are part of the top three stress-causing changes that we could go through as adults, how does this not affect our children who do not have the emotional capacity to yet cope with such massive changes?

The reason for these thoughts running through my mind lately is duly caused by the fact that we are planning to relocate to the Cape Winelands (from the Northern Suburbs) by – hopefully – the end of the year. Along with this, we’ve been on the big hunt of finding another suitable school in the new town to where we are relocating and along with this, Caitlin’s current school is also expanding and causing some changes in structure and teachers etc. Needless to say, come the end of this year Caitlin will most likely have changed day supervision five times. That’s insane, right?! So much change for such a little person in such a small amount of time..?!

This brings me to my next question…

How does one teach your child to deal (or cope) with change?

As they don’t yet possess the coping skills that (most) adults do, it is up to us as parent to teach them the basics in which they can understand the changes about to happen and communicate how these changes affect them.

I’ve gone and done some research (as I’m one of those that absolutely hate to be unprepared for anything that I go through) and have found the follow five ways of teaching your child to deal with change:

1. Teach them to express feelings through words

Big emotions in little ones can be very scary! Not always knowing how to cope with them makes them ‘act out’ sometimes in a manner that we as adults do not always understand. When we teach our children to connect words to the emotions that we are feeling, it enables them to communicate to us what is upsetting them and in turn we understand what they are going through and can manage it accordingly.

When you’re little one gets upset, why not try and ask him/her:

How are you feeling right now? Are you sad? Offer words that they can connect to the feeling such as happy, sad, worried, anxious, scared, angry or frustrated.
Where are you feeling this emotion in your body? Is your heart racing or does your tummy feel tight?
What do you think caused you to feel this way? Help them to understand why they feel this way in order for her to get a better understanding as to how or why the feeling came about in the first place.

If our little one’s vocabulary is still developing, it may cause her to get more frustrated when you don’t understand what she’s trying to say to you. The use of an emotions chart works wonders in this as they can show you on the chart how they are feeling.

2. Establish their triggers

Do a bit of thinking as to what makes your child ‘act out’ or what situations she struggles to deal with and consider how your own behaviour could change to help her manage these situations more effectively. For example:

Does she cry or yell when you instruct her that it is now bedtime? Why not try a 5 minute warning before the time? Or better yet, a colour coded clock always seems to help as warning. Use the three colours of a traffic robot to colour in the last 15 minutes before bed time and highlight them to your little one every time it moves from green, to orange and finally to red (meaning bedtime).

3. Utilise what makes her happy

Identify and use the ways that your little one already uses to calm herself. Whether it be a bit of colouring, riding a bicycle or building puzzles. Whenever she gets upset, why not ask her if she’d perhaps want to do one of these activities to calm her down? Over time, these activities may turn into coping mechanisms for them.

4. Be present and understanding

When your child is feeling the pressure of her emotions getting the better of her, don’t just brush it off. Give her your full attention by focusing on her, listening to her, being patient with her and guiding her through the emotion through questions that help her manage the emotions effectively.

If they find you to be distracted, it could just make them feel even more out of control.

5. Utilise the help of others when needed

And finally, when you feel that you’re not coping (out of patience due to tiredness or work overload) rely on others. This not only helps you, but it also shows your child that there are many areas and ways of coping with a difficult situation, of which accepting help from others are one.

The above might be a lot to take in and patience is required throughout the entire process, but preempting and teaching your little one the basic coping skills will not only serve them throughout changes whilst they are little – it will also guide them throughout life as they build on these skills whilst growing up.

If you’re going through any changes right now or will be doing so in the near future and have anything to add to what I’ve shared in this post, please do comment below. It’s always great to share the knowledge amongst fellow moms and dads. In the end of the day, it takes a village to raise a child.

LOVE | Chantelle
xx