Seven

On August 25, 2007, I married D.

It’s hard to believe how much our lives have changed in the seven years since then. But one thing remains the same: he is still an amazing (and hot!) man. Although I know I’m not always great at showing it, love him so much.

Our wedding day was amazing. Of course, it also had its glitches. We planned for an outdoor ceremony in a beautiful courtyard. It was the driest summer on record. But, less than an hour before the wedding was to begin, the skies opened up and the rain came down. We had to go with “plan b” and move everything inside.

To our delight, when we walked back down the aisle as husband and wife, the storm had passed and the sun was shining. Our guests were able to enjoy cocktails outside.

The reception was so much fun. People still tell us that ours was the best wedding they’ve ever been to. (We even had some family friends choose the same venue because they loved our wedding so much!) The food was delicious and plentiful. The bar was open. The music was perfect. The speeches were funny and emotional.

All in all, August 25, 2007 turned out to be a pretty special day.

But you know what’s really special? All the days since then. Some days are bad and some days are good. Sometimes we’re so busy we barely see each other. Sometimes we’re covered in spit-up or baby poo. Sometimes we’re so tired, we can barely see straight. But no matter what’s going on, I know D loves me and our boys. I’m lucky to have him as my husband and the father of my children.

I love you, D. Happy Anniversary.

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Just a dream

There’s a lot of conflicting information and advice out there when it comes to feeding a baby.

At five-months-old, Bo is still exclusively breastfed. I feed him on demand and that works for us. The bottle was a bust so he has never had any formula, although we’ve started practicing with a sippy cup in the hopes that someone else can help feed him someday soon. I currently use breastmilk in the sippy but, when (if?) he gets the hang of it, I’ll likely start offering formula when he uses the cup.

All of this is to say that, although I had hoped for things to be different with this baby, I’m still the only one who can get up in the night to feed the kid. He’s a pretty quick eater and settles back down easily after eating, but it’s still hard having to wake up night after night.

Recently, I started to notice a little pattern to his sleep. He usually shows signs of being ready for bed sometime around 7pm. After feeding, he’ll generally fall asleep. But, often he’ll wake right before or shortly after I go to bed. It is after that feed that he’s most likely to have a long (ish) stretch of sleep.

It started getting annoying to be woken up only an hour (or less) after falling asleep. So I decided to try the dream feed.

Some people say this doesn’t work at all and others swear by it. Some say it creates a habit of needing to eat at that time. Personally, I don’t care what they say because it’s been working for us.

Here’s what I do: get myself ready for bed, creep into Bo’s room and scoop him up. Usually he opens his eyes and smiles. Then, we settle in the chair and he gets down to the business of snacking. As soon as his sucking slows or stops, I take him off the breast and lay him back down. Since he’s barely awoken and hasn’t taken in much air, I don’t usually burp him. I creep back out and that’s that.

After a couple of weeks of trying the dream feed, I’m pretty happy with the results. We’ve had a couple of 9 hour stretches and a few 6 hour ones. Some nights, I don’t end up having to get up at all. Other nights, I still have to get up for one feed. Either way, it’s better than before.

I know Bo’s patterns can change in the blink of an eye but for now, we’ll continue to do what’s working for us. Dream on!

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Butting heads (and breaking my heart)

My relationship with my three-year-old is pretty strained these days.

Littleman is a good kid. He’s happy, smart and funny. When you first meet him, he’s very shy. But once he gets comfortable, he’s your best friend. He’s sensitive and cares about people. Other parents have described him as kind.

But he’s also 3. He is strong-willed and impatient. He’s testing boundaries and attempting to do things on his own.

Lately, I’ve been having a tough time with him. Even when I’m trying to do something fun with him, he always pushes. Always fights me.

On the other hand, he is a perfect angel when he spends time with my parents. He’s great with my husband. It breaks my heart that they can have such fun with him while my time with him is a constant battle.

In the past few weeks, I’ve tried extra-hard to be more patient and to nag him less. I know it’s been an adjustment for him since his baby brother arrived five months ago, so I’m trying to do some fun things with him. But it doesn’t seem to matter. Even if we spend a whole day doing things that revolve around him (going to the park, eating a picnic in the backyard, jumping through the sprinkler), we still end up butting heads. Why?

My husband recently said something that just made it all hurt even more. “Why don’t you try just playing with him instead is nagging him?”

I know that’s what it looks like to everyone else, but they don’t see the whole picture. Still, those words stung.

I’m stuck in a hard place. I’d love to take my older son for some one-on-one time. There are so many things I’d like to do with him. But I’m also exclusively breastfeeding an infant who won’t take a bottle. When the baby needs something, most of the time I’m the only one who can respond.

So of course Littleman is going to prefer the time he spends with his dad or his grandparents. They’re the ones who can focus solely on him.

We do have some good moments, which I savour as much as I can. I love my kids so much and want them to be happy.

I know my situation is not unique. Moms everywhere deal with this when their second (or more) babies come along. And I know this won’t last forever. Soon enough, the baby will get older and won’t be so reliant on mommy. But knowing all of that doesn’t make my heart hurt any less.

Home again

Bo and I arrived home after a couple of days out of town visiting my sister and my university roommate. Turns out, Bo was a champion road-tripper.

My best friend and I hit the road, with Bo in tow, and had a wonderful time. Some highlights of our time away include:

– cuddling with my adorable niece
– spending time with the girls
– visiting the beach
– chocolate dipped butter tarts (yes, that’s right!)
– time in the car without having to listen to a Bubble Guppies DVD
– chocolate covered Double Stuff Oreos
– sleeping by myself in a king-sized bed

My best friend and I have been friends for 22 years. She is a huge part of my children’s lives but lately it seems that everything we do revolves around them. I know she loves them (and she is so amazingly helpful) but I wish we could spend more time together in a kid-free environment. Although we had Bo with us for this little getaway, we were still able to talk, catch up and just enjoy each other’s company without answering “why?” every two seconds.

All in all, it was a lovely time. I missed Littleman and D, but I really needed something for myself.

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Road trip

This morning, Bo and I are hitting the road. My best friend and I are taking him on a little road trip.

First stop: my sister’s house, two-hours away. We’ll spend some time with my sister and my niece. It will be nice to hang out with them without all the craziness of having a three-year-old around.

Then, we’ll carry on to our other girlfriend’s cottage. It’s in a little town that we’ve never been to and it should be nice to spend some time by the lake.

Although Bo is coming with us, I’m still really looking forward to some time away with the girls. Any time that I spend with my sister or my girlfriends is usually dominated by my kids (I’m so lucky that they all love my kids so much) so I’m grateful for the chance to get away and (hopefully!) squeeze in a couple glasses of wine, some delicious food and some adult conversation.

Littleman will be staying with my mom while I’m away because D has to work. I’m guessing he’ll barely notice I’m gone because he’ll be so excited to spend time with Nana.

So far we’ve had no issues with the car, so hopefully Bo will be a good passenger and enjoy his first road trip.

Special day out

Today was a pretty great day.

The weather was good and D wasn’t working, so we decided to take the boys to Toronto’s Centre Island.

Centre Island is a park/beach/amusement park that is just a short ferry ride from downtown Toronto. I loved going there as a kid and really wanted Littleman to experience it.

It was awesome. He loved riding the ferry. We planned well and got there right as Centreville (the children’s amusement park) was opening so it wasn’t too busy. Littleman got in the spirit right away and rode a whole bunch of rides. It’s geared towards little kids so he could go on many of the rides by himself.

We brought a blanket and had a picnic lunch on the grass so that Bo could have some time out of the stroller. And then, at the end of the day, I bought Littleman his first cotton candy. Mmmmm!

I’m so glad we decided to go. It’s beautiful over there and makes me realize that I need to spend more time taking advantage of the parks and attractions our city has to offer. I don’t often stray out of my neighborhood but today proves that I definitely should.

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The breastfeeding beatdown

My baby has started assaulting me. And by that, I mean hitting, slapping, pinching, scratching and just generally mauling me.

I had forgotten about this part of breastfeeding.

Until recently, nursing my infant was a pretty calm, relaxing time for both of us. But in the past week, it’s turned downright violent.

It starts out innocently enough, with his arm reaching up to stroke my neck and face. Then, out of nowhere, it turns into a full blown smack-down.

I vaguely recall my first son doing this at some point (although I think he preferred to stick his fingers up my nose). What I can’t remember is how long it lasted.

Please tell me it’s just a phase and he’ll grow out of it soon. Because getting punched in the face repeatedly several times a day is not my idea of calm or relaxing.