Blue Eyed Girl

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Blue eyes
Baby’s got blue eyes
Like a clear blue sky
Watching over me
Blue eyes
I love blue eyes
When I’m by her side
Where I long to be
-Elton John (lyrics Gary Osborne)

Already, my poor baby girl is suffering from second child syndrome. I haven’t printed a single photograph, let alone started her baby album or memory book. (But I have taken thousands of photos!) By the time Alex was 8 months old, his baby scrapbook was well populated, as I made time at night to cut and paste and embellish it with pretty things. Part laziness, and part lack of time has lead to this sad state of affairs. Having two children certainly does place extra pressure on my already stretched time management skills! So this is an attempt to play catch up, and get my ass into gear, before I get too far behind…

My Darling Caris

Baby girl, you will be eight months old in 5 days time. I cannot believe that the time has passed so quickly, but then again, even my pregnancy with you seemed to fly by. I had an easy pregnancy with you, other than the first 16 weeks of really horrible nausea and vomiting. I was thrilled to find out that you were a girl! Having a second baby, for me, was such a breeze compared to the first. I didn’t have that feeling of panic when we left the hospital for the first time, wondering “How on earth am I going to do this?” as I had done it before. I wasn’t scared to bath you or dress you, or hold you. Breastfeeding was easier, you latched on easily, and it didn’t hurt nearly as much as it did the first time round. (And we could get through a feed in less than half an hour in the beginning, unlike what felt like hours with Alex!) You were calm and content from the moment you arrived, and I am so grateful and lucky to have you in my life. In the few weeks before you were born, I was worried that I wasn’t going to cope with having two children to care for, but you just fitted in right from the word go, and you were and still are a real pleasure to have around!

You were born at 09:42AM on Tuesday the 17th of May 2011 in the Sunninghill Hospital by Caesarean section.  You weighed 3.05KG, were 53cm long and had 9/10 on your apgar test. Your nose was so skew, as it was squashed flat because you had had one of your feet pressed up against it while in my tummy, but it soon straightened into your current beautiful little button nose! I was thrilled to meet you my baby girl when they put you on my chest all damp and warm, with a mop of dark hair and grey blue eyes, and I was already in love with you when you looked up at me so intensely.

When we brought you home for the first time, the house was a big mess, as we were in the throes of renovating the down-stairs bathrooms, and as is typical with builders, they were running horribly late. So I whisked you away upstairs to the safe (dust-free) sanctity of Mommy and Daddy’s bedroom.

In the first few weeks, you slept so much, I used to wonder if I would ever see what colour your eyes were! You would wake up to feed and then go straight back to wonderful dreamland. You didn’t struggle with tummy aches or wind, for which I am very grateful. You hardly ever cried, and there was nothing a cuddle couldn’t fix. The first time you really sobbed, was at your 8 week vaccinations, my heart broke for you as you cried real tears, and were inconsolable for the first time ever.

You first smiled at about 6 weeks old. The most gorgeous sight, a big gummy grin! And by 12 weeks, you were treating us to the cutest giggles. (Especially when you saw Alex, and you still think he is very funny!) You were sleeping though the night from about 3 months, and have done so ever since. We had a small wobbly when I gave you a dummy for the first time, because you kept waking up for it, but thankfully you are able to find it by yourself now.) By four months you could roll over from your tummy to your back, and also got your bottom two teeth. (Without much fussing, thank goodness.)  Rolling from back to tummy and sitting up by yourself were mastered by 6 and a half months, although you now prefer to sit up and watch the world go by and play with your toys, and don’t really like being on your tummy. You have 3 teeth coming out at the moment (top 2 front, and 3rd bottom one) and once again have had hardly any fussiness. (I am so very lucky and grateful to have such an easy baby!)

You are such a content, happy, smiley girl. You love being cuddled and tickled and when someone blows bubbles on your tummy. You love looking at things, and examining your toys while you turn them over and pass them from hand to hand. You love seeing yourself in the mirror. You smile when you see other babies! You love to twirl your feet at the ankles, it is the cutest thing ever. You have the tiniest feet, and the cutest little toes, which you love to bite, and which I love to bite too! You always smile when you see Mommy, Daddy and your brothers, especially Alex, whom you love to pieces. You love to squeal and sing, and will call out in a high-pitched screech when you want to get someone’s attention. You can say mama, baba, dada, goo, yee and the likes, and I can’t wait for your first “real” words, which I just know you are dying to say! You love babbling away and chatting to yourself in those adorable baby sounds. You have deep blue, beautiful eyes. You are my little cutie-pie, my sweetheart, my happy little bibi, and I am looking forward to watching you grow and learn, and continue to melt the hearts of everyone around you. I love you with all my heart.

xx Mom

The evolution of the birthday cake

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I have great memories of magical birthday cakes from my childhood that my mother used to bake for my brother and I. Pumpkin carriages pulled by marzipan mice, humpty dumpty sitting on his wall before he met his scrambled fate, a dolly with a cake dress and a menagerie of animals… When I had Alex, my mom passed her “birthday cakes for children” recipe book onto me saying I was going to need this more than she did right now! I was quite excited at the prospect of baking a special cake for my little guy. I have always loved to cook, and during my school years I baked many cupcakes and cakes for afternoon teas with the family. Over the years I have become known amongst my circle of friends for making yummy deserts. My swansong is definitely my “summer berry pavlova”, which is always a win with everyone!

When Alex turned one, I decided to make him a Tiger cake, courtesy of the “birthday cakes for children” book that I will perhaps, one day, hand down to my daughter (provided it hasn’t fallen apart by then!)

So, this was my first attempt at making a “fancy” birthday cake. I scoured the shops for ages to find liquorice shoe-laces to make the whiskers, and eventually had to cut liquorice straps into thin strips as I couldn’t find any anywhere. (And now I see them in the Dischem queue, of all places, all the time, go figure!). Considering I had only ever baked cakes in normal shaped tins, and iced them, cutting out a tiger from a few square and rectangular cakes wasn’t too difficult, but icing the crumbly cakes however, was quite, umm, interesting. Can you say “crumb-coating”?!?

By birthday number two, Alex had an “old Macdonald” obsession, and loved listening to and singing along to the nursery rhyme, over and over and over … So with the help of trusted old google, I found a barn cake, surrounded by animal cupcakes to complete the farmyard scene.  This one was fun to make, especially finding all the different toppings to complete the animals (such as guava roll for the pigs’ ears and tiny marshmallows for the sheep’s woolly coats!) Lesson learnt: 2 bottles of red food colouring later, the barn was still not as red as I would have liked, but it was too late to go and buy another bottle. I have since discovered gel food-colouring which is much more concentrated.

His third birthday, was accompanied by a love affair with “Lightning McQueen”. A few weeks before Caris was born, my mom (who looked after Alex for me) got ill with pneumonia, and ended up in hospital. So I had to work from home to take care of Alex, who was not at school yet. We all know it is just about impossible to get any work done with a toddler around, and I was desperately trying to wrap up work stuff before going on maternity leave. So the one day, at my wits end, I told him to come and watch a movie. He had never watched a movie at this point, only CBeebies in small doses, so I wasn’t even sure he would watch it. Queue “CARS” … wow, it was love at first sight. And Lightning McQueen become his best friend and hero. (We have probably watched it about a thousand times since then, well it feels like that anyway, thank goodness the second one was released on DVD for a bit of variety!)

It is amazing what you can find on the internet, so after googling “how to make a Lightning McQueen 3D birthday cake” and reading a few “how-to’s”, I attempted to make a Lightning McQueen 3D birthday cake. I was expecting it to be a disaster, as I had never attempted plastic icing before. My mom gave me some pointers (she also used to make wedding cakes as a hobby many moons ago). And perhaps I should mention that I watched quite a few episodes of “CAKE-BOSS” while on maternity leave!!!

First I had to carve a car out of a few rectangular cakes stuck together and “dirty ice” or crumb-coat it. Then came the task of draping it in the very red plastic icing. I was not brave enough to make the plastic icing myself, so I bought some at a great baking supplies shop called “Kadies” in fourways.

So once it looked sort of like a racing car, I set about adding all the details: logos, headlamps, exhaust pipes, windows, etc. I had baked the cakes the night before (I found an absolutely awesome chocolate cake recipe during my “Lightning McQueen” search!) so that I would have the whole day to decorate. Alex was at school in the morning, and my mom popped in to help, and give me a hand with the baby. I started at about 9AM, and finally finished it at about 9PM. (I had to hide it in the pantry when Alex came home from school, and add details with the door closed). A whole day to make a cake! My back was broken from standing, but I was really pleased by the way it turned out.

<<<< 3 May 2012 – Post edited – check out my party on the Rattle and Mum blog …

http://www.rattleandmum.co.za/2012/03/27/show-me-the-party-alexs-3rd-cars-birthday/    >>>>

The next morning, we showed Alex his cake, just before all his friends arrived for the party. His eyes nearly popped out of his head, “wow, it’s Lightning McQueen”. I had tears in my eyes. He kept telling everyone to come and see his Lightning McQueen cake! His friends were so impressed! He still talks about it now, so even though it wasn’t perfect, I know that my little guy loved it and thought it was super cool. Priceless!