While the week before last was hard, it did nothing to prepare me for the past week. As most of you know, I was feeling particularly stressed about work; and with Monday being the 30th, I was preparing for a brutal week of wrapping up month end across all the businesses and then preparing for December and year end. Not to mention starting prep for January and in Tums 2 Tots case, February, the rebrand, the launch event, and so on and so forth. And then life happened.
So, you know what I did? I took some down time over the weekend. I didn’t actively work after finishing Saturday’s post. I did some setup for the magazine and kept on top of my emails, but I didn’t write or actively plan things. I headed into real life and spent time with Brett on Saturday afternoon at a lunch date at the gorgeous HQ restaurant, I came home and napped with Charly, I went to bed early.
A quick pause to tell you a little about HQ Restaurant, because it was a unique experience for me (and not just because I drank my first glass of wine since my wedding day in May 2013). I love that it seems almost hidden away, cool, quiet and elegant, far from the heat of the day, deep inside Heritage Square in town. Modeled off a Parisian steakhouse, the restaurant has a set menu – you get a delicious, crisp, fresh salad of cos and iceberg lettuce, sprinkled with toasted pine nuts, parmesan shavings and a vinaigrette dressing (which I left off); followed by a grilled sirloin, smothered in Café de Paris butter and served with skinny crispy fries. I really enjoyed this meal; the steak was incredibly tender and melted beautifully in the mouth with the incredibly tasty butter sauce; I saved some of my starter to have with the main, and the chips were delicious!
The lunchtime portion of steak is 125g, which is just nowhere near enough food for us, so we ordered three bar “snacks” to share, which turned out to be huge portions. Each item was more delicious than the last, but I didn’t want to eat too much, because I couldn’t review a restaurant without trying their desserts… Overall it was a delicious meal in a beautiful setting, perfect for a quiet date day.
Sunday morning I finally got to meet one of my favourite people, who until then I had only chatted to online and on whatsapp, when Tamarah, her sweet husband and her teeny tiny beautiful little 8 week old O came for brunch. Brett went all out and made the most incredible eggs, bacon, sausages, garlic mushrooms and roasted baby rosa tomatoes; T made us decadent berry vanilla smoothies (with full cream icecream!!) and brought fresh croissants, coffee and dessert parties. We ate until we were too full to move, and we chatted til Miss Charly started doing her naptime meltdowns.
Of course then Charly would not sleep at all, having had too much fun gently stroking baby O, drinking delicious smoothies, eating all the sausages and showing off for everybody. So Brett and I caught up on some Elementary while she ran around like a loony toon and then passed out on our bed (which never ever happens). She woke as incredibly unhappy as you might expect, we bathed her, she refused to eat anything and wanted to go to bed at 6. I should have worked, but knowing the week I was about to have I thought maybe what I actually needed was total me time, so I caught up on a ton of Scandal episodes, ate Coco Pops and didn’t open my computer. I lay under the fan and just disappeared into Washington DC life and I went to bed feeling decompressed for the first time in months.
Needless to say, Sunday night was awful. She woke hourly, wanting to just feed all the time and making me feel like the worst mom ever for not forcing her to eat something before she went to sleep. Or for not somehow forcing her to nap in the afternoon. I don’t know, it was a horrible night and being awake about four fifths of it, I started panicking about all the work I didn’t do on the weekend and the day ahead that I was awake for by 5am.
Monday started by us realising we had run out of coffee. Yes, seriously. I am telling you, life had it in for me. It was followed by my mom arriving with what really seemed like pneumonia; the bronchitis she had been diagnosed with the week before had most definitely worsened and she was in pain. Her showing up anyway is exactly like our family, we don’t stop until we are forced to it seems. I also realised that C was due her final vaccination in November and somehow we were in December already, so I decided to pack Charly and mom into the car and head off to Synergy pharmacy to see our favourite Sister Stella at the clinic.
After a thorough checkup of mom, she said it didn’t seem to be pneumonia but the bronchitis had moved, so she worked with the pharmacists to put together a selection of diabetic-friendly meds and said she needed to rest and if she didn’t feel better after a day or so, back to the doctor.
And then Charly happily jumped up onto the exam table (which was amazing after our last experience there), and asked to have her chest listened to with the stethoscope, doing the deep breaths and everything. I then told her she was going to have 2 quick injections in her arms, like granny does in her tummy every day and she said “ok” and happily sat and watched while Stella gave her the first shot (along with a jelly baby). The second shot was a nasty one, and she cried for about 2 seconds before Stella offered another jelly baby and then it was done. SO much less traumatic than expected!!
I won’t lie, the anxiety at this point was incredibly hectic. I felt like my chest was closing and I was having to breathe really slowly and consciously. Why? Because I was terrified that my mom was really ill, I was waiting for the usual meltdown from Charly that has occurred at every clinic or doctor’s visit since she was tiny, I was dreading the reaction to the vaccination that she has every single time, I was sending my mom home for at least a few days, and it was month end with deadlines and reports and planning – and I didn’t work all weekend. And just for fun, I had to phone Dr Rob and cancel my appointment, because I had nobody to watch Charly.
I made lunch for Charly and my mom and then sent my mom home to rest and put Charly down for her nap. By this time she had a temperature of almost 38 and her arm was a dark red colour and swollen and she was crying because it hurt, so I Nurofenned her and after an hour of screaming I just couldn’t anymore and I threw all our hard work on day weaning out the window and breastfed her.
And then I lay holding her while she cried in her sleep. Every time I tried to move or use my phone to work, she woke howling, so I started planning for the worst. I sent a mail then and there letting my biggest client know that they wouldn’t be getting their month end report and I would be combining it with December, since I had no idea when I would actually be able to send it. I also let one of my other clients know that her brand consulting work would only be done later in the week, which as a busy working mom she (thanks heavens) was totally understanding about. I let my amazingly talented friend Lindsay of Love Made Me know that her giveaway was being postponed, which made me feel sick for letting her down. And I accepted with a giant lump in my throat and huge waves of guilt crushing me, that my All I Want for Christmas was not going live on Tuesday – letting all of the people I was featuring down and all my readers as well.
Charly was so unhappy, her temperature was up until Thursday morning and she was miserable and just wanted mommy all the time. Lucky for her, no granny meant that is exactly what she got. Monday night was hell, even with Stopayne she was awake all night crying in pain from her swollen arm and we both gave up on pretending to sleep by 5am. Tuesday Brett woke up sick, but with Charly here, it is far more restful for him at work than it is at home. Thank heavens, our beloved cleaning lady came in and played with Charly for about an hour so I could get a tiny bit of emails done, get an article up for Tums 2 Tots and worked on the Christmas piece.
To my huge relief she fell asleep with her dummy and no feeding and I planned on getting some sleep as I felt like my head was going to explode from being up all night. In the end I worked instead, desperately writing on my phone. I had at this stage found a potential part time babysitter for the December holidays and set up a meeting for Wednesday morning. Tuesday afternoon was full of tears from Charly and anxiety from me as I tried to play with her and distract her from feeling awful while continuously stressing over the work I should be doing and worrying sick about my mom, who had started to feel worse again.
Another night of no sleep and another pre-6am wake up had me incredibly close to tears all morning. Brett was officially sick with an upper respiratory infection, and still going to work every day and coming home and cooking dinner for us, which meant I was essentially alone with Charly non-stop. How AWFUL does that make me sound?? I am her mother! How horrible am I that being with her 24/7 for a few days was so incredibly difficult? And I have been wanting another child? I can’t even cope with the one I have. But that is a whole other hugely looming conversation for another day.
I met with a very sweet lady named Jen who lives 2 minutes from us and will be helping us out on and off over the holidays, so I can make sure my mom takes some downtime too. She kept me and Charly company on Wednesday morning as well got to know her a little better and Charly became friends with her. She agreed to come in for a couple of hours on Thursday morning to try give me a little space to get things done. Charly had another full blown fall apart at nap time and I ended up breastfeeding her again – massive failure. At 10pm on Wednesday night I finally FINALLY finished my Christmas post and let it go live before collapsing in bed next to Charly right as she started her hourly wake ups again.
Jen arrived at 9 on Thursday and, of course, Charly had an epic meltdown and limpeted herself onto me for half an hour. After that she settled and started playing with the incredibly patient Jen, who got her to happily colour in and pretend to paint the house with an eyeshadow brush. I couldn’t leave the room without all the tears, so I sat on the couch while they played and I did manage to get some work done, which again eased some of the panic.
But then I spoke to my mom, who was feeling so awful she went back to the doctor, convinced she actually had pneumonia this time. There were x-rays and waiting, but in the end they said they had caught it JUST in time to stop it from turning into pneumonia. Yet more meds and more bedrest and terrifyingly, they had to give her the medicine they had been avoiding because of her diabetes and her sugar was over 25 at one point (normal is between 4 and 8). More panic and worry and lots of tears from me when contemplating my relationship with my mom (also a definite post for another time). At least Charly’s temperature officially disappeared on Thursday and she ate a little better that afternoon.
I was beyond looking forward to Friday when my mom’s sister was coming for the day. Charly knows and adores her, and she worked for years and years with babies and children, so she is more than capable of dealing with Charly even on one of her worst days. Also, it was hugely comforting to have my aunt there who loves to look after me too. I finally managed to get some real work done and finalise some of the urgent things that were due on Monday. I cried on and off all day as I finally managed to get some of my major stressors off my plate. And Charly was probably the happiest she had been since Monday morning.
Yesterday morning my cleaning lady returned to watch Charly for a couple of hours, because Brett was due to be at a tech conference all day. I had great plans for heading off to a quiet coffee shop to eat delicious breakfast and write a ton of the stories I was meant to have done and needed to do. And then I made a real “mom choice” and decided to have a long hot bath all by myself, wash my hair for the first time since last week and spend the hour it takes brushing the knots and tangles out afterwards watching Criminal Minds. And then I went to sleep with her. Brett took her to the shop in the afternoon giving me some time to do planning for the rest of the month and to start writing this. Other than the initial meltdown when Thembe arrived, Charly seemed much more herself and was even playing and singing to herself and being extra adorable.
I don’t know what is going on with our Charly bear, I am hoping it is simply that she is missing her granny and the aftereffects of the vaccinations; but she isn’t sleeping. She is wanting to feed all night and even then, she isn’t sleeping. We are getting about 3 broken hours of sleep and she is waking around 5 every morning. I am feeling quite ill from it and I don’t know how she is keeping up her energy. She also hasn’t been eating very well. I guess it could also be the heat.
Overall, I can’t begin to express how happy I am to see the back of this week. My mommy is on the mend and will be back tomorrow. I finally get to see Dr Rob after 20 days. I have a massage booked with Berneen for Thursday because my neck and back are so incredibly sore between the stress and the not sleeping and the constant breastfeeding that I am getting headaches from it. So you see, next week is already better than any day of the last two.
When I look back at it, I suspect that the universe or life or whatever you choose to believe in was forcing me to slow down, to take a physical and mental break from the work. I wish some sort of acceptance and a lack of chest crushing anxiety had come with it though. I don’t feel rested from the “break”, I feel as if the break broke me. It has made me doubt myself even more than usual and on a deeper level.
I have been afraid to my core of losing my mom, and what that would mean to me and to Charly. I have upset my husband by being constantly stressed and afraid and depressed and completely unable to support him or look after him while he has been sick. I have completely let myself down after all the soul crushing work I did to day-wean Charly by backsliding completely; which means I am going to have to start that all over again. At least I know I have been a good mommy, regardless of how hard it may have been for me; I have been there for C every single step of the way, I have given her my all while she has been sick and sad from missing my mom.
Tuesday will see the last edition of my All I want for Christmas series and then Pregnant in Cape Town will revert to just being my story for a month or so over the holiday season. While I will keep doing my weekly round ups and personal posting, all giveaways and series will be taking a break until next year. Tums 2 Tots will still be active over the holiday season, so if you are missing me or looking for something great to read, please pop over and say hi.
Also, I would LOVE if you would follow us on Instagram, I post at least one photo of Charly a day, so if you are missing her adorableness and looking for short updates on what we are up to, Instagram is the place to be.
Lastly, for the few of you that are still with me… I lost my mind for a brief moment and threw my hat into the ring for the South African Blog Awards. The public each gets one vote to share who their favourite blog is in various sections. I can be found here under the parenting blogs and I simply cannot begin to tell you how much it would mean to me if you voted for me.
And that’s it for real. I am really hoping that next week’s roundup is going to be a lot more upbeat and filled with better news than these last 2. The score is sitting at Life 2 – Me 0, and I am really really aiming to at least make it onto the scoreboard this week.
Sending all the love xx