Armed Love (When “There’s No Vacation from Vocation”)

21 Jun

God In All Things

By Flickr user crimfants - Creative Commons License BY-SABy Flickr user crimfants – Creative Commons License BY-SA

Parenting a toddler is giving me a window into the daily realities of struggle when trying to accomplish even the most basic task. Some days, changing a diaper is like wrestling a very smelly baby alligator. One day I left my daughter around my unguarded laptop for a few minutes, only to return and find she’d ripped several keys off the keyboard. My husband and I now make a habit of checking the trash before we take it out, just in case our car keys “mysteriously” ended up there. If it’s time to stop playing with bubbles and go inside before Miriam decides she’s ready, her protests will reach a pitch that seems to make it physiologically impossible to remain calm. Some of these moments are comical, but many of them are just exasperating.

Several years ago, when I met my…

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The Skin-eater

26 May
With baby in her 'office'

With baby in her ‘office’

Miss Malaika is now 20 months old; 4 months shy of 2 years old! Wow, time really does fly. It’s taken me 2 weeks to actually complete this blog post; I had to change her age from 19 months. Somehow I thought at this stage I would have more time, I don’t know why… there’s no harm in dreaming.

Our child is still a picky eater and despite both of us swearing she must weigh 10kg/22pounds she’s not quite there yet. She may get there soon though because she’s taken to eating chicken skin, yes my child is a skin eater! The pediatrician said she needs to eat lots of fat and protein, she was listening and she took it to heart. How did we figure this out you ask? It started with chicken wings, she wanted to gnaw at the bone so I gave a whole one to work on, she only ate the skin, usually with meat she chews it for an age then hands it to me to dispose of. So I gave her more skin and she just kept eating. We had reached a stage where I would buy a whole chicken, roast half of it and she’d eat the whole lot in one sitting, as disgusting as it is for us to watch she’s in heaven,

Please sir, I want some more...

Please sir, I want some more…

she keeps asking for more, more, more, complete with the hand action.

We can’t eat the chicken meat as quickly as she does the skin, luckily enough the nice lady at Whole Foods meat department has agreed to keep me the skins once a week instead of throwing them out! So there you have it, she eats crispy roast organic chicken skin free of anti-biotics and all the bad stuff. She is an African for sure her go-to foods are: mealie-meal porridge with her Grandmother’s homemade peanut butter, sadza, biltong (salt content makes me cringe but it’s protein), popcorn (maputi), rooibos tea (yes she still doesn’t drink milk or juice, just tea and water, sophisticated toddler some would say).

 

Sleeping her big bed now

Sleeping her big bed now

She has also started swimming lessons at Aquaventures; it’s a joy to watch her take to the water more and more each week. She can stay under water for a few seconds and wants to do the routines, one more time over and over again. Now she wants to walk around the house in her swim diaper and swimming cap, what else would you on a hot summer evening! With any luck she’ll teach her mum how to swim. Seriously I should learn, I may need to save her one day… my one day should come sooner rather than later.

 

The most popular word is NO. I am sure this is the case in most households with toddlers. Is it an indication of what everyone is always saying to them? Perhaps… Once they learn it , it’s not easily un-learnt, in our house it’s been upgraded, now instead of no we get ‘No waaaayyy’, accompanied with a head shake that has a slight shoulder shuffle… oh dear, we’re in trouble now. Her vocabulary is increasing though some things are just blanket words, in Zimbabwe every soft drink is coke and for Malaika every liquid, even the sea, is tea and most foods are sadza. Also much to my dismay every older white man is Unko a.k.a Uncle, serves us right for trying to teach her to respect her parents friends! Ha ha ha! For some reason Auntie hasn’t caught on as well. She can definitely say Harro or Hi (the former seems reserved for when she’s ‘on the phone’ with the remote, fridge magnet or anything else she thinks can pass for a phone). She also always says ‘Bye bye see you’ when we leave the elevator much to the amusement of people in our building.

 

All dressed up in Portland

All dressed up in Portland

She reads lot of books, or puk-puk as she calls them. She has to read during breakfast and when she’s on the toilet sometimes. Point of correction when I say read I mean: I read and she points and grunts! Occasionally she’s say the words or things she recognizes or go ‘oh-wooowww…..’ at something she deems amazing. What I find interesting is that she can always tell when a book is upside down and she goes to great lengths to put it the right way up. She’s been doing it for as long as she’s shown in interest in books from about 10 months old when she was painstakingly crawling to get to them and trying to flip the pages.

 

I didn’t think much of my request that Baba should pass by IKEA and get a few things one of which was a step for the bathroom. She’s getting too heavy to carry whilst we go through the bedtime teeth brushing routine: first I rub them with a cloth, then she ‘brushes’ whilst I brush, then we both rinse and wipe clean the sink. I made the mistake of introducing the step just before bedtime last night, wow, she was soo excited and then she didn’t want to step down. It took 15 minutes to eventually drag her away kicking and screaming. Then she took an age to actually fall asleep, she was too wound up to sleep. I firmly believe she dreamt about all the things she can now do 5 inches taller….Now she carts the step all over the house trying to see what she’s been missing out on and she quite figured out she can use it to reach all those things we’ve trying to keep out of her reach….

So the grass is singing and summer is here! We are already starting to be able to wear shorts, turning on the fan to cool down and missy has learnt that she can say ‘ice biz’ (please) pointing to the freezer with a little bowl in her hands, ice will appear and she can happy suck away at it. Of course she’s not doing this for the purposes of ‘cooling down’ it’s just a kids-ice-thing!

p.s. No more breastfeeding, stopped at 17 months when I went to LA to meet Auntie Nove for a few days, came back and it had dried up! Whoop whoop! Seriously, it was a relief…

Games on the iPhone, friend or foe?

Games on the iPhone, friend or foe?

Malaika Fierce

20 Jan
Oh christmas tree

Oh christmas tree

Towards the end of last year Natasa was quite sick. For a month we juggled looking after Malaika as she couldn’t go to daycare. The other family found a place for their son in a group daycare so when Natasa was better Malaika went back to daycare on her own.

Natasa has a grandson Mateo who is about Malaika’s age. At least twice a week either they go over to Richmond to spend the day playing or he comes downtown with his mother. They’ve become great friends. Natasa says they play and interact in a way she doesn’t often kids that age do.

Yesterday they went to a playground. There were hardly any kids around which is good because they can have free reign of the place. After a little while an older boy came over to hang around. Mateo was playing with a ball. Malaika was a little ways away doing her own thing. The boy came over and took Mateo’s ball. Mateo didn’t resist. He didn’t kick & scream or attempt to get the ball back but he clearly wasn’t happy about it, he was a little sad as his grandma put it. Malaika came over , stood in front of the boy , took the ball back and have it to Mateo. And that ladies & gentlemen is what friends are for.

Wish I could have been there…. Considering Malaika is quite small for her age that’s pretty brave. I am soo proud of her.

Here’s wishing your New Year is brave, strong, courageous and in the spirit of friendship & standing up for what you believe in and those you love.

Have a blessed week

p.s. apparently we like cooking

What's cooking good looking

What’s cooking good looking

 

 

All I want for christmas is…. rice cakes

18 Dec
Onesie

Onesie

Last night Malaika ate her dinner, by herself from start to finish. This is not from lack of trying on her part but usually I intervene because I feel she’s taking too long and I want to take advantage of a good run before she loses interest. Last night her highness wasn’t having it, she took hold of that fork and she wasn’t letting it go for anyone. She brought the plate closer to her chest with one hand to avoid spillage, Gogo Parktown would be proud, she’d say “arikushandisa munyati” (she’s using her brain). She ploughed through her rice, occasionally picked up some chicken breast , checked it for what I can only imagine is poison given the suspicious look on her face, gobbled it up, pick up the fork and nibbled on more rice. Once she had eaten most of it and what was left was a little too fiddley for her chunky cutlery to navigate she used her fingers to literally pick up and eat every last grain. If I didn’t know better I would check for signs of kwashiorkor, poor child must be starved! Thank you @biglousbutcher , my daughter has only been eating meat in the form of mince or disguised in whatever she’s eating. Whilst she was eating her rice she would occasionally take a few sips of her tea and wash down her gourmet meal.

Let me elaborate on the tea drinking. She still doesn’t drink milk. With all dairy products except for butter she simply smells them and turns away in mild disdain. If it makes it into her mouth she swallows it but puts her hand up ever so emphatically and that is the end of that. We have decided she’s lactose intolerant and her body is telling her to stay away from it. As a result she will be breastfed until she starts to eat enough calcium-rich foods that we won’t be at risk of having a osteoporotic toddler! At any rate what she does drink a lot of is water and rooibos tea. The tea is Rooibos Cape Town from @TheTeaPlace1, infused with lovely flowers and fruit , no sugar, just tea. She doesn’t like juice or any other liquid really. Her Auntie Cher thinks she’s sophisticated, her friend Malaika (what are the chances there’s two of them in Vancouver?) who is 4 thinks it’s just silly, I tend to agree.

After our meal she took great pleasure in helping me sweep up the bits of rice that didn’t make it into her mouth, even holding up the dust pan, it was going really well until she started to pick the rice from the dust pan and eating them! A lesson in domestic hygiene is sorely needed…

Tidy up time

Tidy up time

As you may have gathered she’s running around now. Talking a mile a minute complete with hand actions too. The main problem is she still doesn’t say things we understand so we pretend to have a conversation, totally agree, act appropriately chagrined on her behalf and most of the time seem to get it right. Occasionally we don’t and she looks at you as if to say ‘That’s totally not what I am saying!” Her strong will continues to shine through, my only hope is that she learns to be flexible and admit when she’s wrong, something my mother wisely says is up to us all to teach and guide her through. Here’s a funny picture, on the day in question it was -2 degrees out, we were going to an Eco Fashion Vintage Pop-up Shop. It wasn’t raining, she’d newly discovered her love of umbrellas. She insisted to she hold the umbrella all the way out of our building and  on the 10 minute walk to the pop-up shop. Thank goodness this phase only lasted a day or two. It’s tricky to navigate a stroller downtown, around lots of other pedestrians whilst trying to help her keep up the umbrella. And of course something would catch her eye and she’s simply let the umbrella go then look at me in annoyance when it hit the ground, huh.. duh…..

RainCouver

RainCouver

Favorites snacks at the moment are LoveChild Organics pat-a-cakes (rice crackers) and toodle-o’s (which are essentially cheerios without the sugar and packed full of goodness) , all sweetened with fruit which is good not only because it’s better for her BUT mainly because she still doesn’t seem to like sweet things. No complaints here at all! Thank you @lc_organics.

We’ve also done a photoshoot for a local kids store : Parade Baby ! Now who wouldn’t want to buy from her? She’d sell ice to an inuit no doubt…

 

Drop Everything

Drop Everything

Mom’s Basic Shortbread Dough

13 Dec

eating is the hard part

I like to think my mother was quite good at a lot of things. In saying that, I think she was really good at sorting and storing her recipe collection. I always remember a plastic green box, along with a fancier wooden box, sitting near the stove with index cards full of recipes. From Christmas punch to Yorkshire pudding, everything was there. Easily readable, and always straight forward. I don’t think I have the patience now a days or the necessary hand writing skills to make such elegant cards. Most of the cards are stained with baking fats, or smudges of chocolate, but a few were rewritten before she passed and left in a clean, glorious fashion. Just like this one.

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My sun and my moon

20 Sep
Watching the world go by

Watching the world go by

Today Malaika Rudo Mudzamba is 1-year-old. That’s 365 days, that’s 52 weeks and 1 day. There have been many highs and lows, the lows have been higher than I have ever been. My life has been turned upside down and I wouldn’t have it any other way. They say having children changes your life, I say it gives you a new life and if you pay attention and learn from them, it’s better than your old life could ever have been. I read a blog once entitled ‘I gave birth to my boss’, this is soo true and my boss is uncompromising…

The mayhem of summer adventures, travel and visitors has been over for nearly a month now. I had to hit the ground running at work because of a few big projects we are working on so there was no easing into it. Malaika had not settled into daycare as well as I had hoped, we had to go get her  early a few times but it’s all coming right now. She spends her days with Natasa and a little boy called Hank. Hank is a big boy, he’s a couple of months older and they’ll be best friends in no time. For now, Natasa says she keeps Malaika close because Hank could easily knock her over until she gets stronger and more confident on her feet. Natasa has been moving her hand up and down and saying no when he looks like her might bowl her over, now apparently Malaika has learnt the hand action and so she can protect her personal space on her own now. One thing is very clear about Malaika, she knows what she wants, she’s persistent and she is strong-willed. Hence we are sure the reason why she hasn’t taken the whole you’re spending the day at daycare and not at home lying down.

We still only have 6 teeth, yes Auntie Anne I am checking and counting BUT now we can take a few steps on our own AND we can have whole conversations , well monologues, which the idiots around us don’t seem to understand because they don’t respond appropriately! But she doesn’t mind she carries on happy as Larry. Her favorite things to play with: the remotes are still number one, then mobile phones and also thanks to the advice of Mai Nove, AKA Gogo London, when Mama is cooking the bottom kitchendraw that is full of containers and lids gets a complete makeover all the way to empty and doesn’t get refilled until an adult nearly trips on something and puts everything back in frustration!

She loves to stand by the windows and look down to see what’s going on across the road, on the road, giggle at the birds flying and landing on the building across the road, watching people cycling and walking by. It’s constant entertainment and she spends a lot of time taking it all in. On the food front it’s still mealie meal porridge for breakfast, I tried to go back to the other cereal one morning I woke up a bit late and hadn’t cooked it, it was an epic fail. She’s eating well at daycare and then at night now she just eats what we eat: rice, stuffed pasta (only way to sneak in cheese cause she still doesn’t seem to like diary), baked potatoes. As long as it’s not mushy and she can chew it, she’s good. Meat is not a favorite, I guess the chewing isn’t easy with only 6 teeth but she’s have a couple of mouthfuls of fish. Carrots are still in, green beans are out along with mashed potatoes.

Books, books, books are a favorite too. All her books are the bottom of the bookcase and she habitually takes them all out and flips through them, I noticed the other day she can tell if they are upside down and turns them around (did I already mention my child’s a genius?). Two books are at the top of the list: The Very Hungry Caterpillar (thank you Auntie Ethel) and I call it the Moo book, but it’s the one with all the animal sounds. She loved that one and its the one that been chewed the most too!

So here we are looking back on a year and its been smiles, smiles and more smiles with our Afro Canadian Princess…..

Munching on corn and grapes

Munching on corn and grapes

Count your blessings name them one by one

19 Aug
Haircut

Haircut

A weekly post seems more and more difficult as the back to work routine gets established but once Malaika is in daycare, visitors have gone and we both have a more predictable routine then it may very well happen but for now, posts will come as and when I get a free minute (literally).

So I have been back to work for two weeks now. As the title says I am counting my blessings and naming them one by one because it is hard to believe how smooth the transition has been. My boss and colleagues have been beyond understanding and I am very thankful that I work for an organisation that actively promotes a healthy work-life balance. I have started to go to the chiropractor to fix my ailing body (apparently my spine is straight and neck is so far forward my body feels like my head weighs 25 pounds (11 kgs). I have been going three times a week, before I go to work so I get up put her porridge on, shower, go to chiro, pass by the supermarket if needs be, come back home, breastfeed the princess and then dash to work, most times I am only into the office after 9, sometimes more like 9:30. But on the positive side she’s been happily waving goodbye when I leave and then the second I walk in she breastfeeds, then clings to me for a good hour before I am allowed to put her down, let alone out of my sight. She’s been doing great hanging out with Baba, Mbuya and Sekuru. Her eating has been less than ideal but she eats when she’s hungry which apparently these days is not that often… Breakfast and dinner are good, the rest of the day she just nibbles. The fan favourites are sourdough bread and a fruit puree recipe that I got from Auntie Ethel that has raspberries, blackberries and pears. I pour it into re-usable pouches and she happily sucks away at it! She refuses to drink cow or goat milk, just even smelling them she turns away and raises her hand in protest, she’s not having it. I made a vain attempt at trying to give her formula too, it didn’t even get a lick in, she just smelt it and turned away. I am going to pump whilst I am at work and see if she’ll drink that. If not, c’est la vie, she’s missed the boat and it may be time for weaning.

Dinner has been a consistently good meal and the trick we have discovered is variety and eating together. If we all sit and eat, she’ll eat off everyone’s plate and eat way more than she would of her own food in her own plate. So as a result she eats what we eat, so that means very little salt in all food, not a welcome nor easy feat in a Zimbabwean household but its working so far.

Potty training is going as well as can be expected at this stage. We put her on the potty when she wakes in the morning and from her naps, sometimes she goes, sometimes she doesn’t. The other day I got a number one and two! It felt like Christmas! I happily snapped away and Whatsapp-ed them to a few people, much to Auntie Nove’s disgust, “OMG you’re one of those mom’s”, she says, “Hang on, you’re a nurse, thought you could handle it”, to which she cheekily replied, “You ain’t paying me” hmmm….., fair enough ~

Malaika has started to stand on her own with the confidence and speed of one just about to break into a run! She stands up, proudly pumps her chest out and coasts away like an avid surfer, when she falls she claps enthusiastically to our happy chant “Amira mira nhanha , amira mira! ” Literally translated it’s “baby is standing, standing”. It won’t be long now and she’ll be walking, then the fun will begin. As my mum pointed out life will totally slow down cause she’ll want to walk everywhere, and with her level of curiosity she’ll stop every 5 seconds to look, inspect and giggle at everything and we’ll never get anywhere fast again …joy..

She also got her first haircut thanks to Auntie Yani Pacific Hair  . So now she looks like a pretty boy! LOL! It actually makes her look so much more mature, no baby face. It’s cute, we all like it. So no need for anymore outcries, she no longer looks like Blue Ivy, though there was nothing wrong with it in the first place, it was just quite uneven. So no, it won’t be getting combed much, but it’ll be more even.

As parents go, we couldn’t be prouder and in the words of the late Robin Williams:

“Everyone has these two visions when they hold their child for the first time. The first is your child as an adult saying ‘I want to thank the Nobel Committee for this award.’ The other is ‘You want (yam) fries with that?'” (they are healthier for you..kkkkkkk)

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