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I’ve never been a full believer in the idea that owning pets is like preparing yourself for having children. When I had my first child it was a rollercoaster and I laughed at anyone who compared it to having a pet. Now that my second is nearly two, I’ve been noticing some strange things going on. Things that have made me wonder if having a pet may indeed prepare someone for children. Not all children, but at least one like mine.

And so I bring you the ways in which my toddler is like a puppy:

She pees on my floor. I try to be a caring mom, I take off her little diaper and let her roam around and get some fresh air, and what does she do to reward me? She pees. Every time. I swear there’s a little sensor built in that detects the worst possible moments to pee and then she goes for it. Like on the carpet, or the sofa, or my dry clean only duvet.

She licks my face. No lie, I was housebound with a sick toddler one day and the only thing that entertained her was trying to shove her sick fingers in my mouth and licking me. I couldn’t tell if it was hilarious or appalling but either way it was worth potentially getting sick just to keep her happy.

She bites. She can be the cutest little thing in the whole world but as soon as something rocks her world, you know, like I move an inch on the sofa or won’t give her froot loops, she lunges at me like a wild animal. She raises her little paw, errr hand, and whaps at me until she finally gets distracted by something shiny.

She eats with no hands. I will give her a lovely plate of food and what should be her favorite Dora cutlery and instead of using it she dumps it out on the mat, leans over and hoovers it up. Or she drops it on the floor and eats it later.

She goes through my garbage. My homemade mac and cheese is ghastly to her but she’s more than willing to take wrappers out of the garbage or an old banana peel out of the compost and go to town on them. At least it would be an easy and inexpensive meal for me to prepare…

She whines. Her verbal skills are still in the early development phase so to get what she wants she just points to it and whines. And whines. And whiiiiiiines.

But my favorite one of all is when I haven’t seen her for a while and as soon as I do her face lights up and she gallops towards me with her arms out and practically knocks me over. Who needs a puppy when you have that. 🙂

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Dear Chocolate,

 I know you’ve been having a hard time accepting that I let you go.  I can’t blame you for that, it was pretty sudden.  One day I was hoarding you in my nightstand and shoving you into my mouth at all hours of the day, the next minute I practically threw you at my husband as if you meant nothing to me.

 So let me explain…

 You see, we have what the experts like to call a “mutually destructive relationship”.  Okay, maybe not “experts” so much as “me” but you get the idea.  The way I see it, you harm me by making my blood sugar rise and my ass grow, and I get revenge by eating you.  Or maybe you’re the one getting revenge?  Either way, it’s a vicious cycle and I had to put an end to it.

 So in the spirit of being “just friends”, I would appreciate it if you would stop coming by my work and showing up at the restaurants I go to.  I find this type of harassment very off-putting and not endearing at all.  I would also appreciate it if you would stop sending your cousin “sugar” to talk to me, I have nothing to say to him either.

 I hope that over time we will learn to forget about each other, and that we’ll be able to pass each other on the street with no hard feelings.  Until then, I have to warn you that if you come near me, I’m sticking a fork in your arm.

 All the best, SP

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My recent lack of posts can only mean one thing: I’m back at work.  Don’t get me wrong, being a stay at home parent is freaking hard.  Too hard for me, in fact.  But being a working mom is very… complicated.  An average work day goes like this:

5:30-6 – get up.  Reluctantly, as I would really like to sleep until 6:30 but my one year old is an early bird.  During this time I’m trying desperately to keep her as quiet as possible so she doesn’t wake up her big sister, who will be a total crab if she doesn’t get her sleep.

6:30-7:45 – get ready.  I try to do as much as I can the night before.  I wash my hair, makes some snacks, lay out clothes, yet it still seems like I’m running around throwing balls in the air during this time.  Trying to dress and feed myself and everyone else, pack lunches, make sure the girls’ bags are packed, and if I remember, brushing my hair.

And then it’s work time.  Oh heavenly work.  A land where there are pockets of silence and adults making conversation with me (even if I only have my kids to talk about).  A land where I can pour a cup of tea and forget to drink it for work related reasons rather than children. 

But then I look over at the pictures on my desk.  One family photo and one of my girls beaming up at me.  I miss them terribly.  They drive me absolutely bonkers but I have to actually try not to think of what they’re doing at any given time or I’ll become the office cryer. 

4:30 – I rush to go pick the girls up before the daycare closes. 

And then the fun really begins.

They’re tired, and whiney, and hungry, and thirsty.  The little one is so happy to see me she’s upset, and the oldest one doesn’t want to leave daycare so I have to drag her out or bribe her.  Either way I look like the mom of the year…

We get home and the countdown for dinner begins.  I’m frantically trying to get them some snacks and drinks so that they give me a *little bit* of peace and quiet while I sort out dinner.  Then I swear it’s like trying to feed the lions.  You put all that effort into it and they either tear it apart in two minutes flat, or throw it on the floor. 

Once the girls are sorted out and clean and tucked into bed there’s a short window of what I like to call mommy time.  I wrestle with this every night.  I should really spend that time cleaning and preparing things for the next day so that I’m not going out of my mind, but I’m so damn tired at this point that all I want to do is sink into a bath with a good book.  Or even a mediocre book.  Or a take out menu.

So tell me this, does it get any easier?  If the answer is no, please do me a favour and lie.

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Enjoy every minute…

If you’re a parent, I’m sure you’ve heard this before.  “Enjoy every minute of it because it goes by so quickly”.  I in no way doubt this.  I already look at my three year old and can’t believe she was my wee little baby not long ago.  And I can’t believe that one day she will be a grown woman, hopefully with a family of her own. 

I was at a restaurant yesterday with my husband and 9 month old.  She sat in her highchair and squealed and whapped her arms as if trying to fly.  There were a couple of lovely women sitting next to us and she obviously struck a cord with them.  One of the women gushed over her and asked us if she ever cried (HA!  we both replied with “oooooh yeah!” and laughed inside at the memories of our colicky little turkey).  She looked at us and said that her children were grown up now and she still remembers them as babies, and that we were to enjoy every minute.

She’s right of course.  One day I will look back and remember all of the wonderful parts of my babies and I’m sure the sleepless nights and endless whining will seem like a small price to pay.  They ARE a small price to pay, but when you’re in the thick of it it’s hard to open up that damn wallet.  So I’m going to write a little letter to future me and hope that it helps when I’m going through baby withdrawal one day and kicking myself for not cherishing every sweet second.

Dear Me,

You are doing your best.  Don’t forget that while your baby screamed seemingly endlessly for months, you held her and rocked her and kissed her little baby forehead.  You sang her songs and tickled her toes.  You cuddled her when she was sick or sad and you played peekaboo for what seemed like hours.  You brought her into the bath with you and made sure she didn’t get soap in her eyes.  You dressed her in warm clothes and covered her in blankets in the cold.  You kissed her little baby feet and her little baby hands.  You shed tears when you thought she was in pain, you laughed when she was happy.  You thank the lord every day that you have two healthy children.  Every day.  You are blessed and even though you sometimes wanted to pull your hair out or run away, you never let them know.  Well, almost never.  You’re allowed to look forward to the future as well as live in the today.  You’re allowed to wonder what they’re going to be like when they grow up.  Are they going to be clever?  Will they be kind?  You’re allowed to look forward to a day when you can all go somewhere as a family without worrying about naps and schedules and whether or not your kids will cry or throw tantrums.

But never forget that you loved them dearly.  Never think that you didn’t savor the moments.  And don’t forget that it’s freaking hard work and for heaven’s sake don’t you eeeeven consider trying for a third!  🙂

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What was I thinking?

Sometimes I get these ideas in my head that I know aren’t realistic but I just can’t seem to let them go.  Take today, for example.  Our local library has storytime at 10:30 on Fridays.  I rarely go because my infant is usually sleeping.  Today she decided to wake up at 10:10 and I thought to myself “hey, maybe I can make storytime today!”.  I got dressed in a hurry, skipped my makeup (not a pretty sight), grabbed the baby and nursed her, quickly dressed my 3 year old and hauled them out to the car.  We were stopped on the way to the car by a friend who I had to pretty much shove out of the way because I now had about 5 minutes left.  I drove to the library, which is about 10 minutes away, found a spot in the parkade and hauled the kids out of the car.  I didn’t think I had time to set up the stroller so I decided to carry my 20lb infant (bad idea) in one arm, along with my diaper bag, and hold the hand of my daughter with the other arm.

This had to be the most complicated parkade in town.  Could I find the elevator?  Of course not.  So I dragged them up three flights of stairs and found myself on the opposite side of the building as the library entrance.  We all ran around the block to the library entrance and snaked our way through the building to the storytime room where my daughter sneaked onto the mat and could hardly see over the sea of bobbing parent heads.  I sat down with her to help her take off her coat when she promptly informed me that I was to take the baby and sit over on a chair in the corner.  Hmmmmm… thanks kid.

Once sotrytime was over we decided to grab some books.  The baby was starting to fuss and I had no arms left but let her pick three.  We waited in line and got to the checkout where I had to fumble around in my diaper bag for my wallet.  Some odd man behind me was clearly irritated, even though it took me all of 30 seconds.  He started getting mad at the librarian that there weren’t more workers and he practically shoved my toddler out of the way when our turn was over.  I exchanged an eye roll with the librarian, bit my tongue, and moved along.  Luckily I knew where the elevator was from that entrance so we took it down only to find out that I really had no idea where my car was.  I thought it was 3L but I guess it was 3D.  We wandered aimlessly around the parkade while I hissed at my daughter to stay close and my arms throbbed from carrying the baby.  By some miracle I stumbled across my car and we headed home.

I would say that the moral of the story is to think twice before spontaneously taking your children anywhere, but seeing her jumping up and down and smiling at the stories is surely what will stick in my mind.  I have no doubt there will be another entry down the road… storytime take two: adventures in idiocy.

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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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