We caught up with busy make-up artist and mama, Nandi Kai, to hear all about her motherhood adventure and cuter than cute kiddo, Max.
∇ Tell us about your job – what does it entail?
I am a hair and make-up artist. It’s a pretty cool and fun job! Every day is different – it can range from a quick and easy job to a very long and challenging day. I work on everything from magazine editorials to international stills shoots.
∇ Tell us about your family.
It consists of myself, Kevin (daddy), baby Maxwell, Django and Juno ( our two naughty dogs) and Chelsea ( my 15 year old cat).
∇ You had your boy quite young – have you always wanted children?
I was 25 when I had Maxwell. I think Kevin and I were together for about a year when I realized I really wanted to have babies with him and quite soon! Two years after we met I was pregnant with Maxwell. I have always wanted to be a young and fun mom – be relaxed about things and try and give my son the best life but still enjoy my own.
∇ Your husband is Chinese and you are Afrikaans – how do you incorporate your different cultures into raising Max?
I speak to Max in Afrikaans and read him Afrikaans stories. He likes rusks (that must be an Afrikaans thing ) and he calls my parents Ouma and Oupa. On Sunday’s we go for yum cha / dim sum at a Chinese Restaurant in Seapoint. We also try and do Chinese dinners on a Friday. He will call Kevin’s parents Mah Mah (grandmother on the fathers side) and Yeh Yeh (grandfather on the fathers side). I guess we just go around living our normal lives and Max just falls into that. It’s not like we try especially hard to bring our culture into raising Max. It just kind of happens naturally.
∇ Did you want to know the gender of your baby beforehand – why?
Yes! It was so much fun thinking of names, going back and forth and changing my mind the last week before his birth. It also really helps when people wants to buy you gifts!
∇ Is your husband a hands-on dad?
Definitely. He really is an amazing father. From the day Max was born Kevin was filled with so much pride and I just new that this was going to be an amazing journey. Kevin can pretty much do everything from changing a dirty nappy to cooking an amazing meal, to fixing anything that’s broken. He is also the best babysitter when I go out with my girls!
∇ How did you handle all the rules and regulations of being pregnant – was it an easy process?
My pregnancy was very relaxed. I didn’t follow any rules. I don’t smoke and hardly ever have a drink so that was quite easy. I still had sushi twice a week and I still had coffee. You also go through weird eating stages when you are pregnant. For the first three months, I only wanted toast. Then I wanted ice cream for pretty much the rest of my pregnancy. I really enjoyed being pregnant! It’s such an amazing experience. People are also super nice to you when you are pregnant.
∇ What do you ALWAYS make time for with Max.
I love taking a bath with Max and playing with all the bath toys. I also really enjoying putting him to bed at night, it’s great when he falls asleep in my arms. Giving him a sweetie or ice cream is also great!
∇ Did you ever feel overwhelmed after your baby was born, or did it all just come naturally to you?
The day your baby is born is unreal. Everything changes then and there. You just feel something different inside. Max slept on top of me for the first three months. I did the kangaroo mom for a long time! You really just want your baby close to you all the time. The first week is amazing, then comes the second week and you are so exhausted – that’s why all mothers always tell you “when the baby sleeps, you must sleep” I did that and still you stay so tired. Maxwell wanted to drink milk every second hour. The first month is really hard but every day after that it just gets better and better. And around 8 weeks when they start smiling at you, all the hard work pays off!
∇ You still live your passion (baby and all) How do you balance the “me Nandi” and the “me Mama”?
I do sneak out on my off days for lunch or coffee with a friend, or a girls night every now and then. Spending time with Max is a lot of fun, I try not to stay away from him for too long!
∇ What energizes you – gives you new life?
Holidays! Taking a break and spending time away from home with friends and family. It makes it so nice to return home again. I’m also a sucker for a spa day.
⊕ Favourite place to shop for Max: Cotton On, Next, H&M
⊕ Favourite place to eat with your family: Tao Yuan in Seapoint. We go there every Sunday for dim sum lunch.
⊕ What is your favourite family getaway? My in laws’ family home in Beaconsfield in the UK. A day spent at any beach is also always a winner!
⊕ What was the one item you couldn’t live without in your first year of being a mom: A dummy! And Maxwell’s Tranquil Turtle night light is also pretty cool. It plays calming ocean music and reflects moving waves on the walls and ceiling. I always fall asleep with Max – it’s so relaxing.
Have a look at Nandi’s work as hair and make-up artist here.