Wednesday, July 10, 2013

An open letter to my perfect daughter Lauren

Dear Lauren,

Today I dropped you off for your third-ever day of daycare. You only go twice a week, so adjusting to part time daycare can be hard. But I still wasn’t prepared for you to cry so much and reach out for me as I left the room.
You see, you’re an independent little 19-month old. You love to play on your own or follow Anna around. You like snuggling, but you don’t always want to be chased around for kisses and hugs. (You get a little annoyed when I insist on kisses in the morning when you first wake up.) You aren’t really attached to me the way Anna was (you’re quite happy to have Grandma or Daddy cuddle and hug you. In fact, sometimes you seem like you prefer them). So when you reached out for me today because you didn’t want me to stop holding you, it broke my heart.

Yes, the rational side of my brain knows you’re having a great time there. You love all the toys and being around other kids. You eat and sleep and have fun and then come home. It’s all good.
But the emotional side of me doesn’t ever want to let go of you when you’re willing to let me hug you and hold you and comfort you.

When I pick you up and you throw yourself into my arms because you’re so happy to see me – it’s the absolute best part of my day.
When I snuggle with you as you drink your bottle of milk before you go to bed for the night, I get to stare at you. I touch your soft little feet and hands. I run my fingers through your curly hair. I look at your eyes and your cute little nose. Another great part of my day.

And the reason I’m writing this letter to you now is because sometimes life just feels like it’s rushing by. Like a river with a strong current. Sometimes I feel like I’m going to turn around and you’ll be grown up, with friends and school and a busy life. And those times when you reach out for me will be even fewer and far between.
(But I want you to know that that’s absolutely okay. You are just perfect to me. You don’t have to be glued to my side for me to know that you love me. You’re amazing and wonderful and smart and silly. And I hope you know how I feel about you).

But I also want you to be able to look back one day and know that there was one morning in July, when you were just a wee toddler, that your Mom cried in the car all the way to work because she loved you so much. And that no matter what you do, where you go, or who you are – I will always feel that way.
I will always reach back for you, Lauren.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Useful advice

Hello lovely Mamas. How are you on this fine morning?
Alright, now that that’s out of the way – enough with the niceties and on with the recounting of tales of my kids’ lives for your amusement/enjoyment/to pass 5-10 minutes of your day away.
My 19 month old is teething like a mofo. Poor thing must feel awful. When she’s not crying or fussing, she’s shoving her hand in her mouth and holding it there. (Heart. Breaking.) Sometimes she wants to be cuddled. Other times she’s mad and wants nothing to do with us. Unless we have Popsicles.
My 3 year old is super funny and cute lately. She wants to hug Lauren to make her feel better. Lauren generally wants no such support.
So, lately, Andrew and I spend most of our time trying to distract Lauren and breaking up sibling fights.
And then comes bedtime.
Last night, for what feels like the 100th night in a row, Lauren required me to rock her to sleep until she was out cold. This from the child who loves her crib. The child who will drink a bottle of milk, go to bed and either fall asleep instantly or happily talk to herself for a while before falling asleep.
Now? She thrashes around and screams and cries if you dare to put her down before she’s asleep. Yet, while you hold and rock her, she plays with my face, pulls on her eyelashes, taps her feet together and other such fidgeting. Also? The kid REFUSES to shut her eyes. They can be rolling around due to complete exhaustion and she will STILL try to force them to stay open.
She is slightly irrational.
Anyway – so things have been stressful at my house as of late. And while I was scouring the parenting articles to try and find some tips for getting through this stage, I came across this useful tidbit:
“Reduce what is making you exhausted”.
Oh. Oh, thank  you. THANK YOU so much for this helpful advice. I had never thought of trying to get Lauren to sleep without me needing to rock her for 2 hours. You know what? I will try that tonight! I will reduce my exhaustion by putting her to bed with no screaming and then skipping off to bed myself.
And by “putting her to bed with no screaming and then skipping off to bed myself” I in fact mean “putting her to bed with much screaming, caving and rocking her for 2 hours and then running to the kitchen for a glass of white wine, followed by a marathon of Keeping Up With the Kardashians just because I need some non-thinking alone time to myself on the couch.”
That should work, right?

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

This Dad's Life

So, in the last post I blogged about my un-fun husband. While everything I said was true, I now feel that as Father’s Day approaches, it’s only right to blog about some of his most awesome moments. After all, despite his quirks, he is a pretty cool guy.

Therefore, I give you the following: One of my all-time favourite Andrew moments.
After a full night of staring at her newborn face in the hospital, we were finally allowed to bring our wee, first-born Anna home. Andrew and I were both nervous about the responsibility. To say we were unsure of ourselves is an understatement.

I remember putting her on the floor of her bedroom in her car seat and staring at her tiny, little 6 pound body. Andrew and I looked at each other with “What now?” written all over our faces.
I was tired. Andrew was tired. We needed sleep after the previous day and night. And that’s absolutely what an experienced parent would do.

“Should we take her out of her seat?” I asked – desiring to cradle her soft, beautiful body in my arms. Sleep could wait.
“Sure. I’ll hold her,” Andrew answered back.

He knew I felt very strongly about getting a lot of skin-to-skin time with Anna – so I held her, half-naked, pretty much non-stop at the hospital. But I also felt strongly about Andrew getting the chance to try out “The Warm Fuzzy” I’d read about in a baby book. Skin-to-skin time for Dads (who are, more often than not, fuzzy) and babies = The Warm Fuzzy. Can you get any cuter?
So Andrew took his shirt off, sat down on the glider in Anna’s room and held his arms out for me to place this little fragile being in them. After removing her sleeper and getting a blanket to cover her up with, I gently, carefully placed her on Andrew’s chest.

After a moment, his entire body relaxed. I watched him put his head back on the glider as he let his eyes close.
He was home.

When he opened his eyes to look at me, they were glassy and red. I started crying. We both started laughing.

“This feels really nice,” he said to me.
And that was the moment. He was a Dad.

Ever since then, Andrew’s been the fixer of boo-boos, the horsey to ride on, the maker of the yummiest pasta. And the most patient, loving Dad of two wild and woolly little girls.
He may not always pick his battles with the girls, but his steadfast love for them has been undeniable since the beginning.

Happy Father’s Day, Andrew. You’re pretty darn incredible.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Why my husband isn't the Fun One

I love my husband.

It's like looking into my home at 5pm every day.
He is a fantastic, hands-on daddy. He's been involved in dirty diapers, kissing boo-boos, putting the baby to bed and all the other many things that come with parenting since day one. He does it all and doesn't complain. Seriously.

He's cheerful. He's easy-going. His daughters adore him. (Sometimes it borders on annoying when we argue and I want to hold a grudge for, say, 15 minutes, but he's already whistling and calling me "hun" by the time our yelling has ended.)

Anyway. There's something looming (that his mother will probably dislike me for...)

And that is a big... fat... but.


He's so fantastic, BUT I really wish he could just take the path of least resistance with our toddler sometimes. Just once. (Okay, maybe twice.)

In parenting, you gotta pick your battles. As I'm sure we all know, it's really not worth it to fight over everything. Sometimes you have to stand your ground and tell your child no, they can NOT wipe their face on the table. Other times? If you think it'll avoid a battle - sure, have that popsicle right after breakfast. If it means I can drink my coffee hot for once.

But when it comes to Daddy, it's his way or the highway. Which really surprises me.

When I was pregnant, I remember thinking "He's totally going to be the Fun One. I'm going to be the one to tell the kids to brush their teeth while he rolls on the rug with them and tosses chocolate bars into their wide-open, laughing mouths."


Instead, he argues with our 3-year old over almost everything. And the problem is? He will only win about 1/4 of the time. We have a toddler/preschooler. She is not rational. She does not make sense 90% of the time. When she wants her cereal in a red bowl, you better not try to talk her out of it, dammit. Because SHE WILL MAKE YOUR LIFE MISERABLE.

Yet, I seem to be able to find a way to reason with her most of the time. And, as you probably know if you read this blog, I so do not have the whole parenting thing figured out. I'm no toddler-whisperer.

But I'm bigger than Anna. And my 34 years in this world have fortunately made me a touch wiser than my 3-year old. And, therefore, I can tell her that the red bowl is dirty, but OH MY GOODNESS! YOU'RE SO LUCKY because the BLUE bowl is clean! I wish I could use the blue bowl. My cereal fits into it just right. Amazing!

So, as fantastic and great and wonderful a Daddy as he is, my husband drives me crazy on a near-regular basis.

Which leads me to the conclusion that he derives some sick pleasure from seeing me lose my hair at a rapid pace.

Or... he's a man.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Another Top 10 Round Up

No time for full & proper sentences today. Instead! A list that has shown me just how dull and mundane my life really is...

Top 10 most boring Facebook status updates made by me

10. Spinach, banana, plain yogurt, strawberries, blueberries, mango and chia seeds. Mmmmm.....

 9. 1979 by Smashing Pumpkins is on.

 8. Date night with the hubster for my birthday!

 7. 6:39 pm and I haven't eaten dinner yet.

 6. Off to work...

 5. I haven't watched Grey's in years and years.

 4. Burlington peeps: Bell or Cogeco for TV and Internet?

 3. Run Tuesday. Spin Wednesday. Run Thursday. Rest for the weekend.

 2. Almond milk... not bad. Figs? Ew.

 1. What should I have for breakfast?

Friday, April 19, 2013

Top 10 Round-Up

We're busy people, us Moms. Sometimes we only have a quick minute to scan an article. Yet, I still have very important things to share with you people. Which is why I bring you the following "top 10 round-up". Very weighty issues - at a glance.

Without further adieu...

The 10 grossest things my kids have done
1. Licked a toilet.
2. Ate a cheerio off a hockey rink floor.
3. Picked my nose.
4. Ate cat food.
5. Found gum at the park and chewed it.
6. Swished her hands around in the toilet water.
7. Sucked on the “business end” of the nasal aspirator.
8. Licked her sister’s face.
9. Pooped on the floor.
10. Had “ketchup fingers” for lunch. (Ketchup fingers = licking ketchup off her fingers).

Thursday, April 18, 2013

And then there was the time I laughed after my 3-year old fell

“You’re a jerk!”  I hear Anna tell her father.

I look at myself in the mirror and raise my eyebrows. Yup. She picked that one up from me.

(What? Sometimes he can be a jerk. We all can.)

I walk into the kitchen and Andrew looks at me in a “did you hear that?” kind of a way. I nod silently and resist the urge to laugh.

Laughing at my child seems to be my go-to response lately. Not quite sure why. But it’s my instinctual reaction. Like the time Anna inexplicably launched herself off of her bed into a perfect belly flop onto the hard (yet carpeted) bedroom floor.

“Why did you do that???” I asked her as I quickly enveloped her into a hug. Once I knew she was okay, we cuddled for a moment. She insisted she needed a band-aid, so we went to the bathroom where Andrew met us, concern spread across his face.

“What happened?” he asked me.

“She… she…” I started.  And then I had no other choice but to hug her closely to my chest, her face smooshed up against the side of my neck, my hand holding her head there so she couldn’t move.

So she couldn’t see me laughing.

Oh god. Why am I laughing??

My child could have seriously hurt herself and I’m laughing. What is wrong with me?

The truth is, I think I’ve needed it lately.

Between the rush of daycare, babysitting, getting to the office on time, training for a race, ballet, sports classes, long hours, runny noses, coughing, lack of sleep. It’s all so tiring. I’m wearing down a little bit.

So my body is telling me to relax. To enjoy. To laugh.

And so I do.

I laugh at Anna when her eyes get wide in shock after she toots. I laugh at Lauren walking around the house like a 16-month old with purpose. I laugh at what Anna’s daycare teachers must think of us, as Anna’s obsessed with how “dirty” our house is lately. (My bed is dirty! There’s duck poo on the floor! This house is so dirty!)  (Side note: it is not. There is not. And no, it’s not that bad.)

I laugh at Andrew when he rolls out of bed in the morning, looking like he has no idea what his name is. I laugh at a picture my Mom sends me of herself – one that she took by accident while trying to snap a picture of Lauren. I laugh at how my unwaxed eyebrows remind me of Groucho Marx. I laugh at the silly videos I see on Facebook. At the funny tweets on Twitter.

I laugh because I can’t stomach the stress or bad news anymore.

I laugh because I’m fortunate enough to be able to laugh today.

I laugh until I start to go red-faced. Until my eyes start weeping. Until I look slightly crazy.

And then I stop.

And I feel much better.
I just couldn't resist posting this, Mumsie.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The one with the incessant screeching

My children - only 3 years old and 16 months - already fight.

When Lauren came around, Anna made it clear that mostly everything was hers. Lauren was okay with that (not being able to move for the first few months will do that to you). 

Don't be fooled by the cuteness. She'll smack you
with that rubber spoon when you're not looking.
As Lauren got older and was able to grasp things, Anna would take a toy from her. Again, Lauren seemed okay with it.

As she got older still, Lauren would protest mildly when Anna took her things and, as such, Anna quickly learned to do the old switcheroo. If she gave something to Lauren (something she didn't want at all), Anna could still get away with having whatever she wanted.

Lauren is now 16 months old. Her little personality is getting bigger. And so is her confidence. 

And so is her screeching.

We've learned that their disagreements, or "monkey fights" as Andrew and I like to refer to them, can be heard from anywhere in our home. As soon as the baboon-like screeching begins, we know that Anna's made Lauren mad.

Here's how it usually goes down:
  • Anna wants something Lauren has - ONLY because Lauren has it.
  • Lauren senses Anna is coming in for the grab.
  • Lauren bares her 5 teeth and begins screeching.
  • Anna still attempts to pull object away.
  • More screeching from Lauren.
  • Anna begins to yell back - a reaction that I believe is part anger and part fear of her little sister.
  • Both kids start crying and wailing.
  • Andrew or I try to intercede and bring calm to the moment.
  • As responsible parents, we try not to let them see us laugh.
The fighting will get old, I realize. I won't find the reaction of little, sweet Lauren that funny after a short while. And that's when I have to figure out how to handle it.

That's when I could really use some advice. So once again, I'm reaching out to my Mama friends here.

How do you deal with fighting siblings?

Thursday, April 4, 2013

This morning, and every morning

I lay in bed. It’s still dark. I glance at the clock and scowl when I see “5:48” glaring back at me.

Despite my inner protestations, the day has begun.

I get up. Slowly. My limbs ache a little from my run last night. I mumble to myself that my 34-year old body is too young to be creaky already.

I shower. I dry my hair. I get dressed. I hear my 3 year old get out of bed and walk down the hall.

I watch her look up at me, squinting into the light, hair messy and face adorned with lines from her pillow. She looks beautiful.

“I want cereal.”

Good morning to you too, my love.

I get her cereal. The milk is empty. I refill the bag. I pour the near-empty cereal into her bowl. She notices the crumbs at the bottom of the bag fall into her bowl. She protests. Loudly. She doesn’t like cereal crumbs.

I fish out the crumbs and get a new box of cereal. I watch her closely as I pour the new cereal, hoping this will suffice. It is satisfactory.

I make a cup of coffee. Empty the dishwasher. Have a quick slice of toast. Take a sip of coffee. I hear the baby wake up.

I go get her, change her diaper, get her dressed, bring her into the kitchen. Take another sip of coffee.

I warm up some milk for the baby. Get her a banana. Some blackberries. I hope she still likes blackberries today.

I watch the baby eat while I try to get the 3 year old dressed. I pack bags. I remember I need to brush my teeth. Must wear socks. I take another sip of coffee and scowl again at the post-teeth-brushed taste. Fight with the toddler to pee before we leave. Attempt to make a game out of brushing her teeth. Just to get out the door.

Ah, my mornings. Hectic is a good way to describe them.

By the time I get to work (which is only 3 days a week right now, thank goodness), I just want to sit in front of the computer and read my Twitter feed with a hot cup of coffee in front of me.

I feel like my brain is nowhere near ready to start working yet. But I’ve been up for 4 hours already.

This is hard.

And yet – at the same time – I remember that video I watched on YouTube last week. The one with the mother reading her memoir. Talking about her experiences with her two kids, through every stage.

I remember her words. “You think the life you have right now is the only life there is.”

Yes. It really feels that way.

And then, when I worry to myself that I don’t have enough ‘me’ time, that my life is all about cleaning, dressing, feeding my little human beings, I pause.

Because when I pause, I remember what she said. What that Mom – just like any of us Moms – said.

It took her a while, but she learned to appreciate the simple gift. The gift of an ordinary day.

And then I look at my daughters. I touch their soft faces. I realize that eating a bowl of cereal together isn’t just breakfast. It’s a moment. It’s a gift.

Even when they’re mad, grouchy, freaking out, being their highly emotional toddler selves. It’s a gift.

I’m the first to admit that it can be hard for us to see that in the middle of a meltdown. But I also know that one day, I'll be sitting at this big table in this big, empty kitchen, eating my cereal alone. And I know how lucky I am to have every, single, simple moment with them.

So today, and every other day, I try to remember to enjoy.

Enjoy this ordinary day.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

For the love of books

My husband looked at me the other day and said "How old was Anna when we started reading to her?"

We both looked down at Lauren, sitting on the floor in front of us and smiled at her in a "I'm sorry we keep forgetting to do all the things you're supposed to do with your baby with you" kind of a way.

I've said it before. I'll say it again. The poor, poor second child.

Boynton really understands
the complexities of language.
I can't tell you the number of times we've been holding Lauren, playing with Lauren, changing Lauren, when all of the sudden, Andrew or I will look at the other and say "How old was Anna when we... <started brushing her teeth> <encouraged her to feed herself with a spoon> <put her in swimming lessons> <read to her regularly>?"

And while she's still not in swimming lessons or using a spoon, I'm happy to say that this Mom of the Year has begun reading to Lauren each night.

Therefore, in honour of my awesome parenting abilities, I bring you the following list of: My Ultimate Favourite Lines from Kids Books.  These books and these sentiments never fail to make me smile, weep, laugh and remind me of the happiest time in my life so far.

  • "Mama's right here. And I always will be. You are my shining star. Mama's right here. Through the rest of your life. My love is wherever you are!" – Mama’s Right Here
When I first read this line, I was pregnant with Lauren and was looking for a book that would let Anna know how special she was, even with a new baby arriving. I started weeping in the middle of Indigo.

  • "I love you right up to the moon - and back" - Guess How Much I Love You
I literally cannot read that line without my eyes welling up. Gets me every single time I've read it for the past 3 years.

  • "Once there was a tree... And she loved a little boy." - The Giving Tree
I know there's debate on the sentiment of this book, but I love it. I remember it so fondly from when I was a kid.

  • "The moon is high. The sea is deep. They rock and rock and rock to sleep." - The Going to Bed Book
I've read this one over and over and over again to Anna. Partly in hopes that she would get the hint and start sleeping through the damn night - and partly because I just love Sandra Boynton.
  • "Sleeping in that cave was a very cranky… BEAR!!!  ROAAAAR went the cranky bear. ROAR, ROAR, ROAR!" - The Very Cranky Bear
Anna loves to "roar" along with this book. And it makes me laugh every time she does it. So cute.

And one of personal favourites from my (a little bit older) childhood...
  • “Are you there, God? It's me Margaret"
What are your faves?

Monday, March 18, 2013

Mama hates the cold

I’m sitting in the office I currently work in wearing my winter coat. My nose is freezing. Hands like ice.

This is wrong. Just plain wrong.

I am a firm believer in the idea that winter must end now.

My poor 3 year-old is going stir crazy from being inside most of the day every day. This kid loves to be outside. She loves to go for walks, play in the park, kick the ball around the back yard. The great outdoors is her holy land. Her happy place. Her home base.

And while we still try to get outside with her often no matter what the weather, my poor little 15 month old isn’t a fan of being chilly.

So I find myself spending a lot of time inside with the girls, attempting to keep up with a toddler’s energy. We play and play and play and play. I crawl around on the floor. I do puzzles. I pretend to be “the customer” and place my order with Anna, over and over again. We go camping. We pretend to be horses. We dance. We sing. We make muffins. And then, eventually, I end up feeling guilty at the amount of TV she watches, because I can only do so much of the above.

When we’re outside, the kid can run wild, while I watch. I keep up with her, of course. But for the most part, she just wants me to let her do her thing while I stand by and chat with her.

(And by “chat” I mean tell her I’m watching when she yells, “Watch this, Mommy!!” over and over again.)

Therefore, I hereby declare that the winter must end.

It must end so that I no longer feel old and like a bad parent.

It must end so that I can get outside and air the stink out of my kids and myself.

It must end so that I can feel warmth on my skin again.

It must end so that I can get a bit of exercise, chat with fellow Moms and reenter the land of the living, rather than feel like a recluse.

And it must end so that Anna can wear her favourite shirt, her “Super Girl” t-shirt, without freezing her cute little skinny buns off.

So says Hez.

Friday, March 8, 2013

On being a woman

I, by and large, led a sheltered adolescence.

I like to joke that I was a nerd, in hopes that it will be sufficient explanation as to why I didn’t really drink underage. Why I never wanted a fake ID. Why I didn’t do drugs (much). Why I waited to have sex. Why I didn’t dress “promiscuously” or disobey my parents or sneak out of the house or get in physical fights.

The truth is? I don’t know why I was sort of a good kid.

I could attribute it to parenting. My parents were open and honest with me. They made sure I knew that I was loved. They always told me I could go to them if I was in a tough situation. They also let me know that drinking and sex at a young age was not acceptable. And disobeying them was met with utter disappointment. (A fate worse than making your parents mad).

They were what my husband and I hope to be. Good parents.

But is that enough?

I know I’ve already discussed the joys of having girls. But, at the same time, I have to admit that I’m terrified because I know what females have to face.

Becoming a woman is a hard, hard thing.

The rush to grow up. The sexuality. Emotional bullying. Pressure. Not to mention the bigger, weightier issues like love, work, children, choice, our rights, our physical safety.

I’m constantly amazed that I made it through adolescence. And I’m constantly racking my brain to try and figure out how I navigated those extremely tough years and came out on the other side happy, healthy, unharmed.

Was it solely good parenting? Is it a gene I just happened to have? Is it the environment I grew up in?

Sometimes I think it was just dumb luck.

And that’s what terrifies me.

How do I protect my girls? How do I prevent them from being that innocent girl on the subway platform, minding her own business before being assaulted? How do I keep them safe?

Maybe having a discourse about it will be part of the solution. Maybe telling them what I believe to be the difference between right and wrong will help. Maybe I just need to try my best to model good values and respect and then let them navigate for themselves.

I don’t know for sure.

But I do know that at some point, they’ll be too old to just accept my answers at face value. They’ll need and want to grow and explore. They’ll have to be set loose into this often-frightening world.

And I’ll have to be okay with that.

It will be at that moment that I will truly be tested as a parent. As a woman. As a mother.

It will be at that moment that I will close my eyes - for just a brief moment - while I hope and pray that my love and guidance is enough to keep them safe.

And then? I will open my eyes and hope that my daughters turn to me.

Because I will always be here for them.

That's right my loves, I'm talking about you.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

What would you tell your younger self?

While perusing Twitter instead of working this afternoon, I came across a headline from an article that said, “Five things I would tell my 18 year-old self”.

Good lord, what I would tell my younger self if I could go back in time.

Knowing what I know now, as a Mama of 2 beautiful, wonderful fantastic little children… what would I tell my younger, pre-baby self?

Here are just a few pearls of my own personal wisdom:

Heather, you need to relax.
It’s okay to try hard and want the best and to do your darn-dest to make sure the kids turn out okay. But, sometimes? You’re going to fail a little. And that’s okay. You might be disorganized. You may tell the garage door opener to fuck off in frustration in front of your baby because it won’t work when you’re already late for work. *cough – this morning - cough*. And you might feel massive amounts of guilt at how little you see them when you’re working. But you really need to relax. It’s okay. They love you. They know you love them. You’re not scarring them. Try to be calmer. Try to be happier. Things turn out pretty amazing. In spite of the damn garage door.

You and the hubster will have some rough times.
But he’ll still love you. And you’ll always love him. Even when his idea of romance is smacking you on the bum and pretending to hump you while you’re attempting to make lunches and you’re knee-deep in dirty diapers. He means well. And when you get those rare moments to talk – without any distractions – you two will remember all the reasons why you dated so long and fell in love and got married. You will talk. And gripe. And share. And laugh. Man, how he can make you laugh.

Get over your damn boobs. They’ll never be the same.
Sure, they’re soft and floppy now. Sure, they totally pass the pencil test (when just a few short years ago they were too perky to do so). Sure, there’s probably only a few years left before they reach National Geographic standards. But they fed your little ankle biters into existence. No matter how “weird” the whole concept seems – it’s pretty amazing work your girls did.

Things get better and better – all the time.
Yes, your life right now is pretty awesome. You’ve got disposable income. You and the hubster can fly off to the Galapagos Islands or Italy for a fabulous vacation. You can sleep as much as you like, work out whenever you want, dine out at great restaurants, spend an ENTIRE SUNDAY on the couch watching movies if you so choose. But eventually, when you give that all up, you will find out who you were meant to be. You will love your husband in a new way. You will adore your life and feel this incredible amount of pride when you look at your kid (even if she’s picking her nose at the moment). You will know joy and fulfillment like you’ve never known before. And you will think things like, “My life will always be okay now because these two little girls are in it.” You will be a Mom.

Enjoy it.
The hard times are REALLY hard to enjoy. I know. But when you look back, it’s so much easier to remember the fun times. So be silly. Laugh with your kids. Hide under the covers and make a tent out of sheets. Chase each other down the street on the way to the park. Take lots of pictures. Hold your husband’s hand. Tell your Mom you love her. Enjoy a glass of wine with your Dad. Life is pretty fantastic, Heather.

You are one of the lucky ones.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Girls vs. boys

I love that I have daughters.

Don’t get me wrong – if Lauren was a Larry and Anna was an Alan, I would adore them to itty-bitty pieces too.

But I’m really glad they came out with the lady parts.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard someone say the exact opposite. There are many parents out there who count their blessings that they won’t have to deal with drama related to raging hormones, the desire to grow up too soon and horny little boys trying to deflower their little ladies.

Yet I would argue that I’m glad I don’t have to deal with tube socks behind closed bedroom doors, never knowing what he’s thinking and inevitable daughter-in-law drama.

When I found out I was pregnant for the first time, I kept saying the whole “It doesn’t matter if the baby is a boy or a girl… they’re equally amazing… blah diddy blah… yackety crap”.

But secretly? I really wanted a girl.

I wanted someone who would truly understand my feelings. I wanted someone who would one day become a friend if I didn’t royally fuck things up. I wanted someone who would let me be REALLY involved in their wedding planning.

Of course, a child is a child. They truly are equally amazing. The relationship is what you make of it and how you foster and grow and develop it. I know all this.

And I certainly don’t feel that all girls must “act like girls” or vice versa. (I’m very proud of the fact that Anna loves her toy cars as much as she loves her dressy shoes, has no clue what a princess is and refuses to let me do anything with her hair).

But I also know that it’s very likely that a girl will call me more than once a week. They’ll tell me how they feel and what they’re thinking. They’ll never make me crawl up a ladder to sneak into their house in the middle of the night to rock them back and forth, back and forth, back and forth so I can pretend they’re still my baby. (They’ll let me in the front door and welcome any and all mothering at any stage in their lives – particularly if and when they have a child themselves).

It may be wrong to admit this out there and to the open. Heaven forbid I have a son one day and he reads this and I scar him for life and he needs massive amounts of therapy and it all relates back to his bitch of a mother who never loved him enough.

For now? I’m okay with admitting that I get girls. I want girls.

I adore my girls.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The one where I force my kids to love me

Now that I’m working full time hours out of the house, I have this overwhelming desire to hold on to every moment I get with the little ladies.

The little ladies don’t always feel the same way.

Anyway, smothering aside… I find that when I am with the girls – I really notice everything about them.

For example, Lauren’s brand new top teeth are the first things I see whenever she smiles or opens her mouth.

Anna’s new little haircut comes into the room first when she gets up in the morning.

And Anna’s latest gems are always top of mind. For example, here’s an excerpt from one of our most recent conversations:

Me: Do you want to watch Max & Ruby or Bubble Guppies?
Anna: ***pause***
Me: Anna? Max & Ruby or Bubble Guppies?
Anna: I’m THINKING, Mommy!

Or, when I came home on Valentine’s Day the other night, Anna wished me a “Happy Valentine’s Daddy”.  And she told me she loved Valentine’s because it meant she got to paint and wear a smock at school. (Yet, she refuses to wear her smock at home. Naturally.)

On a side note, Andrew and I seemed to be the ONLY parents who sent their kid to daycare without Valentine’s Day cards for everyone. And I forgot to get the daycare teachers a Christmas present. I am REALLY awesome at this Mom thing.

I also overheard Anna saying “Oh come on, guys!” in a very exaggerated tone (to nobody in particular) and my Mom found her “disciplining” her little sister:  “I’ve had enough of this, Lauren!”

Again – I am the best Mom in the universe! Wee!

Thankfully, Lauren can’t talk yet. But if she could, I feel like she would only utter things about how interesting she finds me.

Ma, tell me that story again... That one about that grande latte you ordered one time, but it was too much for you, so you couldn't finish it? Yeah... that one. The story that had no point to it.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Reaching for the moon

“Look, Mommy! The MOON!”

I listen to my happy toddler exclaiming excitedly from the back seat of the car.

“Let’s try to touch it,” she says.

“Okay,” I say. “You go first.”

I hear Anna grunting. I look in the rear view mirror and watch her flailing her arms, trying to “reach” the sky.

“Now your turn, Mommy!”

So I flail my arms about in a silly way and say in an exaggerated voice, “I can’t reach it!”

She laughs. I laugh with her.

I enjoy the simplicity of our conversation. How easy it is to make her smile. How excited she is by something as simple as the moon in the sky.

And I try to remind myself to remember this. To hold onto it tightly. I know moments like this won’t last forever.

Anna is a typical 3 year-old. She’s curious. Inquisitive. Loves to “search for clues” with anything from a toilet paper roll to the top of her see-through sippy cup. The way she looks at the world constantly amazes me. Her imagination makes me smile.

But she tests me. Oh my goodness, can she test me.

On another recent car trip, she was grouchy, had a temper tantrum and screamed the entire way home from Grandma and Grandpa’s house.

The biggest, brightest moon in the world wouldn’t have brought her back from where she was. And it was all I could do not to scream back at her.

So on nights like this, when she is excited by the universe and everything in it, I try hard to remember her. My true Anna.

I try to mentally catalogue every cute thing she says and every funny thing she does.

I want to tell her about it one day.

When she’s a teen, and is undoubtedly testing me again, I want her to know all about how much fun we had together. How I could be silly, too. How easy it was to enjoy each other’s company.

I want her to know about yesterday morning, when she jumped into bed to wake me up, then insisted we hide under the covers because she could hear a “jungle bear” coming into the room.

Or the time last week, when she danced around the kitchen and instructed me to say “Woo hoo!” each time she completed a little move.

I can’t avoid the moments when I feel tested and grouchy and exhausted by her moodiness. But I promise to both myself and to Anna to remember the fun, happy, easy times.

I glance at her in the rear view mirror again, a giant goofy grin plastered on my face.

It’s times like these I vow to remember.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

This is my life

So what’s up ladies? What’s been going on?

I have no real excuse for being absent other than that the usual “I’m so busy” story. It’s a lame excuse, I know. But it’s So. Very. True.

Life with 2 kids is busy. And dirty. And exhausting.

But why am I telling you this? You know this. You live this. Your fingernails are encrusted with this.

And while I love mostly every minute of it, I’m still a firm believer in the idea that something has to take a back seat. You just can’t do it all.

(We all know this – I know this is nothing new to you. But the real question is – what takes the back seat? How do you decide?)

Your personal trainer will tell you that you have to make working out a priority, and your dentist will tell you that your teeth have to be the priority, or your hairdresser will tell you that you can’t let your hair get all “Mom-ish”, and EVERYONE on your social media feeds will remind you that your blogging and tweeting and general social media savvy can’t go by the wayside…

But something’s gotta give.

And so I find myself just getting the bare minimum done.

I do the laundry, I tidy the house, I go to work, I play with the kids, I snuggle my baby to sleep, I bathe them and put them to bed. And then I start all over again the next day.

And in between, if I can find time for personal relationships, returning a few emails, getting the odd run in and getting my eyebrows shaped – I am feeling f’n golden.

Is this enough?? When will I feel on top of my game again?  Will I ever look at my laundry basket and see the bottom of it?? Will I ever be able to walk by my tea-stained kitchen sink without feeling my eye start twitching?

Fellow control freaks – do you feel this way as well?

I was so used to feeling organized. On top of everything. Task-oriented. Clean. But now I just can’t get to it all. Which is REALLY hard for me to accept.

And, therefore, I reach out to you – my wonderful community of Moms who seem to have their shit together.

Any tips? Advice? Suggestions? Commiserations?

Help me Obi Wan(s)… you’re my only hope.

"I'll take over the task of covering the baby's forehead with stickers, Mommy."
Such a helpful toddler.