A Family Blog

Every family has a story…Welcome to ours

Swimming Galas, Sports Days and Prize Giving

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Praven and I try to be “involved” parents.

Contributing towards collections, volunteering at cake sales and attending swimming galas in the blistering heat to watch our son walk across the pool in oversized sunglasses.

And we do it all, to see that smile on their faces and let them know, that we got their backs and they can count on us, and we are proud of everything they do.

At age 6, and being the stereotype of a skinny Indian boy, Kivesh doesn’t exactly excel at sports, and we know this, and we’re fine with this.I still sat for hours  …to watch him walk across the field in oversized sunglasses. This is not an “I’m an awesome mum for doing that” post. It’s more a “Wow, we are all such awesome parents for being here” post. There were so many eager and supportive parents taking time off work, to watch their little ones do the most mundane pointless activities. And the kids just loved it, they literally wave to their parents for the entire duration of the event.

Some folks go a little overboard, just a reminder, it’s a primary school, foundation phase swimming gala or sports day, not the Olympics…seriously, chill out.

So in short this really is just a thank you to Praven, myself, and the countless other mums and dads and grandparents, that participate and get involved in all these school functions.  I know sometimes the requests are inconvenient and sometimes costly, but it means more than we realise to our kids, so if you get the chance to, go watch your kid walk across the pool in oversized sunglasses.

Yash

P.S. He also walked across in a Santa hat, but we were late so we missed that one…oops white people, y’all need to learn about “Indian Time”.

 

To blog or not to blog

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When this blog was a mere daydream, I had tons of thoughts on what I would write about, and of course in my mind I had no doubt that people all over would be impressed by my day to day ramblings, and be thrilled to read about everything me or my kids or Praven did.

Fast forward to a few months after registering a website and securing a domain and all that technical jazz (A quick shout out to Adele Strydom of #Hashtag Me, who helped me through it all), I find myself really struggling for content. nothing-to-say-so-blog

Well, struggling for content is not the right way to put it. I was stuck in this mindset that I needed to write a post that was much like a sitcom. I propose a problem that most of us could relate to, give you my personal experience and then of course the life changing solution,( cue clapping, thank you, this was filmed in front of a live studio audience).  When in reality there is plenty of content, all the funny things the kids do and say, the events and outings we go on, loads of things that are happening. But I stop myself and question whether or not its blog worthy, whether people would want to read about it.

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Do you want to read about the cute way Thavina scolds us, do you want to know how Kivesh plays eye spy every single afternoon, do you want to know that I’ve been crocheting very night. What I really struggled with was realising that this blog is a representation of my family and all our everyday shenanigans.

And to quote a line from the 2007 movie Sydney White, with Amanda Bynes and Sara Paxton (a modern day adaptation of Snow White, yes I watched and I like it), “It isn’t about who reads the blog, it’s about writing the blog”.

Here’s to many many more random posts from me

Yash

 

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Our bush getaway – Mtunzini Forest Lodge

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About a month ago we decided we needed a break, a short (inexpensive) getaway to unwind and recharge.

Most adults and parents know that while you expect and plan for a holiday to be relaxing and stress free, it inevitably ends up being quite the opposite. Road tripping with the kids, worrying about the financial implications of the trip, cramming in site seeing or being stuck indoors for extended periods of time can all lead to a getaway that makes you long for the office instead.I’m happy to say though that we had a very enjoyable time on our most recent trip to the Mtunzini Forest Lodge. thhbexk7n4

We haven’t done a “just the 4 of us” trip in a while, and we don’t usually travel further than 2 or 3 hours away, Thavina is not a road tip kind of girl, she can’t handle the 2 roads from her crèche to home. It has gotten better recently, she’s started to nod off after half an hour or so. I don’t over complicate short trips with 100 toys and snacks to keep them occupied because that really just creates more hassle for me. Added potty breaks and “Mummy my toy fell” for the 1000th time, is not how I want to start the weekend off.

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We had a real proper bush getaway, we were in a wooden cabin, with huge windows so it felt like we were in a tree-house. The kids were thrilled to be out of the house and the weather cleared up enough for us to visit the beach close by. It was really nice not worrying about cell phones or emails and just giving in to surroundings and spending some carefree, rush-free time as a family.

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We ate outdoors, took a midday nap, and even attempted a night time hike, which was not a great idea and lasted about 5 minutes. We just really appreciated the easiness of it all, not having to rush or worry about a schedule and getting the kids ready on time or eating or sleeping on time. The leisurely-ness of it was perfect. Just what we needed to maybe not quite recharge the batteries, but definitely to reconnect as a unit.

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Definitely looking forward to another “nothing to do but just be” type of weekend away.

Yash

Mtunzini facebook Page – https://www.facebook.com/mtunziniforestlodge/?fref=ts

 

 

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Do you validate

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No… Not a parkade ticket for a free hour of parking…

When I jotted the draft of this post I was in a low low place. The kids were being little shits, Praven and I were in a funk, and I was throwing myself a pity party. Everything was getting me down. I was throwing myself a serious pity party – and while hormones and PMS were a major culprit, it got me thinking about how much of our happiness and sanity and worth we place in the hands and minds of others.

It really isn’t fair on them or us, the responsibility of making and keeping someone happy is a big one, and as Katt Williams wisely said, “It’s called SELF esteem, I’ts the esteem of your M*^$ F*(&^ing self”.

That being said, mean people are all around you, sometimes actively mean, sometime absently mean (does that make sense). Even family, especially family can really make you feel super kak.

At times like this its hard to find small joys, or to think of others in worse situations. I feel sad, I want a pity party and I need VALIDATION, but I’m not going to get it from others.

So, there’s self validation, and that involves telling yourself how amazing you are, until you believe it… I’m going to try it… but I’m not very convincing so we’ll see how it goes.

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I’m also a firm believer in needing to just cry it out and have that pity party. After a few minutes or an hour or however long you usually feel pretty foolish and there’s housework to do and lunches to make all before Criminal Minds starts at 10pm, so you put on your big girl panties and get back to it.

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If you do fall by the wayside and need some assistance in feeling better, turn to Wiki… seriously, there is a wiki article on “How to feel good about yourself”.

http://www.wikihow.com/Feel-Good-About-Yourself

OR

http://www.innerbonding.com/show-article/2742/self-validation-how-to-validate-yourself.html

 

And above all remember that a bad day, is not a bad life.

Good Luck

Yash

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Buying a home – The painful realisation

Life has somewhat stabilised for the Padayachee’s and Praven and I are finally getting serious about buying a place of our own. But while doing “our research” the reality of doing that has hit us hard. These days buying a home is a commitment that can sometimes last up to 30 years, and while that’s hardly the eternity that we’ve sworn to spend together, it has some pretty heavy impact on the quality of our future.

For one thing, taking a bond at this point, (depending on what terms we would qualify for) could mean that we will be  I will still be paying for our home into if not close to our retirement age.

Then there’s the “deposit” to consider. In a recent article I read that for a bond amount of between R250 000 – R500 000, an approximate deposit of 12.3% would be required. Between R500 000 and R1m, 18.7% and obviously that value just gets higher as the bond increases, I don’t even need or want to consider those. So putting that into bucks mean for a R750 000 home we’re looking at needing a deposit of over R140 000. I don’t know about you, but my rainy day savings account does not come close to that…. Confession… What rainy day savings account???

So what we’ve realized that while the actuality of purchasing our home might still take a while, we need to get our asses in gear now.

We need to start getting rid of any and all unnecessary debt, and start seriously saving enough to not only take care of the dreadful deposit, but all transfer charges, and  minor renovations as well as all moving costs.

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The favourite child

Come on… admit it… the name of just one of your kids popped into your head just then… didn’t it… come on… I won’t judge….

Okay okay, so maybe we don’t really have a favourite, but I’ve been feeling the brunt of some “favouritism like” behaviour.

Double standards if you will….

We have 2 kids, our son Kivesh, 6 yrs old, and our daughter Thavina, the wise old age of 2. And I am just going to come straight out and say it, Praven, you favour Thavina! Not always, but often. You’re (mostly) great with Kivesh too, but Thavina has you wrapped my friend, around those tiny chubby little fingers. Thavina does no wrong, no wrong I tell you. She can throw a tantrum, mess the floor, not eat her food, throw her food on the floor, doesn’t matter, we’re not allowed to scold her.img-20160113-wa0001

(if you can, zoom in on that tiny face… if that doesn’t scream tiny little dictator!)

Recently the only arguments Praven and I have, are over the disciplining of Thavina. And I’m sure you’ve seen a little 2 year old pout… melts daddy’s heart, but not evil ice queen mamma.

How do we overcome this GAP… I don’t let it slide, I let the injustice be known.

Me: If Kivesh tore that payslip, he’d be getting torn right now.

Praven: She’s just a baby, she doesn’t know what she did, why did YOU leave the payslip there.

Me: Why did I leave the payslip in MY room, where I am allowed to leave things? Not why did she come into the room and take it?

(okay yes I should be mindful of where I put things, she doesn’t really know what a payslip is and of its importance…..but my point is that she should be told, don’t come into the room and take stuff, and then tear it!)

SOOOOO finally Praven has realised that he is a mere puppet on pink ribbon strings… He tries to fight it now and then poor thing, I even hear him scolding her now and then. I suppose I shouldn’t push too hard, there is that fairy-tale daddy daughter relationship after all.

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Vent over…

 

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93 meals!

No this is not a drive to hand out 93 meals for charity, but a little vent on the daily task of feeding our families.

The chronic problem of what to cook exists for every mum, working or stay at home.

If you do the math, breakfast, lunch and supper amounts to 93 meals for the month!!!! 93 meals for the family that replies “anything” when asked what they’d like for lunch or supper. 93…. that’s … 93… 93!!!!!!

I’ve just been chatting to a friend from work (Ragani Bunsee) on the intricacies of preparing meals for a house full of people with not only different palates, but also different eating abilities (as in toddlers or babies). Raganis house is a lot fuller than mine, so I feel for her. For me, we have Thavina and Kivesh, where simple is always better, they need very little spice and “fun” food so that it can actually be eaten. Praven is picker than the kids, I don’t really want to even say anymore than that….Oh yes, there’s me too, I also eat.  I suppose I’m actually the problematic one, I don’t in a hurry eat what I’ve prepared for the rest of the family. I like a little nicer food, a side of salad, a garlic roll and something yummy to go with it.

You may have noticed I like the easy way out, unfortunately this nagging maternal conscience flares up and I feel I need to provide something more nutritional than a packet of chips and marshmallows, and I actually do enjoy cooking. Unfortunately good family meals can only happen on a weekend. Weekdays still get (mostly) freshly cooked stuff, but we opt for steak rolls, frozen pizzas, and potato curries (for fussy palate Praven)

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So mums and dads, in short, noodles are okay, cereal for supper is okay…You have 90 odd other meals to get your Food Network skills on.

My only saving grace – at least we can remove the 31 for breakfast, mind you that can become a task sometimes too… blue otees, pink otees, green otees…..

 

Yash

 

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Clicks & Babyline Baby Bootcamp

This weekend I attended the Clicks & Babyline Baby Bootcamp event at the Protea Hotel Edward in Durban. As promised it was an amazing event, that surpassed all expectations. Baby or not, I hope I get to attend another.

It was a full house, and the venue was beautifully set up, and catered for preggy ladies, new mums, as well as those of us that brought along our toddlers. I can’t express how grateful I was not to be judged when Thavina decided to start singing in the middle of one of the guest speakers presentation, but rather to receive knowing smiles and whispered “Don’t worry about it’s”.  I hope no-one was secretly and quietly offended.

As much as it was a booked out event, it managed to maintain an almost intimate environment with a handful of select and appropriate sponsors and exhibitors. We got to munch on yummy Smart Bite snacks and cookies, while we were treated to some pampering. Mangwanani was present and I daresay the most popular ladies at the event. Nothing beats a good (free) shoulder or footie massage.

A little health screening station was set up for new mums and mums to be to check up on their blood pressure etc., as well as a nappy changing station, which we didn’t use, because well Thavina is 2… so she makes the stanky ones now! We did score quite a few samples of the Clicks branded nappies, which really are on par with all other “big” nappy brands.

Other sponsors included Avent, Oh So Heavenly, Woodwards, My Smart Kid, as well as a few others that I can’t quite recall right now (sorry).

Clicks themselves hardly need any introduction or explanation, but a quick reminder for mums to be and new mums to join the Clicks Baby Club. It’s free to join, and there are a whole list of added benefits, included bonus points on selected baby products, vaccination SMS reminders, PAED IQ advice, special offers, competitions and more, this is available till your child turns 3.

The other big sponsor was Babyline, and as the name implies, its basically a Baby helpline. Brought to you by Paed-IQ, Babyline, is a 24/7 helpline. This service is available on a subscription basis, and offers reliable health care advice.

We had a range of talks from some really amazing expert guest speakers, including Dr Navashree Dhaver an obstetrician and gynaecologist that spoke on nutrition and supplements, Paediatrician, Dr Pather who spoke to us about common rashes and what treatments are advised. Dr Samantha Naidoo from Colgate, a guest speaker from Avent, whose name has escaped me, as well as Justine a biokineticist from Justin Bircher and Associates Biokineticists.

Dr Dani Nelson, a DUT graduate (yay DUT) spoke on developmental milestones, and mentioned something pretty interesting. She’s a chiropractic doctor, and touched on the importance of “Tummy Time”, not only for babies mental development, but also for correct spine development (all those C’s and curves and stuff). A top tip, is if baby doesn’t like tummy time, place him or her on your tummy / chest (while lying on your back), they’re usually more than happy to be close to mum, and they technically still get their tummy time.

My favourite talk was from Leigh Jansen, a doula, that has just had her 3rd little one. She spoke on what is currently my favourite topic, SELF CARE. Self care is not selfish, and it’s a cliché we’ve heard a 100 times, but never take note of. My whole reason for starting this blog was a form of self care.

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Leigh’s top tips on self care for preggy mums, and new mums are;

  • Breathe – deep breaths are known to be calming, if you exhale for longer than you’ve inhaled, its a sure sign of relaxing
  • Stretch
  • Admire your belly – too many mums feel miserable about their ginormous bellies, think of the amazing transformation happening inside!
  • Cuddle
  • Candlelit baths – add Epsom salts for a much needed magnesium boost! This is something I am definitely going to do!
  • Soak up the sun
  • Music – music that moves you music that touches you – turn it up

My sincere thanks and congratulations to everyone involved, it truly was a fabulous event.

PS – Yes the goodie bags were freaking amazing!!! I love Oh So Heavenly, and there were like 4 different products in there, as well as mozzie spray, a Woodwards pillow case, Personal Touch Fabric Softener, and more!!

 

 

 

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Man Down

This past week marked the 1st week back at work for me, so naturally it was also time for Praven and myself to get sick.

It started with me hurling chunks on Wednesday night, followed by Praven, … and the …um … shits ‘runs’ on Thursday morning…

We all joke about “Man Flu”, but in my house, man flu is a really really real thing. Praven is on some pretty serious meds, mostly immunosuppressant’s, so when he gets sick, even if its just the flu, or the runs, its usually a fairly  exaggerated form, it’s man flu squared. (Underlying message in that, no matter how sick I am, it’s never sick enough to trump Praven’s sick).

We spent Thursday night sitting in the doctor’s rooms while Praven was put on a drip to rehydrate. Got home to clean up piles of dirty clothes vomit in the lounge, and bathroom and of course seeing to Praven. Now I am far from selfless and I don’t really get joy from seeing to the sick and helping others, that came out wrong, but you know what I mean. I really just want to be the only one in the house with the flu, and have everyone take care of me… (I did mention that I was sick too…right…sigh).

th18Q3AD6P   ….. um, okay, maybe not.

When Man Down becomes Family Down!

As with most families, we’re around each other most of the day, breathing each other in, so when illness does hit, it spreads, a bit like a wildfire on a dry veld, “the bug” rips through our family, causing havoc, leaving the house in a state, with a lingering rancid smell.

Shortly after Praven (and I) got sick both kids showed signs of being ill, Kivesh a little more than Thavina. Projectile vomiting while in bed, now that’s a horror story. Doing laundry is one thing doing it in the middle of the night, now that’s a poster for what parenting is all about!  Out come the suppositories. Yay!

It’s Sunday now, and I’m just up to my ears with man flu squared, sick kids, puke, projectile vomit, extra laundry all of it.  Oh yes, and school starts tomorrow…

 

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Surviving the school holidays

No, this is not another “10 amazing things to do with your kids”  or “How to make homemade paint” article. Its more of a how did I get through the school holidays with your sanity intact type of article. Don’t get me wrong being at home is lovely having the kids with me is awesome, and I don’t want my posts to take on a whiney complaining theme…BUT…

3 weeks at home is tough on me and the kids. For us, school holidays mean spending the entire day at home, and if its cold… which, you may have noticed… it is,  we spend it indoors. (Backstory – Praven is at work all day, and I don’t drive, besides going out is seriously pricey). The kids are used to spending time with their friends, having a variety of activities to stimulate them and keep them occupied. I’m used to a pretty structured day, being called Yash…less butt wiping, and this going to sound so bad, and it’s going to sound worse than I want it to… I’m not used to the intense continuous role of MUM. (I’m trying to not make this sound awful, I hope those of you reading this get what I’m trying to say…)  After a day or two we get a little stir crazy and we can feel the walls closing in.

So I’m pretty pleased at how we got on with the holidays. There were definitely outbursts, shouting, screaming and plenty crying from everyone. But on the whole I think it was one of our more successful stays at home. So how did I get myself and the kids through this holiday? Simple me I gave them me… and it turns out that they don’t really need that much of me. What I’ve been trying to do is compartmentalize my time, I used to mismanage my priotities during previous holidays, and not really give the kids the undivided attention they needed.

For example, my old routine

  • Wake up – Brush teeth – Give kids breakfast – Begin setting the beds
  • Stop and scream to kids “STOP SCREAMING FOR ME!!!”… continue setting beds
  • Walk to lounge, scold kids for calling for me, tell them to wait just a minute, as soon as I’m done we’ll play…
  • It’s nearly 10
  • I’m cranky, I didn’t eat breakfast, beds still not set

So I’ve realized, that we’re not in any rush, we’re at home all day, the beds can get set at 10, its cool, no biggy. New routine.

  • Wake up – Brush teeth – Exercise – Eat breakfast with the kids
  • They ask if they can go play in their room….
  • Whaaaat…

Back track – when I say exercise, I mean like pretend kids exercise, jumping jacks and squats (have you seen a 2 year old do squats, cutest thing ever!) It’s these few minutes together that satisfies their  “mummy” requirement for a while, and it’s a nice way to start of the morning. Afterwards, I go do important things like setting the bed, and we get on with the day.

We use this – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZYixJH2TRwQ

Now when Thavina, comes and asks if I can draw with her, I very gladly oblige (because the beds have been set… I have a thing about a neat bedroom :P).

I know this isn’t some new discovery, or any break through tips, but for working mums, that find themselves not really doing justice to school holidays or time at home with the kids, just give in to it. Take a deep breath and go play with the kids.

What else do we get up to during the holidays

Again, no homemade paint… we  do love a good craft or 2, but with a 2 year old it can sometimes get a bit messy and out of control. So I keep painting and crafts for the days I feel… more… in control.

I’m not exactly lazy,  but I do prefer easy to prep easy to clean fun for the kids without extra stress for me. Here’s what we usually get up during the school holidays. Again it’s nothing new, but maybe it’ll help make you feel less guilty for not making homemade paint…(why do I hate homemade paint?)

  • Gardening & Playing outdoors– We love being outside, of course its not an option these days, but come the summer holidays we’ll be able to spend more time outdoors. Its relatively inexpensive, we’ve just recently upgraded, from planting everything in pots, to actually putting stuff in the ground!
  • Gardening Playingoutside
  • Karaoke & Indoor Picnics – I have a couple of rising stars that love listening to music, and singing along. Current favourites include Adele – Hello and Charlie Puth – One Call away. Another favourite of ours, nothing fancy whatever you were going to have for lunch…eat it on the floor.
  • Karaoke Indoor picnic
  • Puzzles, Drawing, independent playing & movies
    • Puzzles can also be a bit nerve wrecking with the little one, but with deep breathing and soothing “aum” sounds, we get through it. Both kids love our jumbo floor puzzle of the solar system by Melissa & Doug.
    • One of my saving graces is Kivi’s love of drawing, and its rubbing off on Thavina, a pack of jumbo crayons a pile of papers and they are sorted.
    • Another gem is a good ‘toyset’, something that enables a scene to be played out, castles or pirate ships, keep them pretty entertained.
    • And movies, yes, we watch TV.  It’s during these activities I do leisurely things like cook supper or do the laundry.
  •              Puzzle      Play
  • And last but not least NAP TIME – A gift sent down from the gods themselves. Days without naps can be long, dark and weary.

Naptime

What do you get up to at home with the kids, what tips do you have for  giving the kids a decent holiday, while maintaining your sanity?

Would love to hear from you, leave us a comment here or on our facebook page – https://web.facebook.com/A-Family-Blog-606018749561713/

And just for fun here are a few links to some “amazing things to do with the kids” article 🙂

Love

Yash

 

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