Saving it for home

My kids aren’t perfect. They are polite and well-behaved a lot of the time, but they also have meltdowns and freak-outs. Thankfully, they’re both really good at holding it together while we’re in public and saving the screams/tears for home.

Last night was the perfect example:

My father-in-law’s partner turned 70. They decided to have a family dinner to celebrate. But not at their house. At a restaurant. And not any old family restaurant, but at a French bistro.

Of course, the mere thought of this outing made me feel a little sick to my stomach. There would be my three-year-old and 4.5-month-old, as well as four other kids aged 4, 5, 6 and 8. Lordy.

Anyway, off we went. The restaurant was small and loud but luckily we had our own section for our party of 16. Baby Bo had been awake for a few hours so fell asleep in the car on the way. Littleman was excited to see his cousins. He happily drank his first ever Shirley Temple (um, delish!) and, although I could tell he was dying to run around, he sat at his seat and ate some of our (very expensive, very French) meals.

Bo woke up only a few minutes after we arrived, meaning he barely slept. I could tell he was exhausted. But, true to form, he smiled for everyone and hung out in his car seat while we ate.

After dinner, Bo started getting fussy. We took turns holding him and walking around until we could escape without looking rude.

As soon as we reached the car, our sweet baby absolutely lost his shit. He’d held it together for so long but boy, was he ever mad!

We’ve had a few similar situations with our older son, where he’s been an absolute angel when we’ve needed him to be and then he’s melted down once we’re home. I have to say, I am quite impressed with their ability to do this. When it’s late, loud and past my bedtime, I usually feel like crying. So the fact that my kids can keep it together in these circumstances is quite amazing. And for that, I am very grateful!

Sleeping like a baby

After three nights in the crib, I think I can safely say that Bo’s transition was pretty painless. At least for him. I’m still not so sure. I miss him!

As much as I loved having him right next to me, I have to admit that he seems much more comfortable now. I suppose it’s similar to how we feel sleeping on an air mattress vs a real bed.

Unfortunately, Bo’s comfort doesn’t seem to translate to longer sleep. He’s still doing max 3.5hrs at a time, which usually means I’m up twice in the night with him.

Each morning, D asks how the night went. (He typically sleeps right through any of our wake-ups now). When I tell him, his response is usually “that’s not too bad!”

I have to bite my tongue because, while I know it could be worse, when was the last time he had to get up a couple of times a night – every night – to feed a baby? Never. Knowing that he got a full night’s sleep when I’m totally exhausted and then hearing his assessment of my night just irritates me. I realize my irritation is more likely a product of my exhaustion than actual annoyance at him, so I try to be mature and not react.

All of this is to say that I could really use a bit more sleep. I’m glad that Bo seems to have adjusted to nights in his crib without major setback but hope he can start going a bit longer between feeds soon. This mama needs it!

P.S. Am listening to a ’90s station on satellite radio right now. It’s reminding me of when I was a teenager and could sleep literally all day. Imagine sleeping in til noon. Or later…

Stroller storage

Have I mentioned that my husband is super handy? Five years ago, we were deep into a major renovation of our first home and D did most of the work himself (with a little help from me!)

It’s been a while since he’s had a project to do around here (he keeps himself so busy doing work at the farm!) so I was pretty excited when he offered to build me a shed for storing our stroller.

We live in a small, semi-detached house. We tore down our dilapidated garage during the renovation and replaced it with a shed for storing tools, the lawn mower, etc. Still, we don’t really have a great place to keep a lot of baby gear, particularly our rather large UppaBaby Vista stroller (which I totally love and use everyday).

Until recently, every time I used the stroller, I had to collapse it and carry it through our house – taking care not to scratch any walls – to store it behind our dining room table. It was far from ideal, but with a tiny entryway, there was nowhere else to keep it.

Now, I have an awesome shed that D built beside our deck. It’s just large enough so that I can push my stroller inside without collapsing it. We will put a lock on it to keep the stroller safe. It will make coming and going from walks WAY easier!

Once we grow out of our stroller years, we can use the shed to store other small stuff like kids bikes, etc.




Empty nest

Our little bird has officially flown the coop and we are now empty nesters.  OK, I realize that I may be a little over-dramatic here, but last night was first night that Bo didn’t sleep in our room.

When Littleman was a baby, he slept in a bassinet next to our bed .  When he’d wake in the night to be fed, I’d scoop him up and take him to the glider in his nursery to feed him.  My husband was anxious for him to move out and, although I struggled with it a bit, we moved him pretty easily at 12 weeks old.

This time around, I was even less keen to move our baby into his own room.  I knew this was the last baby that would share our room and I loved knowing he was right there beside me.  D gave me a deadline of four months this time (I think he forgot how long Littleman had been with us) so I happily agreed.  We ended up going until about 4.5 months with Bo.  I would have kept him even longer but I could tell he was getting uncomfortable.  The bassinet is just too small and, reluctantly, I agreed that it was time to let him move out.

It certainly wasn’t his first time in his crib – he’s napped there off and on for a couple of months – but it was his first time spending the whole night there.

He did great. He fell asleep around 8:30 and woke at midnight and 5am to eat. Woke for the day at 8am. Not too shabby.

I miss being able to scoop him up and feed him in bed, but I’m hoping that he’ll start waking less now that he’s in his own space.

It’s hard to let him go because it means my littlest one is growing up. Soon he’ll be wanting to get his own apartment! But it was awesome to walk in and see his sweet little face this morning.


On this day

When I saw the news this morning, I was reminded that Prince George is one year old today. I remember so clearly where I was when I learned of his birth.

I was almost nine weeks pregnant. I was living in constant fear and nervousness after losing baby #2 to miscarriage at 14 weeks. But this pregnancy was going well and the light spotting I’d had a few days before appeared to be nothing. I’d had an ultrasound and seen my baby’s heart beating.

So where was I when the world heard the news that Will and Kate’s baby had been born? In the ER.

I wrote about that scary day here, but the gist of it is that I had some gushing blood that morning and was terrified that I was miscarrying again. After a long, long day at the hospital, I was diagnosed with a subchorionic bleed.

As I write this, I’m looking at my beautiful 4.5 month old baby boy, who has no idea how scared I was that day that I might not get to meet him. But here we are, a whole year later.

On this day last year, I was watching the news in a hospital waiting room, fearing the worst. Today, as I see stories about Prince George’s birthday on the news, I feel so lucky to be holding my own sweet, cuddly prince.

A horrible accident – teaching my kids about road safety

A horrible thing happened in my neighborhood last week. A seven-year-old girl was struck by a car and killed.

It makes me feel sick to hear about a child dying. As a parent, it absolutely terrifies me. My heart breaks for the family involved in this tragic accident.

We live in a city (Toronto) where there is lots of traffic. On top of that, there is tons (I mean tons!) of construction work going on. Because of congestion on the major roads, more and more cars are cutting through residential neighborhoods, like ours, to avoid traffic. Everyone is in a rush and cars are moving too fast.

I don’t know what happened in this particular case, but I do know that being a pedestrian these days is scary. My son and I were almost hit on the way home from daycare one night last year. It was dark and rainy. As always, I thought I had made eye contact with all the drivers at the intersection before we began crossing the street, but one car mustn’t have noticed us and turned right in front of us. I grabbed Littleman and jumped out of the way. We were ok but it shook me up.

Hearing about a child being killed just a couple of blocks from my house reminded me how important it is to teach my children about safety around the road. Littleman knows he has to hold an adult’s hand to cross the street and that he needs to stay with us and listen when we are near the road. However, he’s only three so I know he can get distracted and forget things. It terrifies me that he could so easily dart out into the road and not be seen by the cars that speed through our neighborhood.

I know that horrible accidents happen everyday but, having it happen so close to home is a stark reminder of how precious life is and how quickly something terrible can happen.

I realize that I can’t bubble-wrap my kids to protect them from injury or death.  And I can’t live my life in constant fear of something happening to them.  But, what I can do, is take this horrible situation as reminder to do whatever I can to teach my children to protect themselves and keep themselves safe.

Fear of change

While change can be a good thing, I think the vast majority of us struggle with adjusting to big transitions in our lives.  As a parent, I hope I can teach my children not to fear change. Or at least not to let the fear get the best of them.

That lesson, as it seems, is going to be a tough one for my three-year-old.  Ever since he was a wee one, Littleman has had a hard time with changes.  He’s a bit of a sensitive soul and, while I wouldn’t describe him as wimpy, he definitely has a tendency to cry when he gets overwhelmed or scared by something. It’s more the social situations that get to him, rather than a fear of doing physical things.

The most recent incident has been his move to the next age group at daycare.  Every year, around this time, the kids all move up a level as the kindergarten kids age out of the daycare and start school.  And every year, around this time, Littleman loses his shit.

I get it.  I was a shy kid.  I remember the nervous tummy feeling on the first day of school.  Ugh.  It’s awful.  So I can totally understand how he must feel.  But I want him to learn that, while it’s OK to feel nervous and sad for a while, new things can be fun too.

We’re nearing the end of week-two in the new class. Each morning, there are fewer and fewer tears. He still clings to my legs, but it’s taking less time to pry him away. The teachers say he’s fine throughout the day now (last week, not so much).

What I’ve come to learn about him is that he needs time to warm up to new things. He’s a quiet observer when he is in a new situation and he prefers to sit on the sidelines and watch until he feels comfortable. When we go to someone’s house or people he doesn’t know come to ours, we don’t force him to be social right away. We let him choose when he’s ready to engage. And, once he’s ready, he typically engages wholeheartedly.

I don’t think this is a bad trait to have. In fact, I like that he doesn’t jump right into things without thinking. But I hope that, as he gets older, he will be able to get comfortable with change more quickly and understand that new situations can be good.

In the meantime, I’m trying to remain patient with my little guy because I know how scary change can be.

What’s normal?

Recently, I realized that I haven’t paid much attention to what Bo “should” be doing. What I mean is that, this time around, I haven’t cracked open my week-by-week-type books that tell me what to expect in terms of my baby’s development.

When Littleman was a baby, i pretty much read all the baby books cover to cover. I definitely find myself to be more laid-back this time around. I know that not every baby is a textbook case. Bo seems to be thriving and, while I don’t know exactly when he’s supposed to hit each milestone, I feel pretty confident that he falls within the normal range when it comes to his development.

So, you can imagine my surprise when I stumbled across one of my baby books this morning and opened it up to the “Week 19” chapter.

What!? 2.5 hours of crying a day? Well, this is one area of “normal” that I’m happy to report that Bo does not meet. In fact, I don’t think he cries for 2.5 hours in a week.

I don’t want to sound braggy to anyone who has a crier out there, but this kid just doesn’t cry. (And I bet your kid is rolling onto his tummy or sleeping through the night or drinking from a bottle or something else that my kid can’t do, so let’s call it even).

Anyway, seeing that just reinforced my belief that I don’t need a book to tell me that my kid is doing ok. Sure, it can be a good reference when I have a question or am unsure about something but it can also be stressful if you think your baby should be doing exactly what the book says.

I’ve watched enough of my friends have kids that I know each child is different. For example, my older son hated purées when we introduced him to them at 4.5 months. In fact, he pretty much hated food until we started giving him things with texture.

On the other hand, I’ve seen friends’ babies who gobbled up bowls full of baby cereal and other purées. They’d eat anything you offered them!

I know babies who crawled early and babies who never crawled at all (including me!). I know 2-year-olds who are fully toilet trained and 3-year-olds still in diapers.

Clearly, then, there’s a bit of a range when it comes to what’s “normal.” I’m glad I’m able to not stress about it too much and to just enjoy each milestone as it happens.

Postpartum body update: love it or hate it?

It could be that it’s bathing suit season and we have a pool. Or perhaps it’s because my pre-pregnancy clothes are not of the loose or baggy variety. Likely it’s a combination of both that is making me realize that I’m not a big fan of my body these days.

I had a pretty decent body before I had kids. Sure it wasn’t perfect, but at 5’6″ and 130lbs, I looked ok.

I gained about 30 lbs with my first pregnancy and lost it all (and more) pretty quickly after giving birth. I was more fit than I’d ever been in my life during my maternity leave and felt pretty good about how I looked once I went back to work.

My body hasn’t been so forgiving this time around. I gained an extra 10 lbs with this pregnancy and it’s those 10 lbs that are being stubborn. Besides my breasts, which have to be storing some of the weight, I seem to have a rather unsightly bulge in my tummy area. I can fit into most of my clothes, but my muffin-top looks unattractive when I wear any of my more fitted tops.

I’m doing a weekly fitness class and going on tons of walks with the stroller, but my pre-baby body alludes me.

I am trying, I really am, but it seems that I’m losing the battle against my sweet tooth. In fact, as I type this, I’m waiting for some chocolate chip cookies to bake. You see, breastfeeding makes me crave sugar. I mean, I need it. Like ALL THE TIME.

Since I don’t think I’ll be able to stop myself from eating treats right now, I’m just going to try to do it in moderation. That’s the best I can hope for right now! (Does 6 chocolate chip cookies count as moderation?  They’re small.  Really small.)

In an attempt to motivate myself to move more, I bought myself a fitbit.  I’ve been using it for about a month now. It definitely helps, although it frustrates me because I don’t think it’s totally accurate. I bought the fitbit flex, which you wear on your wrist. I thought this was the best option for me because I can keep it on all the time. I’ve used pedometers in the past but wouldn’t always remember to clip them on before heading out. With the wrist version, it’s always on me.

The problem I’ve discovered? My stroller. I don’t think the fitbit flex tracks my steps accurately when I’m pushing my stroller. My mom and I have gone on a few walks together and she always ends up with a lot more steps than me, even though we walk the same distance and would have similar strides. It’s annoying, although I suppose it’s better to underestimate rather than overestimate my step count.

That being said, I generally really like it.  Some of the things I enjoy are:

  • It’s always on my wrist, so no fear of forgetting it or running it through the wash (although it is water resistant!)
  • It tracks sleep, so it’s interesting to see how shitty I’m sleeping these days (as if I don’t already know!).  I think I’ll like this feature better once Bo stops waking so much in the night.
  • The ability to have friends (who I secretly compete with).  I only have my mom and my brother-in-law right now, but I sure love it when my weekly step count is higher than theirs!  I’m terribly competitive so this helps motivate me, for sure.
  • The fitbit app, which lets me check my steps and distance on my iphone.  I’ve been known to do laps of my main floor when I’m close to 10,000 steps so that I can hit my goal before I go to bed.
  • The fact that it vibrates to let me know that I’ve reached my goal. There is nothing more satisfying than a little buzz on my wrist to remind me of how far I’ve walked (ok, maybe chocolate chip cookies are a little more satisfying!)

As I strolled through the neighborhood this afternoon, I ended up walking behind three teenage girls. They all had long, lean legs clad in tiny jean shorts. They had minuscule waists. There was barely an ounce of fat on any of them, and they certainly didn’t have belly flab or love handles.

I used to look like that. About 20 years ago. But still.

As my fitbit buzzed to tell me I’d walked my 10,000 steps, I thought to myself, would I like to trade with them? Would I give up my flabby belly, and all that goes along with it, for a body like that? I looked at my baby, asleep in his stroller, and I knew the answer. This belly gave me my two amazing boys. It might not look as good as it used to, but I refuse to hate it. This body, muffin top and all, has done amazing things.

I know there is a good chance that I’ll never look the way I did before. I may never love my body. And I know it certainly won’t happen while I keep eating sugary treats. So for now, I will try my best to eat better and work out more, while quietly thanking the fashion gods that loose flowy tops seem to be in style right now.

4 months

Another month has gone by already and Bo is now four months old!  He continues to amaze me everyday.  He’s such a sweet and happy little guy.

In terms of physical development, he is getting stronger and stronger.  He reaches out for anything you put in front of him and can grab and hold things well.  He happily flips from front to back, but still isn’t rolling from his back to his tummy.


He smiles most of the time, with his biggest grins reserved for his big brother.  He coos and babbles and giggles a lot.

Sleeping is still inconsistent, but I am happy to report that he goes to sleep very easily.  Some nights he wakes every 2.5-3 hours to eat, while on a couple of very special occasions, he’s given me a good 6-7 hour stretch.  Either way, I can put him down awake and he’ll fall asleep himself (amazing, I know!)  He’s even been known to pass out on his activity mat!

After feeding him in the night, he falls back to sleep quickly.  I know so many people struggle with getting their babies to sleep – I sure did with my first and my sister is going through it right now – so I definitely appreciate what I have right now. I’d love to get some longer stretches of rest but I know it could be so much worse.

He’s still sleeping in his bassinet in our room (the deal with my husband was 4 months!) but he’s starting to get too big. We plan to move him into his own room soon. He’s already been having some daytime naps in his crib so I don’t expect it to be a hard transition (for him, at least!)

Everyone thinks Bo is such a big baby, so it was interesting to see what he weighed-in at when we took him to his 4-month doctor’s appointment. Turns out he’s a bit smaller than his big brother was. Bo is 17lbs 2oz and 26.5″. (At 4 months, Littleman weighed 17lbs 8oz and was 26.75″). He’s definitely on the large side though. The pediatrician commented that “17lbs is a great size for a 9 month old!” Har, har, har… Sooo funny! But seriously, he looks absolutely minute beside my niece who is 18lbs 4oz at the same age.

Bo did great at his appointment. He smiled at the doc throughout his check-up and only cried briefly after his shots. The worst part was a couple of hours later. After sleeping for most of the afternoon, he woke up extremely upset. Nothing, not even nursing, would console him. Luckily it didn’t last too long. I just felt so bad for the little guy, who is normally so pleasant and happy. It sure is horrible seeing your baby so upset.

I’m still exclusively breastfeeding. We have given up on the bottle, mainly because I forget to practice (and I hate pumping). I don’t plan to introduce solids until 6 months this time around. We started at 4.5 months with Littleman, but he wasn’t really into it at all so I don’t feel the need to rush.

This turned into a longer update than I expected! I think the main thing I want to remember about Bo at this age is how relaxed and easy-going he is. I know that can all change at any time so I am enjoying the flexibility right now.

I’ll leave off with a few more pics: