Another year

As 2015 draws to a close, I have become more aware than ever of how quickly time is moving.  I realize that I’ve been an absentee blogger for much of this year.  In fact, as I sat down to write this, I noticed that my last post was more than two months ago.  How did that happen?

I guess I sort of know the answer to that.  Or the answers (plural).  First, of course, I went back to work after a year-long maternity leave.  Being a working mom of two young boys has challenged me more than I could have known.  They are such good boys, but just managing the regular day-to-day tasks like daycare pick ups, making dinner, baths, laundry, packing lunch, etc. is enough to drain me.

Then there’s work itself.  I was promoted to manager while I was on mat leave and inherited an employee who I had never met before.  This employee is challenging in many ways and it has made the transition tougher than it should have been.  I was promoted again a couple of months ago and I now have five employees and a new area of responsibility.  This is a good thing but doesn’t leave me with any extra time.

And, as is to be expected, we enjoyed a few weeks of illness in our house, culminating in a miserable sinus infection for me right before the holidays.

So here we are now.  Christmas is over and it’s New Year’s Eve.  We’re at the farm with my family and the littles are napping.  The others are outside playing in the (tiny bit of) snow.  It’s too much for me to reflect on the whole of 2015, other than to say that it had its ups and downs.  It was a tough year for me in many ways, but a good year overall.  My boys are growing and developing and doing amazing things everyday.  We’re all healthy.  That’s all I really need.

I know I need to take some time to really think about this blog and whether or not there is a future for me here.  I did not intend to just drop off the face of the earth – I often wonder and worry about others when that happens – and I truly thought I could keep going.  But now I wonder if I really do have anything more to say.  And, more importantly, the time and desire to say it.

In the meantime, I’m still here in the background, following your celebrations and struggles, your losses and joys.  I’m still here reading about your kids and families, your recipes and fashion finds, your ups and your downs.  I don’t comment very often (I usually sneak in a quick read at the bus stop or on the elevator) but I am here.

Happy New Year… 2016 here we come!

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First day of JK

Despite my minor anxiety, the first day of school went off without a hitch. 

Littleman, D and I joined some neighbours for the walk to school. Although it was hot and rainy, the kids were excited. We arrived in the kindergarten school yard to see a sea of kids, parents and umbrellas.  Surprisingly, it was all very civilized. 

 Littleman’s teacher greeted us and showed us where the kids should line up. Then, because of the rain, the teachers whisked the lines of kids inside quickly. We watched our sweet boy walk inside his “big boy school” holding hands with a little girl he knew from daycare. 

Throughout the day, I worried about how he was doing. Would he eat his lunch?  Make new friends?  Listen to the teacher?  

Littleman is in full day kindergarten, but we still need care for before and after school. He’s enrolled in the daycare that is run in the school, so most days he’ll be dropped and picked up at the daycare. 

On the first day, I arrived in the daycare room after work, anxious to find out how his first day of school went. When he saw me, he started to cry. No, not because he didn’t like school. But because he didn’t want to go home yet. He wanted to stay and play. 

It will take me some time to get used to the changes in our routine (I will save my whining about my rather unpleasant mornings when I have to drop off both kids on my own without a car for another time) but, generally, I think I can say things are going well.  My kid who used to really struggle with change and take a fair amount of time to warm up to new people, has adjusted amazingly well. I’m so proud of how he’s adapted to his new school. 

Jitters

Today’s my first “back-to-school” day since becoming a parent. Littleman starts kindergarten today!

His (superhero-themed) backpack is ready, lunch is packed and clothes are laid out. He’s ready. 

But am I ready?  I thought so. Littleman is going to be just fine. I know that. So why do I have that nervous, first-day-of-school tummy right now?  After so many years away from the school scene, I had forgotten how that feels!

In two hours, I’ll deliver my sweet boy to his new teacher and watch him head off for a whole new adventure. He’ll make new friends and learn new things. This is good.  Right?

Proud mama

As my kids get older, I’m realizing that there’s a lot more to this whole parenting thing than meets the eye. Sure, parenting babies is tough. Sleepless nights, feeding issues, gross diapers, teething misery…all legitimate challenges. But making sure my children turn into good people with the kind of qualities I like to see in a human being? Man, that’s tough.

My husband and I do our best to instill in our children good manners and the importance of being well-behaved. We (attempt to!) discipline when appropriate without constantly nagging. It’s a fine balance.  Sometimes I feel like I’m always saying “no” or “don’t” so I’ve started trying harder to think about whether or not it’s really necessary before I tell my kids to stop doing something.

All that being said, we got a really nice compliment from one of Littleman’s daycare teachers the other day. Littleman is currently one of the oldest kids at the daycare and will be leaving to start kindergarten in September. At the beginning of the month, several new children joined his class. Apparently, he took one of the new kids, “Jack”, under his wing and has been helping him get adjusted to his new classroom. He’s been showing Jack where things are and sitting with him during activities. He even helped Jack cut his food at lunch when he was struggling one day.

The teacher was very complimentary about how kind and helpful Littleman has been. I’m not gonna lie, I was very proud. As parents, it often feels like our kids don’t listen to anything we say and we rarely get a chance to witness how they act when we aren’t there with them. It was so nice to hear that our child took it upon himself to help another person.

I hope as he grows, he continues to be the kind and loving person that he is today. Because, so far, I’m one proud mama! 

   

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. 

    
    
 

Life lessons: sun protection

As I slathered on my SPF 60 yesterday before heading outside for some time at the pool, I realized that I’ve finally accepted that my skin is pale.  

Growing up, sun care was not the same as it is today. My sister and I are pretty fair-skinned (thanks to our Irish-Canadian mother who’s genes managed to dominate over those of our Italian dad). I remember my mom cracking out the SPF 8 “sun tan lotion” and sometimes, if we were getting really red, we’d have to use 15. Can you even buy 8 anymore?  Does it actually help?

Anyway, as I got older, I knew I needed to take better care of my skin – and I new how painful sunburns could be. But I still loved the feeling of being in the sun and felt so much better about myself when I had a great tan. 

Now that I’m a mom, I’ve finally accepted that it just isn’t worth it. Already, I can see the damage that’s been done to my skin – the fine lines and freckles. I hope that my kids will grow up knowing that their skin is beautiful just the way it is. I hope that they understand how important it is that they protect themselves from the harmful effects of the sun. 

 Just yesterday, Littleman looked outside and spotted my dad on the tractor, cutting the lawn with no shirt on. He announced to my mom, “Nana! Nonno is outside with none shirt and none sunscreen!”

I think he’s getting the message.