You can now find Capital Mom at www.capitalmom.ca

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Correlation

A friend commented on the correlation between my life and this blog today. When I saw her at the park and she asked how I was I could tell she already knew the answer. She said that she has seen a correlation between when I write and what I am feeling. It is true. When I am doing good and only dealing with the usual craziness that comes with living with a baby and almost three year old I blog. When I don't it is because I am so cranky and miserable that I don't want to inflict myself on anyone. Besides the husband. He doesn't have a choice.

If you haven't heard from me in awhile you can assume that: one or both kids are not sleeping well at night, one or both kids are refusing to nap, someone in the house is sick, I have not showered in three days or brushed my teeth until lunchtime, the girl is "testing the limits", lots of crying is going on and I am probably eating a Kit Kat. My new comfort food of choice. But that is blog fodder for another day.

Monday, June 29, 2009

I'm reading at Blog Out Loud

Lynn from TurtleHead has come up with a great idea. Instead of just reading your favorite blogs, why not come out and hear your favorite Ottawa bloggers read their favorite posts. While I am still new to blogging I jumped at the chance to read. This way I can see if people actually laugh at the same spots of my post that I do. Or laugh at all.

Blog Out Loud will be held Thursday, July 23, from 7-10 p.m., at the Raw Sugar Cafe on Somerset. Right near my sister's apartment. I guess she has no excuse not to come. Do you?

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Two posts

This was the post I had been thinking about all day

Title: If he is old, what does that make me?

After a lovely birthday party this morning, where the girl consumed large amounts of juice, candy and cake, the four of us walked to the nearby farmer's market to pick up vegetables for the week. As we chatted about the party, the husband misheard one of my many witty remarks.

"What was that dear?" he asked.

I laughed. "You sound so old saying that" I said. "You sound like", I paused, looking for a suitable comparison, "you sound like you are forty!".

Silence.

"Oh", I said laughing. "You almost are. I was trying to think of what would be old and I thought of forty. I guess you sound like you are eighty!"

Remember when forty was old? I must have entered a brief time warp where I was nineteen again and forty was old. I may be younger than the husband but not that much younger. So if he is old, what does that make me?

And then this happened

Title: I smell like vomit

I was sitting nursing the boy to sleep tonight and writing the above post in my head when he unlatched and rolled away from me. Thinking he wanted to be walked, I put him against my chest, his head resting against my left shoulder, and turned towards the well worn path I often walk in his room. Before I could move the boy projectile vomited. Luckily my body blocked most of the vomit from the rest of the room.

Stunned, I just stood there. I didn't want to put him down because there was some vomit on the floor and I didn't want to put him in the crib because then I would have to change the sheets. I wanted the vomit off me though. I grabbed a burp cloth and used it to open the door (yup, vomit on my hands) and called downstairs to the husband.

I put the boy in the bathtub while the husband wiped off the floor in his room. Needless to say he cried about being put in the bathtub and tried to cling to me, despite the vomit. The husband helped me wipe down the boy and then took him while I wiped myself down. Yuck!

The boy is not a kid who throws up much so I am a little worried. Was it his dinner? Is he sick? Did he eat some back sand at the park? Who knows. I'm sure it will be a long night.

On the bright side it looks like I am definitely getting a shower tomorrow.

So I decided to post both

Friday, June 26, 2009

Naps day two

Thank you all so much for your comments on my last post! It was good to know how some of you deal with it.

The boy is sleeping now. The girl and I had a long talk in preparation. She parroted back that the boy's nap is important, she won't yell and will be patient and wait for me in her room. She is either very good at lying already or believes in her own version of selective truth.

I was nursing the boy in his room when I heard the click of the girl's door. I heard her thump towards the boy's door and start yelling "Mama, come out! I need you". I heard her pound on the door. I heard more yelling. But thanks to my new strategy of ignoring her she eventually gave up and wandered away. I decided to try non-engagement because responding back obviously isn't working.

I managed to get the boy to sleep in his crib before she came back for round two. I opened his door just as she was heading to it. Interestingly she was wearing her bathing suit. Backwards. If that is what it takes to keep her quiet I may just dump her entire closet into the middle of her bedroom floor.

The first thing she said to me? "I was patient mommy!". Umm, sure. "Yes, I said but next time can you please not pound on the door and yell".

Small steps, right?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Numbers

Number of times that I tried to get the boy down for his morning and afternoon naps: five

Number of times the girl woke her brother up this morning just as I had gotten him to sleep by leaving her room where she was supposed to be reading quietly, standing outside of the boy's room pounding on it and screaming "Mama, I want you to come out!": two

Number of time I told the girl I was frustrated with her: six

Number of times I was unsuccessful at getting the boy to sleep throughout the day, even when his sister wasn't yelling like a possessed demon: three

Number of naps the boy had today: one

Number of naps the boy had in his stroller after I decided if I didn't get the kids out of the house I was going to completely lose it: one

Number of dollars I spent at Starbucks on a tall iced latte, a piece of banana loaf and some fruit: nine

Number of Dora episodes I finally let the girl watch in an effort to get the boy to nap: four

Number of times I stopped myself from screaming hysterically at one or both of my children: eighty-six

Number of things I need advice about: one. Today anyway.

What do you with your older child while you put your younger child to sleep? The girl is not having regular naps anymore and obviously the whole getting her to sit quietly in her room thing is not working. Ideas? Please.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The first last day of school

Today was the girl's last day of school for the summer. Technically school ends tomorrow, but as she goes just three days a week to preschool today was the day. While I am nervous because I am completely unprepared for her to be home with me full time (quick I need ideas for activities!), I am also sad because it is one more big kid milestone she has reached.

The girl started at her preschool in January as soon as she was two and a half and old enough to attend. It was a rough transition. She had never been away from either of us before. I was home with her for her first year, the husband took a year of leave from work to stay home with her for her second year and then I was on maternity leave again. It took about two months before she felt truly comfortable at school, two months before I could pick her up without her running to me crying, two months before she could go the morning without crying for her mom.

One of the reasons I love her school so much is her teachers. They were amazingly kind and gentle with her during this transition. They would talk to her, comfort her and hug her. She bonded with one teacher in particular. When we would talk about her going to school, how she would be okay and mommy would pick her up when it was over, she would always say "If I cry I can ask J. for a hug". And she would.

The teachers also talked the husband and I through it. If they hadn't been so sure, so positive that she would move past her difficulty with school I think we would have pulled her out. But she did and now she loves it. She will go back in the Fall.

We wanted to do something for the teachers to say thank you. To show them how much they have meant to the girl and to us. To thank them for all the things they have taught her, like how to count three on her fingers and what the planet Earth looks like. I thought long and hard about what gift to give a teacher. I was afraid they have probably been given everything. A site I found on the Internet said not to give anything with apples because teachers always get gifts with apples. In the end we settled on the husband's homemade lemonade (yum!) and some silk screened tote bags I bought off of Etsy. Both are perfect for the summer.

While the teachers have taught the girl a lot, so have the other students. For good and bad. Today the girl was quite happy to use the new word she learnt at school as often as she could. "That's gross" she said. "GROSS". She has also begun to instruct younger, smaller kids at the park that the area under the play structure is just for "big girls and not for little kids. So you can't play here because it is just for big girls".

I figure that the husband and I still have a few more years where we can exert our influence over her. She may be learning lots from the teachers and kids at school but she still learns lots from us.

"Mom, put out your hands" she told me this afternoon at the park. "This is cat barf" she said pouring sand into my right hand. "And this is worms" she continues gleefully as she poured sand into my left hand.

Yes, we still exert some influence on her. At least my husband does.

The evolution of a blog

This is my one hundred post. Hard to believe. In fact, I would even go as far as to say that it is surprising.

I came to blogging in a very round about way. While reading a magazine one day I found a link to Ecobunga. Eager to find money saving ideas I checked out the green giveaways and deals the website offered. While perusing it I found a link to an Ergo carrier giveaway on {Natural} Mommie. Well, since I have been coveting an Ergo for the last two and a half years off I went to enter the giveaway. Thus began my giveaway addiction. And the blog? Just another way to earn more entries by posting buttons (see those colourful things down the left side of the blog) and following giveaway sites through Blogger.

Somehow, somewhere along the way the blog became more important to me. More important than the actual giveaways I was entering. In fact, I have become horribly behind on entering giveaways due to all the blogging I do here and reading all the wonderful blogs I have discovered.

This blog has become my little space amidst a house full of kids toys, clothes and mess. I enjoy sitting on the couch in the sunroom off the kitchen at the end of the day and writing. More than any other reason I write this blog for me. Expressing my frustrations, my tiredness and my doubts helps me to move through them. Sometimes when I am in a particularity tricky negotiation with the girl over sitting on the potty or not pushing her brother I think about how I would describe the situation here on the blog and I am able to find some humour in the craziness that is my life.

The blog also allows me to record moments of joy and wonder with the girl and the boy. Those moments I write about for me, so I can remember them once the chaos begins again, and for the kids. I love that the kids will be able to read what I have written here when they are older and know how much fun and love we share. Without the blog I would surely forget most of the small moments of our daily life that I have been able to capture here. I have already forgotten so much of the first few years with the girl.

Finally, I write here because I like to think of you reading what I write and sharing it with me. I think of my dad and step-mom who, if they are to be believed, check the blog every morning and before bed every night so they can talk about the kids over coffee or while brushing their teeth. I like that this blog can give them a glimpse into out daily life.

For those of you that I don't know "in-real life" I so appreciate that you come and visit me. Your comments and feedback is always welcomed. I don't usually respond back in the comments, but I eagerly read each one. If you are reading this now, say "hi". Tell me what you are doing today. Ever if you don't have a blog. Just say "hi". I promise to say "hi" back.

How this blog will evolve next I don't know. I look forward to finding out.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Wearyness

I feel weary. Not tired or even exhausted but weary. This feeling has been creeping up on me since last Friday but I managed to hold it off with short periods of rest over the weekend. This morning I barely had the energy to crawl back into bed.

I am used to physical exhaustion. What parent with young kids isn't? It is the mental exhaustion that is hard. Whether this is the result of accumulated sleep deprivation or hormonal changes as the boy nurses less I don't know. But I am feeling all the symptoms of a bad period: weepy, sadness, cranky and self-doubting. There is nothing like low energy to make me doubt every single choice I've ever made as a mother.

The husband took the day off and took charge of the kids. Despite his own tiredness he let me lie in bed all day.

I am sure that I will have the pleasure of one day returning the favour.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Five things I loved this weekend

1. The washing machine. It was finally fixed late Friday after being broken for two weeks. Two weeks is a long time when you usually use cloth diapers, have a baby who wants to feed himself and thus smear food on any area not covered by a bib and a toddler who is almost potty trained. The result is that everything in our house needs to be washed. I am very much looking forward to wearing a shirt without mashed banana on it.

2. Folk dancing. The local market we frequent on Saturday mornings held their annual celebration this past week so we were able to enjoy crafts, music and kids activities in addition to purchasing our goods. My favorite part was watching the young Highland dancers. My sister and I took folk dancing as children (Polish folk dancing, in fact) so I have a love of traditional cultural dances. It was lovely to watch the girl watching the dancers and even trying to emulate some of their moves. It was quite sweet as she and a friend twirled with their arms raised over their heads.

3. Library books. I finally got organized enough to reserve some books from the library and picked up a large stack of holds on Friday. I have been happily working my way through them at night and during the wondrously long nap both kids took this afternoon.

4. Naps. Enough said.

5. The husband. Even though I forgot to wish him a happy father's day until noon (in my defense I was pretty out of it this morning after a long night with the boy and then went to brunch with an old friend who is moving away this week) I do tell him everyday that he is a great dad. And he is. The kids are very lucky and so am I. When I finally got organized the girl wrote him, i.e. scribbled him, a lovely father's day card. It said "I love you and mommy and my brother".

Friday, June 19, 2009

Fit-in 15

Andrea at a peak inside the fishbowl has set her readers a challenge, along with the Canadian Chiropractic Association, to get 15 minutes of exercise a day for seven days. She is offering a prize to Canadian participants so of coarse I am in.

I thought I would get my 15 minutes yesterday at the park. We were running around in the field and the girl and I were pretending to kick a soccer ball at each other. All was well until she accidentally kicked her brother in the face. I am pretty sure it was an accident. She was pretending he had the soccer ball and I think she just missed it. And kicked his chin instead.

In the afternoon we walked to the library. The walk there and back was over half an hour so I am happy to say I met the challenge for yesterday. I was not so happy with the library. A woman asked me, as I stood equal distance between the two kids watching them, "Is he okay with all those books?". Implying of coarse that he wasn't okay with all the books. Sometimes I am too polite because I just answered yes instead of saying "lady, of coarse he is okay with the books. It is the children's section of the library. There are books everywhere. The books are for the kids. "

I have already gotten my 15 minutes of exercise today. I dropped the girl off at pre-school and will get another 20 minutes when I go back to pick her up. I like this challenge.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Snacks

All too often in our house mealtime involves the girl declaring "I don't like that" before her plate of food even hits the table. "You haven't tried it" I say. "I don't like it" she says. "You have to try three bites" I say. "No, just one" she says. The negotiations begin.

The girl will probably eat for a bit, may even utter a "yum", before saying she is finished. Off she will go to play until she wanders back to the kitchen table. "I want a snack" she says.

Ah, snacks. The bane of my existence. It is a continual effort to think of snacks, prepare the snacks and remember the snacks. For the longest time I couldn't figure out why she would spurn my meals but loves snacks. Then I realized. Snacks are fun. Meals are boring. Snacks are goldfish, crackers with cream cheese, granola bars and rice cakes. Meals are vegetables and protein. Carbs are much more fun.

I do try to give her healthy snacks. Apple slices, bananas, red pepper slices, tofu. Sometimes she'll eat them. Sometimes she'll look at me, look at it and ask for a different snack. I made homemade granola bars one day. She ate one piece fresh from the oven and I ate the rest.

My goal is to put together a list of healthy snacks that the girl likes and will eat. Not just eat once, but on a continual basis. Any and all suggestions are welcome.

If only the girl would eat like her brother. Today he ate oatmeal and steamed kale for his snack. I dread the day he learns to say "snack".

This post was written for the June Write-Away contest at Scribbit. Thanks to Loulou's Views for making me aware of the contest. I like contests as much as I like giveaways.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Our anniversary

Today is our ninth wedding anniversary. We've been together for thirteen and a half years. Happy anniversary to us.

A lot has changed in the past nine years. We have finished University, moved cities, moved within the city, traveled, bought a house and had two kids. We've changed, but not so much that we don't still like each other.

That would be my advice to any couple planning to have kids - make sure you like each other. Yeah, love is important but also important is that you like each other. Really like each other. Have respect for how the other persons lives their life and the choices they make. Be alike in your core values and ideals. Prefer each other to anyone else. Like who they are.

Because once you have kids your relationship will be tested. Speaking from experience, you probably won't like your husband so much at 3 am when you are up with a newborn and he is asleep in the guest room. You won't like him when you are learning how to breastfeed and he is trying to be supportive but all you are thinking is "I hate you. Why doesn't milk come out of your breast". You won't like him when you are tired and irritable and want to yell at the kids but yell at him instead. There will probably be a million other times that you won't like him.

When those moments pass it helps if you can look at him and remember that he is your best friend. That you wouldn't want to do any of this without him. That you couldn't do any of this without him. Look at him and remember how much you like him. Just him. Not what he does, just who he is. Liking each other, liking everything about the other person, liking them enough to see past any momentary unlikeableness will help you get through being a parent.

That is what I have learnt in this past few years. That liking my husband is key to our success as a couple. That and some advice I received from my dad. When I called my dad late one night because the baby girl I was holding in my arms wouldn't go to sleep, and the husband was already asleep, he told me to "be nice to each other". Sounds simple but it can be hard to do when you are too tired to even be nice to yourself.

I didn't get the husband an anniversary gift today. Here is my gift instead. I promise to like you and I promise to be nice to you.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Looking on the bright side

I knew something good had to come of the husband getting needles in his eyes. At least for me.

The husband has macular degeneration. It was diagnosed four years ago in his right eye but is now present in both eyes. He has been receiving treatment of various drugs since the beginning. The treatments always involve an injection in the eye. It was a shock for him the first time the needle went for his eyeball, the doctor having neglected to tell him where the needle would be going, but now he copes with it very well. He remains incredibly upbeat about the potential loss of his eyesight. He can even joke that being blind will actually make him a more desirable employee to his employer (the federal government) since he will then fall into an employment equity category.

The husband had a doctor's appointment this afternoon and ended up coming home early instead of going back to work because of some soreness in his eye after the injection. That was a great surprise for me! It meant that we were all able to head to the park together.

After playing in the sand, pushing the kids on the swings and generally running around, the husband, the boy and I were all sitting at the kids picnic table watching the girl under the play structure about fifteen feet away. Suddenly I noticed that she was sitting very still. Then I noticed that she was squatting very still. Oh oh.

I looked at her. She looked at me. "I don't need to go home" she said. "She's pooed" I said turning to my husband.

Luckily I was holding the boy so the husband went over to investigate.

"Do you need to go home? Do you need to use the toilet?" the husband asked.

"No", said the girl.

Smelling something suspicious the husband sniffed. "I think I smell something" said the husband.

"You don't smell anything" said the girl waving her hand as if to dispel the very possibility that she could have pooed in her underwear.

"I"m going to have to check".

"No!" The husband went as if to check her underwear, but she stopped him with "No, I'll check". The girl gently patted her bum. "It's okay".

With a sigh the husband told her "I'm going to have to check".

I watched the husband and the girl do a slow duck walk (waddle, waddle) out of the park while I sat at the picnic table with the boy. If not for the injection in his eye today, I thought happily, I would be having to deal with this all on my own.

And now, back to our regularly scheduled potty training.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Skyping

We skyped with the kids for the first time today. My dad and mother-in-law had been hassling, I mean encouraging, us to download the software for months but you know, there is always some reason to put off anything when you have kids. Finally we got around to it on Friday and chatted with them after the kids went to bed. It felt all very futuristic, like I really should be checking in with George Jetsons.

The girl was equally amazed by the whole thing. For the first half of the conversation today she sat quietly staring at the screen. She seemed to be concentrating very hard, which somehow resulted in her sticking her finger up her nose. That must be her new thinking pose. Once the novelty seemed to wear off she got very excited. She was talking to Poppa B. and M! She began demanding stories about their cat Prince, jumping up and down and dancing. It was a full performance. The only thing that was missing was a song.

The boy took it much more in stride. He was drawn to the computer, but I think he was more interested in banging on the key board then interacting with the faces on the screen.

The best part of it all was being able to show off the kids. It is nice to talk on the phone but for the full cuteness effect you really need to be able to see them. Describing the boy lunging at the girl's pigtails isn't the same as actually witnessing it.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Day nine

Today is day nine with a broken washing machine.

The repair man came to look at it (finally!) on Thursday. I already feel like we are close friends. He fixed our dishwasher when the boy was five weeks old and we talked about his three week old baby. He came to fix the washing machine when the boy was six months old, replacing both computer boards and taking a hefty cheque with him. And now he has come again because the piece that locks the washing machine door is broken and somehow managed to blow one of the fuses on one of the computer boards that had already been replaced. Since a new board is needed, and has to be shipped in from out of town, I will see him again on Tuesday, I hope. Or Wednesday. Or Thursday.

Life without a washing machine is interesting. Luckily I had washed the kids clothes not too long ago and we had washed the diapers before we realized how broken the machine was. The diapers came out clean but soggy since the broken lock prevented the spin cycle from engaging. A few days on the clothes line and they finally dried.

The hardest part was not having clean bibs, napkins or dishtowels. It has meant that the kids clothes get messier than they should. But I don't care. I just throw their dirty clothes on the ever growing pile. And thanks to the kindness of a friend, who took away a pile of bibs, napkins and dishtowels on Thursday and returned them clean on Friday, we now have a way to prevent and clean up the mess the girl and boy create.

As for myself I have been digging through that pile of laundry to find something to wear that is less dirty than I thought when I first threw it in the pile.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Rituals

Today I got to participate in two very special rituals. My sister graduated from Carleton University with her Masters of Arts and the girl had her third "school birthday". While I am very proud of my sister, my heart was just bursting with pride as I watched the girl sit among her friends during circle time wearing her yellow birthday crown. She looked so old, so tall, so autonomous from me. I wondered where my baby had gone.

The plan had been for all of us (the husband, the boy and I) to attend the little birthday celebration at school. The husband took the day off from work because he too was excited about the birthday milestone. Her first school birthday! But this was the one morning when the boy slept in, thus pushing back his morning and afternoon naps. Instead, the husband stayed home while the boy napped and I went off to school the support the girl. Don't feel sorry for the husband though. I took some photos and video and he used the opportunity to rest up for the afternoon alone with the kids while I went to my sister's convocation.

I loved the chance to watch the girl at school and share this ritual with her. I hadn't been inside her classroom since those first few weeks in January when she started at the pre-school. It was wonderful to see how comfortable she was in her classroom, how much she enjoys the other kids and teachers. All the kids sat around her in a circle while they sang happy birthday to her and a teacher took pictures of her in her crown, her cupcake with a number 3 candle (unlit of course) in front of her. The girl was glowing in the attention.

Since it was her day, the girl was allowed to wash her hands for snack first and pick her seat at one of the small tables scattered about the room. A little friend of hers, a boy close in age she often talks about, came and grabbed the chair beside her. He picked it up and moved it so it was only inches away from her. They sat happily and chatted while waiting and then eating their cupcakes.

I learnt something new about the girl watching her eat her snack. She may love cupcakes but she loves juice even more. She abandoned the half eaten cupcake and ignored the banana once her glass of apple juice was placed in front of her. She drank the entire glass of juice in a few gulps. Only after that did she return to the cupcake, happily licking any stray icing off her fingers.

After school ended she and I continued the celebration by stopping at the pizza place we always pass on the way home. It is the local hang out for the nearby high school, but today it was empty when we went in. With three slices of veggie pizza in hand we headed to a park to eat our goodies on the grass. The husband and boy joined us for our little picnic. It was one of those moments that make everything else, yes, even the not sleeping, worth it.

Before long we headed home and I got ready for the graduation ceremony. It was strange to be leaving the kids and it was strange to be gone for as long as I was, but I did enjoy putting on a skirt, some pearls and shoes with a touch of a heel. Walking to the bus I had a weird deja-vu of life before the girl was born. When I used to go out just me, no baby strapped to me, no stroller to push.

To be honest I found the convocation itself long and a bit dull. I am not used to sitting still for over two hours. My hands were hurting from clapping for everyone who walked across the stage. Even though I didn't know them I felt compelled to clap for them. They had all accomplished something to be proud of and I wanted to clap for them in case there wasn't anyone there rooting just for them.

I was very proud of my sister when she walked across the stage. She has worked hard for her degree and I know she will work just as hard for her next. Her next convocation will be pretty exciting and I hope we will all be able to make it to Montreal to see it. And I hope she won't insist that I her Doctor all the time. She may be on her way to becoming a Dr. but she is still my little sister.

And the girl is still my baby.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Cupcakes

There are some cupcake lovers in this house. Everyone loooooves cupcakes. I'm sure even the boy would if he was allowed to eat them. While the girl and I are probably in close running for the number one cupcake lover, I think she inches me out slightly. If only because her joy at seeing a cupcake is so infectious (I have a more quiet, subtle joy).

Tomorrow is the girl's school birthday. Since her actual birthday is in August and school is out she has been assigned tomorrow for her celebration. What does this all mean? Cupcakes! The snack of choice for school birthdays seems to be cupcakes so we happily followed the tradition. I think the girl would actually be concerned if I tried to send her with a plain old cake. How boring!

Luckily I am prepared for any cupcake situation. After the first time the girl and I made cupcakes together, also the first time we ever baked or cooked together, for her second birthday last year I purchased Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. While we aren't vegan I had heard good things about the book and liked the recipes I found inside. For tomorrow I chose the carrot cupcakes because the carrots make they seem pseudo-healthy and thus suitable for pre-school.

Last night I grated two cups of carrots (for a double batch) in anticipation of making them this afternoon with the girl. All when so smoothly. We made them together while the boy sat in his highchair eating a piece of rice cake. The girl happily added all the ingredients to the bowl, even letting me stir them, and slowly filled the cupcake wrappers with tablespoon after tablespoon of batter.

The cupcakes taste great. Okay, a little over cooked but it just adds a nice crunchy texture to the treats. Unfortunately they don't look like cupcakes. Instead of looking like puffed up little hills, they look like a groundhog has been digging holes in them. They are actually concave. It is possible, even highly probable, that some ingredients didn't make it into the bowl (did I mention that the girl was in charge of that) and so they are missing something that stopped them from rising properly.

I have to admit, I thought twice about taking them tomorrow. I contemplated whipping up another batch tonight. Making some that would look more appealing, more cupcakey. But these are her cupcakes. She made them for her friends. As she dropped the batter into each wrapper she called out the name of the child that that specific cupcake would be for.

So we will take them and the kids will like them. With enough cream cheese icing no one will even know they look funny. And they will be yummy.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Conversations with the girl #4

Scene: The park on a Wednesday afternoon. The boy and girl are in swings beside each other.

The girl: Mom, push me high mom.

Me: I am pushing you high. I push her hard.

The girl: No, push me super high. Super high!

Me: I am pushing you super high. I push her with all my might.

The girl: No! Push me higher.

Me: I am pushing you as high as you can go. I push her as hard as I can.

The girl: No! No! Push me the highester. I push her very hard.

Me: I am going to push your brother now.

I go over to the boy who sits happily in his barely moving swing. I push him gently.

The girl: Push me more mom! Push me high!

I push.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

In other news

Things have been going on around here other than not sleeping. Here are the highlights from today.

- I measured the circumference of girl's head. Not just out of curiosity but because she has grown out of the size 3 -4 hat I just bought her three months ago and she now needs a new hat for summer. I discovered that she does actually have a big head. It always seemed kind of big. Hats made for her age never usually fit her and some shirts are difficult to get over her head. Now I know why.

The circumference of the girl's head is 20.5". For comparison, my head measures 22" and the husband 23". I'm not worried or anything. It's not like it looks abnormally big for her body. She just has a big head. It must be because she is so smrt (misspelling on purpose).

Instead of making her try on a pile of hats in the hope that one will fit her (because that is an in-store experience I would like to skip thanks) I am going to order one of the pretty tulip sun hats from Stephanie at A Pocket Full of Buttons. She has a great Etsy shop and starting tomorrow will be participating in the Etsy yard sale. (I love Etsy!) Hopefully I can order one large enough to last the entire summer. I have a feeling that next Summer she may just be wearing my hat.

- We gave the boy a bath. Yes, that is actually news. You know how he hates the swimming pool? Well he hates the bath more. As a result it had been a loooong time since his last full body bath. I did give him a sponge bath a few weeks back and he even hated that. He started crying as soon as he saw the bowl of water. I kid you not.

Since the husband was home today, that would be a result of the not sleeping that has been going on, we decided to give the boy a bath after he got up from his afternoon nap. As the bath tub was running, the girl decided she too wanted a bath. So in she went. And in went the husband to make sure that the boy stayed in the bath. And in went the boy. And then the screaming started. As I frantically washed his body and hair the boy attempted to fling himself out of the husband's firm grip.

Despite the intensity of bathing him I still had time to marvel at the high pitch, newborn-like sound emanating from the boy. It wasn't an "I want that" or "pick me up" scream. It really sounded like he was saying "I hate you all and if I could spit in your eye I would". The girl got out of the bath fairly soon after the screaming started but returned once the boy was safely in his room, wrapped in a towel in my arms. Poor guy. I couldn't decide if he was clinging to me more like a little spider monkey or a drowned rat.

- We went to the park this afternoon. The rain had stopped but since I expected the sand and play structure to still be wet so I suggested to the girl that she wear her full body rain suit. It looks like a snowsuit but it is made out of plastic. I have been trying to get her to wear it ever since I bought it last spring but she has refused. I think it scares her a bit.

She finally agreed to try it on and she actually loved it. In her bright yellow rain suit, hood pulled up, and her bright yellow rain boots she looked like a hazardous materials worker about to make a transfer of biowaste. Running around the empty park, except for the two girl in shorts and t-shirts, she looked ready for anything.

Bad moms

I have read a number of blog posts and articles lately about the idea of "bad moms". PhD in Parenting has an excellent post called the typology of the bad mother that provides a summary of the different ways we could define bad mothers. (Just an aside, but you'll notice that the discussion is about bad moms, not bad parents).

I am not a bad mom. I know that.

Sometimes I am a good mom. Those are the days when I feel like everything has gone well, everyone is happy. Sometimes I am a great mom. I have rocked the day by going beyond the normal with crafts, baking muffins and tons of laughter. Sometimes I am an okay mom. The kids are alive, clothed and fed at the end of the day. Some days that has to be enough.

I am not a bad mom. But I struggle. I struggle to be the mom I want to be. I struggle to parent two kids when I am so exhausted I want to cry. I struggle to be patient with a toddler who is learning where my boundaries are and how far she can push me. I struggle to juggle the often conflicting needs and interests of a baby and a toddler. I struggle with how to act and respond in certain situations. I struggle to remember who I am in the midst of caring for the kids. I struggle to find the energy to connect and talk with my husband when all I want to do is finally have time by myself.

I am not a bad mom. But I struggle.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Sharing some blog love

Emily from Emily's Latest gave me some blog love in the form of an award (I love awards, almost as good as giveaways!). I have been following Emily for awhile now because she maintains a great list of giveaways open to Canadians (and Americans too of coarse). So if you are wanting to feed your own giveaway addiction check her out.


For the award I have to make two lists. Luckily I like lists.


7 things I love

1. My family. I may complain, I mean speak honestly, about my days at home with the kids but I really don't want to be anywhere else. And my husband is pretty awesome.

2. Reading. I love a good book. So much so that I haven't been reading much lately because when I start a book I don't want to put it down. And I do need to go to bed.

3. Trashy magazines. People, US, In Touch are my mindless escapism. I love reading about celebrities and their crazy lives.

4. My clothes line. I like seeing the wet clothes blowing in the wind.

5. French fries. I could eat them all day. My favorite are from chip trucks.

6. Living downtown. I love to be able to walk everywhere. We can even walk to the husband's work and pick him up.

7. Traveling. Or I used to. But you know I am never doing that again.


7 bloggers I love

1. Frugal + Urban

2. A Crafty Mom

3. Anti-Supermom

4. Strocel

5. a peek inside the fishbowl

6. Postcards from the Mothership

7. PhD in Parenting

These are some of the new blogs I have discovered and am enjoying!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Single moms

Although I was cranky and irritable this morning my mood improved considerably after blogging (see my last post) and a long-distance phone call from a friend. It is amazing how the sense of connection with others, the sharing and the talking can lift my spirits.

My friend is a new mom. I have known her since graduate school back in Winnipeg. Since then we have both moved but, thankfully, stayed in touch. I am so happy to be part of her life right now.

When my friend's daughter was born almost six months ago she was married. Now she is a single mom, living far away from her family but surrounded by awesome friends who have stepped in to help. She and her husband had been together for a decade. Like every couple there were ups and downs. For whatever reason, and I don't think anyone can truly ever understand, her husband decided after the baby was born that the life they were leading wasn't the one he wanted.

I have been thinking a lot about how a new dad could decide to leave his wife and kids. This friend is not the only one I know who has been left by her husband in the first year of a baby's life. What I don't understand is what changes between when the baby is conceived and the birth or six months, eight months, a year later. Is life with a baby such a shock for these new dads? Are they not willing or able to step up to the challenge?

I don't have any answers. What I do know is that these friends doing it on their own are amazing. They figure out how to deal with their exs, love their children and build new lives for themselves. I can't always understand the challenges they are going through but I am happy to listen.

A drop in the bucket

There has been a shortage of sleep around here. Apparently, at least according to the husband's Internet research, babies often go through a period of disrupted sleep at nine months due to increased brain activity and growth. That would be us. The boy's brain in growing and we are not sleeping.

Last night he slept better than he had in weeks and gave us two four hour periods of sleep. Usually he comes into bed with me, you know since he is up every two hours and I am too tired to get out of bed to nurse him, but last night the husband co-slept with him while I went to the guest bed. If that is what it takes to get him to sleep longer than the husband is in for a surprise tonight!

One night of better sleep is just a drop in the bucket to me though. Continuing with the theme of buckets, I've decided that I am a rain bucket. One of those really big ones. I keep being emptied to water the growing garden but it hasn't rained in a long time. The water level is getting low.

If I had the energy I would do a rain dance. Maybe I could get the girl to do it for me. She always has energy.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Claps, naps and hair splitting

We have been figuring some stuff out around here.

The boy has figured out how to clap. Today he brought his chubby little hands together in a clap for the first time. We were sitting on the floor with the girl and I was clapping when he decided to mimic me. His clap didn't actually make any noise but he seemed quite pleased by it. I imagined that the girl was thinking "what's the big deal? I clap all the time". The husband is trying to teach him baby sign language now. The girl just wants to know what the sign for "big sister" is.

I have figured out why the girl isn't napping. Well, she is still napping but only on the weekends. So really I have figured out why she isn't napping during the week when she is home with just me and I could really use a twenty minute break!

At first I thought she was napping, and when I say napping I mean having two three hour naps this past weekend, because the husband was home and he is so boring that she may as well nap. :-) Then I realized that she isn't napping during the week because that is the only period of time all day she can have me to herself. For that hour or so when the boy is napping, and she should be napping too, I am hers all hers. This theory is being supported by the rest of her behaviour lately. She only wants me to put her to bed at night, she wants me to push the stroller, she wants to sit in my lap all the time.

I think that the realization that she has to share me with her brother is only now becoming an issue. As he crawls and stands and makes his desires known (just try taking him away from anything he wants and he flails his body and shrieks) she has to vie for my attention in a way that she didn't have to when he was a younger, more passive baby. And so she is pulling out all her tricks. Hmm, this probably also explains the biting.

My goal this weekend is going to be to spend some one-on-one time with her. I was trying to do that a few months ago but our dates got lost in the craziness of life. Let's see if some special time together will make a difference. Maybe it will convince her that I really am boring too!

Lastly, the girl has figured out the subtle nuances that exist in the English language. Arriving home from school on Monday, my arms full with backpacks, groceries and the boy, the girl had run ahead to the kitchen and was yelling for a snack. Apparently I was not moving quickly enough for her.

"EIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII"

"No yelling please. There is no yelling in the house."

"I'm not yelling. I'm screaming. This is screaming. EIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII!"

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

FuzziBunz or why I love giveaways

I do have a little giveaway addiction. I can't help it! I love free stuff. Entering giveaways is better than garage saling. I can do it in my pajamas sitting in comfort on my couch. Plus, when I win something I get it for free instead of haggling the seller down to two bucks from five. (Although I do love haggling too.)

Today I was absurdly happy when the FuzziBunz diaper I won from My Organized Chaos arrived in the mail. We have few FuzziBunz already that I bought second hand (yes, I have no problems with secondhand diapers. Some bleach and a few hot washes and we are good to go) but they are still a bit too large for the boy. I plan to use them on the boy when he is a bit bigger, in spite of the fact that they are pink and purple. That is what happens when you have an older sister; he may as well get used to wearing girly colours. I have the feeling that the girl will be happily dressing him up in her play costumes as soon as they will fit him.

Well, now he has his own vibrant red diaper that he can wear. I am so in love with the colour. It is stop sign red. As in stop and look at how cute I am. When my sister saw it she said that he won't need to wear anything but the diaper and he will be looking good.

What surprised me about the diaper was just how soft the fleece lining and insert is. That was something I hadn't experienced with the secondhand diapers. I actually found myself caressing the diaper against my face and it was soft like a baby's bottom. The girl must have seen me because as she was showing it to the husband after he got home tonight she started rubbing it against her face. But in her case she rubbed the outside of the diaper against her face. But still! Not to be left out the husband also felt the fleece lining and managed to get the gist of its softness through his beard.

The only one of us who hasn't touched the diaper yet is the boy. To be honest I don't even want to let him wear it. It is so pretty and soft. He will only soil it (literally).

So thanks My Organized Chaos and FuzziBunz. Thanks for putting all my other diapers to shame.

Monday, June 1, 2009

NINE

The boy turned nine months old today. Hard to believe. He has been with us outside of me for almost as long as we was inside me. He can wave and crawl and pull himself up on everything. He can laugh at his sister and crawl inside her tent with her and grab toys from her. And I swear he is saying something that sounds like "mama". I just don't know if he means me or the cat/ ball/ sweater he can't reach.

As hard as it can be sometimes, the last nine months have been easier than the first nine months. I'm tired and sometimes cranky but at least I'm not throwing up. I should remember that when he is up at 2:30 am tonight.

My sweet boy.

Swimming class dropouts

We dropped out of swimming class. That's right, we are dropouts. Now we are going to go eat some contraband Baby Mummums and drink some apple juice behind the gym.

If you have been reading my other posts you probably aren't too surprised. We were out of town for the first class. This was the second class. We were too tired and exhausted from sick kids and the boy not sleeping to make it to the third class. And yesterday the will to get the kids to swimming was gone. Maybe the girl would actually go in the pool this time but I doubted it. Maybe the boy wouldn't cling to me like I scared spider monkey but I doubted it. Honestly we just couldn't face it.

If the girl loved it, if the boy loved it we would still be going. But from the beginning the whole push behind swimming was me feeling like they should know how to swim. Like taking them to swim class and teaching them to swim was something I/ we should be doing. As good parents. Really the act was entirely motivated by guilt.

Now my kids will be the ones at the wading pool this summer who don't know how to swim. But that is okay. One day they will swim, will like swimming. But for now it doesn't matter. The girl probably won't want to get in the water anyway.