Thursday, 24 January 2013

A Bottom Crawler

Miss J has been a bottom crawler for a few weeks now. The last week though she has gotten really quick. Turn your back for a second and she's trying to get out the door, or off the trampoline, or she's playing with the toilet brush in the bathroom.

She looks so funny and cute when she's on the move I had to share :)

Yesterday she gave commando crawling a go. I think she may have been a little frustrated!!

So she went back to doing what she does best :)

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

A School Mum

So this is what it feels like to be a School Mum ... drop offs, pick ups, school lunches, packing bags, forms and money, encouragement and pride, lots and lots of pride!

The first few days of LL going to school were a learning curve. It was tough teaching my child that sometimes they have to do things they don't want to do. Sure, we've been doing that for a while with things here at home - packing away toys, coming to eat dinner, staying at the table, brushing teeth, going to bed - all those normal day to day goings on. But I've never before had to make LL do something that involved me leaving him behind; me not staying to help.

The first day was up and down - drop off went ok, later he was upset, and then he was ok again. You can read about that here.

The next two days he was upset before we even left home, telling me he didn't want to go, he wanted to stay with Mummy. Both days drew more tears when we arrived at school and so I stayed for a bit in the hope that it would settle him, and he'd be ok. This didn't happen. Instead I had to be tough Mummy and walk away when he was crying. I was so torn. Torn to comfort and torn to do what was right for him. Do I stay or do I go? Am I just prolonging the agony by hanging around? In the end the needs of Miss J forced my hand - she needed breakfast, she needed to be changed, and nap time was also approaching.We had to go.

Both days there were no phone calls from the teacher asking me to come back. Both days Miss J and I, instead, were greeted with a big smile upon our return to pick him up. Both days he told me he'd had fun playing and drawing and singing and listening to stories. Phew!

I was thankful that LL's first week at school was limited to just three days. The weekend gave him time to rest, and to realise that school was really an ok thing to do.

Yesterday we gave it another go. There were a few tears before leaving home, statements of "I no go to school Mum", and similar requests to stay at home with Mummy. But we headed off again anyway. He was sad and weepy upon arrival, reluctant to go into the school yard. But we pressed on, put his bag with the others, and then much to my surprise (but also relief!) LL took Aunty Chris' hand at the door and walked inside. Miss J and I took that as our cue to leave. I was torn though. Do I stay outside for a minute just to make sure he really is ok? In the end the needs of one child took precedence over the other. All morning I checked my phone for missed calls. There were none.

Instead when I went to pick him up, I found him contentedly playing outside in the sand. He looked up, saw me and smiled. "Let's go get my bag Mum". We found Aunty Chris at the classroom and she was keen to tell me LL had been fine all morning. In fact, she said, he even stood up in class all by himself and sang a song. Wow, I said, completely floored with this turn of events. She said they had all been sitting on the carpet singing a song. After they were finished one of the children stood up and sang it again. Everyone clapped and Aunty Chris then asked if anyone else would like to sing a song. Another child stood up, and everyone clapped again. Next, LL put his hand up wanting to sing. He stood up and sang the first line to Baa Baa Black Sheep. He must have then realised what he was actually doing, got a little daunted, and forgot the rest of the words. But still, as Chris said, it was a huge effort for a child that has typically been so quiet in class.

I recounted the story to Mr B later and he was as proud and amazed as I was. Sure we've sung that song around the house a million times. LL has sung it to us many times before. But for our reluctant school goer, this was BIG! And we made sure he knew it!

This morning at drop off .... no tears! I got a kiss and a hug at the classroom door and then he walked inside all by himself.

What a proud School Mum I am! Love my boy :)


Wednesday, 16 January 2013

LL's First Day As A Busy Bee :)

Today was a momentous occasion for our little family. It was our big boy's first day at pre-school!!!! Yippee!!

Mr B and I had been talking it up for months, even using it as a bribe to get LL to do things. He wanted to go. He needed to go. The poor boy has been bored at home with Mummy and his baby sister. He was craving play and stimulation and being around other kids.

I, of course, was nervous. How was it going to go? Would he cry? Would I cry? Would he want to stay? Would he be ok?

Turns out the worry was somewhat justified. But the great thing about kids is they're adaptable and if you give them a bit of time and encouragement, they will usually be ok.

After a good night's sleep, despite my suggesting to Mr B that it would probably be otherwise, LL was super excited this morning to be taking his "packback" to school.

Once we'd got both kids sorted - milked, fed, dressed, and cleaned, all four of us piled in the car and headed off. Great, I was thinking. So far, so good.

Once we got to school, it was raining buckets. I decided I'd grab Miss J and make a dash to the classroom and Mr B should grab LL and follow us. Next minute I can hear LL crying. What? He was fine a second ago? I dashed back to the car, trying to keep Miss J sheltered under my rain jacket in the process, to find out what was going on. Maybe he'd forgotten something?

No such luck. LL in his excitement had slipped and fallen down onto the wet road. His shorts were soaked. The little guy doesn't like being wet, so he was naturally upset. Thankfully Mummy had come prepared and packed not one, but two changes of clothes in his bag, just in case. So after a quick change of his shorts and his "packback" put back on his back, he happily headed off to school again.

Greeted by his lovely teacher, Aunty Chris, at the door everything kept going well. We popped his bag and lunch box away and he made a beeline for a table where three other little kiddies were playing cars. I pointed out some of the other kids he knew - did he want to sit with them I asked? No, I sit here, he replied.

One thing I love about little kids - they don't recognise colour. The three other children at that table were all black. LL could have cared less. All he saw was three other kids playing cars and he wanted to play with them too.

I thought it best then to make a a run for it while he was happy. There were a few other kids in the class quite upset and it was a little chaotic, so I thought the less people in the room the better for all the kids sakes. Mr B was hesitant to leave, naturally worried about his little boy. But I knew it was for the best.

I asked LL if he was ok. Yes. Reminded him that I'd pick him up after Miss J had had her nap. Ok, he replied. And so we left. Wow, I thought, this is too good to be true.

And of course it was. About an hour or so later, the teacher called to say LL was upset and didn't seem to be settling down. She suggested that I cut the morning short and come and get him at 10am. In a way, I thought, this is a good thing. 7:30 until 12noon is a long morning for a little person. At least this way we can transition into it slowly. Or at least that's what I thought.

As I set off to go and collect LL the teacher called again. He's fine now, she said. He's happily playing so maybe leave him for a bit longer. Great! Wow, what a tough little boy I have.

The thing with LL is, if he's busy, he'll be ok. If there was a pause in activities or the teachers were tied up with crying kids, he would have felt a bit lost, overwhelmed and confused as to what he should be doing. Distract him with toys and activities and he's usually ok.

So I waited until Miss J woke up, put her in the car and we headed off again to fetch the big brother. It was nice to be able to casually watch him through the window and see him playing happily with the other kids. I waved to him and he came over. No tears, just happy to see us, and fine with coming home early. His teacher informed me that he was upset for a while but once they had their snack he was fine. In fact, she said, all the kids were fine then. 

I asked LL about his morning. He told me he'd been upset but that a lady gave him a cuddle and he'd sat on her lap for a bit and then he'd started to feel better. And then he'd eaten lunch and then he felt even more better. I asked him if he had fun, and he said he did. He played puzzles and cars. I asked him if he wanted to go back tomorrow and he said yes. 

For the whole car ride home he kept telling Miss J and I, he was back. It was obvious he was happy to see us. As we were him. All in all, I think it was a pretty good first day at pre-school :)

Missy Moo wanted to go to school too :)
LL in the "Busy Bees" classroom :)

PS - sorry for the blurry photos. I think the lighting in the house, due to the rain, meant my camera didn't want to take a clear shot today. And of course LL was too excited to stand still.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

10 months

Our little lady reached the ten month milestone on Saturday.

She welcomed it with a head cold after just getting over a bout of tonsillitis. It hasn't been a brilliant month around these parts health wise. But Missy Moo manages to take it all in her stride, and continues to make us smile and laugh with her antics and cheekiness :)

At 10 months the baby girl has EIGHT teeth!!! And it seems more are on the way.

She has become a bottom crawler, and is on the move all over the house by using her feet to pull her bottom along. Regular crawling will be a way off yet I think.

She has become a tummy sleeper - a habit after her Mummy's own heart. It took her a few sleeps to settle into it but now she seems content to sleep that way.

She has become adept at rolling. I can no longer leave her on the bed unattended (not that I ever did that in the first place, of course!)

She is a destruction force to be reckoned with, forever knocking down LL's towers, pulling apart his choo choo track, and getting in to his puzzles. She doesn't want to play with the "baby" toys, only anything that Mr B, LL or I have. The tv remote is fast becoming a favourite thing to grab and chew!

She is fiercely independent when it comes to feeding herself, and it's a fight to let me feed her porridge or yoghurt or anything else a little too tricky still for her to handle on her own.

She is clapping her hands, giving high fives, and loves to do a little bop to some music. Always with a smile on her face as we praise and cheer her.

Look at those curls :)

Sunday, 6 January 2013

My Biggest Frustration

The entire time we've lived in Bots, my main gripe, my main whinge, my main problem, my biggest, biggest, BIGGEST frustration is the food situation.

I go to the supermarket if not every day, then at least every other day. It's a way of getting myself and the kids out of the house. There aren't a lot of other places to go, so we go to the shops.

And because of this, there isn't really a day that goes by, when I don't come home completely, and utterly, frustrated by the poor quality, or lack of, fresh fruit and vegetables.

Take Friday for example ... Friday I put my two kiddies in the car and dragged them from one shop to another in search of some fruit, veges and fresh bread. First we stopped off at my closest supermarket - SuperSpar. No carrots, no brocolli, no bananas, and a lot of nothing else. There were some apples but, based on past experience, they're not very nice tasting, and LL and Mr B refuse to eat them. At the bakery there was no fresh bread, only a couple of loaves of day or two old bread that felt like rocks. So I turned the pram around and led the kids back to the car.

We then went into town to what is generally known as the "better" supermarket - PicknPay. I was greeted with the same situation, if not worse. The fruit and veg section was practically empty. Again I turned the pram around and walked back out.

We then made a last ditch effort to the nearby Woolworths (not the same as the Woolworths in Australia), which often gets in better quality fruit and vegetables on a Friday. Despite it not even being lunchtime, I was too late - most of the food was gone.

It astounds me that the managers of these supermarkets do not seem able to take into account busy holiday periods mean you need to have a greater supply of food on hand to meet demand. A number of times in the last two weeks there has been no fresh milk at some of the supermarkets. To me milk is not a luxury item, it is an everyday commodity that people want and need. So to not be able to buy it because of too many public holidays or the manager not taking into account that he/she may need more stock on hand to account for a greater demand, frustrates me no end.

Botswana, being a land-locked country of rather poor rainfall doesn't really have an agricultural industry. Well not one big enough to feed and sustain the whole population anyway. So we rely on food being imported. If the trucks don't come, we have no food. In the last two weeks there has been four public holidays. The supermarkets continue to open but obviously the trucks have not come.

The Botswana government has placed quite strict rules on what supermarkets can and cannot import. Apparently if there is a local producer of a product then food suppliers must buy and sell this local produce, regardless of whether it is a grade 1 product or one of mediocre quality. This really frustrates me as I don't want grade 2, 3 or 4 products. I want grade 1, and I am more than willing to pay for it. Yet I can't get it, because of the ridiculous importation rules. On one hand I understand the rules - it ensure that local producers aren't without business or an income. However, I don't understand why both grades of products can't be supplied to customers at their respective differing prices, providing customers with choice.

Last year this was where the local Woolworths store came in handy. They are more of a gourmet foodlines provider, so only sell grade 1 products. But they only sell it on a Friday and with very limited stock. The demand for this food was so high 12 months ago that people were coming from towns 2-3 hours away to buy this better quality produce. The line up to the cash registers was sometimes the length of the store. Despite this high demand, and the fact that the store must have made an absolute killing each Friday in sales, (not only in food sales but also clothing and shoes as so many of the customers would go in for food but spot something else to buy when they were there), the manager of the store seems to have made no great effort to provide more fruit and vegetables on a Friday or to sell on another weekday as well. In fact the quantity and variety of products seems to have gone backwards in the last 6 months.

So I came away empty handed from our visits to three separate supermarkets on Friday, which left me feeling disappointed and unmotivated. I had no idea what I was going to cook for dinner. This seems to be a common problem for me lately. Earlier this year I tried to do a weekly meal plan to get organised and to ensure we were eating well each night. This fell by the wayside over time as I continuously struggled to get ingredients for the meals I wanted to make.

As a mother all I want to do is provide healthy and nutrious food for my kids. As a parent you are constantly reminded these days of childhood obesity, and the importance of offering a varying diet consisting of fruit and vegetables. But how am I supposed to do that when I often cannot get the fruit and vegetables in the first place or if I can buy them the quality is not great and my kids don't want to eat it?

Last Thursday when I went to the shop I grabbed this bag of carrots without looking at them too closely. When I went to use them I was disappointed to find that they weren't looking so great.

Would you feed these to your kids?

This is not a once in a while occurence, this happens All The Time! And I'm more than over it.

Most people here say to me, this is Africa, just accept this is the way it is. But why? Why accept it? How will things improve if you do? Shouldn't customers be entitled to expect better quality food than mouldy rotten carrots to feed their family?

I was recently reading this blog. The blogger was talking about ethical eating and doing a little experiment to see if she could save her family money on their weekly shop by either going organic, or buying local produce, or shopping only at the bigger supermarkets. The whole time I was reading the post all I could think was this is so far off my radar of possibilities right now. I wish this was a problem for me. I would just be happy right now to be able to go to the supermarket and find the things I'm looking for, without having to visit 2 or 3 or even 4 different supermarkets all over town just to find mediocre quality products.

Believe me, I am so looking forward to the day when I can walk into a Woolies or Coles or IGA or Foodland and know I'll be able to get everything on my list. Happy Days!

Ok, gripe over ....
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