I survived the first year.

 

With a lot (read copious amounts) of coffee. And wine. And Humour.  Because nothing gets you quite like getting to the mall only 30 minutes late to find that your child has shat (definition for butt-splosion of mass destruction) vertically and horizontally everywhere, through, over, around, and inside of, E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G. But wait, it gets better, -on the day you forgot to chuck a spare change of clothes in the nappy bag!

So then you have to internalise whether to a) throw poo-baby away and just start over, (yes I know we can’t for actual really do that in real life!) b) throw poo-baby’s clothes away wipe them down with wet-wipes, (a.k.a wipe-bathe- results may vary) and leave her in the car under the capable (?) supervision of unpredicta-toddler while you just nip to kmart for a $12 top to toe transformation. Or, c) put poo-baby back in their seat, cancel your plans, and mutter to yourself about the big waste of time putting on your makeup and sucky inny underwear, and real-people clothes to go out when you *knew* this would happen.

#thisiswhywecanthave/do/gotonicethings. Ever. Or until you are like, 12.

Its not all like that, not all the time anyway, But sometimes you think to yourself as you scrape little person vomit off little person clothing, fold the 37 billionth load of washing (Like, HOW does such a little person make so much washing!???), or not fold it, because we’ve all played lets see how tall we can build mt. washmore this week….. Will it ever get better? Will it ever change? Will I ever not be standing here at the side of the cot patting and shushing and shushing and patting, crossing my fingers, toes, and legs that she’ll go back to sleep so I can get XYZ done?

I swear the first 6 months of having 2 under 2… or maybe even just having 2 children in general, was a haze of nappies, washing, breastfeeding, pumping, and trying to get a “routine” that worked and find our “rythm”. Which can I just say is suuuuper fun with a silent reflux baby. I have zero clues why they call it silent reflux when your “silent” reflux baby is screaming yours, and probably the neighbours two across, house down with the most ear jolting wail that makes the hair on your back stand on end. It also may or may not have made me (in my sleep of course) kick my husband out of bed at 2 am with a hiss-plea of “the baby’s crying again your turn.” Bless him, never mind mother Theresa or the nights of the round table, my hubby deserves ALLLLLLL the medals that were ever made.

So, we figured out a really cool rhythm/routine/flow, with the sleeping and eating and shitting patterns all worked out and planned for, and BAM! Guaranteed the moment I had it all down pat, one of them would change things up on me. Almost like it was me against them battle for survival and they used sleep deprivation as the driving force of the attack.

Along came solids, and toilet training and baby led weaning with the horrific choking episode that made me want to wrap her in cotton wool and feed her pureed food til she was 35, and many days, nights, and in between standing beside the cot, shush shushing and pat pat patting. My older girl had her first day of preschool and I didn’t cry, -on the outside anyway. I’ve loathed some moments, loved some moments so much I thought it was impossible to be so happy or content, I’ve sat in the bathroom eating chocolate and lollies behind the door while they both sat on the other side crying mumumumuuuuum (my new name). Somewhere in all of that 365 days slipped by, my baby turned one, my big girl is saying words like “biscusting” and “mufrooms” which are better ways to say them anyway if you ask me.  My big girl has also learned her own mind, and how to say No, even when she shouldnt, so we’ve now embarked on the new journey of molding and shaping her into a person that thinks of others first, and is helpful and kind,- no mean feat when her example is supposed to be me!

For my younger girl’s first birthday someone gave me a print in a frame that reads “Hold her a little closer, rock her a little more, read her another story, you’ve only read her four, let her sleep on your shoulder, rejoice in her happy smile, for she is only a little girl for such a little while.” Sentimental yes, but also very profound. I’ve had many moments of holding my girls a little closer, rejoicing in smiles, and reading just one more story, this last year, BUT I’ve also said “no” to a lot of them. Sometimes you have to say no, and I get that, but sometimes, I know I need to say “yes” more often.

Routine is great, but I can let go and make memories during nap time occasionally, Tidiness is important, but making memories can be messy sometimes, and I’m pretty sure I’m not going to care in 30 years about the washing mound that is building up on my couch right now, so I’ll leave it til tomorrow and rejoice in my girls’ happy smiles today, because they’re only going to be little for such a little while.

After all, I’ve only got 320 days until my baby turns two!

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Starting Solids Tour with Dr. Julie Bhosale

The Awesome Cindy ( New PAGE In Life) has written a blog about a very important message regarding our little ones nutrition and starting solids.
What great information, well worth a read! XX

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I was lucky enough to attend Dr. Julie Bhosale’s starting solids tour in Tauranga on Saturday, I was completely blown away by the information obtained! Although both my kids have past the ‘starting solids’ age there still was plenty of information to take away from the event – not to mention a taster of the delicious meal Julie prepared right in front of us in 4 easy steps (Ill chat about that later).

There is currently a lot of conflicting information around when and how to start solids and Julie was there to shine the spotlight on the most current research! Super helpful, AND she explained it all in an easy to understand manner!

Bringing in some of my experience with Ollie and his “Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome”.
Julie mentioned starting solids at 6 months – not before as the gut is less developed.
Anyway – Julie chatted about “Baby rice…

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Re-medicated.

It is hard not to be disappointed. You feel as though you have conquered the war, only to find it was just a battle you won, and that you need to fight harder than ever!

For those of you who don’t know me, I am Maria, mother of two girls under two that keep my hands full, and my heart even fuller. Just hit 25, a whole quarter of a century, am officially getting a few wrinkles, mum bags galore, and I have that more-stubborn-than-my-toddler ‘postpartum pouch’ that wont go away. (It could have something to do with the chocolate that gets inhaled after the babes are in bed, but my personal opinion is despite the kale smoothies, bliss balls, and  half-hearted crunches, pamela pouch is here to stay for the forseeable).

So looking from the outside in, I am normal,-just your average mummy trying to find and tread the fine line between “bohemian wardrobe with messy bun chic, and “whoa there goes a hot mess” (#thestruggleissoreal)! The only difference being I happen to have depression. Present tense again.

I was diagnosed with Post-natal depression 3 months after the birth of my first daughter Anrikke, which you can read about here. When I became pregnant with my second daughter Elsie-may, everything turned right side up again, and I became hopeful that I would have my life back , that all would be normal again, which it was for awhile. However 3 months postpartum with my second beautiful baby despite my optimism, and my best efforts,I found myself retracing my steps to the GP discussing the return of my symptoms, and of course getting back on “the meds”.

It is hard not to be disappointed. You feel as though you have conquered the war, only to find it was just a battle you won, and that you need to fight harder than ever. I can even remember going to Elsie-may’s 6 week immunizations, completing the ‘depression survey’, being out of the risk zone, and telling the nurse that if I had any symptoms, or if my panic attacks came back, I would definitely come and ask for help because “There is no shame in depression and I know that now”. But there still is. Stigma from society, expectations you put on yourself, lies you let yourself believe,- it doesn’t really matter what way the ‘shame’ and ‘guilt’ creep in, somehow they come out of the woodwork and rear their ugly heads.

I’m actually in a lot of ways one of the fortunate ones, I have a medication that proved very effective when I was taking it, and now that it has begun to have effect again, is a very successful aid in treating  my depression. It is still a challenge not to feel like a broken human, I know that medication helps me, and my logical mind is able to rationalize this perfectly, however, images of people in mental health units in a straight jacket flash through my mind on occasion as I take my medication. There are times when I feel as though I have a total lack of control over my mind, that even though the logical side is talking me through breathing exercises to deal with my anxiety, and my heart cries out another prayer desperately begging God to take this affliction away from me, I’m still thrust into a deep chasm of despair and torturous gloom.

I know, I know, I am not the “type” (SO sick of hearing that phrase). But I am the “type”, because you know what? THERE IS NO TYPE. Depression doesn’t care about your gender, age, race, height, weight, social status, or financial position. Depression doesn’t discriminate, -people discriminate. Some for lack of knowledge or true understanding of what depression is, or how soul destroying it can be, and then there are others who genuinely can’t see the broken mind, the hormone imbalances, and the anxiety. It gobsmacks me to think that there are still people in this world that think that depression is fictional, and that it is a choice.

I’m so thankful to be very loved and supported by an amazing network of people, and that I can rely on my amazing husband, friends, family, and church to be my crutch when I cannot stand on my own.  It took me a long time to admit I was depressed and take action in the beginning, but this time around, even though I did not want to, I knew I needed help, so I put my hand up and asked. Now more than ever, I want to raise awareness of depression, I want to help others struggling with depression accept themselves and their journey, I want everyone to know that it is OK not to be OK.  If I can help someone else, even if it is just the push they need to seek professional help, then I can already see the rainbow that has come from this horrible storm.

So,

Hi, my name is Maria, I’m just a normal mum, who happens to have depression.

 

 

For Mummy

It must be hard Mummy

Waiting five minutes, only five more, for daddy to come home and walk through the door.

I’ve screamed, cried, thrown tantrums , and toys on the floor. I’ve asked you to carry me, then carry some more. Shown no interest in listening, tossed most of my food, rubbed snot on my pants, and run away nude. I’ve touched things I should not, stepped out of time out, it must be hard mummy, not to scream or to shout!

But you feed me, and bathe me, and put me to bed, and you read “one more story”, kiss the top of my head.

It must be hard Mummy,

Standing in line, to buy powdered milk that will feed me just fine.

Ignoring the comments, the looks, and the jeers. the judgment from mummies your mummy-life peers. Formula’s evil, it’s lazy, it’s wrong, baby on breast is the way to belong. They latch on with flourish, and breastfeed with ease, not able to see it’s not always a breeze.

Though you feed me, and bathe me, and put me to bed, and you read “one more story”, kiss the top of my head.

It must be hard Mummy,

Alone on the train, thoughts of me swirl round and round in your brain.

You watch every minute, and count every hour, you’d give all to be with me if that were your power. But you file the papers, and answer the phone, while you dream of the time with your baby at home.

Yet you feed me, and bathe me, and put me to bed, and you read “one more story”, kiss the top of my head.

It must be hard Mummy,

Dishes, and washing, and chores without sleep, Monday to Friday rinse and repeat. Feeding, burping, and nappies, galore, But You’d still do it mummy, if you knew this before. There’s always going to be comments, opinions, and the rest, But I love you Mummy, you’re doing your best…..

Because, you feed me, and bathe me, and put me to bed, and you read “one more story”, kiss the top of my head.

I love you Mummy xx

#Stopmummyshaming #fedisbest #lovedisbest #stayathomemumisbest #workingmumisbest #onelove

 

 

 

 

And then there were four at “Veezee”  HQ.  

The last two months at Veezee HQ, (not to mention amazing, incredible, emotional, hectic,  and stressful) has been busier than what the 12 months preceding it put together! I’ve been heavily procrastinating a blog post because I’ve been incredibly busy, but also, I’ve had no idea where to start.  But I’ve bit the bullet, and chipped away at this ‘update’  post all week, so here it is….. 

We had 10 days notice of Gideon’s military career change,  to pack up and be ready to move from Perth WA to Auckland NZ (whilst 33 weeks pregnant and with a 14mo baby in tow)! 

Bye house! Bye Perth! Bye Australia! 

Once we returned to NZ,  our house wasn’t ready for us immediately, so we were planning on bunking in at the in-laws for 2 weeks whilst we waited, with the idea that we would still have another 3 ish weeks before the caesarean delivery of our second baby at 39 weeks.  

I vaguely recall famous sayings regarding “best laid plans coming to ruin”  and Murphy’s law coming out to play when you think everything is going perfectly to plan. Four days after our arrival in NZ, probably for the sole reason that my husband and I decided to go to the movies because, (and  I quote)  “things were about to get busy.” 

Were they what! 

Yes.  A grand total of an hour later we were speeding up the motorway, I very much in denial, AND established labour.  I basically spent the whole trip to hospital explaining to my husband that “I wasn’t ready” and “it’s too early”  between intense contractions.

  Of note, there is no comfortable way to labour at all, but especially not in a car!

So we were rushed into a special room with special monitors and special doctors with more training because of the special and totally undelightful scenario that I was indeed in established preterm labour with our baby.  Drugs to stop labour were given, which only made my waters break, which was I think when I made my last ditch attempt at putting the brakes on by saying to the midwife (probably high as a kite on the gas), “But I can’t have the baby yet, I haven’t put the bassinet together!”.  Apparently that’s not the way the cookie crumbles, and less than 10 minutes after my profound statement I found myself being wheeled to the theatre for an emergency c-section to deliver my 34week baby.  Delivering her was scary and life threatening for our beautiful girl, and unfortunately I didn’t even get to see her beautiful wee baby face til the next day.  

Elsie-may Ruth van Zyl was born on the 1st of July at 0110hrs weighing in at a slight 2.2kg (4lb15oz), she was rushed away immediately to have intensive care  and breathing assistance.  There is not a lot more frightening than knowing your baby almost didn’t make it through the first 24hrs,  and since then, how many times we’ve  come close to losing our precious wee girl! 

Having a prem baby opens your eyes up to a world of people and things that you never even could imagine.  There are real angels out there, doctors and nurses who work tirelessly with your little preterm baby.  They keep them alive, they provide emotional support, they hold Shit together.  Having a prem baby is hard, physically, emotionally, mentally, it is stressful, and it has tested us beyond what we thought we could handle.  But thank God He gave us the strength we needed when we needed it, and the comfort and support when we didn’t have the strength we needed.  

Thank God He also gave us the perfect patient and loving big sister for our Elsie-may.  A big sister who loves, cherishes, nurtures, protects,  who doesn’t get the dreaded jealousy we are all warned of.  

She’s placid this little blessing,she’s quiet,  attentive, sweet, and delicate.  Happy to lay back and watch the world (and her big sister)  go by.  We’ve been in and out of hospital, she’s breathing and then she isn’t (and then I’m not breathing because she isn’t), she’s so tiny, but so resilient.  My Elsie-may is a sick wee baby, but she is gaining strength, weight, and defying odds.  She’s even technology crazy, carrying a breathing monitor around with her everywhere she goes in the name of fashion (trend setter like her mummy)! 

So we’ve been a little “MIA” (but I’m sure you can appreciate for a very good reason!)   on the blog front, however, I fully intend to get my typing juices flowing again, and the task seems a little less daunting now that this update blog is penned.  

Yes, Veezee hq has become a  HQ of four,   A perfect little family….And two’s definitely enough (for the meantime anyway)! Have a great night and congrats for getting to the end of this re-intro-read.  Stay classy out there!  

 (Veezee ventures CEO)  “M”  xx

P. S.   You try pose with two kids looking at the camera!!! 

What’s in my make-up bag, and how I doll up in 10 min on a shoestring budget!

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This is at the moment, my complete makeup ensemble. It consists of; Coconut oil for a primer, 1 concealer, 1 foundation and sponge, 1 powder foundation, 1 Bronzer and 1 contour brush, 1 Brow Pen, 1 Eyeshadow compact, 1 Eyeshadow brush, 1 Eyebrow ‘comb’, 1 Eyeliner, 2 Mascara’s, and 3 Lipsticks.  I do have a few lip-gloss sticks smattered around the house, and probably one or two in the bottom of my handbag. 3 Items are ‘name brand’ products that I got on ridiculous clearance, and the rest are cheap ‘nothing’ brands that might not be ‘as good’ but certainly do the job.  The point of this is to show fellow Mummies out there, that not only can you look good in 10 minutes (8 if you push it), but that you can easily do a great face of make-up on a shoe string budget and still look *amazing*.  Cue timer:

Pic 1) bare and freshly washed face, primed only with coconut oil. (You can buy a huge pot of this from the supermarket ranging between $6-10)

Pic 2) My foundation and Concealer  are “Boe Professional”, from ‘Big W’ the concealer from memory was $5.99 and the Fountation was $11.

Pic 3) How I do my concealer, note the extra concealer above and below “mum bags”

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This is my “face basics”, My sponge, brush, and bronzer (featuring missing case and lid), are from the $2 shop, and my ‘powder foundation’ is the most expensive item in my make-up collection. It is “Bobbi Brown” label, I paid about $25 for it a year ago, but they retail for around $45-55 a pop normally.

Pic 1 & 2) This is my eye Kit minus mascara, second pic is a close-up of my eyeliner. The eyeshadow brush is a ‘rimmel’ one but I can’t remember the price as it was about 4 years ago I bought it. The eyebrow comb ($3) , liquid eyeliner pen ($5), brow filler ($5), and eyeshadow compact ($6), are all “BYS cosmetics”, available at Kmart and some pharmacies. Mascara is from Big W, and they are “Makeup of Australia” brand retainling for between $9-12.

Pic 3 & 4) Eyebrows shaded in and filled, complete eye make-up.

My lip liner is a $2 one from NZ, I only have one that I use uniersally for all lipstick no matter the shade, it seems to blend with any colour I apply, from nude through to bright red, and it does a really good job stopping my lipstick from ‘weeping’. Lipstick is an “Elizabeth Arden” one, they retail at most pharmacies and outlets for around $20 per lipstick. I was fortunate enough to get it from my Mum as the shade wasnt right for her, so that is a great score! My other lipsticks are “BYS”

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‘Before’ and ‘After’ pictures. I am by no means a beautician so the job is not flawless at all, (although I can see a vast improvement!) this is simply to show what kind of make-up look you can get as a mum for a reasonable price, and that you don’t need to have a bulging bag of make-up to achieve results. I think it covers my ‘bags’ and blemishes  very well considering the prices of the makeup, and I know I won’t be buying ‘name’brand makeup anytime soon!

For those interested my total make-up bag items cost is $96 for 18 items, which works out to an average cost of $5.30 per item! Some things last longer, what I consider ‘once-off’ purchases, but things like concealer I replace every 3 months, which is how long they tend to last. I try to regularly go through my make-up bag and throw away older or expired products, but I do make them all last as long as possible.

P.S. I stopped the timer at 13 minutes and 45 seconds, normally it takes me around 8 minutes, but with taking pictures in between each step, time crept up on me a bit!

 

 

Things pregnant me never should have said to other mums.

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Here is (very) pregnant me, anticipating the arrival of my first child…. Somehow despite never having done it before, thinking I was gonna own this thing and be the best parent on earth. Alas, I didn’t keep this opinion to myself, rather, went around spouting my not-so-quiet confidence to just about every single mother that had actually dropped their sproglets, and had a fair idea of what the gig involved. I genuinely don’t know why I am going to do this, but in the name of keeping it real, I’m going to tell you some of the more idiotic comments I have made to other mums, before I was a mum-in-action (aka superwoman).

“I’m gonna lose ALL my babyweight straight away, cause of all the breastfeeding I’ll be doing. “

Now, while it is true that because of all the work your body does to produce milk, You can burn 300-500 calories a day just being a booby-milk-maid, This is on the proviso that, A)-You eat the same amount of calories that you normally would, and B) Breastfeeding actually works for you. Lemme tell you, I was ravenous and ate everything in reach, especially for the first few weeks postpartum. Not only this, shifting the weight/fat also involves a level of movement, not inclusive of getting out of bed and walking upstairs unfortunately. This isn’t even touching on the joys of stretchmarks or loose skin, so even if I had somehow managed to ‘ping back into shape like a rubber band’ (or my sister in law), there was a whole lot of reasons why I wasn’t going to be running in just a sports bra any time soon.

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“My kid will NEVER have sugar, or at least not until she’s 2, or 3, or 5…..”

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That is 100% not a sugar free birthday cake!  I created it for my daughter’s  1st birthday cake smash, so I can tell you with absolute confidence it is full of the stuff. It wasn’t even the first time she had sugar. I don’t even want to admit how young she was, but it was WAY young. Basically I severely underestimated the ability of a 5month old to succesfully beg for a taste of ice-cream.

“I’ll make ALL my baby’s food, and she will eat ANYTHING I feed her, or go without.”

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First solids meal went down an absolute treat. It was also lovingly prepared and cooked by chef-de-Onlyorganic straight out of the can. I can probably count on my two hands how many times I actually made homemade solids, and on one hand how many of them were ‘palatable’ to my girl. Now she eats probably 90% homemade food, but that’s cause she is a proper grown up one-nager now, and totally able to eat whatever adult people eat, so long as it has no peas, pumpkin, mashed potato, (boiled potato is fine) tomato, apple, brussels sprouts, avocado, or mushroom, in it we are home and hosed. As it happens, for a chubby kid, if the option is “that or nothing”, “nothing” wins every time.

“Our baby will sleep in her own bed, through the night, every night.”

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Bae, that was a rough night. Who am I kidding, that was one of many rough nights, where after rocking, singing myself hoarse, and milk loading her like a tanker, kid still wouldn’t catch the Z’s. So like any jet-lagged mother that is about to fall over from exhaustion, I co-slept. Yep, I let my kid (that, can I add has only added sleeps through the night to her resume very recently at 11mo) sleep  with me, in my bed. Who knows how many bad habits I taught her by doing so, but at that moment right there, my care factor would be below zero. That was the most blissful 3 hours of sleep I had had in a long, long time. Of note, our girl doesn’t actually sleep in our bed ever anymore, totally by her own choice, if I’m honest it is a bit of a bummer at 2am when she’s had a nightmare, or sick. It just means no one sleeps, and if I had to pick one option, I definitely know which I would prefer!

“My girl is NOT going to have a dummy.” or “The dummy will ONLY be for in bed.”

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Our little miss is about 8 months old in this picture, and as you can see she is sporting a mute plug in full view. I’d like to make an excuse, and I could pick from a few too, we were in NZ visiting family , totally out of routine, tired, teething, a baby full stop. But the real answer is I’ve discovered they call it a pacifier for good reason. For me it just worked, for her it just worked, and it is a lot easier to deal with a baby sucking on a dummy, than it is to listen to incessant whining and crying for extended periods of time. It’s not for everyone I’ll admit (the dummy, not parenting), but for us it works so well, I almost forget how obnoxious I must have sounded telling people I’d never use one.

I know with absolute certainty, that the comments I made as a pregnant mother to other mothers’ came from a place in my heart that wanted to do the best, and be the best parent possible. However, in being a parent, I have learned a very valuable lesson.

There is NO perfect parent, at least if there is, it ain’t me!

Of course we all as expectant and new parents have anticipations about what we are going to do, or how we are going to be. This is natural to a degree I think, but I also think that we have to be prepared for the realisation one Tuesday afternoon, that sometimes things don’t work the way you thought they would, your child isnt made on a production line, they don’t come out of a cookie-cutter. Breastfeed or don’t, cloth nappies or disposables, dummy or no dummy, co-sleep or ‘SAFE’ sleep, demand feed or routine, homemade food or canned,  cry it out  or not, it doesn’t really matter. The only method that I’m going to be telling other mum’s that I will employ in the future is the WWM, otherwise known as the whatever works method.

Yes, I can now look back and laugh at the things I said were black and white about being a parent. These aren’t all of them, and maybe they aren’t even the worst ones, but the moral of the story is, you never stop learning as a parent. You probably never stop making mistakes, but do YOU anyway. You are also an awesome parent, You want the absolute best for that child, You will do anything it takes to become better, and you love that child more than words can describe. So keep on keeping on, and if it means becoming better at your job, contradict yourself and shake things up… Whatever works!

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