The Snyman Blog

A blog about the Snymans

living in Cape Town

with their own unique slant on life

and three kids

Babies and toddlers go through a period of discovering the world through taste. And I don't mean the world of food. The things you find yourself saying as a parent when they're in this stage border on the absurd:
"Please stop licking the washing machine."
"Cat food is for cats, not little boys." (Ditto for dog food)
"We don't lick shoes."
"Drink the juice, don't eat the (styrofoam) cup."
"If you're going to lick the window, please lick the inside, not the outside." What can I say? You relax as you have more kids!

I try to avoid clichés for the most part, but sometimes you come across one that is just all too true. One of my favourite parenting sayings is, "the days are long but the years are short". It's just SO TRUE. Some days just drag by and feel unending (doubly so if you're in a stage where your baby/toddler/child isn't sleeping...those days it kind of seems like "the days (and nights) are long but the naps are short"!). When you look back over weeks, months, and years though, it all seems to have gone by so quickly. I can't believe we have a 5 year old now! In some ways it seems like forever since we were first time parents, bringing Zak home from the hospital, but in other ways it just seems gone so fast.

I'm having to adjust to life with 3 now for real. Raoul went back to work this week, so it's time to figure out our new "normal". So far it's not as bad as I was afraid it might be. And by bad I actually more mean "difficult".

It's those moments when I'm sitting on the couch with an nursing pillow and newborn on my lap, while Josiah grabs DVD's off the shelf or throws a book across the room and I feel helpless. It's the times I'm holding Anneke, picking up Josiah, and have Zak tugging at my arm for something.

I felt like trying some free verse, though what you might get out of 5 minutes when writing poetry has yet to be seen. Here goes nothing!

Life
A tiny spark
flicker heartbeat,
flutter kicks
soon become firm nudges
from feet, knees, and fists
birth
painful, beautiful, life changing birth
the curiousness
halting, wondering, careful guidance
beginning to feed
dressing them the first time
the first bath
so careful, so afraid of getting it wrong
crying
soothing
rocking
shushing
praying
the first smile
first laugh

As I type, Anneke is sleeping, wrapped on my chest. I am never away from her. It will probably be many months before I go out without her at all, even for just a few hours. In the 5 years we've been parents, we've never left our children overnight. One or both of us has been with them each night, and the only time I've been away is when I'm in the hospital giving birth to the next sibling. We have friends who have gone away for romantic weekends or even on holiday for a week or two, leaving the kids with relatives or close friends. I'm happy for them that they coiuld take the time and recharge, but I honestly couldn't even imagine doing that until our kids are much older. I don't think I'd be able to relax and enjoy it. Even just dates have been rare since becoming parents- at least completely child-free ones.

How much work is being a parent? If your answer was, "An infinite amount" you're probably right. The thing about parenting work is that it's never done. Raoul just went "back to work" today, and I'm sure it seems like a bit of a holiday for him to get out of the house and away from THIS work. One of the things that irritated him about the work here at home is that you do the same things. Over. And over. And over. You wash the same dishes. You change yet another dirty nappy.

When I think about rest, one of the first thing that comes to mind (and probably for most parents) is sleep. Sleep is a major concern for all parents of young children. As soon as your baby arrives, people start asking you about how they're sleeping. It usually goes something like this- "How are things going? Is he/she a good baby? Are they sleeping through yet?" All of that is lumped together into one thought: How things are going is supposed to depend on how good your baby is, which is determined by how well they sleep. If your baby sleeps, they're a good baby, and things are going well. If not...?

It's funny how sometimes you teach your children something, only to have them teach you more about it themselves. As Christian parents, one of the things we want to teach our children is that a relationship with God is important. The outward religious trappings- going to church, following traditions, etc, can at times fall by the wayside, but we need to maintain that relationship with Christ. So one of the ways we teach that is to model prayer- that's how we talk to God.

Generally speaking, it's the Mommy's job to do most of the day-to-day care for the family- the housework, the endless nappy changes, the cooking, etc. And when Mommy is sick, or has a new baby, sometimes there's not anyone who can take care of her, especially if her mother can't make it out!

This week has been International Babywearing Week, so when I saw the prompt word, I knew I had to talk about babywearing and the ways it's helped us GO!

Living in Cape Town, South Africa, there are a lot of places it's a bit difficult to take a stroller or pram. There are cobbled streets in the city center, shops with narrow aisles, sandy beaches, boardwalks, etc. All places we've happily gone while babywearing, but have often seen other parents struggle with while using prams. I've been on a few walks with friends where I've helped carry their pram (toddler inside) while wearing my own baby.