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What a little rockstar! *Update*

Z and Mama have arrived in Pietermaritzburg finally! And can I just say – little Z was a complete rockstar! If you read my previous post on my fears of flying with a toddler, this post is just an update of what happened…

We had to wake up at 4:30 am for our 6:30 am flight. I thought I would let Z sleep in and carry her out of the door in her pajamas. But little Ms. Alert that she is, she woke up at 4:35 am when she realised something was happening; she obviously has a bad case of FOMO and did not want to miss a second of the action.

She did a whole dance and jig in the car to ‘Despacito‘ and was wondering why it was so dark outside. Oh, did I mention the temperature was 4 degrees!

At the airport, she was a bit overwhelmed with the thousands of people and suitcases and sounds. And she decided to lie on me and take a power nap. Little did I know that she had one eye open and was watching every single thing!

We walked into the airplane and she burst into tears. She was so scared of the tiny cramped space and a hundred people staring at her. I was thinking to myself – “Oh, no! This is going to be a disaster!”

We were lucky enough to have a seat with no one next to us. So we had all the space to put her bottles and books. Before take off, she made a little friend who was sitting behind us – a little 16-month old little boy called Brody. The fascination was mutual and they ‘talked’ animatedly to each other for 20 mins.

She loved the little window, which she insisted should be opened and closed every 30 seconds.

After takeoff, she was fascinated by the clouds – a word she learnt only a few months back. She was awake for most of the flight and it was only by the end of it that she decided to take a nap. Afterall, she did wake up at 4:30 am 😘

So all in all – she was a complete little rockstar! And I was worried for nothing.

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Omg, I’m flying with a toddler! 

Z was pretty much a seasoned traveller as an infant with all the international flights we took to India. But that was 6 months ago. She is now a full-blown toddler with a mind of her own. And guess what? We are taking out first flight since then TOMORROW!

I’ve been up since about 6:30 am, trying to make a checklist in my head of 1) Things I need to pack for her (obviously!) And 2) Things that can go wrong! (Aaarrgghh!)

So, these are my top disaster situations during travel. Any advice or even plain lies just to make me feel better would help! 😂

1. Screaming baby aboard plane:

This is something I’m terrified of. What if she has a ear ache due to the pressure or feels claustrophobic because she is stuck in one place or just feels like crying?! I do know a lot of passengers do understand (most don’t though) but it’s something I really want to avoid.

2. Poop explosion:

I think this should have been point number 1. Pampers, you better be listening and do your job!

3. Toddler running aimlessly around airport:

Z is in a very independent place in her life. She would rather walk around than be carried. She would rather eat on her own than be fed. So picture this: Z running around Joburg airport with me trying to keep up while carrying the baby bag and handbag. Oh and did I mention I’ve hurt both my hands? 😶

4. Flight is delayed

I guess this shouldn’t be too bad as long as I have snacks and cartoons in tow, but I would rather avoid it in an ideal situation.

So these are my little fears about travelling tomorrow. I will update the blog on how Z was as soon as I land! Wish us luck 😊

Z and Mama 💓

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Be Fierce! 

What I pray for my little daughter –

“Be fierce, be kind,

Be someone that has strength of mind. 

Never be afraid to be yourself,

For, trust me, you are the most unique piece on the shelf. 

People will come and people will go,

But you, my little one, must learn to go with the flow. 

You have one goal in this amazing world, 

Just be you and watch the magic unfurl.”

It’s natural for a mother to think forward. Before I was pregnant, I wondered how it would feel to have a little alien moving around in my belly. When I had my little bump, I wondered what the baby would look like. And now that Z is here, I keep wondering what kind of a person she is going to turn out to be.

There is only so much a parent can do right? Provide them with the right values, teach them right from wrong (but that can be subjective), train them to be respectful of others and offer timely advice. This is what I learnt from my parents. 

But a number of times, we forget that our babies have little personalities of their own too. They aren’t mere reflections of who we are as people, but power packed little people in their own right. And that is something we must not change. Unless they turn out to be serial killers, of course! 

Don’t we owe them the chance to be the best and realest form of themselves that they were meant to be? 

I have seen Z’s personality change a couple of times in the last year. She began as a little lump of cuteness who was scared of loud sounds, strangers and any household appliances (read the pressure cooker!). However, after the 8-month mark, I saw her emerge into this amazing little girl I think she is today. 

Independent (sitting up on her own, trying to crawl without help, picking at little morsels of food), hilarious (she figured out that certain actions made her parents laugh and did them over and over again), protective (she hated Dada giving Mama a hug), intelligent (as she started saying her words very early) and of course very loving (with the hugs and kisses she is known for!). 

Now at 15 months old, she is a strong-willed little girl who knows exactly what she wants. She hates shoes, loves dressing up and has hair with a personality of its own! 

The Hair and its personality!

She doesn’t throw tantrums and seems thoughtful very often. 

Little Ms. Independent

She still has an amazing sense of humour and is very intuitive. She loves her cat, enjoys dancing and making funny faces!

The funny face!

And this is exactly what I want her to be. To be honest, I can’t take credit for any of this. As I mentioned previously, they have predisposed personalities of their own and all we can do as parents is to help them shine through. 

I want her to be fierce. I want her to be loving. I want her to be intelligent. I want her to be caring. And if she is none of the above, she’ll just be a whole different kind of awesome. Which is also great. Afterall, I’m the one who’s blessed. 

Z and Mama 💓

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Trés Jolie – Review

When you have a toddler, you tend to look for places that are child-friendly or meant just for them. For me, there is no greater joy than seeing the look on Z’s face when she sees something that fascinates her or makes her squeal with happiness.

The last weekend, we found one such place РTr̩s Jolie (near Honeydew, Johannesburg). The website was unassuming but we were sold when it mentioned it had all the farm animals including sheep, goats, roosters, horses and even camels! Z loves farm animals right now and rattles off every animal sound possible so we just had to take her there!

We got there a little after 11:30 am and initially were shocked at the sea of humanity! Babies and kids of all shapes and sizes, prams, toys, parents, waiters, animals, stalls – it was a lot to take in! But then we started walking around and realised what an amazing place it was! We first saw the two majestic camels who were busy munching on some hay. My little nephew thought they were donkeys, which was actually quite a good guess. Z was awestruck as she had no clue what they were! 

Camels at Tres Jolie

We then walked towards the far end of the venue and got to the real treats. Z saw horses (Mama and baby) for the first time and wouldn’t stop saying “Neigh, neigh”! We saw sheep, goats, roosters, bunnies and even an emu who seemed to be fascinated by us!

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The over-friendly Emu 😊

 Z enjoyed running after one stray rooster that managed to escape the henhouse 😂

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Z and her new rooster friend

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Fascinated! 😘

If this wasn’t enough, they also had 3 or 4 jumping castles, jungle gyms, swings, see-saws, merry-go-rounds and more! There were 3 birthday parties going on at the time, but that just added to the fun.

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A big factor that impressed us all was the food! It was absolutely excellent and the service, impeccable. We had everything from the honey-basted pork ribs to fried fish, from blue cheese and steak to calzones. Every single one of us loved what we ordered. Not to mention the yummy sangrias!

Yummy for my tummy 😘

I know for a fact this is going to be our go-to place from now on. Do visit with your little ones for an amazing amazing day! Thanks, Trés Jolie, for all the fun!

For more on our adventures, follow us on @Zoyaschronicles on Instagram!

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The perfect morning! 

What does a perfect morning look like? Is there such a thing when you have a little toddler who has recently discovered how fast her legs can go and how loud her voice can get?! 

For me, it was today. My little Z has started eating on her own – little Ms. Independent that she is. I gave her a little bowl filled with fruits and she kept a pecking at them and coming back for refills. For the first time in a year, Mama was able to sit back, drink a HOT cup of tea and watch the magic unfurl. I’m so proud of my little girl 💓  

These little milestones make you realise how fast time is going by and how quickly she is growing up! Though I want to just hold on to her and keep her this size, it’s great to see her turning into this independent little girl who knows exactly what she wants! 

For more stories, do follow us on Instagram @zoyaschronicles

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Creating memories…

I’ve had a lot of people appreciate this blog in the last few months and ask me how and why I decided to start it? The answer is simple. I’m making memories.

Don’t we all strive to create memories? Don’t we all want to look back9 ll and smile (or even frown) at days gone by?

I, for one, enjoy going through old albums of myself and my family. How dapper my cadet dad was (and is) and how beautiful my mom was (and even more today). I love seeing pictures of the grandfather I’ve never met (he looked amazing in his army uniform) and the grandfather who I was so close to (who inculcated the love of knowledge in me). It’s such a pleasure seeing how happy my parents looked when they got married or during their honeymoon, how uber cool my aunts have always been, how adorable my husband was as a baby and of course, how impish I was as a toddler. So why wouldn’t I do the same for my little girl now?

For any young moms (or anyone for that matter) looking to create memories, these are some of the things I did and am continuing to do. I can hopefully show these to Z when she is an annoying teenager getting on my nerves and guilt-trip her into being a bit nicer! 

‘Pre-Z’ Memories

1. The standard pregnancy pictures: 

I, unfortunately, did not do the weekly pictures as I had a tough-ish pregnancy and was hardly ever in the mood to pose. But I did try to take as many as I could of my not-so-little bump.

Month 8

2. The Announcement:

Varun and I wanted to do something fun for the announcement and we loved the idea of a movie poster! What was hilarious is a couple of people actually thought it’s a real movie and asked to be part of it! 😂

3. The scans:

I was lucky enough to be able to see Z every single month! We got lovely 2D and 3D scans from our gynecologist and I used to treasure them. The 3D scans were especially amazing as we could see her smile, hiccup and even react to her name!

4. Apps:

I must admit I was a bit obsessed with apps before Z was born. I mean that’s the only way to keep track of the baby’s development, right? I had apps that could tell me how big her hand was and which animal or vegetable she could be compared to (size-wise)! 😂

Apps I recommend: Ovia, The Bump and BabyCentre

5. Milestones:

We would document every milestone before she was born. We took pictures of her nursery, of when we bought her first bouncer, or when we went to the hospital on D-day!

The nursery

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D-day

6. The WhatsApp group:

We had a lot of family and friends around the world who wanted to know what was happening on the day. As I knew I was scheduled for a C-section, we started a WhatsApp group just to let everyone know she was here!

Post-Z Memories

7. Pictures, pictures and more pictures:

I guess this just goes without saying. I have multiple hard drives filled with pictures and videos of my little Z from day 1. I mean how can you not, right? Even them staring into nothingness for hours is an opportunity to take a video or picture!

8. Private Facebook group:

When Z was just a couple of months old, I decided to start a private FB group, which I update everyday with videos and pictures. I can also go live, share statuses like which new words she says and more importantly, keep my family (who is so far away) updated on what’s happening with her.

9. The Blog:

Well, this one’s pretty self-explanatory, I guess!

10. The Memory Diary:

We have this little red diary, which is dedicated to our walks every day. Z collects any leaves and flowers (she’s not allowed to pluck though) and we come back home and stick them onto the book. She loves looking through these pages later and it’s amazing how she still remembers every bit of the walk.

11. The biggest saviour of them all – The Cloud!

I use Google Photos and OneDrive and I think I might be running out of space. But these are such a blessing for moms like me who are constantly clicking away!

So, these are just some little ways with which I document my Z’s life. I’m sure you all do most of these but I would love to hear if there are any other innovative ways that I’ve missed out on. I’m not sure how many of these I’ll be able to sustain, but I’m making sure I create as many memories with her as possible – on and off camera 💗 😊

 

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Baby Secrets – Z Spills the Beans

What Mama and I have realised in this one year is that we babies are much smarter than you all think. Maybe even more than the adults at times.

I’m Z. And I can be very manipulative. I twist Mama and Dada around my little finger. And I have covert operations that ensure this. But I’m willing to share these with you. As long as I can kill you after.

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So, as a baby, I can tell you confidently we are all secretly making fun of you adults. We have a few cries for every situation that ensures we get our way. I must admit not all are foolproof but most of them are brilliant. Read on to find out more.

The Pout

This delicate act of defiance usually says, “I’m not hurt enough to cry, but I’m telling you I’m upset.” It’s an ‘awww-inducing’ move and works wonders most times. As Mama and Dada’s hearts break, you will definitely get your way.

The Pout

How to perfect The Pout:

Drop your lower lip as low as you can and turn on puppy eye mode.

 

The Whimper

This next stage of defiance is usually on the quieter side and thus, not very effective. It consists of a range of tones and is usually met with ignorance. Even sad eyes don’t help this one!

How to perfect The Whimper

Start with a low groan and move on to a high-pitched whine. It’s some effort but hey, you win some, you lose some, right?

 

The Hiss

This move is particularly common for those of us babies with cats. But it would be wrong to blame the cat as it is usually more well behaved than us. This move must be used when you don’t care much but need to show some kind of objection. Doesn’t work most times.

How to perfect The Hiss:

Pretend to be an angry cat.

 

The Scream

This is where we get to the more interesting ones. The ones that require a fair amount of performance and drama. Did you think it was easy being a baby? 

The Scream is the first cry that involves aggression. It is used in a number of situations – when you want to do something independently but Mama picks you up instead, when someone takes the toy you want, when someone else is sitting on the swing you want to etc. It also helps marking your territory – easier than peeing right? This move hardly ever works and is met with a death stare from Mama most times.

How to perfect The Scream:

Feel the pit of your tummy. Focus on it. Ensure the long, piercing cry comes from within. It’s a lot of effort for a move that doesn’t work, but hey, it strengthens your lungs too. Or so I’ve heard.

 

The Hangry

This combination of angry and hungry works wonders every time. It is usually one of the most customisable cries – you can pretty much do what you want and has everyone around scuttling around to get you some food. This is my favourite move, for sure!

How to perfect The Hangry:

It HAS to be a surprise attack. Anything premeditated will be realised and shot down by the adults. While playing with your toys, start screaming/shouting/whimpering all of a sudden! Patting your tummy or touching your mouth at this stage helps too.

 

The Plea for Help

This move is used in extreme situations when one needs assistance from the adults – when a stranger picks you up (and you feel like you are being kidnapped), or when your legs get entangled in ribbon. It’s usually a high-pitched screech that intensifies until appropriate help is received.

How to perfect The Plea for Help:

Look helpless. Channel the inner baby in you. And let the emotions fly. Tears and drool (maybe mucus too) are an added advantage.

 

The Pretend

According to the adults, this is the most entertaining move. However, for babies, it really drains us. The Pretend is the most used and abused cry and obviously never works. I try it a few times a day, especially when I need to make my presence felt. It usually elicits laughter or nonchalance. Very frustrating.

The Pretend

How to perfect The Pretend:

I can’t tell you how to pretend. Easily customisable according to the situation.

 

The Big One

Guys, let’s get serious now. This is the mother of all cries. The Big One. This move is usually used when you fall or hurt yourself. It can also be used when Mama or Dada leave the room and you feel they may never come back (though they always do, magic!). Works like a charm every single time and usually ends with lots of hugs and kisses.

How to perfect The Big One:

I’m perfect. I can’t teach you perfection. You must find your own path.

Well, I hope you enjoyed reading all my trade secrets. There is a baby ninja outside your window right now waiting to assassinate you.

 

Love,

Z and Mama