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Thursday, April 30, 2009

With a little help from my husband

It has been a rough few days and nights around here. When isn't it?! I feel like I am always complaining about how tired I am and how hard I am finding it. Sometimes i wish I could just suck it all up. But that isn't me. I'm a talker, a sharer, an over-analyzer. So if life is sucking I am going to say it is sucking.

It really isn't sucking. The kids are great. I am just exhausted and sick. The boy is also sick. This lead to an awful night Tuesday with very little sleep for either of us. The husband got sleep, though, because when the boy ends up coming into bed with me the husband retreats to the guest bed set up in the boy's room. He got sleep and I didn't. Which is pretty par for the course. He didn't really start worrying about me until I was half crying, half whimpering that we have to sleep train the boy.

There. I've said it. Sleep training. Everyone has such strong feeling and opinions about sleep training. And so do I. Sleep training is a kind of like my dirty little secret. I like to keep it in my back pocket and peak at it everyone in a while. It is my emergency, my last resort. I like to know it is there if I really need it. When I bring it out and start waving it around like a red cape at a bull fight you know I near the edge.

We never let the girl "cry-it-out", but I did stop night nursing her at ten, almost eleven months. Instead of me going in and breastfeeding her back to sleep the husband took over. It really was awful that first night. The husband went in and tried to get her back to sleep. She cried persistently for two hours and then on and off for another two. All this while the husband was holding her and rocking her. If I hadn't been at the wall I would have been in her room, grabbing her from the husband and putting her to the breast. But I was done.

I think I am there again, a little earlier this time. Or I am almost there. Last night I took the boy to bed with me about 10 pm because he would not settle to sleep. I was feeling the beginnings of the cold taking hold,and given the hard day I had already had, the husband offered to take the boy in the night and give him the emergency formula we have in the house. I couldn't do it. Some part of me feels guilty about letting the husband be up all night, letting him be tired in the morning, letting him do all the work. Those feelings lasted until 3:30 am when the boy woke up and decided he didn't want to sleep anymore. Then I handed him over. And I still feel guilty. The husband is a walking zombie today and i feel guilty.

Why do I think that I have to do it all? Why is hard to accept his help? Why do I feel so guilty when I do? It is easier for me to keep nursing the boy back to sleep at night than to see the husband tired and struggling the next day. Even though I am tired and struggling most days.

The husband came home from work early today. Having very little sleep is not conducive to productivity. Right now he is out for a walk with the boy, who is hopefully sleeping in the carrier since the cold makes it almost impossible for him to sleep more than 10 minutes lying now. The girl is napping (yay!). And I am reflecting on what I should do next.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Conversations with the girl #2

Scene: The park on a Wednesday morning. The husband is there by himself with the girl and the boy.

Husband: Okay, you can have one last slide before we go home.

The girl starts climbing the play structure to get up to the slide. She stops climbing and begins licking the play structure.

Husband: Please stop licking the play structure. We don't lick the play structure.

Girl continues to lick the play structure.

Husband: If you keep licking the play structure we are going to go home.

Girl starts licking her coat.

Girl: I lick my coat?

Husband: Well....

Girl turns her head to face away from the husband.

Husband: Did you lick the play structure?

Girl nods.

Husband: Well, we have to go home now. I said that if you licked the play structure again we would go home. Husband picks up the girl, while holding the boy in this other arm.

Girl: No, no! Just one more slide! Girl cries all the way out of the park and across the street.

Girl: Put me down! The husband puts her down on the side walk in front of our house. Girl makes to run back across the road to the park. The husband tries to restrain her. In response the girl lies down on her back on the side walk still crying.

Strange Old Woman Walking Down the Street: Ha ha ha ha.

The husband picks the girl back up and carries her into the house. I come running because the wailing leads me to believe that bones have been broken and blood shed.



A letter for the boy #2

Do you really need more teeth? Why not just stop at three? I hear some girls really go for the toothless look. I will even let you shave your head and get a tattoo to round out the biker look. Let's talk.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

I make smart babies

Apparently babies born to women who suffer morning sickness may be smarter. With the amount of throwing up I did my kids should be geniuses. The boy most of all.

In all seriousness, I was pleased to see that the study did not report any adverse effect to babies as a result of women taking diclectin while they were pregnant. I was on diclectin for most of my pregnancy with the boy. I threw up every day for nine weeks with the girl so I was expecting morning sickness when I got pregnant again. What I couldn't handle was throwing up in the late afternoon and evening. It meant that I either didn't eat anything in the afternoon or for dinner, or I would be violently ill. There is nothing like stopping in at a hotel on your walk home from work to throw up in a bathroom stall. Good times.

I resisted the diclectin for ten weeks and then I started popping those drugs. The nausea never really went away, but the vomiting did.

Now I know it was all worth it. I wonder which one will win a Nobel Prize? Maybe both?

One of those days

I've been reflecting on what makes a day hard to get through and why some days fly by so easily. For me, the difference seems to be the occurance of the unexpected and the absence of breaks. Those two things can turn me into a whimpering mass of momminess.

The day seemed to start out fine, but looking back now I realize I was more tired this morning then I thought. The boy looks to be getting his forth tooth (his second on the top) and so he wanted to nurse a lot last night. All night. In a kind of painful way that made use of his gums grinding against me my flesh. All of this made me a little more cranky then usual and lowered my energy reserves to deal with anything unexpected. Which of coarse is when the unexpected happens.

My sister was over this morning and I suggested we take both the kids to a playgroup a fifteen minute walk away. I had never been before but I had heard about it from some other moms. So we bundled the kids into their rain coats and into the stroller and headed out in a very heavy downpour. My pants were soaked by the time we crossed the bride over the canal. Only to run into someone I knew from our playgroup in the fall who informed me the playgroup today was canceled. Not a big deal right? Well, for someone who is drawing on limited reserves of energy to make it thorough the morning any change in plans is a big deal.

This woman suggested we go anyway and see if we could get in and use the space without the coordinator (who had canceled because her daughter has foot and mouth disease). We were able to get in and convince the staff to let the kids play for a "five minutes" that we manged to stretch into twenty. Afterwards we headed to a bookstore where my sister bought a book and I fended off the girl's snack demands outside. The playgroup usually provided a snack so all I had brought was a banana. You can imagine how she felt about that!

A quick stop into a store to buy some snacks was necessary before we headed home. The girl was now quite happy with an entire box of Annie's Cheddar Bunnies in her lap. The boy not so much. We got a few blocks before I stopped to feed him the leftover stub of banana. I felt like a mama bird as I mashed it in my mouth and fed it to him with my fingers. It was all very primal.

I think my sister must have taken pity on me because she said she was too "tired" to go to her yoga class, helped me shepherd the kids inside and stayed for lunch. The lunch where we tried to feed the whimpering boy and convince the girl to eat something. "I don't like that" she said about my chili before she ate half of the food on her plate.

Once they were both asleep the afternoon improved considerably. I had a chance to relax and not feel responsible for their every need. The girl ended up napping for three hours. The boy slept for an hour but then happily played with the full laundry basket and a box of toys for another hour, allowing me to stare off into space. And reflect on my dislike of the unexpected and my need for a break each day.

I have come to the conclusion that I need a minimum of twenty minutes to myself each afternoon to make it through the rest of the day. Sounds simple, doesn't it? It would have been back before I had kids. Back when I would sit on the couch and read a book for four hours. Now I am struggling to figure out how I can make sure I get twenty minutes, without either kid, each day. I will have to cross my fingers that their naps/ quiet time align. Or I will have to start dispensing some serious "crack", otherwise know as the Backyardigans.

Calming down

Okay, I've gained some perspective.

I think I can make it through the afternoon. But there is something about this time of day, leading up to and including lunch time and nap time, that just gets to me. It is the franticness of getting both kids fed, finding something both kids will eat, and trying to bundle them off to naps without one or all of us having a melt down. It is the sweet promise of maybe twenty minutes to myself if I can both get them asleep at the same time. It is the resentment, and maybe a little bit of anger, when that break gets so casually taken away.

I think they are both asleep now. I don't hear any noise from the girl's room. She hasn't napped in three days so this is a little unexpected. But appreciated. I am going to enjoy having no demands on me for how ever long I have. I can relax now in a way I never can when they are both awake.

I forgot already

I have already forgotten the joy and love from yesterday. Now I am counting down the hours until the husband gets home and I can throw the kids at him and retreat to the bedroom. Four hours to go.

Monday, April 27, 2009

What did I expect?

Was this what I expected it to be like with two kids? Kind of.

I expected the tiredness, but not the degree of crankiness I sometimes have with the two of them. Seriously, sometimes I can not believe the stuff that comes out of my mouth! I expected the business, but not the mania of meal times when the girl doesn't want to eat the food in front of her (she won't even try it) and the boy is fussing and unhappy. I expected problems with the girl sharing her toys and lots of cries of "mine's", but not the profound love they demonstrate for each other every day. I knew, I hoped, they would love each other but it still amazes me. I took a moment to appreciate them both today at park. The girl sat in my lap and we both took turns pushing her brother in the swing. We grabbed his feet as they came towards us and he smiled and laughed. They take such joy in each other. I should remember this.

Why I love to win things

I can't help it! Who doesn't love free stuff.

I just found out I won some Oliver's Labels from Northern Mama. I am going to buy some labels with the boy's name on it so he will be ready for school four years from now. You can never be too prepared! And I already bought some for her sister. It is very useful for shoes and bags. I also won some Dapple cleaning products (baby safe cleaning products) from Northern Mama. Seriously, I am on a roll!

I am really curious to try the Dapple dish washer detergent. At first I thought, come on, special dish washer detergent for babies? But our dish washer does not clean the bowls I use to serve the boy's baby cereal in. I will run them in a load and then have to scrub them and soak them after anyway. I'll let you know if it actually works.

I also won some Piggy Paint, kid friendly, non-toxic nail polish, from {Natural} Mommie. I think I will tuck it away for the girl's third birthday in August. Or a raining afternoon. Which ever comes first. :-)

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Our house version 2.4

We have been doing a little interior decorating in our living room this weekend. I wish I could say we bought some chic new sectional couch or modern, minimalist light fixture, but no. I don't think that will be happening until the kids have outgrown their interest in jumping on the couch and their tendency to spill. Oh, and we actually have some disposable income.

Instead, we moved the plastic play kitchen to the actual kitchen, set up the play pen in the living room and relegated the rocking chair to the nook leading to the basement (because we can't actually fit it down the stairs to the basement). All these "improvements" are in anticipation of the boy mastering crawling and the need to have one safe space in the house where we can set him down and let him go wild. The baby gates will be going up at the first sign he is making a break for the stairs.

Personally, I think the changes bring much more sophisticated feel to the living room. It is a bit of cross between an upscale flophouse and downtrodden day care centre. And imagine, we did all this without a professional stylist!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Conversations with the girl

Scene: The park on a hot sunny afternoon. The girl is in the pretend ice cream store while her parents and brother sit in the sand near by.

Girl: "You say 'I want ice cream' ".

Husband: "You want ice cream".

Girl: "No! You say 'I want ice cream' ".

Husband: "Okay. I want ice cream".

Girl: "No. You can't have any ice cream. It's my brother's turn." Gives brother pretend ice cream cone.

Silence

Girl: "You say 'I want ice cream' ".

Husband: "I want ice cream!"

Girl: "No. It's mommy's turn to have ice cream. You can't have any ice cream". Gives mommy pretend ice cream cone.

Husband: "I want ice cream! I want ice cream!"

Girl: "No, no ice cream".

Friday, April 24, 2009

The changing content of this post

I have written this post in my head about six times today. Most of the earlier versions involved "grumble, grumble, whining girl, grumble, grumble, no break from the kids, grumble, grumble, ungrateful children". But they are both asleep now so I am feeling much more generous and forgiving. Plus, I ate a Kit Kat bar. That helped.

The boy is pretty much crawling now. He can stick his bum up in the air and scoot forward by pushing off with his feet. He seems to be motivated to crawl towards most things beyond his reach but he really likes envelopes, plastic bags and his sister's potty. Needless to say we have to re-organize our living room this weekend.

The girl is scaring me a little with her smarts. I mean, she isn't even three yet. Should she be capable of subtle distinctions in language? Ever since I picked her up from school today she was whiny and edgy. I had to tell her a number of times not to yell or raise her voice at me, to speak politely and to listen. While I was putting her brother down for his nap she was supposed to be lying in her bed also sleeping. Instead I heard very high pitch sounds coming from behind her door. When I went into her room she quickly said "I'm not yelling for you". "What are you doing then", I asked. "I'm talking" she said. She even emphasized the talking in case I needed any help understanding the difference. Help!

A letter for the boy

Please sleep. There is no reason to getup at 4am. Mommy is sleeping, daddy is sleeping, your sister is sleeping. It is dark out. No one is downstairs having a secret party. Really. Go to sleep.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Getting a social life

The girl has started to want to play with other kids. Well, of coarse she has always played with her friends. But now she wants to play with other kids just because they are kids and so is she.

The last few visits to the park have involved her scoping out the other kids and talking to me about playing with them. For the first time last week she said she wanted to play with a little girl she saw on the climbing structure. I said that she should go and ask the girl if she would like to play. "No, you" was her reply. So we both headed over to the little girl. Unfortunately, the little girl just started blankly at me and then walked away. Was it me?

The girl tried again today and actually walked up to another girl at the park to ask her to play. I can't tell you what the response was though because this other girl was too busy lying on the sand screaming and yelling in full tantrum mode to even consider the request. Her mom explained that she had tried to put a coat on the little girl. Ah, yes. The evil of the coat. While my girl didn't find a playmate today I think she did enjoy the spectacle of the tantrum because she stood in place for a long time just watching. Hopefully she wasn't taking notes!

I am pleased to say that I will also be expanding my own social life this weekend. For the first time in almost eight months I will being going out of the house by myself to meet a friend for lunch. I am not running a quick errand. I am not taking a mental health break because I am at my breaking point. I have scheduled a lunch date with a friend in advance with no kids and husband and I am so excited. I think I will even order desert.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Books

The girl took a trip to the library with her aunt yesterday and came home with a stack of new books. As I was looking through them I was reminded how the quality of kids books can vary so much. There are some amazingly good books out there and there is also some weird, weird stuff (I will have to post about that another day). I thought I would share with you two of my favorite kids books. But first, a story about the girl.

We sat down on the couch this morning to read one of the new books she picked up yesterday and ended up reading it three times. It was really neat to see what information she absorbed each time and how she want to keep re-reading it to process what she had just learnt. The book was What Are You So Grumpy About (warning: all the following links are to Amazon). It is a bit old for her so she didn't get all the jokes, like a picture of a kid actually picking up (i.e. holding) his room. But she still got a lot out of it. This is what happened when we read it:

- The first time I just read through it straight. I read the text and she asked a few questions.
- The second time I read the text and explained the pictures because I had realized that the language and jokes were a bit old for her. For example, there is a picture of a boy getting out on the "wrong side of the bed" and he is about to step on a sharp toy and hurt his foot. She asked more questions.
- The third time I read the text and she explained each picture. "That boy is going to step on the toy and hurt his foot!" It was pretty amazing to see how quickly she absorbed everything and processed it. Now I would read the text and she would laugh about the pictures.

The whole process really clarified for me why a kid wants to read a book six times in a row, even though the adult doesn't.

Now, here are two books that I think are awesome. Both of these books were gifts from L., a friend of my dad's, so a shout out to her good taste.

1. The Story of the Little Mole Who Knew It Was None of His Business follows a mole trying to figure out which animal pooed on his head. We have the pop-up version. Do I need to say more? And it appeals to all ages. When we first read it two teenage boys were also around and laughed pretty hard at the story.

2. The Jolly Postman or Other People's Letters is about a postman delivering letters to various fairytale characters. From the same authors as Peepo, which is great for babies.

I think I am going to start doing a weekly books post. Let me know if there is anything you think I should read!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

And now a post for Grandpa

In between all the giveaway talk and reflective musings I know my dad has got to be thinking "get to the kids already!" So this one is for grandpa (or "Poppa" as my daughter calls him).

The boy *this close* to crawling. He has been rolling like crazy for a few weeks now, seriously he can roll halfway across the room, but today he was sticking his bum in the air and pushing against the floor with his toes. It was a very funny downward acing dog, especially since his arms were both extended outwards reaching for a magazine. He really loved to chew on any paper products. I have to watch out where I leave the mail.

The boy also seems to have some kind of sleep transplant because he is sleeping like crazy (except Sunday night but I forgive him). He did three or close to three hour naps today and yesterday. For the last week there have usually been one, sometimes two, five hour stretches of sleep. Friday night he slept nine hours. NINE! NINE (9)! HOURS! I got six hours of sleep that night. SIX! In a row. I haven't had six hours of continuous sleep since before I was pregnant with him. It was like a ray of sunshine shined down on me and filled my heart with joy. I swear, if I had that much sleep all the time I would be such a nice person!

As for the girl, she is cute as ever. Sometimes I forget that she is only two and half because we can have conversations and talk about most things. In fact, talking about what we are doing and what is coming up seems to be really important to her. She had a few upset days at school last week when there were sudden changes to the routine, including a puppet show in the gym and a visit by the music teacher. While part of it could have been her fear of puppets (seriously), I think it was more the change in routine. We hadn't known about either of these two events or we would have talked to her about them and prepared her. Talking about the routine at school and her teachers really seemed to help her settle in when she started back in January. Now the teachers are going to let us know if any activities are coming up and we can get her prepared for them.

On the subject of teachers... I have already started thinking about what kind of gifts I can give them at the end of the school year. And I have no ideas. Any suggestions?

A little something, something

For those giveaway addicts like me that are reading, check out Bellaziza's Favorite Things. They are doing an awesome giveaway of $500 worth of green products to celebrate Earth Day. This included an entire Plan Toys Eco Town playset, an Eco Me Baby Kit, choice of a Set of Napkins from Litter Free Lunch, A Taj Pyramid Tiffin Lunch Box Set from Happy Tiffin and The Potent and Pure Collection from Kiss My Face. I think I would like to win all of that.

Figuring it out

I am still feeling my way with this blog. Learning what it is about and what I want it to be. I like that it is a mismatch of the kids and me and my addiction to giveaways. Because that is where I am and who I am right now.

I do wish I had started blogging sooner. It's not that I didn't know about it. I even have a good friend who is an avid blogger. But for some reason I didn't think it was for me. Maybe I was too scared to put part of myself out into the great unknown. Maybe I was worried that I don't write well enough for other people to want to read me. I don't know. I feel now that I have missed out.

I am loving discovering the mommy blogging community and wish I had joined after the girl was born. It would have been great to connect with others. Maybe if I hadn't met my friend M. while I was on maternity leave I would have found blogging instead. Lucky for me M. became my "mommy buddy" and daily phone calls with her got me through the rough nights and crazy days. Now that she is across the country blogging seems to be the next best thing.

I want to mention three of the mommy bloggers I have been following these last few weeks. I was checking up on them today and feeling their sadness. They are all struggling with the illness and loss of their children. While I don't know Heather, Shana or MckMama, I have been thinking of them everyday.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Division and judgement

One thing I have learnt since being a mom is that there is always someone around to tell you what you are doing is wrong and how you should do it instead. You would think that two women with babies/ kids could use that to bond and create a shared understanding of each other. But no. Well, not always. Instead, becoming a mom seems to lead to division and judgment. Do you breastfeed or bottle feed, co-sleep or let the baby "cry-it-out", use cloth diapers or disposables, let your kid eat sugar or follow an all organic, gluten free diet. Etc, etc.

I came across an interesting post at the blog Girl's Gone Child where Rebecca talks about the stigma towards young moms. I am sure that I have looked at young moms and thought, "Wow, what a choice you have made. What were you thinking?". I would never have been ready to be a mom any earlier than I did and so I project my own thoughts and feeling onto other moms. Let's be honest though, we all do it. It is human nature to judge others. The problem arises when we hold onto those judgements, instead of letting them go, and begin to attack each other.

What I really want to touch on is this whole debate I have seen emerge in the media about breastfeeding versus bottle feeding. Two articles I have come across, The Breastfeeding Conspiracy and The Case Against Breastfeeding, both cry out against the pressures put on women to confirm to society's demands and breastfeed. Here is the lead-in to The Case Against Breastfeeding:

In certain overachieving circles, breast-feeding is no longer a choice—it’s a no-exceptions requirement, the ultimate badge of responsible parenting. Yet the actual health benefits of breast-feeding are surprisingly thin, far thinner than most popular literature indicates. Is breast-feeding right for every family? Or is it this generation’s vacuum cleaner—an instrument of misery that mostly just keeps women down?

Really? I mean, come on? An instrument of misery? I could go on and on about the article but you should read it for yourself. What I don't understand is why these authors are trying to stir the pot. Do bottle feeding mothers really need to be defended and championed? Or, are they being divisive just for fun and readership? If they are, they should consider themselves successes because there are lots of comments to both articles that include charges of "breastfeeding Nazis" and "selfish mothers".

Of coarse I have my own opinions. I have/ am breastfeeding both kids. I think it is the best thing you can do for your child. It is also damn hard, but no one tells you that before you become a mom. I had only seen a few women breastfeeding before becoming a mother and never paid any attention to how they did it so I was learning as I went along. Did I want to give up everyday for the first six weeks? YES! Without the support of the husband and my midwife I probably would have. Having said that, I still don't understand women who choose not to breastfeed. I chose to do it even though it was hard and makes me angry at my husband sometime (see post below). For me the struggle with breastfeeding was the first realization that this is what being a parent would be about sometimes. Struggling. Learning as you go. Feeling like a failure but doing it anyways.

Do I judge moms who choose not to breastfeed? Yes. Do I let it divide us? I try not to. I don't yell at them in the library for feeding their baby a bottle like a woman yelled at me when I went to feed the boy. I let them go their way as I go mine.

I also judge the guy buying Pringles in front of me when everyone knows that Old Dutch is far superior. But I let him have his Pringles.

Monday

It really feels like a Monday. I woke up in a bad, bad mood. Why? Well, I suspect the boy is teething again because he was up four times last night and wanted to nurse/ chew all night. Now that I have been awake for a few hours I am in a better mood but I still have an edgy, kind of irritated feeling in my stomach. I think the only cure is three hours in bed with a new book and a large latte. Which might just happen because the husband kindly decided to stay home and help today. He seemed to think it was a good idea when I told him I was angry with him for not doing more last night. What I really wanted to say was that I was angry that he doesn't have boobs and can't feed the baby, but I didn't because that isn't his fault. See, I can be mature!

Yesterday we had a great day. It was beautiful out and we enjoyed a nice walk to a kids consignment clothing sale. I bought some cute things for the kids and four (4) pairs of shoes for the girl. The girl actually napped (I think the secret to her napping is that she has to be awake before 5:30 am) at the same time as the boy. The husband took the kids to the park while I made homemade pizza. It was yummy! And then I made dinner for tonight. I love not having to start making food at 5:30 and then rushing to eat it. Plus it meant the husband could play computer games since I wasn't busy hogging the computer.

Now I am off to pick up the girl from school.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

In case your are keeping track

I won another giveaway! I am excited to say I won a dress from Gumdrop Lane at Jamie's Precious Peas. I can't wait. The dress are all so cute and I know the girl will be the talk of the park.

Now, what I really want to win is an ERGO carrier at Feisty, Frugal and Fabulous. You can enter that giveaway here.

And in case you are keeping track of naps, the girl hasn't napped for the last two days. She isn't sick either so I can't use that excuse. Let's see what happens today.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Why did we leave the house?

It was one of those days. As I sat breastfeeding the boy this morning I wondered if we should still go ahead with our morning plans or cancel the whole thing. I even voiced my thoughts to the husband. We decided to forge ahead. Bad choice.

I think part of the problem was that I had an idea of how the morning would go. The boy would have his nap at the usual time (8 or 8:30) then we would head out to the consignment store when he woke up. By 9am he still wasn't asleep so we decided we had better head out anyway. That meant getting everyone dressed, diaper changes and a feeding for the boy. Well of coarse he feel asleep nursing. But we since we had decided to go anyway, we bundled the sleeping boy into the stroller next to his sister and headed out. It was actually a lovely walk along the canal, once I relaxed about having an unexpected start to the day. I can too easily fall into the "shoulds" of how a day should go.

The problems started once the girl was entering the consignment store and had her head smacked by her dad opening the door. There was much wailing, which turned into demands for snacks. You would think we would have learnt from the Triscuits incident, but no! We didn't have any snacks because we were rushing out of the house and are low on groceries. So, with the boy crying because he wants to eat again and the girl demanding snacks we quickly headed to the bagel shop and then to a near-by park. You didn't think we were going to subject restaurant patrons to us, did you?

At the park both kids ate and there was a moment of calm before the girl announced that she didn't have to pee or poo. "I don't have to pee or poo" she said. That is never a good sign. She is mostly potty trained and we have her in disposable training pants when we go out, thank goodness. Because she did a huge poo in the park. Thankfully the park was empty and it wasn't raining (it had been earlier) so the husband did an outdoor diaper change. There were some issues with the execution and poo ended up on her dress and other things. Once she was striped down to her leggings we quickly got her into the stroller and headed home.

I was just regaining my sense of calm when we reached home. The husband had stopped for some groceries so he was a few minutes behind me. He arrived just in time to hear me utter some profanity as I was unloading the kids from the stroller and going to open the door. The girl's water bottle, which had been pressed into service during the diaper change, had not been closed properly and had leaked in the diaper bag. Onto our new cell phone. Which no longer works.

The lesson I learnt today was not to leave the house if you even have the smallest thought that it might be a bad idea. And if the thought is screaming in your head lock the doors!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Am I being paranoid?

I love the park across the street from us. It is a great place for the girl to run and play and I get to meet up and visit with other parents. But today I had an experience that is leaving me feeling upset and angry. With myself.

Near the end of our time at the park I noticed a man arrive alone. He was in his late thirties or early forties. He had a shaved head, a Che shirt and was carrying a black backpack. I think I was first struck by him because he didn't have a child with him, he didn't meet up with any of the other kids and mothers like some dads do and he didn't head to the basketball court to play with the other men. Instead he headed straight for the wading pool where he proceeded to take a remote controlled car out of his backpack. He soon had the car whizzing around the pool. Of coarse the girl was interested.

The girl was already headed for the pool when she noticed the car. As I stood by the edge of the pool she went to check out the car. The man was racing the car back and forth around the pool. The girl chased it a bit, along with another boy who had joined her. She almost stepped on it at one point. The man steered the car around so the kids could follow it.

Something about the situation felt wrong, but I didn't totally trust myself. Was I being paranoid? As the car was driven closer to the man I called out to the girl and told her that we had to head home. I worry now that I shouldn't have said her name. That this man might remember it and use it later. As she came towards me I heard him asking the little boy that had followed the car "what's your name?"

After leaving the pool I stopped to talk to a friend. "Do you think it is creepy that a single guy is driving a remote controlled car in the pool of a kids park by himself?" "I didn't think of it as creepy" she said. "I thought it was just geeky. But maybe it is creepy". The girl was already headed to the slide but that little boy was in the pool talking to the man. Should I get his mom? She is a very hands off mom (she was on the other side of the park talking to some friends) and I was worried she would just think I was being silly. So I did nothing. I did see her go over a few minutes later and get her son. I don't know if she said anything to the man but he got up and left around that time.

Since I've been home from the park I have been thinking about this situation and feeling like I should have trusted myself. At the time I was worried I was being paranoid and overprotective. Now I do believe that the man was there for the wrong reasons. I feel sick that I let the girl chase his car and interact with him, if only minimally.

After talking it over with the husband we came up with some strategies for what I/ we will do the next time a situation like this comes up. I will go over to the man and say "Hi. I haven't seen you here before. What's your name?" I will also take his picture with my camera phone. If he doesn't like that he can leave. These are both hard for me because they feel like very in-your-face behaviours and that is not me. But I will try. I will do it.

The husband and I also had a conversation about how to talk to a two and half year old about strangers and not scare her. Any suggestions?

Am I being paranoid?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Laughter

I swear that the girl can make her brother laugh like no one else. When the girl woke up from her nap (yes, she is napping!) I took the boy in with me to get her. We all sat around on her bed and she started to make some silly sounds. Well, the boy laughed and laughed. She kept doing it and he kept laughing. Is it a sibling thing? A kid thing? All I know is that the husband and I have to work it and all the girl has to do is look at it him. I love it.

I did have some nice playtime with the boy today. He sat on my lap and we played peek-a-boo for ten minutes. I would hide my face behind a board book and he knew to pull it down in order to find me. As his grandpa would say "he is very advanced for his age".

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Oh how the smug have fallen

Remember how I said that I was feeling a bit smug about the girl being so polite over lunch with our guests. Not feeling so smug now.

Last night we had a friend and her daughter over for dinner. The friend kindly brought cupcakes for dessert. Yum, I say. So did the girl. Repeatedly. Throughout dinner.

"I want a cupcake"

"You can have a cupcake but you have to wait until everyone is finished eating. Mommy is still eating. Daddy is still eating."

Pause.

"I want a cupcake"

This went on and on until we finally said that if she didn't stop asking she would get a time out and couldn't have a cupcake. To be honest neither of us could face the melt down that would come with denying her a cupcake. How embarrassing would that be in front of our guests! She did end up with a time out and we tried to distract her until I quickly finished eating. Needless to say she ate her whole cupcake. So did I.

My kind of giveaway

Well, you all know about my giveaway addition. Usually I don't blog about all the many giveaways I enter, even though it would get me an extra entry, but this one is too cool. Northern Mama is doing a giveaway for the Syracuse Cultural Workers store. The store has some pretty neat things, like the alternative alphabet ("y is for yoga") and the "there is no mad tofu disease" t-shirt. And where else an you search by themes like farmworkers, bicycling and Bush-era closeouts?

I think I will be doing a one stop Christmas shop.

What would you buy?

Monday, April 13, 2009

A lazy Monday

The rest of the world may be back in the swing of things but we are still in vacation mode as the husband gets today off from work. A four day weekend has been much appreciated. We have gotten lots of work done around the house, including a preliminary clean of the basement. I don't even like to go down there it is so messy! And it isn't just an excuse not to change the cat litter.

Grandma went home today. She put in some hard labour during her visit so I hope she can have a rest when she gets home. Shortly after the boy was born she mentioned that she slept for ten hours after one of her visits. I believe it. And I wish I could too!

The boy is in a much better mood now that his tooth has come in. He still isn't sleeping great at night, but you know, he's a baby so what do I expect. The girl has been saying lots of funny things lately, most of which I have forgotten in my sleep-induced exhaustion. She did respond to a request yesterday with "oh, give me a break". She even managed to copy Grandma's exact tone and mannerism when saying it. I think Grandma will be watching what she says a little more carefully now.

I had a pat on the back moment with the girl a few days ago. You know, a maybe we aren't doing such a bad job kind of moment. We had friends over for an impromptu lunch. The little boy, about the girl's age, started coughing to clear his throat and then kept coughing just for fun until the girl said "Say excuse me". We all kind of looked at her in surprise. I was thinking "Wow, does this mean she actually is listening to me and the words are sinking in?". She followed up with "Cover your mouth" and I felt a little smug. I actually have a polite child. At least in front of other people. :-)

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Going on an egg hunt

In honour of Easter and Spring the husband and I decided to organize an egg hunt in the park across the street from us. With the help of grandma we filled over ninety (yes 90) plastic eggs with different stickers. I snuck out of the house at ten minutes to nine this morning with a big bag of eggs and had a great time hiding them on, under and around the play structures and swing sets.

Shortly after nine o'clock (yes it may seem early but we'd been up since 5am) seven kids between the ages of one and a half and three and a half took over the park in search of eggs. It was funny to watch how focused some kids were in hunting down the eggs while others were more interested in going down the slide to pick up the eggs. I wandered around with some extra eggs in my pockets, putting them out for the avid egg hunters when they weren't looking. By the end of the party the kids were happily playing or decorating egg coloring sheets with their stickers. It was lovely to see everyone having such a great time. I love that we have a park acorss the street from us. I like to think of it as our big front yard.

The girl definitely seemed to enjoy herself. She was so cute to see racing around with her little friends searching for eggs. When she and I went looking in the empty wading pool together she discovered the egg hidden in the water spout. What was I thinking putting it there? Both of our attempts to pull it out only resulted in it being pushed further back into spout. I think the lifeguards are in for a surprise this summer the first time they go to fill the pool! :-)

I won!

Yes, that's right I actually won something from one of the giveaways I have entered! Woo hoo!

I won an Earthlust water bottle from Northern Mama. I picked a 20 oz yellow bottle with a beautiful dragonfly on it. The bottle has a hook that I can use to attach it to my diaper bag. I am ready for the park. Bring on summer.

Friday, April 10, 2009

False alarm

Here's the news on the tooth watch - it was a false alarm. What we actually saw was a tooth with a very thin covering of gum. It wasn't until the husband felt around in the boy's mouth that we realized the tooth hadn't come through. Argh!! The result, of coarse, is a very unhappy boy today. He has hardly napped, chews on everything and continues to loudly express his displeasure. How many more teeth need to come in? Agh!!

On a rare day this week when the boy was napping and the girl was awake we spent some nice time together playing with her dollhouse and reading on the couch. It made me realize that while I spend lots of time with the girl, I spend hardly any with her alone. Her brother is always in my arms, next to us on the floor or bouncing in his exersaucer near-by. So today she and I had some very lovely one-on-one time. The girl and I headed out on a walk to the bakery to pick up some hot cross buns and then hung out at a coffee shopping drinking tea and milk and reading books. We ended up at the park after where we played. I am going to try to make this a regular Saturday thing. It is nice to have sometime where I can just focus on her.

Here's another little story about the girl. The husband brought home one of those big juice drinks for me after his walk (the boy was strapped to him for the walk and it was the only way to get him to nap). When the girl saw it she asked "what's that mommy". I wasn't thinking very fast so I answered that it was a milkshake that daddy brought for me. Her response was "It's a me and mommy milkshake to share". I laughed at her reasoning that it must also be for her and her readiness for me to share with her (because you know that she doesn't willingly share). When she heard me laughing she asked "what's I say mommy?" I loved that she knew she had said something humours but she didn't know what it was.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

New words

Both of the kids have learnt new words. Or kind of words in the case of the boy.

The boy is now saying "bub bub bub bub". He likes to say it loud and repetitively. It seems to mean a combination of "I want that"and "hey you, give it to me".

Really, that boy is lucky he is so cute. He was up more times then I can remember last night, having blocked most of the night from my memory. I woke up feeling pretty cranky with him and the world in general. I tried to be sympathetic, reminding myself that he is just a baby and probably teething or something. But the sympathy was a bit of an act for the husband and mother-in-law. It wasn't until my sister noticed his first top tooth peaking out through his gums that my heart of stone actually melted a bit. Poor guy, he has been randomly crying on and off all day. Hopefully the rest of the tooth will come in quickly.

The girl also has a new word as of yesterday. When I picked her up from school and asked her if she had a good day she said "mm-hm". For the rest of the day any affirmative answer was "mm-hm". No yes or yup. Just"mm-hm". Spelling the word doesn't really do it justice. It is this cute, quiet little sound that she makes in the back of her throat with a closed mouth. "Mm-hm". I love it.

I am going to try to upload a recording of the girl telling stories with her dad. They make up a story together before bed every night. The husband's favorite story from a few nights ago involves hungry children following jaguars to jaguar New York City and then being discovered and eaten by other jaguars. Hmm, maybe you have to be there to fully appreciate the story.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

It takes a village

Reinforcements have arrived. Grandma is in town.

I have the best kind of mother-in-law in the word. She arrives in town with a cooler full of food and proceed to wash laundry, run the dishwasher, cook dinner, vacuum the floor, play with the kids and organize our lives. With being sick last week it feels like everything is a bit out of control so her stabilizing presence is much appreciated. It is always appreciated!

I feel like we definitely need more help with two kids than we did with one. With just the girl we seemed to have a handle on things most days. We could trade off childcare and sneak in breaks as needed. The pregnancy definitely made it more difficult with most of the childcare and housework falling to the husband as I succumbed to nausea, vomiting and exhaustion, but we struggled along. With the arrival of the boy I have realized that the key to parenting is taking whatever help is offered to you! Not only can I now accept it, but I am better at asking for it.

When the girl was born we were living far away from all our family. Grandma is a five hour drive away, and while she often made the trip, she wasn't around to call for any last minute help. Since then my sister and her husband have moved here and now we are spoilt by all the help they give us. My sister takes the girl two mornings a week and gives me a much appreciated break. Those visits really got me through the first few months after the boy was born. Unfortunately, they will be moving away by the fall for school and I will miss them so much.

I feel very thankful for this village we have, both family and friends. Sometimes it can be hard to keep in touch with friends because of our and their busy lives, including their own growing families, but it is nice to know they are still around.

Frustration!

No, not with the kids. I am frustrated that I have yet to win anything on the many mommy giveaways I have entered (see earlier post). I mean, come on. I am as patient as the next giveaway addicted mom but can I win something already. I think I will have to take drastic measures. So, watch out for blog buttons to appear on the site which will allow me one more entry in the various giveaways.

Yes, I am slightly competitive. I suggest you don't play Monopoly with me. I will try to cheat.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Cheap therapy

This blog is proving to be very useful. When I am feeling stressed or freaked out (like the Triscuts incident) I start thinking about how I am going to describe this in my blog. And usually I can start seeing the funny side of the situation.

Today I felt like things had finally returned to normal. Neither of the kids seem sick anymore, which means a decrease in crying from them both and edginess from the girl. Naps seemed to have miraculously returned for the girl. Yay! I think I will have to put the disappearance of the naps down to her being sick. At lunch she was asking to be excused so she could have a nap and she woke up in such a great mood. When I went into her room she said "I give you tickles and kisses". There is no better way to wake up I say!

The boy also had two naps that lasted longer than an hour each which is practically unheard of. The result was that I was more relaxed because I actually got a little quiet time to myself.

One of the words of wisdom passed on from our midwife is that sleep is key. I feel like we still aren't getting a lot of it with the boy up two or three times a night, but when the kids have some good naps, like today, the word seems like a brighter place!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Dollhouses and teeth

The girl has her first doll house and she loves it. It was a gift from my cousins a few weeks ago. The dollhouse is really a paper book that opens up and can be tied together to form eight separate rooms over two levels. There is a family of little papers dolls as well, a mom, dad and two girls. Some of the things I heard her saying as she played with it today: "you have to wait for me at the top of the stairs and then we can go down" and "okay, try to sit on the potty". Hmm, I wonder where she gets that from.

But as much as she loves the doll house I think it won't last much longer. As I mentioned it is paper, and therefore not able to support her bum when she sits on it. The floor of the bathroom is now in the dining room. Some duct tape is needed.

So I have started looking for a doll house for her birthday in August. A nice wooden one I think. Something that will be able to support her weight.

As for the boy, he is definitely working on some new teeth. His bottom two are in and the top two are visible under his gums. For the last few days he has not been enjoying eating and moans constantly. And not happy moans. I am wondering if it is his teeth hurting.

Both these kids seem to have trouble with their teeth. In other words, they, and us by extension, feel every single tooth that comes in. I have heard people say that they didn't even know their child was teething until a tooth appeared. Not me. I am blaming all the random screaming and crying on the anticipated arrival of a tooth. I am also keeping the drugs close by. For both of us.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

"What's I do Mommy?"

That is what my daughter utters about 12 times a day. Sometimes it is because she is doing something silly or something new or something she knows she shouldn't. The girl likes to check back to see if we saw what she did and how we are reacting to it . She wants to have it described back to her. I think that is her way of processing it. Figuring out it she should do it again.

Today there was a fair number of "what's I do Mommy". Some sweet, like climbing all over me and giving me kisses, some irritating, like stopping the stroller with her feet repeatedly.

Despite the colds still hanging on we decided to go to the mall this morning. We needed to get out of the house, it was raining and the girl needed new shoes so off we went. We took our new stroller which lets the boy sit in the front facing out and the girl sit or stand in the back facing us. She held up well for most of the walk to the mall but as the destination neared her feet started to repeatedly drop to the wheels, thus stopping the stroller. By this time the boy had fallen asleep and I was worried she was going to wake him up. "What's I do Mommy?". After calmly explaining for the third time she was stopping the stroller and could she please stop, I took her out and left her with the husband while I walked away. I was trying to do some deep breathing but boy was I upset.

Is this all part of the "terrible twos"? The questioning? Ignoring me? Looking me in the eye while she does exactly what I asked her not to do? Am I going to have to go through this with the boy too?

There was less disobedience on the walk home, largely due to the fact that she maintained a constant wail of "I want Triscuits". We had some in the bag but they had spilled out during the morning. If I had a video camera I would have filmed it and send it to the company with a suggestion that they use it in their next add campaign with the tag line "Triscuits. In demand".

As for the boy, he cried the whole walk home too. He was tired and hungry (but didn't want to nurse at the mall despite my efforts because there was too much to look at). The best part of the walk home was the brief conversation we had with another family as we passed by them.

"How's it going" asked the mom as both kids screamed.

"We are almost home" I said.

"Yeah" replied the mom as she nodded.

Footnote: I feel the need to add something more positive about the day so I don't just spend my time here bitching (because I could).

The boy is very cute right now. He is reaching out lots for whoever isn't holding him and snuggling into our necks for cuddles. When you put him down on the floor he extends both of his arms and goes up on his knees. I think he is close to crawling.

The girl is an amazing big sister. She loves her brother to pieces and showers him with hugs and kisses. Sometimes she says "here comes the big sister" as she walks down the stairs or hallway. She has taken to reading him stories. She is all love.

Friday, April 3, 2009

You decide

I was trying to decide on the title of this post and had narrowed it down to two when I decided that anyone reading this should have the pleasure of picking. As a summary of the day do you prefer 1) "Fine, pee in your underwear then" or 2) "Don't take six Valiums".

1) was uttered by the husband with a high level of frustration when trying to get the girl to sit on the potty. In his defence it had been a long time since she had peed. She is pretty much potty trained but a few accidents do still occur so we often ask her to give it a try. I could hear the husband muttering a bit from the next room as he stalked off.

2) was said to me by my sweet little girl after my attempts to get her dressed for a walk ended with me contemplating out loud my need for six Valiums if I was going to make it through the day. I mean, come on, how hard is it to put on a coat and boots. She does it every day my little angel! (add a bit of sarcasm to the last line)

We were all still home sick today but I see some improvement. I am hoping, hoping, hoping with my fingers crossed that we will be magically well enough tomorrow to attend a three year old's birthday party.

Musical beds

What does it say about the night when you have a enough to post about in the morning? It was a long night. The girl couldn't settle and kept coughing and wanting water so the husband ended up in bed with her. And the boy was coughing and coughing so he very quickly ended up in bed with me. He woke up the usual amount to nurse during the night but he also woke up a dozen more times coughing. He sounds like he has been smoking a pack a day.

After eating some baby cereal the boy proceeded to throw it all up. He is napping now, or that is what I think he is doing between coughs.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

A whole new world

I have discovered the world of mom review/ giveaway blogs and I am addicted.

It is like garage saleing (is that a real word?) in your own home. I can visit other moms' blogs, nose around, look for things that interest me and enter the giveaway if the product interests me. Unfortunately I didn't win the Ergo carrier, but still, I am having some fun me time at the end of the day. The only down side is there is no seller to haggle with like at a garage sale ("what do you mean you want $5 bucks for this? I'll give you two") and it deprives the husband of his computer games. I haven't won anything yet but I live in hope!

You can check out the blogs I follow in my profile. But don't enter any giveaways. I don't need more competition. :-)

Play nice

Sometimes I don't want to play nice. I want to be grumpy and snappy and whine. I want to do what I want to do when I want to do it. I don't want to be responsible and mature. I want to be a toddler!

The kids are both still sick (the girl threw up again this morning) and the husband and I are feeling it too. Maybe it is just being sick and stuck in the house, and I know it could be worse (yada, yada, yada), but I am feeling weary and out of patience. I want to be selfish and go lie in bed for three hours and read a book. And while my husband is amazing and would try to make that happen as much as possible if I said I needed it, I feel guilty enough taking some time on the computer.

So, time to go deep. I know there must be a reserve of patience in me somewhere. Just enough to get me until bedtime. And if I can't play nice, maybe I can atleast play pretend.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Getting through the day

Some days are like that. The husband stayed home which is great because I don't think I could handle the two sick kids on my own (I'm feeling a bit lightheaded myself). The girl's fever seems to have broken but I think the boy is getting sicker.

Today the boy is 7 months old. On one hand it is hard to believe he is that old and on the other it seems like he has been around forever. Was is ever just the 3 of us? Was it ever just the 2 of us?Hard to believe.

The other day someone told me that they can see the boy he will become in his face. I see it too. His features are a neat mix of his dad and his sister. I must be in there too but it is hard for me to see it. I am so excited to watch as he becomes his own person.