16 months: a belated roundup

January 30, 2017

Dear Baby,

I’m really on the ball these days so no surprise that I forgot your 16 month old blog post. Right? This feels like that time you start dating someone and you celebrate like, your 4 month anniversary except obviously more important. But still. Is it overkill? Maybe. 

So at 16 months I can safely say that you are fucking great. The way you have become and continue to become a real person is the best. We laugh so much together and I finally feel like when I speak to you in public we are actually speaking and not just me talking to a sitting blob of deliciousness. 

Today, a few days past your anniversary day you are in the bath with a tiny cold and I am sitting here waiting to put you to bed. You dad is giving you a bath, by the way. We don’t just let you chill in tubs of water alone. Not those kind of parents. Sorry. 

No one ever really takes pictures of room (unless they are ultra fancy magazine rooms which this isn’t) but your room is one of my favourite places in the world. One day we will either have redone it or moved and you won’t remember this room but you should know it is awesome. 

Here’s the overview. You have this amazing worked in wood floor with patches of discolouration that are charming to an old house. Your walls are white and the carpet is rose, blush and pale burnt orange Persian rug style but with animals on it. We got it at an antique market and it is one of my favourite things ever. Your furniture is white and your comfy chair where we it is pale grey. The art on your walls is currently one baby deer photograph and soon to be a cool animal print of different species that live in Canada and a paddle that we hope to engrave your name on. Your lights have bears and deer and you have tons of books on shelves. 

The best parts of your room though are the intangibles. The feeling of a room that is lovingly humidified every night. The way the sun sets through the window and the smell which is mostly you and a tiny bit of poo- which is also kind of you- coming from your diaper genie. 

You sleep with a stuffed koala, a giant stuffed sloth, a stuffed bear, an elephant lovey that is falling apart and most recently a stuffed Dracula. Sometimes a bunny too. Your nightlight is always on and you have recently learned that if you push a button, you can get stars to shine from it. Today we spent 20 minutes looking at said stars. Nightlight for the win. 

Beside your chair is a stack of you regular favourite books including; Night Night, Sometimes I Like to Curl Up In A Ball, Toot, Pyjama Time and Belly Button Book, as of late. Your also into Each Peach Oear Plum, Garbage Delight, The Boy Who Caught a Star and Hugs. 

At night you like to say goodnight to an owl toy that hangs on your doorhook, the giant stuffed giraffe that wears a Mickey Mouse hat and a tutu that lives in your room and a picture on your shelf of you holding a bunny. 

Anyways, I have nothing to teach today but when I think back to my own childhood room I can only remember bits and pieces so I hope this helps you remember a bit more. It’s the best room we have ever put together. Mainly because of its occupant. 

Love you. 

xo

Mom

16 months: a belated roundup

Things that scare you

January 20, 2017

Dear Baby,

I think that one of the more surprising things about you is that in spite of your fearless determination and headstrong personality, you have a serious startle response and scare impulse that is slightly bewildering to see. I think you have had a big startle reflex from birth which, at the time of you being a newborn was just adorable. We use to just pick you up and put you down to watch you splay your arms and legs and laugh when your eyes bugged out of your head for every noise made.

They say it is good to have a baby who is exposed to loud noise which for us never mattered because every noise seemed to be a loud noise to you so there you go…

Anyways, flash forward to actually getting control of your reflexes and you still scare at really funny things. We can put you down without your body flinging itself and you can now sleep right through your dog barking at the mystery thing in the window (which, come to think about it scares me) but certain items elicit a reaction from you that we can’t help but laugh at behind your back.

Sorry.

Hopefully you will also find this funny one day.

So, in no particular order here are the things that freak you out:

  1. This gorgeous hand made felt puppet that looks like a funny human/muppet. Literally, we cannot say the word “puppet” without making you cry. Mind you, you have no problem playing with the fucking creepy ass marionette toy that looks like it will come alive and murder people in their sleep but the funny, adorable puppet is now safely stashed way out of your toy chest (because even having it in the toy chest scared you.)
  2. Any toy made of rubber that blows air. You know those like, bath toys that have a tiny air hole to make sure water can get out so that they float? Well, you like those toys- a lot- UNLESS we use it to spray you with air or water. Turns out that you do not like having a gust of air blown at you and you forever reject poor starfish toy for doing it one too many times. Whoops.
  3. Bubble bath. Who knew? I have never met a kid so obsessed with bubbles and you like the bath so we figured combining the two would be your dream scenario. You peed on the floor the first time you saw a bubble bath with tears streaming down your cheeks. It was, coincidentally, also the last time for a bubble bath.
  4. Giant plush toys with eyes- except for the fucking life sized giraffe you have in your room that you kiss every night (although refuse to sit on despite my dreams of a photo op.)
  5. Dogs- the smaller, the scarier. Most people would be timid around your 65 pound black dog with hidden eyes but you seem to fear a 6 pound toy poodle the most. When we FaceTime your cousin and that little dog barks, it’s time to hang up. You ran over to pet a husky in a mall last weekend but those 6 pounds of poofiness really do it for you.
  6. Bugs. Is it genetic? I swore to not be creeped out by bugs around you so that you don’t grow up a fucking nut job like I am who runs at the speed of light at the suggestion of a bee but we saw an ant in the house (which, also is so fucking weird because it’s the middle of winter so where are you coming from, ant?) and you were really terrified. I even got close down to point out the ant and try and make it a fun learning for you but you were having none of it. Sorry if that is something you inherited from me. It’s so weird and annoying. Good luck at camp.

Baby, you are full of interesting and surprising features. You always think that your baby will be all your and your partner but there you go having this whole part of you that is just… well… you.

I guess a lesson could be learned here so let’s get to it. Fears are ok, normal and totally a part of who we all are but it is also cool that you can always try to overcome them- like obstacles in your life. I truly hope that you are not a puppet and bath toy fearing, bubble bath averse, bug-a-phobic by the time you read this but it is likely you will be afraid of something and all you can ever do is keep trying to face your fears and show them that you are boss. Except wasps- those things will fuck you up for no good reason. Kidding. Not kidding.

xo

Mom

Things that scare you

Making music with strangers

January 17, 2016

Dear Baby,

So I did this thing last week where I signed up for a class for you and I where I know no one. I don’t usually do stuff like that mostly because we have had such a rich social life with friends of mine and new friends of yours all year. But as the year passes, there are only a handful of people left who did not go back to full time work and none of them live within walking distance from us- which is kind of a bummer on shitty afternoons when I don’t feel like driving but still feel like being social.

So, a friend in my book club who does live in the hood mentioned this class and I signed up. It is even a bit weirder of a thing for me to do because it is actually at someone’s house who I also don’t know but anyways…

The thing about not going back to full time work and not signing your kid up for full time daycare is that there are very few people that seem to be in the same situation. The idea of being lonely in this experience is not for me- thus my unusually friendly gesture…

Anyways. Class was as weird as I expected. I don’t think I really get nervous to meet new people anymore but I did feel like a huge fucking dork when the music teacher called us out in front of everyone to be all like “Do you know anyone in the class” so I could mumble no while hanging my head in embarrassment.

But also in the end, everyone was friendly, I met a bunch of other moms who also don’t have traditional 9-5 jobs or are around in the afternoons and you had the best time of all- which is really the reason I do anything these days.

And my point is this: sure, I will be the first to admit that I felt like a pretty big loser going into that class. Putting yourself out there is really hard and weird and scary BUT there is really nothing that weird about it at all. If the situation was reversed and some new chick came to one of my classes, I would think it was great. Plus, who really gives a shit? Ultimately, this will end with something gained- or not.

Baby, I want you to always put yourself out there if you want to. Don’t be scared what people will think- people don’t tend to care that much about anyone. It is a totally valuable lesson to be uncomfortable and to be vulnerable. Both stem growth.

Plus, it’s hard to be super awkward when you are singing the Hokey Pokey- amiright?

xo

Mom

Making music with strangers

I’m baaaackkkkkk

January 11, 2017

Dear Baby,

Now here this. My contract is over and I am officially back to being your mom who works at home, never wears makeup on a weekday and has “fancy” sweatpants. It’s good to be back. Now also hear this. For a very long time I scoffed at a stay at home mom or homemaker. What would she do to fill her time? How would she feel valuable. “Not for me,” I said haughtily. Well, this is something I know for sure. It’s all fucking hard.

It’s hard to be away working trying to organize life from afar- coordinating schedules, daycares or caregivers, meals and life and it is hard to be at home all day entertaining a toddler while still coordinating all those things.

It’s all hard because… spoiler alert: being an adult is fucking hard.

Your dad often remarks that working from home is like having the best of everything. He is not wrong, totally. In a lot of ways, it is. I have the flexibility to be with you without putting aside a fulfilling career, I can be mom and lady boss all in one day- it’s just that sometimes I feel like something is always giving. A busy day with you often means little work gets done. A heavy work day means no time to get food and a day filled with errands that have to get done means no time for anything. It’s a constant juggling act.

But my point isn’t that my work/life situation is better or worse than anything else more that it is all hard. No matter what you do and no matter what you think about what you do and no matter how someone else’s life seems, we are all struggling, it is all a fine balancing act and adulting is hard work.

So I’m happy to be back because it gives me some great perspective on being even more non-judgmental to all the moms out there just making it work- whatever way it works.

And obvs happy to be back with you. We did a new class today and I almost ate your face from cuteness. Is it weird how much I always want to eat you up? Maybe.

xo

Mom

I’m baaaackkkkkk

Sorry, Baby

January 8, 2017

Dear Baby,

This morning, I was sitting at my desk and I caught sight of a shimmery thing on my arm. Baby, I hate to tell you this because it is a glimpse into your future but the shimmery thing on my arm was a super long, thin and white arm hair. Yup, an arm hair. A long ass fucking arm hair. Because, Baby, your mom is a hobbit.

It was to my shock that you came out of the womb relatively hairless. We expected to give birth to cousin It based on our collective hair so you have had a good start but I doubt very much that you will lead a life of hairlessness. Waxing, shaving, moustaches and extra-long, creepy arm hair is in your future.

Sorry.

I promise not to let you be a social leper because of your infliction.

Thank god you will have good eyebrows.

That’s all.

xo

Mom

 

 

Sorry, Baby

Sleep over

January 7, 2017

So with the caveat that I know I am a fucking psycho mom, I have to tell you that I really have a hard time when you sleep out of the house. That scares me because I wonder how the fuck I am ever going to have some extended child-free time. Like, I don’t want to be one of those parents who haven’t left their kids and the kids are like, 5 but at the same time, I usually spend your nights away lamenting at how much I miss you.

I for one, LOVE the sound of your waves sound machine that I can hear through the monitor that shines a light on my face all night long- I’m serious. I have never cared for silent, pitch black sleeps. I have always been the person who could sleep with the TV on all night long so the monitor is no bother. And waking up? Kind of a joke when your kid sleeps in.

I would say that the only thing that is really nice about you sleeping out is the morning when your dad and I can go for a leisurely walk with the dog to get coffee- we could do it with you just the same but it is a little more relaxed and free without a 400 pound stroller coming along for the ride.

At the same time, I keep thinking about spending some QT with your dad before we make our family a family of 4. Our time to get away for even a weekend is kind of limited by the impending arrival of your sibling and so I am fighting a battle in my mind of wanting to get away and wanting to just take you with so I don’t have to miss you the whole time.

Not that I am worried about us in particular, but I can totes see how couples begin to drift apart and lose their spark- it’s really fucking hard to have romance and intimacy when you would both rather be hanging with your kid a lot of the time. We have thankfully made the time- whether home or out- to be together without you or TV or anything but it is a true effort. Not an effort to spend the time, just an effort to really make the time. Time where you commit to being awake, alert, present, and excited.

So here’s my deep thoughts for today. If and when you have a partner, make some time for them and for you as a couple. Life- kids or otherwise- can really interfere and take away the time. It can be especially hard when you live with someone and confuse the time you spend with spending time. I will say this time and again: relationships are hard work. It is a complete misnomer to assume that if you are in love, things will be easy. Communication and relationships success takes work- but the work is SO SO SO worth it. Plus, a bonus is that if you put in a little bit of work every day, it will never need the bog work that you don’t want to have.

So make the time for the people you love. Make the time for your partner, for yourself and for your relationships and if you have a kid, let them sleep out at a loving and trusted relatives home one night or two, it’s good for everyone and you can always turn on the sound machine and monitor just because once your partner falls asleep (and then claim ignorance in the morning when they ask you how it all turned on.)

In the meantime, glad you are home.

xo

Mom

 

 

Sleep over

Turn that frown upside-down.

January 5, 2017

Dear Baby,

This morning, after a super restless sleep, I awoke fucking grumpy. I have a cold (which I can’t take any medicine for) and I spent my sleep breathing through my mouth in the driest room north of the Sahara. I woke nose plugged and throat scratchy to my phone buzzing with text messages sent at WAY too early an hour.

I fucking hate being a slave to my phone (an inevitable thing but nonetheless…) and I especially hate when people don’t respect the rules of the road- so to speak. I think that unless agreed upon, messaging or calling someone before the hour of 8am (and even then, you are treading thin) and after 10pm is totally unacceptable. Like, why the fuck do I want to hear from you at 6:30am? I don’t give a shit what you are doing, I am sleeping. I feel like this should be a common courtesy not withstanding an emergency situation and yet…

10 pm I can be more slightly more lenient on but after about 10:30, I am in bed. Even if I am not yet sleeping, I definitely am at the point of my night where I am no longer interested in engaging and I don’t want to be anywhere near my phone. Not that it ever really works, but I still try to put my phone away for at least 30 minutes before bed to optimize my sleep. And if I choose to bypass my self-imposed rule, it will be on my own terms.

I digress plus it’s my own fucking fault for sleeping with my phone so close by- I just always worry that if I don’t have my phone and something emergency happened, I wouldn’t be able to know/help. To date, nothing emergency has ever required my overnight answering of the phone- poo poo poo.

So grumpy mood.

Woke up, it was dark, gloomy, you were coughing on the monitor, I was tired from such an annoying and restless sleep and it was grump-central station for this mama. I grumped my way through breakfast, coffee and the fact that my planned outfit had terrible static cling was just one cherry on my sundae. Barely saw you, had to elbow my way onto a bus (WHY ARE PEOPLE SO FUCKING RUDE ALL THE TIME), got to work, my new computer wasn’t working and I was locked out of the IT dept… EVERYTHING was just going wrong.

But then I took a deep fucking breath, got myself a tea, made it down to IT to fix my computer, blew some snot out of my nose and chilled the fuck out. Not only because I am a grown up and I can handle a bad morning but because I am going to always show you that anyone can handle a bad day.

One of the things I really connected in that Minimalist podcast was the way that kids mirror us. They discussed it in the context of, if we compulsively shop and identify our worth by our possessions , our kids are bound to do the same but I feel like it applies to a lot more. Like, if I succumb to bad moods and bad days and cant shake them off, how will you learn to? It made my hyper aware of what I project out and being unable to have control over my moods and emotional state is not something I am going to teach you willingly.

And the truth? There are times that call for a mood that isn’t good. You can be sad, you can be angry about something, you can be unsure- you have the right to feel anything that you feel but you also have the power to shift your own mood and refocus on the good. And there is always some good.

Maybe a deep breath and a tea will do it, maybe a good talk with a friend or a hug from your mom?

You will have to figure out your own ways of self soothing but I will be around to show you some tips and tricks and be there should you need me. Cheers to a day looking up from now on.

xo

Mom

 

 

 

Turn that frown upside-down.

Minimalism, Baby

January 4, 2017
Dear Baby,
I don’t want to seem holier than thou but I have been thinking a lot about stuff- like, literal stuff. A friend of mine recently put up a picture on her Instagram of her son in this really fancy and expensive (and so fucking nice) snowsuit and, surprise surprise, it made me feel bad. The whole social media making people feel like shit is a real thing (although not one I am delving into this second) and it worked. I began to wonder if I was failing you as a parent for not providing you with similar snowsuit- like things. Would you be as happy as you could ever be with just a moderately priced snowsuit- who knows?
And that made me mad because I am a totally rational and sane person who knows better than to get swept up in the bullshit of stuff. I know just as well as anyone that a great snowsuit does not a happy child make. I mean, I hope this kid is super happy and has a wonderful life but I don’t think it will have anything to do with the level of expense spent on his winter gear. I know that for sure and without a doubt.
Yet… I found myself on a designer baby website with a cart full of clothing that you don’t need ready to spend on you what I would NEVER spend on myself in one foul swoop all motivated by my insecurity at this fucking snowsuit. Sorry to tell you Baby, I closed the window, scolded myself for being a fucking moron and moved on with my life. You never got to own that $150 T shirt and we are all better for it.
And of course, this made me think about the way in which we as parents- and we as people- have this weird sort of under the table competition for stuff. Like, if your stuff is nicer, you will be better. People might like you more if you have nicer clothes and you will be happier with more things. This is only shot down by the way you watch a kid who just got the biggest and most expensive toy around and only wants to play with the box. This shit doesn’t matter even a quarter as much as we imagine it does.
So with some sense of “aha” I found this Podcast called “Minimalism” and a specific episode of it on parenting that discusses just this issue. The mass consumption of toys, clothes, classes and things that we “need” to have to raise the best kid possible. How do kids even become happy people if they don’t have fucking tents and fancy organic toys (again, not to sound so holy because we have a fucking Volkswagon VW tent that can fit 3 grown adults sitting in our basement with a life size “Big” piano so…)But it made me think about some of our friends who embrace a mindful and minimal life and are some of the happiest people I know. They NEVER have fancy clothing (they in fact, purchase all of their clothing at the Salvation Army because they think clothes are dumb), they don’t have any fancy toys and the kid goes to free drop-in programs for recreation. She and her mom are brilliant, wonderful people who don’t seem at all to be envious or wanting of anything.
This is contrasted by friend of ours that have EVERYTHING. Every toy (kids and adult), every clothing item, every cool new thing,- are they WAY happier people for it? I mean, maybe. I hope they are happy but I highly doubt that in the face of something bad, their awesome shoes would save them. Know what I mean?
Something that the podcast really identified that resonated with me was that reducing your consumption of stuff will, by default, reduce your overall carbon footprint. Buying less produces less. Having less produces less and this really hit home. As parents, we work so hard to better the lives of our kids but what kind of life are we leaving them? A world with infinite possibility and one that we have taken terrible care of. I want you to grow up in a world where you can actually still see the world, where it is safe to be outside and breath the air and where we have water and food. This is a pretty big statement but it’s like, who gives a shit if you have a fucking book that is supposed to make you a child genius or a cool pair of organic pants if you don’t have a planet to grow up and thrive on. So in essence, the consumption of less stuff is the single best thing I can do for you to help you achieve the greatest success I can imagine for you.
But before I drink the Kool Aid and just reject all consumerism I will be honest and say that somewhere between having nothing and having it all there is a balance. We are not going to take our carbon footprint from 100 to 0 but we can certainly do what we can, when we can to try to temper the urge to have it all. Want is a very powerful desire and one that we can indulge every now and then but if you can safely say “we have everything” you should probably clean out your shit.
I am for sure going to keep buying you (and me) things we don’t need- it’s just going to happen but I think where I can make a change is to:
1. Not do it as often as I do
2. Not think that it is going to make any of us better or happier people.
I think an achievable family goal is to understand that stuff is nice- stuff is really fun but stuff does not define you nor make you better. Stuff won’t make you prettier, smarter or more genuine. Stuff will just make you a person who has stuff.
So sure, your friend has a crazy snowsuit, you have crazy things, other people do an don’t have things but our ultimate happiness and success will be defined by who we are, not by what we have and what we wear. Even if it is a really cute snowsuit…
xo
Mom
Minimalism, Baby

2017

January 1, 2017

Dear Baby,

New Years was a success. The tone of my voice typing this is slightly proud and surprised since I was certain that we would be crashed and finished by 10:30. We not only made it to midnight but did so without much of a try. It’s like we looked down and poof, if was midnight.

And so, we ushered in another year.

Going to be honest here: having a kid- and then especially having a kid who is sick makes the passage of a year seem like just another day. Yes, yes, New Years Eve IS just another day and just another night but in the past there has been something really special about celebrating it. Maybe it’s that we have had some really epic celebrations- contrary to what I’m sure you think, we are really fun people- or maybe it’s that this particular break sucked ass balls because we were all sick but either way, NYE was pretty anticlimactic.

But the change in our mentality means a change in everything and so while a night like New Years is pretty whatever, a day like your birthday is the highlight of my fucking year. A day where we take you somewhere new to see something cool is the best thing I can imagine and all these little days make the entire year worth celebrating- not just one night.

Because the truth: 2016 (and half of 2015) and beyond are all about you. It’s no longer about my outfit, our plans, getting saucy or going out. It is all about you and our little family. It means that when you are sick, we stay home and have a really nice dinner with friends and I wear sweatpants and stay sober (which has a lot more to do with being pregnant than you being sick but nonetheless…)

And you know what? Never have I had a better year than spending it with you as the main focus which is maybe why 2017’s coming is sort of an uneventful event- because to me it is just a continuation of what I have been doing in 2016- loving you like crazy, putting you (and our family) first and celebrating all the little moments that we get every single day.

Happy New Year, Baby.

xo

Mom

2017

By the way…

December 31, 2016
Dear Baby,
Before we head in to 2017, there is something I want to share with you. I am pregnant and all gong well, your baby sibling will be joining our family in late June. 
It’s really fucking crazy to tell you this because in every single way, YOU are my baby and I have a lot of mixed emotions as to how you (and probably/ more likely how I) will handle this all. 
The truth: I can’t possibly imagine loving anything else in the entire world as much as I love you.
I know everyone swears that once you have your second, you will open your heart and love double- and I know that this is true, I know it. But I can’t believe it.

So, there you go. 
Sorry we haven’t told you- although in fairness we have, you just don’t seem to quite understand yet.
Ok, now ready for 2017.
xo
Mom

By the way…