Go Jays Go!

We’re all pretty excited around here with the Blue Jays in the playoffs for the first time in more than 20 years. Today, on the way to school, Littleman announced, “it’s Blue Jays day for the whole world!” I didn’t bother explaining to him that his statement wasn’t entirely true. Because it was Blue Jays day in his whole world and that’s the only world that really matters to him.   

Game 1 was a bit of a bust for the Jays, but that didn’t stop us from cheering them on. I want to share the experience of watching our team with the boys. 

I have great memories of watching the Blue Jays with my parents when I was a kid. I was a teenager when the Jays won back-to-back World Series and it was so much fun.   Tomorrow D and I are going to Game 2 and I can’t wait to cheer on the Jays in person. Go Jays Go!

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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! 

   

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. 

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!