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How to put on your child’s swimming cap

Swimming essentials by Spurt SA

Most swimming caps are made from durable, stretchy silicone. They are designed for a snug, comfortable fit and are intended to grip the head and stay in place.

Because of this, swimming caps may tend to pull at a child’s hair as you place the cap on, making it difficult to get your child to wear a swimming cap.

Here are a few tried and tested ways to get your child’s swimming cap on without tears.

Wet the hair
Wet your child’s hair either in a pre-shower or at the pool before putting the cap on.

Tame the tangle

If your child is like my Kiki her hair tangles with the slightest hint of nature’s elements. You can run some conditioner through the wet hair first to stop the tangle.

Ditch the band

Long hair can be tricky to keep in a swimming cap as it tends to bunch up. Most of us quickly grab a hair band and tie it up. Unfortunately hair bands cause tension to the scalp and become uncomfortable. Rather leave the hair loose and tuck it into the swimming cap.

Always stretch

Lace your fingers together loosely and put your hand into the cap. Align the seam over your knuckles and gently stretch the cap outwards.

Brace yourself 

Have your child stand in front of you , with their back to you. With your hands still in the stretched cap gently lower it over your child’s head, until your fingers feel the eyebrows. This will be low enough. Now slowly slide your hand down until the cap is on their head.

Dont forget to tuck

Simply lift the edges of the swimming cap and tuck in any stray pieces of hair. Adjust the cap in order for your child to be comfortable.

What goes on must come off

To remove, hook your fingers underneath the front seam and lift away from the hair.

Monkey proudly showing his new swimming gear from Spurt SA

Photos : Fun Mamma S.A.

Model: Monkey

Products : 

  • Swimming cap sponsored by Spurt 
  • Goggles sponsored by Spurt
  • Nose plug sponsored by Spurt

For more information on Spurt S.A. swimming range visit their website 

http://www.spurt.co.za

To WIN your own stunning set of swimming essentials by Spurt, enter our competition here.

https://funmammasa.wordpress.com/2017/11/21/win-a-spurt-swimming-apparel-hamper/

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Dealing with uninvolved grandparents

I grew up on my grandmothers lap and consider myself most fortunate. There is no love that compares to the unwavering ,unconditional love of a grandparent. 

Over the years , it was my grandmother’s wisdom I turned to . Her advice and counsel I saught .  I knew no matter what she would fiercely protect me and love me through  my bad moods, trials and tears.

Not all granparents are loving

When my eldest child was born , I was estatic to share this bond with her and to watch my own mother become a special star in my daughters life.

It was also round about this time that I discovered not all grandparents are cut from the same cloth.

A few examples

My mother,  was an alcoholic who viewed her grandchildren as a nuisance and reminder of her age.   Up until her death she was completely disinterested in bonding with my beautiful children. 

My father , had left the country. In the beginning he exchanged a gift or two but  he last saw any of my children 17 years ago. Not once since has he directly enquired about them. 

My ex husband’s father, who was absent through his sons life, was even less interested. After a few months of sending updates with our first child,  he firmly asked my why I didn’t have an abortion and save his teenage son the embarrassment of ‘my‘ predicament. It was right there that his involvement stopped completely.

As for his mother, she had little time for the children. She was always too busy and I would run after her trying to involve her in birthdays and the children’s other events. She always had an excuse as to why she couldn’t attend. She lived with us at one stage , and was intolerant and rude to the children around her who just wanted to spend time with  her.

Gran to the rescue

Once again I was blessed to have my grandmother fill this imensely important role in both mine and my children’s lives. Unfortunately she passed away when most of my children were still too young to remember how special she was.

Each week she would phone to find out how they were. Each weekend she baked treats and hand made toys for them. At night , when she lived with us, she’d gather my 5 older children onto her bed singing with them and telling them wild tales ;taking them on imaginary adventures. 

The times that we lived far apart from each other she would write to the children, post small parcels and phone them. 

Always she made an effort to find out about their lives, milestones and interests.

So how do you deal with a disinterested grandparent ?

Grandparents hold such a special role in their grandchildren lives and it’s both frustrating and hurtful to know your child will not have an actively involved grandparent in their lives.

 How do you cope with this?

Make an effort 

Always make the effort.  Contrary to what you may feel or believe, you never want your children to feel you isolated an important person from their lives.

Send the photos,  text the milestones,  share the certificates. Invite your parents to birthdays and school functions. If the children are older, let them phone and draw pictures. 

Make an effort to visit them and encourage visits to your home,especially if they stay far away.

You will all remember our road trip to get Bear dedicated in his grandmothers church in order to include her in his special day.

Remind them that they are special in their grandchildren eyes

Send them quotes that your children have said about them. Make a big deal of grandparents day, their birthdays, etc.  

Shortly after my divorce , i took a photo of my youngest two children’s handmade cards for my mother in law and shared them on her Facebook wall. I wanted her to see I divorced her son but she was still special to her grandchildren.

Advise them on how to bond with your child

Some grandparents are just clueless. It’s been a while since they had children and parenting has changed. They may not know your child well enough to bond with them. Suggest a shared hobby.

I remember asking my mother in law to teach my children to build puzzles as she spent hours building puzzles of her own.

Know when to give up

As much as it is important to foster a relationship between your child and their grandparent , it is equally as important to know when to stop trying.

If you have put the effort in and receive no result , you will eventually be setting yourself and your child up for failure.

Protecting their emotions is just as important, if not more so , as encouraging bonds with family. 

If the grandparent makes no effort after your attempts , it is most likely the healthier option to stop trying and wait for them to want a relationship with your child.

My father in law, now in his late seventies , wants to connect with his adult grandsons. I have left this choice up to them. They need to decide if they actually want a relationship with someone who wasn’t involved in their lives.

Moving on

Whilst it may be difficult and hurtful to step aside from disinterested grandparents know that you can break the cycle by one day being the type of grandparent you invisioned in your children’s lives.

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Where is your heart mama ?

Friday I read a post that cut me to my core.

I’ve been trying to find the right words to express just how I felt.

Facebook groups

As a mommy blogger I follow hundreds of child related Facebook groups . The posts often fly past me , and I must admit there very few posts that catch my attention long enough to follow the thread.

But this one did …..

Broken heart

A mom, let’s call her Sue, posted into a breastfeeding support group . Her words were factual .

 She started with “my baby died this morning” 

Omw! Mamas can you imagine her pain.  

How hard must it be to know you will never hold your precious angel in your arms again. How your heart must break, knowing the life you’ve guarded and treasured will never grow up into the future you on invisioned. 

She didn’t state how old her angel baby was.
Advice

She continued to state how full and sore her breasts were, asking how she could stop the flow.

Being a breastfeeding support group , this was the right platform to turn to.

Mama after mama answered her sending the love, advice and thoughts. Each one, I’m sure, wishing this mamas pain away.

Troll

But there is always one ….

Let’s call her Betty! 

Betty took it upon herself to tell Sue that she shouldn’t be worrying about her breasts if her baby died.

I read her callous words with shock and shame that a mama could so carelessly judge a heartbroken mama as she reached out in pain.

Empty arms

For just a moment imagine empty arms where your baby lay a few hours before.

Imagine full breasts waiting to nurture and give life to a baby no longer ready to eat.

Imagine the hours of tears that will follow the silent grieving of a mother left behind .

 If someone reached out , try not to judge, until  you’ve walked those shoes.

  

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#metoo

At first I wasn’t too sure how I felt about this campaign .

Yes, I honestly do believe victims of abuse and violence need to speak out but at the same time , as the mother of 5 sons and the financee of an amazing partner, at what point do we stop generalising every male on this planet along side the men who hold women with no regard?

And, at the risk of many woman’s verbal attack…. where do you stop being a victim , deal with your past and grab life with the courage of a winner? 

#metoo

This is my story 

My story sadly begins much younger than I realised. 

Its a family thing 

My parents married young and were a chaotic love affair of disaster.

When they weren’t shouting at each other, they were arguing about the other.

At 15, my parents chose to divorce. 

Their reasoning long forgotten to my teenage brain but what I will never forget is the hell my sister and I endured for the next 9 months.

Their bickering and fighting quickly escalated into flying objects and forgotten children. 

One particular afternoon I arrived home from writing an English exam at school. My parents lived in two separate homes, and I was shocked to see my father’s car.

Its a gun

As I entered the kitchen , the maleviolence 

clung to the air. Screaming and shouting broke my confusion as I saw my father pointing his gun directly into my mother‘s face.

 

Her battered ,bloody body told a story far too familiar to us but never before had I seen such a maddening rage in my father’s eyes.

He was deaf to our pleas and at some point I grabbed a brass vase , crashing it on his temple. Knowing the weight of his wrath was about to turn to me but needing to do something, anything to save my mother.

The distraction was enough for her to flee.

He wildly searched for her and amazingly i found the strength to grab my  younger sister, look my father in the face and tell him

 ‘shoot me if you must but I’m taking my sister somewhere safe’

The longest minutes of my life

With each step we took up that drive way I waited for a gun shot that would put end to my defiance. …

We stopped at a friends house and I asked her father if I could phone the police. 

Calmly I relayed what had transpired.

I remember her dad telling me how brave I was …. I didn’t see it! 

I had just asked the police to lock away my own father !

Nine months on the run

For the following nine months we moved weekly. Staying and living like nomads. My mother was petrified. And naturally, we saw what a monster my father was and we were equally as scared. 

I remember owning a denim bag and for nine months that was the sole amount of my belongings.

Bouncing from home to home. Friend to friend and relative to relative took its toll. My mother no longer cared. She lived in a distorted world of fear. Danger was all around her and she would wake in fits of anxiety and begin drowning her sorrows in any and all alcohol.

An uncles love 

It was around this time we went to spend a week with my father’s brother.

I was too young and nieve to grasp exactly why my mother had to share his room and bed. She told us it was due to space.

One day , my mom and sister went out and I was alone. My uncle forcefully tried his way with me. His large hands grabbing at me as he thrust me on the bed, trying to release himself from the restriction of his clothing.

 In fear I froze. 

This was a relative.  A man I should be able to trust. 

Somewhere safe ….

The downstairs door opened and my sister called that they were back. He released me and told me he would tell my father where we were if I said anything about what he had done.

Hushed

I got up , went to the bathroom . 

A feeling of revolt deep within me,vowing that I would protect my sister from this man, no matter what.

I quietly hid my secret and that night pushed a wardrobe in front of the door.

Two days later we moved again…..

A life of violence

Months later and so many more insidents between my parents we were finally found and removed from my mother’s care.

My father had by now moved in with a woman and her son.

Life became a misconstrued roller coaster of broken bones and blood. Alcohol thickly mixed into weekends of abuse.

Each weekend as Friday aproached , us kids would make plans to  not be home to  witness broken jaws and emergency hospital trips.

A man like my father

At 17 I fell pregnant with my boyfriend of two years. We were young . I was not interested in marriage from the start and we parted when Tbear  was just a few months old.

Two years later we reunited and went on to have a total of six wonderful children.

Throughout our marriage there were verbal threats and violent outbursts but I never once saw that I was married to a replica of my father.

Broken bones

Although he had hit me a few times and broken my finger fighting for keys out my hand when I tried to get him to pay the rent and not gamble, I honestly believed it was my fault. 

If I’d just ignored it…or kept quiet. 

In Tbears Matric year,  he was robbed at gun point. Our whole lively hood was in the Buckie they hijacked.  All his tools were gone and as we now had no transport and no way to do the work coming in , his own business had to close.

I thought he would look for another job, but slowly he sold off our belongings. Before long we were evicted and needed to find a new home.

An attack on my child

The new house was cold and still had the original concrete flooring so typical of old railway houses.

One day sbear was defiant to his father who  would lie in bed all day and spend money on cigarettes instead of decent food for the children. 

He grabbed my child  by the throat,  pushing him against the wall all the while screaming like a madman in his face.

The last straw

That was the last straw!

It was one thing to treat me badly,  a complete different story to attack my children. 

I grabbed him, and pounded my fists on him. Screaming of what a useless man he was. Months of hatred and oppression came spewing from my mouth.

He followed me back inside and seemed subdued. 

I  turned and felt a shove like lightening to my back. In agony I fell to  the floor where his foot continued to kick the lower edge of my spine. 

I remember yelling to my children to go to the neighbours.

I also remember dragging myself up to the couch , screaming how I’d see him rot in a cell, tears of pain falling freely from my eyes.

Coward

That day he ran.

He went to his mother for a steak dinner.

When he came home I was long gone. 

A mothers love

People don’t understand why I gave him a chance after what he did. They criticised me for staying.

Have you ever looked into your children’s eyes knowing all they want is their parents and knowing your love for them was large enough to endure all things ? 

I didn’t want my children to go through the divorce hell I’d experienced.

I was also dependent on their father financially…How would I live and  support my children if he wasn’t there?

But most importantly,  after years of hearing how awful I was. How ugly . How  useless and how no one would want me with six children, I believed I couldn’t do anything.

Courage

The next two years were no better. The stories read like a bad novel.

In those two years I build myself up amidst his chaos and crumbling tornados of drama.

I started a parenting page, began submitting my poetry and writings and joined as parenting expert to a parent website.

And then the day came …

One morning he refused to give me money to buy the children food. 

It was the last push I needed. 

I’d regained my confidence. I believed in myself. I had found a support network and I told him, after more fights, I wanted a divorce.

Three months later, and hour upon hour of senseless fights, i left him in JHB and started my new life…..

It wasn‘t easy 

It wasn’t always easy. And as with all journeys it had its pros and cons.

Those who lost the most were my children. I can only hope they understand why I found the courage to end their chaos.

One day I hope they never need to write a version past their parents mistakes.


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Caught up in cuddles

Caught up in cuddles 

(Judy dooley)
When I woke up this morning

I had a lot to do 

My goals were all set out 

And then I cuddled You!
I meant to go and shower

But I cuddled you some more

I meant to make the bed 

And sweep the dirt from the floor
I meant to do the dishes,

The washing and clean our home 

But I was sure I saw you niggle 

Or was it a little groan ?
I thought I’d just sit here

And cuddle you some more

After all I had the time…..

But now its half past four !
I haven’t cleaned the house 

The meal is left undone 

I got so caught up in cuddles

I was having too much fun

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How to chose a baby photographer


After our horrid experience with the last photographer we used (https://funmammasa.wordpress.com/2017/09/25/photography-vs-mom-her-big-ass-camera/ ) I decided to research how to chose a photographer to photograph children. 

What questions should we be asking before we use a photographer’s services and what as moms do we need to be looking out for? 

Photography sessions are costly and I’m sure I’m  not alone when I say I really don’t want to waste either my time or money on bad photos .

So these are my top points to keep in mind when looking for a photographer to photograph your baby or toddler.

Research your options 

As mamas we all want amazing photos of our babies and their milestones to look back on , share and hang in our homes and it can be forgiven for those of us doting over our gorgeous newborns to think all photographers are great with babies.

 Let me assure youthey are not.

Sadly , anyone with some equipment and a few props can set up shop and call themselves a photographer.

Today we have so many apps and tools online that anyone can take amazing photos …even with a smart phone.

So then why use a professional photographer

Professional photographers are masters of their craft. 

Artists who with one quick click can preserve your emotions, moods and personality through the lens of their camera. 

They are trained to take a photo that flatters both the light and subject but mostly they see the beauty before them and bring it to life.

Dangers of amateurs.

Aside from shoddy photos and heightened levels of frustration, the very real truth behind working with a photographer who has no experience with babies , is that they may hurt a baby or child to achieve a shot. 

In our case , the photographer was used to taking pictures of her own  daughters but had no idea how to engage with bear.  

Your photographer needs to be comfortable engaging with your child as well as handling babies.

They should also never force your child into a position or into a time slot. 

Working with children demands patience …. something an inexperienced photographer may not yet know.

Word of mouth

Always consult the moms in your circle for recommendations with regards to their experiences with a photographer you want to use.

You wouldn’t use just any gynea without researching your options…the same rings true for photographers.

If no one you know has used them , go online. 

Read the reviews on their social media and website. Look for a reputable photographer who can demonstrate a track record of satisfied clients ,high quality photos and professional service.

Review their website and social media presence. Look specifically for comments and feedback from recent customers and see how the photographer interact online.

  • Was the photographer positive?
  • Was the photographer passionate about what they do?
  • Was the photographer  good with people?

Contact them directly and ask questions.

Never just accept a booking

If you can look through their online gallery to get a feel for the type of photos they take. If they don’t have an online gallery ask them to email you example photos of what poses or props you can expect in their shoot.

Also  see if they hold any qualifications in their trade.

All this will give you some idea of the kind of person they are and give you a clear impression of how they conduct their business. 

You get what you pay for 

This saying is very true. Our budgets don’t often allow for expensive photoshoots no matter how much we would love to have one done a month , so it can be quite tempting  to use the services of a cheaper photographer. 

Sadly, cheaper photographers often lower their rates to attract clients. And whilst you may be lucky enough to get a great photographer , nine times out of ten you will get second grade images.

Someone who is good at their craft, will be in demand and therefore their pricing may be a little higher. 

But  you also know that you are dealing with a professional and this should give you peace of mind on the level of  service provided and quality of photos delivered. 

Show the papers 

Dont be afraid  to ask the photographer what their experience or accreditation’s are .

You want to know that you are working with someone who is qualified and experienced when it comes to dealing with children. 

 Safety first

An experienced baby or child photographer will be able to easily answer any questions with regards to babies safety in shoots. 

Do they display a code of conduct that shows your child’s interest’s and safety first? 

A good photographer may not have this as a mission statement on their Web or landing page but they should be able to discuss this with ease and with the ability to put moms mind at rest that baby won’t be harmed.

 Poses

For newborns especially, how will the specific poses be carried out? Will the photographer be using props or will the images be digitally enhanced? 

Please remember:

  • No photographer should ever force your baby into positions which make them uncomfortable or put them in any danger. 
  • No baby should ever be expected to support the weight of its own head or body.
  • No baby should be suspended from a height or put in a basket or box which could potentially topple over. 
  • Your baby should be relaxed and comfortable and safe at all times.

Assistants

Does the photographer work with an assistant or alone? 

If they do use an assistant to help with posing,  does the assistant have any experience with handling babies?

If there is no assistant , are you the parent, assisting with posing? 

 Age preference 

Just like all people working with children , your chosen photographer may have a favourite age to work with .

Children’s development and personalities at each age vary greatly and so a fantastic preschool photographer with years of experience may make a terrible newborn photographer because although they have the experience they have accustomed themselves to working with older children and therefore aren’t as comfortable handling babies.

Newborns

Even with newborn babies some photographers may have a preference since after the initial couple of weeks after birth, babies start to sleep less and begin to stretch out more. 

Some photographers prefer babies to be under two weeks old to achieve the curled up baby poses. 

Other photographers will photograph babies much older than this, sometimes up to 8 weeks old, alerting the parent that some shots may not be possible.

Also if baby is premature remember to ask your photographer if they are comfortable working with premature babies, who may be significantly smaller than the average baby.
All the worlds a stage 

Where will you be taking the photos ? 

  • At home
  • On location
  • At a studio 

It’s a good idea to pre-visit any location or studio before the actual shoot. This allows you to familiarise yourself with your surroundings and be comfortable during the shoot.

Ensure your Photographer understands that the setting for a newborn shoot is very important. 

It should be relaxed, warm as baby will be naked a lot of time and very welcoming. You will be here for several hours so it’s vital baby is comfortable.

Logistics

As moms we need to plan down to the last minute and then have back up plans for our back up plans so it’s important to take into account the logistical considerations: 

  • Where is the studio based?
  • What distance will you need to travel?
  • Do you know the way?
  • How long it will take to get there? Always factor in extra time to allow for traffic – it’s far better to arrive early rather than late. 
  • What time do you  need to leave ?
  • How long is the shoot?
  • Is there parking on site or nearby? 
  • How easy is the studio to access (you’ll be carrying baby in a car seat or will have a pram)?
  •  If it’s not the ground floor, is there a lift you can use? 
  • Is it clean and organised inside the studio?
  •  Is there comfy seating for parents and family members who are coming along?
  • Are siblings welcome?
  •  Are there any child-friendly facilities available or activities to keep an older sibling busy?
  • Are refreshments included? 
  • What baby changing and feeding facilities are there?

Expectations 

What we as parents have envisioned may be nothing like our photographers artistic ideas.

You may have seen examples of newborn photos that you would love a photographer to create with your baby. Make sure to discuss these ahead of the shoot.

If you can create a check list of images you require and by emailing a list of example images you can ask if your photographer will be able to create that specific poses, or not?

Always ask whether you need to buy or bring any of your own props, or whether this is included in the shoot. 

Most photographers do have an extensive range of props and backgrounds but it is worth checking in advance. 

Also if you wanting to include a family heirloom or sentimental item remember to ask if you can bring it with. 

Most photographers will likely aim to create a number of different setups throughout the shoot so there will be plenty of images for you to choose from afterwards.

Availability and fees

A popular newborn photographer can get booked up months in advance.

For a newborn shoot it is advised to book early to avoid disappointment – as soon as you’ve had your 20 week scan ideally, if not before. 

Also consider the photographer’s studio fees and the cost of their photo products. 

Prices can vary a lot so be sure that the photographer you chose falls within your budget.

Many photographers charge a session fee, and it’s advisable to note that the photos are charged in addition to this.

If you do use a photography package offered , always ask the cost of extra prints …if  you like me ,you will want them all.

To conclude

Never book a photoshoot for baby until you can you be sure that your photographer will deliver the quality of experience that you desire and your baby deserves. 

May you find perfect photos that you will treasure for a lifetime.