What happened to your hair?

I keep meaning to sit down and write but then something else always seems to demand my attention.  I realize I’ve barely written anything since I went back to work and I’ve been particularly bad in the past couple of months.  I certainly haven’t stopped reading everyone else’s stuff, but I just can’t get my act together to spend any time in my own space.  I don’t know what that means for this blog…

But, I do have something new to talk about right now.  My hair!

I’ve always known that pregnancies can cause crazy things to happen to women’s bodies.  I’ve heard about a lot of people whose feet grew (ugh, imagine having to replace all your shoes!)  And, of course, after months of breastfeeding, many of us will never have full, perky breasts again (at least without some serious help).  But what I never expected was the most recent change that just happened to me.

Ever since I was a pre-teen, I’ve always envied girls with curly hair.  In the ’80s, my mom would spend hours painstakingly crimping my waist-length, pin-straight hair.  Much to my dismay, my hair generally refused to hold a curl, so the crimped look didn’t last long.  I tried braiding damp hair.  I tried hot rollers.  I even remember sleeping with my hair wrapped around some awful, foam-covered, bendy things in an attempt to have something other than perfectly straight hair.

By high school, I had given up and accepted that my hair was straight.  One benefit of the absolute straightness, was that I didn’t even need a blowdryer to get it straight.  I could wash my hair and let it dry naturally.  It was still straight.

As I got older, things slowly began to change.  My hair got a little frizzier and needed to be blow-dried in order to look smooth.  After my first son was born, I noticed a bit of a kink (or one giant wave?) had appeared at the very back of my head.  Kind of annoying, but relatively easy to deal with when blowdrying my hair.  After my second son, I noticed the kink was more pronounced.  When I’d finish drying my hair, it would never lie flat.  There was always a bit of a zig-zag there.  Kind of like this… 

 I wasn’t super excited about adding more time to my morning hair routine, but off I went to purchase a straightening iron.  After washing and blow drying, a quick straighten was all I needed and my hair was good for a couple of days.  Excellent.  Everything was under control. 

 But wait!  September arrived and it was the first week of school.  I had to drop both kids off at their respective daycares one morning and it was a very hot and humid day.  I had washed, blow dried and straightened that morning, right before we set off down the street.  I was pushing the stroller and Littleman was scurrying along beside me in an attempt to beat the imminent rain.  No such luck.   A misty rain began to fall.  I did my best to push the stroller with one hand while I held an umbrella with the other, but my hair got a bit exposed to the elements.  When I arrived at work that morning and popped into the ladies room, I was greeted with a surprise.  The whole top layer of my hair was wavy.  The underside was still pretty straight because it had remained relatively dry, so I looked pretty weird.  But, ignoring the weirdness, this was a bit of a breakthrough.  Wavy hair?!  Could it be possible?

I got some advice from my curly-haired friends and decided to play around with my hair to see what was really going on.  I’m not gonna lie, I was pretty shocked with the results.  It turns out my hair has COMPLETELY CHANGED since having kids.  I’m now the proud owner of full-blown wavy hair. 

 That’s right folks.  I’m the girl whose hairdresser couldn’t even get her hair to hold a curl.  Now, I actually have some texture to my hair without using any type of curling device.

I know I have a lot of experimenting and learning to do when it comes to styling my wavy hair.  I still haven’t actually figured out how to make this newly-discovered hair look nice.  I’ve purchased a couple of products (I’ve never used any products before so this feels so crazy) and I’m still trying to figure out what is the best combination of products and/or techniques to use.  I want something that will hold the wave without making my hair super-crunchy and wet looking.  I’ve tried to scrunch it to get rid of the crunchiness, but the more I touch it, the frizzier it gets.  This will take some practice.

I definitely don’t see myself as someone who will wear her hair wavy all the time, but it’s kind of fun to finally have some hairstyle options (beyond down or ponytail).

Anyone else discover any weird changes after having kids?  And, most importantly, any advice for styling wavy hair??

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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. 

    
    
 

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!

Briefly…

It appears that I actually have a brief moment to myself today.  I had a meeting away from the office and it didn’t make sense to head back into the downtown core afterwards so I came directly home.  D is at work and the boys are at daycare so I AM ALONE!

Before I go and do something productive like prep for dinner or put some laundry away, I decided that it’s only fair that I take a moment to write.  I miss it here!

Life is chugging along (or, more accurately, zooming along).  Spring seems to be finally arriving and the boys are enjoying spending more time outside again.  Littleman started t-ball recently, which is cute/chaotic.  I’m still struggling to figure out how to balance work with the children’s activities and keeping the house in order (somewhat).  So far, we’re managing ok but I find we’re all pretty burned out by the end of the week.

Poor Bo is in that awkward stage where he still can’t walk but doesn’t want to be held or strapped in all the time.  He’s a super-speedy crawler and heads straight for the stairs or other dangerous obstacles whenever we put him down.  He gets frustrated when we stop him from approaching said obstacles, so he ends up whining a lot.  We’re told he’s eating well at daycare, which is a good thing because he’s usually pretty tired/grumpy at dinner time and doesn’t end up eating much (unless it’s dipped in or spread with baba ganoush – go figure.)

Speaking of awkward stages, I’m in one myself right now.  I’m still breastfeeding Bo first thing in the morning and right before bed.  My body has adjusted to the two-feeds-a-day schedule quite nicely but I’m in a tough spot when it comes to bras these days.  I’m still wearing my nursing bras (which fit well by the end of the day when I’m getting fuller but are pretty loose and gapey right after the morning feed.)  I was kind of hoping that we could wean completely sometime soon but Bo still seems to really enjoy it and there’s no real reason for us to stop.

Littleman is the one who is really thriving these days.  All of a sudden, he seems really mature.  He looks like such a big kid and is really great at helping make sure his little brother doesn’t get into too much trouble.  I’m so proud of the cool kid he’s becoming.

Anyway, my alone time will be coming to and end soon and duty calls.  Happy Friday, everyone! 

    

Oh, the injustice!

This morning, for the first time in a long time, Littleman had meltdown on the way to daycare.  I asked him to stay inside the front door with his brother (who has a tendency to try to crawl up the stairs as soon as I turn my back) while I set up the stroller out front.  When I went back inside to get the kids, Littleman started crying because he had wanted to help set up the stroller.  I reminded him that he had helped me by watching his brother and I asked that he help me clip the baby into the stroller.  But, alas, it was too late.  He was wound up and wasn’t going to be distracted from his anger.

He cried the whole way to the daycare.  Then, through his tears, he said, “I’m crying because I wanted to help you with the stroller!” I couldn’t help but smile.  A year ago, when he was an angst-filled three-nager, his meltdowns were intense.  He’d get super mad and cry really hard and, in the end, I sometimes wondered if he even remembered what the whole fuss was about.  Now (at the ripe old age of four) he knows exactly why he is upset and articulates it very clearly.

He calmed himself down by the time we reached the daycare. He helped me collapse and store the stroller, which somewhat made up for the earlier injustice of not being allowed to help set it up in the first place.

Watching all this go down made me realize how much easier parenting Littleman is now that he’s four.  He’s always been a pretty well-behaved kid who is a good listener and likes to help.  But, he is still a kid and we’ve certainly had our ups and down.  Age three was probably the hardest so far – I wrote about it here and here – but we seem to have turned a corner.  Sure, there are still moments like this morning where he gets upset when he doesn’t get what he wants.  But, like today, he gets over it pretty quickly now and he seems to be starting to understand that he can’t always get what he wants (his dad and I have amused ourselves by singing that to him which could have pissed him off but seems to have entertained him instead).

It will be interesting to see what Bo is like as he gets older and starts to show his frustration more.  Will he continue to be an easy-going kid, like he’s been an easy-going baby?  Or will he be stubborn and get easily worked up when he doesn’t get his way?  I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

TGIF (AKA buh-bye crappy week)

Somehow I haven’t managed to finish a post in the past couple of weeks.  In fact, I can barely finish a thought these days.  The transition from maternity leave to a working mom has been pretty challenging this time around.

And this week has been particularly challenging.  We kicked off the weekend with Bo barfing a few times on Saturday morning. The nasty stomach bug hit Littleman and I next.  We were finally all back to normal and then I threw my back out.  All of this went on while D was working, so I had to juggle illnesses/pain while taking care of the kids on my own (and with the help of my mom, thank goodness!)

Tonight, t-ball started.  I’m wondering how people manage to work all day, feed their kids and get to evening activities.  It’s like total chaos.

On top of it all we’ve been dealing with the stress of waiting to hear if Littleman got into the before/after school child care program at the school he’ll be attending this fall.  He starts kindergarten in September so he’ll no longer be at our current daycare.  Some of our friends and neighbours heard that their kids got in last week and we still didn’t have a spot this week.  I have more to say about the craziness of daycare waiting lists but we finally got the good news yesterday: we’re in!

I keep reminding myself that things will settle down eventually.  That we will get into a groove and figure this out.  I know that this week was not a normal one.  But, seriously, never has TGIF felt so true to me!