Saturday, 27 February 2010

Solids! and "Baby-Led Weaning"

Princess had her first solids today. Because she is 6 months on Monday and because I've been itching to see her face when she tried some!

However, I'm going to be following the principles of "Baby-Led Weaning", which should really be called "Baby Self-Feeding". The idea is that if your baby is ready for food, and in the mood for food, she will grab food and nom on it. If she's not ready or not hungry she won't. When I was a baby people started feeding solids at 4 months, when babies weren't ready to chomp on stuff, so you had to do mush. Today we start solids at 6 months when babies are ready for lumps and pieces of food...

This is controversial with people who believe that you must start with mashed foods, and you must shovel said mush into your baby's mouth. As it is I'm taking flak from friends who believe you must start feeding your baby iron-fortified rice cereal at 6 months because of iron levels blah-di-blah whatevah.

So today I compromised. I loaded a spoon with rice cereal, let Princess grab hold of it, and helped her get it to her mouth (it counts as baby-led if they hold the spoon). She probably took in about 1.5 teaspoons of cereal, and wasn't particularly thilled or anti the experience. Pity - I was hoping for funny faces! Later in the day I microwaved some carrots sticks until they were soft and she grabbed and sucked at them. A few little bits detached... she may have swallowed some. She did gag a little but wasn't upset. So all in all a very successful first day starting solids!

"Food is for fun until you are one."

The bulk of Princess' nutrients will be coming from formula until she's 1, which seems ok from the info I can find (although it's all slanted towards breastfeeding until the age of 1. I did find a lot of hysteria regarding iron levels which is why I'm offering her rice cereal to cover my bases) and I'm not worried if she doesn't swallow much food provided she's doing well on the bottle.

No pictures as I had my hands full... but it was a fun day!

Friday, 26 February 2010

Princess' Room

Princess' bedroom is a bit basic. We have no money to decorate, we're close to trying for #2 who will have to go in there too, and at the moment it is also the guest bedroom with a double bed taking up most of the space.

But I've tried to make it nice!

So, from the right, here we have the chair I used when breastfeeding, which is now used for reading bedtime stories (currently Jock of the Bushveld, the original non-PC version where they still say *cough*k@ffir*cough*).

Then the cot. I have a bumper around the edges she tends to work her way into, and the blanket over the end blocks the light of the nightlight/window. Yes, I know, not entirely safe and I'll do something about it when she can reach it! There is no bedding apart from a bottom sheet because we use sleeping bags and wraps. Princess likes watching the mobile at naptime - we keep winding it up until she falls asleep.

Usually there is also a mosquito net canopy over the cot. I take it off when it's very hot though, as it stops the fanned air from reaching her. Of course those are also the nights that we get mozzies because the house is wide open. *sigh*

Then the change table with nappies etc. The drawers hold her clothes and wraps and blankets.

Next to that is the bin, nappy bin and boxes of nappies, and a wooden toy chest filled with all kinds of things.

You can see part of the double bed too. The foot of it has a blanket over it. The moment you put a baby down without a cloth underneath her she will spit up. The same goes for picking her up against your shoulder without a cloth over it. On the blanket is a sheet with a sleeping bag in the middle. I try to have the nap items ready so that when we come Princess goes directly into the sleeping bag and gets wrapped in the sheet.

At nighttime I'll stand over her and sing lullabies, then lift her into the cot, wind up the mobile, and read from the book for 15 minutes. Then I turn out the light and wander off, returning every few minutes to wind up the mobile if she calls. During the day she doesn't need all that palaver to go to sleep...

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Rollin' rollin' rollin'

Princess has learned how to roll as of yesterday! She will be 6 months old on Monday and as Milord said "Wow, she does these milestones by the book!".

- Weight: 7.6kg
- I'm not sure of her height but she's growing all right! I've just packed away all her 00 clothes and pulled out the size 0 (6 months old) ones.
- Princess loves to stand and to sit up. She needs help with her balance, but she's ever so strong!
- She has started to turn towards whoever is talking, and I think she's beginning to recognise her name when called.
- She reaches towards toys hanging above her playmat and grabs them.
- She is fascinated watching people eat and drink but she's not quite grabbing for our food yet. I'm not going to start her on solids until she grabs food and noms on it because I want to skip mush and go straight to finger food (this is a very controversial topic, apparently!).

Princess can now roll (to her right) from her back onto her front. Once there she is a bit stuck. She can't roll from her front to her back yet and after a while gets tired of holding her head up and starts whimpering for help. Yesterday morning she did this for the first time. In her cot at 5:30am... After being rescued she had a bottle and went back to bed - and rolled over and had to be rescued again at 6am! I then put her right up against the cot side so that she was unable to roll to the right and she finally went to sleep. Of course then I couldn't get back to sleep myself!

It was a very rolly day - and I managed to capture her practicing on video! Here she almost gets it but then unbalances and rolls back to her back. A few minutes later she got it right... looked around on her elbows for a while and then had to be rescued. Then she did it again. And again. Princess was exhausted last night! She was so tired she was crying so we skipped her bath and just cuddled instead.


I've just realised that I haven't posted any Princess pictures lately - her grandparents must be in withdrawal! Here we go:

Adorable, moi?

Feeling sad. Princess had a few sad days last week - I'd have said she was ill but there were no other symptoms apart from a lack of smiles. She's her sunny self again this week though.


Sitting up on mummy while mummy watches the winter Olympics. Are there any pictures of Milord or me without a glass of wine? No? Hmm


Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Let Sleeping Babies Lie

Just a quickie while I wait for Princess to wake up...

It's been a while because I just didn't feel like blogging. Nothing is wrong, I just had a very hormonal week last week. Try and explain that one to the guys!

Headachey, listless, hungry, bloated and blah. The usual. My period turned up on Tuesday which helped a lot but I still didn't feel up to much.

This week is better. Boot camp yesterday and cross trainer this morning. Diet's a bit loopy but I'll blame that on the Princess being unable to sleep yesterday afternoon and I had nothing healthy in the house to eat and I had fierce munchies after my workout!

It was so hot yesterday. I had the house closed up so it was only 30C inside compared to 37C outside... but still not very nice! Princess was fighting her wrap at her 2pm naptime and it was so hot that I took her out of it - and then she couldn't sleep. Not a problem, I'll just let her cry it out and she'll be ok, right? No chance! She cried until her next feed, ate it and went drowsy in my arms and I put her down. Then she cried for another hour when I changed a poopy nappy. And then she cried until 6pm when I got her up for her bath and normal bedtime routine and she finally went off to sleep (wrapped) at 8pm. By which stage I was completely shattered! I don't know what was up with her - I'd go into her room every 15 min and she'd smile and calm down but the moment I left she'd start crying again.

She slept 12 hours last night and has now had a 2 hour morning nap...

...oh, there she is calling! Gotta go and I hope today is better - it's a lot cooler thank goodness!

Sunday, 14 February 2010


What does a new mum want on Valentine's Day?

In my case, I asked for a fancy dinner, cooked by my Valentine's own hands! Milord is a brilliant cook although he doesn't pitch in often lately ("all you have to do is ask!" yes, but I shouldn't need to ask, dude!) and I have asked him to cook me 2 of his specialities: Mussels in coconut cream and lamb curry.

Right now Princess is asleep, probably til morning, lamb curry is simmering and the ingredients for the mussels are prepped on the kitchen worktop. Milord is playing xbox and I am catching up on some blogosphere. Romantic much? We did spend all morning in bed with Princess and the newspapers and champagne and her naptime was funtime nudge nudge wink wink, so a superb Valentines Day in Chez Saffa Chick!

I was just catching up with Julie over at A Little Pregnant and she was saying how someone "helping" her with her baby made her blood boil...

I haven't had a moment this extreme but I do have a tale from this week. While out grocery shopping with Princess I was navigating the aisles with the pram when a gorgeous Asian toddler came up to look at the baby. (My area of Sydney is very Asian. Our supermarkets are awesome!) I proudly peeled back her sunshade and the toddler and the Princess had a staring match. "Wow" said AsianMum "He so white!".

Well, ok, so Princess was dressed in white today not pink, but can't you at least ask before labelling the darling baby a boy! And yes she is white. Super white. Not so much peaches and cream as ivory ... but do you have to make that sound like a bad thing? Here in Oz a tan on a baby is considered child abuse, so an ivory baby makes me a good mother, ok?! tch.

"He so big!" she continued. "How old? Five month? Big baby! So chubby!"


She. Is. Not. Fat. Princess is following the curve for the 50th percentile for her age in weight and height. As "normal" as you can get.

But what do you say? I came up with... "uh. yes. she is. thank you."

Not what I was thinking. I won't post what I was thinking. But it wasn't very nice, what I was thinking. *growl*

Thursday, 11 February 2010


One of the most flattering things in my entire life so far has got to be Princess' reaction when I sing to her. All grumbling stops and she watches me with wide-eyed fascination.

(I tried to upload a video of her staring at me while I sing, but the thing failed... Probably a good thing!)

Princess' evening routine goes something like this:

6:00pm - Bath (wipedown with cloth and moisturiser, then splash in baby bath)
6:30pm - Dry and dress and last feed (usually Milord is home by this time and he gives her the bottle then cuddles her until she is sleepy)
7:00pm - Into the bedroom. Wrapped. Lullabies until whinging stops.
7:15pm - Read a chapter of a book (currently Alice in Wonderland. She loves this, and lies quietly sucking her dummy while I read)
7:30pm - Wind up mobile. Set music playing on the laptop in her room. Stand by for a while re-winding mobile and returning dummy if she is still awake.
7:40pm - Activate monitor and sneak out, even if she is still awake.
7:40pm to 8ish - Return dummy and re-wind mobile whenever she calls.

Generally Princess is asleep by 8pm. On a bad night she will wake and call every 15 minutes for a couple of hours, but eventually she will not need us anymore.

Most nights lately she will sleep through until 6am. That's a brilliant night's sleep for all of us! Most other new parents are jealous ;-)

I've been downloading the lyrics of popular songs to sing (and record to play on the laptop while she sleeps) for Princess.

Fix You (Coldplay).
Say a Little Prayer
Scarborough Fair

Any other suggestions?

My Granny - Eulogy

This is the text of the eulogy my Dad spoke at my Granny's funeral:

For Mom - Remembrance Thoughts at the Funeral.

With Mom gone that leaves Aunt Marina and me as the senior members of our family. Aunt Marina, I don’t want the burden and I’d like you to be around for a long time please.

Mavis Florence Purchase entered the world on the 1st of January 1920 in Piet Retief. She married Dad in 1943 and they had nine children. There was a still borne baby girl called Charmaine who is buried in Potch and of course the eight boys. She was very proud of the bunch of us even if she couldn’t remember our names most of the times. Well that’s not quite correct - she had the names but applied it to one of the others. So we were quite used to be called John Ag Merwyn ag Terry. We teased her about it and it was one of the great things in our family was the amount of teasing and laughter and tall tales that grow with each gathering.

Over such a spread of time 90 years, there were a lot of changes. So the survivors here have all known a different Mavis, Mom, Granny and Aunt. Sadly little Arielle has only known a bent over frail old lady who watched very loud TV but there were other ladies hiding inside there and I’d like to share a few of them with you.

I was born when Mom was 23. That was only a few years after she had sent a photo of herself in a swimsuit to the Miss South Africa competition. When Dad came back after the War and they set up house, they were young and active. I can remember them playing tennis in Potch and Les, Terry and I loved that because there was some kind of paddling pool that we used to play in while they were on the court. So that First Mom was tall and slim and protective.

Housekeeping was more complex then because modern appliances were still coming. We had a brick evaporative cooler in Potch that had to be wet down to keep things cool because there was no fridge. Fruit and Veg were still in the future and so was Pick’nPay and supermarkets. Todays frozen chicken were running around the fowl run and that’s also where we got eggs. Milk, cheese and butter were in the two cows which were milked morning and evening and fruit and veg in season were in the garden. I seem to remember that when I was young there was always things cooking in the kitchen and jam and canned fruit and pickles and chutneys and stuff was being made. So the Housekeeping Mom I remember was pretty busy and on top of that she also had to cope with the Wild Bunch.

What strikes me most about that Young Mom was the freedom we were given. We had a lot of veld around the house in Valhalla and from our house to the Swartkops kopje was all open and it was all ours to roam. We were pretty active boys and not stuck at home with TV and cellphones and ipods and digital games. A lot of the toys we made had lethal potential – bows and arrows and spears and any sort of throwing device that had been shown at the Saturday afternoon movies. Not to mention explosive things that we managed to concoct from those chemicals we could liberate from the school and find around the house. And in Durban there were fires and lead and sinkers and snakes. Luckily she had been a nurse and could handle blood because we spilt a bit. It couldn’t have been easy but we seem to have turned out alright so the love and protection she had for us worked out pretty well.

Once we got to Durban my own life started taking off and that Mom seems to have been pregnant a lot while I was on the beach and doing sport and chasing girls. As a typical rebellious teenager, to me she seemed to become middle aged Old Fashioned Mom who didn’t like rock and roll and regarded Elvis as the disciple of the devil.

Then I left home and was into my sea career and didn’t get home all that often. Anthony arrived after I left home so the mother he knew was a lot older. Once my girls were around, my Mom became the Granny Mom. In 1975 at Easter when we were in England, Mom came over and spent some time with us. We took her on the canal boats which meant a lot of time outside in the English weather. She’s always had such a thing about her hair and the wind and I’m sure that she wore a doek to cope. So the girls have this view of the Granny of then as this elderly woman who twitched about hair and wind and especially the cold. Especially the English cold!

When we moved back to Pretoria in the mid-eighties, we saw a lot more of Mom and Dad again. By then our brother Jeff was died, Dad had retired and even Anthony was out of the house. I spoke to Mel yesterday and she talks about the Granny she knew then and she mostly remembers things to do with food. The famous swiss roll and tipsy tart which Mom used to put on immediately a visitor arrived. And the home made ginger beer in that big black enamel pot. With all the boys out of the house, she really made a big thing of feeding people and they had a lot of visitors and there was always a lot of food. She kept track of all her cousins and second cousins and I am sad that we have lost track of so many that used to pop in to see them. That was Food Mom or Food Granny.

By then of course there was a TV in the house and the soapies ruled the roost. There are many funny stories where she got distracted by what was showing and only smoke revealed that there was problem in the kitchen. I can remember one day when we were there for a braai and she popped some cold butter into the microwave with the intention of softening it. It is supposed to take ten seconds but at 30 or 40, it became a bowl of oil. When I went into the kitchen to collect something, she had just destroyed the second one and I took over to save the meltdown of the third. That Absentminded TV-verskrik Mom from those days was pretty scatty but it made for some great family stories.

Then of course there was Gambling Mom. The casinos which were started here in 1979 created a whole new area of joy for her as the nest emptied. If we arranged to come and visit, her first question was “Are you going to take me to the casino?’ and she would then start saving her housekeeping and cutting back on the ironing lady to gather her gambling money. I can remembering taking her to the new Carousel one morning in 1991 where I went to seen Terminator 2 and she played the slot machines. We had lunch and she went back in so I saw another movie and she played the slots again. She must have been in there for about 8 hours. She really enjoyed the casinos and two years ago we could tell that she was becoming weaker when she could only manage a couple of hours at Montecassino.

When she became Widowed Mom in 1999 we started worrying a bit. She made the house into a bit of a fortress but was dead set against going into a retirement village or that sort of environment. At this stage we were really grateful that Frank and Anthony were nearby. She used to come and visit the southern family at Xmas but it was the Cape and there was wind in the hair. By now the Doek had given way to a green jacket with a hood which we called the Garden Gnome outfit and irrespective of the weather, that was what she wore outside.

These last few years, she has suffered the problem of outliving anyone who shared her interests and memories and became Lonely Mom. From what I have heard from our family here in Pretoria, she has not been enjoying this final year. The aches and pains have been attacking her, she has been getting deafer and the soapies have not been making sense any more. She has been getting frail and weak and the food that she used to enjoy had become a battle to eat.

So those were the Mom’s I knew. I know my brothers and the other folk here knew some different ladies and have some very funny stories and I hope they can share some with us afterwards.

Her sons have travelled around the world, her granddaughters are scattered and still exploring, and she has a crop of great grandchildren extending our family some more.

Professor Henry Harold Pearson was the first curator of the Kirstenbosch Gardens in Cape Town. He is buried there and the epitaph above his grave says "If ye seek his monument, look around." I think when Mom looked at her sons and their families and the happiness and laughter that we all share, she would be proud. We are her monument.

Really a Great Mom. We will miss them all.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

A week in pictures

A picnic in the park,

and a lazy wet weekend away at RuralChicks place.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Post Preggy Body Update

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh! 77kg. I am again heavier than when. I. gave. birth!

Nothing fits. Dieting sucks. Exercise sucks. Hate it hate it hate it!!!