- Take your time on the drive. At first I thought a 15 minute drive was a downside of her school, as opposed to one round the corner. However, this drive has proven a blessing in disguise. In the mornings it gives her a chance to calm down and transition from home to school. On the way home, this time allows her to exhale after a long morning and gives me a chance to chat about her day.
- Ask questions, wait for answers. I’ve found that I often don’t get answers on the way home, but the question has planted a seed and little nuggets of information come out later – sometimes over lunch or while she’s playing but usually when she’s lying in bed just before falling asleep.
- Know school details. By knowing the details of the child’s daily routine at school, you’re able to ask detailed questions without trying to cover the whole day with one broad question. So on Tuesdays: “How was Kindermusik – did you sing any of your favourite songs?, who did you sit next to?”, “then did you play in garden?”, “What was for snack?”, “what stories did you read before home time”. I make sure I know all the kids’ names in her class as then I can include them in our conversations and find out more about her interactions. Often information comes out when she’s telling me about someone else. “Jack was in time-out” “Oh, really what did Jack do?”
- Admire the masterpieces. I have found that artworks brought home to be excellent conversation starters as it is something concrete to discuss. “What did you make today? Oh this beautiful bee! How did you do it? What did you learn about bees?”
- Use the feedback. When the teacher gives me feedback on her day I use this to ask a question and allow her the time and space to answer it. “Did you feel sad at school today? Why?”
We live in a world in which posting pictures of our personal lives online has become the norm. Weddings, vacations, births and birthdays – we snap them, post them and share them without a second thought. As such, I was very interested to find out from a mama I know that she and her husband decided not to publish any pictures of their baby girl online.We asked her some questions about her decision, the reason behind it and how she controls it. Her answers certainly made me stop and think.
What is the reason for not publishing any photographs of your baby online?
By choosing to publish my baby’s photo’s online I am choosing to put her in the public domain thereby not allowing her the choice herself. I believe that when she is older and more mature she can decide to what degree she would like her life to be made public.
What influenced your thinking in this regard?
I think it’s influenced by how I view parenting and my daughter – as I say that I am fully aware that she is not mine, she has come through me, and her life and her person is her own. Whilst as a parent I currently make decisions regarding her survival and wellbeing, such as what she eats, how much sun she is exposed to etc, it is not my place to make decisions on how she chooses to express herself in the public domain. As a person in her own right, I cannot take that choice away from her.
When did you decide this?
During the pregnancy.
Were you and your husband/partner on the same page or did one of you convince the other?
Through active discussion, we took time to work out how we both felt about this and found ourselves on the same page making the same decision.
How do you control your child’s picture not being posted online by other people, for example pictures at a birthday party or class photographs?
We don’t and we can’t completely. We have asked all our close family not to publish, especially pictures of just our daughter alone. Whilst group pictures are difficult to control, if I feel its necessary I will and in fact have asked friends to crop or remove the pictures.
Until what age will you continue to not publish pictures of your baby?
I can’t say completely as this is a working decision. That said – when my child is in a place to make decisions about her own content, it will be her choice at that time and not mine.
We’ve heard of people buying setting up social media accounts for their children to give to them when they are old enough – for example a gmail account, a facebook account, an instagram account, etc. – have you done something like this?
Yes we have.
In a similar vein, do you allow your baby to have access to ipads (e.g. baby apps), phones or TV?
We do allow limited access and I hope to continue in that way. I believe literacy and the kind of exposure is important – active and creative engagement with an app is very different from passive entertainment as with television. I also feel that screen time should be limited as children still need to be running around and interacting with friends.
Highchairs are a big part of our life, and not just because we have two of them at our dining table in our open-plan apartment. Once you introduce solids to your babe and they are ready to sit in a highchair, over an hour a day is spent in the chair so I spent quite a while searching for the right chairs. Essentially, I wanted my twins to be as comfortable as possible in order to make meals as easy as possible.
Through research I put together a list of criteria for the baby, and then added in our personal criteria:
Criteria for the baby
– Padding on the seat
– Safety strap
– Adjustable foot rest (so baby’s legs don’t hang)
Criteria for me:
– Not too bulky (because of our space limitations)
– Neutral colours
– Easy to clean
– Not too expensive (as we were buying two)
– Big enough for up to three years
Eventually I found the BebeConfort Keyo Highchair at BabyCity (pictured below). It meets all the above criteria except for the adjustable footrest (it does have a footrest but little legs need to be quite long to reach it). My only complaint about the chair is that the removable tray (the blue part of the tray in the image below) is too easily removed so little hands can lift it up. Other than that I love it and would highly recommend it.
Christy Turlington posed with her family for the August 2009 issue of Vogue. Isn’t this pic a wonderful one? From left to right: Ed Burns, Grace Burns, Christy Turlington and Finn Burns… what a beautiful family.
Rochelle is a good friend of mine and one of the loveliest mamas I know. Rochelle is a full time mama while running her own business as an architect. She lives in Linden with her husband Ewoud and their 16 month old babe Anton. On the weekends you’ll find them in Johannesburg’s beautiful Emmarentia Dam park.
This had more relevance in the beginning, but I loved using my breastfeeding pillow! A small inexpensive addition to the nursery that made the world’s difference I am sure!
How has your style changed since becoming a mom?
Comfort was definitely on the forefront while pregnant and breastfeeding, but since that is now a thing of the past I would think i am back to my ‘old ways’. My style have always been more casual so perhaps it would have changed a bit more if I used to wear heels… I cannot imagine running after a 16 month old with heels 🙂
Favourite product for babies and why?
Anton loved his Sophie the giraffe! What a great teething toy!
A baby essential you couldn’t live without and why?
This had more relevance a few months back. But I (and the husband) could not have gotten more value out of our pouch (baby carrier) Great for walks in the park, for times I needed both my hands and Anton needed me and also GREAT for keeping Anton close when all he wanted to do was cuddle.
Best gift you have received for your baby and why?
One of my bet gifts at my baby shower will have to be a fabric seat that fits over a chair. I use it sooooo often. It fits in the nappy bag and Its a very clever little seat indeed. I started using it even before Anton could sit properly and I am sure i will use it for a while still.
Favourite book to read to our baby and why?
“Kielie my magie” – This is a very basic children’s book, I actually bought it at a secondhand bookstore! Anton loves me reading or just paging through this cardboard book! Perhaps the texture or sounds of the little chick appeals to him!? A very cute addition to his growing library!
Favourite song to sing to your babe or their favourite song to hear?
Anton doesn’t really have choice in the matter. He is growing up with music playing constantly.. Be it the morning radio in our bedroom, some classic music (especially on weekend mornings), country music or any other beloved artist playing. Music is a part of who we are, so he just have to follow suit. We did however buy him a few cd’s of his own – “Goggatjie” is an Afrikaans series of traditional and other educational songs for babies and toddlers and he LOVES it when we play it, especially when we play the lullaby cd on a long drive in the car.
Where is your favourite place to go hang with your baby?
Our favorite family hang out will definitely be Emmerentia dam/ Jhb. botanical gardens! We go there at least once a weekend and during the week it is where you will find Anton and I most late afternoons!
Favourite meal to give your child?
Anton is a meat lover! I find he especially likes saucy mince with a lovely white sauce with basmati rice, avo and some cream cheese mixed in. Sounds a bit much? You can actially try it yourself… All the flavors work well together!
Naming your children always has a story. How did you pick your children’s names?
For us it was relatively easy – Anton Christiaan Derksen is named after my husband’s father and grandfather… Anton = Anton Gustav Derksen (grandfather) and Christiaan = Christiaan Hildebrandt Derksen (great grandfather). We followed the tradition approach in naming our son, perhaps not the route to take when having a girl?
What one thing we will never catch you doing as a mama?
Leaving my house with track suite pants 😉 just because I have a child doesn’t mean I can look like I forgot to look in the mirror 🙂
What surprises you most about being a mum?
The intense amount of love that you can feel for one little creature! And how well one can multitask of course!!!
What do you love most about your husband being a dad?
I love every bit of my husband being a father! The way he cares, love unconditionally, helps, provides and became a partner in every way possible!
What one thing do you want to teach your child?
To live freely, love intensely and care profoundly for the things he deems important! And to never forget about his mom 🙂
Best piece of advice you could give moms of 16 month old babes
Do stress about the big things. You can tidy up, clear the dishes or make the bed later, but you can only be in this moment, this specific moment with your little one NOW.
Celery is a, surprisingly, great snack for babes:
- It’s healthy
- My twins love the savory flavour
- It is easy to hold
- The stringiness makes it hard to bite off little pieces so I don’t need to worry about choking
- The texture is great for teething
- It’s not messy so can be eaten out and about
- And it’s usually in your fridge
How beautiful is this pic of Miranda Kerr and baby Flynn? Of course these are the sorts of pics get if you post for Vogue with your babe.