a girl dog, a boy dog and our little man

as i sit and write today’s blog my parents are on their way home from a warm & sun-filled vacation in Dominican Republic. it’s been just over a week that they’ve been gone and we’ve been doggie-sitting their 4 year old Doberman, Lola. it’s been a crazy week having 2 big dogs in the house! Lola’s a good sized pup, probably around 120lbs, and our 5  1/2 year old black and tan coonhound, Gus, is between 80-90lbs. needless to say, they’ve had us on our toes a little moreso than our 14 month old son. with my hubby working shifts i’m very thankful that he’s back on days this week because the first 3 nights of having Lola here he was on afternoons and it was a little hectic. it was a mad house with me, the kid, and 2 goofy dogs, especially at bedtime; trying keeping them quiet while i’m upstairs putting the little guy to bed as they both feel the need to “guard” our house from the evil neighbours who happen to just be going home (haha) wasn’t an easy task. funny thing is, Lola normally isn’t much of a barking dog, unlike our awesome (ha) coonhound who tends to give his opinion on everything and constantly “talks back” always needing to have the last word. when my parents dropped Lola off last Wednesday my dad said, don’t worry, she won’t bark unless someone comes over the fence. HA! i can’t wait to tell him about how she turned into a super guard dog while living with us for the past week. we had to keep the blinds partially closed in the front living room just so that she couldn’t see people going by. i’d be ok with the dogs letting us know when someone’s coming up to our door, or on our property etc, but there’s really no need to flip out when someone is simply walking up to the door of their own house, across the street, and 2 houses down.

i’m sure Lola doesn’t think she’s going home anytime soon; for a dog who normally isn’t a “house” dog she seems to be pretty comfortable around here. as soon as the basement door opens she thunders down the stairs to get her spot on the couch and grab a little snooze before having to go back upstairs to her bed in her crate, which i’m sure isn’t quite as comfy 😉

the little man is definitely enjoying having both dogs here! he loves Gus so having another big pup here is just adding to the fun for him. he squeals and chases them around the house, but as soon as one of them turns around to lick him, well, the party is over, lol. i think both he and Gus will be a little lonely when Lola goes home tomorrow and she may be a little disappointed that she has to go back to where she doesn’t have full run of the house.

i’ll be happy to have things back to normal; a little less dog hair to sweep up, a few less footprints to wipe away and only one hound to shush instead of two.

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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.

sleep, what’s that again?

you know that feeling, when you’re so tired that you just want to break down and sob? yeah, me too. that’s how this week has been for us. i can honestly say that this has been the longest and most trying week i’ve had since becoming a mother. i used to think that the first few weeks were the hardest and most tiring, but now, that seems like a walk in the park. i knew why my son was waking up throughout the night, he needed to nurse. i was okay with that because i knew i could slip back into a sweet slumber once he was finished.

i guess i can say we’ve been spoiled when it comes to being parents, up until now. my son was always a great sleeper (save for the odd night of craziness). he’s been going to be around 8-ish and sleeping 11-13 hours straight since last spring, and i’m not exaggerating. whenever he’d have a growth spurt we’d know it, because he’d wake up in the night and want to nurse. i was always fine with that. this past week has been frustrating, mentally-draining, and just exhausting. it’s been almost a week now that my son’s sleep pattern has been extremely off and i don’t know why. he went to bed last Sunday, and all seemed to be well until he woke up only 2 hours later crying. we tried to console him to no avail. he’d be happy, sad, angry, then laughing; every emotion you can think of, except tired. he was wide awake. we changed his diaper and tried getting him back down around 10:30, no luck. my husband came in to try. nothing, just a very awake and crazy kid. changed him again around 1am. we tried leaving him in his crib with toys and leaving the room, that lasted 5-10 minutes before he stood up sobbing and wailing. we tried sitting in the rocking chair while he was in his crib with toys, same results. we tried just leaving the room, same. i was getting extremely frustrated and cranky (because, hey i was tired too) and i held him away from me and said, listen you need to stop it and go to sleep! mommy is very tired and so are you, this isn’t fair!! i firmly set him down in his crib and he started to sob; that scared and upset cry. i picked him up and held him close and i started crying. a lot. after about 15 minutes i set him in his crib while he played with some toys and i quietly sobbed in the rocking chair beside him. i didn’t want to wake my husband up as he had to be up at 5:30 to go to work. i ended up picking him back up and rocked with him until around 3:30am when he finally fell asleep. i’ve honestly never broke down like that. i was upset because i scared him; because i was so tired; because i couldn’t figure out why he wouldn’t sleep. because everything in my heart was telling me that he was fine but it just didn’t seem like it was. sleep deprivation isn’t good for anyone, especially an already worn out mother.

he stayed asleep until about 10am the next day, which was fine i suppose, but then was a miserable, cranky baby most of the day because, why? you guess it, not enough sleep. he went down for a 3 hour nap (which was awesome for me) and i thought maybe that would help him. that night we did the usual routine again. and again he fell asleep, just the same as always only this time he woke up about an hour after he initially passed out. the night before repeated itself with him finally falling asleep around 3:15am. i was losing my patience throughout the night. i normally wouldn’t be frustrated with him until probably an hour or more of farting around but i was at the point where after 15 minutes i was irritated, ready to snap. it was starting to wear on me because i couldn’t figure out what was wrong. my husband brought home a beautiful bouquet of flowers to cheer me up (they really are beautiful and still going strong) and told me that i was doing a great job but that i needed to take a break.  he put our son to bed that night and miraculously the wee man slept for the whole night through! with only one wake up for about 15 minutes (i’ll take it). i thought, thank you! yes!! the next evening (Thursday) we had plans to go for dinner and a comedy show with some friends and my sister was coming over to babysit. she said the little guy was great and he only woke up once before we got home. awesome. hubby and i relaxed on the couch until about 11:45 when our son woke up. surprise surprise. up we went. changed his bum and this time we were up with him until between 3-4am. my hubby was amazing. after i tried and tried he came in and told me to go get some sleep and he’d try. i felt so guilty because he had to get up to work but he kept insisting. my hubby sent me a text Friday morning to tell me that he cancelled his overtime for Saturday so that i could get some rest. he told me to go out that night, do whatever i want and not come home until whenever, or stay out all night.  what a guy. i am so thankful to have such an amazing and supportive man in my life. i did go out. i went and had my makeup done (just for fun because a friend of mine is a very talented makeup artist who works at MAC), then went out for dinner with a long-time friend to a tasty little restaurant called Ben Thanh (yummmm) and then did a little grocery shopping before getting home between 9-9:30pm. i went to bed a few hours later and the little guy didn’t wake up once. he slept 14 hours straight! holy crap! i guess he was catching up on some much needed rest.

we looked up some info on sleep regression as a friend of my husband’s suggested maybe that’s what was going on. i hope it doesn’t last 2-6 weeks like a few of the articles we found said it could. i understand that their sleep patterns/habits can get thrown off when they’re learning new things but honestly, i never expected it to be like this.

last night was another one for the record books. he slept for maybe 20 minutes and then was wide awake until 1am when he passed out in my arms. he stayed asleep until just before 6am. i changed and rocked him and he was back out by 7-ish and stayed out until 10am. he’s napping again right now (hubby just got him down).

I should’ve wrote this in the middle of the night when i was awake and frustrated and at my wit’s end. maybe it would help for the next time this happens, because i’m sure this isn’t the last.

weaning, not what i thought it would be

i’ve been meaning to blog lately but over the last few days it’s been busy around here! we had some friends over on the weekend for a sleepover with their 14 month old daughter on Saturday night, then headed to pick up the dog from my parents house on Sunday and that night, was the last time my little man nursed. i honestly didn’t think that when the time came to bring his nursing to a close, that i would be as emotional as i was. i don’t think either of us were really ready for him to wean, however, with hubby and i having a few evenings out planned, it was kind of necessary. i tried pumping, but didn’t have much luck. since our son only nurses at bedtime, trying to pump during the day got me about 1 oz which definitely wouldn’t be enough to give him at bedtime. i’d like to think that maybe he was only drinking a little and mostly suckling for comfort and relaxation, which made it a bit easier for me. my  sister is coming over in about 2 weeks to watch the little man while hubby and i have a night out: dinner and a comedy show here in town (Danny Bhoy at Centennial Hall, woo hoo!) so we figured that if we started a new bedtime routine, minus nursing, that it might give him enough time to settle into things. i was going to change things up last week when hubby was on days but i honestly didn’t want to. i decided that i’d do it when he was back on afternoons, that way it would be just me and the little man, pretty much same as usual, only minus the boobmilk. i figured that since his bedtime routine had consisted of nursing to sleep for over 95% of his one year of life, that it would be best if it was me putting him to sleep without the milk. that way when the time comes for daddy to try, he won’t be crying to nurse … we headed upstairs around 7:30 and he grabbed a few toys from his room to play with. i set up the gate at the top of the stairs and got out his jammies & sleepsack, turned on the white noise on the radio and clicked on the monitor. i found him playing in the hallway and said, alright little guy, time to brush your teeth! this too was a new thing. for about 6 months he only had 2 little teeth (the bottom front two) but over the past 3 weeks, 6 more have come in. SIX! i figured that since there are 8 now, we probably could switch from tooth wipes to a toothbrush and a baby-safe paste. he was so good about it. he came into the bathroom, i sat him on my lap and i brushed his little teeth, all 8 of them. then i gave him a sip of water and he seemed fairly content. after watching me brush my teeth numerous times, and using his little baby silicone brush to brush his gums etc (from when he was younger) he appeared to be ok with this new thing. we then went to his room, changed him into his nighttime diaper and jammies and sat down in the rocking chair to read a story. we read two books and i told him that it was time to go to sleep now. i turned the lamp down low and we rocked in the chair, like every other night, just minus nursing. at first, he seemed fine; nuzzling his nose into my arm and fidgeting to find just the right spot to fall asleep. after maybe 5 minutes he started to whimper, and that little whimper broke my heart. on and off for about 20 minutes he’d sit back and look at me, cry and then rest his head on my shoulder. i knew it was going to be hard, but i didn’t anticipate the tears that were streaming down my cheeks as i rocked him and told him it was ok and that it was time to go to sleep. as i wiped each one from my cheek i explained that this is how things had to be and it wasn’t that mommy didn’t want to, but rather, she had to, in order for him to be a big boy and be able to be put to bed by someone else. i tried singing and humming our usual nighttime songs but found myself choking up each time i tried; i decided to just rock him in silence for a few minutes to gather my thoughts and after that began to hum. he seemed to relax and fall asleep so i laid him down in his bed and crept out of the room. i wasn’t gone 5 minutes when i looked at the monitor and saw him squirm, sit up and begin to cry. i went back in to soothe my little man; gave him a hug and told him it was ok and it was time to sleep now. i rubbed his back, sang a few more songs and tried to slip out again. this time i decided to sit in our room (across the hall) and watch the monitor to see how he’d do. maybe 10 minutes went by and he was up again. i knew it was going to be hard getting him to sleep this first night, without nursing, but i wasn’t really sure what to expect. i went back into the room and picked up my, then sobbing, son. i sat in the rocking chair, hugged him, kissed him and told him it was ok. i could see from the glow of the clock that his eyes were open, just slightly, looking up at me. we sat like that for another 40 minutes until he passed out, again. i quietly laid him in the crib and slipped out the door. waiting in our room, it took about 15 minutes for him to wake up again, and again i went in to soothe him. i hugged him and told him it was ok, and that mommy would just be downstairs if he needed her and that it was time to sleep now. he let out a big sigh and fell back asleep. by this point i had about 20 minutes before my husband would be home from work. i normally would take advantage of the few hours of time between our son going to bed and him coming home, to do laundry, check email, write a blog, etc. but last night i just sat in the kitchen and ate a bowl of cereal, trying to relax. hubby and i went to bed a few hours later and the little man woke up around 3am. my amazing husband went to tend to him to give me a little break (which i appreciate so much and feel i don’t tell him often enough). i could hear our son whimpering and crying as my hubby tried to rock him back to sleep. after a quick bum change and a little rocking he was out. it only lasted about 10-15 minutes and he was up again, sad. i went in, hugged and kissed him and told him to lay back down and go to sleep. he let out a big sigh and as i rubbed his back i told him that mommy and daddy needed to sleep too and that we’d be just across the hall if he needed us. he fell back asleep and i snuck out of the room. thankfully he slept until we had to wake him up to take him to a doctor’s appointment. i felt bad waking him up, but it was better than him waking us up again in the wee hours of the morning … bedtime today went much smoother and he took about 15 minutes to fall asleep after our new routine. fingers crossed things he sleeps better tonight. it breaks my heart to see him so sad when i know what could make him happy but can’t give in. ahh well. i know this too shall pass.

my super man

it’s 9:25pm on saturday night and i decided to write this blog post because my son won’t go to sleep. after nursing we cuddled, as usual, for 20-30 minutes and i ended up snoozing only to find him looking up at me when i woke up (i was only out maybe 10-15 mins) … i sent my hubby a text to ask if he’d come try rocking the little guy. he was in there for probably 20 mins or so when he opened our son’s door and said, the laundry’s ready to run through a regular cycle now … when the little man saw me he reached for me so i took him and rocked him while hubby went downstairs to take care of the wash. he sent me a message saying it’s going through a cycle now, i’ll come back up and rock him. i told him it’s ok, i’ll do it. he said, i know, but you need a break. i love this man. it’s not just for tonight and doing the laundry and taking a turn rocking our son to bed (which he doesn’t do too often because of his swing shift at work) but for all the little things he does for me and our son. he works so hard, his regular hours each week and usually at least one shift of overtime on the weekend. right now i can hear our son on the monitor giggling because his dad makes him happy (despite the fact he should go to sleep, an hour ago). he does the laundry, cuts the grass, takes out the garbage. cleans up the dog poop in the yard (a task no one enjoys), helps do chores around the house (especially vacuuming!), shovels snow, rakes leaves. he gets along with my family and enjoys hanging with them, even going on vacations with them. he gets along better with my father than anyone i know (which is a pretty big thing if you know my dad). he takes care of me when i’m sick, hugs me when i’m sad and is my biggest supporter. he makes me laugh every day, and i love to laugh. he listens to my rants and raves, my loves and hates, and he actually does listen. he engages in conversation with me, regardless of the topic. he shows interest in the things that interest me. he respects me and loves me for who i am. we’ve been together for almost 7 years and i can’t imagine being with anyone else. he’s my drinking buddy, my partner in crime, my husband and my best friend. i’ll never be able to tell him how much he means to me and how much i love him.