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I’m not sure at what point in my life I decided I was no longer worth putting in any effort for.  I’m pretty sure (like most moms) that it was right around the time that my first baby was born.  I think I used up all of my energy reserves just delivering her and then any new production went straight to my little bundle of joy.

I have two older sisters.  When we were younger they used to melt cheese into little cups and eat it (yes, gross, but this seemed like the yummiest thing in the world at the time).  When I asked them if I could have some too, they told me that cheese was expensive and I couldn’t have any.  This has become a bit of a running joke with us, me not being worth the cheese.

I was making dinner the other day and absolutely starving because I hadn’t taken the time to prepare myself any proper meals all day, so I was eating pretzels.  My daughter came into the kitchen and I thought for sure she was going to ask for some but instead she asked if she could have more carrots and celery.  It suddenly hit me.  I was starving and scarfing down salty carbs because I spent so much time washing and chopping and preparing food for my kids that it never really occurred to me that I deserve to be taken care of too.  Why is it that I’m worried about them getting proper snacks and meals and yet I can feed myself handfuls of pretzels?

So it’s been decided, from here on out I’m going to take just as good of care of their mother as I am of them.  I think we’ll all benefit in the long run.

After all, I am worth the cheese.  🙂

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I have a little secret.  I love to craft.  I loooooove to buy fabrics and notions and force them all together in lame attempts to make something that might actually turn out well.  Half of the time I end up with garbage.  Well, maybe more than half the time…

I can’t even begin to explain how many projects I have “on the go”.  Some of them go back years and I’d be better off just tossing them… yet I can’t.  I made a list a while back and for some reason instead of knocking things off of the list, I’ve just started new projects.

Project one: my baby’s birthday present.  I decided that I would avoid the toys r us aisles and make her something from my well intentioned heart… a quiet book.  I wanted something that she could fondle in the car on our trips to Grandma’s house as well as practice some skills as she gets older.  I’m happy to say I actually finished it!  So here it is, my first quiet book.  I hope she doesn’t destroy it too quickly.

The cover page:

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Count the flower petals; put the butterflies in and out of the net:

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Unzip the bird feeder; put the animals in and out of the zoo:

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Move the monkey along the line; unbutton the flap on the owl:

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Back cover:

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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!  🙂

I hate clutter.  It weighs on you and eats away at your soul.  I always wanted two kids (assuming I was blessed with them) and during my last pregnancy I had lovely dreams about shipping off truckloads of baby stuff to the salvation army.  Now that my baby is nine months, a lot of her little baby things are no longer practical.  She can’t fit into many of the clothes, she’s too big for the infant seats.  Finally my time has come to clear up some much needed closet space.  And yet I find myself hesitating.  I’ve got the boxes out, the clothes sorted, the infant seats lined up and ready for disassembling.  Yet… I can’t seem to do it.  I want to sooo much but I just can’t seem to do it.  I never took myself for an overly sentimental sort.  I swear the minute I could put my old jeans on I got rid of all of my maternity clothes.

My husband would love another child.  He would accept it if I didn’t but I just know that a little piece of his puzzle would be missing.  Does me hesitating on getting rid of my baby stuff mean that I’m having second thoughts?  Or does it just mean that I’m unwilling to say goodbye to my own babies?  Will it be any easier to part with this stuff in a year?  Five years?  Ever?  Perhaps it’s like a bandaid, you just need to rip it off and know that all will be okay.

Sigh.  I guess this is another instance of me assuming I would be one type of parent, and my true nature peeking out to call me a liar.  Does this ever end?  Will I be eating my words until the day I die?  So many questions, but then again, I suppose that’s sort of the point of it all isn’t it?  Finding answers…

It’s such a weird feeling, when your baby finally sleeps through the night.  Not even a six hour stretch, but the same stretch as you!  You suddenly feel like Snow White, frolicking with tiny little birdies and singing a sweet tune.

My baby has been a bad sleeper.  She’s almost nine months old and up until the last week she’s only a handful of times given me more than two or three hours without her.  It’s been like walking around in a fog.  I’ve told myself a million times that it’ll get better but I have to say that I was really starting to question that.  I mean, it only seemed to be getting worse as time went on!

I decided that she no longer needed to nurse every couple of hours.  I also decided that after 9 months, it was my husband’s turn to go in and comfort her (which he did willingly, bless his heart).  She actually responded way better than I had expected and right away started giving longer stretches.  Then last night, a miracle happened: she slept through the night.  From 10pm until 6:30am when I went in to check on her and found her doing push ups and smiling.

I’m pretty sure I can conquer anything at this point.  I have no doubt she will regress many many times but for now I’m just going to enjoy the first full night of sleep I’ve had in a year.

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.

Oh how I long for the old days of motherhood.  Modern technology is great, it’s nice to have information at the tip of your fingers (even if most of it is crap) and it’s nice to have endless amounts of people to commiserate with online, but there is a downside.  The downside is that the bar of motherhood is set higher than ever.  Gone are the days when you were happy just to make it through the day.  It’s no longer good enough to raise a child that moves out at 18 and doesn’t grow into a serial killer.  Now we can see exactly what everyone else is doing and we can judge our parenting skills in comparison.

I think I’m a pretty good mom so far.  I haven’t had to deal with teenagers yet so I’ll revisit that in a decade.  If I didn’t have the internet or cable I’d plug along and be happy that my girls are somewhat well adjusted and listen to me at least some of the time.  But no, I torture myself by going online and opening my eyes to how much better everyone else is handling the task of raising children.  It’s no longer good enough that my infant only woke up three times last night, I can see that little Samantha has been sleeping in 12 hour stretches since birth.  When my babe starts saying mama, all of the other babies have apparently been reciting the alphabet for months, in their sleep.  When I finally persuade my toddler to eat a carrot stick by smothering it in ranch dressing I find out that I’m the devil’s handmaiden because I let her eat processed food.

I applaud the ladies out there who are raising perfect children, it must be exhausting but you are in no way letting on to this.  I hope that when our kids are in grade school together, my child doesn’t corrupt yours with her Dora t-shirt and box of smarties.  🙂