A little time.

I ugly cried tonight. A lot. I feel like a terrible mother because I’m frustrated, tired and full of guilt for wanting some time alone.

My husband is in New Brunswick with my dad for a hunting/visiting/bonding vacation – my father was born out east. He has family (and land) there and has gone every October for as long as I can remember. This year was different though because my hubby went along with him; for 9 days. NINE. Eight overnights and nine daytimes. That’s approximately 216 hours, or 12,960 minutes. Which turns into long days of just me, our 3.5 year old son and our 3 month old daughter, figuring out what to do with ourselves. 

A lot has happened in the last year; I quit my job, we moved to a new city (well, where I grew up anyway) and added a second child to our little family. 

Back to tonight, right now. Right now I’m sitting in my daughter’s room holding her while we sway in the rocker (she just finished nursing). After multiple times trying to put her to bed an hour earlier than usual, I gave up and ugly cried while sitting with her; and nursed her again. I gave up on trying to get an extra hour of me time. And this week I need it more than ever.

My son is with my mom for a sleepover tonight. The times that my son goes for a sleepover, I have high hopes of doing things around the house because, let’s face it, trying to attempt anything more than the dishes is kinda pointless when you have a preschooler (and a baby). Yes, I do want to spend time with him and play, but it’s good for both of us if he learns to play a little on his own. Adding in a 3 month old presents its own challenges, which in turn, become obstacles at times.

Tonight I was hoping for a little quiet time, alone. I had it all planned out; my son was with my mom so I would put the baby to bed after she nursed around 9ish, finish the laundry, do the dishes, and sit on the couch relaxing. That plan went out the window, as I should’ve expected, like all my good plans do.

I’m exhausted, physically and mentally. The only time I have to myself is when both kids are in bed (and that’s if they don’t wake up multiple times). My little boy is inquisitive, energetic and curious (oh, and loud too) which makes this mama tired . He has so many little quirks and idiosyncrasies that make our days (and nights) longer than most. It’s wearing me down. And with hubby away until late Thursday/early Friday, the exhaustion is starting to take its toll.

I’m going to try (again) to lay the little lady in her bed. I guess I just needed to get all of this off my chest, thanks for listening.

How time flies! … Reminiscing about my son’s birth

I wrote this post in February 2014 but then made a few edits after re-reading it.

Last week i decided to take a nap with my little guy instead of laying him in his crib; we went downstairs, turned on the tv and watched treehouse for about 15 minutes before he curled up with his head on my shoulder. i covered us both up with a warm, fuzzy blanket (that has a hole in it from our dog who likes to scissor it with his teeth, but that’s another story) and turned the boob-tube off. after about 5 minutes of finding the right position, he let out a big sigh and was out. as i lay there with him it reminded me of when he was only a few months old and how that used to be our daily routine. we’d get up in the morning, head downstairs and just sleep on and off on the couch all day; sometimes we’d both sleep, both of us in our jammies. as sweet memories of cuddling with him ran through my mind, it made me realize how fast this past year has gone by. on Thursday he had his first birthday, he turned 1 year old, ONE! where has the time gone? it seems like only a few months ago that he was so tiny; breastmilk his only nourishment; not eating solids, not feeding himself, definitely not talking and not crawling and definitely not walking. i remember his birth like it was only a few weeks ago instead of a year ago. i remember last year, early Februrary, my hubby and i trying all the old wives tales of how to induce labour so that our baby would be born on my husband’s birthday (which didn’t work by the way); massage, pressure points, bouncing on a birthing ball (big exercise ball), walking on the treadmill, eating spicy foods, etc etc. … little did we know the little guy wouldn’t arrive for a while yet (but hey, it was worth a shot, right?) …

this is the part where i talk about his birth; if you don’t want to read further, i’m not offended (well maybe a little haha), just wanted to give you a heads up.

my labour was long, and by long, i mean 34 hours long. thankfully i wasn’t experiencing crazy contractions that whole time, but still. i think that was the longest i’ve ever been awake and asleep at the same time.

my water broke while i was in bed on a Tuesday morning. thankfully i had a waterproof pad/blanket that i had been sleeping on for about a month (a very handy thing my mother lent to me that i plan on keeping until she asks for it back, hehe). i remember getting up to go pee around 9am and then crawled back into bed (i wanted to sleep just a little longer). about 15 minutes later i felt a trickle alongside my leg and thought, crap! i wet myself! then i felt whoooooosh! i thought, uh oh! that’s definitely not pee! i stood up as it started trickling down my leg and i ran to the washroom. i remember sitting on the toilet thinking, holy crap, this is the start of it! my hubby was at work on day shift at the time so it was just me and the hound dog at home. i calmly put on some comfy clothes, went downstairs and grabbed a glass of juice. then i thought, well, i should probably call my hubby to tell him what’s going on. i remember calling his supervisor’s cell number and saying, yeah can you please have him call me? about 10 minutes go by and the phone rings, hi. hey! so guess what happened about 15 minutes ago? uh … my water broke. holy crap, what should i do? well, i’m not having contractions so if you wanna stay until noon or whatever it’s ok by me, not much is going on. ok, i’ll see you in a bit … and 15 minutes later he was home, lol. he said he was sitting having his break with a friend of his when the supervisor came by and said, your wife needs you to call her. he said he looked at his buddy, his eyes got big and he thought, uh oh, this must be it, but tried to remain calm, haha. when he got home he looked a little anxious and i said to him, it’s all good, i haven’t had any contractions yet. i’m just running to the washroom a lot as i keep feeling my water trickling down and then a whoosh after (fun times, i know). we called my sister, as she was the other person i wanted in the room with me when our baby was born, to tell her what was happening. she sounded soooo excited! i told her, don’t rush over, we’ll keep you posted. our day went on with not a lot happening except me running to the washroom every half hour or so.

my sis came over mid-afternoon, she was pretty excited when i told her what was going on! after she arrived we figured we should call the midwife to let her know what was going on. she told me she’d come by around 6/6:30 to see how i was doing and we could figure things out from there. she and our student midwife arrived, took my temperature asked me some questions and told me just to relax and wait until my contractions started. very nice and mellow 🙂 … they said if things weren’t really progressing over night then we’d plan to meet at the hospital at 7am.

my contractions started about an hour after the midwives left, about 20-30 mins apart and very mild. i was sitting on our exercise ball (or birth ball, since they’re pretty much the same thing) bouncing around hoping to get things going as i was already tired (i usually would have an afternoon nap but with all the excitement of labour having started i couldn’t really rest). i tried walking on the treadmill to get things going but that didn’t really do much either, lol. my sister went home after a few more hours (to try to snooze). i told her we’d call her to keep her updated. the contractions slowly progressed but i figured we should try to get some sleep considering we’d likely have a big day ahead of us! my hubby had downloaded a contraction timer app for the iPad so he gave it to me so i could hit the start button when i had one, and then stop when it ended. i didn’t sleep much that night as they kept progressing. around 2/2:30am they were 10 minutes apart and about 1-2 minutes long. they felt like achey period cramps, not fun, but tolerable. i basically slept in 10 minute bouts, between contractions. around 5am i called the midwife to let her know what was going on and ask if we should still plan for 7am or if we should head to the hospital sooner. she said if things stayed the same to still meet at 7, but if they changed to call her back. we ended up just meeting her and my sister at 7am. my sis looked like she’d slept about as little as i had, lol.

we checked into our birthing room, the midwives checked me and i was only 1cm dilated but fully effaced! talk about frustrating! LOL … they told us to walk around the hospital for about 3 hours and just relax and then they’d check me again. my sis, hubby and i made our rounds, took breaks, had a few snacks and then made our way back to the room. around 10:30am they checked me again and i was only at 2-3cm, grr!
because my water had been broke for over 24 hours the midwives said they needed to speed things up (as the chance of infection increases the longer your water has broke, especially if things aren’t progressing, which they clearly weren’t) … they started me on pitocin which i really didn’t want because it causes contractions to be SO much more intense than they naturally would be (BOOOOO!) … the dose was increased every hour; my contractions starting getting more intense and they checked me again 3 hours after that and i was only at 4cm! talk about frustrating. i think i needed to relax more at the point, but with it being so long since things had started and with it being our first child it was hard to do just that.

they waited another 3 hours and checked me again and i was still only at 4cm. i pretty much sat on a birth ball with my hands on the edge of the hospital bed the entire time i was having contractions as it was the only position that was somewhat comfortable to handle them. as they increased the levels of pitocin, my nausea increased and i became ill with every contraction. i don’t think i’ve ever thrown up that much in such a short time frame. i am so thankful for my hubby and sister being there, holding the garbage can, rubbing my back, doing whatever was needed.

… around 4:30/5pm my midwife came over to talk to me, she knew i really didn’t want to have an epidural or c-section and that i wanted to go as natural as i could but since things weren’t progressing and since my water had broke so long ago, she suggested me having an epidural … she said that i likely would be able to rest for a few hours and that since i’d been up since 9am the day before i needed to have as much energy as possible for when it was time to push. i was so against having one as i didn’t want to numb my body and basically throw away feeling the experience of birthing a baby.

i didn’t end up resting much, as when she checked me after another hour i was already at 9cm! YAY! … i pushed for only 40 minutes and the little man arrived safe and sound. i know there are a lot of women who wouldn’t necessarily want to go natural, especially during the last stage (where the brunt of the work takes place) but i wouldn’t trade that experience for anything. i remember feeling my whole midsection “heave” downward and i looked at my hubby and said, i didn’t do that! my body did! after that, i heard my midwife say, when you feel the urge to push, go with it, do go against it. i remember laying there with my eyes closed, holding onto the edge of the bedrail and gripping it hard each time i felt a big contraction and the urge to push. i know i pooped on the delivery table, twice. i fully admit it, i’m not embarrassed and i don’t care. it’s a good sign that you’re using all the right muscles 😉

once the baby’s head was out, it wasn’t long after that i felt the most crazy, amazing and beautiful feeling when the little body slipped out. i remember thinking, holy crap! i just pushed out a baby! they placed the baby on top of me, wrapped in a blanket and my midwife said to my husband, well is it a boy or girl? he looked under the blanket and said, it’s a boy! i remember the tears streaming down my face; a wonderful, healthy, perfect little boy. i’m welling up with tears as i type this now. i remember the overwhelming feeling of love as i looked at his tiny little features, dark hair and big, wide eyes, staring up at me. hello baby boy. my baby, my boy. my little man.

my sister took the first pics of him with her cell phone and the first short video. it’s so fantastic that we have that. i watch it all the time and it all comes back. every little moment. the laughter between contractions talking with the midwives about what kind of booze we like to drink (well, what kind i used to drink, lol), wearing my own gown for the birth, having my hubby and sister by my side throughout the whole experience. holding my little boy for the first time.

once the cord finished pulsing, my hubby cut it and we cuddled with our little man for about an hour before the rest of the family came in to meet him. my midwife said i’d be an ideal candidate for a home birth if we have another baby, so i told her i’d think about it. i’m honestly not sure if i’d go that route or not, but it’s something to think about if we decide to have another one. it’d be wonderful to be at home.   after the family gave their hugs, love and blessings. i got to have a shower! it wasn’t an amazing shower (the midwife basically hosed me down as i stood leaning agains the wall, lol) but i was wonderful none the less! after that, i got dressed, sat in the wheelchair and i was able to go home with my perfect little baby boy, only 2.5 hours after he was born. it was amazing! i remember coming home, laying down in our bed and saying to my hubby, just put him right here in my arms, and we’ll go to sleep. i didn’t move until he stirred to be fed. i nursed him and we both fell right back asleep. it was the most relaxing sleep i’d had in months. and it was even better because i had our little baby to cuddle with.

the next day when the midwife came to the house to check on us she said that basically i just had an “hour break” with the epidural … she said that normally if you have one you can’t feel anything on your lower half (waist down into your thighs), your legs are somewhat numb/wobbly etc … she said that it all worked out in the end for me with having a natural birth and that was why i was able to go home so soon after.

i loved having a midwife. i loved that she came to see us the day after the birth, 3 days after, 5 days after and 7 days after. we didn’t have to go anywhere until his first 2 week check up. (although we did go to have his hearing tested on day 5). it was so nice to have the care and attentiveness that the midwives provide; and to have it for the first 6 weeks postpartum was incredible! (i’ll post more about that another time).

our little baby boy is now a little toddler, who’s walking around at an alarming rate now. walking, talking (babbling), squealing, laughing, growing and learning more and more every day. i always wondered what it’d be like to be a mom, what it would feel like being pregnant, giving birth and caring for a baby. i no longer wonder, but now lovingly remember and cherish my experience with the pregnancy and birth, and eagerly anticipate the life ahead of my precious little boy.

To my sweet little boy

Dear sweet boy, mommy loves you. SO much. more than you’ll ever know. a love so big and so deep that she’d go to the ends of the earth and back to do anything for you. to keep you happy, safe, and loved. 

but sometimes mommy gets frustrated and angry, and acts in what may appear to be a not very loving way. please know that it’s for your own good, and for her sanity (which is very important to your well being). 

when you scream at the top of your lungs because you don’t like what she told you to do (or because you’re not allowed to do something, like say, hit the dog and pull his tail) it’s very hard for mommy to help you understand because you don’t listen (or want to listen). mommy is telling you no because it’s not nice to hurt the dog, and if you irritate him too much he might get mad. doggies don’t use words to tell you they don’t like what you’re doing; they use their voice and their teeth. and that’s not nice either.

when it’s 11pm at night and she’s been trying to help you go to sleep for the last 3.5 hours please understand that her frustration is justified. she’s had a long day, she’s tired and would like to have even 20 minutes to herself (maybe to pee alone, or do some laundry, or just sit quiet without hearing “mom!” every 30 seconds). AND, because it’s past your bedtime. by a lot. you need your sleep more than she does because you are a growing boy and, even moreso, because you are absolutely miserable when you don’t get it. believe me, she knows what she’s talking about.  

she can only imagine how frustrating it must be being almost two and a half. not being able to always communicate what you want/need (mostly because you tend to scream); wanting to do things that aren’t safe (like letting yourself out the back patio and falling down the concrete stairs) and discovering & learning new things everyday. but you have no idea how hard it is to raise you right now (especially when you won’t sleep). 

please understand that she is trying to do her best. sometimes she yells, sometimes she cries, but she always tries to put a smile on your face (as much as she can) because you’ve put a smile on hers every day since you were a wee babe growing in her belly.

most of all she loves you. no matter how she behaves, or what she says or does (that you may or may not agree with), please, please try to always remember that. and she always will.

are you tired? i’m tired.

i was sitting here at my computer sending out an email proof for a photobook (for my friends over at Renaissance Studios) and my mind started to wander, like it tends to do, especially when my toddler isn’t around to distract me. i can see him on the monitor, sound asleep, looking rather comfy in his new grobag sleepsack. it reminds me that i probably should get more sleep instead of the 5ish hours i’ve been getting all week since my hubby started midnights. i feel like my free time lately has been spent doing everything except what i’d actually like to be doing (like working on little man’s halloween costume, or sorting through our closets and storage area, or just relaxing, crocheting something new which i haven’t done in over a year).

i need a rest. a day to myself (mostly); a day where i actually go to bed at a decent hour (instead of sometime between 12:30 and 2am). a day where i don’t check my email (hahahahaha). a day just for me. but then when i think about taking a whole day to myself i feel guilty and i know i’ll miss my son … ok, so maybe i just need like half a day – that would work, i think. half a day for me! it’s very tiring working part time at a retail store, designing wedding photo albums, doing freelance graphic design, keeping our house looking (somewhat) decent, not letting the laundry pile up too high, chasing around my 20 month old son (eep! where has the time gone!), oh and squeezing in some time to spend with my amazing husband. it seems as though my 24 hour day is really only 12 hours, 5 of which i’m sleeping, 2 where my son naps (or should be) and then there’s maybe 5 hours to do all those aforementioned things. i know i may be exaggerating a little but it sure doesn’t feel like it!

being a parent is tiring more than anything. i love my son, a bigger love than i ever thought possible, but i also love my sleep (and really, who doesn’t). and, i need sleep to function a little better than i have been lately. hubby and i haven’t really had much time to ourselves since he started midnights last Sunday (and he worked OT last night, is there right now working and will be working more OT again tomorrow night. long weekend? nah). he’s at work when i’m sleeping and i wake up shortly after he gets home. he sleeps until around the time the little guy wakes up from his nap and then it’s the 3 of us until wee man goes to bed and then the routine starts over. i’m sure things will get easier as he gets comfortable in his new schedule but this first week has been long. add to that me being at work, hubby doing a few photoshoots on the side (check out his work here!), oh and it’s Thanksgiving this weekend too so pile on the turkey, pie and visiting … aaaaaand being with our son, who seems to be a bit of a mama’s boy lately. i don’t really mind this, except for when we’re at the grocery store, like today, for example, when any time i stepped more than a foot away from the cart (2 feet maybe to grab an item off a shelf – don’t go shopping on Thanksgiving weekend, it was a zoo! but i didn’t have much choice as our cupboards were looking pretty bare) little man would shout, “mom! mom! moooooom!”. let me tell you, an hour and a half of that, plus him pulling every item he could reach out of the cart wore my patience thin. oh, and add in his defiance towards his car seat. sorry sweetie, seatbelts and carseats are not optional, especially at your age.

i feel like i’m falling asleep while i type this so perhaps i should turn in for the night; or at least go upstairs and crawl into bed and maybe read (or shop around on Etsy, hehe). i miss the days when little man would just cuddle up and snooze on me; where i could crawl into bed and if he fussed just bring him in to sleep curled up beside me. i miss his newborn smell, his little coos and big sighs BUT i love, so much, the little boy he’s becoming. he may not be a baby anymore but he’ll always be my baby.

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.

a day (sort-of) in the life of a stay-at-home mom

i have been tired lately, so tired. mentally drained. i love my son more than anything in the world (as i’m sure i’ve mentioned many times in my posts here) but being his mama (or just a mama in general) tires you out more than any job you’ll ever have. trust me. there are 168 hours in a week … subtract maybe 7 a day for sleeping (if you’re lucky) and that leaves you with 119 hours of being on the job. yup, the job of being a full-time parent. i’m not saying that those who go back to work after their maternity leave aren’t tired, but they don’t put in 119 plus hours per week with their children. it’s long days and (sometimes) even longer nights. my son relies on me pretty much 24/7, and as much as i’m ok with that arrangement, sometimes mama needs a break. even going to the bathroom with the door closed (i wish) or having the door closed and not having a little voice saying mama! mum! and banging away with a random toy would be a welcome change some days.

here’s my day today …

• woke up my son at 8:45am (if i let him sleep as long as he wants he won’t nap in the afternoon and sure as shit won’t go to bed on time, or willingly, or even at a decent hour)
• gave the little guy a bath
• got myself dressed, did my hair and makeup (somewhat) while hubby got the little guy dressed, bum changed etc
• changed the sheets on his bed as he soaked through everything last night
• fed him breakfast
• ate my own breakfast while getting him more to eat during my eating time
• checked email, Facebook and instagram
• paid a few bills
• washed his face and hands and highchair
• put him down to play for a little while
• kept him away from our dog and my parents’ dog ( a 100lb doberman who’s here for the week while they’re away) even though he was insistent on following them around and trying to whack them or bite them while squealing with excitement the entire time
• washed the dishes and all our new tupperware (oooooooh!)
• hubby took the little guy outside while he bbq’d up some lunch so i could finish tidying the kitchen
• swept the kitchen, dining room and living room floors
• brought my son inside and gave him some milk and a snack (his pre-naptime routine) in the kitchen while he played with toys and came back for more snacks, stopping continuously at the patio door to bang on it and yell at his dad who was outside trying to trim the dogs nails
• took him outside and cut his fingernails and toenails while his dad was outside
• brought him upstairs to change his bum and get him ready for a nap
• said bye to his dad and then rocked him to sleep, after fighting it for about 10 minutes, which he does everyday – laughing, playing with my hair, trying to pinch me, etc. good times.
• went down to the computer to finish up some design work on the winner of the free business card design contest that i held on Facebook after hitting 200 fans (woot woot! check out my page here), check emails, Facebook etc
• little man woke up after 30 mins instead of his usual 2 hour nap
• tried to console him and get him back to sleep … after 45 minutes and some tylenol (pretty sure he’s getting his molars so i thought maybe that was the trouble) he finally stopping whining and crying but didn’t go back to sleep
• brought him downstairs and cuddled with him while i finished up my design work for the contest winner
• back upstairs to give him a snack and drink
• swept the floor again (having 2 big dogs does not make for a nice clean floor – at least it’s only for one week!)
• let the dogs out for a pee
• packed up the kid (plus a drink & snack for him) and headed to the grocery store
• while at the grocery store he decided to play with the cinnamon buns in the cart (pillsbury ones, where you just pop the container and put ’em in the oven) … he always plays with the groceries so i didn’t think anything of it, (because it keeps him entertained, even though he has a drink and snack with him, the groceries are more interesting) until the lid popped off and 3 of the “rolls” flew out onto the floor. and of course there were no employees anywhere to be found.
• back home after an hour out and about
• gave the little guy a spoon and yogurt container to play with while i put the groceries away
• tried to keep him away from hitting and chasing the dogs around (again)
• let the dogs out, this time it was raining so i had to wipe their feet, backs, faces, etc to prevent big wet footprints and hair everywhere (mostly)
• stopped part way through putting groceries away to get the little guy started on dinner because he constantly was wanting to be picked up but it’s hard to put away groceries one-handed with an almost 25lb weight on your hip
• finishing putting away groceries
• ate my dinner that hubby made for me before he left for his afternoon shift (YAY!)
• gave little guy more to eat while i tidied up my dinner mess
• cleaned up his hands, face etc and set him down to play while i washed the dishes and swept again (sick of it yet? i know i am!)
• took my son upstairs to change his poopy bum and get his jammies on
• put on my comfy clothes and got the laundry ready to take down
• let the dogs out again
• watched cartoons with the little guy while he had his bedtime snack and we played
• put away his toys and took him up for his nighttime routine (teeth, playtime, bum change, stories, cuddles)
• after little man was asleep, brought the laundry downstairs
• had a little snack
• started the cloth diaper laundry and sat down at the computer to type this, check email, and do some photo book design work (for Renaissance Studios, check them out here!) etc etc

now i’ll wait for my hubby to get home in approximately half an hour when i’ll be exhausted but still plugging away. i turned on the ball game in the background for some noise (and well, i like watching the Blue Jays, what can i say) but now i hear that the washing machine stopped so back in i go to add the rest of the little guy’s clothes to finish washing up.

then i’ll sleep, wake up, and do it all again – with a few changes of course. gotta keep things interesting.

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 🙂

a little sickness here, a little sickness there

our little man has had a rough go this past week … last Monday he woke us up around just before 1am. i went into his room to console him and try to get him back to sleep but upon entering his room i saw that he was sitting up at the end of his crib looking rather sad and out of sorts. when i leaned in to help him lay back down i noticed he was warm, no, hot. really hot. and sweaty! i picked him up and my hubby came in to help change him out of his sweaty, wet jammies and a soaking wet diaper. he had a raging fever but our oh-so-helpful ear thermometer was reading that he had a normal temperature. everything in me said he didn’t. i know he had one. we gave him some tylenol to try to make him a little more comfortable and i sat down in his rocking chair to try to get him back to sleep. not even 5 minutes passed and i felt his little body heave and he got sick, all down my arm and onto the chair! i think it surprised both of us. hubby came in to help clean it up while i took the little guy into the bathroom to sit on the edge of the tub (just in case). thankfully we were in there because with his head back on my shoulder he was sick again. poor little dude. i’m sure he didn’t understand what was going on as this was the first time he ever really threw up (not counting little spit ups when he smaller and nursing). as i attempted to get him out of his sleepsack and second pair of wet jammies, he kept reaching and clinging to me. i tried to reassure him that everything was ok as i was stripping him down again. we gave him some advil this time (as i’m sure most of the tylenol came out but we didn’t want to pump him full of too much of one medicine) and tried sitting with him again. he passed out within 10 or so minutes and i sat with him for a while longer. i felt the tears welling up in my eyes as i held my little man and prayed for him to feel better soon. seeing him sick and confused tugs on my heartstrings. i decided to keep him home instead of going to toddler class on Tuesday morning as he awoke with a fever again (this time i used our other thermometer in his armpit) and he was out of sorts still. on Thursday morning he seemed to be back to his regular self but was starting to sneeze! by Friday he had a full blown, snot-out-your-nose-when-you-sneeze cold, accompanied by a dry cough. talk about not catching a break! thankfully the snot-face only lasted until early Sunday morning and he’s been on the mend since (whew!). he still has a dry cough every now and then but a little homeopathic cough syrup seems to be helping with that 🙂

dealing with a sick and sulky toddler is something that everyone should have to endure at some point in their life; just so that they know what it’s like to have a snot-faced little ball of cuteness clinging to them for 2 -3 days. you’re welcome.

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.