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Archive for January, 2012

A letter to my daughter…

Dear Baby,

I know it’s really hard being you.  It’s been a wild eight months.  You’ve spent the entire time trying to figure out how to control the world around you, how to be less dependent on people while still being able to bend them to your will.  I know it’s demeaning when people are constantly talking about your poo around you and sometimes they don’t notice that you’re rolling around in your spit up.  I know that you get frustrated when you move constantly and yet can’t really get anywhere, while constantly banging your head on the ground.  I get all of this but there are a few things you should know about mommy that will make things a lot smoother between us from here on out.

I promise I’m always coming back.  Just because I’m not in your direct line of sight, doesn’t mean that I’ve abandoned you.  You really don’t need to start screaming like someone is pricking your feet with staples, I know you’re still there.  Sometimes mommy just needs to go get a cup of tea or use the bathroom.  I swear I’m right around the corner.  And if you’re with your daddy instead, and mommy goes to have a bath, please don’t scream.  It sort of defeats the purpose of mommy’s bath if she has to listen to you cry the whole time.

Mommy finds it very confusing when she puts you down and you cry for her to pick you up, then spend the whole time squirming and trying to get down.  I’m happy either way, holding you or not holding you, but the fact that neither makes you happy makes me wonder if you will spend the rest of your life wanting whatever you don’t have, while never appreciating what’s right in front of you.

Sleep.  How can I say this without hurting your little baby feelings?  I love that you want to see me around the clock, honestly, it’s very flattering.  But mommy needs just a teeeeny bit of time without you.  I promise I’m not playing with any other babies, just sleeping.  You should try it sometime, it’s addictive.  And to make it even better, mommy is WAY more fun in the morning if she’s been given some shut-eye.

If you can accept these few requests, I promise I will accept that you can in fact tell the difference between the fake remote control and the real one.  And I promise that I will no longer take the batteries out of your toys.

Love, Mom.

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There are many things about parenting that have changed since my mother’s day.  We use car seats.  We put them in lead free cribs with slats that their heads can’t squeeze through.  We don’t give them honey, or whiskey.  Also, a lot of us now look for advice on the internet.  It could be a simple search to see if your baby’s wheezing cough is normal, or it could be joining a mommy forum.

A friend of mine equated this to the quilting bees of our parents’ youth and I think that’s a great example.  It’s a way to make friends on your own timeline without having to schedule dates or even get your kids out the door.  Don’t get me wrong, I love my real life friends, I count on them to get together with and I count on their children to play with mine.  But I have two groups of friends now, local, and out of town.

The minute I started trying to have a baby, I found a group of ladies online who were wanting the same thing.  We supported each other through many ups and downs.  It was challenging because as people moved on, you were torn between being happy for them and being sad that they were gone.  Once I became pregnant I joined a group of ladies who were all having babies in the same month as me.  With my first I wasn’t a very active member, but with my second I decided it was time to have some fun.

There’s only so much baby talk that my husband and friends want to hear about, so it’s helpful to have people who are all on the same page as you.  Some ladies are on all of the time (ahem, me) and some of them just pop in now and then when they need an ear (or 100) or they’ve managed to carve out a little time and pour a glass of wine.  Some ladies who live close to each other even manage to get together with their babies.  It’s been an amazing support system.  Amazing.  There is always someone around to give you some advice, or just to listen.  Someone to help celebrate your successes and give you hugs when times are hard.

My infant is seven months old.  I can say it’s been one of the hardest periods of my life.  I love my baby, but she’s not been easy to live with.  Being able to log on at the end of a hard day and complain has been a lifesaver for me.  Seriously, it’s helped me to calm down, to smile, to remember that it gets better, to remember that I’m not the only one.  I’m sure some of you reading this are these very people and I really want to thank you.  I never imagined when I joined this group that it would change my world so much.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.  I really hope we all get a chance to meet one day for some real life hugs.  🙂

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A teeny tiny ballerina

So I decided to enroll my three year old in dance lessons.  Not serious bulimia dance lessons or anything, just a little ballet class at the local rec centre.  I was able to pat myself on the back for doing something special for my daughter and at the same time satisfy my need to see her prance around in cute little outfits.

Today was the first day.  I hauled the kids out, strapped the baby to my chest, dressed her in her little pink dance outfit and sauntered into the rec centre.  I had no idea where the room was so I had to wait at the front desk for what seemed like forever while the couple in front of me asked the poor clerk to look up every class in the recreation guide.  My three year old was tugging at my arm, and my baby was squirming away so I gave up and hunted around for the room.

To my surprise, I found it!  Mostly because there were about three other moms there with little pink clothed children all wandering around wondering if they were in the right place.  The door to the studio was open so we all piled in (which as it turns out is quite frowned upon).  The little girls pranced around excitedly until the instructor came in, introduced herself, and asked the parents to leave.  We all looked at each other puzzled.  Leave?  All of the kids are clinging to their parents (except for mine who has already long abandoned me) so the parents pry themselves away and go outside.

So here’s how it looks: a group of moms (and one dad who left at this point) all sitting around wondering how the hell they’re going to occupy themselves for 45 minutes.  I mean, are we allowed to actually leave?  Do we need to be outside the door in case one of our prima ballerinas takes a tumble?  We make idle chit chat.  Some people start playing on their phones.  My baby starts fussing because that’s what she does best so I decide to take a little walk to the vending machines.  I was so bored that I bought a bag of popcorn and wouldn’t you know the damn thing gets stuck in the machine.  Here I am, baby strapped to my chest, leaning over trying to get the thing out, shaking the machine.  The ladies at the front desk are of no help so I manage to get some maintenance worker walking by to free my popcorn.  Turns out it wasn’t very good so I didn’t even eat it.

Tick tock, tick tock.  45 minutes pass and by now the next class has all begun to gather around so there are little girls in tights as far as the eye can see.  My baby is getting progressively more cranky.  Finally the door opens and the girls bound out!  Except mine, who doesn’t want to leave.  Of course.  I manage to convince her to come home by promising a lollypop for good behavior (I know, I know).  She ended up wearing the ballet getup for the rest of the day… I think she’d sleep in it if she could.  I didn’t get to watch more than a few seconds of her ballet class at a time but what I did see was absolutely adorable, and I can’t wait for the performance at the end.  You’ll know it’s me because I’ll be the one with the camcorder strapped to my face and the crying baby in my lap.

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My husband and I have many ongoing debates.  One of them is whether or not I watch garbage television.  He seems to think that because he watches sports it’s somehow a different level of television watching.  It’s somehow less lazy to watch athletes because, well, I suppose someone is getting some exercise.  I don’t even watch that much tv anymore, to be honest.  Not because I don’t want to, mostly because I’m with the kids or on the computer or because up until recently we only had one TV and it was always playing sports.  Or sports highlights.  I used to watch a lot of reality TV when it first came out, I’ve since become more selective but he still seems to think that’s all I watch, and that it’s a total waste of time.  So… for fun I’ve decided to compare reality TV to his precious sporting programs.

  • they’re both actual people playing themselves
  • they’re both somewhat staged (he would disagree with this one but I know deep down it’s true)
  • they both involve teams of people fighting each other
  • at the end of the season there’s always someone who wins
  • the final episode is usually an extra long event that people throw mini parties for
  • the better the players do, the more money they make
  • I can watch both from the comfort of my own couch

In the end, they’re both entertainment only.  Watching sports is not somehow more active.  Playing sports is.  Competing on survivor is.  Changing the sheets while watching America’s Next Top Model… is.  🙂

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The Business of Motherhood

I have a feeling this is going to be the first in a series of mini rants on motherhood.  More specifically, mothers.

Yes, motherhood is serious business.  We’re putting our lives on hold to raise productive members of society, blah blah blah.  But do we have to take ourselves so seriously??

When my first was born, she was a crier.  My husband and I struggled in so many ways.  We were first time parents and expected some crying but this kid was hardly ever happy.  So what did we do?  We joked about it.  I’m sure if people had heard us they would have thought we were assholes, joking about an innocent little baby.  For us it was all about survival, and humor is how we operate.

Our second is very likely an even harder baby personality wise, and the only reason we don’t joke about it as much is because we’re too damn tired, and because our eldest is always around eavesdropping.  (see my post about her language skills if you don’t believe me)

It just seems like moms (and not just new moms) are insanely serious about their children.  From the moment they’re born they start charting them and comparing them to other children and the “average”.  They talk to other moms and boast about the milestones their children are meeting early.  When other children are a little behind they console the moms and tell them not to worry even though if the situation were reversed they would be speed dialing the pediatrician pronto.  Nobody wants to speak ill of their children, even on their worst days, for fear of being labeled an uncaring jerk of a mom.

I was at a coffee shop the other day with my baby.  She had been a little turkey that day which was the whole reason I was out, in hopes that a change of scenery would keep her happy.  I made it to the front of the line and the lady at the counter coos at my baby and makes a comment about how she wanted to keep her.  I told her she could.  OBVIOUSLY I was kidding, at least I would hope most people would assume I’m kidding.  I picked the wrong lady.  She looks at me, mouth open and says very very loudly “you are a BAD MOM!”.  Maybe she’s right, maybe she’s not.  But I do know that I would die for my children, I work very hard to make sure that they are clothed, fed, warm, happy, educated, entertained, and loved.  If part of the package is that I have to pretend that my children are always amazing, that they never have days where they’re less than 100% enjoyable to be around, then I’m screwed.

Maybe that lady has never had a baby with colic, I don’t know, but come on people, take a damn joke.

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Masquerade Ball

Here’s another easy craft idea for you, and your little artist can go pretty crazy with this one!  Cut out some construction paper into a mask shape, poke out a couple of eye holes, attach a stick to the back and let her loose!  I gave her some sparkle glue, feathers, stickers, crayons, felts, sequins… you name it!  And then afterwards you have the joy of wearing the masks… oh yes… you get to wear them… a lot.  Can you guess which one is mine?  😉

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