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caramel & cocoa

Caramel & Cocoa - cooking, parenting, fashion, diy, eating, living, a blog

Sunday, August 7, 2016

On Being 30 (ok 35)

I am no longer a “spring chicken.” More importantly, I don’t really mind. This is monumental since on the eve of my 30th birthday, five years ago, I, for lack of a better term, “freaked the (f-expletive) out.” I hadn’t accomplished “enough”; I didn’t have “sufficient” children; I didn’t earn “enough” money; I wasn’t the “right” dress size; I hadn’t published “that” book and my house wasn’t the “perfect” dream home. In summary, I just wasn’t where my 20 year-old-self had envisaged my 30 year-old-self being.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Kids and Poo (As In Poop, Not The Bear)

Kids and Poo (As In Poop, Not The Bear)

Lots of things in my life have changed since having had children. Adjustments have been made.

For example, I bought my first pack of baby wipes in July 2009. I was 27. How on earth did I survive 27 years without baby wipes!?! Aside from being useful to clean butts, sticky fingers and disinfecting children in general, I sort of now use baby wipes for everything. AND. I. MEAN. EVERYTHING. ---- My kitchen hob looks shiny you say? Huggies Natural! My bathroom floor tiles are clean. Huggies Natural! It was nearing the end of the day and my underarms were a bit stinky before the school run. Oh yes. Huggies Natural. I’m just saying.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Yes. I’m Still Nursing My 17 Month Old.

“You are still breastfeeding?”

It’s probably one of the most common questions I get when my son, who is now 17 months old, toddles over, raises his arms and then leans into the ‘breastfeeding position’ as I lift him.

“Yes. Yes, I am.”

“He’s eating food right?”

“Yes. He eats all his meals but still feeds on demand.”

The truth is, he is my third child. I breastfed my two daughters before him, so when he came, I was sure that breastfeeding was going to be easy. It didn’t turn out that way. He was hungry and aggressive and had a latch so painful that my nipples were constantly bleeding and the pain was so strong that I threw a cup of tea across the room in anger once. I persevered through 6 weeks of pain and there were many tears. Then one day, like magic, we had a rhythm and since then it has been smooth sailing.

It comforts him. It soothes him. He sleeps well. He sleeps very well. I am in a position where I am able to feed him on demand. His sisters who are 4 and 5 are comfortable around ‘boobs’ and feeding. They often tell me, ‘the baby wants a feed.” They hang out with us while I nurse him, sometimes arguing over who gets to sit next to his head. Once he is drowsy, I place him in his cot and spend the rest of the night bonding with my girls.

I am still nursing. He is not ready to stop. I am not ready to stop. One day it will end. That will be it. Until then, I will gaze into my little man’s eyes.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Open Letter to Beyoncé After the Met Gala Dress Made Us Look

Dear Beyoncé,

I remember being a 20 year-old college basketball cheerleader and shaking my pom-poms to the beat of ‘I’m a Survivor’ and ‘Independent Woman,’ the latter of which became my personal anthem my Sophomore year of college. This was just a few years before Facebook, or should I say Myspace, because it was Myspace that made it ‘big’ first.

I loved you. I envied you. You were beautiful. You could sing. You were my age. I loved your clothes. I loved your hair. You sang about being an ‘Independent Woman’ That was me. I WANTED TO BE YOU. But not in a crazy, like stalker, over-obsessive way. I just thought that you were great.

My 20 year-old self was healthy, thin, active, and - also, insecure, easily manipulated, a bit selfish and more superficial than I care to admit. You see, I wasn't happy. I thought that the things that would make me happy were, the looks, the weight, the boyfriend, the hair, the makeup, the ‘stuff’. This continued for years. When Myspace came, I was one of those young ladies who would only post beauty pageant and provocative photos. You know, the ones where I looked great: one hand on my hip, chin slightly lowered, with a cheeky grin and god-forsaken green colored eye contacts. I wanted people to see me. I wanted my friends to see me. I wanted my boyfriend to see me. And I wanted them all to think two things about me. THAT. I. LOOKED. GREAT. THAT. I. WAS. HAPPY. Back then, others' perception of me mattered. Alot.

Fast-forward now to my 33 year-old self. When I saw your photos on Facebook, I wanted to cry. You looked great. I mean you do have a fantastic body. But your photos gave me a heavy heart at the same time. I saw sex or a desire to be looked at in a sexual way. A desire to turn heads, but not for the right reasons. I saw lots of makeup. I saw big hair. I saw a big smile. I saw someone whose focus was much more on what’s on the glittery outside than the substance of who they are.

You see, for me, now at 33, I’ve long said goodbye to the fit little figure of my cheerleading days in exchange for a body that’s given birth 3 times. I wear light make-up very rarely. The only time I expose my body in public is that split second when I am latching my son on to nurse. Shame on those who stare. I eat well but don’t stress too much over my weight. Most of my Facebook pictures are of my 3 adorable kids and those that I am in, actually look like me. I. THINK. I. LOOK. GREAT. I.AM. HAPPY. I am comfortable in my skin. I don’t buy into ‘Hollywood.’ I understand that I have a voice and personality and have the power to implement change, even if it is only on a small scale. I want to make this world better. And, I binned those colored contacts, because, as my husband puts it, “You never needed those anyway.” Awe.

And yes, Beyoncé who am I to judge you? I am no one. I, honestly, am no one at all. I am a woman, a mom, a wife, a daughter, a sister, a friend. I am lots of things, none of which is ‘famous.’ But you, you are famous. You are in such a powerful position. Millions of little girls and young women look up to you, as I did. They want to be like you. Millions of men see you as the perfect woman. You have the power to show women and girls depressed about their body image that ‘beauty’ does not come in only one size, one figure and neither does happiness. You have the power to show men and boys that sexy is not  measured solely by exposed skin and that women should be respected and loved.

I saw you and your MET dress and thought about what my daughters would think if they saw it and how they might feel about their bodies as teenagers. I thought about the messages I want to send to my children - things like - the acceptance of cultural differences, political strife in the world, the impact of war, hungry children, depression, suicide, transgender youth, global warming, the kidnapped girls in Nigeria. My head was on the verge of exploding and I wanted to shrivel into a little ball and cry.

Now, I can’t reach the masses like you can. I wish that I could. There is a ton of unhappiness out there. If I could click my fingers and make all the world’s problems disappear, I would. I am disappointed that the message you portrayed was a very shallow one. My 20 year-old self would have pinned your photo to my fridge. My 33 year-old self realizes how far she has come in 13 years. I. AM. HAPPY.


Just A Mom 

Friday, May 16, 2014

Being Grateful For An Orange: Lessons To Teach Our Children

Two things just happened, one - right after the other. First, I came across this article (Pampered Children): In summary, London mom of two spoils the daylight out of her toddlers who in return wouldn’t be caught dead wearing Primark or M&S clothes.

I found myself feeling a bit sick after reading it. Moments later, I offered my 3 year-old an orange and she demanded an apple (quite rudely). ‘I’m sorry Cristina, we are all out of fruit except for this orange. Do you want it.’ Then she shouted replied ‘No an apple!’  She ate the orange but with a very ungrateful and disdaining gaze upon her face. The whole situation made me a little bit sad.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

pokorn and karits

My 4.5 year-old wrote me a note and told me not to open it until she was in bed. I just did. It says
‘Pleez bi pokorn and karits.’ (transation – please buy popcorn and carrots.) 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Work or Stay @ Home

Lisa Heffernan from GrownandFlown, wrote about her regrets leaving a high powered job to raise her children (link here).

Food for thought. That's all. It's bedtime for me.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Rantings About Career

I am still in career limbo – trying to keep one toe in the water whilst pondering whether to sod it all, stay at home, go back full-time or retrain and start working again once the kids are all in school.  I see women with plans and even more upsetting, women who are putting their plans into action, meeting goals and always one step closer to their goals. Ah well. Nevermind. What’s a mom to do? Sometimes I feel like moving to some obscure, cheap and beautiful part of the world where we can all live on next to nothing. I’d home school and we’d all be happy right?