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Hand, foot and mouth disease, say what??

I feel the need to share a few lines about this horrible disease that both of my boys had during the summer in Washington. 

The symptoms started just like a normal cold; sore throat and a fever. Not a super high temperature, just between 38-39 degrees Celsius.

The fever lasted for about 1 or 2 days and that’s when I started to see red spots in the back of the mouth.

These red spots became painful blisters that spread all over the inside of the mouth to the outside. It also started to spread to the palm of the hands and the soles of the feet. The first blister I saw on my 3 year old was on his leg and then it spread to his feet, hands and the outside of his mouth, so I realized that it could start on different locations. 

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In the beginning I thought it was chickenpox. The difference with chickenpox is that it spreads all over the body. So, a neighbor had a look at it and said right away that it looked like the “hand, foot and mouth disease” and that kids there have it all the time! I looked it up on the web and felt pretty sure that’s what it was.

The blisters and spots turned into open sores that were really painful, especially on the soles of the feet. I felt so sorry for my little ones trying desperately to run around as usual on their tiny feet, while stopping and crying because the pain was too much for them to bear.

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After about a week the sores started to dry out and 2 weeks after the skin on the palms and the feet started to peel of and new, healthy skin came through. Even some of the toenails fell off, unbelievable! I would say that from the first day to when the sores where not visible anymore it was around 3-4 weeks. Insanely long and super horrible to see as a parent, you would pretty much do anything to transfer their pain onto you!

How did they catch it? Well a visit to Chuck E. Cheese that they had been looking forward to with such anticipation had made them sick . Kids, germs, dirt and more dirt.Exactly 3-5 days after which is the incubation time, they started showing symptoms.

I felt really hopeless during this painful ordeal. Of course we gave them some pain relieve, Tylenol or Alvedon (similar to Panodol, in Sweden) the first few days when the blisters were really painful and then I made sure they had loose comfortable clothes on. Gave them a lot of popsicles because they just didn’t want to eat much during the first days due to the pain. Anything to cheer them up and distract them from the obvious!

I never put them in the bathtub when the sores were open, because there could be risk of infection.

This disease is a one timer. So, if you have had it you can not catch it again and it’s really rare that adults get it.

If you want to read more about the  “hand, foot and mouth disease” also called “Höstblåsor” in Swedish, then check this link out: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hand,_foot,_and_mouth_disease

So all you Mumz or Dadz out there hopefully you will never encounter this disease, but if you do hopefully I have helped you a little bit on how to deal with it!

Have a nice week!

Love 

Belle

Distressed mother of two, coming through!

Rushing to finish breakfast quickly.

Rushing to be on time for school drop offs.

Rushing to finish work.

Rushing out of the office to reach home on time for handover of children.

Rushing to give them a bath and feed them before bed.

Rushing for them to sleep, so that you can sit down and do some of the things you need to do, or take care of that forgotten pile of laundry.

Rushing to fall asleep, because that alarm clock goes off in 5 hours and you know coffee will be your only friend the next day.

Rushing. All. Day. Every. Day

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It’s bad enough that we, as parents, as mothers, are rushing all the time, but what does it really do to the children? Is this a life for a young mind, all this rushing?

Is the life we are providing for our children, one that is healthy for them?

Children need time. Time to play in peace, time to eat slowly and not always be rushed, time to learn things and stop and reflect on stuff along the way. Is our lifestyle and our choices facilitating that?

Or, perhaps we are so focused on the materialistic things we are trying to provide for them, and how we are going to acquire that, that we forget about the most important one of them all; Time. And it is passing, by the minute, by the second. We focus on money; paying fancy future university studies, buying that giant Ninjago Lego Castle for Christmas and buying iPads so they can play interactive games and learn something, when you need peace and quiet. We think about savings-accounts, money for driver’s license, a start-up capital, maybe something we never had, but perhaps we had other things. Maybe we had mothers and fathers who didn’t have to work 2 or 3 jobs, but could rather come home around 4 o clock and spend quality time with us. Yes, times were different, but are we better off now? Or have we ended up on the wrong side of the road, driving against traffic?

At night, before I fall asleep (which is usually a window of about 2 minutes), I have made it a habit to remember. Remember some of the things that happened on that day. I am not talking about presentations at work or juicy gossip over fb with my girlfriends, but rather the moments I have with the little ones. I visualize how they look at me, their smiles and their eyes, those little eyes, looking to me for guidance, support and love.

It’s a major responsibility, to give them the best we can, but it’s an even bigger task, trying to find out, what that really is.

L_O_V_E

A

To nag or not to nag, that’s the question?

Sometimes I think I spend 90% of the time I have with my kids, nagging. Some rather silly extracts of the same as follows:

-Pick up your clothes from the floor! I am not going to be cleaning up after you, that’s your job! (But I will gladly spend the rest of my life reminding you of it…)

-If you don’t put the cork back on the pens, they will dry out and then you will not have any more pens!

-The way you are throwing that iPad left and right, it will break! And don’t think for a second that I will buy another one (by saying that I am basically saying that buying another one was an option to begin with)

-You are spreading that Lego here and there, we are losing pieces every day, these things cost money! (As if you must take care of things because they cost money…urgh so bad, Anna)

-Eat your food, you took that portion yourself, now you have to finish it. Otherwise you won’t grow bigger and stronger! (Ever heard of any child who stayed a child because he/she didn’t finish their food?)

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The worst part of the nagging is how BORING it is to do it!

The little time you have with the kids should be “quality time”, but what does that mean?  That we should constantly be smiling, laughing, dancing and singing, like we are all a part of some pampers commercial? That’s not realistic though. Not if you want to raise fairly functioning, balanced and happy individuals. Is not discipline and some kind of general sense of what’s right and wrong required to mold a healthy young person and later adult? Sometimes I think perhaps one should try it the other way; let them be, let them do, and then let them see the consequences and learn from that. But, then what is our function as parents? Aren’t we supposed to be there to prepare them and equip them with the right frame of mind so that they can avoid the usual pitfalls life will put before them?

The other thing I do a lot nowadays with my eldest are threats. If he doesn’t eat his food, he can’t go to the playground. If he doesn’t clean up after he has basically showered the entire bathroom (instead of just the shower-cubicle itself) then he can forget about watching Ninja Turtles during the weekend and so on. Threats, threats and threats again. Or perhaps we should rather call them consequences. I must admit, they do work, so far. He takes it serious, as once or twice I have had to make real on those threats, tough love. He gets it, but I am lucky that he does, I know on some children, threats have little to no effect. I don’t know what I would do, if that was the case, I am sure some rather primitive instincts would come upon me. Motherhood is truly a testament of your patience, and losing control most definitely means failure. Outside of the house, my eldest is such an angel and other parents always compliment him on how helpful, calm and courteous he is. And that makes me think I am doing something right. Kids should indeed stretch the boundaries at home, they should try out new language and behaviors in the safety of the four walls of your house, so that once they step out, they know what is acceptable and what is not. But it is hard.

I try nowadays not to apply any emotion to the situation, in order to avoid raising my voice too early. I simply ask him to do what he needs to do and when he doesn’t I calmly explain the consequence (or the threat) and then I move on with my day. It saves me the added stress and strips him off the opportunity to argue or talk back. Oh, that talking back, and the whiny voice when they don’t get what they want. Lol, I remember my mom saying: “Whatever you do, don’t give me that whiny voice!” And today, I totally and utterly understand her, there is nothing more annoying than that high pitch whiny I-want-that-yellow-lollypop type of voice.

Ok, enough ranting about the hardship of disciplining your children, I should say that mine are awfully cool and so far they do listen to what we are telling them, I just hope it will stay that way!

L_O_V_E

A

Mom-olympics!

Yvonne Cole, the very lovely Personal Trainer and Fitness Expert who is going to be coaching my blog partner Belle through her weight-loss journey during the next couple of months, sent me the funniest picture ever this evening:IMG-20160930-WA0029.jpg

It’s not only hilarious to me because it has this overall mood of constant panic throughout every picture, but because it also is so true! It’s almost as if mother nature has decided that life for the modern mum should be challenging also physically, in order to keep that body strong and slender (NOT). No time for the gym? Well, at least you have every opportunity during the day to incorporate some undesired elements of workout into your everyday life.

This evening was a prime example; I was outside Dubai Mall, watching the Fountains, or, as my 5 year old son calls them “the dancing water”, and just before the first show (they run every 30 minutes) is about to start I am smart enough to buy a cup of hot coffee, NOT feed my youngest son in order for him to chillax in the buggy and to arrive 2 minutes before it starts so that my 5 year old doesn’t have anywhere to stand where he can actually see the action. The interlude comes on, as I am desperately mixing a bottle of formula for my youngest. Now,  I already know I won’t be able to give him the bottle until the “water dance” is over, since I will need to lift up my 5 year old so that he can watch the show. It goes down something like this:

-Momy, it’s starting, it’s starting! My eldest song keeps shouting over the noise of the crowd

Hot water. Cold Water. Formula powder, 7 scoops, or, was it 8? I stopped counting. Shake, shake!

-Momy, it started, I can’t see, momy!

My youngest starts crying and more so, when he sees that I am ignoring his initial little innocent cries and instead lifts up his brother onto one shoulder. The crying turns into scream-crying. The sound of his voice cuts through Celine Dion’s, as the water has started dancing. My eldest one is very happy, sitting on top of my one shoulder. My two arms are holding him, a 24kg little guy, giving support to this one shoulder. I feel the burn in both biceps and smile as I am thinking about how this all must look to other people standing by; Here is this woman, with her hair all messed up, one 5 year old on one shoulder, one screaming baby in the buggy that she just ignores and a bottle of formula in one hand which is getting colder by the minute. Haha, so carefully planned, sophisticated really. I was so totally in control. The workout side of things was totally given here, I was lifting 24kg above my head, and kept holding it there for a good 3-4 minutes. Letting go was not an option, mind over matter.

Looking back, it was kind of funny, but I think we find ourselves in many of those situations with our kids, where our bodies are just tools for us to make a situation work, and not something that we necessarily listen to or pay attention to until it’s 8pm, and you can literally hear the bed calling your name. Your body is exhausted and so is your brain. I could think of several other situations where exercise is unwillingly incorporated into family life, and here follows a few more:

Picking up your children

Ok, you may not think about it, but for me at least, my arms are always most fit during the first year of my son’s lives. Reason being you lift them, carry them, bounce them around, lay them down, and pick them up and so on. So, to those mothers (I know you are out there) who go to the gym, and pick up that 3kg dumbbell for some good old bicep curls, go back home and pick your child up instead, that’s a better fitness investment. My youngest is a really heavy little fellow, so for me, it’s challenging to carry him around any longer than a few minutes. That definitely qualifies as undesired workouts during the day.

Playing with your children

-Momy, come climb up here!

-Momy, come on, let’s play some football

-Momy, can you throw me up in the air like a bouncing ball?

Playing with your children is definitely what you make it. Perhaps you are more the type who bring your children to the playground, hoping they will meet someone they know there so they can play together and you can catch up on the latest FB gossip or candy crush (waste waste waste of time people!), but if you are not, and you see playing with your child as a benefit to you as well, then get cracking! The kids absolutely love when their parents come down to their level and play with them the same way their friends do. You will see the joy on their faces!

Laughing and Yelling

Lol, yelling, oh yes, I do a lot of that with my 5 year old, and as with laughing, you are most likely engaging your stomach muscles, secretly working on that 4 pack while disciplining your child. Happy days!

Laughing we all know extends your life, of course not only because of sheer physical activity, but also in terms of the happiness that usually goes along with it.

Running

Not the type you do on a treadmill, or on a nice jogging track in a park on summer mornings, but rather the type of running you do for school drop off and pick up, to be on time for work, to leave work on time etc. The stressful running. I, for one, do a lot of that every single day! That, combined with the picking up and carrying of a baby (that weights a lot more than your average baby, so to speak) provides a nice mix between cardio and weight training.

I am not the type of mom who take my baby out in the park and actively use him as a weight pack for squats, deadlifts, glute bridges and shoulder press (and film it for my blog:)) but that’s not because there is anything wrong with it (provided you do know that you can indeed carry the weight of your baby during those particular exercises, safety first!), it’s just that for me, working out is more than just physical movements in order to stay fit, it’s my time, to focus on me, preserving my sanity. So, I will keep it separate for now, and should I change my mind, I promise you will be the first to know (park, camera, action!)

L_O_V_E

A

It was just another day…

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It was just another day.

Woke up in the morning.

Had breakfast.

Drank my coffee, while reading the paper.

Got the kids ready for school.

School drop off.

Work.

And then…

Have you ever had a day like that? One that just started out as any normal day, but ended up changing your life?

I know I have. And I have always been completely oblivious to what was about to happen.

One such incident was when I was made redundant at 7 months pregnant. Yah, a shitty spot, to say the least. But pregnancy is one amazing thing, somehow, I just kept cool. It’s almost as if your body is shutting certain emotions and reactions off, in order to save you and your baby from damaging stress levels. Then again, becoming redundant is of course a petty problem to deal with compared to what a lot of mothers face out there, especially in countries of war, famine and natural disasters. It can of course not be compared.

Being made redundant turned out to be a blessing in disguise, similar to many other such situations I have ended up in throughout the last decade. I have understood that sometimes life/God/ Universe is steering you in a certain direction and there are plenty of road signs along the way. But when you choose to ignore those signs out of fear or convenience and don’t pull it together and take the step you are supposed to take, then life takes it for you. On the day, it can feel like the biggest disaster ever, panic and paranoia can quickly come upon you. But something else that comes upon you, should also be freedom; someone else made that final decision for you, life pulled the plug on your lack of action and ensured you move as per the grand plan.

It takes guts, though, to follow those early signs. The people around you, whose opinions you value, may think you have gone completely bonkers, and that you are risking too much or making the wrong decision. As my grandmother always said (and I am sure I will refer to like 1 Million times in this blog): – “When you get advice, don’t just take it, put it into your statistics”. She was so amazing, and so right. I am sure a lot of you Mumz out there have at some point in your lives taken advice blindly, and ended up regretting it, because you realized that the advice given had in fact been based on the persons own fears or worst case, jealousy, and he/she had no insight or knowledge as to the particular situation you were in. No value added. Not to say you shouldn’t listen, but just make sure you are careful with who, why and what, in relation to any advice given. It’s important to live your own life, make your own decisions, based on what you feel is the right thing to do for you and your little unit.

I suppose, during my short life (Forever 21 btw), I have taken a few more or less bold decisions. To me, however, they have not been all that bold, perhaps because I have always trusted my instincts. It has led me to where I am today. And I am not talking about anything materialistic or financial here, I am referring to me, to my character. Challenging yourself in different environments and connecting with people from all over the world, has given me resilience and above all, no fear. Fear is one of the most dangerous emotions out there; it cripples people from pursuing their dreams, it disables possible beautiful interactions between people from different parts of the world and it makes people so obsessive about their stuff, money and power, to the point where the fear of losing it consumes them and makes them do crazy things to other people! Urgh, I despise fear. Be sensible, yes, don’t be careless and brash, but don’t be scared.

So, on one of those days, when your life suddenly changes drastically and you have to reassess what you have, what you want and where you are going in life, embrace the moment, and appreciate the fact that you are on the right path, wherever it may lead you. And above all, have no fear.

L_O_V_E

A

Today, I took a bath

Not so long ago, on Virgin Radio here in Dubai, one of the guys on the show was just going to have his first baby and so he asked his colleague live on radio what would be the biggest change to his normal routine and lifestyle. His colleague took a moment of silence, as if he was hesitant as to whether or not he should reveal his deepest thought, and he then replied: Spontaneity

What he said was spot on. Things have to be planned, from now on. But, it’s not that you CAN’T have a life (as people like to often describe it) or that by having babies you need to now rapidly “grow up” and talk about and do only things that grown-ups do. You don’t have to restrict your conversations to poo-schedules, inspirational pack-lunches and birthday party themes, in fact, with serious effort, you can avoid those conversations altogether. I must admit however, that it is difficult to do so entirely, given the constant need for sharing best practices and getting new ideas of how to care for our children, but perhaps it can at least be allowed only a certain space of our daily exchanges with other parents and between ourselves and our hubbies.

It is also perfectly possible to have that “life” that we keep referring to. What does that actually mean, though? It’s probably a very different answer from parent to parent. For some it means still being able to go out, get sloshed, crawl home, and be allowed time to pay for it the next day, and for others it means quiet dinner dates with their hubbies, or late night shisha with friends at a local coffee shop. It differs, and therefore there is no one answer. For me, it’s a mix of things; me-time (definitely a generation Y kind of invention), some hubby-and-I time and some time to just do this – write, be creative and develop myself.

Perhaps our focus, rather than complaining (which we do a lot of) should be to structure ourselves a bit better. Together with our hubbies, as a team, we can figure out how to enable each other to do the things we would like to do as individuals as well as the things we want to do with each other.

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To lead the way and set things in motion, here is my list of 5 things I am currently not doing enough of:

Taking a bath

Ok, Mumz, don’t worry, I am showering (doh), but having a bath, to me, is something totally different. It should be more of a spiritual moment. Silence around me (yeah, that’s the hard one!), candle or low dimmed lights, a glass of something cold (doesn’t have to be alcohol people!) and really really hot water. THAT is me-time deluxe.

Dinner dates (with husband, in case I needed to add that 🙂

I love calling these “dates”, because it lays the ground for some romantic action:) If you just call it a dinner, then it does become very grown-up, add the word “date” and somehow it takes us back and becomes a bit more juvenile, in all the right ways! A few hours away from the house, away from responsibilities, just the two of you, as it was before the little ones entered your lives, works wonders! You will have the time and calm to discuss your future, your common goals, realign yourselves in mind and spirit and ready to go back to the real world, even stronger. Together.

My skin

OK, here is one thing that is getting WAY too little attention in my daily routine. I know, I am always on about health and taking care of your body and workout and all, but what about the one thing that is starring you in your face every morning when you wake up? Your skin. Your face. I am not saying you should try to fight the battle of wrinkles and now go and invest in overpriced anti-wrinkle creams (night-creams, day-creams, Sunday creams, Saturday creams, day after creams… did I forget any?), what I am referring to is just the general TLC your face needs and deserves for you to feel good about it. Depending on your skin that might mean different things, for me it means that I should once or twice per week do a little homemade facial with steaming, a little buffing and roughing and then a mask and toner. Don’t do NEARLY enough of that!

Go to the movies

I absolutely LOVE going to the movies. I love the whole experience of watching a good film, together with others, with the best imagery and sound quality (not to mention the fact that going to the movies automatically entitles me to a pig-out on popcorn, coke and chocolate). I go sometimes with my eldest son, but it’s not exactly the same thing watching a well-made and exciting thriller as it is watching a cartoon with lots of yellow little guys running around (BANANAAAAAA!!). It’s fun, but not the ultimate fun one can have at the cinema. If I could have it my way, I would do more of that.

Girl’s nights!

Oh yes, last but not least, this one has suffered greatly since the arrival of my two beautiful boys. I suppose, not so much because I haven’t been able to, but because the little time I have outside of the regular routine, I want to spend with them. They are awesome and funny, and very entertaining. I usually try to compress the girly conversations and my portion of gossip into lunches and coffee’s throughout the day. But, I do need those girls nights, at least once in a while.

So, there it is, my little list, and I am sure my hubby also has one (shout out baby!). Mumz out there, what’s on your list? Share with us, maybe we can give each other more ideas!

And to celebrate this occasion of sharing, I shall in fact, do the very first on my list; I am taking a bath.

L_O_V_E

A

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