Becoming a big boy – Bo at 15 months

I feel as though I owe you (or, if nothing else, I owe myself) an update about Bo.  I feel as though I did a pretty decent job of avoiding the whole “second child syndrome” and I actually documented his first year of life fairly decently.  Of course, I was on maternity leave and his older brother was in daycare so I didn’t really have much of an excuse to be delinquent.  However, since returning to work right after his first birthday, I’ve failed miserably at keeping track of his milestones and development.

So, here we go…

Growth
At his 15 month check-up (which was a month ago), he weighed 24lbs 7oz and was 31 inches tall.  That put him in the 73rd percentile for weight and the 41st for height.  Of course, he still has a giant head (which I’ve heard is common among screen stars, so we’ll see where that leads him…)

Development
Bo likes to take things at his own speed.  He has been behind his older brother when it comes to hitting developmental milestones and he still seems like such a baby to me.  He was in absolutely no rush to walk and was happy as can be to remain on all fours.  He enjoyed cruising and climbing (stairs, couches, you name it) but would drop to his knees immediately if you tried to place him on his feet.  He finally took his first real steps at daycare a couple of weeks ago (and the daycare ladies did an amazing job of catching it on video and emailing it to me at work, where I got teary at my desk, obv!)  Now, he practically runs and it has made our lives so much easier.  One might expect it to be harder to have a walker vs a crawler, however it was making it really difficult to spend time outdoors.  Bo hated being held or strapped into the stroller for long periods, but putting him down meant he was always in the dirt.  Plus, every pair of pants had ripped knees and he couldn’t wear shorts.

In other developmental news, he finally popped three more teeth, which has improved his mood drastically.  For a while there, the poor kid was a whiny mess with hands in his mouth all the time.

Personality
Between the new walking skills and the new chompers, he has settled back into his generally happy self.  It was touch and go for a while and I was worried that our good-natured baby was turning into a  grumpy toddler.  But I think it was just his body that was brining him down.  He’s much happier now.  He still loves Littleman more than anyone in the world.  Except for maybe me.  He is a MAJOR mama’s boy.  I’m not gonna lie…it’s kind of sweet.  By this age, Littleman was already totally into daddy and I was a second class citizen.  But Bo makes it perfectly clear (in a variety of ways) that I’m still his number one.  Sometimes I wish he’d give me a bit of a break, but I know it won’t last forever so I’m cherishing it for now.

Eating
So, feeding a toddler’s always fun, isn’t it?  The teeth situation made eating a disaster for a while.  He’s gotten a bit better now, but it’s still a challenge to figure out what he’ll eat.  He used to love sandwiches, but now he tries to stuff the whole thing into his mouth rather than taking bites.  He ends up gagging on it and spitting it out.  So I’ve learned to break things up into bite sized bits but, if I’m not watching carefully, he’ll jam too much into his cheeks and then, again, have to spit it all out.  Ugh.  He loves to feed himself and is good at eating oatmeal, yogurt, Cheerios with milk and, his favourite, egg salad.

Also, I’m still nursing.  I didn’t expect to still be at it, but, hence, this is where we are.  I’m only nursing him first thing in the morning and then right before bed, but he’s showing no signs of being done with it.  Littleman breastfed until about 14 months (and we had dropped down to only the bedtime feed by the end).  At 16+ months, Bo is still going strong.

Likes, dislikes and such…
Bo has a few favourite things.  He loves his stuffed bunny, which he sleeps with and likes to cuddle.  He enjoys books, but doesn’t really want to hear you read them out loud.  Instead, he insists on holding them himself and flipping pages.  His preference is books with textures (think fluffy animals or rough trucks) and he now knows when a book is upside down and promptly flips it over.

We’ve spent a lot of time in the pool at the farm this week and he really enjoys the water.  He was unsure at first (I never did parent-and-baby swimming lessons with him – mommy fail) so it took him some time to adjust.  Now, though, he wants to “jump” off the side and doesn’t mind going under water at all.

He pretty much enjoys anything that his big brother is doing, which sometimes leads to some unhappiness.  Luckily, Littleman is very good with him and will usually give up whatever toy he’s using to avoid a meltdown.  We’re so grateful that he’s such a good big brother.

Well, this turned out longer than I expected but, if you’re still actually reading, I think you get a sense of what Bo is like these days.  I’ll leave you with a few pics. 

    
    
 

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Jealous of what I already have?

More and more often these days, I find myself thinking about having another baby. Wouldn’t it be amazing?, I think. Then I remember how little our house is. And how often I’m alone with my kids while my husband works nights or weekends. And, the real kicker, how expensive childcare is.

I know you’re probably thinking, you’ve said this all before. What’s changed?

On the one hand, nothing has changed. If we could afford a bigger house in our neighbourhood and childcare expenses, then, yes, we may be more seriously considering a third child.

On the other hand, I’m so super lucky to have what I always wanted: two amazing kids.

I just found out that one my friends (who is also my next door neighbour) is pregnant with her second baby. Her first is just a few weeks older than Bo. When she first told me (last night, by text) I felt the familiar kick-in-the-gut stab of jealousy. What?  Why do I feel this way?  She’s getting exactly what I already have and, yet, I’m feeling jealous of her?

I saw a girl at work yesterday who is due to give birth to her first baby later this month. She is huge and feels uncomfortable. And I was jealous.

My husband showed me a picture of his buddy’s brand new daughter last night. She was still a little bloody, and naked, and perfect. And I was jealous.

After a semi-decent night’s sleep and a chance to reflect on all of yesterday’s baby-related revelations (we won’t even discuss Kim and Kanye), I’m starting to wonder if what I’m really jealous of is the fact that these people are just starting their family building journeys. They still have all the craziness and unknowns and excitement of pregnancy/childbirth/life with a newborn ahead of them.  Is that it?  Perhaps.

I have to remind myself that I hated trying to get pregnant and I didn’t really enjoy pregnancy. But seeing two pink lines on that test (ok, who am kidding, those 20 tests!) is so freaking amazing.

And actual labour and childbirth was not my favourite (nor was recovery) but those sweet new babies are the best.

Plus, there is that wonderful year of maternity leave.  There was nothing better than having a year at home to focus on my family and spending time with my sweet baby.  But that also means returning to work, which has been significantly harder the second time around and I imagine would bet even tougher if I had to do it again.

I know that it’s time for me to start focusing on the next stage of life – helping my babies grow into successful people.  It appears that it just may take me a while to come to terms with the fact that our family is complete.  In the meantime, I will do my best to smile and wish my friends well as they continue to grow their own families.

Daycare drama

Figuring out who would take care of our children while we worked was one of the toughest parenting choices we’ve had to make. Having me be a stay at home mom was never a viable option for us financially, so as soon as I got pregnant with our first child, we started looking into childcare options.

We live in a city where finding daycare spaces can be very, very tough. Not only is daycare ridiculously expensive, there are also long waiting lists for many daycare centres, starting from before the babies are even born. We did some research and found a daycare centre that would meet our needs: good reputation, good facilities and convenient location. We got ourselves on the waiting list when I was three months pregnant, knowing that we would require care for our child starting at age one.

Fast forward to summer 2011. Our son, Littleman, was about six months old and we decided to ask to for another tour of the daycare we had chosen. Now that we were parents, we had a better sense of what we wanted to know/ask about so we set up a time to visit. As we took the tour, we spoke to the supervisor about the chances of space being available when we needed it in January 2012. This is when we learned that Littleman was unlikely to get a spot.

Right away, we started looking around for other options. While we preferred the idea of a daycare centre rather than a home daycare, options were limited because we needed something in walking distance from our home and there weren’t many places that accepted babies under 18 months. We ended up choosing a home daycare where Littleman would be one of five children. We had to start paying for the spot two months before we needed it because someone else would have snatched it up if we didn’t.

We expected the transition from being at home with me to being in daycare all day to be tough for Littleman. We had heard that it often takes a couple of weeks for kids to settle into the new routine. What we didn’t expect is that he would NEVER settle in.

After two and a half months of constant crying, emails and phone calls to pick him up early, we finally had to admit defeat and accept that this daycare just wasn’t right for us. We made the decision to pull him out. I checked in with our first choice – the daycare centre – to see if there was a chance he could get a spot there. At the same time, I arranged to see a few other home daycares in the neighbourhood.

In the end, we chose to keep him at home for a couple of months until a space opened up at the daycare centre in the summer. We were lucky enough to find a nanny who was available part time to cover the days that D had to work. When she wasn’t available, I would take some time off of work or my mom would help out. When Littleman finally started at the daycare in July, he was 17 months old and the transition went extremely well. He was very happy there and remains happy there now. His little brother, Bo, joined him at the same daycare in February of this year.

Now that Littleman is four and will be starting Junior Kindergarten in September, we had to start over with the whole child care application process. Where we live, Kindergarten is now full day. Our public school offers a before and after school child care program. As it turns out, getting a spot in that program is just as cutthroat as regular daycare and we (almost) waited too long to get ourselves on the waiting list. After a couple of stressful weeks, we found out that Littleman got the last spot in the child care program.

We were super-relieved when we found out. But, seriously, what are people supposed to do if they don’t get a space for their child?   After the bad experience we had when Littleman was a baby, I hate the idea of having to settle for childcare that isn’t my first (or even second or third!) choice. Ugh

Learning from past mistakes, we have already put Bo on the waiting list for a before and after school child care space for when he starts Kindergarten (in 2018!). I know I will always worry a little bit about my kids when they are in the care of someone else, but hopefully I no longer have to worry about whether they have a daycare space at all.

My bubble

Starting back at work after a year-long maternity leave is tough.  I survived the first week and am trying to wrap my head around the fact that this life is my new normal.  One thing I’m starting to realize is that maternity leave was a bit like a bubble.

At the beginning of maternity leave, it feels like you’re living inside a brand new, tiny bubble.  The walls of the bubble are thick and there isn’t much room in there.  It’s ok, though, because you don’t need much room.  It’s just you and your new baby, really.  Sometimes dad or older siblings make their way in, but for the most part, it’s just mom and baby.

As time goes on, your bubble grows.  You start leaving the house again and seeing friends and family.  More people fit inside your bubble and the walls get a little less blurry.  But still, you’re separated from real life by a pretty thick film.

The bubble grows some more as your baby gets older and more independent.  You may actually get to leave the house without the baby (gasp!) and you start doing more activities.  You go out for coffee with other moms and babies.   At this point, you start to notice the rest of the world carrying on with work, commuting and all the other regular things that real people do.  Still, though, you aren’t really doing it yourself.

Then, no matter how prepared you are, that bubble suddenly bursts.  Your baby is separated from you, at daycare or with another caregiver.  You find yourself standing on a subway platform waiting for your train.  You’re wearing make up.  And nylons.  You shuffle along in a sea of other people on their way to work, like the march of the penguins.  And then, there you are, sitting at a desk with a huge, blinding computer screen in front of you and a bunch of fresh pens.  An IT guy hands you a blackberry that you can’t remember how to use and mumbles something about remote login.

It goes without saying that returning to work after having a baby is hard.  It’s a different, bigger, louder world than what I am used to.  Everyone has been saying, “in a couple of weeks, it will feel like you never left.”  They are probably right.  But for now, I miss my bubble.Photo 2014-07-04, 11 48 11 AM

One

Our sweet little baby boy turned one a week ago and he’s growing up everyday!

I’m so proud of him and the amazing kid that he is becoming.  He started daycare a few weeks ago and has been a champ when it comes to getting settled there.  He clings to me when I drop him off, but he’s happy as can be just minutes later.  He’s eating well and napping decently, which is all I can hope for right now.

At home, he’s become a bit of a mama’s boy, which I suppose is probably normal now that we’re separated all day long.  I’m not complaining, though!  My older son has always favoured his dad, so it’s nice to be someone’s first choice for now.

Eating

We’re still working on offering a variety of foods at home.  Bo is slowly losing interest in the purees, which is nice.  He accepts a larger range of textures now and shows interest in new things when placed on his tray.  He LOVED his birthday cupcakes.  Let me rephrase that, he LOVED the icing on his birthday cupcakes.  He licked them clean!

I’m still breastfeeding, but pretty much only twice or three times a day.  I feed him first thing in the morning and right before bed a night, with a quick feed right after daycare some evenings.

Sleep

The most amazing thing happened when Bo started going to daycare all day… sleep!  For the past couple of weeks, he has been sleeping 11-12 hours straight at night.  This is incredible.  For most of the last year, he woke at least twice per night, sometimes more.  My older son didn’t sleep through the night consistently until close to age two.  I know things can change with the drop of a hat, but my goodness, this is just dreamy.  I will take any bit of sleep I can get!

Development

There’s been lots of babbling going on around here.  My favourite, of course, is “mamamamama” but there is also a lot of “babababa” and “nanananana”.  No other real words, although he’s let out a few “uh ohs” and “wows” at appropriate times.  He’s finally showing interest in standing and will pull himself up using a couch or chair, but not too much in the way of cruising yet.  His crawling is very fast and effective (especially if he knows the fridge or dishwasher is open!) so he doesn’t have much incentive to walk right now.

He has six teeth with one more that looks close to breaking through.  His hair is pretty full and he’s even had a haircut (by daddy) already.  His big brother was still shiny-bald at age one, so this is new for us!

Personality

Bo is a sweetheart.  He’s easy-going and happy most of the time.  He’s not really a crier, but will whine a bit when he starts to get tired.

He is really starting to enjoy playing.  He actually pushed a car across the floor the other day and I heard him mumble, “vrrrooom!”  He is even happier when he’s playing with his favourite person in the world – his older brother.  There is nothing better than listening to my two boys laughing together.  It’s the best.


One Year Stats

Height: 30.5″
Weight: 22lbs 13oz
Teeth: 6
Clothing size: Tops/onesies/sleepers-12 months, Pants-9 months
Sleeping: 11 hrs per night, plus two 1-1.5 hr naps per day
Eating: breastfeeding 2-3 times per day, plus breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner (including homo milk in cup)

Nerves

It’s back to work for me tomorrow and the nerves are really starting to set in.

I’ve done everything I can do to get ready.  The freezer is stocked with meals.  The fridge and pantry are full of fresh food. My work friends have planned lunch for my first day, so I don’t need to worry about bringing something to eat.

Laundry is done.  I cleaned out my purse.  I packed a bag of shoes (for those who don’t live in a cold climate or take public transit, this is because I have to wear winter boots for my commute!)

Mom took me shopping for my birthday and bought me a new black suit, as well as a great dress.  Along with the few things I bought at the outlet mall in Florida, I’m feeling pretty good about my back-to-work wardrobe.  I tried on a few combinations so I know I can get through the first week without having to do much thinking about getting dressed.

I found a MAC gift card in my wallet (from who knows when?) and got myself a new lipstick.  My nails are painted.

So, that’s it.  There’s nothing more I can do.  Except worry, of course.  I worry about my boys.  Being away from them sucks.  I worry about having so little time together.  I hate knowing that our evenings are so short and that our time together will always feel rushed.  I worry about work.  I feel like I’ve lost some of my spark and I’m just not as sharp or quick on my feet as I used to be.  I worry that I’m not going to be able to keep up with the expectations that my new bosses will have.  I worry about not being able to keep the house organized.  Laundry, cleaning, cooking…

All of this, of course, is nothing new.  Moms go back to work after having children all the time.  I’ve done this before.  I know it will be hard and I also know that I will get through it.  I know that I will have moments where I suck at being a mom and I suck at doing my job.  But I also know that I need to go easy on myself at first because it will get easier.

Deep breaths.