Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Organise your home - giveaway

Multiples and More: Blogaversary Celebration

I am slow, slow, SLOW to the party as I've just figured out that today is GIVEAWAY day at Multiples and More.

I had SUCH fun with 29 gifts and what better way to continue the spirit of giving than to give away a ticket to the Organise your Home ecourse, valued at $47, because we all know with babies, and especially multiples, you need to be organised or else you'll go crazy!


Here's how this will work:

  • This is a digital product so the giveaway is open to EVERYONE, bloggers and non-bloggers alike, ANYWHERE in the world.
  • Please leave a comment telling me what your biggest organising or time management challenge is with organising your baby/ ies/ children - this part is compulsory :)
  • For extra entries, become a follower of this blog. Or tell me that you're already a follower.
  • For an additional extra entry, vote for me on Top Mommy Blogs ----> button to the right :)
  • You have to leave one comment per entry (so if you do all three things, unfortunately you have to say in 3 comments what you did)

That's it. Easy as pie!

The competition ends on Saturday 8 am EST (which is 2pm South African time) and I'll draw the winning entry sometime over the weekend (I'm vague because we actually have PLANS - aren't I brave?) and post the winner.

All the best to all of you.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Holidays!

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D and I celebrate our anniversary on 29 April.

The year we got married (1995) is the first year that 27 April (Freedom Day) was made a public holiday in South Africa. This is great as every year since (I think we may have missed one or two) we simply take a couple of extra days off work and go away to celebrate.

Suits me down to the ground as I don’t like a lot of physical possessions but I do love experiences.

We went to Ireland last year and did a full-on UK trip in 2008 (which was actually the reason I postponed my laparoscopy) so this year it’s local. Until I get brave enough to either travel with babies properly or get the grandparents to babysit.

You know I’m fussy so I don’t like to stay in places that are not nice – I love the comforts of home and want those on holiday too.

I asked my friend Natalie (since they’re always off SOMEWHERE) if she could recommend a place a couple of hours from Joburg so that it’s not too far but still far enough.

She suggested Dullstroom or Clarens – incidentally, I’d always wanted to go on holidays to either of these places.

Dullstroom has become very tourist-oriented (which means they charge BIG BUCKS) so initially Clarens looked good.

Until I looked closer.

The type of places that were “suitable” for me all catered to huge families (6 and 8-sleepers) and they all charge a surcharge if there are only a few people. Fair enough. But I had a certain number in mind and didn’t want to exceed the budget so…

My mother in law is coming on holiday with us!

We actually have been on holiday with her many times in the past and she is very easygoing so it’s a pleasant time.

It will also be nice to have an extra set of hands for the babies.

So we’ll be away for just 3 nights during the last week of April.

I’m a bit apprehensive but also excited.

One thing I need to do is either borrow a camp cot from someone or go buy a cheap one. I could have rented one but at R125 per day, I might as well buy one and keep it for future travels.

If anyone reading has been to Clarens, what are your “must-do” activities or places to eat?

Any travel tips?

Monday, March 29, 2010

Cauliflower and avocado

I had cauliflower for supper (on the side of my curry, rice and butternut) and remembered how much I love it. Hmmmmm. I don't buy cauliflower because D doesn't eat it and there's no way I can get through one all by myself before it goes bad.

Enter... the babies. I had a bright idea after looking through the Annabel Karmel book. So I made them some cauliflower with a cheesy sauce ("yummy" as we say to Connor to encourage him to eat), pureed it and it's in the little ice trays as we speak. I can't wait to see how that goes - who will be my fellow cauliflower eater?

Speaking of food, I HATE spending huge amounts of money (said she who is busy buying a house - but that doesn't count, does it?) for things I KNOW I can get cheaper. The avocadoes have been ridiculously expensive lately (and we're not in the UK where fruits and veggies are generally expensive - like R30 for two corn on the cob - goodness, we get about 8 or 9 for that price) so I can't bring myself to spend that kind of money.

Yet... every time we go see the baby nurse, she asks if I've given them avocado yet and I say no. I don't want to tell her I'm cheap so I just say I haven't got around to it yet LOL and then she kindly tells me it's a great first food.

This weekend was my weekend to do the grocery shop and yes, I spent R400 more than D does! But I got the darn avos. And Connor ate it - not with real enjoyment like cereal, but then again these days, cereal and plain yoghurt are really the only things he DEVOURS - but with no crying and no spitting. This is success for me these days (oh, how my standards have slipped).

Kendra let me know in no uncertain terms that she was not a fan of avocado - spat it out in my face. I tried again and again - same result.

Later I did a sandwich for them (Saffy, I told you I'd try) with avocado and cream cheese and she pulled that thing aside and THREW the avocado side at me but nibbled on the cream cheese side.

So there - definitely not a fan of avocado. Just in case I was unsure.

The food thing is going much better mainly because I'm pandering to him. This is another thing I said I'd never do when I had children "one day" and here I am, desperate to get food into him.

We know he likes cereal and yoghurt, so every day he gets fruit and yoghurt for one meal and for another, cereal with a chicken cube hidden inside. Oh, I'm a sly one. The third meal is the one where I still persist in getting some "real food" inside him.

We went back to giving veggies only (but I sneak cream cheese so he gets some protein), and now we're on 2/3 veggies, 1/3 chicken/ lentils. He often doesn't finish and then I put the leftovers into the cereal too. It sounds disgusting but what does he know?

Since he's taken a liking (I use that word loosely because what I mean is he doesn't scream when I feed it to him) to two of Annabel Karmel's dishes, both with chicken, so that's what he has 4 out of 5 days.

Nanny Viola told me the only reason he's eating the veggies is for the cream cheese LOL. Every day when I get home I ask her, "how did Connor eat today?" and we go through the whole debrief. She even has to rate the ease of eating (verbally, not in The Notebook!) from 1 - 10. Kendra is our benchmark as the way she eats is a 10. Most days she tells me 7 or 8 for Connor, but remember she has Patience with a capital P and I do not.

I'm in pajamas and going to get a nice hot mug of tea before working on my newsletter.

Today was lovely - grey skies, rainy weather and an empty office so I could get on with things and do good, focussed work. I then dashed to the shops to buy formula and nappies and then home for a quick tidy before the agent came to value our property.

We drove past the house after church yesterday and saw that it was a show house from 2 - 5pm (apparently show houses are different times all over Jhb; in our suburbs they're Sundays 2 - 5pm) so D went back to have a look after dropping us off. Of course I was on tenterhooks wondering WHAT he'd find to complain about.

He LOVED the house but did have a moan about one little piece of the property where we need extra electric fencing. I switched off as I do when talking about boring, man bits but ........we decided we're going to put in an offer based on what he tells us our house can fetch.

While technically we can pay what she wants for Number 46, I'm sure people won't give us what we want for ours since it's a buyer's market. And bottom line, I need x deposit on the new place as I don't want a bond bigger than a certain amount. Apparently everything is negotiable according to the agent - his commission, etc, etc. Hmmm. I don't even want to THINK about all the lawyer and bank schlep so I have to keep thinking about that view from the lounge.

But enough about me...

How has your Monday been?

P.S. The reason I haven't been commenting much is that my computer has gone in as they think there's a virus and I'm working on the slowest laptop known to man. When I get the other back, this one's got to go in for them to make it faster.

P.P.S. Tomorrow I want to give you a sleep update as it's been a while, hasn't it?

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Do you like getting advice from others?

I was planning on only posting tomorrow… until I saw the question of the week on the MoM blog

What is the best and worst advice you have ever received on raising your multiples?

§ How do you handle unsolicited advice? Do you like getting advice from other moms?

§ Who do you always turn to when you have a parenting question?

§ What's the most helpful thing you have ever learned by reading someone's blog?

§ Share with us the worst piece of advice you were ever given!

§ What is YOUR best piece of advice for other moms?

I don’t think the best or worse advice I ever received was specifically related to multiples as the only people I knew who had twins were 4 girls from the infertility support group who, quite honestly, ALL seemed to have it together.

I really thought I was the only one who felt like I did which is why I seriously turned to blogging about my struggles – cheap therapy.

But the absolute best advice I received was from a work colleague who came to visit when the babies were about 6 weeks old.

She told me that it’s all about SURVIVAL, nothing else. Don’t try to be a good or perfect mother – just do whatever it takes to survive. We were talking about money at the time and I was having a moan about spending my hard-earned bonus on a night nanny LOL

So now, my best piece of advice for other new mothers is, “count down those days to twelve weeks because it honestly gets better after that”. That, and you don’t need even a TENTH of the stuff everyone says you need. This is something I’m quite passionate about – I can’t understand why, as intelligent women, we’re taken in by all the marketing hype that we must have all the latest gadgets, clothes, toys, etc to parent our children!

Another really, really good piece of advice I got was not on another blog but was in a comment on my own:

Each child is always working on something – and it’s often something different - and I see it with my two. Connor’s the better sleeper but Kendra’s the better eater. Kendra rolled first (and has now crawled first) but Connor sat first, etc, etc.

Just today at church, a little boy came scooting over, took Connor’s rattle and the father came over to give it back. He asked how old mine were when they first got their teeth as his little boy is about 10 months old and has no teeth. So I said, “he’s working on other things”. The father looked grateful when I said that but it’s true – he was crawling ALL over the place and standing up by himself.

And of course, my paed said something very early on which has stood me in good stead: the babies just happened to be born at the same time but they are their own people and will develop at their own speed. That, and don’t worry about the milestones – they will catch up by the time they’re two J

So I don’t worry.

To answer the questions properly, I love getting advice from others but it depends how it’s given. If it’s in a know-it-all way, thanks, but no thanks. But genuine caring? I love it.

I turn to the internet when I have a question. And if it’s still bugging me, then I ask the nurse or paed at my next appointment.

I’ve read SO MANY things on other blogs that have helped me but I think the things that help me most is when I get reminders to just relax J

The worse piece of advice for me – sleep when the babies sleep J

So tell me, what’s the best piece of advice YOU’ve ever received?

P.S. My worst piece of advice about infertility (that still gets me on my little soap box) is just to relax and have a holiday and you’ll magically fall pregnant. My answer, “that may be true in a small number of cases for unexplained infertility but no amount of relaxing will fix broken tubes, endometriosis and bad sperm”.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

I've already moved in


With the whole "global economic climate" I decided to start looking for a new house since we'll have to do so eventually and I thought it better to buy sooner rather than later.

What's the point of spending R2 million more in a couple of years, right?

Also, I am super fussy (I get fussier the more houses we buy - we are in our 3rd house now) and I figured the longer I give the agents, the better the chance of getting our perfect house.

Remember I went to see this house?

After that one, I decided to get even more picky selective about my wants and desires so these are the things I added to the list:

  • Must have charm and flow
  • Would be nice if it had a view
  • I'd like a bay window so I can have a love seat built in

Well, the agent emails me on Thursday and said he'd like me to come see a house.

So off I go (I do the first look at any houses as D actually hates looking at houses - I know! crazy!) and ....

I KNEW THE HOUSE!

We'd looked at the house 5 years ago when looking for this house and for some reason, rejected it. But I loved it then.

It had everything on my list plus a pool (I couldn't care less about a pool).

I told both the owner and the agent that I can't remember why we didn't put in an offer then but I'm sure D would remember.

When I got home (I spent 40 minutes at the house - usually spend 5- 10 mins), I said to D, "you'll never guess which house I saw?"

He said straight away, "46 ________ Road"

He's very good!

So then I told him all the changes that had been done (nothing to take away from the charm, thank goodness) and how it was PERFECT for us.

He even remembered some details (do they still have that linen closet? are those bookshelves still in the dining room?). I was seriously impressed.

The reason we didn't put in an offer last time was that we wanted a full cottage on the property so we could rent it out - we've since decided that we are not the landlord type (more D than me as he hates any conflict).

That's it! That was the reason we rejected the house.

No problem - they've actually renovated the maid's quarters (bedroom, bathroom and little kitchenette with sink and one cupboard) and it looks stunning - it's good enough for a guest suite, or a study for me.

So, in case you couldn't guess, I am in love. I had a nap this afternoon and I DREAMED about the house!

It has the same well-maintained wooden floors, doors, two fireplaces (I love the look but never actually use them - too messy), stained glass windows that we had in our old house and that is typical Kensington charm :) I seriously love this type of house and when we moved from our old house, I cried buckets! The only thing that helped was knowing the new owner loved the house as much as I did.

I can see us living at the new house (assuming she accepts our offer) for a long, long time. The 2nd and 3rd bedrooms are very spacious so the kids can have their own bedrooms one day.

At the moment we don't need the maid's quarters as Nanny V doesn't stay in (she has a little boy) but it's useful to have the space for guests.

When we saw the house 5 years ago, a childless couple was living there. They used the 2nd bedroom as a study (it is lovely - overlooks the pool) and the 3rd bedroom as a junk room.

I've already decided that the dining room will be my study (even though it is ginormous!) and we will use one of the open living areas as our dining room (it has a HUGE lounge area overlooking a magnificent view) and the other as an entrance hall to house coats, keys, pram, etc, etc.

30 minutes later....

I bit the bullet and started number crunching.... checking repayment amounts, transfer costs, etc, etc. and if we get what I think we can for our house, we should be able to afford this new one with almost no change to our lifestyle. That's because we owe very little on this house (finally, my love of savings coming in useful as I stack EVERYTHING into the bond account) so should be able to put down a nice, big deposit.

I'll have to get our current house valued by a couple of estate agents first to see if my estimates are on track.... and then we can take it from there.

P.S. Yesterday, a couple of hours after writing that post, someone at work said to me, "you've really taken to motherhood very well" - I was DELIGHTED as the comment came from nowhere! (She's generally very perceptive and always spot on with other people so I do value her opinion... no, she doesn't read the blog :))

P.P.S. I've added a page on the blog (you have to click through if you're reading through a feed reader) with my popular posts if anyone's interested. Strange the ones people find interesting.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Yip, I'm the least likely person to be a mother

I loved the comments on yesterday's post, especially Mandy and Veronica who said they always knew they wanted to be a mother and take care of their babies.

I love it because I was never, ever that person.

Ever.

I vaguely remember ONE doll that I wasn't too keen on playing with when I was a little girl.

What I do remember was playing school and teaching bossing my sister and cousins. And playing with paper and books - I loved loved loved setting up a library, doing those dot to dot puzzles and playing word games.

Not puzzles, mind you, as I'm far too impatient to be still and figure them out.

In fact, my mother always felt I should have gone into teaching but I knew that I would KILL rude kids. Maybe she had a sense of the speaking thing...

When I grew up somewhere in the far recesses of my mind I knew I'd have children ONE DAY but I never ever had the longing for babies.

I didn't even really like babies. Never cooed over babies being brought into the office. But I did like talking and interacting with children once they could talk.

Someone even once told me I'm the least likely person to be a mother. That hurt so much because at the time we were trying and I'd reached the point where I was ready to stop being in denial and face the fact that we had problems.

I know I'm different.

At our infertility group, one girl said she was ALWAYS the person playing with dolls and from the time she was five, she wanted to be a mother and have her own babies. She now has a two-month-old after five years of infertility.

Another friend (hi Caren!) said to me that she honestly LOVES every moment of being a mother of twins (even through all the screaming - her boy was like Kendra). It's almost as if she's playing with dolls when she has to do their laundry, pack it away, etc.

Of course this is so foreign to me because I was never that girl.

Were you that girl?

P.S. This is actually ironic because I now have a real baby (C) and a little baby doll (K), both of whom I love playing with.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

This year I will take chances

So in the spirit of my theme for this year, I thought I’d give a little work update:

Straight after I posted about work, I ran into someone who’s acting as head of an area I’d be quite keen on working in, Group Customer Centricity, and decided to take a risk and talk to her.

Did you know I’m passionate about customer service?

We had a very quick two-minute chat as she was on her way to a meeting but I followed up afterwards with my updated CV.

She sent me a mail saying she was DELIGHTED to see what I’ve been up to (have won awards in my early work days and have done quite a bit, sometimes not even my main job, in the customer service arena) and we need to chat.

That finally happened on Tuesday.

We had an informal chat which is really exactly like an interview for a non-position J

End result? Things are going to take a while, be patient, etc, etc.

My boss has also kept to his word to be proactive and has spoken to HR but he is generally a slow mover on these things… so am not holding my breath. Also, we’re getting a new Head which may or may not be him…

I also bought our weekly newspaper, The Workplace, and carefully scrutinized it. There was absolutely NOTHING I was interested in. But I feel good for at least taking action.

This chat this morning made me think about if I love what I do, how much I love it, etc, etc.

In my current job, I do love love LOVE dealing with people (even annoying people) but I’m not in love with the big company politics and all the red tape. It makes me crazy that I know what is best (really I do, for my campaigns J) but still have to pass it through the gamut of legal, compliance, etc, etc. Drives me nuts!

I always tell people who ask, “nobody ever dreamed of working in insurance but I do love when I can use what I’m good at” – making things more efficient and getting things done, and of course, building relationships. Stuff I can do anywhere really but I think it’s difficult to change industries, or maybe that’s just my perception.

I’d much rather be on the speaking circuit… but for now this suits my lifestyle.

So, are you doing what you’ve always dreamed of? And do you LOVE your job?


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Pink marshmallow & blog makeover

These kids HATE having their nails cut. At least the screaming like I'm killing them has stopped; now we just have the extreme wriggling :)


She decided she'd rather chomp away on my hand

I love her in this pink babygrow - she looks like a marshmallow - all soft and yummy :)


P.S. If anyone's keeping score, I do have a ton of pics of Connor but have to download them and my battery is flat, hence these old pics of Kendra. My stupid camera won't even switch on to download if the battery isn't charged.

P.P.S. I finally "sprung" for a blog makeover - have even paid deposit. I was (unlike-me) spontaneous and now don't know what to tell her to do for me. Ideas for pics, colours????

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Elton John

So I'm back to the computer.

And more importantly, we survived a three-day weekend without a nanny :)

We even managed to go to the mall yesterday for some shopping and lunch.


Back to the Elton John concert...

As you all know I was so excited but then it started RAINING about an hour before we had to leave for the OPEN AIR concert.

I do love the rain but not when I have to be outside.... and I get cold at the best of times so ALWAYS, ALWAYS have a top/ jacket with me, even in the heart of summer.

So this is what I took with me:

  • gloves
  • cap
  • scarf
  • sweatshirt
  • jacket
Thank the Lord, because it was COLD!

We arrived with a minimum of fanfare - D ignored my directions and we had to double back to get to the parking.

I had a moment of panic when I saw HUNDREDS of 50-year-olds and upwards going into the park - "I am the wrong demographic!!!" but when we'd parked we saw more people our age and even younger.

Which reminds me of something I heard ... Katie Melua is the only performer who has people double and triple her age at her concerts. Do you like Katie Melua?

Now here's the thing:

it was expressly stated that if you had beach chairs you were to sit at the back of the park so as not to obstruct the view of people sitting on blankets.

Well, we are LAWLESS in Johannesburg and NOBODY followed the rules.

The (very young) security personnel asked people to move and they blatantly told them, "sorry, I'm not moving".

My mouth hung open in disbelief.

So we had a gorgeous view of.... some people's chairs.

It was honestly ridiculous.


Even bloody David O'Sullivan (Talk Radio 702 personality who was MC'ing) just said, "if the people on beach chairs could please consider those behind them" ........

what the hell?! No self-respecting Jhb person would even take that as an instruction.

Anyway, at least we were not alone as there were literally hundreds of people in the same position as we were.

I had to give myself a good talking-to.... "this is on my life list, I am not going to let them spoil it for me, I need to change my attitude and get happy" etc etc

And so I did.



Is there something about us that we attract the crazies?

A group of three people plonked themselves next to us and proceeded to STAND (yes, STAND!) the minute Elton started the show (The One, if you're interested).

Obviously ALL the people behind them started shouting at them to sit and they wouldn't listen. So then the hero of the night (young-ish girl in her early 30's) came up to them and said, "you guys are spoiling it for all of us. We can't see through you".

Eventually they sat... and our whole section cheered! Terrible. I fully expected some tomato-throwing and some of those to hit us (remember it was a picnic so people had tomatoes).

Anyway, Elton was his usual fabulous self - he has SUCH an amazing voice and is SO, so talented.


I absolutely LOVE seeing people doing what they're passionate about and good at (hence my love for Jamie Oliver and Nigella).

Only thing is... it felt like he was on his own mission. Like he was having a jam session all by himself and we, the audience, were an incidental.

There are two types of performers - those who just do their thing and then there are those who thrive on the audience feedback and who make the audience part of their thing :)

Elton is the first and Rod Stewart is the second.

This was very different to the Rod Stewart concert as Rod was so engaged with the audience and he played TO us. He responded to the audience's feedback.

Do you know what I mean?

So Elton played non-stop but I'd say about 70% were songs nobody had ever heard of. And when he did a "famous" song, the whole park cheered and sang along - it was LOVELY.

I love that vibe about live music.

Again, I had to give myself a talking to - "stop projecting your expectations but accept him for who he is".

Fortunately, he did all my favourites - Your Song, I guess that's why they call it the blues and Don't let the sun go down on me. He also did Philadelphia Freedom, Rocket Man and Honky Cat.

However, D and I realised that that is the first and last time we go to a concert with unreserved seating. I like knowing that I'm paying for a particular seat and I will get that seat. This way we all paid R501 but some of us got really crappy views.

Also, we're too old for sitting on the grass for hours on end. We were SORE the next day.

Another thing struck off my life list.

What are some of the things on your life list?

P.S. D saw Dr G (our wonderful fertility specialist) at the concert too.

P.P.S. This is my post for SteadyMom's challenge (only 27 minutes)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

I definitely have the wrong friends

Something too funny happened to me at work yesterday.

I was speaking to a work friend about sleep (what else?!) and told her that all my friends (except one) have babies that sleep through which is why it was SO GREAT to hear that statistic about only 30% of babies sleeping in Johannesburg.

She says to me, "oh, I knew that stat because ALL my friends have babies who don't sleep through"

Can you believe it? She has an even worse sleeper than Kendra and Connor's worse days but see, she has the right friends :)

It's a long weekend here in South Africa as tomorrow is Human Rights Day. When we have a public holiday that falls on a Sunday, the Monday following is automatically a public holiday too. Lovely, isn't it?

Of course tomorrow is the Elton John concert. Heather, I thought of you when I heard "Philadelphia Freedom" in the car :)

V is coming to work at 4 pm to babysit K&C and D will drop her off at home after the concert.

I can't WAIT!

What are you up to this weekend?

Friday, March 19, 2010

Food glorious food

Speaking of food, don't you love that scene in the movie, Spanglish, where he's trying to eat the famous Spanglish sandwich and instead they have the argument.

OH MY WORD - that sandwich looks so yummy!

And then the scene in No Reservations where they cook the pasta.

I was ready for a lovely bowl of pasta straight after that :)

There's a lovely scene in It's Complicated where she makes chocolate croissants - I love how they make it look so easy; I'm even tempted to try make my own!

This is why I get cooking after I watch any Nigella or Jamie Oliver on TV - there's just something about people who love food.

And when the photography's good too, I literally DROOL.

I'll confess - when Oprah has any cooking segments, I record them to watch AT MY LEISURE over and over again.

I think this is why I'm addicted to food blogs - most of them are not in my reader because I'd be even MORE overweight than I already am.

The Pioneer Woman is my favourite and I'll have you know that I discovered her all by myself ages ago well before she got famous and appeared on everyone's blogrolls :) Just call me a trendsetter.

And Bakerella is my favourite baking blog - I never make anything, of course, because I have no patience for decorating. Although I have baked the Cowgirl Cookies, with a twist.

Do you also like to watch food scenes in movies? What are your favourite food blogs?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Sister Lilian on sleep


So I went to a Living and Loving (South African parenting magazine)/ Pampers workshop two Saturdays ago.

I try and keep my expectations low so that I'm not disappointed in the speakers, etc.

I even said to my coach, "all I want out of the morning is to spend some girl time with my friends and if I learn something, GREAT!"

Well, I learned a whole lot of somethingS AND THEN SOME.

We had wonderful, wonderful food.... always a good sign, a goodie bag full of wonderful things, a 6-month subscription to the magazine (that, by itself is worth the cost of the workshop) and all in a beautiful venue.

that's my little black Corsa on the right of the pic


Okay, so I got lost twice - on the way there and then leaving again. I am USELESS with maps but I refuse to get GPS as I believe they're for lazy people. Yes, lazy but punctual people. So I drive with a map book and a highlighter (!) and keep pulling over to check I'm on track.

Anyway, moving along...

The speaker was Sister Lilian, a very well-known midwife and nurse in South Africa. Since the workshop, I've been onto her site and guess what? She sells 15-minute advice sessions for ONLY R50 ($6,50) - bargain!

I'm slow! I just realised I can phone her about the food issues! Yay.

Right, so she's a lot more woo-woo than I am... no surprise there but a LOT of what she said makes a lot of sense.

I'm not going to type out everything she said (although I do have 5 pages of notes - yes, I'm a nerd and I always have a notebook with me) but these are the things I found particularly interesting:

  • treat your children as individuals and they'll be their perfect little selves
  • find your OWN children's rhythms
  • as long as it (whatever it is in the particular situation) isn't harmful or unkind to your babies, it's FINE
  • parenting is about survival
  • you will be far happier when you take your baby's temperament into account
  • if you don't diagnose the problem properly, you can't find a solution.


E.g. don't say, "my baby's not sleeping!"

That's not true.

Say, "my baby wakes 3 times every night and THAT is stressing me out" - the problem is now diagnosed - (1) baby waking 3 times and (2) your stress.

Also, she said people don't tell other people (it's that secrecy thing again) that they got up twice to put dummies (pacifiers) in their babies' mouths, or they had to get up to shush and rock the baby, etc, etc

That's true.

So for the sake of keeping it 100% real, my babies go to bed drowsy but awake, put themselves to sleep and when they do wake, we are up for a maximum of 10 minutes each time, feed the baby, no rocking, and straight back to sleep for me (D sometimes battles to fall back asleep).

Not bad.

The title of her presentation on sleep was called Sleepless in South Africa.

Isnt' that great?

We discussed how the "sleeping like a baby" thing is actually a myth. The only people who sleep like babies are:

  1. earth mother types - I am not one of these
  2. pleasantly plump babies who love food, easy-to-please, placid, calm dispositions, etc. - in Baby Whisperer terms, sounds to me like Angel babies

The things I took away about sleep (there were much more):

  1. a relaxed mother equals a relaxed baby (or babies, as is our case), hence the Zen-ness, Saffy :)
  2. don't ever disturb the core sleep (first long stretch of sleep) with dream feeds and whatnot (I'd been wondering if I should try and give a bottle at 10/ 11)
  3. don't clockwatch (oh I'm an expert at this, can we say *ahem* The Notebook) because you are focussing your attention on the problem and what you focus on, expands. Psych 1.
  4. this is only temporary (even if you think it will never end) - LauraC told me once that the only reason I'm obsessed is because I can't see the end of the sleeplessness. If I knew WHEN it would happen, I'd relax. Very, very true. Wise woman, that Laura :)
  5. I am not alone. Did you get that? I AM NOT ALONE.

That was the biggest take away for me - I am not alone.

All over Johannesburg there are babies not sleeping. In fact, if your baby is sleeping through, you are in the minority (30%).

Do you know how chipper I was when I heard that?

I swear she set me free.

I could FEEL the weight lift from my shoulders and sat there inwardly smiling the rest of the time.

The MINUTE her presentation ended (there was time for Q & A afterwards) I RUSHED to her to thank her for giving me peace.

Yes, I did.

I would have paid for the entire workshop just to hear that statement.

I am not alone!

I haven't thrown out The Notebook - that will only happen when I can actually remember which baby ate what and I fear that may never be...

And just because I am not alone doesn't mean we stop striving for total sleeping through (I'll post a sleep update in a few days' time) but I now know that actually, my sitation isn't that bad - it's just my bad luck that I am friends with the 30% of people who have babies sleeping through.

Thank God for Caroline, my friend with the twins, otherwise I'd really feel like I was in the twilight zone.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Food strike!

Connor is on a food strike.

Not all food.... only meat and veggies-type food (and yes, also our beloved Annabel Karmel food!)

Of course this is highlighted because Kendra is a DREAM eater.

Except for her new trick, spitting. I let her do it once but then thought, "what the hell?! this is a BABY spitting food at ME" so stopped feeding her.

She's very clever and stopped that nonsense the minute I got up from my
seat.

Normally she opens her mouth WIDE like a little bird and eats everything. We have to show her the empty bowl so she can see the meal's over, otherwise she'll keep opening that little mouth. Very very cute

I swear she gets cuter by the day. Example....

"Kendra, what are you?"

BABABABABA

"Good girl! And what's Connor?"

BABABABABA

(of course, I time my questions for when she starts her talking :)


Anyway, our feeding schedule is currently:

8 am - veggies and chicken/ lentils/ minced beef

10 am - milk

12 am - fruit and yoghurt

2 pm - milk

4 pm - cereal - since the 8-month appt, I give one block of food here too

5:30 - 6 pm milk


Back to Connor.

He started whining more at mealtimes a few weeks ago... but still ate.

Now he won't even open that mouth for the first mouthful!

This is what I've tried:

  • I sing Wild Thing to him, which he loves, so he laughs and when he opens his mouth, I quickly pop a mouthful in. Just thought of something - maybe it's my SINGING he's laughing at. I know David (my friend, Nat's son) laughs at her when she prays :)
  • not giving him any milk for HOURS before the meal just in case he wasn't properly hungry - not the answer because he does the same thing even if his last feed in the night was at 3am
  • giving him whatever he doesn't finish (in the beginning, usually just a teaspoon's worth) mixed into his cereal - worked for about 3 days and then he realised what was happening so is now wise to my tricks

It all came to a head on Thursday afternoon.

They'd been out late for a walk so the mealtimes were running late and into the time V leaves (5 pm) so I said I'd feed Connor so she could get going (she's very committed and likes to do all the things on her list before even thinking of leaving).

Well, BIG MESS. He fought me like crazy - his entire face, hands, legs and feet were FULL of food so I literally took him straight to the bathroom and gave him his second bath within hours.

Next day I decided not to mess with V and her way of doing things and she fed him. Much better - still a bit of whining but very bad as with me.

Then on the weekend, he just flat out refused everything. Annabel Karmel food, plain veggies, sweet potato, even CEREAL, our go-to food. He thought the cereal had food in it.

I always SAID (all those things you say you'll never do when you're a mother) I'll never make a big issue about food but I know that no eating means no sleeping and frankly, I'm old and I need my sleep.

I even found myself saying things like, "do you KNOW how I slaved over a hot stove cooking this for you?" - it's true, my kitchen is blazing hot in the afternoons :) I cringe writing that but I'm committed to keeping it real.

Eventually I thought let's just try some banana and yoghurt, thinking he'd also spit it out so I didn't even bother with a bib.

BIG MISTAKE - look!


On Sunday he deigned to eat a few baby spoons' worth of food (not even teaspoons) and was properly back on his cereal - I tried no funny business initially but later sneaked in some cream cheese.

On Monday morning when V arrived I was stern with her.

"V, have you been telling me the truth about Connor's eating? Because he refused EVERYTHING with us this weekend."

She laughed and said he does whine at the start but he will eat with her. I've said before that she has ENDLESS patience with them.

Still, I'm not happy that he doesn't want to open his mouth and eat properly because HE USED TO eat nicely. If he'd always had eating problems I wouldn't mind this so much.

Yesterday, we did mostly veg...2 veg cubes and 1 with protein. Still a bit of whining.

So we've gone back to basics today.

3 butternut cubes with a teaspoon of cream cheese. He whined but not too much. V tells me she thinks he was only eating FOR the cream cheese. This boy is going to drive me nuts.

He will have butternut for 3 days and then we'll switch to sweet potato and carrots like in the early days but keep trying my Annabel Karmel meals since my freezer is FULL of them. I think I got addicted to the food ice cubes and went a bit wild.

Right, over to you. (I keep thinking, the nurse said they need two protein meals a day and he REFUSES)

ANY IDEAS???

(a funny thing just occurred to me - Nat told me David just SEES her approaching with the butternut and starts crying :) Typical South African male [meat, no veggies] as I've seen him happily eating biltong. I wonder if it's still the same - must check)

My friend with the twins

I was saying something to a colleague the other day about something baby and referenced "my friend with the twin girls" (the ones who had their first birthday party - btw, BOTH girls are now walking!).

So he says, "how many friends with twins do you have?"

I said, "um, I think FIVE"

He says, "wow, there must be something in the water "

I said, "yes, it's the water of INFERTILITY. we ALL have IVF twins"

SILENCE!!!!!!!!

I really need to stop being so naughty - this is a very sweet, quietish guy from the UK.... stiff upper lip and all that :) but how can I resist?!


P.S. Currently listening to the hold music at Jhb Connect to query my R9 000 electricity bill (should be no more than R1500). I'm so ZEN about this it's freaky.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

My success as a mother

Since I wrote that post on redefining my success, I've been thinking a lot around my role as a mother.

What does it mean (to me) to be a successful mother?

I've always, ALWAYS, even in the good old days when I thought the journey to children would be quick and painless (ha!), thought that I'd be a good mother.

I had visions of my four children - yes, four - playing together, eating together, going to school, etc, etc.

Then, as I aged, the vision went to three kids, and then two. And finally, when I accepted my infertility, I really just wanted ONE child, any child.

And now I have two :)

Anyway, despite the diminishing vision of a large family, I don't think I ever let go of the romance of parenthood. You know, similar to the twin romance thing I've spoken about before.

I think it's because I've been really good at everything I've ever set my mind to in life (well, except SPORT! Have no co-ordination with ball sports whatsoever!) and naturally, I thought I'd be a good mother too.

And then the reality of parenthood set in...

  1. First the babies came early despite me having a really good pregnancy.
  2. Then there was the NICU stay.
  3. And then there was Kendra. D reminded me of those days the other day just when I was getting misty-eyed about that newborn stage. My word! I honestly don't know HOW we survived. It was by the grace of God (Kendra's second name is Grace, by the way).
  4. Her eternal screaming .... and formula issues.... remember she hardly ate a thing for 8 weeks, from the time she came out of hospital until 1 October (otherwise known as The Day We Put Kendra on Novalac AC).
  5. And through it all, the sleep issues. Which, I now find out, are really not that bad (but that's a topic for another post).

I really had a hard time lining up my expectations with reality. The hard work of twins has almost been a breeze by comparison.

I think it's because of a number of things:

  • people don't tell you the truth (also another post!)
  • there's a secrecy if you're battling emotionally (I've found that people have no problems talking about the physical work)
  • infertiles are supposed to love everything about parenting (after all, you waited so long and paid such a lot of money to get the babies).

I know I felt TONS better when I started talking about the parts that are terrible about this mothering thing. Yes, I felt guilty in the beginning but I soon realised that most people feel the same things but just don't talk about it.

I honestly thought that I was the only one with baby problems because all over Facebook, real life and the blogosphere, I'd hear/ read things like, "oh motherhood is SO wonderful, I love being a mommy, etc, etc" all of which made me feel worse and worse.

Surely I can't be the worse mother in the world???

At one of our infertility group meetings, one brave girl shared that she was on anti-depressants.... turns out 90% of the people there were in the same boat but too scared to say so.

This secrecy thing is killing us!

So, sleeping through the night.

Since the severe sleep deprivation of the early days, my goal and dream has to have the babies sleeping through the night.

And I realised something the other day - the reason I'm so hung up about sleep is not about the babies - it's about ME.

I can't get them to sleep through so I feel like a bad mother and that means I'm a failure.

Which is just crazy. But it's what I've been thinking, deep down.

Because when I looked at my success pages, I saw nothing about sleep - instead my goal is to have healthy, happy, thriving babies.

They certainly are all that and more.

So when my natural tendency to stress about the sleep starts taking over, these days I'm chanting, "my success as a mother is not dependent on my babies sleeping through the night."

And you know what? I feel FREEDOM!

P.S. No pics as this is my 30-minute post for Steadymom

Monday, March 15, 2010

I was right - they do improve with age

C crawling all over D's sister



Before infertility I would only ever hold babies who were 6 months and older. They somehow felt sturdier and more solid, not like I could do much wrong and break them :)

And now I'm finding that I still enjoy this age with my own babies.

hey! get that camera out of here
Cute but still sassy


At 6 months they started getting seriously cute and it hasn't stopped. They now
  • smile ALL the time
  • go get their own toys :) as they're more mobile
  • they play together, sometimes
  • don't cry as much (this is my best - I can't stand the crying)
  • crawl all over me
  • talk to and answer us
From 6 - 7 months I have something new written on the wall calendar (which I use in place of a baby book) almost every day.

Rolling, sitting, playing with toes, grabbing spectacles, kissing my cheeks and chin with wet, slobbery goodness, crawling, teeth, etc.

I'm also seeing SO MUCH of D's personality in C it's frightening and cute, all at the same time.

But the absolute best thing ever is the independence.

My goal as a parent has always been (even when I didn't have children) to raise independent, well-adjusted kids.

I LOVE that they can hold their own bottles, that one baby can amuse him/ herself while I change the other's nappy/ clothes, etc. That they can play independently for some time (K more so than C). That they can lay in their cots in the mornings after waking, talking and babbling to themselves without SCREAMING for us.


Look how Zen I am despite their mesh feeders being on the carpet! And my MIL's house is a cat house!!!

It's fabulous.

D and I have been talking about going on holiday. He's a bit reluctant because we're so used to having Nanny V during the week and on the occasional Saturday morning.

When I reminded him that actually, we're not so knackered on Sunday evenings anymore, we realised that it really is getting easier.

Who would have thought?!

Yes, we're still waking about 2 - 3 times at night (total) - it used to be 3 times per baby - but they go down for naps and sleep like a dream. No fighting except if overtired but we're so vigilant we haven't had more than one or two episodes in the last month (C; K doesn't freak out when she's tired)

I can also say that I'm a more confident parent these days. 95% of the time I know what I'm doing and why I'm doing it.

This really is my favourite stage so far! I know it's short-lived until they're properly mobile but for now I'm loving it.


****************************

Nanny V and I took them for their 8-month stats on Monday. I am loving Sister Carla more and more. This time the receptionist with the curly hair wasn't there so Connor didn't bother flirting with any of them.

Connor
Height
- 70 cm
Weight - 9.09 kg
Head - 45.5 cm

Kendra
Height - 66 cm
Weight - 6.28 kg
Head - 43.7 cm

In a nutshell, C grew 2 cm and 620 g and K grew 3 cm and 520 g over the last month. I'm very happy with K's growth.

I asked about their feeding - a post for another day but C's off his veg - and also mentioned that he'd started waking before 11 most nights. She said he shouldn't and I should add protein to their supper. Also I should mix his night feeds with one less scoop than you're supposed to. Do that for a month (a MONTH!) and then reduce by another scoop.

I'm hoping he sleeps til after midnight soon because I have no patience for these itsy-bitsy baby steps. She said that if you do it too fast, they rebel and freak out.

Too true - we tried it before. The first night was fine but the second night Connor was like, "what on earth! WHERE is the real deal? I don't want this watered-down stuff! WAAAAAHHHHHH"

Next appointment with both nurse (for vaccinations) and paed (who was in one of our magazines this month!) at 9 months.

What's your favourite stage?

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Our first visit to casualty

I was very brave today. Actually to be perfectly honest, I simply blocked out the fact that I'd be leaving my BABIES with my MIL to go see a movie.

The babysitting was all D's idea and as he said, "what's the worse that can happen? They scream for two hours."

Hmmm.

It was hard to leave (strange - I don't even THINK about anything happening when the babies are with Nanny Viola) but we left and went to the movies. We went to see It's Complicated and I LOVED it.

I laugh a LOT at everything, sometimes at things other people don't find funny :) and there was a lady there who was the same on the other end of the cinema and the two of us had a BALL.

So, great acting, beautiful house, nice food and a great story. Another Nancy Meyers hit :)

We drove past my friend's house on the way home to give her a birthday present and we'd literally just arrived when my phone rang.

My MIL says something about Connor's arm and she thinks he needs to go to the hospital.

I was remarkably calm considering this is MY BOY. I'm very calm in stressful work situations; nice to know I still have "it" going on :) - even D said he was pleasantly surprised I didn't freak out LOL

We were at home two minutes later, assessed the arm and grabbed the boy and off we went. I remembered running out the door that he'd be hungry soon so grabbed a bottle and we were off.

See, his one arm was totally normal (he is wild and boyish) but the left one was hanging by his side. When we touched it, he wanted to start crying. We also held out something to him and he didn't even bother trying to grab it as he usually does so big alarm bells.

look how his left arm is hanging down


The hospital was a pleasure. The whole trip there, waiting, seeing a doctor, X-raying, seeing the doctor, getting home was all less than 45 minutes. Amazing. And wonderful staff - same hospital I had them at.

(stark contrast to the absolutely shocking customer service we'd just experienced at Checkers Hyper where I had to collect the Elton John tickets - if I felt like wasting time, I'd write to their management)

Also this is another reason I LOVE living in Bedfordview - it's like we're not even in Johannesburg (lots of rude, impatient people... well, compared to the coast, were I'm from). People speak to one another and it's a real community. Connor was his charming self and I didn't get in the least bit tired of everyone telling me how cute he is.

The doctor on call did a general exam - eyes, ears, tongue and I think with all that poking and prodding, his arm went back into place because when we were sent to X-ray, he was perfect again. Normal, happy Connor, grabbing at everything (my glasses, necklace, etc.) with BOTH hands.

the cutest little patient I've ever seen :) -
they even have those backless gowns, but TINY ones


left arm back in action in the x-ray queue

getting the x-rays done (I made D hold his arm down!)


We had the x-rays done anyway and when we went back to be seen again, he confirmed that Connor was fine and that the bone probably went back into place when they did the x-rays.

And that was that.

I was so relieved that I told Connor, "today you get away with ANYTHING" and that, my friends, is how it starts.

While we had a very pleasant experience considering... I'm not anxious to repeat that visit anytime soon although, as a mother of a boy, I suspect that there just might be more visits in the future.

BTW, D thinks he may have been too rough when they were playing this morning - BOYS! I am so Zen I didn't even shout or blame him.

P.S. Currently listening to Billy Joel's Piano Man - LOVE the lyrics - next week this time I'll be listening to Elton John LIVE. I can't wait!

P.P.S. We popped in to NICU since it was right next to the x-ray dept and the two nurses on duty both looked after Connor & Kendra when they were patients there. They could not BELIEVE how big he is. I also can't believe that was 8 months ago.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Milk tart & grocery shopping


So Rebecca and Deanna asked about milk tart in the 29 gifts post. Milk tart is a South African staple but I've never made one. Have just found this easy recipe though so I may just take a bash at it one day when I'm 3 kg lighter!

Milk tart is absolutely delicious and yet so light that you can easily finish a whole tart between two people in one weekend.

Not that I know this from personal experience ;)

It has an almost-custardy filling with cinnamon sprinkled on top. Yummy!

It's the type of thing that everybody eats and if you take it as your contribution to any function, it WILL be gobbled up. I promise you!

An aside... A friend of mine moved from SA to Las Vegas (long story... she met a guy) and once took a milk tart to a party.

EVERYONE LOVED IT and started ordering them from her. South Africans, get this - she started charging them $20 (R150) to make one, which they were all gladly paying. We buy them here for about R20 which is why I love the story! Supply and demand in action LOL


This recipe and pic from Hulett's website


Crumb crust made with 1 packet of crushed Tennis biscuits (coconut biscuits/ cookies) and 125g butter, melted.

FILLING:
500ml (2 cups) milk
Piece of cinnamon stick
60 - 100ml Huletts White Sugar, depending on personal taste
2 eggs
45ml (3 Tablespoons) cornflour
45ml (3 Tablespoons) flour
3ml (½ teaspoon) vanilla essence
30ml (2 Tablespoons) butter
Cinnamon and sugar for sprinkling

Method

CRUST:
  1. Combine the crushed Tennis biscuits and the melted butter, and press into a pie dish.
FILLING:
  1. Heat the milk with the piece of stick cinnamon to just under boiling point.
  2. Meanwhile, lightly beat the eggs with the sugar, then add the cornflour and flour.
  3. Pour the hot milk onto this mixture, stirring rapidly. Return the mixture to the heat and cook, stirring till the mixture becomes very thick. Thorough stirring is important to prevent the mixture from catching on the bottom of the pan, and to prevent lumps.
  4. Off the heat, add the essence and add the butter. Stir well till the butter is melted.
  5. Pour the mixture into the prepared tart crust. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.

*************************

okay, onto more fun things:

SHOPPING!!!!

We have an agreement where D does the grocery shopping while I do the laundry.

This works because he sticks to the list EXACTLY and we spend a lot less money this way.

However, I am apparently "too fussy" about the veggies for the babies' food so he told me I need to do the shop every second week.

Watch that grocery bill skyrocket.

Although secretly, I really don't mind - I can spend HOURS in the cleaning products aisle looking at all the new stuff.

Who does the grocery shopping in your house? And which is your favourite aisle?

Friday, March 12, 2010

29 gifts & gift-giving

I read about 29 gifts on Dee's blog and LOVED the idea.

Basically, you give a gift to someone every day for 29 days. My take on the concept is that it stops you focussing on just your own problems which, as we all know, makes you feel worse.

I'm enjoying thinking up how to surprise people because even though I hate surprises (typical control freak!), I do love surprising others.

I started on Friday 26th and am still going strong.

So far the gifts I've given away include:

  1. milk tart (do you have milk tart in your side of the world?)
  2. handbags - I still get the rush but get to give them away so no clutter for me LOL
  3. pencil lead
  4. long, chatty phone calls with friends
  5. actual birthday gifts
  6. salary increase to Nanny V (that was brilliant and on cue, while I was doing the "we appreciate you" bit, Connor gave her a gorgeous, BIG smile so I said, "see, V, even Connor agrees")
  7. baby gifts to people I barely know (this has been fabulous - the GENUINE surprise is amazing)
  8. magazines
  9. CDs with pictures of the babies for everyone in my family - no one's expecting so that will be a nice surprise
  10. pregnancy journal

My approach has been
  • block out the 29 days on calendar
  • write in birthdays - those I would already be getting gifts for so less to think about :)
  • make a list of other possibles
  • get to it
The gifts don't have to be new, store-bought gifts - they can be gifts of time, gifts of yourself like baking and cooking, a thoughtful note, etc.

I've also received three lovely gifts recently:

I like to send pics of the babies wearing clothes to the people who gave them those clothes. E.g. I'll send a pic and say "hi Edith. See how snug Kendra is in the blanket you gave her" or "hi Bipin, do you see how useful your bibs are? Connor drools like crazy."

If I write a blog post and use one of those pics, I mention the people (like in this one and this one).

I have received feedback that people get a kick out of it. I also get a kick out of using things lovingly chosen by friends and honestly, those emails take literally a minute extra while I'm downloading but they show that we appreciate our friends' generosity.

Recently we received a used walker from a colleague at work whose wife wanted to throw it out. He rescued it for me so when it had been cleaned, I plopped Connor in there and he loved it. I quickly took a pic with my phone and texted it to him saying, "R, the walker's a HIT. Look how much he's enjoying it. Thanks again to you and J."

Well, one friend said to me yesterday that my little email MADE HER DAY. She could NOT stop gushing about how she loved it. Which, in turn, made MY day. Who knew that a simple thing I do without even thinking would have such an impact on a person?

I also received a lovely note from another friend that was attached to a magazine. I LOVED the note and it is propped up on my desk so I can glance at it and smile ;)

And the third thing was oh so practical but so very welcome - 2 bottles of ViDaylin :) (baby vitamins)

I'm loving this 29 gifts project so much I may just carry it over and do one gift a week forever....

Anyone else doing 29 gifts? Do you have any other good ideas?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Speaking of work

I am all antsy again.

Itching for a change. Wanting a move.

It really doesn't take me long to feel restless at work.

I need NEW stuff frequently or I get bored.

Also, I have this rule :) No longer than 5 years at a company.

Company 1 - 5 years 2 months

Company 2 - 5 years 1 month

Company 3 - ?

(remember those series things they do as part of your mental agility? I'm great at those although I seriously would love to know what my current IQ's at)

My 5 years at Company 3 are up on 18 April.

That's little more than a month away.

Also, I technically only have to be there until end March so as not to have money clawed back from me for my 4 months paid maternity leave.

Do you also have clawbacks for paid maternity leave?

I take a perverse sort of pleasure in calculating these things and also, there's a kind of freedom in knowing that I could, if I wanted to, just LEAVE.

I won't... I'm much too risk-averse.... but I like knowing that.

A couple of things happened:

ONE
At our first Infertility Group in Feb, the group leader passed around a gorgeous bucket with strips of paper.

We each had to pick one and then share with the group how we'd interpreted our statement.

This Year I Will Take Chances

That's what mine said and so I shared how I'm ever so comfortable at work, I can do it in my sleep and know I should move but............ a bit scared because of the freedom and flexibility they currently give me.

BUT I said I will take chances and step out of my comfort zone and simply trust that God will give me a great job at a similar or even better company.

Easier to write than to do :)

TWO
Anyway, so a few weeks ago, I initiated a meeting with my wonderful boss.

I told him I'm feeling antsy and bored and if I were one of my coaching clients, I'd tell me to go look for something else.

Yes, I'm bolshie like that. Also, we have that kind of relationship. Also, he knows about my coaching business (I also practice on him sometimes LOL) - there is no conflict of interest within my current role so no problems.

HE says to ME that he really think I need people reporting to me again in a line management role. I agree - I am a bossy boots but actually I do temper it when I have actual staff.


I've also been thinking to maybe go back into a role where I can impact customers - I am crazy and love dealing with clients - maybe something where I can influence strategy in the customer communications/ service arenas...

Blah blah blah... to cut a long story short, he will talk to HR to see where they can move me so I'll be happy.

In the meantime, I contacted a recruitment agent who said the market is slow. I didn't believe her so I bought the paper and sure enough, slow. Well, for my type of work.

THREE
Another thing also happened - the bulk of my work is on a VERY big campaign (product line). A big campaign that, quite honestly, if it was me running things, I would have canned long ago.

Just not selling in droves as we thought. Believe me, we've tried everything - some of the best creative and experienced minds have been working on this.

I have said over and over the only way we'll sell gazillions is to do X. Well, we can't seem to get a partner to do X with us (X is not our expertise).

We had a few things going and it's like all the opportunities are fading fast.

In the last week alone, we've had heads of two Large Institutions tell us (bluntly), No Way will this work in our environment.

I think my boss finally got it today because I am also very black and white and I said to him last week after the meeting with Large Institution 1, "at what point will we face facts and can this thing?"

He then said, "if Large Institution 2 doesn't bite" and today, that's what happened. Oh, I did my thing I'm good at which is to stay calm, objective and problem solve on the spot, try and find a win-win.

Only thing that happened is I "got" them better. I even admire them for sticking to their guns and resisting the gentle persuasion (!) of both of us. But the product is still a no go.

Eeeeeekkkkk.

I am also working on some cool marketing stuff that we've never done before and I am so passionate about it (sorry for all the vagueness - I don't want to be fired just yet) that I literally want EVERYONE in the company to use. So there is that.

When we can the product, it doesn't affect my job, per se, as there is lots I can do within the team BUT I'm not into busy work. I want to be valued and effective, not just doing rubbish any old well-organised person can do.

Something similar happened years ago - hired to look after Big Account, Big Account left and ended up doing piddly rubbish for awhile.

Have now learned my lesson so I'm definitely going to start looking seriously next week and hopefully the right job (inside or outside my company) will fall into my lap, just as this one did.

Now this is a bit weird.... but I feel like this is speaking to someone (or two) out there. If it does resonate with you for whatever reason, leave me a comment...

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