Friday, November 23, 2012


This morning, I woke up grouchy.

I'm still irritable at almost 3 in the afternoon. Tired. Worn out. Blah.

Almost everything Anna does today annoys me. I've yelled directly at her several times already, once causing her to be startled and ask me, "What's wrong, Mommy? You sad?"

Did I also mention I've felt guilty pretty much all day, too?

Why does this happen to me? To us Moms? (I'm hoping some of you feel this way, too?)

I have two good, healthy, happy children. I have a really great husband. I've even got an extremely helpful Mom who lives nearby. I'm not alone.

And yet, I'll have these "oh, woe is me" days where I just feel like laying in bed. But there's no reason for it. And I hate complaining about my lot in life because I know I sound selfish.

So... what the hell? (For lack of a better term). What the hell is wrong with me?

My husband and I chatted about the possibility of me returning to work full time. I was leaning towards returning to an out of the home full time job more than I was staying at home and working part time. But I waver back and forth from day to day.

"People envy what you have, Heather. They want the life you've got" he said to me.

I know it. I know. I know. I know.

I've got it good. I've got it so good. Which is why I can't figure out my bad mood. I should be sitting here counting my blessings, not annoyed by the fact that I'm sipping tea in my lovely bright kitchen while the girls nap.

Is this a "the grass is always greener" case?

Do I just need to shut up and give my head a shake?


Wish I knew.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

From the neurotic files...

So, I realize I'm neurotic.

But I think I've reached an all new level of crazy. Allow me to explain.

I was telling a girlfriend the other day about how I'm not sure if my baby loves me.

(Oh lord, I'm rolling my eyes right now because I KNOW I'm crazy. I know it! But I can't seem to help it.)

It's very clear to me that Anna loves me. She's very attached to me. She wants Mommy to hug her and kiss her and help her get dressed. Only I can calm her down when she's reaching her nuclear meltdown point. She's always been this way since she was a wee babe. Everyone else is great, don't get her wrong... but Mommy? Mommy frickin rocks, people. Mommy is the best! Mommy wipes her bum, sucks boogies out of her nose and STILL thinks the sun rises and sets out of her arse.

On the other hand, when it comes to Lauren... The jury's still out on whether or not she feels that intensely about me.

Don't get me wrong - the kid obviously LIKES me. I mean, she smiles and giggles for me. She tolerates me dressing and changing her. But am I like the best thing that ever existed in the entire history of the universe?

Meh. Not so sure about that one.

Case in point: When Grandma comes to visit, Lauren smiles and reaches for Grandma. If Grandma leaves the room (AND I'M STILL IN IT), Lauren cries.

When I try to smother her in kisses - she pushes me away. When I wrestle her into a bear hug just to be close to her? She cries.

That's right. My caresses make my child weep, folks.

It's starting to give me a wee bit of a complex. I'm used to being the center of my daughter's universe. I'm used to being able to do no wrong. I'm used to being considered pretty awesome just by getting up and getting the kid a bowl of cereal.

Looks like I'm going to have to work a bit harder to earn little Lauren's affection.

And all I can think about is how Moms and daughters have weird relationships. Some daughters hate their Moms. They love their Dads and think their Moms are crazy and annoying and nag too much.

Add to that the fact that I know I'm not the easiest to like all the time. (I'm blunt and to-the-point and get taken the wrong way. I'm not all nicey nicey. It's just not in me.) Plus, I have mood swings and I'm not afraid to yell at my kids. I rock! Weee!

Anyway, add that all up, and all of the sudden I can picture grown-up Lauren exasperated with me and irritated by my very presence and wondering why I'm weeping to myself in the corner, rocking back and forth while cradling her baby clothes and whispering "Why don't you love me?? Why???"

So yes. I think I've very clearly demonstrated my ridiculous level of crazy. But there seems to be not much I can do about it.

Which is why I'm just going to keep smothering Lauren with kisses and hope for the best.

And if she ever comes up to you one day and complains about me? Please tell her that I love her and I mean well.

Friday, October 12, 2012

The kids are alright

I'm laying in bed.

I'm thinking instead of sleeping again. I'm thinking about how late it is. Thinking about you. And you.

I turn over and stare at a strong, quiet face - covered in stubble. It's a peaceful face. Sound asleep. It's one of your most favourite faces in the world.

I marvel at how the brain inside that head has the ability to be so carefree. I wonder if he ever lays awake thinking about every little thing that happened that day. Would sleep ever take a backseat to the worry that he didn't do good enough today?

I doubt it.

And thank goodness. We need one normal one in the family, right?

I smile to myself. I'm joking. I know I'm normal. I know you think I'm normal. I know millions of other Moms are just like me. I know millions of other Dads are just like the stubbly sleeper next to me.

But it doesn't ease the buzzing in my head. The over-thinking. The wonder.

Will your little 2-year old self remember that I lost my cool and yelled at you? Will you remember the morning we played on your bed for over an hour - kissing and hugging, then laughing... hiding under the covers, giggling and rolling around.

Will you, my sweet little 10-month old, have happy memories growing up in our new house? Playing in the court outside, running and biking and picking up leaves and insects.

Will you love our holiday traditions as much as I did growing up? Will you think I took enough pictures of you? Will you talk about our family vacations with fondness when you're grown?

What does it take to do it right? What do I need to do? What do I need to say?

Of course, I realize, for the most part I just need to be. Be present. Be here for you. Kiss your boo-boos. Hug you each morning. Tell you how happy I am to see you when you get home from school. Just be me.

Because "me" is someone who loves you intensely. Who can't quite remember being someone other than your Mom.

Someone who will always do things like smile and laugh with an incredible amount of pride because you blew out your 2nd birthday candle all by yourself. Or play peek-a-boo with you in the middle of the grocery store because I love seeing your 10-month old gummy smile.

And as you get older, as I make different choices - like putting you into daycare, like contemplating returning to work - I'm learning. About you, and me, and the decisions I have to make as a parent.

There's no script to follow. I can't answer the question "what does it take to be a good Mom". There are no rules for everyone to obey.

But, I do know that it doesn't matter if we stay at home with them or work, have one child or have six, if they've got special needs or not, if we believe in attachment parenting or if we're laissez-faire. We all have the same worries. The same feelings. The same questions.

And we all love like we've never loved before.

Remember that, my girls. Remember that I love you.

Remember that, Moms. Remember that you love like you've never loved before.

And for that reason, the kids are going to be alright.

Everything's going to be alright.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The one where I compare Anna to Doogie Howser

I shouldn't be allowed to carry on with this blog anymore. One post every few months is annoying to all dedicated readers. (That being said, Facebook keeps informing me with a huge red arrow pointing down next to "your reach" on my Facebook page that I've lost all my dedicated readers by now.)

Alas. I shall write anyway.

I shall write despite the fact that I'm sitting on the floor and my toddler is standing on my thigh and using my hair for balance.

I shall write despite the fact that my baby is grunting and grousing in an attempt to let me know that she is unhappy and if she could move, she would be out of here. Stat.

I shall write despite the fact that I should be showering, getting the baby down for a nap, packing for our move that is just DAYS away, tidying the kitchen floor (damn you, last night's dinner of shredded cheese) or playing something with my kids instead of letting them watch Bubble Guppies. (I find it increasingly annoying that the Bubble Guppies R&B tune "Come on puppy say arf" is stuck in my head. Just saying.)

So anyway. Yesterday Anna told me she was standing in a square. I looked down and saw her pointing to the square tiles on our kitchen floor. Impressed, I asked her what shape the clock was.

"Round like a circle!" she exclaimed.

Now, I know I totally sound like a Mom here... but that's sort of impressive, isn't it?? She's only 2 and a half. I instantly started imagining that she would be some sort of Doogie Howser-like genius at school, telling me what a trapezoid was by the age of 4. Informing me that pi equals 3.14 blah blah blah by age 6.

Then she said, "Mommy, I see my shadow!"

"Oh yeah?" I smiled.

"My shadow wants a popsicle."

Which confirmed that she's smarter than I really know. She used her insane cuteness to get what she wanted, knowing I couldn't say no to her shadow. (I'm lucky her shadow didn't want a pony.)

So, yeah. Much like most Moms out there... I truly believe I have a genius child.

Of course, my genius child doesn't mind sitting in her own poop and refuses to use the potty. She also thought a picture of Jake Gyllenhaal was Daddy (maybe she really does know how to get that pony) and she likes to skip numbers 5 through 7 when counting to 10.

Yet to me, she's pretty darn perfect.

I may sit in my own poop, but that's cause I prefer it when you wipe my butt, woman. Who'd give up that sweet deal??

Monday, July 16, 2012

Anna says...

Can someone please tell me when and how my toddler learned to say "Get out of here!" to me? The Mom vs. Daughter battle begins at 2? Really?

Other recent gems from my darling toddler include:

Anna: "My bum hurt."
Me: "Awww... okay, Mommy will put some cream on your bum."
Anna: "NOOOOOOOO!!!!"
Me: "Okay, I don't really understand your logic, but... okay."
Anna: "My bum hurt."

Anna: "Mommy! I see my pink slide in the window!!"
Me: "Yeah! Do you want to go out to the backyard and play with it?"
Anna: "No."
Me: "Oh... okay. Just taking inventory then, eh?"
Anna: "......"

Me: "Anna, can you turn your humidifier off?"
Anna: "Daddy turn my hue-miff-eh-myer off."

Anna: "I eat cheerio like Arwee" (the cat)
Me: "Um..."
Anna: Proceeds to put cheerios on the floor, lays down and eats them off the floor without using her hands.
Me: "Sigh......."

Anna: "Mommy, I dance!"
Me: "Okay, I'll put some music on."
Anna: Dancing... "Now I take a little break."

Anna: "Mommy, I go to the store and buy a bagel."

Anna: "I do that all by self!!"
Mommy: "Okay, go ahead."
Anna: Scowling... "I can't do that all by self."

Friday, June 22, 2012

A look back

Lauren had her 6 month well baby checkup yesterday. She's 17 lbs even and 26 and a half inches long. A long lean baby! You wouldn't guess that from her massive (and adorable) rolls. But there you go.

So I decided to look back on my blogs about Anna to find out what size Anna was at 6 months. The hubster was convinced that Lauren is WAY bigger than Anna was. So I looked it up.

Anna was 16 lbs, 5 oz. and 26 and a half inches long.

My breast milk likes to produce consistent babies.

Anyway. So while reading old blogs, I came across this one. For some reason it makes me laugh a little. (Out of sadness for my poor, former self??)

This was me almost 2 years ago. If I only knew...

Okay Mamas. I'm calling on you again.

I have a baby who hates sleep.

Like, HATES sleep.

Right now, she's exhausted. She's actually been showing signs of sleepiness since about 8:15am (It's 9:15am). I've been battling with her to nap since 8:30am. Fighting to go to sleep is a very regular thing for us. In fact, if she's down in 45 minutes, that's a good day. It takes over an hour most times to get her to bed at night.

The frustrating thing is that this is *relatively* new. Up until about 4 months, she slept great. She would nap for a long time and barely needed any help getting to sleep. She slept for long, long stretches at night and didn't wake up frequently at all.

Even after 4 months, until about 5 months, getting her down to sleep wasn't that tough. She wouldn't sleep long at all during naps, but getting her to sleep was relatively easy.

Now - it's a whole new story. Anna will be 7 months this week, and it's a battle to get her to sleep and to stay asleep Every. Single. Time she goes for a nap or to bed at night.

She doesn't want us to hold her (she arches her back and fights and cries), but she doesn't want us to put her down in her crib either. That just wakes her up and she rolls around and plays with anything she can get her hands on (like the side of the crib) and then she starts crying when she realizes we're not there. Once she's asleep for the night, she wakes up frequently, crying and upset. She used to just need her soother and would fall back asleep. Now, sometimes she just needs her soother, but most of the time she needs us to hold her or me to feed her before she'll calm down and go back to sleep.

I've tried putting her down when she's pretty much asleep. I've tried putting one of my shirts in the crib with her so she would know I was still "there". We've tried lowering the crib and putting a breathable bumper on so that she can't see as much, and won't get caught in the sides. I've tried lavender oil and lavender cream. I've tried letting her cry a little bit. I've tried the "pick up/put down" method. I've tried putting my hand on her until she drifts off to sleep. I've tried putting her down earlier (at the very first sign of tiredness), and I've tried waiting until she's definitely sleepy. I've tried giving her more solids during the day. And I've tried giving her more breast milk, too. I've even tried putting her in the swing.

And every time I try something new, I'm consistent with it for several days to a week to get her used to it. (I know consistency is key). (Then again, why be consistent with something that doesn't work after a week of trying?)

I know that one day she'll sort herself out and all will be right in the world again. The only thing is... I'm just about at my breaking point waiting for her to get there.

Maybe it's because I had two late nights out last week (a party and a wedding), which makes the night time wake ups and the nap battles that much worse the next day. Or maybe it's because I've been dealing with some sort of sleep issue with her for 3 months now. All I know for sure is that I'm cranky, I look and feel like crap, I get irritable more often and I'm not that much fun to be around.

Woe is me.

So anyway... if you have any advice to offer, if you went through this too, even if you just want to tell me you love me, I sure could use it right now.

Many thanks, from a VERY tired Mom.

PS: Anna is lucky she's SO freakin' cute.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Just a quickie...

I've only got a quick minute to post today. So I'm going to do the half-assed version of a blog post... The "highlight reel" of blog posts! Weeee!

My toddler:

  • Has somehow managed to make me feel like both a supermom and a failure in the past 24 hours. I was feeling fantastic when I had the house tidied, the baby sleeping and Anna playing happily. Then it all turned on a dime. Anna would only have 2 bites of an apple and a yogurt drink for dinner, screamed for a half an hour when we got water in her eyes in the bath and refused to do anything but watch cartoons before bed.
  • Acts like she's on crack after drinking that yogurt drink. I don't think it's unusually high in sugar - it's not like it's ice cream for pete's sake. But the kid is crazy after having one.
  • Plays independently really well. It's pretty cute to watch her do things like put her teddy bear to "bed" in our strainer with the baby's spit-up blanket. Lucky bear.
  • (She's now walking around proudly, carrying the strainer and bear with a big grin on her face.)
  • Insists on leaving her mark wherever she goes. Her music box is under the kitchen table, her hat is in the dining room, her toys are strewn across the basement floor and her sippy cup is in the bathroom. There is really no point in picking up after her toddler trail. It will only return.

My baby:
  • Is really one of the most easy-going babies I've ever seen. Yet, last night she decided to scream bloody murder at bedtime and wouldn't go to sleep until 2 hours after she normally does. I tried feeding her, changing her, holding her. Nothing worked. So I went out for a drive and had a little cry at the steering wheel.
  • Is currently napping quite happily. Such a sweetie bum.
  • Doesn't appear to like food. (What the what??) She hated rice cereal, avocado, sweet potato and banana. Really??
  • Has fingernails that can scratch the shit out of your face. Even after being freshly clipped, there always seems to be an edge I missed. 
  • Laughs when I clap my hands. Thank goodness, because clapping is really my "A" material. It's all I've got. Well... that, and shaking my keys at her.
And now Anna's yelling that she needs something ("Mommy! I NEED!!") and she insists that I have to come downstairs right now. 

Off I go.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Is it just me?

Lately, I've been noticing a heck of a lot of changes in myself. Changes that I'm finding a bit alarming.

I'm hoping with the highest of hopes that it's not just me. I'm hoping that some of you other Moms out there know what I'm talking about first hand.


Okay, on with the shame spiral!

Is it just me, or...

  • Do you have a lot of grey hairs suddenly? Like - I'm talking a WHOLE lot of salt up in my pepper. When I put my hair in a ponytail, I look like Cruella DeVille. I have this "awesome" patch of grey hair on the side of my head. (And I'm not the only one noticing. My husband, brother and parents have all brought it to my attention as if I hadn't noticed it myself.)
  • Do you catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror and think "Holy crap! Where did that luggage under my eyes come from??" I've seen pictures of myself where I'm looking like I've been up all night, running a marathon and birthing a child. That's tired. And then I'll think to myself "Wait a minute... I felt rested that day. I got about 7 hours of sleep the night before. In fact, I felt like a new woman! What the hell??"
  • Are your "laundry day" undies creeping into regular rotation more and more? I've got a couple of pairs that require multiple folding they're so large. They should NOT see the light outside my underwear drawer. And yet, I find myself folding them (and folding them and folding them) each time I do laundry. I bought them with the intention of wearing them after giving birth to Anna (over 2 years ago...) and I kept them because I thought "Oh, I'll need them after having our next baby." That was clearly something I just told myself to make me feel better. I really should have said "Oh, I'll need them after having our next baby. And whenever I'm running out of "cute" undies. And on days when I just want to be extra comfortable. And to hold in my excess tummy flub, since they come up to belly-button height." Of course, I tell myself it's all okay because they're "soft pink" in colour. So they're pretty. Really... they are.
  • Do you suddenly bruise easily? I got pinched by my 6 month old and had a disgustingly black/purple/yellow bruise on my arm for a week. Really? She's 6 months old. She's no hulk baby. And yet - I spent a week looking really trashy with my white, white skin and dark bruises all over my arms and legs. Sexy.
  • Do you feel like coffee and wine are the ultimate treats? Screw going to the spa or getting a weekend away. As long as I can start my day with coffee and end it with wine, I'm feeling pampered and luxurious. 
  • Have you given up the fight with the floor food? It's always there. I clean it up - and it returns. The house? It's always dirty. I'm okay with that.
  • Do you look at your husband and think "How on earth are you still raising your eyebrows suggestively at me at the end of the day??" First of all - how is he not tired? And even if he can get past that... the grey hair, the bags under the eyes, the laundry day undies, the bruises and the coffee breath? Really? I still turn you on?? Bless you.
Ah, motherhood. Such a miracle, no?

Thursday, June 7, 2012

What now?

Oh my word, it's been a while since I've written.

(Wait a minute. Did I just say oh my word?? WTF? Am I 90? I must be. That reminds me - Andrew told me the other day that when I use the phrase "dating around" I sound like an old granny. And my brother has pointed out my grey hairs on numerous occasions. It's confirmed. I'm old, folks.)



Back to the point.

Today is Lauren's half birthday. My wee cutie is 6 months old today! How is that possible? I feel like it was just yesterday that I was yelling in agony at my midwife who said I had no time for an epidural. (And then she gave me some extra strength Tylenol to shut me up. And I took them. And they did nothing.) Ah... good times.

Little Lauren just learned to sit up. She's sleeping well (after a bit of a blip when we took away her soother). She's happy as can be. And Anna's doing great too. She just needs those molars to pop through and she'll be good as gold.

Life is good.

For now.

Okay. Yes. I know that's very Debbie Downer of me.

But there's part of me that thinks - every now and again - when is the other shoe going to drop? How long do I get to have such a good, happy life for? Why am I lucky? I haven't done anything to deserve the easy life.

Good friends of mine are going through really, really tough shit right now. Infertility. Marriages breaking up. Health challenges with their children.

Serious effin stuff.

Andrew and I are stressed out about the gorgeous new home we bought. We need to give our heads a shake before someone slaps us.

Yes, I'm sort of making light of the situation. The truth is, we've had our trials and tribulations. Everybody does. But in the end, things are pretty darn good for us. I don't have a LOT to worry about.

My Mom called me today and told me she was sick. I knew she had something going on - bronchitis or something. But my mind instantly started running madly down the street screaming "It's cancer! There's a tumour! It's life threatening!" Why?? Why would I do that to myself? Why would I think the worst?

I guess I'm just waiting for life to catch up with me.

Up until your early 30s, I think most of us feel invincible. All that scary adult stuff won't happen to us or anyone we know.

Until... without notice...

It starts happening.

Suddenly I know single parents. I know people who have to start over. I know people who spend far too much time in hospitals with their children. I know people who have real things to worry about.

And then I catch myself staring at Andrew's face while he sits next to me. Or watching Anna closely as she "reads" her books. Or touching Lauren's cheek and thigh and tummy - just to feel her soft skin. Just to know that they're all real. And they're really mine.

Then I realize that it doesn't matter how I got lucky, but that I appreciate every minute of it while I've got it.

Life. It can be a tricky little bastard at times.

Thankfully I've got something great to keep me grounded.

Friday, May 4, 2012

The second is just as sweet.

Mom's with two kids, tell me: Do you feel this kind of guilt, too?

When and if my daughters ever look back on my writing, or when they want to know more about what they were like when they were babies, Anna will have a giant plethora of material to consult.

She can read about how I felt almost every day that I was pregnant with her. She can read all about her birth (she may not want to... but she could if she so chooses). She can read all about her first year - a time that she won't remember whatsoever and will rely on my memories to fill her in.

And if that doesn't satisfy her, she can check out the Baby's First Year calendar I diligently filled in for her every month.

Lauren? Not so much.

I've got a few notes on my iPhone about her. I've got lots of pictures. I've attempted to blog a little here and there. But that's about it.

Poor kid.

I'm a second child as well. And I remember asking my Mom about my baby book (after seeing my brother's book with his cute little hospital bracelet) and wanting to see more.

I think there was a lock of my hair tucked away somewhere. But that's about where it ended.

(My mother, bless her heart, had me when my brother was just 15 months old. And didn't have much family around. And had a husband who travelled for business every so often. I'm not quite sure how she did it. So I absolutely don't blame her - now that I know what it's really like).

But Lauren won't know until she decides to have children one day either (if she chooses to).

And part of my heart breaks inside whenever I think of her not knowing how I feel. How much I love her. How amazing I think each day is with her as a baby - just as I did with her big sister.

So. My sweet, sweet, Lauren... I'm telling you now.

I love you so much. My god, how I love you. You are so sweet. And loving. You are so happy. And beautiful.

Each day, I come to get you in your crib and you smile the biggest smile. A smile that's only reserved for me (you smile at everyone - but you save the biggest ones for me, I've noticed. Well, for me and for Anna. You smile pretty darn big for her, too.)

You are so good natured. When we take you out places, you never melt down or fuss. But you're just as happy hanging out in your bouncy chair watching your wild and crazy sister run around as you are going out and about and seeing and doing new things.

You love me. I feel it every day. I feel it when I pick you up and you snuggle into my neck. Or when you put your hand on my face and suck on my cheek. I feel it when you get tired and want me to nuzzle my nose on your forehead. You want me to snuggle in close to you. It calms you down instantly. And it only works when I do it.

I love everything about you. Your soft little hair. Your incredibly chubby thighs. Your cute little bum. (Your Dad and I took several pictures of your naked bum, we thought it was so cute. But don't worry, we won't bring them out to show your first boyfriend).

I love that you look like your big sister. I love that you have your Daddy's blue eyes. I love that you have pale skin like the rest of us.

But I love the things that make you unique, too. The way you flap your arms and kick your legs like you can't wait to get moving. Your hair. Your temperament. They may be similar to someone else in the family, but they're all your own.

So, my incredible little girl, if you ever wonder, I want you to know. I may not have the same amount of time as I had for your sister, but I have the same amount of love and adoration.  My heart grew when you were born.

And if I don't write it down enough, I want you to feel it. Every day. With my touch. With my smile. Through my hugs.

I love you. I love you so much.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Mom Sandwich Phenomenon

Have you ever heard this one?

"I much prefer to have my granddaughter/grandson alone. When his/her Mom is around, they only pay attention to Mommy. He/she only wants her."

Grandparents. They're almost always well-intentioned. But this comment makes me think of one response.

And that is this:

Let's see... not only did I carry my daughters in my stomach for 9 months, but I also birthed them. I developed stretch marks, cankles and a weak bladder. I've held onto 20 extra pounds of fat for a year.

I did the late nights. I've gone sleepless for nights in a row. In fact, I haven't slept well for 2 years. I get up when they need me. I take care of them when they're sick. I get the bad mood first. When they're miserable, they take it out on me. They yell at me and won't eat what I give them. They won't go to bed easily and won't sleep through the night for me. But they're perfect angels for everyone else.

I feed and change and feed and change and feed and change. I play with them for endless hours. I act silly and don't care who sees. I've actually pranced like a pony around a room full of strangers singing. Just to make them smile.

I always make their breakfast, lunch and dinner first. I come second. I get up and take care of them even when I'm feeling my worst.

I love them more than anyone else in the entire universe and I always will.

If, after all this, they preferred someone else to me, I would sure as heck have a problem with that. The little ankle biters would hear it from me, that's for sure.

I know you've done all this too, Grandparents. I know. And that's why we - your kids - love you so much. We still prefer you over anyone else when we're sick or sad. Your sandwiches are somehow the best sandwiches ever made. And always will be.

And my kids adore their Grandparents. They love that special relationship they have.

But there's nothing quite like a Mom.

And my daughters have a Mom who will do anything and everything for them. Quite happily. We've got a really good thing going, my girls and I. We've got something really special that nobody can touch.

And they know it.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Great Stay-At-Home Debate

I don't work.

I'm not receiving any mat leave payments.

And I have no set work plan for the near future.

(The neurotic-planner side to my persona is schvitzing right now.)

Most people know that I'm self-employed and have been asking if I'm working yet. And in conversations, the phrase often goes "When you go back to work"...

Not "if".

But... wait a minute. What if I don't go back to work? Is it okay if I'm a stay-at-home Mom? Is it okay if raising my children becomes my only work? Is that enough?

My generation was brought up being told that, as women, we should strive to do whatever we want. We have so many choices now. It's great if you have grand ambitions when it comes to your career. In fact, on International Women's Day, someone I know updated their Facebook status to "Here's to a world filled with more women CEOs".

But wait.

What if that's not what I want anymore? What if I'm an educated woman who chooses to put a career on the back burner? What if I swap being challenged mentally for cleaning poop and teaching my kids to tie their shoes?

I know the easy answer is to say "Of course it's okay! You can do whatever you want. You have the choice." But sometimes I wonder if that's how we all really feel.

As I referenced in my last blog, parents are now being told not to lose themselves in parenting too much. You need that "other" persona in order to be a good parent. You must be someone besides just "Mom".

So we go back to work. We solve problems and learn new things. We make important decisions. And that's good. It really is.

But what if you decide work's just not for you any more? Will you find a lot of other women are making your choice?

Let's see... out of all my Mom friends that I met on my first maternity leave, only a couple didn't return to work full time. (Including me). And out of all my girlfriends who have children, only one other Mom stays at home with her kids full time.

I wonder about the point in my life when my kids are going to school. If I'm not working, what the heck will I do? Is "running the household" too 1950s for me? Is there enough running of the household actually needed to fill my days?

A lot of questions. Not a lot of answers yet. I'm curious to hear from other Moms out there. What did you decide? How did you make your decision? Was it an easy one? If money were no object... what would you do?

I'm not sure of my identity yet. Can I have one without work? How do I answer the question, "What do you do?"

Maybe only time will tell.

In the meantime, tell me Moms. What do you do?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Have I lost myself already?

Sometimes I sit around thinking about my girls when they're teens. (And when I say "thinking", I really mean "worrying" like a neurotic person).

I wonder about millions of things. I wonder if they'll like me. I wonder if they'll think I hugged and kissed them enough as kids. I wonder if they'll have body issues because I said I didn't like my thighs one too many times. I'm always wondering if I'll be... good enough.

Perhaps it's because of the information out there. I can't open up my Facebook page, take a look at Twitter or glance at the newspaper without finding multitudes of articles on how to be a good parent.

Sleep with your babies so they'll feel secure. But let them experience frustration and failure from time to time or they won't develop important life skills. Make sure they get 3 hours of exercise a day. But introduce them to technology - it's the way of the future. Don't give them time outs because studies now show they're humiliating. But you must discipline your kids.

The latest that's twisting and turning in the back of my mind? Don't lose yourself in parenting. If you no longer have a sense of self, you won't model independence for your children. And you want your kids to grow up strong and independent.

That's an interesting one. So... be a good parent, but don't be *too* into it, because then you won't be yourself anymore?


What am I doing right now? All I do are Mom things. I get up, get the kids up, change them, dress them, feed them breakfast. We go and play for the morning. We come home and have lunch and a nap. Then I change them, give them a snack, find some other activity to do until dinner, followed by bath and bed time. Then I do it all over again the next day.

I don't write anywhere near as much as I used to. I don't have a job all ready to go back to in a set amount of time. Sure, I run a few times a week and go out with friends every now and again. But while I'm out with friends, all we do is talk about our kids.

Is that a bad thing? Am I losing my pre-kid self? Should I give something up (like my coveted down time on the couch in front of the TV at night) so I can do things that make me more me?

The thing is, I'm not one of those people who can look at the piles of laundry or the long list of things that need to get done and just say "Forget you, stuff!" I have yet to get Anna's one-year photo shoot pictures printed and into an album... so it's not like I'm a supermom over here by any stretch. Some things just have to get done at some point. Which means even less time for me to do my "me" things.

So this is the newest worry.

As I sit here and watch Anna colouring and Lauren alternating between staring at me and the toys on her play mat, I wonder who they see.

Who will they see when they're grown up?

Will they see a person who loved being their Mom with every ounce of her being? Or will they see a woman who lost her sense of self?

Will they see a strong woman who chose to stay at home and devote her life to them because she wanted to? Or will they see a woman who only had menial tasks to fill her day?

Will they see a happy woman who loved to play and laugh with them? Or a tired one, drowning in laundry and dishes?

This is one of those things that I have no answer for. I don't know if I'm doing the right thing. I don't know if I'm leading by example for my daughters.

So I guess all I can do is close my eyes and take a giant leap of faith with my girls.

A giant leap. Into a big ol' ball pit where we'll roll around and giggle and be silly.

Because that's what I want to do and who I want to be right now.

Monday, March 12, 2012

For Anna

Dear Anna,

When you turned a year old, I wrote you a letter. It was a few days late, but I still managed to tell you how I felt, how you had changed my world and how amazing you are.

You're 2 now. Your birthday was about a month and a half ago... (I'm more than just a little late! This seems to happen all the time now.) But I figured it was better late than never.

So, my little Buttertart, how do I sum up another year of having you in my life? Another year of amazing highs, some tough lows, big milestones and simple moments that I'll remember forever?

I don't think I could do it all in one letter. How on earth could I put you - your personality, your quirks, your sense of humour - in a few words? You're so full of life, it's almost impossible to just simply write it down.

You're a spitfire, Anna. You're full of life. You love to run and play and jump and hang on monkey bars (already!) You yell happily and laugh and run around the house in circles when people come over to visit you.

You feel things intensely. When you're sick or in pain or frustrated - you really feel it. There's almost no consoling you at times. But when you're happy, you are so happy, you make everyone around you feel the same.

Sometimes I have to convince you to give me kisses - you're too busy for snuggling and kissing. You're busy reading books, or colouring, or playing with your play-doh. You're busy kicking a ball, pushing your little stroller around, playing with your cars or yelling out all the animal sounds you know.

And that's okay. Because every morning (or when you don't feel well), you like sitting in my lap and wrapping your little arms around me. You put your head on my chest, or nuzzle into my neck. And we hug.

(In fact, right now you're feeling tired and a bit out of sorts, so you're sitting right up against me on the couch, resting your little hand on my leg as you watch The Cat in the Hat).

You love being outside, picking up sticks, playing in sand, splashing in puddles, swinging in the swings and sliding down the slides at the park. We go outside all year round. In snowstorms and on the hottest days of the year, you still want to be outside.

You learned to talk this past year. You started with "Mommy" and "Daddy". Then you learned more and more every day. Now you talk in short sentences... and you're becoming a great little conversationalist.

You did a lot of teething between your first and second birthday. It was really hard on you. But when the pain went away, you were back to your usual self. Fun. Happy. Raring to go.

You started part time daycare when you were about 20 months old. You learned some rules and played with other kids. And you adapted so well. Mommy and Daddy were so proud of you.

And then Lauren came into your life. And again, you adapted so well. You've always been extremely gentle with your sister. You like to cover her in blankets and give her her soother when she needs it. You pat her head and wave hello to her in the mornings and before bed. You're concerned when she cries.

You've had a lot happen in your little world, Anna. And you've done so well. You've had some tough times when you're sick or in pain, but you're mostly happy and fun and silly. You know what you like and what you don't like. And you make it very clear.

And I love all of this about you, Anna. The world needs girls like you. I need a girl like you in my life. Because you keep me on my toes. You fill my life with more happiness and laughter and love than I ever thought possible.

I am so, so, so lucky to have you. Whether we're snuggling in your bed or chasing each other down the street on the way to the park, I love every, single second that I get to have with you.

My life is so much more than I ever wished for. And I feel like all I can do is say thank you and hope that my love is enough for you.

Thank you, Anna. For being your perfect little self.


Your adoring Mommy

Saturday, March 3, 2012

The Buttertart and the Happy One

This is the third time I've attempted to sit down and write. And I'm only doing it right now because I was shamed by my toddler's Leapfrog laptop. That damn excited dog instructed Anna to "write a new blog entry!!!" which reminded me that I haven't written one in a dog's age.

(Did you see what I just did there? Dog's age? Leapfrog dog... Oh, I'm good.)

(Also? I'm delirious from lack of sleep.)

So anyway. I've long referred to Anna - my first little bundle of pride and joy - as the Buttertart. Andrew and I were discussing what our second born's cute little nickname should be.

"What about muffin?" Meh.
"Pancake?" Mmm... pancakes.
"How about Buttertart #2?" Hello, second child syndrome.

Then it came to me. The nickname has to be very different because my girls are extremely different. So we came up with Happy Baby.

(Yes, it's very original and well thought out and clever and all that. I know. Again - I'm going on little sleep lately. I'm not exactly creative right now.)

However, it is *very* fitting. This child smiles at everyone and everything. I used to feel all special when she would smile at me as I went into her room to get her up for the day. Then I saw her smiling at the owl painted on her wall. And the ceiling fan. And a lamp.

We're lucky. Happy Baby is very relaxed and laid back. She doesn't at all protest when we leave her in the bouncy chair of neglect to focus on her more demanding sister.

She doesn't mind having her diaper changed - or hanging out in her crib now and again while we wrestle her sister to the ground to change her diaper.

And Happy Baby will actually drift off to sleep from wide awake if we put her in her crib with the Ocean Wonders Aquarium on at bed time. No rocking... no shushing... no sitting in the dark on a hard chair in her bedroom while we listen to her play with her soothers and wait for her go to sleep. She'll lay there and do it herself.

So I've got a Buttertart and a Happy Baby. Very different from each other right now.

But both very cute, more fun than I ever could have imagined, and both incredibly, intensely adored.

And more importantly, both pretty squishy and kissable too.

Monday, January 30, 2012

The mind wanders...

I was out running the other day... (I use the term "running" loosely. It was more of a rapid mall-walk type thing). Anyway, as I was out by myself, getting a moment to think, I found my mind wandering.

Do you ever have these thoughts? One minute I'm thinking "Gotta keep running, gotta push myself..." and the next minute, without any segue of any kind, I'm thinking "Holy hell, how am I the mother of two children???"

It just suddenly strikes me every now and again that I am an adult. For real.

For the most part, I'm a bit of a goof. I like to be silly. And, despite the grey hairs my head is sprouting, I feel young. Too young to be considered a grown up with real responsibilities.

Sometimes I find my life just seems so surreal. How did I end up with a house and a car? Am I really running my own business? And who the heck allowed me to have two kids??

Anna is mine. Her hair, her pale skin, her 10 little fingers and 10 little toes exist only because of my husband and I. Lauren is ours, too. She's thriving because my body is producing the stuff she needs to live.

We can keep humans alive with our boobs, ladies! This is big stuff, no?

I don't know if this feeling ever goes away. The fact that I have 2 kids, that they're part of me and my husband, that I'm responsible for keeping them healthy and happy and not screwed up in the head... it just amazes me.

Sometimes I wonder how I got so lucky. I wonder how this maternal instinct just knew to naturally kick in. I wonder how life could possibly get any cooler.

Then I look at their little faces. And I realize I've got a lifetime of amazed feelings and thoughts ahead of me.

And I feel happy to be a grown up.

For real.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

My baby girls

My children are both working their Mama.

Not only is my toddler getting too smart, she has now joined forces with her baby sister to turn me into mush and wrap me around their chubby little fingers.

This morning, as I was laying in bed, I heard delicate footsteps come quickly padding into my dark room. I felt little hands on my arm. And when I rolled over to face the side of the bed and turned on my light, I saw a pair of bright blue eyes, adorned with the most incredible eyelashes, staring at me.

"Pig!" Anna exclaimed happily as she showed me her stuffed animal.

Today was going to be a good day. Anna was in a good mood.

So, as Lauren slept soundly, Anna and I got up and did all our usual things - I made my coffee, started making oatmeal. Anna had a banana, yelled happily about her toys, her cup, the snow outside. That sort of thing.

Afterwards, when Lauren was up, I was in Anna's room putting away her laundry. Lauren was laying on Anna's bed staring at the ceiling, so I asked Anna to come entertain her sister.

"Lauren wants to play with you, honey" I said.

Anna came roaring into the room (as she does) and got up on her bed.

"Boo!" she said, holding up a book for Lauren to see. She opened it up to a page and held it right in front of Lauren's eyes so she could see it. After a minute, she threw the book down and picked up one of her toys - again, holding it up in front of Lauren so she could take a look.

"Ow!" Anna yelled. I turned around to see her holding up her hand.

"Oh... Did you hurt your hand? Do you want a kiss?" I asked. Anna responded by holding her hand up to Lauren's mouth for a minute. I laughed and Anna looked up at me with a smile - happy to find she had done something funny.

Next, Anna decided Lauren would like to see her jump. So she bounced around on her bed - always gentle, always careful - while Lauren lay there, being jostled around ever so slightly.

When we moved into Lauren's room to put away her laundry, I propped Lauren up in her crib with the nursing pillow. Anna attempted to scale the side of the crib before yelling "HOW!" (Her version of "help"). So I plopped her into the crib with her sister.

And then my toddler really got me. She grabbed onto my heart, turned my limbs into liquid and made my entire being melt. With just a few simple moments.

Anna sat crossed-legged in front of Lauren, her hands in her lap, smiling goofily at her baby sister. She pressed Lauren's Ocean Wonders Aquarium, and when it started to play, Anna looked at me, looked at Lauren, smiled even bigger and started swaying back and forth to the music. She patted Lauren's tummy and let out a little laugh. She leaned over and kissed Lauren's head and lay the side of her face on Lauren's chest.

And then...

And then Lauren smiled.

She smiled the biggest 6-week old smile I've seen from her yet. Her gorgeous little eyes lit up. For her big sister.

For the girls, it was just a simple, regular morning.

For me, it was so much more.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Cookie? What cookie?

My toddler is getting too smart.

Today, the little buttertart pulled me by the hand to the kitchen and pointed to a tin sitting on our counter - a tin she has never seen before - and said "coo-ee!" over and over again.

Yes, there were cookies inside. But how the heck did she know?

So I did what Moms do sometimes. I lied to my kid.

"Sorry honey, the cookies are all gone. No cookies! All gone! Cookies all gone!"

She looked at me with a furrowed brow. I got down to her level (as I've been told by experts to do to help her understand what I'm saying) and repeated myself.

"No cookies, honey. Sorry."

She looked at me and started saying something I couldn't quite understand. I kind of stared at her for a moment... Just enough time for her to get frustrated with me. "Mommy! Coo-ee!!" she yelled while pointing at my face.

"I don't know what you mean, sweetie." I replied.

So she touched a spot on my face. And when she pulled her finger away, there was a brown spot on it.


I wiped my mouth and realized I had a huge blob of chocolate chip on my face.

Awesome. I had just been caught red-handed. So I grabbed the tin and gave her a cookie. "Here you go, honey. Have a cookie."

She smiled and trotted off.

I stood in the kitchen for a moment, watching her walk away happily, realizing I had been found out by a 23-month old.

The kid. She's too smart for her own good.

Mama's in trouble.