Category Archives: Motherhood

Music for Kids!

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Being exposed to music so early in my life must have had a huge impact on my brain and level of creativity. I have always lived with this huge “bundle of talents” and although I’m sometimes a little quirky, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Having my children and being lucky enough to sometimes see through their eyes, I have come to understand the importance of early childhood development and the importance of music in this development. It is unfortunate that our system doesn’t take music more seriously or make it a more important part of our school curriculum. It not only develops creativity, discipline and spatial intelligence; early music development is also linked to better social development and is an amazing avenue for self expression. Music can help one through trauma and tragedy (I can testify to this). It inspires, uplifts, and heals the soul.

I have been inspired over and over again into going ahead with this journey into the world of teaching kids music. Just like my brother Waleed and I dreamt about all those years ago. 
Summer vacation is about to start and I am excited!

Music workshops for children starts Wednesday 13th July at Kiddygram Montessori in North Dzorwulu for ages ONE YEAR AND UP. Children under 3 must be accompanied. During the summer vacation, workshops will be available Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 10am to 1pm and we will be covering areas such as Rhythm and percussion, Learning sounds, voice, and melody.

If you live in Accra and would like more information about my music workshops please email gogreenbutterfly@gmail.com or call 0247900791.

One love!!!

Motherhood’s brief gaze into the distance..

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In the midst of all the kiddy chaos this morning I just had to sit down for a minute! Motherhood is demanding, challenging, fulfilling, tiring.. I felt exhausted this morning even before the day started.. yes I’m human. Not superhuman like some of you think. Lol.
Every mother and entrepreneur has that moment… when all you want to do is lie down and sleep but then you remember that so much depends on you. In my case, so many wonderful people depend on my energy, productivity, my drive, my inspiration, my smile.

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For this little moment, however, I zone out into a different space, while my son runs around playing, stopping only for moments at a time to drink the fruit juice I had put out for him. I’m thankful to my husband for holding the baby for these precious minutes when I get lost in the distance. Soon it will be time to send Nolly to school. I’ll have to be on time to meet and interview job applicants this morning at Madame Yasmeen’s. My hair is not yet done, just a little eyeliner to wake my eyes up and a dab of lip color to put me into a feelgood mood for the morning. Still tired.. but thankful for all my blessings and ready to forge ahead.

Special love to all dutiful, pure mothers and earth lovers out there. Thank God its Friday!! 💕

💋💋💋

Breastfeed your children please…

Breast is best. Breastfeeding is natural. Why women are made to feel self conscious these days about such a natural act really beats my mind. Sometimes trends become truly dangerous to humankind and our continued natural existence and evolution. Why do you want to give your child goat, or cow milk? Do the goats and cows come asking for your milk? They feed their offspring just like nature intended for humans to feed their babies HUMAN milk. Mothers milk is baby’s number one defense against sickness and malnutrition. Everything your baby needs in his/her first few months is in mummy’s milk!

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When a baby is born and is immediately put on the breast, he or she will suckle. It may take a few days for the milk to start flowing but before then, baby will get a yellowish fluid called colostrum also referred to as “liquid gold”. Colostrum is equivalent and even better than your baby’s first vaccination. It is packed with antibodies and is nature’s way of arming your newborn with strong “disease fighters”. These days, many mothers give up breastfeeding within this sensitive period. Thinking they are not making milk or making enough, they quickly resort to formula to feed the baby. This is the first critical mistake made especially by first time mums. TRUST your body! Trust God and trust nature. You were made to do this! It may not be easy as first, and is not always convenient throughout the critical first six months, but it does get easier and more comfortable. Once a woman establishes her milk supply and is regularly feeding her child, a beautiful bonding process begins. Woman and child are both fulfilled, sickness is kept at bay, and less money is spent on formula. Woohoo! 🙂

There is a web of issues woven around breastfeeding in a social setting. More and more women are being made to feel self conscious because they breastfeed their babies in public. Excuse me! I’m not waving my boobs in your face am I? I probably even have a breastfeeding cover on yet people give you the, “are you really breastfeeding out here?” look.

Don’t mind them oooo! (<<– Ghanaian expression) Feed your babies for goodness sake and feed them everywhere! In the car, in the mall, wherever. Always carry a little throw or cover if you are well endowed and don't feel like being the circus coming to town. Lol. But

whatever you do, enjoy this experience. It is God given and beautiful. If there is no medical, work, or mental condition preventing a woman from breastfeeding, then she should definitely do the right thing by her baby and give the best gift a mother can.

Peace and love! Till next time…

My Child has a cold! Natural home remedies every mum needs to know.

I get seriously stressed out when my child has a cold, especially my Nolly who sometimes develops serious allergies and keeps me up all night in a frenzy trying to keep him as comfortable as possible. The younger the child, the more stressful it is in my opinion. Little babies and even some toddlers can’t blow their nose yet so it can be really frustrating.

If you are dealing with a common cold there are a few natural home remedies that can help your little one fight the phlegm.

Breast milk!
The number one defense against colds and sickness in babies. If your child is still breastfeeding this is one of the best ways to rid him or her of a cold. Breastfeed as often as possible during this time.

Vitamin C
Fortify your child’s water with powdered vitamin c or dissolve a tablet in your little one’s water bottle.

Fluids
Make sure they drink a lot of water and natural fruit juices. Staying hydrated is very important.

Honey and lemon
In some warm water, or in the water bottle, lemon juice will help your child fight a cold. This is recommended for children older than 18 months. Add a  dash of honey to soothe a sore throat and cough.

Garlic
If your child is old enough to eat regular food, cook with lots of garlic and make salads and dips with it. Add a few chopped onions in their food for even more antibiotic action.

Onions
Onions around your child’s bed at night will help eliminate toxins in the air and around your little one. Just a peeled whole onion on a plate by your child’s bedside will help. Placing sliced onions in their socks also helps remove toxins and bring down fevers.

Coconut Oil
Mix some vaporub with Coconut oil and rub over the child’s chest and back. For babies under one year old use a few drops of Eucalyptus oil mixed with coconut oil. Re apply every few hours.

Ginger tincture
I do this occasionally for my son. Wash some ginger root, put it in a cup and pour hot water into the cup. Let it steep for at least half an hour before you start using it. Add a tablespoon of this tincture to warm tea, water, or juice to get rid of chest and nasal congestion.

Plan and enjoy a beach day with the kids

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We love the beach!! But going to the beach with kids is much more complicated than it was when I was single. If planned properly however, your beach day will be such a relaxing and fun – filled event, at the end of which everyone will be tired and ready to pass out! 🙂

Dress appropriately.
Don’t over do it with accessories and jewellery and clothes that don’t work. Dress comfortable and simple and do the same for the kids. If it’s a really hot day, light clothing and light slippers or sandals will do. Always take about 2 extra set of clothes per child, extra towels and wipes. Please don’t pack a whole suitcase! Depending on how many children you have, one or two medium size towels will do. If you are visiting an open beach make sure to take a beach umbrella, a mat or blanket to sit or lie on, and hats especially for the kids. You’ll also need lots of water to keep yourself and everyone hydrated.

My five month old usually rides in her car seat all the way to the beach.

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It’s a real hassle carrying heavy bags when you have children to deal with so keep it simple. Try to use one big bag and if you have a car, leave certain items in it for when you’re about to leave, for example the children’s going home clothes, one or two extra towels, water to wash feet before getting in the car, going home entertainment (toys and books) and maybe some extra snacks in case someone gets hungry on the way home.

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Checklist:
* Beach umbrella
* mats / blankets
* hats
* towels (including a couple of small size face towels)
* food and snacks (unless you will be eating out. Still a good idea to have some of your own)
* change of clothes
*wipes (and diapers if you have a baby)
* sunscreen
*soap (just a small travel size bar should be fine)
* water for drinking, and extra water in the car (or your bag) for cleaning yourselves up after.

Beach sand can really have you cleaning your car for days so it always helps to clean up before getting into the car and heading home.

DIY Oatmeal textured paint for kids

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This morning I’m keeping the kids busy with this do-it-yourself homemade paint. My 7 year old niece and 6 year old nephew are here with us and they enjoy painting and playing with color just as much as my toddler. Heck even I enjoy this one. ☺

Use water and ground oatmeal to form a paste and then add either melted crayons, water color or food coloring to make the paint. Cut up a cardboard box and cover your table or surface with old newspaper or magazine pages to catch any spills. Start painting!

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This activity kept them busy for a good 2 hours.

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                           ❤ ❤ ❤

Dear mothers…

I’ve had my hands full lately. Not only with my blooming career in music, my growing businesses, my husband, or my 2 year old toddler. I also have my hands full with my 5 week old baby girl! Woohoo!!! 🙂 It’s important therefore, to seize moments like this, 5:19am, when all my “dependants” are asleep and all I can hear is the humming of my a/c, nearby generators, and birds chirping happily outside. No demands, no crying, screaming or wailing. No one trying to grab (or keep) my attention. Aaah! Pure heaven.

Motherhood is extremely demanding; mentally, physically, emotionally.. but also extremely fulfilling and rewarding on different levels. Many mothers get so engulfed in the grind of caring for their families, they forget about themselves and their needs. I look at mothers with four, five, six kids who are doing amazing things, and I just feel proud to be one of this wonderful gender.

I guess I’m writing this post in appreciation of mothers before me, mothers today, and mothers yet to come. Not all women who give birth, but true mothers who make amazing sacrifices to raise their kids in the best possible way. It’s becoming more and more challenging to raise kids to be themselves and to be free of the “veil” placed over our “eyes”. To embody love and not to be swayed by these illusions that exist in our world today. Mothers everywhere are going through their struggles and it hurts so bad to look at images of mothers and their babies who perished in the recent floods and fire in Accra. I look at those images and my heart breaks into so many pieces.

June 4, 2015 was indeed a dark day for Ghana as we awoke to the news of floods and a terrible fire at a fuel station in a busy part of our city – Kwame Nkrumah circle. The death toll is now almost 200 people. Not only mothers, but people from different walks of life, who were seeking shelter from the pouring rain. The images I am referring to are images published by the Ghanaian media and the one that went viral is an image of a mother and her baby dead on the ground in the aftermath of the terrible incident. That photo got us all. Reminded us how fragile we are, and how easily our dreams on earth could just end. Just like that. It could have been me. It could have been this beautiful baby sleeping here next to me. I am thankful! So thankful for my children. Suddenly it’s too quiet around here I think I’ve had enough silence. I want to hear some laughter and demands. I don’t mind hearing some crying and giving some attention right about now. Bring on the poo and the dozen dirty diapers! It’s 6:02am and I want my day started. I’m so thankful. I’m so in love.

No matter your struggles, remember to count your blessings.

One love ♡

Baby led weaning. Onward into the world of solids.

Allowing baby to lead you into his or her new found world of solids is lots of fun. By the age of 7 months most babies have begun growing milk teeth. My Wolly got his first two at 5 months and now at 11 months he just cut tooth number 8! I’ve seen one year olds who have no teeth yet, or who have just cut their first 2 or 4 (upper and lower center) so don’t be alarmed if your little one is taking his or her time. Even if the teeth are not showing yet most babies older than 7 moimagenths have strong enough gums for chomping down on pureed or soft foods. Also by this time baby should be able to sit up and hold his head up without support, and will probably start getting curious about what is in your plate or what you are putting into your mouth. This is when you can offer baby some soft foods or pureed versions of whatever you are having for dinner but without the seasoning. It is also a good time to make baby part of family mealtimes so, by establishing a routine, your baby begins to understand (and even get excited about) mealtimes.

Allow your baby to experiment with different textures and tastes by offering various soft (melt-in-the-mouth) foods on a non-breakable plate accompanied by a beaker or training cup of water. Cut up pieces of banana, seedless watermelon, soft potato, avocado, boiled soft carrots, brown bread (toast) with a little butter or yoghurt, soft pasta ( for older babies 9 months and up). Enjoy watching your baby pick at and try different foods and especially take in all the different facial expressions. I laughed when my little guy tried fresh farm yoghurt for the first time. It was slightly tangy so he made a couple of grimaces but then he kept asking for more.

I started Wolly on pureed vegetables and fruits and baby cereals like Purity. Lately we are doing a lot of experimenting so now I know he likes oranges, bananas, pawpaw, bread, biscuits, yoghurt, yam, potatoes, tomatoes, carrots and a Ghanaian local dish called ‘banku’ with okro soup and ‘kontomire’ (a dish made up mainly of greens).

If your baby rejects a particular food, move on to something else then try again later. It is always advisable to start with vegetables before going into fruits since fruits are sweeter and may cause your baby to develop a ‘sweet tooth’ and reject vegetables when you try to introduce them. Pureed lentils, zucchini and carrots are good choices for starters and remember that your baby doesn’t need any added salt, sugar or other spices in their food. Keep it simple. Also make sure you cook carrots before offering them to your baby as raw carrots pose a choking hazard. Grapes can also choke a baby so if you offer your baby grapes, make sure to cut them in half. The general rule-of-thumb goes by this question: “does it melt in the mouth?”.

Baby-led weaning is fun because it doesn’t make one feel so pressured about baby’s transition to solids. Just have fun with your baby and encourage him or her to eat healthy by offering various interesting and colorful options. Before the age of 2 years, your little one still needs some milk and fat in their diet so if you have stopped breast-feeding, try to provide a healthy substitute in the form of natural milk products like Coconut milk, almond milk, or special milk formula for babies if needed. Much love to you from me and Nolly Wolly in Ghana! Till next time..

Our first 10 months. Nolly Wolly and me! (Growing pains – Colic, teething, and colds).

10 months have gone by like 10 days. After I had Nolly Wolly, weeks sometimes seemed like hours, especially after he developed some tummy issues between the age of 8weeks and 4 months. I’ve read that a small percentage of babies develop bad tummy gas, or a set of symptoms commonly referred to as “Colic”. My little guy was displaying many of these symptoms and would sometimes cry for hours on end, especially between 3pm and 6pm in the evening. I tried Infacol and gripe water but the thing that seemed to work best for me was a product called “Bonnisan”, given 3 times a day. When the gas pain got really bad I would also give some gripe water and then try the ‘bicycle’ move – laying him flat on his back and moving his legs in a pedaling motion up and against his belly. Here are a few other things to try if your baby suffers from this problem.

1. Keep baby in an upright position when feeding

2. When bottle feeding, try not to shake the bottle too much and then immediately give it to the baby. If possible, mix the milk in another container and then transfer it into the feeding bottle.

3. Use “colic-friendly” feeding bottles like the ones by Gerber and Tom Brown.

4. Burp the baby regularly and halfway between feedings to prevent build-up. If your baby eats fast, this might cause a quick build-up of gas bubbles.

5.Try to keep baby upright  for at least 30 minutes after feeding.

6. Give baby a warm bath. Fill a small tub or bowl and let baby sit while you gently rub and massage baby’s back and belly. The warmth will help to expel gas.

Tummy massages also helped us. If you are having issues with constipation and gas here is a series of massage moves you can do to 1. expel gas and 2. Aid a bowel movement:

Use Coconut oil, Shea butter, Olive oil, or other recommended oil to gently massage baby’s tummy.

1. use both hands and rub downwards from ribcage down to diaper, rib cage down to diaper, alternating hands. Do this for at least 15 seconds.

2. Move baby’s legs in bicycle pedaling motion and gently press knees against belly towards chest. do this for at least 15 seconds.

3. Keeping baby’s tummy well oiled, massage tummy in a circular motion rubbing from out towards the belly button in a spiral motion. Do this for at least 15 seconds

4. repeat bicycle pedaling motion with baby’s legs

5. repeat tummy rub one more time if needed.

By this time your baby has either passed a considerable amount of gas or has had a bowel movement.

I used to do this for Nolly Wolly almost every evening because believe me it was THAT bad! It was such a relief when he started sitting up and burping himself by the time he was 5 months old, then just when I thought the worst was over, another hurdle presented itself – TEETHING!! Some babies go through this without any trouble at all but others have it a little rough. Signs include excessive drooling, rashes, a slight fever or cold, ‘clingy’ behavior and irritability.

Babies produce more ascorbic acid in their saliva when they are teething and  this sometimes irritates their skin when they drool a lot. Have baby wear a bib around the house, and use Shea Butter or Coconut Oil on his/her skin to help create a ‘block’ between skin and saliva. Shea butter or Coconut oil also provide skin conditioning and moisturizing for your baby 🙂

During the day, keep baby entertained with chew toys and cold/frozen washcloths. Keep an onion near your baby’s bed at night and slip some sliced onion into his socks to help bring down a fever. Do not give your baby a cold bath if he has a fever. Rather, give a warm bath with some added drops of Lavender and/or Eucalyptus oil to help baby relax and get some rest. You may also want to consider using a teething mixture to reduce pain and help the baby sleep. I prefer those over teething powders.

Then we had all those annoying COLDS!… We even have one right now as I post this! Most babies will have at least 6 to 10 colds before they turn 1. There is no known cure for a common cold but it is important to keep colds under control so that baby stays comfortable and so that they don’t develop into something else. I use few drops of Eucalyptus oil in Coconut oil or Shea Butter to massage Nolly Wolly’s chest and back. I also give him half a teaspoon of pure virgin coconut oil orally in the morning and at night. Keep baby dry, not too warm and not too cold, and if you have a vaporizer you can run it in the bedroom with a few drops of Eucalyptus oil in there. If you don’t have a vaporizer, simply standing in the bathroom while running a hot shower will help to clear baby’s airways. Another alternative is to place a pot of water on the stove in your kitchen (with a few drops of eucalyptus if you have any) and let it boil. Stand a safe distance away but still in the kitchen, holding your baby and helping him/her to clear their airways. Propping up baby’s pillow or headrest to a 45 degree or so angle will also help your baby to breathe while he/she is sleeping.

Nolly Wolly is almost 10 months old now! He is standing up with the aid of anything he can find to support himself. He’s getting into everything, trying to climb everything..he is one bundle of energy! We’re trying all sorts of foods, and I’m letting him guide me to know what he likes and what he doesn’t. So far I’m pretty sure he loves bread, tomatoes, oranges, bananas, potatoes, biscuits, and a local Ghanaian dish called ‘banku’! 🙂 I’ll be sharing more about baby-led weaning soon. Stay beautiful, be blessed!