Category: Parenting

Super early parenting… how did they do it?

It was 1981. He rocked an afro, à la The Jackson 5. She had cut her long hair for the first time (real hardcore too – all the way from bum-length to a short pixie cut). They were young, starry-eyed, beautiful, and had just gotten married.

Parenting - mom and dad wedding

And just one short year later, they would be parents. To me. 😯

Parenting - 1 year old

The other day I found myself thinking, man this parenting thing is no joke. And truly, it isn’t. Parenting is hard work. Here you are, this person who’s far from perfect, and you’re entrusted with raising a real life human being! Whaaat?

Plus, you’re still pretty young yourself. Except, you’re not. Well, not in comparison to when your parents had you that is. I mean, when my mom was my age, she had a sixteen year old kid. SIXTEEN!! I mean, I can’t even imagine myself with a teenager at my age… and my mom had both a teen and a tween. And she did it all, with grace. HOW?

Granted, not all our parents had us at nineteen and twenty three (that’s how old my mom and dad were when I was born), and not everyone today waits until their late twenties, or thirties to have a child. On average though, the age that women have their first child has gone up, meaning that in years gone by, many (our moms, aunts, grandmothers) did have their kids a lot younger than we do now. And how they did it all, boggles my mind.

I mean, at almost twenty seven, I remember wondering if I was mature enough to be a good mom to the tiny bean in my belly. I devoured baby books and magazines, I joined a mommy-to-be online forum, I hoped my childish silliness wouldn’t hinder me from getting everything right in the parenting department. I wondered, “what if I’m too young for this parent thing?”

ParentInc - first scan

Too young? Dude, your mom had an eight year old when she was your age! That’s when it hit me – maybe it’s the overload of information so readily available to us, which leads to us (well, me at least) overthinking everything? Or maybe there’s just so much more mayhem in the world today, it scares us, and we overthink and over stress about everything? I don’t know. What I do know though, is that parenting, as I mentioned earlier, isn’t for the weak.

When I think, for example, of how confused I become when Zee has an over-sensitive day and becomes a little difficult to deal with, I have to stop and wonder… how flustered was my mom at nineteen, with a baby… and how overwhelmed was she at thirty five, with a sixteen year old? Because you know, teenagers know everything after all *cue eye-roll*, and are sooo mature and cool *cough*. It never showed though. Grace and dignity. Smiles and love. That’s all I remember. That’s all she let us see.

I don’t know how she did it, how any of the super young moms and dads did it. But I’m grateful. Grateful for the stellar job done of raising us, even at such a young age. And grateful that it’s not me having to do the same. I was too childish at nineteen to have done what they did, and pull it off that well!

For me personally*, I feel like I had Zee at just the right time – still young and goofy enough, that I make my kid laugh daily, but old enough to deal with (or at least, attempt to) whatever parenting in this crazy world throws at me.

*These are just my personal thoughts and opionions, ie. what works for our little family.

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Naptime Natter
Tammymum
Mummy Times Two

Our little ballerina’s first “big girl” exam results and photos

Satin ballet shoes

Last Thursday, we received Zee’s grade 1 ballet exam results and photos. And we are so, so proud of this little person! This was her first – as she put it – big girl exam, the first exam where they’re given marks on the different aspects of each dance they perform. As if that in itself wasn’t huge, our tiny tot had to go into that exam room all alone, for a solo exam. Let me go back a bit to why that happened.

About a week before exam practice/extra lessons started, mommy decided it would be fun to walk into the table and break her toe. 😐 It was a break so fantastic, even driving was out of the question. Then, in the middle of that, I was sick – cold, or flu, or something. And of course, I passed this to Zee. What all this meant was a whole bunch of missed ballet lessons at the most crucial part of the year – grade 1 ballet is serious business people. Anyway, when we eventually got back to ballet, one of her teachers advised that it would be difficult for Zee to catch up on group routines in the little time left, and that a solo exam would be a better, less stressful option. I chatted to my girl, and she said dancing alone sounded scary, but she’d do it – my little trooper! So now we’re caught up on how she came to do a solo exam.

Back to the results. She scored 73 marks, only 2 short of a distinction. I was thrilled to see her marks, but her reaction was slightly different. She said it made her sad that she didn’t get a distinction – this surprised me, as I didn’t think she would even know what that was. Turns out she was studying her mark sheet quite intensely, and found “distinction” next to the highest marks “75-100”.

Merit pass

My heart sank seeing her disappointed little face as she tried to figure out what she did “wrong”. I let her know immediately that she did a brilliant job, that her score was very impressive, and that I was extremely proud of her. And while daddy and I obviously like knowing she pays attention in class, and improves in her dancing each year, its not because we want her to score a certain number of marks, or compete with anyone (the competition bit being one of the reasons I love homeschooling too). All we want is for her to do her best, and to enjoy what she’s doing. I also reminded her of the main reason she dances – because she loves it.

First ballet lesson 2012

She loved ballet from the very first day she stepped into the studio as a two year old, and she still lights up each week when we arrive there. I hope that never fades. How special it is to be so passionate about something from such a young age, and for it to still bring you joy even as you get older.

When dad came home, she told him she’d missed out on a distinction by 2 marks, and that it disappointed her a little. Echoing my earlier sentiments, he told her that her score was excellent, and that he was incredibly proud of her. Then he smothered her in hugs and kisses, while she giggled uncontrollably. ❤

Of course, Mom the Deep had to get in on the conversation. I reminded her of everything I’d told her before, and threw in a little extra just to make sure she really got me.

She nodded in agreement to everything I said – and not that annoyed “ugh, I’v got to nod and say yes mommy, or she’ll never stop” nod, but a sincere, “I hear you mommy, and maybe you’re right” nod. #winningatmotherhoodmoment
She was smiling again, and responded with, “I did do really well hey mom?” Then she remembered there were photos, and moved on to admiring her cute self in the pics. 😀

Motherhood, hey. Sometimes you’re the reason they’re sad or crying – you know, because you didn’t write or draw something on every page of a scrapbook they made you (yes, this is an actual thing), or you gave them a packet of Cheddars when what they actually wanted was Flings, or you told them its way past their bedtime and they must to get into bed (oh the horror) – and then sometimes, you’re the one who makes it all better, the one who reminds them of their awesomeness, and gets them smiling again.

Ballet

 

Ballet exam - grade one

Ballet exam - character

Exam photo shoot: West Photography

 

 

Tammymum
One Messy Mama
Mummy Times Two

So… How old are you?

Remember when we were kids, and someone would ask, “how old are you now?” Excitedly, proudly even, we’d answer, “nine, and I’m going to be ten in four months!” I was reminded of those days during the holiday. There were two older girls where we were staying, who were really sweet to Zee. Chatting to them, I asked how old they were, and the older one replied, “my sister’s eleven, and I’m twelve, but I’m going to be thirteen soon!” I caught that twinkle in her eye as she said the words, the barely contained excitement over the thought of getting older, becoming a teenager, being grown up and fabulous.

How things change… Hit your thirties, and there’s no joyful response to that question. A cynical snort maybe, or a scowl if you’re feeling particularly sensitive about the age thing that day. Funny how back then we couldnt wait for the next number, now that wait couldn’t be long enough.

On a serious note though, I’m going to be thirty five soon, and the truth is I’m ok with that. The part that scares me, is how quickly its come. Not in a bad way, like ugh I’m so old… am I going to have grey hair now?… are those marks on the mirror, or are they lines on my skin?… No, nothing like that – not that I want any of those delightful things which come with getting older, but I’m not losing any sleep over it. The part that actually freaks me out is that every year I get older, my little baby is growing too, and isn’t that much of a baby anymore.

On NYE, we were at my uncle’s place, together with my mom and dad. Zee was having a blast with my little cousins, playing in the pool at 10pm, chatting about ballet, and roasting marshmallows on the braai. She was having such fun, she was still wide awake at midnight! On hearing that it was 2017, she hugged me and said (beaming from ear to ear), “mommy, I’m officially seven and a half!”

You see, Zee is at that stage where she’s now counting down to the next age, and is quite excited about being “a big girl” – this, despite me telling her she’ll be my baby even at forty! 😀 She’d asked in November I think it was, if she was seven and a half yet, and I responded that she would only be seven and a half in January. Thus the excitement when the clock struck twelve. Needless to say, I quickly informed her that she would only be seven and a half at the end of the month, in an attempt to hold on to the baby-ness just that tiny bit longer.

Then yesterday rolled around, and Facebook gave me this:

Like, “your baby’s seven and a half now. Deal with it.” So I did, with a mini photo shoot of course, to remember the time my baby turned seven and a half. Officially. Because, what else can us mommies do, but stop being in denial, and accept the natural order of things… They will grow; they will become more independent, and say more often “it’s ok mommy, I’ve got this” *sniff*;
they will eventually feel we’re not as cool as they once thought… And we have to deal as best we can, savoring every baby-ish moment along the way, taking as many photos as we can to treasure forever, and appreciating the moments when they need us even as they’re busy getting older and wanting to do it all on their own.

“Look mommy, like a superhero cape!”

Please excuse the gross stringy thingy that Cocoa (Zee’s dachshund) was dragging around and decided to drop right there, in the superhero pic.

When a sneeze tickles your nose, but your mom won’t quit with the photos

Tammymum
Mummy Times Two