Putting Baby to Sleep

June 14, 2016

Dear Baby,

Tonight we tried something new with you. Dad put you to sleep. I left the house completely and he took the role that I have been performing for 9 months. Sure, when you were very little he put you to sleep sometimes and when you wake up crying he is sometimes the one who goes to get you back down but 99% of the time it’s you and me and some Goodnight Moon in our bedtime bash. 

The truth? You are so much more independent and capable of putting yourself to sleep. You don’t need to fall asleep nursing and you don’t even need that much coaxing on a good night. I do nurse you every night but it is almost just for comfort and closeness that we do it. You eat so much now that it’s no longer you main source of nighttime nourishment. 

As we get closer and closer to you being 1 years old, I feel it is more and more important for you to experience things like having someone else put you to sleep. It lends to having you sleep over at a grandparents house or me being able to go out and not worry about your bedtime. There are a million reasons why I want to encourage your resilience and ability to be with people other than me. 

There is only one reason that it makes my heart ache. I miss you. 

Last night was one of the hardest for me in a while. Instead of thriving in my newfound time alone I cried my whole way to Pilates. Baby, I am so proud of you growing up and being such an agreeable babe but those changes mark some changes with us and after spending every single day with you for the past 9 months, it’s a pill that is hard to swallow. 

We wake together, eat together, play, walk and talk together. There is literally not a thing I do that you don’t come with and the times I have left you and done something on my own cap out at 2 ish hours. In 9 months I have probably spent a total of 3 days away from you if you added up all the hours. Maybe. 

I think a part of it is how much I hate to be alone and what awesome company you are. I went grocery shopping after my Pilates class last night and I felt lonely. I don’t go grocery shopping without you and I had no one to talk to! You are my best friend. I miss you when you are not around. 

Which makes me believe that I need to get a bit of a grip. I need to relearn how to be alone or at least how not to cry at fucking Loblaws in public. 

And that leads me to my lesson for you. Learn how to enjoy your own company and be alone. I hope you seldom are and that when you are, it’s of your own choice but loving alone time is a great skill and one that I wish I had developed a bit better before I had you. 

Don’t rely on anyone to be your constant companion because everything changes. Friends, babies. Everything. Be your own best friend and you will be forever content wherever you are. 

Or, call me. I’ll always be your sidekick. Just kidding- no I’m not.

In the meantime, your dad did a good job of getting you to sleep and it was a huge step towards more growing and developing. For both of us.

xo

Mom

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Putting Baby to Sleep

The Nap Challenge (or how I successfully overcame the fears of my baby napping on the go)

June 13, 2016

Dear Baby,

Being a mom means that you get to obsess over the stupidest shit like naps. How long, how often, where and why. Each day is filled with me thinking about naps. You don’t give any fucks at all because you either nap or not but there I am wondering if perhaps a short sleeve onesie would help create a more optimal sleep space for you. I think this is why all mothers are insane. 

So with that, one thing that has been going on for many months now- at least since you were about 5 months old is that we stopped napping on the go. Napping on the go means you hunker down and nap wherever we are in your stroller. You used to be a pro at it. I could spend a whole day out and you would just fall asleep wherever and whenever. 

I don’t know what happened that made me stop taking you out. I guess it was that you had such amazing long stretches of sleep if we were at home in our ideal setting. Once you see how well someone can sleep it seems cruel to force them to do anything else. 

Trust me, if there was a way I could nap as hard as you do and someone would dress me in perfectly temperature considered clothing, wrap me in a little blanket, read me a soothing story and then rock me every day I would also rebel against putting myself to sleep sitting upright in a moving chair. I get it. 

Anyways, it’s working for us, it’s working for us and then it’s also not. I’m stuck at home a lot now. I can’t run errands and I can’t go anywhere. I sit and work while you sleep twice per day. 

So we went to a friends today and she suggested something radical- a trip to Walmart. But I can’t go to Walmart, I say because Baby had to nap. She suggests a nap on the go and I nearly shit myself. TOO RADICAL, GIRL. 

Well Baby, we did it. We strollered on over to Walmart, I pumped up your sound machine and you napped the shit out of the afternoon and gave me the forgotten freedom of being out between the hours of 1-4. It was epic. 

And here is what I learned that I want to share with you- we get stuck in our habits. In the way it “should” be. We get stuck and then we get scared to try anything out of our comfort zone. Fear is a great inhibitor and comfort is a great security. If you don’t step out of the zone and try new things you might never have as good of a day as I did yesterday buying a tie dye kit for 24.99. 

It’s really important and good to push yourself and try things that scare you. You might fail but if you succeed, the benefits are incredible. 

In the meantime, tomorrow I plan to get back in bed for your first nap and not be ambitious at all- balance Baby, it’s all about balance. 

xo

Mom

The Nap Challenge (or how I successfully overcame the fears of my baby napping on the go)

Baby Bites

June 11, 2016

Dear Baby,

You got your first tooth today!!! I am so excited for you and so happy to see that tiny white nubbin popping through your little gums. It is the total highlight of my week. 

So far the only indication that you were teething was the tooth itself, which is awesome because I hear that teething can be a real bitch. 

So prior to your dental delights, this week your friend caught “hand foot and mouth” disease. A virus aptly and disgustingly names for the blisters that come up on the hands, feet and inside the mouth. It sounds like the fucking grossest thing I can imagine. I’m sure it is. 

So of course, hearing that your friend has this virus we go into full panic mode thinking that for sure you will get it too. We start to debate what we should do- should we cancel all our plans? Do we assume you are sick until proven otherwise? I call the doctor, I call my mother, I call some friends. 

The feedback is unanimous. Stop being stressed out. Kids are total Petri dishes and they get sick all the damn time, usually with really gross stuff. 

Well hot potato!

It’s hard to go through things and throw caution to the wind. To know that something bad could happen and not try and beat anticipate it but it is truly not the way to be. 

To cancel all our plans and just quarantine ourselves for the possibility that you might get a virus seems pretty crazy when you think about it. Sure, I wouldn’t let you French kiss (or on a more normal and not extreme level, share toys) with another kid knowing that you might have a contagious virus but to just keep you isolated feels too extreme. 

And so that’s the lesson for today. Life will always be unpredictable and certain disaster awaits you at every turn. You can’t hide away from everything and everyone because something bad might happen. You have to live your life, take reasonable precautions and keep your fingers crossed for the best case scenarios. 

Living in fear of the unknown is a great way to just drive yourself bananas. I’m not saying to be reckless but I’m saying that it’s ok to live a little. Not like, never cross the street because you may get hit by a car but also don’t run across streets wildly. Just be normal and look both ways. 

Baby, life is strange and unpredictable. It is full of twists and turns and the best thing you can do is face it all with zest and excitement. 

In the meantime, your dad will be taking your temperature every minute for the next 3 days until the virus incubation period has passed- he will be the nervous one for the both of you. 

xo

Mom

Baby Bites

Being a Better Mama to my Baby

June 9, 2016

Dear Baby,

You don’t know this but last night after I put you to sleep I went out to meet a friend and we ran around the neighbourhood and specifically ran up and down flights of stairs in search of our 20-something year old asses. I’m sure that deep down, they are still there, right?

What’s great about working out with a friend is that I get to socialize and exercise which are the 2 pillars to me staying sane. Healthy mind and healthy body.

Baby, I love you, I really do but if I didn’t take some time to myself I would go FUCKING INSANE. After a day of entertaining you I need some me time and I am happy to say that as of late, I get a lot of it.

Whatever you do, parenting or otherwise I think that you need to take time out to do you. We all see those people who spend way to much time at their job, with their partner, being a mom and head towards burnout. The only way to stave off the inevitable crash and burn is to do you- even when you’d rather not. 

Last night I would have rather mopped a floor than gone out. I was tired, lazy, hungry, and really into a game of Two Dots but I dragged my sad flabby ass up and did it in spite of those things. Why? Because the alternative isn’t pretty. 

I truly believe that in order for me to function at my optimal self- for you and for me- I need the time to myself to engage and enjoy.

For the mind I need good conversation (like actual conversation that goes a it beyond my 9-5 Dadadadada- although I love that conversation too), to read, to engage with the Internet (ie. Read the news), to catch up with friends and get involved in their lives, to share stories about my life and get insights, to do nothing and just breath and to totally zone out to crappy tv (thank god for the Bachelorette). 

For the body I need to run and move, feel challenged and strong, to walk with my arms free, to sit and rest, to sleep, to shower, to eat delicious foods and to check in and make sure everything feels good. 

How could I be good to you if I wasn’t being good to me?

So Baby, I know that life can be really distracting and that anything can grab and steal your attention but know this: it’s always the right time to take care of yourself and nourish your mind and body.

You will be the best bersion of yourself if you take the time to be and forget the million reasons why you can’t. 

In the meantime, my ass is killing me today. Is that step one to buns of steel?

xo

Mom

Being a Better Mama to my Baby

Baby on the Move

June 8, 2016

Dear Baby,

As I write this I am watching you move from one side of your crib to the other at lightening speed (you’re supposed to be napping BTW, so you might want to stop). You are laughing and moving and this has been your status quo for about a week. Moving and making noise.

It’s crazy because the movement started so gradually that I feel like you were just barely going from sitting to a crawl position to full out crawling all over the floor in a blink of an eye. Like I looked away for a second and you had mastered a whole new skill set. And boy do you love practicing! Your dad and I were all like, no need to baby proof our shit yet- WRONG. We need to bubble wrap and pad the fuck out of our house. Immediately. 

If there is a raw edge of wood, a stack of empty plastic Tupperware, a fucking speck of dirt on the ground we can rest assured that you will be touching it, climbing it or eating it. That’s just the kind of baby you are. Curious and determined. 

And more than just moving around you are set on learning how to stand up on anything that might (or for sure will not) hold you. Your new favourite game is to sit in front of me and use my hands to stand up and sit down. This has provided solid chunks of entertainment (which is an awesome game for when I am too tired to perform my usual repertoire of songs and games for you- stand up, sit down. Game of the century). 

The extra bonus is that you seem to just wear yourself right out from all this action so naps (minus right now) have been a total breeze. You are usually asleep before I can sneak out of your room. 

The best part, by far is how extremely proud you look every time you make a move or get up to your feet from sitting. You look like you have achieved something and you know it and enjoying your movement and sense of acomplishment is just incredible as your mom. 

And Baby, I have to say that I want you to always feel proud of things that you do. Crawling is SO HARD. You are working so hard to move your tiny little body around and then you do it! You should feel immensely satisfied and pleased. This should extend to anything you try to do. Trying is amazing and when you succeed in something you work hard for, you should be the first one to pat yourself on the back (I’ll be right behind you). 

As adults we often underplay our accomplishments. To be too proud is to be boastful or cocky but Baby, there is nothing wrong with being confident and enjoying your own accomplishments. No one else will ever give a fuck what you do (aside from your dad and I, obvi) so you may as well do it for you. 

In the meantime, going to go bubble wrap the legs of our wood table (kidding- or am I?)

xo

Mom

Baby on the Move

Things that Happen when you Forget to Feed your Baby

June 7, 2016

Dear Baby,

Yesterday was gorgeous. It was my kind of summer day- cool enough for a light long sleeve, warm enough for a t shirt and breezy enough that you wouldn’t sweat if you were to go on an hour plus walk- which we did. 

The walk was glorious. Flanked by your posse we headed down the belt line and to a park to play. It was only when you were laughing on a swing that the alarms in my mind went off. How long has we been out? What time was it? Did I have any food?

It had been a long time out, it was dinner time (for you) and I had one single packet of shitty mum mums (no offence to mum mums but they just don’t cut it as a meal replacement). It was time to hustle. 

I was duly thanked for being such a shit prepared mom by a serenade of you grumbling at me (you just started to really grumble when your angry which is cute but also scary). 

Total gong show. Thank god your dad was home to witness me hauling you inside and preparing your late dinner for you at the speed of light. I always love when he watches me totally fucking fail at adulting. 

With that, here is a lesson on always being prepared: WHAT TO HAVE IN YOUR BAGS AT ALL TIMES. whether you are a mom, student or professional- you can’t go wrong with being prepared. 

1. Wipes- I never knew how fucking handy wipes were until I had them on me for you. Wipes solve most messes, they can serve as toilet paper, they can blot out stains, wipe noses, wipe dirt whatever. They are fucking godsends and you should buy a little package of them (or a Costco sized bulk package for a baby) and carry them with you at all times. 

2. Kleenex- like wipes only dry. 

3. Protein- no one ever thrived on rice cakes (aka mum mums). A handful of nuts or piece of cheese or a bar will get you through the woods and back home to eat a prope meal in a pinch. 

4. Snacks- different than protein, snacks are a major component to a well rounded bag. Snacks can include; fruit, veggies, bars, crackers… Anything that will help satiate your need to eat. 

5. Hand sanitizer- explanation needed here? Becaus the world is a gross place. 

6. A seasonally appropriate scarf- is there anything a scarf can’t do? It can hide a stain, pose as a top, make you look more put together, keep you warm, keep you shielded from the elements, cover you up if you need to nurse or change or just whip out a tit for no reason. A scarf can be a pillow, a blanket, it can be your fucking confident if you need one. It can wipe shit up, act as a picnic table, act as a snow wipe for your car or function as a blackout blind so your baby can nap. It is the single best accessory out there. Take that, hats (just kidding. I love you hats). 

7. Poo bag (aka plastic bag)- I have a dog and a baby and someone is bound to poo in any given outing. Also good for storing messy shit, wet things, smelly stuff and garbage. 

Extras that you might want to have:

Lipgloss- chapped lips are so last year/ never. 

Tweezers- you can see the most amount of light eyebrow hairs in your car mirror in the sunlight.

Lotion- scaly hands are creepy. 

Pen and paper- nothing wrong with being old fashioned. 

Phone charger- imagine the horror of being left alone with no cell phone (just kidding- interacting with the actual real world might be a nice break, unless you are stranded somewhere in which case having your phone would be essential). 

Compact- oh what? You’re not vain?

Tylenol/ Advil- defence against headaches. 

I also currently always have; sunscreen, a hat for you, a change of clothes for you, socks (I hate being barefoot), head ties, toys, water and a change pad. 

Needless to say, I travel light. 

In the meantime, gotta pack that bag and get going. 

xo

Mom

Things that Happen when you Forget to Feed your Baby

Baby by the Lake, Baby gonna Bake

June 5, 2016

Dear Baby,

We just got home from a night up at the cottage and like most things we do together as a family it was incredible and too fast. The cottage belongs to your great-grandparents and is a really fun place (once you get over the spiders- they have a particularly huge amount of spiders at this cottage). We got to spend the weekend there with them (which in itself is pretty awesome) and my mom and dad came up for the day.

In my mind I have always imagined you growing up a a cottage. I didn’t but “the cottage” is still one of my favorite places on earth. There is something about living peacefully and intentionally in a home on the water that calls to me.

Anyways, the day was perfect. The sun shone, everyone was happy and I was musing to myself how easy you are. Well, it would seem that I SPOKE. TOO. SOON.

We got to bedtime and all hell broke loose. for 2 hours you screamed bloody murder while I tried my darndest to get you to sleep. I used every trick in my fucking arsenal, Baby and to no avail. We did rocking, shushing, patting, cuddling, I tried lying with you, I tried walking with you. I tried singing, reading, I did fucking aerobics (just kidding). NOTHING SATISFIED YOU. You just kept screaming your little head off.

Sure, it was 400 degrees hot in the room you had been given. Sure, it smells and looks different from the place you sleep 99 percent of your life. Sure, the window faces the sun and since you go to bed hours before sunset it was bright as day. Sure, we had forgone your bedtime routine for extra playtime. Sure, you were riled up from said playtime. I could list a million reasons why this night was different from any other night and would have caused anyone slight distress but I’ll be damned if I wasn’t going to take this personally and feel like a fucking failure of a parent.

Nothing is a bigger blow to your ego as a mom than unsuccessfully soothing your hysterical baby. You cry, I cry. We all cry. You dad comes up to see why everyone is crying and gets his head bitten off. You cry some more. I wonder if I will ever recover from this horrible night. You continue to cry.

Of course, 2.5 hours later you fell asleep. I wish I could say I helped you do it or made it easier but I am pretty sure that after that long crying in my arms you just had no juice left to squeeze out and quite literally passed out. The silence was a relief but thinking about you crying yourself to sleep (even though I was holding you tight the whole way through) made me sick to my stomach- the pound of cherries and chocolate covered almonds I ate after didn’t help.

I didn’t sleep a wink after that. You woke up 2 hours earlier than usual and now here we are. You being your usual amazing self. Me calling the day incredible despite wanting to shoot myself in the eye for several hours of it. And that my Baby, id making the best out of a bad situation and focusing on the positive side over the negative.

There you go- lesson of the day. We can choose to focus on anything in any given situation. There is always a ying to a yang and an up to a down so it is up to you to craft your own story and shape your own experience. I can tell you only this: you will be so much better off if you can focus your energy on enjoying the good and letting the bad pass through you. If you focus on the negative, you will be a negative person and here’s a little secret: no one wants to be friends with a negative nancy.

In the meantime, I am off to wash the cottage grime off my feet- or rather the remnants of a glorious day (positivity. always).

xo

Mom

 

Baby by the Lake, Baby gonna Bake