[insert clever title here]

my sweet little man and i went to walmart the other day to pick up a few things (yard waste bags were on sale 10 for $3.77!) … we were strolling through the baby/toddler section when i overheard a woman in another isle say, “i wish i had a little girl. it would be so much fun dressing her up and playing.” to which another voice replied, “me too, i really wish i had had a girl.” a few moments later 2 young girls walked around the corner, one with 2 boys in a double stroller and the other with a little guy about the same age as my son in her stroller.

my jaw dropped and my eyebrows raised. here were 2 women with (what appeared to be) healthy children, shopping and casually talking about how they wish they had daughters instead of sons. it took everything in me not to react to their conversation with my own two cents. really? you wish you had a daughter? do you know that there are thousands of people that are hoping, praying and doing everything they can just to have the opportunity to be a parent? families who spend their savings for a “chance” at having a family of their own?  women who have tried and suffered the loss of little one (be it in utero or still birth)? and so on.

you don’t want to be a teen parent? simple solution, don’t have sex. it’s the best birth control and it’s free. i know that may sound harsh but it’s honest. i remember being in high school and my parents & i having conversations about teen pregnancy and what it meant to raise a child. they gave me some good advice, which i intend to pass along to my son (when he’s old enough to worry about such things); if you’re ready to have sex, you need to be prepared to have a child of your own, because no birth control out there is 100% effective. there is a consequence to everything we do in life and we need to think about the outcome.  life is happening all around us whether we want it to or not!

alas, i kept my opinion to myself and leaned down to give my son a kiss on the forehead and a little squeeze. i never want him to think for a moment that i’m not happy with being a mother to a little boy. i can only hope that those two women we saw today have the sense to not talk such rubbish around their children when they’re old enough to understand what exactly it is their mothers are saying. urgh.

i really should be doing something else right now …

i wasn’t going to blog tonight but well, here i am. i have a thousand other little things on my mind right now …

• i’m tired
• i don’t want to finish the laundry but there’s little boy clothes in the dryer and bed sheets, towels and more just waiting to be washed
• i need to tidy the back laundry/storage room
• the fall wreath should go on the door
• where can i get some orange & yellow mums for the pot on the front porch
• i wonder if hubby will notice the little sticker face (with moustache) that i added to one of the pumpkins on the front step
• the dishes are piling up but i don’t want to make any extra noise because little man had a tough time going to bed tonight and i wonder how long it’s going to take him to fall asleep (he’s still up right now, turning his glow worm on and off and talking to himself, babbling and saying mom! mom! and it’s almost 10pm)
• will he wake up in the night and need comforting
• will i be able to get to sleep at a decent time tonight
• why is there dog hair on my keyboard
• why does our hound lose more hair than any pet i’ve ever owned
• the house needs to be vacuumed/dusted/swept
• i wish we had more storage space
• speaking of that i need to organize the laundry room (yes, again)
• i need to make time this weekend to read up on the new products coming into work (before my shift on Monday)
• i hope i’m happy with my hair appointment tomorrow morning
• i should be on the treadmill instead of sitting on my ass typing this right now
• i need to go through our things and make some donations
• why can’t i just win the lottery, move to the country and be debt free?
• i hope the little guy is asleep by the time hubby gets home from work tonight (he rode the Triumph soooo it’s a little noiser than, you know, anything else we own, well, except for our son)
• maybe we should visit my parents this weekend and get them to take our dog for a few days before we dog-sit their dog next week
• where is the dog?
• i should work on my new business cards
• i want ketchup chips right now, mmm
• maybe i should have a cider?

i could go on but i don’t want to bore you (or myself) any longer. it was a long day today and i’m hoping that tonight goes smooth … little man has 4 more teeth coming in (he currently has 12 so this will just leave his 2 year molars yet to come, oh joy) so he’s been extra whiny, cuddly, picky, hyper, crazy etc. plus, i like to say he’s going into the terrible two’s at 19.5 months. he’s into everything! it’s a fun age but a tiring one nonetheless. because he’s so busy during the day, he’s been extra snuggly at bedtime, which is fine by me. i love the way his little hand grabs my face and pulls me close so that i kiss his forehead and when i pull back after kissing him he reaches up again and rests his hand on my neck. i need to think about those times when he’s been wild and crazy and just running through the house screaming for no reason other than the fact that he can do just that. ahhh life with a little boy.

as much as i’m exhausted both mentally and physically from working part time, designing wedding photobooks, doing freelance design, chasing around my toddler, spending time with my amazing husband and trying to keep up with friends and family, i wouldn’t trade it for the world.

mom! and other ramblings.

i’ve been slacking lately on this whole blog thing (oops!) … with going back to work things have been a little busier than i anticipated (plus we just got back from a week down in Orlando) and the little man is growing so fast i feel like i can’t keep up with anything! quite often the thought of blogging crosses my mind; sometimes when i’m putting the little guy down for a nap; or while i’m grocery shopping; or during a busy day at work; even when i’m on vacation. alas, i haven’t given in to the urge to blog lately, until today (lucky you!). there are many things i think of (on a daily basis) that i think would make for a good post but then by the time i get downstairs to the computer i end up doing laundry or just sitting down and relaxing – this only happens when my son is napping or in bed for the night.

crap, the little guy just woke from his nap “mom, mom! MOM!” – i’ll ignore him for a few moments and see if he falls back asleep. he usually naps for 2 – 2.5 hours and he’s only been out for one and a bit; what the heck! hubby just got home from work (i can hear the dog at the front door shaking with excitement and the floorboards creaking above me) shhhhh!! … and now the little dude is babbling to himself and likely standing up at the side of his crib. i wonder how long he’ll do this for; he needs to go back to sleep!  urgh, he’ll likely have his grumpy pants on later (as is the case when he doesn’t get a full nap in). although, listening to his rambling is pretty cute – it’s mostly just jumbled words and sounds with the occasional “real” word popping out here and there – mom! puppy! bahpa! (grandpa) daddy! two! aunt eeeaah! (Eva) yeah! … hmmm, it’s been going on for about 10 minutes now; i sincerely doubt he’ll fall back asleep at this point. sigh. of course, on the day when i actually decide to sit down and write a blog. figures, eh?

a long day … zzz …

today was a long day for me. although i was pretty happy that i didn’t have to go into work! (it’s still odd saying that) … i planned to get up early, do some laundry and tidy up a few things around the house. that did not happen. apparently i was exhausted and woke up with just enough time to run through the shower before the little guy started to stir! we did our morning bath-day routine and headed downstairs for milk, breakfast and to let the puppies out for a pee (we don’t actually have any puppies per say – we’re watching my parents’ almost 5 year old doberman while they’re away – they had a not-so-pleasant experience with the house sitter last time they went on vaca so hubby and i said we’ll just watch her from now on! – and our almost 6 year old coonhound are both big sucks, so they’re our puppy-dogs). while the 2 hounds ran around (wildly) outside i swept the floor and got my son’s breakfast ready.

we played and watched some cartoons. he had a snack, some more playing, lunch and then he went down for a nap. more sweeping ensued (a lot more). out the dogs went (again) for some more roughhousing (which really, i don’t mind because it tires both of them out! i can’t easily take both dogs and my toddler for a walk, so this is second best). down to the basement i went to work on changes for a few photobooks and edit some business cards for a client (oh and finish up a little laundry). back upstairs for lunch (kinda late, as usual). then i packed up some dinner foods for the little guy and went up to his room to wake up from his nap. we packed up his gear (diaper bag, snacks, milk etc) and headed out the door to my in-laws place where hubby was working on his dad’s ’63 Triumph (he’s been rebuilding it from the ground up for the past 3 years). we visited there for a bit, had dinner and then i packed him back up to head home and do our night time routine.

both of us were pretty sleepy so we just snuggled on the couch and watched some cartoons while he had his bedtime milk & snack. hubby stuck around his parents’ place to try and figure out why the bike wasn’t cooperating with him. he got home shortly after 9, just as i was heading back downstairs from putting the little guy to bed. i grabbed a few oatmeal choco-chip cookies (yum!) and a glass of water and we went down to the basement to each work on our own things on the computer. we haven’t really seen each other much today and it’s 11:30pm now. he just went upstairs to let the dogs out for a pee and get ready for bed (and i’m finishing up this blog). hopefully he’s not asleep before i get up there. he’s getting up early to work some O/T tomorrow and Sunday but thankfully will only be gone a few hours so we’ll all get to spend some much needed time together … i feel like the only times we aren’t busy (with our little guy, working, visiting family & friends, doing laundry) is just before we go to sleep. by then we’re usually both so exhausted that one of us ends up “fading fast” (as hubby says) and the conversation ends quickly. i know this time in our lives is busier because we have a toddler who’s learning more and more each day but it’s nice to have that quiet time with each other every night before we slip into (a not-long-enough) slumber.

i need more hours in the day to just do whatever i want without having to worry about working around hubby’s schedule, visiting friends & family, taking care of the dog(s), working or my son’s naps/bedtime schedule. i know the years when he naps won’t last long so i feel like i need to take advantage of my free time while i still have some (haha). before i know it he’ll be in school and i’ll be wishing he was around to just sit, cuddle and watch cartoons with 🙂

work. wait, what?

yesterday I went back to work. WORK! a real job. something i haven’t really had in a little over 2 years. to be honest, i wasn’t really sure how i was going to feel. i’ve been fortunate to be able to stay home with our little guy since the moment he arrived but felt that perhaps i should venture out there into the world again and get out of the house for something other than grocery shopping (not that that’s a bad thing either).

shortly before i found out i was pregnant (back in 2012) i was told i had a choice to take a severance or relocate to Barrie. i chose to take the severance and have been at home ever since. it’s hard to believe that 2 years have gone by since i was working (in an office no less). i’ve been keeping busy chasing around my amazing, smart, curious and (very) adorable 18 month old son as well as designing wedding albums for my extremely talented photographer friends over at renaissance studios  and also doing some freelance design work (www.facebook.com/sweetlittlemama) but not making as much money as i’d like. it’d be nice to have some extra cash for hubby and i to play with (or perhaps pay a few things off, but playing is much, MUCH more fun). with me having a part time job it will also (hopefully) free hubby up from working overtime as much as he was (because, really, who wants to do that!). oh, AND, i think it will be good for me to socialize with other people and have the opportunity to promote products that i truly love and believe in!

i was lucky enough to land a part time job at a local maternity, baby & toddler store (http://www.cheekymonkey.ca/) where i just happened to be a loyal customer prior to landing the job (score!). not only do they sell cloth diapers (yay!) they also sell baby carriers, nursing supplies and all natural mama & baby products! the job is only part time, about 12-15 hours per week which, i think, should work out. between my sister, mom and mom-in-law the little guy will always have someone he loves watching over him (when hubby isn’t home and i’m away).

today was my second day working; i felt more comfortable than yesterday and i’m sure as each day goes by it will become easier but i don’t think i’ll miss my son any less. although i was only away for about 4 hours (each day), i felt like i was gone forever! after spending almost every waking moment with him, i feel like a part of me is missing when he’s not by my side. although it’s only been 2 days, when i’m gone i miss his little hugs and squeezes when he grabs my face and gives me a big, sloppy and rough kiss saying “muah” … i miss him running through the house yelling mom! mom! and squealing with excitement. i know these years will go by quickly and i want to be able to cherish every moment.

while rocking him to sleep tonight (with stories & songs) he pulled my head in close so that my lips were on his forehead and held me there until he fell asleep.

coming home to his sweet face makes my heart happy. oh how i love my little boy.

35 years. really!

today is my birthday. the big 3-5. i honestly don’t feel 35 (however that actually “feels” i’m not sure, i just know that i don’t). i remember waaaay back when i was fresh out of high school thinking that i had a pretty solid plan; get married to my high school crush and pop out a few kids by the time i was 25. there was no way i wanted to have kids later, because, who wanted to wait that long? and who wanted to be that old having a baby? well, i can tell you that things did not work out that way, and i am extremely grateful and beyond ecstatic about it. why you may ask? well, turns out that my high school “crush” (of almost 10 years of dating) ended up being a lying, cheating, manipulative and self-centered a-hole. i found out that the man i (used to) care about was not only sleeping around, but having full on relationships with other women. don’t ask me how he managed to do that, as i still can’t wrap my mind around it. looking back i suppose there were little things i could’ve picked up on but honestly, who wants to believe that the person they’re with isn’t who they thought they were? and, after being together for so long, you just sort of assume that this is how things are and that they aren’t going to change. boy was i wrong. and i’m sooooooo glad. it all seems like a soap-opera or a crazy movie plot when i think about it (or when i tell anyone the short-short version). that chapter of my life is over, and thrown in the trash! i can honestly say though that if i didn’t live the life i had, then i wouldn’t be who i am today or married now to the love-of-my-life.

i remember when my ex and i split up (or rather, when i dumped his slimy, pompous ass) thinking, oh my. for the first time in almost 10 years i was single. i had no commitments (except work). how was i supposed to do this thing called “dating”? how do you go about meeting someone when you’re in your late 20’s and you’ve never been on a real date in your life? i decided to avoid the whole thing for almost a year. i did whatever i wanted, whenever i wanted. it was amazing and liberating! i went out with a girlfriend and got belligerently drunk on a Monday night. just because i could; and i had a blast! then one day i thought, hmmm, maybe i would like to meet someone, but how do i go about that? i don’t want to go the pub and meet someone that way and i definitely don’t want to have my friends set me up with someone.

i was working full time at a newspaper and part time at a tanning salon so i didn’t have a ton of spare time but i met a few cute prospects. i contacted one of them and we went on a few dates and hung out a few times. then things got a little odd and we sort of stopped contacting each other (to be honest, he was a little quieter than i like, and didn’t exactly enjoy doing the things i did and he sort of lived in a small little world of his own). after that i met someone on myspace who lived just over an hour away from me. we went on a few dates and chatted online but i found out that he still lived with his parents (he was 35, I was 27) and he had a 15 year old daughter; 2 things that i really wasn’t overly comfortable with. plus the more we chatted, the more he would talk about “our future”; i’m sorry? what future is this you speak of? i gently broke things off and decided maybe i wasn’t really ready for the dating world. i mentioned this to a friend of mine and she suggested going online to a dating site. i snorted under my breath and thought, really? (mind you, this was back in 2007 when online dating wasn’t as popular or as common and “normal” as it is now – there are far more regular people out there looking for exactly the same thing that you are) … she said to me, listen, you don’t have to necessarily go on serious dates, just keep your options open, you never know what you’ll find. i decided to give it a whirl and signed up for a free account on lavalife. i added a few pics, updated my profile, let out a sigh and started browsing through the pics and profiles of potential datees.

i had a few men contact me right away; the majority of which were at least 10 years older, which i wasn’t thrilled about. i wanted to find someone closer to my own age, who had similar interests and who i could possibly see myself having a future with (crazy, right?). i finally had one person contact me and agreed to meet up for a drink at a local restaurant. after a few hours of chatting i could see that he was put off with how comfortable i was with myself and that i was the type of girl to speak my mind. we parted ways and that was that. a few hours and a few free drinks. harmless. but boring! urgh. back online i went.

i was only signed up with lavalife for a few weeks when i saw a pic of this pretty cute guy; ball cap, tattoos and a little scruff/beard. hmmm i thought. so i sent him a “smile”. he sent me a private message and we started chatting back and forth. i felt like a teenager with butterflies in my stomach as i typed messages to him and he wrote back right away. we got talking more and more and decided to add each other on messenger so that we could chat easier (and faster). we started talking about tattoos and he wanted to show me his sleeve (based on his scottish family heritage) so we added each other to Facebook. i didn’t think anything of it until down the road when he told me that my profile picture was one of me in a bar holding 3 different kinds of beer up to my lips. classy. he said he laughed and thought, that’s pretty awesome. (whew!). we planned to meet up and after maybe our fourth date we were lying in bed (just chatting! get your mind outta the gutter!) and he said to me, so where do you see this going? what do you want out of this? i replied, honestly, i want to be with someone who wants me for me. i don’t have time for bullshit. i just want to be happy; what do you want? he said, that’s perfect. exactly what i want. and from that point on we spent every day with each other and have now been together for (just under) 7 years and married for 3 of them. i didn’t ever think that i’d be 31 when i got married and 34 when i had my first baby. but to tell you the truth, i’ve never been happier or more comfortable. i don’t have to “try”.

one son, one hound dog and lots of laughs later, i can honestly say that i never imagined things could be this amazing, and this easy. in my 35 years on this earth i’ve never been happier. a successful, positive and happy relationship should be one where you don’t constantly need to go above and beyond to impress the person you’re with (whether it be dating, engaged, common-law or married). you should just be able to be YOU. no strings attached. nothing complicated. just easy.

busy busy, fun fun.

as much as i love blogging (a.k.a. venting, mostly) life has been über busy lately. our little man will be 17 months old as of this weekend. holy crapola, where has the time gone?! i’ll tell you where; to late night nursing and cuddles, to walks with our hound dog, visits with friends and family, learning to sit up, crawling, standing, feeding himself, walking (and now running), talking, playing and learning. and the list goes on. it’s hard to remember what it felt like when he first came into our lives; a tiny little bundle of love; a little babe who it seemed would stay young and sweet forever. i didn’t realize how fast time truly goes by until i had a baby. i fondly remember sitting in the rocking chair in his room nursing him and just staring at those big, beautiful blue eyes (and ridiculously long lashes) and touching his amazingly soft skin. just sitting and cuddling on the couch not caring about anything but this perfect little man … but now, oh boy, now is different! good, but different. constantly running after him, wondering what he could possibly get into while i try run to the bathroom and pee as fast as humanly possible before those sweet little hands of his open the bathroom door and he peeks in to say “pee!”  … keeping up with the laundry, dishes and sweeping (urgh, the sweeping!) picktwo_parentingthat comes with owning a coonhound, not to mention the regular things around the house that need to get done, and that i’d like to get done (say, tidying the kitchen? bedroom? basement?). most of those things get left on the backburner until hubby gets home from work to help parent. which reminds me, i saw this awesome cartoon the other day that perfectly depicted how things are at our house right now (most of the time anyway) with a toddler on the loose … if you have young children you’ll understand why this is so great.

i really should be working on photobooks (for my awesome friends over at Renaissance Studios) and my freelance design right now (check out my facebook page here) while hubby puts the little guy to bed but, i felt the need to blog, vent, etc. i enjoy writing about our son and what’s going on in our lives. i plan to (one day, not sure how soon) print out my blogs and save them in a little notebook/binder etc so that i can look back and remember the good, the bad and the, sometimes, ugly. there are so many things i still want and plan to write about, like last week when our little guy pooped in his kiddie pool, not one, but two days in a row, and one of the days daddy wasn’t home to help clean up, good times i tell ya. about how he runs around the house yelling mom! mom! how he randomly will yell Da! daaaaaddy! while out grocery shopping (and his dad is not with us, but at work) and how he calls grandpa “bap ba” and grandma “mah ma”. how he hoots like an owl whenever he sees any bird (owl or otherwise). and how so many things you never imagined could be “dut” (stuck) or dirty or “dot” (hot).

and one day, i hope my son will read some of these ramblings and be able to get a sneak peek of how things were growing up, the good, the bad, and the, sometimes, ugly.

cloth diapering? yup.

i went for a coffee date with my friend Melissa a few days ago (Hi Melissa!) (ooooh and if you’d like to check out her awesome blog, do so here) … we met through a mutual friend many years ago but haven’t really ever had a one-on-one conversation in person (not that we wouldn’t), it’s just the way things happened. well, this lovely lady is expecting her first little one in just 8 short weeks (or less!) and after many a facebook message regarding cloth diapering (and a few other fun mom-ish things) we decided we’d get together to make our conversing a little more personal.

we chatted for just under 3 hours (and likely could’ve rambled on more) but i wanted to get home to see my little guy before bedtime (yes, i still want that cuddle time; i know it won’t last forever so i gotta milk it while i can!). i must say, i had a great time visiting! it was nice to just sit and chat with a fellow mom (to-be) about all the things i found helpful, useful and my experiences thus far in this thing called parenthood. i firmly believe that the more you know going into a situation, the better you’ll feel, the more confidence you’ll have, and ultimately, the decisions you make will be based on your peers’ experiences rather than just facts found on the internet or in books.

let’s face it, we all love talking about our little ones! i love being able to offer advice and suggestions on things that i know worked (or didn’t) for our little family. especially when it comes to cloth diapering. a topic of conversation that can become heated  if not approached with an honest and open mind.

after the first few weeks of pregnancy sunk in (back in 2012), i started to think more and more about cloth diapering and how i eagerly wanted to try it. i had negative feedback and comments from friends, family and strangers alike. ewwwww, really? you wanna put poop in your washing machine? you’re actually going to try that? good luck! you’ll have so much laundry. disposables are easier. won’t it be expensive? i’ve heard it doesn’t work. once they start eating solids you’ll change your mind … the list goes on! despite all this wonderful feedback, i pushed forward. i truly believed that cloth diapering was the best decision for our soon-to-be bub, our wallet and the landfills. our little guy is 16 months old and still wears the same cloth diapers we purchased before he was born.

was it worth it? yes!!!in the beginning it cost between $300-$400 to build up our stash: shells, liners, wetbags, diaper pail, etc. but when you think about the cost of disposables and how many diapers you go through in a week’s time (especially when they’re really little and you’re changing them sometimes every hour and a half) it’s truly money-saving. consider this: for conversation’s sake, let’s say your 3 month old goes through 8 diapers a day; multiply that by 7 days a week and you get 56 diapers, and that’s your MINIMUM. that doesn’t take into account poop blowouts (through the diaper, pants, jammies, what-have-you). so let’s up the number to 10 a day; now you’re at 70 per week. the average package of diapers is anywhere between $20-$35 and usually has 30-40 in a pack (unless you buy in bulk, but still) … so you’ll need probably 2 of those a week. that works out to an average $40 minimum per week. multiply that by 4 weeks in a month; in 3 months you’ll spend around $480 in diapers alone. one article i found said that the average family spends $1500/year on diapers. seems to be close to my calculations … now think back to how i said we spent between $300-$400 on our cloth diapers; doesn’t sound so bad now does it? and let’s be honest, the amount of laundry you do with a baby is ridiculous anyway. bodily fluids will find their way onto anything and everything you (and they) wear. we do laundry usually every 3 days, which i honestly think is pretty good! we obviously have times where we need to do a bit more washing (when accidents and explosions happen), but overall, twice a week is ok by me. and since our little guy started eating solids we added Bummi’s disposable, flushable and biodegradable liners to our diaper routine and things are even better! no more scrubbing poop off of the cloth, just throw that little mesh liner into the toilet and by by poop! yay! (LOL) … plus, the cloth diapers that we chose “grow” with our little guy – from 8lbs up to 30lbs – so he should get to potty training while still using them (which hopefully will be sooner than later!)

another benefit to cloth diapering is less rashes and irritation – after speaking with fellow mamas, i soon discovered that our little guy had many less diaper rashes than the average baby/toddler (he still has them but they’re few and far between). so of course, i went on the googles and did some snooping around (yes, on the googles). what i found was in fact true; babes who are in cloth statistically have less irritation. the biggest reason? no harsh chemicals. if that’s not a good enough reason to cloth diaper i don’t know what is! … now, i will be honest, we use disposables every now and then. what?! yes, we do. i honestly do not enjoy bringing poop home in a bag (especially that of my toddler) so if we’re on an outing, at the park, the mall, away for the weekend at a hotel, etc, we use disposables. we chose to go with PC (President’s Choice) GREEN diapers. not only are they eco-friendly, they’re fragrance-free and super absorbent! AND they’re easy on the wallet compared to most eco-diapers we’ve found … we tried a few different brands before settling on the PC ones. every other diaper we tried gave our poor little guy a rash or irritated his skin, or just plain stunk. hello, big diaper companies? maybe try something different? just an idea.

if you’re considering cloth diapering, don’t be afraid. it’s an investment well worth the time (money) and effort … as much as i love using cloth diapers, i really am looking forward to no diapers at all. well, for a few years anyway; until we decide if we’re adding to our little family or not 🙂

frazzled, exhausted, and did i mention, tired?

it’s been a while since i’ve blogged, but i have some pretty good reasons (i think anyway). i’ve been keeping busy with a little freelance design work, wedding photobooks for photographer friends, and my son, who doesn’t want to sleep without my arms around him.

as i write this, my fingers, toes, and any other extremity that could possibly be crossed, are crossed, in hopes that my 15 month old son doesn’t awake from his slumber (as i watch him toss & turn on the video monitor). these past few months have been tiring for all of us. our awesome little sleeper has turned bedtime into something we’ve all come to dread (mostly). i used to look forward to the peaceful few hours that we had to ourselves, but now i start to worry in advance; how long will it take to get him to sleep? how long until he wakes up? will he wake up 2, 3, 6 times tonight? will he soak through everything and need a bed and bum change at the crack of stupid? will i fall back asleep? will my hubby have the mental and physical capacity to function properly at work without an adequate amount of zzz’s?

little man was always a great sleeper, right from the get go. yes, he was! i know people will say this about their child when it isn’t necessarily true, but he really was. around 6 weeks old he started to sleep in 6-7 hour bouts, wake to nurse and then fall back to sleep for 2-3 hours. it was pure bliss because i knew that when he finished nursing we could all get a little more shut eye. man, those were the days: stick a boob in the baby’s mouth, he was relaxed, full, content and wouldn’t you know it, sleepy. and then he started to grow, and change, and learn more and more each day. and he started to eat people food! not just his beloved breastmilk. around 8 months old (ish) he started waking at least once a night and wouldn’t go back to sleep without being rocked (insert very big thank you to my husband who has always taken his role as daddy very seriously and believes that i need breaks to keep my sanity! go hubby!). looking back, that wasn’t so bad. in fact, i’d take the once a night wakings if it meant that we could all get a little more sleep.

mid-march is when things started to go awry. the little guy went to sleep with his usual routine; jammies, snack and cartoons, then upstairs for teeth, bum change, sleep sack, stories and then cuddles in the rocking chair in his room until he fell into a peaceful slumber. and then he decided to wake up less than an hour later. we tried everything we could think of but no luck. he didn’t fall back asleep until the crack of stupid a.k.a. really super early in the morning, the time when usually you’re coming home from a fun night out of drinking and dancing, wait what? (see my post “sleep, what’s that again?”). basically things have been kinda off since then. the frustrating thing is he’s pretty good about going down for naps. we cuddle and rock in his room, he falls asleep and i lay him down, no complaints, no fuss, no crying. just sleep, usually for 1-3 hours.

over the past few weeks things escalated. he decided that he would not sleep at bedtime unless he was being held. this honestly came out of nowhere, or so it seemed. perhaps this was coming and we just didn’t realize it, i’m not sure. one Saturday the little guy decided to wake up every 2 hours and then stay awake for 1-2 hours. urgh. and at this point i have no liquid gold (a.k.a. breastmilk) to offer him, but boy, i wish i did. Sunday night was pretty much a repeat of Saturday. not fun.

my patience level was at 10% and quickly decreasing. i was ready to break. don’t get me wrong, i love spending all day with my son, but there comes a time, usually at the end of the day, that i need a little “mama” time and he was not co-operating.

i began reading books, articles and anything i could find in hopes that someone could give us a some guidance (and maybe teach me a little more patience) but the only things i kept finding were about letting my child cry it out (CIO). i am not a fan of this method. i have my reasons, which you may or may not agree with, to each their own. here are a few good articles to read 10 Alternatives to Crying It Out, Science Says: Excessive Crying Could Be Harmful, and ‘Cry it out’ isn’t more effective than ‘no cry’.

i finally found something helpful in The No Cry Sleep Solution book by Elizabeth Pantley. (buy it here). it was close to the end of the book (pages 207-213), for those of us parents, who are “at their wits end”, who are ready to snap and who really don’t want to use the CIO method. it didn’t solve our problems but shed a little light on the situation. i also found another great article or two online (and of course i can’t find them now to add links!) that talked about babies who were nursed and rocked at bedtime and a few different suggestions on how to get them to fall asleep on their own.

a lot of what i found was frustrating because they talked about creating a routine and sticking to it being one of the biggest things to establish. well, we have a routine. a damn good one if i do say so. and we’ve had a routine since little man was probably 4-6 months old (which we’ve changed as necessary as time goes by and his needs change). the articles & books that finally helped me to understand really what was going on basically explained that the reason our son may have decided he doesn’t want to be put down is that he only knows how to fall asleep by being held/nursed/cuddled etc. it made sense when i thought about it, and honestly, i don’t know why i didn’t think of it before! of course: 95% of his entire life he fell asleep in my arms (the other 5% belongs to his dad but it’s now closer to 70-30 as my hubby has been amazing with giving me “breaks” from mama duty). i started reading more about different ways to try to get my son to fall asleep on his own because this new “don’t you dare put me down” attitude was becoming mentally and physically exhausting for us.

we decided to try one method that suggested rocking him until he was drowsy but not quite out and then laying him down to fall asleep on his own in the crib. sitting beside his bed, letting him touch us, hug us, etc, whatever it took to make him feel comforted and know that mom & dad were still there for him and not leaving him when he felt he needed our “touch”, just not holding him. the first night took 3 hours to get him to bed. 3 HOURS. we put his glow worm beside him and the soothing sounds seemed to help lull him to sleep. and so we thought, ok! the glowworm might be the trick up our sleeve that we need to help little man fall asleep on his own! along came the next night … one hour till sleepy time! the third night, one again! when we first put him in the crib, he whined and cried but only for less than 5 minutes. as each night went by the crying and whining stopped! we thought we may have figured things out and then the 4th night came along: 2 hours to get him down. the same for the 5th and 6th, etc … he would start out very sleepy and relaxed in my arms, i’d lay him down and he’d immediately sit up and then stand up at the edge of the crib reaching for me. i ignored him and started the glow worm in hopes of distracting him. this worked, sort of. and then he’d play with the glow worm, then stand up. then play with Mr. Owl (his cute little owl/blankie toy). then lay down. and repeat.

i basically was fed up and starting reading again. reaching for something and then i thought, he’s so young. he just wants to be held. what on earth do i have to do that’s more important than cuddling with my son and making him feel relaxed, comfortable, safe and loved? i decided to forget everything i had read and try going back to a modified version of what i was doing before. i rocked my son until he fell asleep and when i laid him down in his crib he stayed asleep! i tried again the next night and he fussed when i transitioned him from my arms to his crib, so i started the glow worm and patted his back; he relaxed and passed out again. we’ve been going strong since (knock on wood).

my son needs me. he’s my baby. the most important thing in my life. he’s my world.  i’m his support, his lifeline, his comfort, his safety and most of all, his mama. this cuddle time will only last for so long and before i know it he won’t want to be rocked. he won’t want to have so many hugs and kisses. he won’t need me like he does now. i think we, as parents, need to stop wanting our kids to grow up so fast, because when they do, we’ll miss these days more than we realize. xo.

the mommy truth

no one ever talks about the ugly side of parenting. sure, we all love our kids. whether you have 1, 2, 3 or 7 (or however many you decided upon) you love your children, it’s a fact. BUT there are many, many, MANY times where we don’t like them, errrr, i mean, their behaviour. it’s true and yes, i said it. being a parent isn’t always easy. i know that my husband and i have many years of parenting ahead of us (being that our little guy is still pretty young) but no one can prepare you for the roller coaster of emotions that you will feel.

when they first arrive you are elated; overcome with joy, love, fear and pure bliss for the little person you have brought into this world. you can never imagine being angry, upset or frustrated with such a perfect little being. and then they start to grow. and move. and talk. and learn. all day, every day. i love my son, more than anything i ever thought i loved before. he’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me. he is my greatest accomplishment, my little teacher and tester of my patience and he just turned one in February! … but i never knew what true frustration was until i became a mother. sure, friends do stupid things, partners and siblings can be annoying but nothing can make the screaming banshee come alive like being a mother with sleep deprivation. every little thing starts to annoy you. you get to the point where you are ready to scream (and just might have to) and then tear someone’s head off (which you probably shouldn’t do). another thing that causes this is being with your child 24/7. every parent needs a break. whether it’s running to the grocery store, going for a drive or hiding out at a hotel and not telling anyone where you are (wouldn’t that be nice?).

i read an article today on the Huffington Post about kids and bedtime, and although my son is still young, it really hit home (read it here). one particular paragraph spoke to me, and i quote:

“One of the myriad problems with this parenting gig is that they save the hardest part for last. BEDTIME. Bedtime should be in the morning — when we’re fresh and kind and sweet — and decent parenting still seems like a very real possibility. But no, the hardest parts — dinner and baths and bedtime — arrive at the end of the day, when we have nothing left. When the truth is, we are counting the minutes. Counting the moments until no one is the boss of us anymore. Until we can sink into that couch, book, Internet or glass of wine — whatever our victory lap includes.”

OMG, this is so true! i have often said, why can’t our son be full of attitude and frustration and incessant whining during the day? why does it have to be when i’m exhausted and at my wit’s end and ready to just have a little me time? especially when my husband is on afternoon shift and the whole afternoon, evening and bedtime routine is mom-only.

more parents (new and old) need to talk about the reality of being just that, a parent. the times when you have to go into the bathroom and scream into a towel just to get the frustration out because there’s no one else to take over for you (yes, i did that today). the times when you say things you shouldn’t to your kids (whether they understand or not) and the times when you just sit and cry your eyes out because you are just SO tired. the times when you can’t imagine your life without them. when they make you prouder than you ever thought possible. when they make you feel like the most important person in the world.

no one has, or is, a perfect baby, toddler, child, teenager, young adult or adult. if they say so, they’re lying. every parent has gone through hard times, they just might not admit it. we need to start talking more about what frustrates us, what we’re going through, the good, the bad and the ugly. i think if that happened, we’d all feel a little more normal. whatever that is.