The importance of setting boundaries for your toddler

Thinking about starting to discipline your toddler is overwhelming , especially if it is your first child, both of you are basically unsure of what is supposed to happen now haha.

Firstly you need to figure out what you are comfortable with, and what you believe is “discipline”, with that being said, don’t lend your ear easily to mom groups out there with millions of opinions, all which are , well , not yours. They don’t know your home, your family or your parenting style. Once you have decided how you are going to set boundaries for your toddler, you need to grow a thicker skin overnight lol. Setting boundaries is not only necessary for your household, but your toddler needs it, needs to learn what is acceptable and what not, when things get difficult (and they will) you need to remind yourself that you are trying to raise a well rounded human being who, with the right skills, and go out and conquer the world.

I strongly believe that toddler were put on this earth to test us, and push our limits as far as possible and then some more. The most challenging part is knowing when to take a minute and comfort them and when to draw the line. A lot of the time, the crying spell is due to them being upset, and not knowing how to process their emotions, our role as parents are to help them and teach them to calm themselves down without getting what they want. Distraction usually works the best, or to simply let them cry it out until they realize it is not happening lol, it all depends on your child’s threshold and how much they can take before you reach the point of no return (which usually involves hysterical crying).

As with every stage of parenting; it all just makes you stronger and teaches you something new. One way or another we will get them and ourselves through this lol . If one of you found a foolproof way of disciplining your toddler let me know and we can swap war stories!

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As my baby takes her first steps

My baby turns one in exactly one week !! And I find myself so emotional and nostalgic about the past year, having your first baby is so so intense on both parents. It changes every single aspect of your life – for the better !!

The first year is full of uncertainty and doubt around every corner, especially if it is your first like with us. The sleepless nights (well that is still there), the constant worrying (okay this is also still ongoing), the doubting (ha okay I will stop now), although I experience all these still on a daily basis, what has improved is my baby blues, my stress is a little less, and most importantly, I have had the privilege to see this little baby turn into a little girl, and that in itself, is reward enough for this roller coaster of a first year of parenting.

My sister once told me that for the first two years you just have to keep them alive, and well, entering toddlerhood, I wish she would have told me that it is not all that easy, they fall, they stumble and they just seem to have a death wish with the things that they attempt to do!

Thinking back, when we first brought her home I couldn’t sleep, mostly because I googled everything before I gave birth, and that made me so so paranoid knowing everything that could go wrong (wow was that exhausting).

It all just made me realize how fleeting motherhood is, I mean, a while year has gone by and sometimes it feels like I haven’t done anything this past year, but then I look at that face and I know I have done sooo much and I am so proud of myself!

So have that party, yes your baby wont remember her first birthday, but its important, for the whole family; to celebrate that first year, because lets face it, we survived !

Danger ! Entering Toddler Phase

I honestly thought that my baby was a lot of work before, until recently 🤣

My baby girl is approaching 11 months now , and boy is she busy ! And I mean a good busy , she is learning and taking so much in now , she wants to explore everything and plays with everything BUT her toys 🤣 (and by this I mean the dog food, the plugs, the chargers, my cupboards, the remotes, medicine bottles, you name it) it has taken baby proofing to a whole new level !

Today motherhood just got the better of me , I feel exhausted down to my toes, and everything I need to do after she goes to sleep just feels like too much effort.

I just read online “there is no epidural for motherhood” – how true is that ? No matter how hard the day or situation is, you show up, and you give your child the best you can even when its hard. You wake up the next day and somehow just have the energy to do it all again.

But seriously, having a busy baby/toddler is no joke, I spent most my time closing my bathroom doors and hiding something new she found today, but I would not have it any other way and am so grateful that my baby girl is healthy and happy 🙏🏻

You ARE mom enough

Wow the past few days have been tough !!!! I felt like a failure as a mother, a wife, and just in general. My baby is going through well, something haha, I am never 100% sure what.

Everything I seem to do with her upsets her; getting dressed, wiping her face, feeding her, putting her down, carrying her, and looking at her. I do know its a phase, but wow its getting me under these past few days. It’s exhausting, and its something you cant understand until you go through it yourself.

She is at that age where she wants to do way more than she is capable, and she does not understand why she cant reach the dog bowl from her walker, which results in relentless crying and stomping until I take her out and let her have it. I know I know I am spoiling her, but at this point I just cant be bothered as long as the crying stops.

Its very easy to go to that dark place and think ;”boy I am really not good at this”, you look at other moms and you think they got it all figured out and they are so put together. When you have days where showering feels like you conquered the world. The truth is, they also have struggles and that I can promise you ! If you get up every morning and do your best, put your child’s needs before your own and teach your child to be a good and kind person by being one, then you are mom enough !

That is all you need to do, my sister once told me “up until 2 years old all you have to do is keep them alive” haha , that still makes me feel better when I have days where it feels like that is all I did.

Give yourself a break, learn to look for the humor in tough situations and tell yourself that you are awesome more than once a day! Because by being a mom, you automatically are !

New mom tips for starting solids

I don’t know about you, but I couldn’t wait to start solids. It is such an exciting time for both mom and baby, experimenting together, and finding out what your baby likes and dislikes, its messy and its awesome!

What I did not know is that babies actually don’t like food the first time you give it to them (ha ha), its new to them, so it’s up to you to now teach your baby to eat food (how weird is that, we don’t think of it like that, I mean we love eating, and need it to survive), for babies, they only need their milk, so learning to eat these new things is a very big change to them (and their tummies, but we wont talk about solid food diapers on here).

My baby girl had butternut as her first meal; she full on gagged. I laughed so much at her, now, two weeks later, butternut is her favorite meal of the day.

This is our plan, and how we started solids.

PS. In no way am I saying that this is the best meal plan, and that it would work for any baby, all babies are different, and moms have different goals, this is just a guideline for new moms that want to start somewhere, try this and “tweak” it to suit your household and your baby.

Introducing Solids

Little fact that I did not know going in to this – Your baby might not like what you give them the first time, they simply are not used to it and must learn to eat it first (like red wine, olives and whiskey). Keep giving one food for a few days just to make sure and to ensure that your baby is not allergic to the specific veg or fruit you are giving him/her.

I have a blender/steamer at home so I make my own veggies (the only reason for this is that we live 70 km’s from the nearest town, so making my own is just easier), it was such a great day and so exciting, she did not think so though and hated every bite, but it was a start and I felt so proud that we had reached this point.

Here are some tips to remember;

  • Start with only one meal a day
  • Usually two hours after a bottle and when they are in a good mood to try something new
  • Don’t add any sugar or butter to your food if you make your own (babies’ tummies are sensitive)
  • Introduce a new veggie/food every 3-4 days
  • In the beginning; these veggies/foods need to be pureed, no chunks or pieces (these can be introduced a month or so later)
  • You can also start with baby cereal, many moms believe that this is easier, as the rice cereal is mixed with the baby’s milk, and this is a familiar taste for them, so they enjoy it more.
  • Try to stick to basics, don’t add too many ingredients to your baby’s food as they start out, one veggie at a time in the beginning is more than enough for them.
  • Enjoy it, don’t let it stress you out and don’t force feed your baby, this will only result in vomiting afterwards, and your baby not enjoying feeding time in the future.
  • Start giving your baby sips of water after a meal, some babies don’t like water, but just a sip or two will get them used to the idea (in summer, keep a bottle of water in the fridge so it is cold, this also helps soothe irritated gums when teething)
  • There is no need for snacks in the beginning, but teething biscuits are a great start (its messy, but try and let your baby have fun with it, you can always change their clothes afterwards- this teaches your baby to hold food and place it in their mouths themselves)
  • Fruit, Dairy and meat are only introduced a month or two after starting solids, the reason for this is that your baby’s tummy needs to develop enough to digest these foods (once again, all babies are different, and if you feel that your baby is ready for fruit a little bit earlier, feel free to try it)
  • After a week or two (depending on your baby) you can introduce a second and third meal a day, and before you know it, your baby will have a routine and will even get excited once they see their food being prepared.

Have fun with this, it is such an exciting time and remember that every baby is different, some babies will like baby cereal more than others do – after all; they are also individuals.

How my marriage and baby has made me less selfish

Before I met my husband, I lived alone for 7 years. 7 years of doing what I wanted when I wanted, I made the food only I like, I watched the shows only I like, I went to bed whenever I like, and I came home whenever I wanted too.

Marriage

After I met my husband, we moved in together quite quickly as we were doing the long-distance thing and we just missed each other way too much; so after only 6 months of dating we moved in together, a month later we got engaged, 8 months after that we got married and a short 3 months after that we were expecting our precious baby girl. To say we moved fast is an understatement, we just both knew the moment we met each other, that this was it, we were soulmates and why wait.

This short amount of time together did not give either of us much time to adapt to one phase before moving on to the next, so you can imagine that a lot of fighting went on through all these big changes in our lives. For me, the biggest challenge was not being alone anymore, or well, at all!

It might sound silly, but I literally had to learn to now take my husband into consideration when I did things, and it just was not as easy as it sounds. At first, I really struggled to put myself second, my dad always calls it the “I Problem” – which is exactly what it was, I just did not know how to put my own needs second and depend on someone else to meet them.

This was a huge challenge for my husband and I; we had to both learn to be with someone else, and to take each other into consideration, I had to “let” someone be there for me, and share the decision making (which was not easy). This was such a learning curve for me, and we really had to work hard at it; to change little habits and to basically change the way we have both been living before we met.

Then came the biggest change of all. . .

The Arrival of our Precious Baby Girl

I though marriage was a big change, boy was I wrong, having a baby is so intense and places so much pressure on any relationship, and yourself. Being less selfish for my child however, was not hard at all, in fact it came naturally.

The first six months after she was born I didn’t really have any clothes or shoes that fit me properly (you know that awkward phase where your maternity clothes are too big, and your pre-pregnancy clothes are too small) and it didn’t bother me one bit. I had a messy mom bun (let’s not kid ourselves, I still rock it most days), no makeup and slippers where the only item in my closet that actually fit my still very swollen feet.

It is not like I decided that I will be less selfish when I have a baby, it just well, happened the moment she was born. Becoming a mother changed me, don’t get me wrong, my personality is still in tact (thank goodness) and I still like the things I used to like before I got pregnant, its just, its hard to put into words; it is like you are looking at this tiny perfect human, that grew inside of you, and was apart of you for the better part of a year, yet you never got to meet until now, you loved him/her before you even met, and that little bundle is still apart of you, depends on you for everything. It is the most intense feeling in the world, the most intense love I have ever felt in my life.

This is the definition of true love. This love fills your heart and leaves no room for a shred of selfishness.

“For you are wonderfully and fearfully made” – Psalm 139:14

Days where everything just seems to go wrong

I should rewrite this headline to “weeks where everything seems to go wrong”!

My week in a nutshell

I know I am not alone on this, this week has been the most intense in so many ways and its only Wednesday; we started of with having to make a unplanned trip to Johannesburg (which is 5 hours way by the way) in order to do bio-metrics for our trip to Australia soon, get there, only to hear that they only have an appointment for my husband and not our baby girl, long story short, we sorted it out after much effort!

We then had to stay over because the trip is just to far for our baby, and did another 500 km’s the next morning, got home to find out our water cooler had leaked in Paige’s room and the carpet was damaged, settled and then we heard that my horse’s foal had sadly passed away – this the day before her new owner was supposed to come and fetch the two of them.

All this in a matter of three very long days, and a baby in-between who is out of routine and teething!

One thing I have noticed is that when I am upset, she is upset, how crazy is that? Today I busted into tears while changing her nappy, and she immediately started crying too, I felt so bad that I stopped and so did she, we forget sometimes that our babies’ sense what we are feeling, or if we are stressed or having a bad day, they feed of us when they are this small.

I am exhausted to say the least, you know when one night’s good sleep does not even make you feel better? That is where I am at that point, so I thought I would write about it as this always help to work through issues and just to feel better, you know, put it all out there. Life just sometimes throws these weeks at us just to make sure we still got it – ha ha

Bouncing Back

Apparently, I do, it is amazing how resilient we all are, somehow the sun always manages to come up the next morning and you look at life with a little more positivism.

I always say that it is fine to have a breakdown or to feel down, own it, you are human, and you can’t always be strong, keeping emotions bottled up is so unhealthy for the mind and the soul. The most important thing is to always get up afterwards, brush yourself off and stare life dead in the eye, and smile!

I am so lucky to be surrounded by so many family and friends that are always willing to lend a hand (or an ear) in difficult situations.

My baby girl must know that her mama needs a break today because she is sleeping so well, and giving her mom a well-deserved break to write 😊

Angelique