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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I’m still here…

I know, I know.  I did that thing where I got so far behind in writing that I just didn’t know how to start again.  I think the last time I really meant to write was when Bo turned 15 months.  And now he’s more than 16 months…

So, I’m here.  I’m ok.  We’re taking some vacation time this week and hanging out at the farm so I’m hoping to get a bit of alone time (haha, ya right!) to catch up on some writing.  But for now, here is brief status update:

  • Bo is finally walking!  He took his first real steps a couple of weeks ago and just this week, he’s finally realized that walking is faster/better than crawling.  Good timing, because it’s damn hot here and I couldn’t put him in shorts when he was crawling because his poor knees were getting all butchered.
  • Summer is so much better than winter.  We are spending tons of time outside and, when I’m on my own with the kids, we’re all so much happier when we aren’t stuck indoors.
  • We bought a bouncy castle.  It’s just a small basic one but the boys love it.  Money well spent!
  • Work has been a bit rough lately.  I have a challenging employee (who was hired for me when I was on maternity leave).  I’ve been trying so hard to be open-minded but it’s getting really hard.

I’m feeling like our vacation couldn’t have come at a better time.  I know I’ve only been back at work for four months, but I was definitely starting to burn out.  I’m hoping a nice break, with time spent out of the city with my guys, will help refresh me.  Now I’m going to crack open my eReader and enjoy a few moments of silence by the pool before the baby awakes and the other boys return from their work in the field.  The only company I have right now are these girls – and I’m pretty sure they’re too busy chomping on the grass to bother with me! 

   

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. 

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.

Horsing around

Two years ago, we were here at the farm celebrating this May long weekend. The horses had arrived back in our pasture after spending the winter at their owner’s farm. I wrote about my envy of the horses and their babies, feeling sad that I had been trying to conceive and had recently miscarried. 

Two years later, I’m here again with my two boys. The horses have returned and, this time, it’s them who don’t have their babies. Of the three mares that arrived at our farm the other night, one recently suffered a still birth and another had two miscarriages this year.  One is currently pregnant and on some medication to help sustain her pregnancy. 

I was so surprised when I heard that. And sad. I wonder what an animal feels when they lose a baby. I know horses have a really long gestational period (something like 11 months!) and I can’t imagine that they wouldn’t be aware of the loss after all that time. 

I’m not an animal person. In fact, I’m actually quite terrified of most animals (including these horses) and usually stay as far away as I can. But I do find them interesting and I’ve been amazed by what I’ve seen as I observed these creatures (from a safe distance!) I watched as the babies were separated from the moms one summer when it was time for them to be weaned and I heard their cries.  I saw the grandmother put the babies in their place when they wouldn’t obey their owners. I watched them mourn when one of their sisters died. 

Two years ago, I knew that I was being irrational when I felt a bit of anger towards the horses for having something I wanted.  Nonetheless, I still felt what I felt. 

I’m not really sure where I’m going with this except that perhaps I can learn a little lesson from these horses. If nothing else, I think this is a good reminder for me that I don’t always know the full story behind someone else’s journey. When I’m jealous that someone has something that I want, I need to take a moment to realize there may be something there that I don’t want…something they won’t or can’t tell me about.  Of course, this is something I’m going to need to work on. Just this morning, I received an email pregnancy announcement from a friend and, as happy as I am for her, I also felt a little twinge of jealousy. I guess I’m a work in progress.  

 

Stretched thin

A colleague of mine (single female with no children, I must point out) asked me why women are so bad at staying in touch with their girlfriends once they have kids. I realize she was making a generalization based on the fact that she was frustrated with one friend who hadn’t returned her calls, but I still felt the need to defend the friend a bit. 

As I thought about my own life and my relationships with my girlfriends since becoming a mom, I realized how tough it can be. 

Right now, I’m still trying to get settled into some sort of a routine as a working mom of two. In doing so, I’ve come to realize how many roles I have and how many different (and sometimes conflicting) expectations people have of me and, quite frankly, that I have of myself.  When I examine those roles and expectations, I discover that I’m doing a whole lot of things, but not really doing any of them terribly well. 

I’m trying the best I can to be a good mom to my kids, but often I feel like I’m rushing around and getting impatient with them. I’m trying to be a good employee and manager, but it feels like I’m always playing catch-up as my to-do list grows. I’m trying to be a good wife, but it feels like my husband and I barely get to say hello to each other, let alone have a real conversation or spend any meaningful time together. 

So, where does that leave girlfriends?  My two closest girlfriends are my best friend from high school and my roommate from university. They are both single. On the one hand, their schedules are a little more flexible and they are always willing to come to me for a visit. But I’m sure they’d prefer to spend time with me in a non-kid setting (and I would like that too!)

And then there are all the other people in my life that I wish I had more time for: extended family, family friends, work friends…

I feel like I’m being pulled in all different directions and getting stretched out of shape.  In an attempt to do everything, I feel like I manage to do nothing. 

I know the advice I would give someone else in my shoes: “go easy on yourself.”  “It will get better.” And, “you are doing a much better job than you think.”  So I’m trying to remind myself of that. 

Monday is a holiday here in Canada and I’m taking tomorrow off work to give myself an extra-long weekend. I know this will cause me some extra stress on the work front, but some family time is something I really need right now. Then, maybe, I can tackle the girlfriends!

Dirt and grime: it’s outside time!

I live in a neighborhood that is filled with young families. On our block alone, there are five kids born in Littleman’s year (2011) and five born in Bo’s year (2014). Not included in those counts are four sets of twins and tons of other kids of various ages. Just this week, another baby was born. 

Now that the weather is nicer and we can be outside, I’m really starting to appreciate how awesome it is to have so many people close by whose families are similar to ours. There is nothing better than hanging out in the backyard, chatting with neighbours and drinking wine while watching the kids play together. 

With all this outdoor time, however, comes dirt. Lots and lots of dirt. For Littleman, who is four, the biggest offender is grass. Every pair of jeans he owns sports lovely green grass stains on both knees. Bo, on the other hand, favours soil. He’s not walking yet but hates being confined to a stroller or wagon for very long, so we’ve given up on cleanliness and just let him crawl. Unfortunately, he tends to go straight for the gardens, where he sits happily and throws handfuls of dirt all over himself. He ends up looking like Pigpen when we’re finished playing. 

I’m learning to get over the dirtiness. I suspect this is going to be part of my life for quite some time, being the mom of two boys. Stained clothes, dirty fingernails and sweaty little heads are well worth it when I see how happy they are to just be outside. 

And, let’s face it, I’m pretty happy to be outside too. Especially if I have a glass of wine in my hand and some adult company!