Three years ago this morning, with a pop and a gush, my life changed.  As I lounged in bed on January 31, 2011, my water broke, signalling the start of Littleman’s entrance into this world.

Being a mom is something I always wanted.  Being Littleman’s mom is something I couldn’t have dreamed of.

Looking at him now, it’s hard to remember what life was like before he arrived.  In three short years, he’s become everything to us.  I’m so proud of him.  He’s such a special kid.  He’s smart and funny.  He’s handsome and strong.

That being said, I’ve been suffering from some mommy guilt lately.

This has been a tough year for me and I worry that I haven’t given Littleman all that I could give.  I started 2013 being pregnant.  I suffered a miscarriage, which hit me extremely hard and I know that I wasn’t fully emotionally present for a long time afterwards.  Then I found myself pregnant again – this time with many weeks of nausea and exhaustion.  With some early complications, I wasn’t able to lift Littleman anymore.  And now, on his birthday, I’m nearing the end of my pregnancy and am struggling with mobility and dealing with the aches and pains of late pregnancy.

I’m sad that I haven’t been on my A-game for the last of Littleman’s time as an only child.  Although he talks about his baby brother all the time, I know that he has no idea what is about to hit him.  He’s so used to being the centre of our universe and the change is going to be tough for him.

But today was all about him.  And it was a great day.

We decided to take the day off and keep him home from daycare so we could visit Toronto’s new aquarium.  We took the bus and subway to get there (little kid’s dream = pregnant lady’s nightmare!)  The place was jam-packed with people, but Littleman was on his best behaviour. 

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We bought him something he’s been asking for – Woody from Toy Story.  We also got him a photo puzzle, made from a family photo of the three of us.

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He requested a “Cars” birthday cake, so his super-non-crafty mama worked her arse off to make him one.

My attempt at a fancy cake.

I can’t believe my baby boy is so grown up.  Happy Birthday to my sweet, sweet boy.  I love you more than you can know. 

36 weeks

This is the week where my pregnancy tracker app tells me that the baby is the size of a watermelon.  Eek!  That’s so big!  And speaking of baby’s size, at my OB appointment today, I asked Dr. P if he could tell anything about how big Baby Bo may be.  He said that he seems about average.  My fundal height is one cm smaller than “normal” but he said that it’s perfectly the fine.  I know that, at this point, he’s really only just guessing about the size.  The only reason I asked is because I’m curious if I’m going to have another giant baby.  Littleman was born at 39 weeks, weighing 9lbs 5oz!

I had to do my Group B Strep test today.  I still vividly remember the first time I had to do it.  It was one of those standard tests that was always mentioned in pregnancy books, but no detail was ever given, beyond the fact that it was a “swab.”  I guess I took that to mean it was sort of like a Pap, which is what I expected to happen.  However, when Dr. P told me it was time for the GBS test, he pulled out a tube containing a swab, handed it to me and sent me into the bathroom with the instructions of how to do it myself.  For anyone who hasn’t had this test yet, it requires a swab of both the vagina and the anus.  Yep.  That’s right.  I’m sure my face was priceless.  I remember stumbling awkwardly into the bathroom and standing there by myself, laughing.  Anyway, I gave my friends who already had kids an earful for not warning me about that one.  At least this time, I knew what was coming.

Symptoms:  The crappiest symptom this week has definitely been the acid reflux.  While it is especially annoying when I want to sleep, it’s starting to hit me at pretty much any time of the day.  Dr. P told me a few medications that are safe to use, so I stocked up today.  Given that I could have almost six more weeks of pregnancy left (although that would totally surprise me!) I want to make sure I have some options for fighting this symptom.

One pregnancy symptom that I’ve been lucky enough to avoid during both my pregnancies is swelling.  I’ve seen the women with the puffy ankles struggling to put on shoes and I’m relieved that I haven’t had to deal with that.  I am, however, starting to notice my rings getting a little snug.  I can still get them on and off, but they are definitely starting to leave a bit of a mark.  Perhaps it’s time to retire them until after the little guy gets here.

Sleep:  Just when I thought that my sleep couldn’t get any more interrupted, I caught a cold.  After a few days of dealing with the dry mouth, drooling and snorting, I find myself missing the sore hips and knees.  Oh well.  I don’t expect to sleep well again for a long, long time.  Might as well get used to it.

Other: Another baby boy was born on our street this week.  If you’re keeping count, that’s two in the last two weeks!  There are two of us left who are expecting before the end of March.  It will be fun to have some other mommies close by during my maternity leave.

Cold and cold

It’s frigging cold outside AND I have a cold.

I was feeling pretty sorry for myself this morning as I stood at the bus stop freezing my buns off.  The stupid polar vortex or Alberta clipper or whatever it is this week is killing me.  I effing hate it.

I’ve managed to avoid getting sick over the last couple of months, even with D and Littleman bringing home numerous germs.  I guess my luck has finally run out and I’m dealing with a cough, sore throat and just general blahness.  Apparently I’ve been snoring, which means I’ve actually been asleep a bit (although I honestly feel like I’m awake all night long).

So that’s my whine for today. 

I’m heading to the hair salon after work to get a good couple of inches hacked off before the baby arrives.  My hair is way too long right now and I’m hating it.  As long as I can get it into a ponytail, I’ll be happy.  The rest of it can go.  I’m hoping that some relaxation in the salon chair, coupled with a nice scalp massage, will help me kick this stupid cold.

Reflux sucks

It seems that I have the pleasure of experiencing a new pregnancy symptom – acid reflux. I have yet to figure out if there are particular foods that set it off, but I’m going to start paying better attention because I’m not enjoying these “barf burps” at all! For now, I’m popping the Tums and hoping for some relief.

It appears that lying down makes it feel worse, so I am currently propped in an awkward half-sitting-half-side-lying position.

D was just giving Littleman a bath and asked him when his brother was going to get here. Littleman answered, “when he’s born!” (Obviously, Dad!). So D says, “when is he going to be born?” Littleman says, “three days.” Yikes. Let’s hope not. Three weeks sounds a bit better to me. You hear that, baby? I’ll quit whining about reflux if you’ll hang in there a few more weeks. Thanks!

35 weeks

I spent much of yesterday tracking contractions (yikes!) so I was a bit worried that I would be writing my 35 week update from the hospital.  But, everything seems to have calmed down and I’m feeling totally fine and normal today (or as normal as a pregnant lady can feel).

I finally washed some baby clothes and blankets last night.  My fear that something could go wrong has kept me from doing that, but I’m realizing that my baby will be cold and naked if I don’t pull myself together!  As I went through the bag of Littleman’s first baby clothes, it was hard to believe he was ever that small.  And he wasn’t even all that small… 9lbs 5oz!

I also started packing my hospital bag.  I have a feeling this little one is going to come early and I don’t want the stress of not being ready.  Last time, I packed one large suitcase, which we ended up dragging with us from the labour/delivery room into the postpartum room without ever opening.  This time, I’m packing two separate bags: a small one for labour with just a few things I may need and a larger one for after the baby is born with the rest of our stuff and stuff for the baby.  That way, we can leave the big bag in the car until we need it.

Symptoms:  The aforementioned contractions came on  pretty suddenly around lunchtime yesterday.  They were about 10 minutes apart and lasted for a couple of hours.  I left work and tried to relax at home.  It was harder to track the contractions when I was dealing with Littleman, but they were definitely still happening throughout the evening.  I couldn’t decide what to do about it.  I didn’t want to “cry wolf” and go to the hospital for nothing, but I also didn’t want to ignore them if they actually were “something”.  Finally I decided to see if bed rest would stop them.  Sure enough, going to bed for the night seemed to calm things down and my sleep was just fine.  Today, I’ve felt pretty good and haven’t had any contractions at all.   I thought being a second time mom would mean things wouldn’t be so scary or unknown.  Nope.

Sleep:  Hip and knee pain is a fun new development for me.  I find that I have to flip over many, many times per night because of aches and pains.  Keeping a pillow between my knees helps a bit, but trying to roll over with said pillow is quite an awkward challenge.

Other: My next door neighbour had her baby this week!  I got to meet him on Sunday when he was two days old.  6lbs 5oz of pure adorableness.  As I held him, I felt my little guy kicking from the inside.  It made me so excited for meeting my boy!

A few of my favourite things (a.k.a. baby gear)

A while ago, my sister asked me if I could give her some advice about baby gear for her shower registry.  Since we don’t need many new things this time around, I hadn’t thought about baby stuff in a while.  My chat with her reminded me of some of my absolute favourite baby-related items (as well as things that I definitely could have lived without.)  I’m sure I’ll think of more items that I loved as I start to pull out all of our baby gear again, but here are the top items that come to mind immediately (in no particular order):

My Brest Friend: I knew I wanted to breastfeed Littleman and did everything I could to be prepared before he was born.  A friend of mine gave me her nursing pillow, which I thought would suffice.  Almost immediately, I knew it wouldn’t work for us. The shape and size just didn’t allow us to get into the right position.  After some frantic web searching, I sent my parents out on a hunt for My Brest Friend when Littleman was about four days old.  It turned out to be an excellent investment.  I loved the sturdiness of it and the fact that it clipped around my waist to keep it in place.  The nice, flat top kept him in the perfect position and – once we figured things out – I was able to nurse him hands-free.  He was a big baby (9 lbs, 5 oz at birth) and I nursed him until he was 14 months, so we got a TON of use out of this pillow.  I will definitely be using it again.

My Brest Friend

My Brest Friend

Miracle Blanket: I know that some people are pros at swaddling a newborn with a regular receiving blanket, but I’m not one of those people.  And with a big, strong newborn, keeping him wrapped up nice and tight was tough.  That is where the Miracle Blanket came in.  It was nice and stretchy, with a pocket for his legs and a long side that wrapped around him a couple of times before getting tucked in nice and tight.  I know some people prefer the kind of swaddle blankets that use Velcro, but we were quite happy with this one.  By the time he was big enough to kick his way out of it, it was probably time to be done with swaddling anyway.

Sleep Sheep: We were given a Sleep Sheep sound machine as a shower gift and it ended up being something we used for a long time.  In fact, we only recently stopped turning it on when Littleman goes to bed.  It makes about four different sounds, although the only one we really used was the ocean waves.  Since Littleman slept in our room for the first two months or so, we all got to enjoy going to sleep to the soothing sounds of the sea.  Unfortunately, when we moved him to his nursery, D and I had to get used to sleeping with extreme quiet again!

Sleep Sheep

Sleep Sheep

Video Monitor: I wasn’t sure that we would need a video monitor, figuring that a sound one would be sufficient.  But since it was an option, we figured we’d give it a try.  I’m so glad we did!  It definitely helped us avoid going into Littleman’s room unnecessarily.  Sometimes babies make noises but it doesn’t always mean they are ready to get up.  It was nice to be able to keep an eye on him that way.  We ended up with the Philips Avent monitor and we really like it.  The best feature (in my mind) is that the screen and audio are both only activated when there is a noise in the baby’s room.  Otherwise, the screen remains dark and the unit is completely silent.  It looks like it’s been updated since we first go ours so it may be even better now.  We bought a different brand for the farm (based on some excellent reviews) but we’ve found that there is always some background noise/static with the new one.  Also, the video screen isn’t sound-activated, so you have to reach over and manually push a button if you want to see (rather than just hear) what’s going on.  I don’t love that extra step.

iPhone: OK, so I realize that the iPhone isn’t exactly considered baby gear, but it was something I couldn’t live without during my maternity leave.  I actually only got it about a month before Littleman was born.  I knew I would have to give my Blackberry back at work, so I needed to get myself a new cellphone.  My parents ended up giving me the iPhone for Christmas that year and it was great.   I used a contractions timer app during labour to keep track of what was going on.  After the kiddo was born, I had an app that helped me track dirty/wet diapers, baths, sleep and breastfeeding (which was especially important because my sleep-deprived brain usually couldn’t remember which side I had last fed him from!)  The iPhone also helped me stay in touch with people and keep my sanity during those long, middle of the night feeding sessions.  I often sent emails, played games or read parenting blogs/websites while the rest of the world was sleeping.

 I meant to only list my top five things but I keep remembering more things that I loved.  I have to add one more – my stroller.

UppaBaby Vista: I was a bit stressed about buying a stroller because I wanted to make sure I got a decent one.  I do a lot of walking and I wanted something that would be able to handle different types of weather and that would be easy to maneuver.  While the Bugaboo seemed to be the trendy choice in our neighbourhood, a couple of people recommended the UppaBaby to me.  I gave it a try and it seemed perfect for us.  Turned out, I was right.  The handlebar extends, which is great for tall people.  The basket at the bottom huge, which is perfect for lugging home groceries or other shopping finds (it even holds a case of beer – don’t judge!)  It maneuvers pretty well with one hand for those times you need to talk on the phone while pushing.  It came with a bassinet that we rarely used (Littlman hated it) but we were able to purchase an attachment that allowed us to use our infant car seat with it, which was perfect for the first few months.  Now that we’re expecting baby #2, I’ve purchased the platform that attaches to the stroller so Littleman can stand on it if he doesn’t feel like walking.  He’s not really into being strapped into a stroller anymore, so I’m not going to bother buying the second seat, although it’s nice to know that’s an option.

UppaBaby Vista stroller

UppaBaby Vista stroller

Anyway, that list is in no way exhaustive but those are the things that are top of mind right now.  I’ll also try to write about some of the things that weren’t terribly useful or that weren’t worth spending money on (in my opinion).

34 weeks

Six weeks (give or take) to go!  This past week was a busy one with my sister’s shower.  Now that it’s over, I’m trying to shift my attention to all the things I need to get done in the next few weeks.

I’m starting to really come to terms with the fact that this baby will be here soon.  After this week, I’ll only have three weeks of work left.  It’s time to start wrapping things up and transitioning my files to my colleagues.  I’ve been lucky to get a ride to work with my new next door neighbours for the past two weeks, so I’ve been able to avoid the public transit system.  Unfortunately for me (at least unfortunately for my commute!), the neighbours are expecting a baby (due this weekend!) and today was her last day of work.  So, I’ll have to suffer on the subway for three more weeks.  Wish me luck!

Symptoms:  The contractions have settled down quite a bit, aside from some random ones in the evenings.  I find them much less scary now – probably because they are much less regular and frequent. 

Dinner has become a major issue for me.  As in, I can’t eat dinner.  For some reason, if I eat even a normal amount of dinner in the evening, I end up writhing in pain all night.  I guess my stomach just fit it in anymore.  During the day, I’m more likely to snack rather than eat a large meal, so that will have to become my new evening routine too.  What a pain.  I really like dinner.

Sleep:  Sucks.   I’m trying to go to bed really early these days because I find that I get my best/longest stretch of sleep in the first couple of hours.  After that, I’m up a ton to pee and can’t seem to get comfortable enough to fall back asleep. 

Other: I put on one my maternity tops this morning, only to find that it is too short now.  I don’t know if it’s because I’m massive or if the baby is sitting lower, but either way, my belly was showing beneath the top.  Not cute.

All showered out

I survived the baby shower that my mom and I threw for my sister on Saturday.  I’m not gonna lie, there were moments that were challenging, but overall it went really well.

I love my mom.  We are very close and we get along well.  But, she can be a bit hard to deal with at times.  She is the epitome of a perfectionist.  I’m a planner and I like things to be done well, but I can never, ever keep up with her standards.  Nothing ever feels good enough, so trying to throw a party together (especially in my hormonal pregnant state) was almost more than I could tolerate.

I may have mentioned that I am not a fan of showers.  As much as I appreciated my own (both for my wedding and my first baby) I really struggled with being the centre of attention.  I don’t really enjoy attending showers either.  I’m not into games and I’m not great at making idle chit-chat with ladies that I don’t know very well.

My sister, on the other hand, LOVES this sort of thing.  Whenever she gets invited to something (shower, wedding, party, etc.), she get so excited.  She genuinely enjoys them.  She thinks the games are fun.  She’s just that sort of person.

So, against everything that comes naturally to me, I made sure that her shower was something that she would love.  Regardless of the frustrations, the shower went off without a hitch and my sister was very happy.  The cake was adorable, the food was good, she got tons of amazing gifts and got to enjoy time with her friends and family.


The cake!

Yummy virgin punch.

Yummy virgin punch.

Party favours.

Party favours.

You can tell by the colour of everything that my sister is having a baby girl.  I am thrilled to be expecting another little boy, but there were definitely some moments during her shower that I felt some pangs of sadness that I would never have a little girl.  The clothes she got were absolutely adorable and all the pink stuff just made my heart melt.  I don’t want anyone to think I am ungrateful for what I have.  I know this little boy is exactly what our family needs.  Littleman and his brother-to-be are the best things that have ever happened to me.  But, wow, all that pink…

After the craziness of the day, my sister and I finally got a chance to shed our party clothes for something more comfy and compare our bellies.  At just over 33 weeks, it’s interesting to see how we both look.  She had an ultrasound this past week and was told her baby was transverse (lying sideways).  At my last appointment two weeks ago, mine was breech.  You could definitely see a difference in the shapes of our bumps.

33 week bumps!

33 week bumps – I’m on the left!

Anyway, I’m glad that the shower is over and that I survived it relatively unscathed.  Now that it’s over, I can turn my attention back to the final preparations I need to do before my own little guy arrives in a few weeks!

Toilet training my tot

Something I’ve learned in the past three years is that parenting  is tough.  Just when you get the hang of one thing, the kid moves on to a new and more challenging stage of development.  It never feels like I really know what I’m doing and it seems like we’re constantly winging it.

A perfect example of this was toilet training.  Right from the start, this is something that perplexed me.  I knew that, eventually, we all learn to use a toilet, but how on earth was I going to get my kid to do it??

Some people had told us about getting their toddler toilet trained in two-three days using the “stay home and be naked” method.  We considered trying that, but with our schedules, it just didn’t sound right for us.

Starting at around the age of two, Littleman started showing a bit of interest in the toilet.  There were a couple of older kids in his daycare class who were starting to be toilet trained and I think he was intrigued.  We rushed out and purchased a potty, a stool and seat insert for the big toilet.  He sat on the toilet a couple of times, but never for more than a second or two.  He flat-out refused to ever sit on the potty.  At that point we decided he just wasn’t ready.

Over the next several months, we often asked him if he wanted to try the toilet, but to no avail.  Then, last summer, at around 2 1/2 years of age, there was one small breakthrough: Littleman started telling us that he had to poo.  He wouldn’t go on the toilet – no way – but he would to stand in the same spot in our living room and tell us to go away.  Then he’d do his business.  We figured the fact that he could identify when he had to go was a good first step!

As we headed into the fall, he started showing a little more interest in peeing.  Some days his daycare teachers would tell us that he’d used the toilet at school.  He liked to tell us which kids wore underwear and which ones were still in diapers.  We bought some pull ups and told him he could use them if he started trying to use the toilet.  Around that time, we started to notice that, all of a sudden, he would pee every time we put him in the bathtub for his bath.  So, we started asking him to pee on the toilet before his bath.  We let him wear pull ups (he especially loved the Cars-themed ones), and it helped that he could pull them down himself.  We asked him regularly if he had to go and – although he usually said “no” – we would make him try every couple of hours.  Most of the time, he would pee when we asked him to.  We did go the “reward” route and let him have a little treat each time he peed.  Usually it was one little fruit snack, which he thought was “candy!”

Finally, after a few weeks of this, his daycare teacher said that she thought he was ready to start wearing underwear to school!  He was peeing on the toilet there and was staying dry in between.  In fact, he was usually even dry after his naps.  So, we bought a bunch of undies (so cute!) and we took the leap.

At that point, he still flat-out refused to poo on the toilet, but he would tell us that he had to go and would ask for a “regular diaper”.  In fact, often he would take off his pants and underwear and grab a diaper from the diaper bag himself.   The daycare teacher told us that it was pretty normal for a kid to have to master one (i.e. peeing or pooing) before getting the hang of both.  We continued to ask him to try the toilet each time he said he had to poo, but usually he turned down the offer.  Even the offer of a treat wasn’t enough to get him to try.  By mid-December, he started saying “I’ll try on Christmas.”  Good bargaining, buddy.

On Christmas morning, after opening most of the presents, Littleman announced that he had to poo and, as usual, asked for a diaper.  I reminded him that it was Christmas and that he had said he would try the toilet.  He looked at me like I was crazy and said, “it not Christmas today.  Christmas is tomorrow!”  Ha!  Nice try.  I pointed out that Santa had a come and we had just opened presents.  It was, most definitely, Christmas today.  His response?  “OK.”

We took him into the bathroom and helped him up onto the toilet.  He promptly asked us to leave him alone.  We stood outside the door, where we could still peek in and hear him grunting.  Finally he was done and announced “I pooed!”

Woohooo!  The kid actually did it!  Merry Christmas to us!!

It has now been more than two weeks and he has been using the toilet consistently.  We still diaper him at night and he wakes up wet, but (knock on wood) there have been no accidents during the day.  I’m so proud of him!  And, so pleased for D and myself, who are currently enjoying a couple of diaper-free months before Baby Bo arrives!

I think the main lesson I learned through this experience is that toilet training is a lot easier when the child is ready.  I’m sure he could have done it earlier if we had wanted to push it and try some of the other fancy techniques out there, but it wasn’t really worth the tears and fighting for us.  He did what he needed to do when he was ready to do it.  And there wasn’t really any reason to force it before then.

I still can’t really believe my little boy is almost three and that he’s doing so many big kid things!  I know there will be many more parenting challenges to come as he continues to grow up but I’m pretty happy about how this transition went for us.

33 weeks

At 33 weeks, the baby is the size of a pineapple this week.  And mommy feels like she’s the size of a house!  My body is starting to feel more and more awkward these days.  I have to sit with my legs wide open in order to be comfortable.  There is nothing cute about that.

I’m home sick today because I spent most of last night feeling like total crap.  Around 8:30 p.m., I started having awful stomach pains.  It was kind of a combo of heartburn and gas, with a touch of nausea and feeling like I needed to poop.  Basically, everything hurt from my ass right up to my boobs.  It finally settled down a bit at 3:00 a.m., at which point I knew there was no way I could get up and drag myself to work.  I’m feeling a bit better now, with just some lingering nausea and a lot of burping.  Littleman was home sick on Monday after throwing up a couple of times Sunday night, but is totally better now.  I’m hoping it was just a little bug and that I’ll be fine by tomorrow.

Symptoms:  Still having the odd contraction here and there but nothing that’s made me terribly worried.

Baby Bo seems to like hanging out around my bladder these days.  In fact, it often feels like he’s using it as a trampoline.  Peeing is becoming increasingly hard.  I’ve learned to sway from side to side and rock back and forth before I get off the toilet to ensure I’ve emptied as much of my bladder as possible.  But, inevitably, I find myself running speed-waddling back to the bathroom moments later to avoid peeing my pants when Bo gives me a good jab.

Sleep:  I’m so big these days that we seem to be running out of room for me, my pregnancy pillow and D in the bed.  One of us has to go, and sadly, it’s the pillow.  I’m still using the wedge pillow a fair amount, but, to be honest, I’m not sure there is anything that would help make sleep easier these days.

Other: Still feeling the nesting instinct pretty strongly, but we’ve made a bit of progress with our pre-baby organizing, which makes me feel a bit better.  Littleman’s room is very close to finished.  In fact, he slept in his big boy bed last night!  More to come about that transition in a separate post.

This week has also been a bit busy because my mom and I are throwing my sister a baby shower on Saturday.  I’m not a huge fan of showers but my sister loves this sort of thing so I’m doing my best to make it something she’ll really love.