A1′s birthday is in 44 sleeps. We have a countdown timer on the iPad which tells me so. About a month ago, I started giving his party a think. On where and how many and who and which theme. I was very excited to discover that Melinda from Pretty Things For You. And you and you. could provide me with all my Superhero needs! There’s even a whole Superhero Party in a Box set you can get from her – how easy peasy would *that* make the planning bit?!?
I was so ready to fetch A1 from school and tell him about this great idea for his party! And then it was time and we discussed the theme and he said it’s nice, but not what he really wants… What he really wants is a Hot Wheels party! So there goes that idea.
I found a nice venue, close to home, that has also become our new favourite hangout spot for lunch and play time. There are a few nice jungle gyms, lots of grass for running around and the food is nice too. It’s also not crazy busy like at a Spur, so the kids will have more freedom to play. Then I googled a bit and found another party supplier close to where we live and it turns out that they happen to have a special set of packages for the venue we’ve already chosen and booked! How cool is that? AND they can do the Hot Wheels theme for us!
What also makes this great, is that A1 has officially made the rugby team (official post coming), and they have a game on for that morning, at another school. So I’m not sure how our timing will work out. The party will definitely be held in the afternoon, but I still don’t want the stress of rushing and setting up in time and making sure everything is done before the party starts. So we’re outsourcing all of that this year.
Also, this year, we’re keeping it small. 10 kids, including the A’s. So them 2 and 8 friends of A1′s choosing – which changes every week still. We’ll finalise names 2 weeks before the party. We’re not inviting his entire class, because it doesn’t seem to be the done thing around here.
As we were discussing A1′s party, A2 piped up that for his birthday he wants a Ben 10 party! I tried my best to swing him for the Superhero party, but nope, he must.have.Ben.10!! Okidoki then. The slight hiccup, but not really, is that this year, his birthday is on the Saturday after our wedding. We’ll probably (hopefully) still be on honeymoon then.
I’m really trying my bestest to get R to plan the honeymoon including the boys. We’re getting married as a family, so I feel we should honeymoon as a family. Also, after our 9 day separation from them in December, I don’t know how A2 will handle another extended separation, again. Even though he’ll be a bit older, it’s not by much and I can’t do that to him again. Besides, the boys already have their own passports, so any over the sea trip shouldn’t be too big of an issue.
But back to the party – A2 is turning 3, which means he can’t even tell time yet, never mind dates, so we’ll just have his party a bit later. He won’t know the difference, so it doesn’t really matter. I’m thinking we’ll use the same venue for his as for A1′s. He’s big enough now to enjoy all they have to offer in terms of play things.
(It’s a small pity we a. had a Monster Party for A2′s 1st birthday party or b. Pretty Things for You. And you and you. wasn’t around back then, because look at the awesome Monster Party things you can get from Melinda now!!)
Then the boys asked me what I wanted for *my* party? Uhm, the day A2 was born, just 2 days after my own birthday, I kind of stopped having birthday parties for me But to make them happy, I said I want a Princess Party! (Seeing as my birthday this year is only 5 days after the wedding, and the honeymoon as mentioned above, I won’t be having a birthday party for me in 2013. Not one that requires much planning, anyway.) But!! There’s always next year, and then maybe I can have my Princess Party then?
Maybe even combine a party for me and A2, like Princesses and Pirates?? Yes! There you go, we’ll have that for next year, thankyouverymuch
PS. None of the above was in any way sponsored. This was all my own ideas. I’m just so happy that Pretty Things for You. And you and you. exist now, because it means you can start having parties like the kind we are so fond of pinning on Pinterest!
I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. It’s becoming more apparent every day, as A2 grows every day. Even though they come from the exact same DNA, the boys could not be more different!
A1 is a rather sensitive child. He gets upset easily, and other children or animals in not-always-nice situations affects him greatly. Whether it’s real life or on TV. He is also our beloved drama queen and is prone to obsessing about things. Most notably in the last few months: when he stuck that sweet up his nose. He was going on about it for a week!
And then, unfortunately, the following week, he accidentally swallowed a tiny sweet whole. He was convinced he was going to die! For another whole week, it was a constant struggle to get him to eat something. Anything. But he was adamant he could still feel that sweet in his throat. And he worried about everything that he swallowed, lest that gets stuck in his throat too! He lost so much weight during that time.
A1 is also the outgoing type. While in some situations it might take him a few minutes just to mellow and check the scene out, he’s the one that will play with everyone and anyone. He’s lucky enough to count many children as his friends, everywhere.
He’s also the affectionate one. He thrives on hugs and kisses and hands them out spontaneously and freely. He loves to snuggle. Admittedly, (and wrongly so) I probably don’t always respond to his needs. It’s something I’m working on and trying to be on top of.
The one thing he does, that drives me absolutely dilly, is his constant whining. About every.little.thing!! I could climb walls when he starts with that!
A1 is our healthy child. He always has been. When he was little, he reached all of his milestones on time, if not earlier than the books said. He’s always been ahead of his age, even now.
He is super amazing when it comes to drawing. A1 has always drawn pictures with such detail! Even his teacher commented on his talent, both in class and in his latest report card.
A1 gets moaned at a lot – partly because he’s almost 6 and I feel he should know better by now, and partly because he just.does.not.listen!! I swear, some days I think those things on the sides of his head are purely for aesthetics.
On the other hand, A2 is our not so constantly healthy child, but we’re working on that. He took his own sweet time with reaching milestones, doing so only when he was good and ready.
He’s not big on the whole hugs and kisses thing. He gives them to me, but not everyday. And not regularly to other people either, not even his dad or his brother. Sometimes I have to pull all my tricks just for a hug.
He’s very, very much a mommy’s boy. He’s my constant companion, like a little shadow. 95% of the time, when he needs something done, “Mamma moet!”
A2 is a cautious child, initially. But once he gets over that, he’s a fearless brave child. I suppose he still needs to learn that actions have consequences. He’s also a big tease, with a sharp sense of humour.
And he’s bloody naughty!! And not like his brother, who doesn’t listen. He’s lekker aspris! Doing things deliberately when he knows it’s not allowed. Or to get A1 into trouble. In the beginning that worked, but I’m catching on to his tricks.
I suppose we took longer in disciplining him than we did with A1. Maybe it’s because he was the baby. And we saw him as the baby for a good long time.
A2 is not keen on new people or faces. It takes him ages to warm up to someone. He’ll happily play by himself somewhere, once he’s ready to explore. Like today, I took the boys to a lovely place for lunch and outdoor playtime. For the first 30 minutes, he sat with me at the table, just looking. And then I pointed out the sandpit and he shot to it like a bullet. Initially he played alone, then alongside an older girl, then alone again. Eventually he looked for A1 and convinced him to play in the sand for a bit. I didn’t see them for almost 2 hours, except for sips of cool drink.
My baby is quick to grab a book. He loves paging through them. Specially the Disney ones where he recognizes the characters from movies he’s seen. He also loves the books on the iPad. He listens to them constantly. We have a few Dr. Seuss books on the iPad, of which we have the hard copies as well. His little face lights up when he recognizes the book in either format, and runs to fetch the other matching book to show me.
A2 is very much a routine child. A1 never was. Still isn’t. I need to keep A2 in some sort of his routine or he becomes rather difficult. And when we start the morning, I need to go through the plans for the day, so he knows what to expect.
I’ve had almost 6 years to get to know A1 and only 2.5 years with A2, so I’m sure his list will grow. But beyond these differences, we love both boys equally. In their own different ways.
I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with them, getting to know them better!
So my baby is becoming a big boy. As of yesterday, he can officially stand and wee in a toilet!
They started with potty training at school at the beginning of February. I think he was totally ready for it and took to it like a duck to water! He refused to use an actual potty though and insisted on sitting on the toilet. We got him one of those seats that fits on top.
By the 2nd week he was coming home in his underpants every day. We had an accident or two, but it was to be expected, right? By the 3rd week, I even dared to take him out to lunch in just an underpant. He did so well and made me so proud by announcing when he needed to go!
He continued to do better and better, with fewer and fewer accidents. By now, there’s no more accidents! Yesterday, he jokingly pretended to stand and wee, like his brother does. And even though he has to stand on tippy toes to reach, he actually managed to do it! Lots of high fives were dealt
This morning, upon waking, he got A1 to help him remove his nappy and did his thing and A1 helped him again with an underpant. Later, when A1 went to school (A2 is off sick this week), he managed to undress himself and go. And that’s how it’s been working all day. He announces it, runs off, wees, then tries to dress himself. That bit still needs some assistance, but he’s really trying. I am SO proud of him!
He’s still on night nappies. That might take a bit longer for us. Many mornings he wakes up dry, but there are still too many when he’s not. He’s not getting anymore night bottles and understands why. I’m confident though that once he’s ready, that’ll be a breeze too. He also asks for a nappy when he needs to attend to more serious business, but I HAVE to change him as soon as he’s done!
And while I am really super proud of him, I’m also a little bit sad. Our baby days really are numbered now…
Some concerns were raised about A2′s health and the possibility that he might have Cystic Fibrosis. This came after an article was read in a magazine. I read the article too, but honestly didn’t feel he displayed many or even any of the most common symptoms they listed in the article. Except maybe the pneumonia, although he’s had bronchopneumonia before, but his last bout was about 9 months ago.
I said I’d look into it, and would ask our doctor when we saw him again. Turned out to be about 2 days later I discussed the concerns with the doctor when he mentioned something about a sweat test. Which we could do at a later stage if we did test A2 for other things. He didn’t feel though that A2 had CF – based on his history of illnesses and also A2′s current state of being. He did however diagnose A2 with having baby asthma (with a wheeze on the exhale) and gave us a course of treatment with a six-month repeat script.
But then I got a-thinking. That sweat test -it sounded familiar. And suddenly I remembered! When A2 was 6 months old, he landed in hospital with bronchiolitis. At the time they did a whole bunch of tests to determine the cause/nature of his illness. One of those tests included a sweat test. I remember the machine they used to do it. The results were negative (obviously, or this post wouldn’t have been written) but at the time, with my baby in hospital and never having gone through that before, I think I focussed more on the “what is wrong” than the “what isn’t wrong” bits.
Although, this was about 2 years ago, so maybe I was remembering wrong or having pretend memories? So I phoned the hospital to ask. Eventually I got to the records lady who could help me, but also not really, because she can’t interpret medical files… She suggested I could either pay money to have the records pulled and sent to me, or just phone up the doctor who attended to him. So I phoned the doctor. After a while and a bit, I got to speak to him, explained why I was phoning and he confirmed that we *did* test and that the results *were* negative. (Yay, it wasn’t fake memories!)
The doctor then went on to say that it sounds to him like A2 has baby asthma. He’d just confirmed that morning’s diagnosis sommer so over the phone!
The upside is – no CF! The not so upside but not entirely down side – 6 months of daily meds. Seretide puffs twice a day and a Singulair chewable at night. So far it seems like he is responding positively to the treatment. There’s less wheeze and hardly any smoker’s cough at night. And he’s such a champ with the meds!
Where there’s health, there is wealth and there should be happiness
…of Dance Mouse.
At A1′s old school, they had a different extra mural (company) that came around every day of the week. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays he had SoccerStarz, PlayFit and Dance Mouse. When we moved house and changed schools I had to cancel the extra mural activities. Except, his dancing teach from Dance Mouse offered to chat to his new school and arrange to come give him his last lessons for the year. Candace was absolutely amazing and went out of her way to accommodate us, to make sure that A1 was prepared and able to go to his assessment and be part of their concert that he worked so hard for.
The Dance Mouse assessment took place on 13 October 2012 and I couldn’t have been a prouder Mama! A1 was amazing and I was clapping and cheering and giving thumbs up all through his performance! I almost shed a tear of joy, I thought my heart was going to burst!
I received his assessment sheet today, and again, I am SO SUPER Proud!! Wow! Who knew a 5-year old could be so amazing?
I tried to capture every moment of his dancing, to share with all the family who couldn’t be there on the day. I can’t seem to embed the video here, but it is on Youtube
Once again, this boy makes me proud to be his Mama!!
I know I’m always late to the party with these things, but I’m finally getting round to writing about one of the coolest parties (in A1′s opinion) that we’ve been to in a while.
A couple of weeks ago we were invited to attend the #iStoreMomsandKids event that was held at the iStore in Sandton. When I told A1 about it, he was super excited. We were counting down sleeps and then we were counting down hours. He told everyone at school and swimming lessons about this party he was going to! It was a non-stop stream of iPad Party this and iPad party that.
Now, my kids are exposed to technology. They are allowed to play on the iPod, my iPhone and we have a Galaxy Tab, that when not used as our home wifi hotspot, is available for them to play on as well. They know their way around things. We don’t have an iPad (yet), but for the A’s, it’s like the iPod, just bigger.
We arrived at the venue and everything was so nicely prepared and set up. I even got a name tag (yes, I love these kinds of things)! There were bean bags set out for the kids and little chairs. There was an entire snack table just for the kids – corn dogs, cupcakes, juice boxes, mini burgers in cute little boxes. The adult food table looked just as divine and I was kinda sad that I was/am on a diet or I would’ve snacked like I was feeding twins in my belly!
They had two awesome gentlemen who entertained the children, reading an interactive story to the kids. Their iPad was hooked up to a tv, so the kids could see and follow the story on a big screen. Unfortunately, those same kind, gigantic gentlemen with their funny looking hair and loud booming voices scared the bejeepers out of A2 and I had to leave the area and take him outside. Oh, I forgot to mention, the iStore team provided an iPad to EACH Child that was there, loaded with games and books for all age groups. The kids were so possessive of their iPads and many a mom wondered how they were going to leave the store with a child sans his/her iPad
Soon it was time for us Mamas to go listen to the talk they had prepared for us on the Educational apps available on iTunes for iPads/iPods/iPhones (most are multi-platform) and how these apps can be integrated into schools across the country. Did you know that there are 200+ schools who have already adopted iPads in some form to enhance the learning experience for school goers across the country, across age groups? Karen from MomAgain@40 did an amazing write-up of all the key points discussed during the talk. She took better notes than I did (I was entertaining A2 while trying to listen at the same time. I was also trying to prevent A2 from eating the speakers’ usb thing that he snatched off the table and we took lots of photos of ourselves with the iPad that followed him wherever he went.) We also received these 2 cool guides compiled by ThinkAhead listing some of the best educational apps currently available in iTunes, categorised by grade and then skill. I’ve already worked my way through that book and downloaded everything I thought the boys could use and benefit from. I will be continually referring to our guide as the boys grow and master certain skills.
During the talk I was also trying to be a good tweeter, updating Twitter on some of the interesting facts we were learning. Then Tanya sent me a tweet of A1 playing a racing game on his iPad that was hooked to the TV.
He looked like a total natural! In fact, seems he was a natural, because he won a Voucher for Toys R Us thanks to his awesome racing skills!
A1 had so much fun, he didn’t even eat any of the amazing food that was available. He just played and played. He even had one of those kind gentlemen watching him in awe for a good long while. That was pretty cool for this Mama-heart. I was so super proud of him!!
Eventually it was time to leave. A1 was reluctant to go, but I promised him a sleepover at his Nannie, which made up for the loss of his iPad. A2 wasn’t as keen on the sleepover. He’d have been fine if they were fetched, rather than dropped off by me, but he is his Mama’s child and came home with me.
I promised to take A1 shopping at Toys R Us so he could spend his voucher some time that weekend. My boy did me so proud – he got stuff for him and A2. He shared so nicely. They each got a few things (cars and various boy toys) and then saw these helmets:
This has become a firm favorite of theirs, every day.
Thank you again, Kirsten and Tanya and everyone at the iStore in Sandton, for inviting us. And for hosting a day the boys will remember for a long time to come!
When we moved end of August to a different town, A1 had to change schools. He went from a very nice English school to a very nice Afrikaans one. Long story short, when he starts big school, it will be in an Afrikaans one and not an English one as initially anticipated. The reason for this is that there are more good Afrikaans schools in our new area than what our old area provided (none). So to help him prepare for Afrikaans based Grade R, he is finishing the year in an Afrikaans preschool. He is doing really well, even though we still refer to some things in English (like “workbooks/sheets” and “shapes”). It’s getting better though, with him correcting me most days lately. “Nee mamma, ons is nou Afrikaans, dis alfabet nie alphabet nie…”
His teacher also told me that initially she feared she might have to work extra hard with him to catch him up with the other kids in his class. But then she was pleasantly surprised to discover he was actually ahead in some areas and that extra work really wasn’t necessary. I was so proud! I also think it helps(ed) that we are Afrikaans at home. We never switched to English just because A1 went to an English school. I thought he coped rather well with our setup.
So, end of term 3 came around and I meant to blog this earlier. We received his report card and it was marvelous indeed! I am SO proud of him!!
Keep in mind that he was only in this school for about a month of the 3rd term
Then this afternoon happened. His new school is situated opposite the school he’ll be attending for Grade R – Grade 7. It was after school for the big kids and a lot of them were on the field in their school uniforms practicing some sport or the other, looked like athletics (?). I pointed to them and said that not next year, but the year after he will also be wearing a uniform like those kids, how cool is that?! A1 replied that he doesn’t want to go to that school, he rather wants to go to a different school…
I asked him why and he said because the kids are so big and he’s going to be new and he won’t know how to do the work and then he is going to be shy and he won’t want to go back there… A whole mouthful! Shame poor baby! I tried to explain to him that at least with him in this new school where he is now, all his friends in his class will go with him to Grade R next year and then they’ll all start at big school for Grade 1 together so he will have all of his friends with him. I also explained that at his old school, most of his friends were English and if we did find an Afrikaans school for him they probably wouldn’t have gone to the new Afrikaans school with him anyway because they’re English so he would’ve had to make new friends anayway. Whereas now he will have all of his friends with him, so it’s better, right?
Yeah, he’s not convinced…
But I’m sure we’ll get through this as we do everything else – by talking about it lots and discussing all aspects of the situation until he feels settled.
PS. OMD!! How did we get to talking about “Big School” and uniforms already?!? Where’d my baby go???
As mentioned in the previous post, now that I finally have my laminator, I set about looking for a Chore Chart for A1. I feel he is old enough now to start with this kind of structure and to understand the responsibilities and consequences of his actions. I looked and looked, but nothing was exactly what I wanted and most were pre-populated. This is not such a bad thing, except most of them had chores on there that won’t work for us…
So I had this bright idea – Make Your Own!! Bah! (Mostly) Easier said than done. Not impossible, but not just a clicky here and a pasty there and boom. And I wanted it to look bright and colorful and interesting and engaging, to keep A1′s (and mine) attention. I spent many hours on TipJunkie yesterday – have you ever been? Wow!! I could go on for days!! Anyway, then I came across the Digital Scrapbooking section, got me some kits and with my limited knowledge of Photoshop, set about making our Chore Chart – or Anthony se Werkies as I called it.
I used a digital scrapbooking kit called Tinker that I got over at Everyday Mom Ideas (also via TipJunkie). I made it in Afrikaans, because that is our home language. I also decided that we won’t have a weekly or monthly reward system with toys/treats, but rather something immediate with something that means much more to him – Game Time. He gets a game time reward card in denominations of 10-minutes and 30-minutes depending on the chore and the amount of work it involves. There are also punishment cards of 5-minutes (deductible). I will not resort to screaming like a banshee anymore, because clearly that makes no difference to him. It seems this method works better, because he was rather contrite when he received a Strafkaart (Punishment card) earlier this evening.
All the Game Cards he earns get stuck on his Playtime sheet, so he can see what he has. It’s a nice visual reminder of his rewards and/or punishments. He can choose when to redeem his Game Cards for Playtime and how many he wants to redeem at any one time. This goes for the Strafkaart too, although he needs to redeem it along with a play time card – he can’t save them for later. Writing it down like this, it seems complicated, but it really isn’t. He understands the rules and we’ve been using them since this afternoon already.
There are also benefits of this system:
We went shopping yesterday for birthday presents for both birthdays this week. We came home after a successful trip. A2 and I got some of ours early, because this coming week is going to be beyond crazy with the party prep AND moving prep!
A2 got a Big Jim bike, one like his brother’s. I didn’t realise he fit on one and could actually ride it.
They are having a blast in the house at the moment!
A2 has also had his first tumble off the bike already. We took them to the park today for a ride, but within his first 10 meters, A2 hit a downhill and then a speed wobble and then flew off his bike. He’s got s roastie on his head now…
Luckily I had some antiseptic spray in my bag in the car, so I could clean it right there. It seems to have done the job because he’s head looks good considering.
I also got my present early – a laminator! I can not begin to describe how much fun I’m having! I’ve already gone through half my box of (100) pouches! Think subway arts, medicine schedule, weekly planner, Pre-K educational packs, Alphabet Writing sheets and a Chore Chart with Reward Cards system I designed for A1. I will blog this separately just now.
Unfortunately I couldn’t find A3 laminating sheets yesterday. Will look elsewhere tomorrow. Why I haven’t thought of getting a laminating machine sooner is beyond me?! It’s too awesome!
PS. Consider this me updating my birthday wishlist to include laminating pouches (A4 and A3). At the rate I’m going I’m sure I’ll need more and Soon!