Tag Archives: baby

Reflections on Christmas, by a Doula (me), and not a Theologian (the hub).

I love Christmas. There is so much to love about it – the food, the festivities, the giving, the joy. Only this year did I calculate exactly how many family traditions (or events) we shmoosh into this beautiful period of celebration. There are many.

Between my husband and my family, I could count over 10. From baking our own mince pies, to acting the nativity scene (dressed up and with specific roles!), to Uncle Paul’s Christmas Party and Carols at Kirstenbosch. This season is full – and wonderful.

And so full of WONDER. For so many years we celebrated Jesus’s birth – in the manger, with angels and shepherds and that all important star – all so neat and tidy and lovely sitting in the church pew thinking ‘let’s hurry home now and open presents’ (a firm childhood memory of mine)…

Only after having my own kids (and falling in love with birth) have I begun to imagine that birth differently. I love to imagine how hard it must’ve been for Mary and Joseph to (physically) escape to Bethlehem. (If you’ve had those STABBING pains UP your vajay-jay as if you’re about to give birth there and then can you imagine what that must have been like for Mary). I wonder how often she thought she might not make it – with the bobbing up and down on a donkey and Jesus most likely decending into position, pushing on her bladder. I imagine her fear and desperation not finding a place to stay, and then the mix of relief and discomfort finding a stable, a place to finally sit down, and then ‘prepare for the birth’. I wonder how long her birth was, how long did she push for (birth-nerd talk), and how the baby was delivered? At what point did her waters break? Was he breach? Was he posterior? How did Joseph handle it all? Did he freak out? Had either of them seen birth before – they were young… What did they do with the umbilical cord? Was there a moment of divine intervention from heaven above, or was it all really… human. This is BIRTH. Real, raw, scary, beautiful, empowering BIRTH. Yet the birth of a King.

Was there a split second of Peace on Earth? I doubt Mary was wearing white cloths neatly wrapped around her body (for one, there was no Aerial or Omo back in that day). If you’ve seen birth, nothing remains white. The cloth Jesus was wrapped in must have been covered with amniotic fluid, vernix and blood. This was the very messy, very real, very on-the-run birth of Christ. The Christ, the Saviour of the World. I wonder how long Mary and Joseph stared at Jesus wondering if he really was their Saviour.

And so as I reflect this Christmas, I think what I’m realising is that things often don’t look ‘right’. Surely Jesus should’ve had more to wear than swaddling cloths and a more comfy bed than a used animal trough? This picture is nothing like immaculately wrapped up gifts under the tree and the perfectly roasted gammon presented on a Pinterest worthy dining room table. There is nothing wrong with those things – I too love to celebrate WELL – but it seems the picture of Jesus’ birth and the deeper truth sometimes don’t seem to match up in ways we might imagine. This messy birth, and our Saviour on earth. This confusion leads us to Trust; to have Faith – two things it seems we need to possess in larger and larger quantities nowadays, in a world spinning off its axis and one in which we control far less than what we like to believe. Life is hard, and life can be scary; there are unknowns, and mess seems to be everywhere. In our humanness, we cannot understand it – well, I sure can’t.

Luke 2:12: “And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, Glory to God in the Highest and on earth, peace, good will toward men.”

Wherever you find yourself currently… It’s coming. He is Hope. Be it in your heart, or here again in his Creation, we await his coming. We sit in the labour pains of the mysteries to come.

It’s almost time. Keep pushing, keep breathing. Behold, He is coming soon.

Image Credit: Photo by Jaimie Trueblood/newline.wireimage.com, https://brandonacox.com/advent-always-hope/.

This Whole Nanny Thing (Part 2)

Last week I wrote about our journey of finding a nanny and how it has changed my life – yes, yes I should’ve known how amazing it would be, but it was hard for me, and I know it has been hard for others.

A lot of this thinking began after I had some really good chats with a blog reader-turned-lovely-friend about this exact topic. After the birth of her first child came the whole work/mom/nanny/stay-home/work-from-home line of thinking (all too familiar for most moms). Now given the enormous responsibility of undoubtedly the most precious thing/s in your life – how do we navigate forward – in a healthy, balanced, financially viable and sane way? Often the idea of hiring a nanny enters the picture.

Besides all the nitty-gritty admin of very important things to consider, such as paying them a LIVABLE wage and not just a minimum wage (come on), to registering for UIF, nanny agencies and placements, referrals, interviews and interview questions… when it comes down to the actual one-on-one TIME with your CHILD – training is KEY. This is why I sent our nanny on Nanny Training with Super Nannies.

Super Nannies has been supporting families and empowering nannies since 2006. They offer nanny training in Cape Town, Johannesburg, Durban and Pretoria.

The team consists of a group of moms who understand the value of empowering nannies and how important it is to find the right support for your home. They are passionate about upskilling nannies not just within the homes where they work, but in their larger community as well.

While my experience with them has been about nanny training, they also offer nanny placements as well as CPR and First Aid for parents.

So what did my nanny learn? How has she been upskilled? What exactly was discussed?

This is what was covered in the lessons my nanny attended:

  • The role of a nanny.
  • The importance in following a mother’s routine
  • Child safety – Being aware of the hazards in and out the home.
  • Understanding the implications and precautions of HIV and TB.
  • First Aid, CPR and handling childhood emergencies.
  • Essential infant care – sleeping, bathing, nappy changing, burbing, crying.
  • Nutrition and weaning
  • Hygiene and sterilization of bottles
  • The importance of play
  • Gross and Fine Motor Stimulation
  • (read the full breakdown here)

The nanny training comprises of four training modules. Three hours one morning a week over a four week period or two modules a day for two full days to cover all four training modules (we did the two full days).

And… How did it go? 

While I think my nanny was a bit hesitant (and nervous) when I’d told her I’d like her to attend training – I reassured her it was not because she was doing a bad job, she was doing a wonderful job – but I wanted her to feel valued, appreciated and to be given the chance to learn. And boy, was she chuffed arriving at work with her Super Nannies Certificate. 🙂

As recommended, I dropped her off at the training venue myself so I could meet the trainer and make sure my nanny felt comfortable and settled. After each day of training I received email updates about what was covered and what homework my nanny was given, and what I should check and follow up on – and where I can help her myself. Initially I felt a little ‘motherly’ checking up on her ‘homework’ but it could not have been more different. We engaged with what she had been doing well, what could be done differently, and it really gave us a safe platform to communicate well and discuss without judgement and awkwardness. And while the results have been wonderfully obvious in some ways, it is in the small things where the change is really happening: baby stimulation, confidence in cooking and which food to give our little one, the balance between cleaning and caring, and safety at home. One day while I was at work, I remembered I’d collected a bucket of water in the shower and I’d forgotten to pour in the toilet (water restrictions you know). I called my nanny in a PANIC about our little one crawling and possibly falling in (and drowning – I shudder at even typing the word) and my nanny had already done it. I’m certain it would have been the discussions on safety in the home and drowning that would have immediately alerted her to the danger.

We now have an up-to-date medical aid kit, I am able to give instructions without feeling bossy or demanding, and while I am rushing around the house in the morning our nanny is closing doors behind me so bunk bed ladders are not climbed and small Lego is not swallowed. Emergency numbers are in plain site on our fridge. Our nanny is more confident – as am I. (You’d think after 3 kids I’d remember to cook on the back plate, or get plug covers for our plugs – but it was my nanny who gently made the suggestions…)

My recommendation is to really partner with your nanny in this process. The outcome will be a hundred fold. It’s easy to ‘outsource’ the training as if your nanny now has the ability to read your mind a bit clearer. But that is not the case. Discussing everything with your nanny, going through her manual and making your lists about what to ‘clean’ and what to ‘tidy’ (I hadn’t even thought of the difference before, and my unspoken expectations around it…) – that is where the change happens. My floor is now always clean, because she knows it’s important to me. And it makes me so, so happy.

Something that I read on the Super Nannies website before we interviewed our nanny, was:

– It’s important to prioritise your family’s needs and then look for a nanny with the right skillsThere is no such thing as the perfect nanny.

– Qualities to look for are a good attitude, honesty, reliability, shows initiative and a willingness to communicate and do the tasks the mother’s way. Her work ethic and attitude. Skills can always be taught. Remember to trust your gut instinct when making your choice.

Good Luck as you walk this road. Know it can be a generously beautiful one.

If you have any other questions, or are interested in nanny training, placements or CPR/First Aid courses, please contact Super Nannies
(t) 0861 462 669
(e) info@supernannies.co.za
Web: www.supernannies.co.za