Category Archives: Family

Infant rules have expiry clauses, right?

I remember when Audrey was an infant, I was very very strict in following the ‘nothing in the crib but the baby and a blanket’ rule. We didn’t have those crib bumpers and we used a swaddling sack or sleep sack with her, to avoid her blanket covering her head by mistake. It was a matter of safety and doing what ‘they’ recommended. Some recommendations I think are exaggerated (like the warnings against co-sleeping, which I think can be safe with some basic precautions)  but this one seemed like good common sense to me.

Well, until she was old enough to get her little legs stuck in the crib slates, at which time I realized why bumpers were probably invented. We got those breathable mess things instead- let air through, but not little limbs. I hate middle of the night screaming due to limb stuck-age.

The only other things we ever had in her crib was a little ‘lovey’ (I know, I hate the term too, but I don’t know what else to call it) which was small and met the standards for still being safe.

Again, this was when Audrey was an infant.

We had a beautiful sheep skin sleep mat, which we didn’t use because the poster on the wall at the nurses office said it was dangerous. (Though, I am sure there are parents somewhere who have had generations sleep on the same type of mat, but admittedly, they probably co-sleep and are better able then to monitor that baby is safe.) Anyway, the point is, we followed the “rules.”

But somewhere between, Audrey’s first birthday and now, approaching Audrey’s second birthday, let’s just say that her crib has become a little less pristine. There is an expiry clause on that “there should be nothing in the crib” thing, right?

Because now, everything ends up in the crib and I seem powerless to fight it. There are multiple blankets, designated as “my blanket. MY blanket”. There is that sheep skin mat we feared before. There are books. There are stuffed animals. There was even a brush for one nap. “Audrey brush hair?” Sure kid, knock yourself out. I am sure her tooth brush is next.

Please tell me I am not alone!

It’s okay to let go, right? (rhetorical question. It has already happened.)

I think there are a lot of ‘rules’ like this in parenting. Things you aren’t suppose to do. Toys they shouldn’t play with. Foods they shouldn’t eat. Good common sense safety stuff.

The thing I think is interesting is that no one seems to say anything about when these ‘rules’ end. Obviously some don’t end (like putting a child in an age appropriate child seat). But others. Others end. Eventually a child can have nuts. Or eat an apple that isn’t cut up into little tiny pieces. Or be left alone in the tub. (Cause my Mom was never there in the bathroom with me when I took a bath when I was eight years old, for example). But when? When does these end? And how do you know?

My theory… it just happens. You just let go. Eventually. Not all at once.

Or you see some other kid of similar age doing just fine scarfing down a whole apple.

How do you know when is the right time to let go of those ‘rules’?

Love is in the air

String of hearts

So, Love is in the air today. And yeah, I love my husband. But that’s not what I want to talk about today.

Today I want to talk about loving being a Mom. I often complain, or joke about how much my daughter is a handful (as all toddlers are) or whine about how hard it is being a parent. Which I think is fine… I think it is important to express frustrations to let them out. I also think that this community of Moms I am a part of is fueled in part by that tendency to share a very realistic view of our experiences.

But that doesn’t change the fact that  I love being a Mom. And not just being a Mom. I love being Audrey’s Mom. I love how she runs to hug me when she sees me. I love how she likes to kiss me on the cheek… and then says “other cheek?” and waits for me to turn my head so she can kiss my other cheek. I love the intense look on her face as she very seriously builds a lego tower or plays with her sushi set. I love listening to her sing ‘pat a cake’, ‘ba ba black sheep’, ‘abc’s’ or ‘six little ducks’. I love it when she tells me to sign or ‘sit here’ or ‘mommy read book’. I love the look she gets on her face when I tell her not to do something. I love it when she goes to ‘find mommys slippers’. I love it when she asks “where daddy go? where puppy go? where grandma go?” I love that words like “thank you” “please” “excuse me” “your welcome” and “sorry” are regular parts of her vocabulary.

As much as she exhausts me, she is an amazing little girl. Not more amazing then any other toddler, but amazing to me. Because she is ours.

Every day she learns, explores, shows affection, asks for comfort and has fun.

And I love that.

Photo by aussiegall via Flickr Creative Commons Licsense

Attack of the Ginger

When I say ginger, I mean ginger. Like the root. That you use to flavour food. Not some derogatory term for red haired individuals.

Photo by Crystl via Flickr Creative Commons License

I don’t often blog about my husband. Mostly, because I figure if he wants to share his life with the world wide interwebs, then he would start a blog himself. He tweets. That’s enough for him. (Though arguably one could say since I blog about both myself and our daughter that I do share his life with the world wide interwebs… but… you know.. we won’t go there.)

Anyway, today I am breaking my ‘don’t blog about the husband’ rule to tell you about how wonderful and annoying he is, all at the same time.

So you know how I have been sick. (If not, I have been, and I am eating veggies to combat it, its going well, see here.) My husband drives me kinda nuts, in that ‘aren’t you so sweet and caring way’ when I am sick. You see, he is the ‘fix it’ type. You know those people you go to, in order to whine and commiserate and generally get your complaints out, and then come right back at you with, ‘Well, why don’t you just do this….” You know, those helpful caring people that you love and all, but you just want to smack and say “Just let me complain!” (For the record, though I consider myself a great listener, I can also fall into this fix it trap. So pot. Kettle. Yes.)

Anyway. This trait becomes particularly apparent when I am sick. My husband is CONVINCED that there is an immediate cure for any every day aliment. Usually, this cure involved some type of natural health remedy. He will resort to medicine, but he goes the natural way first. So, when I tell him I am sick, his response inevitable is “What can I get you to help you feel better?”

Now, that sounds all nice and supportive and sweet and all. And it is. Except when I say, “Nothing…..” he just waits a couple hours and asks again.

And then the nagging starts.

“Did you take your vitamins today? Did you drink enough water? Maybe you should exercise.  Is there something at work that is making you sick?” (I work at a University, so my snarky response is “yes, they are called students”)

He is bound, bent and determined to find a cure. Even if he has to nag me back to health.

I should stop to tell you that some people would probably find this behaviour endearing… and I do. Except that I have this quirky little personality trait where I don’t like people trying to help me. I mean, help me by handing me $1 000 000, sure, I’ll take that. But reminding me 100 times to take my vitamins. UGH.

I also have a horrible rebellious streak where the more someone else wants me to do something the less I am willing to do it. Even if it is something I also want to do. Yeah. I am a pain to live with.

Oh yeah! The ginger! Sorry, I got carried away there.

This weekend, as a part of the “What can I buy to cure my wife” thing, he bought raw ginger.

Now we don’t cook with raw ginger. I like ginger cookies, ginger beef and ginger ale, but that is about it when it comes to other uses of ginger… I will pass. I won’t touch candied ginger or raw ginger or that pickled ginger they put on sushi with a ten foot pole.

So he buys the raw ginger and he makes me a drink. Because, well, apparently ginger is natures magical cure. Along with the probiotics and vitamin D he is making me take. (Don’t get me wrong, I think these things work, I just hate taking pills. And I don’t want to because the husband wants me to. Rebellion.) He takes the ginger and grates it and juices it and who knows what else and combines it with a bunch of other stuff; lemon, honey, other spices.

I was forced to drink it. Forced. And I am not sure I can ever drink anything with ginger again. If it was just a mild flavour of ginger with lemon and honey.. that would be one thing. But the husband works on the ‘more is better’ principle of home made cures… so it was the strongest ginger I have ever tasted. And it was horrible.

Sweet, in that he went to all that trouble to try and cure me, but really really horrible.

I don’t think I can drink ginger ale ever again. Beware of the ginger people. And the husbands.

(Thank you to my wonderful husband who let me publish this post poking fun at him. Honey, I love you.)

A Clean Slate

I will post about resolutions and such tomorrow– for ControverSunday.. when you will all be sick of talking about resolutions. But for now; A Clean Slate:

The problem with shopping lists

……is that I always forget something. Especially if it is the holidays.

Every holiday season, right before the big day(s) of cooking and merriment and the like, I go shopping to stock up and get everything* we need so we don’t have to go out again and we can just enjoy. My Dear Husband asks me about 25 times if there is anything I forgot. In a frustrated tone I say, “No, I am sure. We have everything we need.”

And every time I forget something.

This year, I forgot 3 things.

On Christmas eve around 4pm, as the meat for the Tourtiere was simmering away….

Have you ever had Tourtiere? It is the traditional Christmas eve meal in Quebec. Many Quebecois would have Tourtiere after midnight mass. It is a wonderful spiced meat pie of pork, beef and lamb with mashed potatoes. It is served best with red pepper jelly.

RED PEPPER JELLY! I totally forgot. Until, as I mentioned, about 4pm.

So off I went to the store to find it. I looked in the condiment aisle. Mint jelly, mint sauce, more mint jelly…. no red pepper jelly. What is wrong with this store? How could they not have red pepper jelly?

I tried to figure out where else it could be. After searching and searching I found it on top of the counter in the deli meat section. What a place to put it. Seriously! The only place you put your red pepper jelly is on top of a deli counter beside the cup sizes for potato salad!??

Anyway, I left victoriously. Now I was sure we had everything.

After we finished up our lovely Tourtiere (with pastry crust made by my mother in law which was fab!) and went off to bed without a care in the world.

At about 11:30am, as I was thinking through what I needed to do for my dinner of Cornish Game Hen, roasted veggies and dressing… I realized….. oh my gosh! We used the last of the potatoes in the Tourtiere. What is Christmas dinner without potatoes? I had half a sweet potato, but it just isn’t the same.

So off Dear Husband went, on Christmas day, to try and find potatoes. Safeway, Wallmart and Superstore were all closed. He drove around and around. Until he realized that there was a particular type of store that just might be open….. a little corner grocery store that sells Halal meat. Chances are if they sell Halal meat that the owners are probably Muslim and therefore might be open on Christmas. Brilliant.

Bingo. As he looked in the grocery section of the little store, “We are the Champions” by Queen was playing on the radio. And there, he saw, a little bag of Safeway brand baby potatoes. Jackpot. He left victorious.

Before DH headed home he asked me if we were missing anything else. I said, “No, I am sure we are fine.”

About 3 hours later, after everyone had had a nice Christmas nap, I said, “Oh my gosh, we have no firewood for the fire tonight!!!” I got quite the look for that one. And then, from the DH, “It’s not your fault, I should have remembered that too.”

We went without a fire.

But we had a lovely Christmas dinner: Cornish Game Hen, roasted veggies, dressing and a goblet of Mead. It was as if we were having an ancient dinner.

It was perfect.

So, what did you forget on your shopping list this holiday season? Did you track it down or do without? Please tell me it isn’t just my brain that doesn’t work!

Another fun toddler stage: “Up?! Up?!”

I get that babies and toddlers go through stages. Everything is a stage. Ironically, the more frustrating the behaviour, the longer the stage- in my experience. But, as with all things, eventually it passes and they are on to the next.

Audrey’s current stage can be described as “Up?! Up?!”. I know she is not the only 20-26month old that has gone through this. I should probably go back and consult The Wonder Weeks to find out just what kind of amazing and disorienting changes are going on in her brain to warrant such an obsession with being carried around. Anyway, the point is I am sure there is a developmental reason for this shift but it rather sucks. I mean, I was just getting used to her being a little more independent.. able to walk herself to the car, get herself up into her chair for dinner, able to climb up and down the stairs, ect. And now we are back to absolute exhausting “Mommy I need you All. The. Time.” Sigh.

She wants me to carry her up and down stairs. She wants me to carry her around all morning while I am getting breakfast ready. She wants me to carry her upstairs and then asks to go downstairs. The other day she wanted me to carry her 4 feet from her bedroom to the bath tub in the bathroom. Kid weighs like 28 lbs. She is 21 months old. And yes, I need to work out, but this wasn’t what I had in mind.Wanna take a guess as to what happens if I put her down or say no? Yeah, you got it, crying. Lots and lots of crying.

So the question is, what does one do?

1) Carry the kid. Let it be a stage. Indulge. Soon she won’t want me around as she races off to play.

2) Split the difference. Carry her when I can, stop carrying her when my back is near breaking or when I really just can’t hold her while doing a particular task. Put her down, bear the crying.

3) Stand my ground and try to talk her through it to do it on her own. Maybe not all the time, but regularly.

I was channeling Janet Lansbury (or what I imagine Janet would say…) the other day and tried this tactic:

This particular stand off was over the stairs. “Audrey, I know you want me to carry you, but you can do this on your own.” Crying.

“Audrey, I know you want me to carry you, but you are very good and walking down stairs on your own. You will feel good when you do it on your own. Look, there is only 3 steps. I will hold your hand and we can count them together.”

“One…….” She takes one step and starts to cry again.

I repeat pretty much the same thing over and over again until she finally gave in and walked down the stairs. I told her I was proud of her and that she looked proud of herself. I thanked her for going down the stairs on her own.

I tried a similar technique with the walk to the bath tube the other night. So I know it works.

But I don’t have the time or the energy to do this every single time she wants to be picked up. So, along with a few of these chats a day, I am also trying to get down to her level and give her extra hugs. And yes, sometimes, carry her around.

Anything else that works? Oh, and any idea on how long this stage lasts? (If it is longer then a couple months please lie to me, I don’t want to know.) What do you think one should do?

I take it all back. The toddler is obsessed with Santa.

Santa Claus
(Photo By Grzegorz Łobiński via Flickr Creative Commons License)

Last Sunday, ControverSunday was all about the holidays. And many of us, including me, talked about our stance on Santa. Our approach is that we would follow Audrey’s lead when it comes to Santa, but not push her. Particularly when it comes to going to see Santa, which I think can be scary for some toddlers.

Since I wrote that post (which was last Friday or so) I wanted to update you all. Audrey has most certainly taken the lead. And her vote? She is pro-Santa. Very very pro-Santa.

It started when we went to Heritage Park on Saturday. Heritage Park (for those of you who are non-local) is a big park with historical houses and buildings which have been preserved to display the way things ‘used’ to be. They do this thing called the 12 Days of Christmas and have gingerbread man decorating, a big train set display, bakery open, gift shops, reindeer to pet and caroling. Oh and Santa. There were of course pictures with Santa, which we were not going to go to (and didn’t). What we didn’t know is before the pictures with Santa thing started at noon, Santa wandered the grounds for a couple hours handing out candy canes and wishing everyone Merry Christmas. So we encountered Santa about 3 times. At first Audrey was very apprehensive and Santa was very sensitive to that and didn’t come to close. By the third time we saw Santa she was pointing and saying “Santa.”

That alone would probably not have swayed her. What really sealed the deal was a e-mail card she got from my parents. I think my Mom and (particularly) my Dad, love Santa now more then they did when we were kids. The card had a link to a video with Santa talking directly to Audrey. That’s right, Santa knew Audrey’s name, where she lived and what she ‘wanted’ for Christmas. Santa had a picture of her grandparents. Santa was obviously in the know and really had received a letter from Audrey’s grandparents all about her.

Audrey loved watching that video. You could almost see the sparkle in her eye.

Now I get “See Santa? Computer?” requests daily. Santa is a hit.

I don’t think it is about the presents. She doesn’t get the presents yet. She is drawn to, you know, the jolliness and such. And the Christmas music. The magic, the story, the ‘collective imagination’ thing we talked about in ControverSunday. Audrey is sold.

And that is fine. She is choosing to be sold and having fun and getting excited. She is taking the lead, which is what we wanted. And who wouldn’t want to believe in a jolly guy in red? So apparently, we are doing the Santa thing. At least this year.

What I am thankful for

I am not American. As you can probably tell from my rants about the Canadian winter. I was born in Canada and I celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving, over a month ago. (Our growing season is shorter y’all, so our ‘harvest’ comes earlier. I assume that is why the date discrepancy.)

Anyway, I am grateful for many things, most of all the people in my life. And it just so happens that two of the people within my top 5 people I am most grateful for are American; my father and my husband.

Okay, they are both also Canadian. But if they were crossing the border they would say they were American, cause they are dual citizens and the US Border guards no-likey dual citizens and would prefer you claim your Americaness first and foremost. I have heard. Anyway. I digress.

I am grateful for them both.

I am grateful for my Dad, who is a great father. I credit all my success and happiness in life to their great parenting. Really. And my Dad has always ‘got’ me, accepted me and encouraged me to be who I was. He never asked me to change (except when I was being a bossy brat- he wanted that to change. ) What I mean is that he never pushed his hopes and expectations for me on to me, all he did was support me to achieve my hopes and expectations for myself. And for that I am so grateful.

I am grateful for my husband. He is loving and affectionate. He is passionate and interesting and unique. He truly wants to share this life we have. He is my partner around the house, getting right in there with the dishes and the laundry. He pushes me out of my comfort level and challenges me to face my fears.

And he too is a great father. Oh how I love watching him talk with my daughter. I love how he talks with her, how he interacts with her, how he parents her. I love how he balances me as a parent. He is good at what I am not, and vice versa. I love the look of joy and pride in his eyes when he tells me about some cute thing she did while I was away at class. Really, Audrey couldn’t ask for a better Dad.

And for that I am grateful.

Happy Thanksgiving my neighbours to the south!

Denial

I knew it would come to this, eventually. I don’t know why I was pretending not to know. I mean, it always happens. It’s a cycle. Never ending.

I just didn’t thinking it would happen so soon. I’m not prepared. Life is already complicated enough.

Winter.

Okay, enough with the poetic melodrama. It is really beautiful though, isn’t it?

But seriously, what the heck am I going to do with this toddler all winter? We tried to go outside today, in the snow, and it was a total failure. We went for a quick walk and then Audrey looked up at me and said “up”. We thrive on trips to the park. Right now the part is under 2 feet of snow.

Sure, yeah, sometimes we will take her to the swimming pool or one of those coffee places where you can pay for her to play. We don’t do the library yet, because, as many of your know, destroying books is one of Audreys favourite hobbies…. going to the library would just feed this bad habit. And we have 2500 books at home. But what else is there to do with a toddler. Free, preferably.

Ideas for us? What is your favourite winter activity with toddler aged kids?

 

Books destroyed: take two

I submit for your approval two pieces of photographic evidence:

I wrote a post a number of months ago, when Audrey was probably 10 months old or so, about how my baby eats books. Want to hear something funny? That post is one of the small handful that brings people to my blog via google search terms. Ha! I guess I am not alone.

Well, Audrey isn’t a baby anymore and she doesn’t eat books anymore. But, as the evidence provided shows, she still destroys them.

Exhibit A, well we will get to that in a minute. But in Exhibit B you will see three of her favourite books she has destroyed. You may recognize one of them as The Very Hungry Caterpillar and yes, that is the THIRD copy of it she has ripped to shreads.

Tip for you new Moms out there, if you get gifted a wonderful classic baby book like 3 times and you instinct is to re-gift or return or whatever… you may want to wait a couple months to see if you child is also a book destroyer, in which case you may want to hold on to all 3 copies. On second thought, if you see an opportunity to buy like 10 copies on sale.. you might even want to consider that. Just a tip from me to you.

Also in Exhibit B you will see Audrey’s absolute favourite book de jure: Peter Rabbit. She loves her some peter and demands to take peter to bed most nights. Do you see the bit marks on the binding. Yep. She loves peter so much she gives him a little nibble as she is falling asleep. Peter is also now missing the first couple pages. She loves those pages so much she just cant help but pull them out.

And lastly, in Exhibit B, you will see Pancake, Pancake by Eric Carle. LOVE this book, as it goes through all the ingredients to make a pancake and has Jack actually doing the work to make them (cut the wheat, mill the flour, milk the cow, ect.) before he can eat his morning pancake. Audrey asks for this book by name.

She insisted it go with her in the car the other day. Husband and I were sitting in the front seat when we heard “rip rip” and saw that Audrey had loved that book to shreds too, but removing the first couple pages and then crumpling them up.

P.S. Replacement books are on her Christmas list.

Okay, so the toddler destroys books. I mean she love books, but she also destroys them. Ahh, toddlerhood.

So now lets talk about Exhibit A. (Really I should have made this Exhibit B, but I uploaded weird and I am too lazy to fix it.) Anyway. Audrey likes to read books a lot. And while sometimes we do get tired of reading the same book to her 25000 times a day, we are all for encouraging her love of reading. Soon enough she will only read teenager magazines (online I guess) and twitter feeds. BUT. We have a couple books which for now, are being taken out of the rotation. Because reading them makes me (and husband) want to poke our eyes with a stick.

(Mom, don’t take offense, I think you bought most of them.) Here is the thing, it is hard to ‘read’ a book with just pictures and the accompanying sounds. There is no plot line. No sentences. I just can’t do the funny noises anymore and still keep my sanity. Nor can I read a book that asks you to put cheerios in spots without a pile of cheerios to fulfill the instructions. “Some of the leopards are missing spots, can you help?” NO!!

So they are banned. Because I can. I know, I am a mean Mom.

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