I am Mponeng and I started this Blog with my AriBear as my inspiration. There is a lot I wanted to share to help parents know they are not alone and this felt like the best platform to share my experiences, challenges and how I manage to survive having a little person.
Parenthood is tough and when you are a first time Mom like me it gets even scarier. I have started this blog to help parents by sharing my experiences and some challenges I have encountered and still am through my journey. I am hoping that you find support and comfort by knowing you are not alone!
Please feel free to comment and share some of your stories with your little one(s) after every post. We also have social media platforms where I share video and picture content of my girl.
When she came back from creche I immediately saw that she was not 100% but I brushed it off as tiredness or maybe hunger. One thing about my girl is that she loves her food and mostly her bottle. After bath time I tried to feed her, she refused so I thought I would try after five minutes but we had no luck.
She started being irritable, crying and being clingy. She refused to eat and eventually settled for her bottle she drank all 180 ml of it. I was happy because it meant she would calm down and sleep. But she slept for all of 30 minutes and woke up like she was being beaten up and started crying. How she cried is what alarmed me. It was more of a pleading, painful torture cry. My heart felt like it was being wrenched from my chest when her cries included “mama, mama” then she would change and cry “papa papa” almost as though she was pleading for us to help her.
One of the first things I do when Ari is sick is to check if she has a fever or not. I checked and she felt fine no heat at all but being sure is key, so I checked with a thermometer and it was normal. My girl kept at it with the ears so I thought maybe that was the problem but she showed no other symptoms of an ear infection. No mom wants to see their little one in pain and if there was a way of taking the pain then I definitely would. She would go from my arms to her dads almost as though it got better when she moved between us. Just yesterday she was screaming and laughing talking to herself and the wall in a language only she understood. Looking at her I didn’t see the energetic girl from yesterday, she was weak and sad.
I had a habit of wanting to rush to the emergency room whenever something wasn’t okay with our girl but I have improved. I am a lot stronger now, I guess it has to do with the fact that Ari has been okay lately with the occasional cough and runny nose but nothing that would need a doctor. When your child is sick you feel pain , it hurts more when you don’t know what the problem is you start imagining and creating scenarios that only drive you over the edge.
My aunts are nurses with a pediatric background so I would call them when I had a problem concerning her just to bounce ideas on someone, it helps sometimes but the last time I did that my aunt was ready to jump into the next flight and I had called way past a decent hour to call anyone. Must be the wailing she heard over the phone and me barely holding my tears that scared her. I don’t call now I seek help then call when I can give a clear story, I figured it must be very stressful and scary for the next person especially because we are a good couple of hours from each other.
The doctors’ diagnosis was that she is constipated after checking her ex-ray, giving us a syrup, and a pill to stop the vomiting and finally prescribing some medication. You know sometimes as parents when your child is sick you create a big problem/ diagnosis in your head so when you get the correct one you almost want to ask “are you sure doctor?” with little or no medical background we dare to question doctors…I blame it on the Mama Bear effect always wanting to protect, defend and make everything better. In my case the crying persisted when we got home even after the medication…such a scary moment.
Being in the hospital makes me nervous its the smell of the hospital, seeing other injured people in the emergency room, the machines and the entire hospital environment. I think the worst is having an over-friendly nurse attend to you I always wonder if she is trying to make me feel better so I don’t realize how serious we have it or if she genuinely is just a very nice person. And seeing my girl on the hospital bed takes me back to when she was sick and we stayed for 4 nights and 5 days yes I remember every single minute of them…let me tell you everything about a hospital makes you appreciate your home, the bed, the food, and a good shower or bath. It’s something I wouldn’t want to go through again…well if I had a choice that is!
If you are not satisfied with the diagnosis you get Mommy then seek a second opinion. The worst thing would be to sit with a sick child with the wrong medication and a frustrated Mom. After getting a second opinion Ari is better, but I still need a minute or two to really calm down.
Being a mom is a journey and one day at a time we take…
If like me, you don’t have a helper or nanny then you know that anywhere you need to go, baby tags along. I have to weigh first how much Hubby might need me or if he could handle whatever it is on his own. Then I let him go without us because toddlers are an unpredictable volcano waiting to erupt at the slightest of provocation…what am I saying they don’t need any of that to act up. So if I can save us an adventure to the mall then by all means. I always lie to myself and say we will be in and out of the mall and home before Ari gets restless, who am I kidding.
Today was a thing out of a comedy sitcom, we started on a good note. Ari was excited to be somewhere new and different, and much to my worry she was happy to sit in the trolley. The best advice when at the mall is to get a trolley, it helps if you don’t have a stroller. In my case, Ari wants to be part of whatever is happening and that means being inside the trolley Mommy is driving.
All was well, Ari in the trolley Mommy and Daddy busy running errands with the occasional tickle and giggle for our girl then she decided she would rather walk with us. She ran all over the place screaming through giggles of excitement (from the freedom I suppose), waving at anyone who offered to wave back and giving smiles to those who gushed over how cute she was. Ari is a colourful character! Hubby and I took turns chasing her and apologizing to people she bumped – some people are just not patient when it comes to kids running around the store. Little do they know that as parents we choose our battles, running toddler or a crying tantrum filled toddler.
The funny part is when she recognizes things we put in the trolley and cries for them like bread, juice, chips, and fruit you name it, she wants it. She either eats what she wanted or throws it on the floor – a colourful girl I said. A plan that has been working for me is opening a pack of chips and settling them next to her on the trolley she gets busy eating and we get on with our business. Her quest to uncover the mysteries the store had, lead her to grab the hand of a manikin dressed in women’s clothing, she must have thought it’s a person. She was so cute tugging at its hand, she is so adorable!
The fact that she can walk and grab things remains to be the scariest thing ever, especially in stores where you would have to pay. Imagine paying for things you won’t ever get to use! Ari grabbed a bottle shaped like Peppa-Pig it was one of those themed bubble baths for kids. I politely told her to put it back but she gave me that look that said I am about to tear this whole Woolworths store with my cry. I let her hold on to it till the till then she focused on grabbing her shoes – which we were buying for her, from the lady processing our payment, very territorial girl and Mommy is resourceful for tricking her to forget the bubble bath.
By the time we made our way out of the mall I had already given up on the judgment stares I got for letting my baby lie on the floor or letting her stand just randomly with me by her side till she was ready to walk. Or letting her think she could drive the trolley and bumping the shelves and everyone in her effort to break away from my control of the trolley. Then finally letting out a hysterical cry when I decided her tantrums would be better than the damage she would create for us driving the trolley with her head bent down because she knows nothing about watching your surroundings and being careful not to bump into things.
You would think I am used to her unpredictable state by now. When she is behaving she does it excellently and when she challenges you with a tantrum, even your neck starts sweating…you never know what her next move would be and just a little secrete these monsters feed off the mercy of bystanders who beg for you to forgive the cute adorable baby!
The is no plan to deal with unexpected horrors of going out with a toddler, be a Mom outsmart them, play tricks and remember to breathe!
Being a new mom can be tricky, there are so many issues one needs to get through. Firstly, you deal with your own emotions, sure you had 12 months to get used to the idea of a new member coming into the family but it changes when they are here. It’s a whole psychological transition that you have to deal with.
Secondly, cultural pressure (for other people), coming from an African background there are different beliefs in different cultures which many people apply or practice. To name a few a new mom is required to stay at home in confinement during the first month of the baby’s birth, and having to shave the baby’s hair when they turn one, the list goes on and on. The sad part is when you decide not to apply any of these beliefs, then you are deemed as “not doing right by your child”.
Everyone wants to be an expert I used to make a joke, telling Hubby that other people have honestly labelled themselves experts the way they go on telling you not to give the baby this milk when to start them on solids and all other things baby or children related. Might I just add that all these would be based on their experiences with their children? Because all babies are different just like we are different from each other, so using a technique that works for this baby for another baby would be a fruitless exercise.
The pressure is there and can come from family, friends and your immediate surroundings. I mean there is always someone who feels they know best and perhaps you might not perform to their said standard and thus coming across as a poor performer. It’s trivial if you ask me but people are complicated.
I am sure we all have those people in our lives who will make it their life’s mission to enforce their beliefs on you, never mind the fact that you have your own beliefs and principles. Don’t get me wrong I gave and still give advice, well it’s more of me sharing what I have experienced with my Ari but by no means do I make it seem like my advice is the gospel. It honestly comes from a good place and an effort to try and help in whatever situation the person might be going through.
As a Mom, you will get advice from the moment you get pregnant up until your child is an adult, it’s human nature to share experiences and to share personal opinions but you know what you want. So it’s up to you to take all those pieces of advice and research you might have done for yourself then decide what works for you and your children. The key is to make informed decisions, that are best for your child/children it might not be what works for your neighbour but that is okay because it’s different strokes for different people.
There are so many things to deal with as a mom especially if it’s your first child but remember there is no said perfect way of doing things so we do what works as mothers. There is no formula for raising the perfect child (previous insert). And all babies are different so ultimately you do what baby needs.
It’s all about trial and error, we learn as we go along!
I am at a point where I cannot believe that Ari’s tiny hands can do so much damage, I mean she is only 19-months. But everywhere she passes she leaves a trail. She can just decide to empty the cupboard so all the pots, pans, dishes everything will be laid out on the floor and then she will walk away leaving them there. Or just throw her clothes all over the floor, lie on them and then decide she would like a change of outfit…
Her best work is done with silence and very intense concentration and focus. So I woke up one night looking for her bottle, I knew I had put it in her cot but needless to say I found it at the far end of the bed but I also found Hubby’s glasses carelessly lying on the floor and I knew something was wrong but at 2 am nothing makes sense.
When morning came Hubby noticed that his glasses were broken. Yes, broken! My AriBear with her tiny hands must have thought they were an adventure to explore, she probably tossed them aside when they became boring. Which explains why we found the lens under the bed. So Mommy Being Mommy came to the rescue, I glued them back to working condition…I have this DIY (do it yourself) thing on lock-down! I suppose he has learnt his lesson after my tireless efforts of telling him to put his things in “Ari safe areas”.
Can we talk about how fast this girl works? I put my eyes on the TV screen for just a minute and the next thing she is covered in white powder all over her face. She emptied the Custard powder and kept smearing it all over her clothes, face, and hair she offered me a hug when I tried to stop her. She looked so cute with her face covered in powder and arms spread wide open to welcome me in a hug…she is so manipulative acting innocent! She wouldn’t let me clean up the mess and tried the waterworks (tears) but I swept it all up.
I honestly wish I knew what goes on in Ari’s head just to get an idea of how she sees and conceptualizes things. She has this thing she does where she will stare at something almost like she was planning her next move. The other night she pushed a chair towards the counter got on it and grabbed her Sippy cup – she must have been thirsty is all Hubby and I concluded after recovering from our shock. Although I am still wondering how she put that plan together.
She is an absolute breath of fresh air; every day is different filled with its own set of adventures. Like shoving a piece of toilet paper up her nose. I thought she had a “boogie man” so when I looked closely into her nostrils my heart almost stopped when I saw it, luckily it was not that deep and I could pull it right out. So now the toilet paper has been relocated to an “Ari free zone”.
Apart from the dangerous things which we put away from children’s reach, there are still some things we never anticipate would be harmful to them. Where I see a plastic bowl Ari sees something she can stand on. It doesn’t matter how small or big the bowl is she turns it upside down and stands on it. And as if that is not the worst she would clap her hands and giggle.
She wanted to go outside but it was raining and when I told her we couldn’t because of the rain she threw her head on the floor and won herself a great big bump right in the middle of her forehead. Well, I reduced the swelling so it’s just the mark left now…
If you have any words of wisdom I am happy to receive!
You can never prepare enough for travelling especially when you will be doing it with children. Something always pops up before the journey begins, during the journey or the best scenario which would be after the journey itself.
We were preparing for our journey and nervous does not even begin to describe how I felt. And as if I was not anxious enough my Lili Pops got a cold night before we left. She was coughing right through the night and I barely got any sleep. All I did was look for syrups I could give her to help calm the cough down all night with power naps between each hysterical cough.
When the baby is sick everything goes sideways, plans and schedules all have a way of being missed because all attention and energy go to the little frail not so tiny human. But luckily I managed to get all we needed with a quick stop at the pharmacy for medication, a last-minute car inspection, and then the mindless driving around before we finally pulled out.
The weather is such an important factor to account for when going from one province to another. Well, the temperature in the car plays an even greater role. What I mean is that it needs to be comfortable for the driver and the passengers as well. Ari does not like to be hot at all so I had to dress her in a very light romper/onzie and because it was a hot day the air con was on all the way. Another very important factor is to hydrate always!
Having a good car seat is an investments, we got Ari the Joie Stages seat. The great thing about this one is that you can use it from birth right up to 7 years, but if you are looking for something different have a look at their products. Joie really caters for all!
We drove for 6 hours with occasional stops and me giving Ari medication every once in a while. She was an absolute darling, she slept most of the time and when she was awake she would sing and laugh. And during stops, she was happy to be in her Mommy’s arms (she has days where she can be clingy but adorable), All I was thinking at that moment was why in the heavens I worried about the road trip…
It got a bit dark outside that’s when she started her first cry, I gave her juice thinking she was thirsty but that kept her quiet just enough for her to spill it all over herself, it took just a minute and then she wailed like she never was still a minute prior. She went on till I had no choice but to jump to the back seat, unbuckle her (only to find that she was soaking wet from the juice) so I had to undress her and I sat with her crying hysterically.
The good thing was that we had just 30 minutes before we reached our destination but even that felt like a lifetime. I was running out of tricks to get her quiet then I decided we should use the cooler box as a drum and sing! So creative of me right? It helped for like a short while before we managed to get to our destination. I was losing my mind and Hubby kept asking what was wrong with her… Like I speak baby!. It always amazes me how he looks at me for answers regarding Ari. I suppose mothers should have them in his mind.
All I can say is babies and not so tiny babies/toddlers don’t do so well being cooped up in one place for a long time. Remember they find pleasure in moving around and exploring so the mere thought of being trapped in one place can send any of them into a frenzy. The way she cried, my goodness I can still hear her… Let’s just say I am okay with not having another road trip for the next couple of months.
The best advice I can give when preparing for a drive would be, 1. Try and leave as early as possible while the baby is asleep even if they wake up while you are preparing its okay. As soon as they get into their car seat they will sleep. 2. Have clothes for all types of weather packed close for any emergency. 3. Pack medication, paracetamol, a thermometer and any cough syrup. 4. Take a break when they are awake, avoid waking them when sleeping. You are more likely to cover more distance while they sleep. 5. Put the car seat in a sleeping position so they can relax and sleep easily. 6. Cover the back windows with those sun shields to prevent the sun from burning baby. 7. If you have cartoons to play for them while you drive PLAY them, have toys on hand for distraction. This can give you some time to buy before they get bored and get fidgety. All the best for your journey may yours be a smooth one…
A very happy new year to you and your families! Love Ari’s Mommy
I have so many descriptions for being a Mom but the one that speaks to me right now, is an adventure – filled with happy times and emotional days. By this I mean we can have sunshine and happiness in the morning and end of the day emotionally drained.
So Ari is quite comfortable in the walking department, she can even run for some distance and because of that, I would believe that she would do it with ease right? wrong! I don’t know why I still keep my hopes up with this girl but she seems to do the very opposite of everything.
We were doing our shopping the other day and I had with me a fully stocked baby bag, and her stroller. We had just driven around the mall for well over 30 minutes when my girl made it very clear that she wants none of that being in a stroller business.
The shopping ordeal bordered around being a family outing and quickly decelerated to being a tantrum escapade. The tantrums were because I wouldn’t dress her in a dress she picked form the shelves (in the shop) and then my highlight was when I put her in a jean jacket to check the fit. I had no idea she would love it to an extent of wanting to leave with it, I would have bought it but man it was a tad bit too out of the budget for a toddler jacket.
Needless to say despite her disapproval I took it off her and she threw a masterpiece of a tantrum the one that is accompanied by wiggling yourself free from whatever grip while kicking and hitting. I might have found a little door in my head where I snuck in for the silence and tranquillity, while she lay on the floor carrying out her performance.
I just stood there watching her all zoned out, (inside my secrete door of silence), customers kept starring but I had no care at all. Hubby’s “save Ari moments” didn’t help she just wanted me despite her crying. I eventually carried her out of the store and because she is a cheeky little thing she cried the whole way out and gained us a bunch of spectators – she is such a performer.
Well like a rainbow at the end of each storm our day ended on a much lighter note. We went on a treasure hunt for lactose-free ice-cream in the city to spoil our girl. We found a cosy little store called Unframed Ice-Cream (@lifeunframed) in Kloof Street Cape Town, they use coconut milk for their vegan selection and have sorbets as well. She had the time of her life and of course, Mommy was capturing every single moment of it. She kept sharing her ice – cream with her Daddy. She can be cute at times.
Raising a child with allergies does not have to be a great big struggle, things are much easier now with a wide variety of products ranging from snacks to the food you can get whatever you are looking for just google shops that cater to your need in your surroundings.
From the moment you find out you are pregnant you have little milestones or should I say certain moments and memories that you make and build-up. Some milestones could be ones we would like to achieve and move past, like the “danger zone” in pregnancy, these are the weeks in pregnancy referred to as high risk – this is from 0 to 12 weeks when a woman has greater chances of experiencing a miscarriage, more on high-risk pregnancies. And other milestones and memories are ones we want memories so hard to relive them without forgetting any detail.
There are however other risks associated with the pregnancy but they decrease after the first trimester. You are advised to wait until the first trimester is over before sharing the news with other people. Just for precaution. I found out about my pregnancy at 7 weeks and after the 8th-week doctor’s appointment, I was sharing the news with anyone who cared to listen, FIRST TIME MOMMY traits!
With the whole build-up, we then get the ultimate gift…the birth. This marks the epitome of greatness. With it followed by the anticipation of when your little one would sit on their own, then the crawling and while you are still wrapping your head around that they get up and walk. My goodness, the walking is scary! This is when independence kicks in full force, baby can go where she wants and my favourite one: baby can crawl into any tiny space and just sit there with no worry t all, this one still drives me into a frenzy.
Where am I in the build-up? My AriBear is to the date (officially) 18 months old she is not 2 years yet. She is at the stage of going from being as cute as a button, adorable to an extent where you want to cry and then she becomes a monster screaming while throwing her head all over the place. She is my very own theme park full of all the emotions.
The other day she just ran to me and hugged me – cute. A song came on while we were watching TV she quickly grabbed my hands so we could dance while nodding her head sideways and jumping up and down (her effort to dance) – adorable right? Then I caught her pouring her juice into her bum cream (tub)and drinking from it when I took it she threw herself face down on the tiled floor and screamed her tiny lungs out for a full 5 minutes – monster!
Her most favourite thing to do at the moment is shoving anything that could fit into the toilet (this is her shoving her ball inside the toilet). I am still surprised my phone is surviving these toilet soaks. My highlight and I think I speak for so many parents when I say, are Baby’s first words. I mean the ones she says with meaning.
A couple of weeks ago just randomly, AriBear wanted me to pick her up and she just screamed “Mama Mama” I looked down at her with a look of fulfillment. I honestly had no idea till that moment that I was waiting to hear her say those words. I think she might have seen how happy I was because now she is almost using it to soften me up or to get away with the naughty things she does.
The build-up of milestones and memories for our children are beautiful puzzles that fit so well together. They outline all that baby learns and achieves throughout her growth and development. And in so many ways they give you a peek at the character your baby might have. It’s so exciting to see my AriBear interact with my friend’s children, she is the type to run to you and hug you – a happy baby she is.
I had to be somewhere and Hubby couldn’t stay with her as well so my friend stepped in. AriBear had gone from being under the table to sneaking into the corner to just dancing to music she heard – her very own entertainment. Her dad and I are on our toes, literally all the time we can never know what she will do next, but we are loving every second of it even the days I don’t like, I love!
Nine months is a very long wait for you to meet someone and I swear every day seems like a lifetime. The anticipation and curiosity grow stronger the closer you get to your due date.
With every kick, you will find yourself wondering if they took your eyes, his nose, your lips and then you will get to the part where you decide that your baby will be a better person if they had your personality or if they took their fathers.
During the pregnancy wait, you become a Picasso of note painting an image of how your precious gift will turn out. Dare I say you play a puzzle of putting together the pieces of the character, structure and just their mannerism.
Needless to say, the 4D ultrasound scans that we did during our third trimester did not settle my Picasso, puzzle building imagination, no all those videos and pictures did was just add more ideas to my already out of control imagination. Whenever my AriBear would kick after I ate, I would say something like, “nchoo she is the cutest thing isn’t she thanking her Mommy” or when I used to lie on one side for too long and she would kick and I would say, “she is so cheeky telling me what to do, I can tell she will be a bossy one” see that was me creating a personality for her! I am one of those people who loved their baby bump and I took photos almost always.
I have a dimple on my right cheek which I got from my father and for some reason I wanted my baby to have one as well. So much pressure for an unborn baby and too many expectations on my end. The list was long and included some rather questionable expectations. In my defense, It was my first pregnancy and I had no idea what to expect and every experience and milestone in the pregnancy was a beautiful first.
My AriBear is 17 months and has dimples on both cheeks (just like grandpa) and she has Mommy’s complexion, but she remains her daddy’s girl through and through. What we hope for and imagine during pregnancy is far from what we get when they finally arrive. It knocks your breath away and is and will remain the most perfect moment in time.
The image you had created in your head will just disappear and that puzzle you built will fall away when you come face to face with the little person. They suddenly become someone you know but just met. You know that feeling you get when you click with someone and you just feel in sync with them when you cannot imagine a life without them because they fit so well into the life you have.
The feelings you think you will have when you first lay eyes on your baby, do not even come close to what you feel when you have the first contact with them. You suddenly become consumed with a great gush of affection at a level you never knew you could have for someone. It doesn’t happen at a click of a finger, or at least it didn’t for me.
After I gave birth I was numb, anxious, shocked and just in a haze. I couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that Hubby and I could have done something so beautiful and when all those feelings subsided I was hit by a wave of love and a need to protect my new found love.
Keep building that puzzle and being Picasso, it will keep the pregnancy moving and you will have something to look forward to. You can share with Daddy or anyone close to you in your building and painting expedition it’s fun and feeds the curiosity very well.
My baby is the cutest when she is sleeping! I mean she is beautiful I just want to kiss her and take as many photos of her as possible. Yes when she is sleeping, peaceful and not running around making me feel dizzy. Ever since she mastered walking she discovered the freedom of mobility and she is riding that to the bank. I guess it gives me a chance to take lovely photos of her because the ones I take (while she is awake) are all blurry and those that are good took about 20 tries to get the best photo.
It’s very sad when your little one is ill. You get distracted and grumpy not because you want to, it has to do with channelling all those emotions that might be blocked up inside. Bear in mind that you also have to carry the pressure of holding the fort, and making sure everything and everyone is put together. Mommy cannot fall apart unless it’s when she is alone and the cute little face(s) are shielded from seeing their superhero equally being scared. I think the Mama Bear character kicks in quickly! Ready to knock out anyone who dares to hurt the little cub…
If you forget or neglect to buy anything for your tiny human let it not be a thermometer. Having a Thermometer is very important. I am sure we all know how quickly babies ‘ illnesses could go South, so early detection is always safe. The best thing you can do for yourself is to make sure you have it close by at all times.
Our main role as parents to these tiny humans is to advocate for them and be their voices because they obviously cannot say what they are experiencing at any time. We need to listen when they speak to us. And by listen I mean observe your baby’s behaviour, their moods, the energy they have or don’t have, observe them when they move around playing. What I mean is that you should be alert and always paying attention to them.
A while back I had noticed that AriBear kept tugging at her ear, so at first, I dismissed it as “a tell”, for being sleepy. Her tugging persisted for some time and always on the one ear…I took my phone flashlight got Hubby to hold it for me while I took a look into AriBears ear, needless to say, I found nothing because I had no idea what I was looking for…I am not a doctor just a very worried Mama Bear! I went on to convince Hubby that AriBear had an ear infection (of course he gave me a weird look, loaded with are you a doctor now question). Weeks passed and then she had a smelly breath which was scary for a 15-month old baby – here’s an article on Baby’s Smelly Breath. It got worse when she started burning up to 38.4 Degrees – which is bad, anything that is below 37 degrees can still pass as normal but not less than 36 degrees.
had to bring down the temperature, how you ask??? Well, this is not carved in
stone, but I undressed her till she was left with her vest and then checked if
there was a difference after 5 minutes, which there wasn’t so I put her in a
lukewarm bath (alternatively you could just dab the child with a lukewarm
cloth). Gave her: Calpol you can use Panado, or a Suppository, the temperature should come down
if not then take the baby to the doctor.
As a Mom you get that feeling inside you, call it instinct or a gut feeling but you just know when your baby is not well. So despite AriBear responding and her temperature stabilizing I still felt the need to see a doctor. And to our shock, the little miss had swollen tonsillitis and a bad ear infection. These are very uncomfortable for us as adults imagine a small baby, this explained the constant crying.
Listen to your tiny human, let them tell you what they need and just pay attention to them. I almost dismissed my instincts but turned out I was right she was being troubled by her ear. And the smelly breath, definitely tonsillitis.