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!

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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.

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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.

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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.