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It’s already 8 months since my little guy became part of our world – and how do I love him! Every day he reminds me of how incredibly cute a baby can be.

It’s so funny that he can frame his angelic face with his two dumpy arms by clasping those puffy hands together above his head, elbows next to his little ears. (If I try to do that, I have waaaayy too much arm to make it work.)

He’s also fond of swooshing those podgy arms up and down, up and down, with straight elbows, almost as if he forgets that his arms can bend in the middle. He sometimes gets so excited when he sees me that he looks like a tiny Mexican wave.

He loves greeting us by holding up his little hand as if to say: “Slap me five!”

I love slipping my finger along the creases of his wrists and ankles where invisible elastic bands rumple rolls of baby fat.

He boasts two bottom, two upper teeth and a mischievous gap-toothed smile. When he smiles, he tends to scrunch up his little nose to make that already incredibly adorable look even more so. Unlike my little girl who took teething in her stride, it turns him into about 8 kilograms of blubbering misery. Girls are the stronger sex after all, aren’t they? 😉 (He has been a little Mr Grumpy lately, probably and hopefully due to his swollen upper gums where two more teeth seem ready to make an appearance.)

He gave his first roars of laughter when he was just 2 months old. It happened when I undressed him. It turns out the little dude is incredibly ticklish! He’s also very fond of making lots of noise – laughter, crying, complaining, chatting, or even piercing experimental yells in the supermarket – anything goes! He’s definitely much more vocal than his sister used to be.

At his 6 month follow-up, he was 8 kg and of cuddly squishiness with both his length and height on the 50th percentile – which is a bit surprising as we’re a family of tall, thin giraffes. Where does this little ‘shorty’ 😉 come from, I ask you?

Shortly after he learned to sit unassisted (at 6 months), he started launching himself forwards – rather boldly – in order to expand his reach. As second child, in addition to the need to reach toys, he has the motivational factor of a sibling from which he needs to be able to retrieve a toy after he started playing with it. He is now scooting around, creeping forwards and crawling a little – mostly backwards still. He’s pushing himself up on his hands and feet – like a bear.

He’s pulling himself up against anything suitable or unsuitable for such an exercise. It’s becoming quite tricky to bath him, as he just wants to stand in the bath, holding on to the bath’s rail-handle-thingy-whatcha-call-it.

I sometime worry that my boy might be sleeping too much – imagine that? When I chat to Dr Google I’m always assured that he sleeps as much as an average baby does (or maybe only a teeny bit less). What a relief and what a welcome change after his little stay-awake-all-the-time sister! DH, little sister, baby boy and I all sleep in the same room. I wasn’t sure whether this arrangement would work, but we’re sleeping a lot better than when my little girl was a baby! DH, baby boy and myself all bed-share, and I love it (little girl sleeps in her cot still). It feels so right and so awesome to do this. He still sometimes have a drink or two in the night, but the two of us barely even wake up for that – and DH and my little girl doesn’t seem to be woken by that at all.

Breastfeeding him is a piece of cake. I’ve started giving him water in a bottle, but he’s still working on figuring out how to make that work. He usually ends up with very wet clothes – which is maybe his intention in any case, yes?

Feeding solids is going OK, although he tends to gulp lots of air and often ends up all windy and crampy. He regularly tries to supplement his diet by eating paper – letters, junk mail, grocery lists, till slips, you name it. He can make half an A4 page disappear in seconds, the moment I turn my back! And just you dare try and fish the remains out of his mouth through those razor-sharp little teeth.

I love watching how the relationship between his sister and him unfolds – but more about that in another post sometime.

I so often wish I could have a photo of every second we have together with this comical little baby dude.


Today, it is two years since my sunny little girl stepped out of my dreams and into my world.

To say that she fills my life with love and laughter is such an understatement. The truth is simply that every single day, my world is a better place now that she is in it.

I guess I should try and balance the overload of sugar and spice in the paragraphs above by adding how it’s also been hard and challenging, but you know what? I suddenly can’t think of anything about the past two years that was tough and that is worth mentioning now.

My one big regret is that the two years I’ve had a baby girl in my house flew by so quickly. Gone too soon, as Michael Jackson would have sung.

And suddenly the thousands of photos and hundreds of minutes worth of videos I have as reminders of the past two years seem so hopelessly inadequate. There’s so much more about the baby girl that I have had to say goodbye to that I did not manage to capture.

Because I could never capture on film or on memory card:

  • the incredible lightness of 2.7 kg of baby girl
  • the softness of those first wisps of baby hair
  • the way I had to cut those tiny fingernails every weeks to ward off a little Edward Scissorhandsie
  • the toothless innocence of those first smiles
  • those shy looks of adoration and contentment she gave me as she quietly drank from my breast, often avoiding eye contact as she concentrated on filling up on the soft, warm nourishment
  • that freshly-bathed, chubby, pink, baby smell
  • the way she marveled at her tiny feet the day I first dressed them in the little socks with the blue doggies on
  • the similarity between her smile in the morning when I would first pick her up, and the sunrise outside
  • the warm heaviness of her tiny body whenever she fell asleep in my arms
  • how much I always looked forward to picking up my Liefietjie after work
  • the way she’d notice and delight in tiny details my adult mind would mindlessly block out, such as the brightly coloured frying pans suspended from their handles above the aisle at Checkers
  • the way everything would always before long become a game
  • how wonderful it was to watch a tiny baby girl grow into a beautiful, cheerful, lively, running, jumping, laughing, determined, creative, funny little girl

To name but a few.

Precipitate birth

After going into labour, some women get to watch a sunrise. Some watch a movie or do seriously silly things like baking a birthday cake – on a real birth day. Some get to light a zillion candles or even get some sleep while they wait. Some get to have an epidural. Awesome.

Well, as mentioned in my birth story’s ‘main act’ (as per my previous post), I got to reach the hospital. In time to deliver baby. The end.

I suppose it doesn’t happen all the time that someone books an elective c-sec for her firstborn only to end up with two vaginal births, without as much as an epidural??

From what I’ve read, only about 2% of women get to experience ‘precipitate labour’, which means baby appears less than 2 hours after the contractions started.

At the risk of sounding ungrateful, I must say that this was a rather intense experience. If something that normally takes many hours to get done is crammed into 2 hours, it has its downside. It actually carries much more risk to mom and to baby than a ‘normal’ birth.

I was fortunate to only have a grade 1 tear (the same as with my girl’s delivery, whose birth story is here), but I doubt that my pelvic floor will ever regain its former glory. I’ve actually made an appointment with a gynae as I don’t feel fully recovered after the birth yet – and we’re nearly at the 4-month mark. I’m already back at my normal weight, so surely all should have been fine by now?

After my little girl’s birth, I could immediately get up and walk (as in even before the retained placenta was surgically removed). This time however, it took me hours to summon the strength to go take a shower. I was really sore for at least 2 weeks. I also had really hectic after pains.

After the delivery, the gynae mentioned that a colleague did a photography course 3 years earlier and that he used to say he wanted to be notified if anyone attended an exceptionally bloody birth. I didn’t ask why that thought popped into his head, but I can just imagine.

No-one is really sure why some women get to have such fast and furious births. In my case, maybe my ability to put my elbows on the floor like so might have something to do with it, yes?

Beautiful baby boy

As I waited outside the Clicks Clinic for my 2-week old boy to be weighed, I listened to the song playing in the store. “I’m falling in love all over again,” someone sang. How wonderfully appropriate it was I thought, as I sat there with my heart lying swaddled in a blue blankie on my lap.

When I compared baby photos, it was amazing to see how similar my girl looked as a baby. Here they are as newborns:

One of the delightful things about babies is that they can’t run and they can’t hide. Therefore, my little boy is such a sitting duck for all those kisses I love to plant on those chubby baby cheeks. 🙂

And so, this is where the story book would say: “Then they all lived happily ever after.”

On Monday 27 February, my little girl woke me during the early morning hours. She settled back to sleep again at 4 am. As was often the case after those nighttime interruptions during the pregnancy, I couldn’t find my own way back to dreamland.

I was 38 weeks and 6 days pregnant. I lay in the darkness thinking how much I needed my little boy to arrive on that very day (as per my previous post).

After a while, Braxton Hicks contractions (I thought) started. I didn’t take much notice initially as I had had similar ‘cramping’ during the prior two weeks. After the cramps intensified, I woke DH (it was 5:45 am) so we could start timing things. The contractions were 6 minutes apart and each lasted for about a minute! I realized our boy was probably on his way out!

I told DH I was going to take a shower and wash my hair. He called the labour ward. However, by the time I hopped into the shower, the contractions became excruciating. I realized I didn’t have time to wash my hair after all.

I did last minute packing while DH woke my mother-in-law (MIL) and father-in-law (FIL), as well as my little girl. I loathed the idea of being doubled-over with contractions in front of MIL and FIL (in front of anyone, actually), so I ducked into my room whenever another wave surged.

DH packed the car in what felt like sloooow moooootioooon to me.. He told me later on that as my waters didn’t break this time, he thought it was probably a false alarm!

I kissed my little girl goodbye and told her I’m going away for a bit, but that ‘Ouma Els’ would look after her. She simply said ‘no’ and didn’t want to let me go. It was so sweet and I regret having had to rush that last precious moment as mommy to her exclusively. In all truth, I still felt so unprepared to become a mommy again.

The car rolled out of the garage at about 6:30 am. The contractions were no longer a joke. Neither was Monday morning rush hour traffic. I kept telling DH that the baby was in a hurry. A BIG flippen hurry!

I got started on the moaning and screaming part of labour. Between two contractions, I called the maternity ward again and told them they’d better be ready to deliver my hasty little dude once we get there. Provided he didn’t make his grand entrance in the car, of course! DH became paler by the minute.

And that is how my dear, law-abiding DH (somewhat irritatingly so, really) ended up speeding along in the yellow, left-hand lane of Cape Town’s N1 through the Monday morning rush hour chaos. (I doubt my DH has ever as much as skipped a STOP sign in his life, so when I recounted this bit of the tale to my parents later on they nearly killed themselves laughing.)

All in all, it was a rather embarrassing trip. Not only did I wonder whether my DH might end up killing us all by crashing into one of the (angry-looking) motorists along the way, but watching him weave through the traffic was painful on many levels. Geez, he was such a complete rookie at hell driving! But that’s my man, alright! :p

We arrived at the hospital at about 7:00 am. DH parked in a loading zone in front of the hospital entrance and said he’d go park the car while I walk / waddle / crawl to the labour ward – as we had discussed earlier on. However, I was suddenly gripped by fear and begged him to just abandon the car and come with me.

On our way to the labour ward, we had to stop two or three times as contractions wracked my body. I felt somewhat embarrassed although there were fortunately not many onlookers. This preggo lady was obviously busy popping!

At the labour ward, I was instantly ushered into a delivery room. I hastily threw on the gown and provided a urine sample as requested. I kept on insisting they’d better call the gynae that very moment.

Soon as I was on the bed, they checked my cervix. Yip, fully dilated. (TOLD you so..!) They instantly called the gynae (WHAT? You haven’t called him yet?!), assuring me that he lived very close by and would be there in minutes.

Every new contraction was by now starting before the previous one had even ended. At 7:11 my waters broke in a huge wave that went splashing onto the floor. There was meconium in the water (I didn’t realize it at the time, but the gynae mentioned it afterwards).

Unlike during my girl’s birth (which you can read about here), the nursing staff were great. They kept saying that I was doing a great job. It was so nice to hear, although I knew they’d have said it no matter what, considering the circumstances.. They also told me not to push. But my body was saying, “Like hell I won’t push! Just watch me now..”

By then I was precariously floundering rather close to the edge of the bed. I was lying on my side and I remember looking down towards the floor, wondering whether I was going to go crashing down onto it before long. The nurses tried getting me to move to the center of the bed, but I could do little but cling to the side of the bed for dear life while my body had its way with me.

Shame, from what I remember poor DH was pretty pale through all the drama.

At about 7:20, just as I asked whether the gynae still hadn’t arrived, I heard the doc’s voice. I told him it was just my luck to be missing out on an epidural yet again!

During the following contraction he told me that the baby would be there in another push or so. “Yeah right!”, I thought. I told him that the last time a gynae said that to me, it was another 2 hours before baby arrived.

Then suddenly, during the very next contraction I felt my boy’s head slip out. His body followed during the subsequent contraction. (My little girl slipped out all at once, so I remember feeling slightly surprised at this.)

At 7:23 am, less than 2 hours after my contractions started, I became the mommy of my baby boy.

I asked whether he was beautiful and was told that he was very beautiful. I can’t remember whether he cried, but the gynae suctioned him and someone put him on my breast. His fingers and toes were incredibly blue, but the gynae said he was doing great. His Apgars were 8 / 9 / 10.

And so, all of a sudden he was there! I was holding my baby boy. I looked at his shoulders, his arms, his legs and they were the most adorable, chubby little limbs ever.

The nurse asked whether she could take him to be weighed and checked, but everything inside me said, “No! I’m not letting him go.” My arms tightened around him as I jokingly spoke those words out loud before reluctantly handing him back.

Whereas my little girl was a wee, gaunt little fairy at birth (at 49 cm and 2.7 kg), my little boy was a padded little cherub weighing 3.4 kg for his length of 51 cm.

Unlike last time, the placenta delivered without further ado (about 15 minutes later) – which was a big relief. It meant I got to spend magic hour with my boy this time round.

After congratulations from everyone around, the gynae asked whether it really took 2 hours last time. Haha, I admitted that I had exaggerated a bit. With my girl’s birth, an hour and a bit passed between the gynae’s declaration that baby would be there in one or two pushes and my little girl’s arrival.

Before he left, the gynae said he was really impressed as it was pretty usual to be called out to a patient who came in fully dilated and to then find her dressed in a hospital gown. At that point the nurse asked about the urine sample. When I told her I had left it on the toilet, the gynae shook his head seemingly in disbelief and said, “You’ve managed a urine sample too!?” Haha! The things you feel proud of in the labour room.. Must be all those hormones. 🙂

I feel guilty when I recollect how unprepared I felt to be my beautiful boy’s mother as I held him for the first time. I kept thinking how my little girl’s arrival had totally rocked my world. Holding her for the first time was maybe the most overpowering moment of my life. This time round I felt dazed, to be honest, as well as scared of how the new baby might impact on the relationship I had with my girl.

Yet there in my arms was a wondrous little boy who was, just like my little girl 20 months earlier, in desperate need of all the love my heart could give.

My boy nestled against me and he was so small and so vulnerable. I lay there thinking what a good little boy he was. The month we decided (filled with trepidation) that we had better get our ttc #2 journey on the road, this sweet boy decided that he would be our second little miracle. When I told him that I needed him to arrive on Monday the 27th of February, he did just that.

He found my breast and started sucking with so much enthusiasm that I wondered whether he might suck my nipple right off my breast. He kept at it for what seemed like ages before he fell asleep contentedly.

Oh dear, has my blog been quiet?

Life happens while you’re making plans to blog about it..

It’s late and I should be off to bed. In another hour or so, my baby boy will wake up hungry. In a few more hours my little girl will wake up in a playful mood (if she sleeps through the night).

But first, I had to capture today’s (or by now really yesterday’s) afternoon. It gives a glimpse on my life now, here.

My little girl is sitting on the swing in our garden. She’s wearing her pretty new jeans. The legs are too long for her and I’ve folded them double at the bottom. Her one arm is holding on tightly to the soft toy duck on her lap. Her other arm is gesturing how high she wants me to push her. The slanted autumn sun snuggles idly against my back. The rays of the sun draw shadows on the wall of a little girl swinging up and down, up and down.

My baby boy lies next to the swing on the thick, green grass. His eyes follow two ring-necked doves as they rise from the thatched roof of the lapa to a tree. Above his head, green and gold leaves rustle in the afternoon breeze. The blue of the sky reflects in his eyes as he coos contentedly.

Later on, my little girl and I sit on the blanket next to our baby. I peel an orange for us while we wait for daddy to come home. My little girl feeds a juicy piece to her duck before she shoves a strip of orange peel under her brother’s nose. He flashes a delighted grin as his tiny nose detects the citrusy fragrance.

My girl pulls her sun hat with the pink flowers down over her eyes in a game of peek-a-boo. She ‘surprises’ me by attacking me from behind and clasp her arms around my shoulders. She runs like the wind towards the lapa to watch a nervous lizard scamper up the brick wall. Her daddy arrives and they kick her big plastic ball around on the grass.

When evening falls tonight, the blood red African sun will be setting on us here in this new town and on our new home – and on the picture of one perfect afternoon.

“Van al my liggeel dae
teken ek hierdie een op;
dat ek later kan weet hoe swerms
duiwe van die dakke waai,
en dat ek, as ek wil,
later kan lees van ‘n liggeel
dag en van jou hier langes my.”
~ Wilma Stockenstrom

Loosely translated:
“Of all my pale yellow days
I make a note of this one;
so that I’ll remember later on
how flocks of doves drift from rooftops
and so that I’d be able to, if I wanted,
read about a pale yellow day
and about you here beside me”

jy’s so lig en so lag
so giggeltjies en kielietjies
so dartelende skoenlapper-lappertjie

jy’s so lief en so lig
so feëtjies en fyntjies
so besige klein bytjie

met jou nuuskierige, ronde dimpeltjie-handjies
met die sagte veertjie-raampie om jou blinkoog gesiggie
met jou sleep-sleep kombersie-stertjie
met jou wippetie foppietjie soos ‘n veldmuisie se neusie

klein sterretjie
klein varkie parkie

vir jou het ek so lief so lief

Last Saturday was a beautiful, sunny day, so my DH put our baby girl in her stroller and walked with her to the mall, about 2km from our house. ‘Babaliefie’ loves going to the mall. DH used to hate malls, but he loves taking his girl there. It’s such a cute picture: DH strutting around as proud as any dad could be with his beaming little treasure in her pram. (I had to put in a few hours of studying, so couldn’t go with. 😦 )

About two hours later, DH called asking me to please come fetch them with the car. Someone handed out balloons at the mall and DH was worried that walking back with the balloon in the sun would make it go *boom*.

When I arrived at the mall, I instantly understood. My baby girl sat in her pram with an orange balloon that was almost as big as she was. Both her arms were wrapped tightly around the balloon’s fat waist and its orange cheek was pressed firmly against hers. She was staring dreamily at the world, her eyes filled with wonder.

It was true love*.

I had a hard time strapping my ‘liefietjie’ into her car seat, as she didn’t want to let go of her balloon for even a second.

Back at home, we did everything we could to balloon-proof the house. She seems way too young to be confronted with the disillusionment, disappointment and pain of a broken heart.

Ai, if only it could be this easy to keep her heart safe forever..

* Tongue in cheek, of course. 😉

Something amazing happened just more than a year ago the first time I held my tiny, newborn baby in my arms. I looked at her and knew, just knew that she was perfect – that she would become the brightest, prettiest little girl ever. She had unlimited potential and could become anything she wanted, from a rocket scientist to a ballerina or rock star.

Inevitably, as I got to know my beloved baby angel, worries and doubts started to form. Shouldn’t she have smiled by now? Would having been born a month prem have a lasting effect on her? Was her head circumference at birth too small? Does she have enough trunk rotation (the silly paeds OT in me here)? Will she be OK in school someday? Am I doing enough to stimulate her? Is my full time work influencing her negatively?

I recently saw a blog where a mom had listed her little genius’s milestones and it went something like this:

  • 3 weeks 6 days: Smiles at mom
  • 2 months: Rolls over
  • 5 months: Crawls at 44 km/h
  • 9 months: Gets distinction for Applied Maths degree

OK not quite – but it was along those lines. (And of course parents brag about their babies! I really have no problem with that!)

I guess in the past year and a bit I’ve learned that a baby is like a wonderful gift, beautifully gift-wrapped. It will take many years to carefully unwrap this gift and to get to know this brand new little person.

Although my baby angel doesn’t give me (or her paediatrician) any reason to wonder whether she is anything but developing beautifully, I suppose it will be quite a few more years before we really know what talents, problems, limitations, dreams and fears my little girl will have to face during her lifetime.

Some things are already evident, e.g. she is waaaay too tall to become a ballerina, dancer or gymnast. (Not surprising of course, considering how tall her parents are!)

I suppose what I’ve learned since that first magical moment I’ve held her, is that she is unique and real – and human, just like me and my DH.

My greatest wish, having come to that realisation, is that I will be able to be there for her always – a guiding hand, a shoulder to cry one, a mentor. I hope that she will be able to trust me with her secrets, to share with me her joys and sorrows and to delight me with her achievements – whatever they may be.

Having been blessed with this wonderful baby, may God also grant me this wish: May I be able to be ‘there’ for her, through all of her winning, losing and trying – now and for the remaining days and years (God willing) of my life.

My baby angel has been crying at daycare. I’ve been crying at work. She would cry when I drop her off in the morning. When I call her daymother during the day, I could hear her crying in the background. She’d be crying when I pick her up, until I would hold her in my arms and wipe those tears.

It made me write this:

My world has moved, yet my desk hasn’t noticed my metamammamorphosis

My desk becomes a door to a city of endless, grey streets
through which I wander bleary-eyed
all day long while

my heart searches and searches
“Where is my baby angel? Where is she?”

my ears remain pricked-up
“Do we hear her calling?”

my empty arms hunger for her warm softness

my breasts weep with yearning

The hours drag their feet

Finally, I get to take her from the other woman!

Here she is! She is safe.

I bury my mouth in her wispy baby shampoo hair

I draw the curtain on the world and her thirsty lips find me

She moulds onto me, we melt into each other

I’m whole again

The sleep deprived blur that has been the first three months with my ‘babaliefie’ has been the most amazing adventure. I still can’t believe that I’m lucky enough to be the mommy of this pretty little baby angel.

My tiny baby is growing into my ‘big’ baby girl and she now weighs more than twice her take-baby-home weight, so about 5.5 kg.

During the past week or two, we seem to have turned a corner. She’s finally feeding less often – we have some 4 hour stretches now. As a result my ‘wakker klein rakker’ is sleeping a lot better, which is a very welcome change indeed! She’s now able to entertain herself for at least a few minutes when she’s awake and sitting in her swing or have a mobile or toy to look at, so my days are becoming less intense.

I think that if she could talk, these would have been the favourite sayings of my babaliefie during her first three months in the big wide world:

  • “I like to move it move it!” – She wanted to be rocked, carried around or bounced up and down most of her waking hours for the first 3 months. Much cooler (for baby) than just sitting there, I agree! She loves driving in the car, but usually cries when I stop at traffic lights or a stop sign – until the car moves again. Valid point, Liefietjie, standing still is just too boring, hey?
  • “Phew, that was close! I nearly nodded off. Luckily I managed to pry my eyes open just in time..” – There’s no telling what one could miss while your eyes are closed.
  • “Believe it, Mommy! I am indeed hungry again.” – I found it very strange when people would ask me when it’s time for her next feed. How would I know?! The interval between feeds was mostly between 30 mins and 2 hours, so the best answer to people asking that would be: probably soon.
  • “Wow, what an awesome day!” – She seems to love waking up in the morning and always (since she started smiling) gives me a dazzling smile when she opens her big blue eyes.

One thing is certain, Bill Gates doesn’t have enough money to make me an offer for my ‘babaliefie’! DH and I love her so.


June 2019
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