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)

Suffer little children to come unto me, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven

2 Aug
TV Watching

TV Watching

Summer has whizzed past and now its time to go back to work! Time flies when you are having fun, no words have rung truer and then they are now. Lots happening, more excitement to come, pity I am going back to work. Call in sick maybe…. it’s tempting.

Anyway, I digress, the biggest news of the day is that Miss Malaika was baptized on Saturday 26th July. What a blessed day it was. She was baptized at Holy Rosary Cathedral and thanks to Father Dion who was so accommodating and made it all happen before Gogo went back home. She was such a good girl, she’d had a nice long nap prior so she was refreshed and no trouble at all, even when she had water poured on her forehead three times. Thanks to all her uncles, aunties and cousins: Nina and Sanaa who helped celebrate her special day. Her chosen Saints Name, which the help of Gogo, is St. Josephine Bakhita. She was a Sudanese-born slave who lived in Italy and was canonized in 2000. Through all her hardships she was known to be always smiling, an apt name as Malaika is always smiling and happy.

She now has five teeth and is just about ready to get up and start walking. There is lots of furniture walking, pulling up and standing to reach out to anything she deems fit to put into her mouth, plus there is a renewed interest in the constant city traffic now she can get to the window herself and look out to see what’s what. She now recognises the sound of someone turning keys in the door so she looks up, smiles and then you hear the tap, tap of her little hands and legs on the hardwood floor making her way in greeting to whoever’s come home.

Ready to go shopping

Ready to go shopping

As a result the apartment baby-proofing continues. It never ends, just when you relax and think it’s all good she can reach something new or you see interested in something that you hadn’t thought would be an issue at all. This week we need a baby gate for the door to the balcony, by next week I am pretty sure it’ll be something else. So here’s a funny story, when we went to playgroup last week, Gogo saw a toddler pull out and play with one of those outlet/plug protectors and when he was done, he put in back in! Oh dear, his poor parents are none-the-wiser that he’s on to it. I have seen Malaika already seem like she’s just about figured out how to pull them out. In all honestly the chances of her sticking something in there and electrocuting herself are slim to none BUT do I want to be the one-in-a-million parent it happens to? I think not.

On the food front we are doing pretty well. She has renewed interest in food, milk just doesn’t cut it anymore. So I am back to boiling, pureeing and freezing every few days. Thanks to Auntie Ethel after we got back from San Fran we have had lots of raspberry-blackberry-and-pear puree, it’s a fan favorite. I might end up having to make a huge batch that’ll last us through winter since the berries won’t be in season soon. Bread is still very much a daily staple, at least two slices a day. Sadza, sadza, sadza: thanks to Gogo, sadza is now our daily dinner must have. She eagerly gobbles it up and open her mouth wide as we can to eat it! I don’t know how long it’ll last but I am going to ride that wave whilst its high. The last two mornings she’s been eating mealie porridge too, she’s gone off her brown rice cereal as well as the mixed grain now. I feel like a circus performer when it comes to food, always trying to keep her interested, and it’s tough crowd too! And I often have to sing nursery rhymes and sunday school songs to keep her engaged as she eats. The wheels on the bus have been going round and round so much I think the tires are flat! And if Father Abraham has any more sons he’s going to need his own ark just go to get to Mass!

Never too early to brush

Never too early to brush your pearly whites..

It’s all fun and games and it’s only going to get better.

On  sad note Gogo left on Wednesday. So now she doesn’t get her morning cuddles and chat with Gogo. Tasara tega tega, takangotarisana… (we have been left all alone, staring blankly at each other).

On a brighter note her father has a month off work and will be hanging out with her all day. Ambuya and Sekuru arrive on Tuesday, Uncle Nelson arrives at the end of the month and so does Uncle Bruce, Auntie Mildred and the girls from Edmonton! For three days in August they’ll all be here , at the same time, in our tiny apartment, no one will get a word in edgeways and it’ll be grand!

 

ps. How could I forget to mention she’s been sleeping through the night, I mean at least 10 hours solid, for two weeks now! Maybe cause I didn’t want to jinx it.. insert happy dance here, quietly… and go back to sleep glorious sleep..

Walking on sunshine

16 Jul

A thousand apologies for the delayed post. It’s been soo busy I don’t know if I am Arthur or Martha, feels like I am trying to be both!

Summer Dress

Summer Dress

So what’s been happening the last two weeks..where to begin?

Mai Nove and Nove arrived for their week-long visit much to Missy’s delight! All these people doting on her, she didn’t know where to turn. We had an amazing week filled out loud conversations, laughter and soo much love. I often found her looking at me in curiosity because she was hearing me speak and laugh in ways I haven’t done before. There is a certain tone and character your voice takes on when you speak in your native tongue and laugh with women that you just simply wouldn’t otherwise do. I also feel the constant chatter has helped her speak more too, now she’s just babbling and squealing all the time, pity we don’t know what she’s saying, she probably thinks it’s quite rude that no one is responding to her requests!

It was sad to them go but we didn’t have much time to dote on it because on the same day they left we, the girls, went to San Francisco for a few days to visit Jakob, Auntie Ethel and Uncle Ian. First plane ride and she did so well. The flight was about two and a half hours. She slept the whole way there because she had missed her nap in the morning. She was shattered, the excitement of all the people at the airport, the security check and the bright airport lights are enough to take it out of even the most determined of babies. This worked out just fine for me, I was able to read my Essence magazines on my iPad for the first time in months whilst she slept. On a side note, and I fully take responsibility for not having researched this before, I didn’t get a seat belt extender for her on the flight much to my surprise. I asked and the United Airlines air hostess gave me a blank look and said ‘Just hold her’, hmmmmm.  I was shocked that you are expected to just hold the baby in your arms and I guess in case of turbulence or worse, hope for the best. In Australasia you get seat belt extensions for babies but according to the FAA in a rare emergency they are dangerous for the child, in forward impact, the adult would crush the child. You can purchase approved lap belts that you can use during the flight but not at takeoff and landing. So there you have it, it’s best to buy your baby a seat and pop them in an approved car seat if you have safety concerns.

Anyway I digress, San Fran was great! I got some time-out from the usual day-to-day routine, we walked in a different park and had fun hanging out with our San Fran whanau (family in Maori). Jakob (17 months) however took a little while each day to warm to this little baby who was suddenly getting all the attention of his parents and these other two women who kept bringing the baby back, day after day! “Jakob say hello to the baby, did you see the baby Jakob?”, on and on it went on everyday. Oh the humanity… LOL! But it only took him a few minutes to enjoy hanging with his little cousin, they had a few special moments which made us all go ‘ahhhh…..’.

So now we are back and its been hot hot hot and humid in Vancouver. Temperatures the last few days have been in the thirties, not so pleasant when you are in a non-air conditioned apartment trying to keep a baby comfortable enough to sleep. We are north-east facing and we get both morning and evening sun. Nice in winter, a challenge in summer. Her sleep was already disturbed by the visitors, the traveling (though we are in the same timezone as San Francisco), now the heat. If it’s not one thing it’s another, the dreaded sleep dilemma rears its ugly head.. We’ll get there.

We have also been recalled to shoot a dance scene for the commercial! This time, thank goodness it’ll be during the day though it could potentially take 6 hours. We are only doing a scene with her so the delays shouldn’t be too bad. Once we have a link to the finished product we’ll post it. This is the last chance to do any of this before I go back to work so we’ll make the most of it.

The big news this week is that Ambuya and Sekuru (Karl’s parents) are coming! Yayyy! Visas approved, plane tickets purchased, it’s all go! So she’ll get to spend August with Baba at home and her grandparents. She’ll be way too blessed to the stressed for sure.

We’ve started to go to the library which she loves because of the open long aisles that she can crawl to her heart’s content. Stop, flay her arms and giggle at anyone who glances in her direction. She’s very social and alert, something which may prove to be an added challenge as time goes on. We have also been going to the pool, especially in this heat, she loves it especially since they is always one or two other babies or toddlers there to play with.

Crawling

Crawling

On the developmental side we have four teeth and it seems more coming as the drooling is once again freely flowing. She also kind of doing this half-crawl – half walk thing with one leg dragging on the ground and the other her knee up and bum in the air! It’s hilarious. In Malaika’s mind she can walk. She already pulling herself up and letting go, if her hands are free she’ll attempt to brace herself, if she’s got something in her hands then she’ll just fall, and why not, there’s always someone’s hands ready to break her fall! So you can imagine my days are being spent hovering around making sure that its ‘safe’ to fall otherwise having to catch her in time before she cracks her head open!

So there you have it! The summer magic continues, watch this space….

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