big sigh.

wow, i can’t believe how long it’s been since i’ve sat down to write a blog post! like i’ve said before, i think about it all the time! there are things i want (and need) to vent, err, write about but i always think about it at the most in-opportune times; when i’m at work, driving my truck, putting my son to bed, etc. … i’m actually pretty impressed that i decided to sit down now and do this! i enjoy blogging/writing/etc but i find that life seems to be busy lately and i don’t want to sit at the computer to write a blog when there’s laundry to do, dishes to wash or just tidying up in general to take care of. that, and sometimes i just feel like sitting in my big recliner and falling asleep watching tv instead of using my brain at the end of the day (hehe).

what made me think of blogging this time around is the fact that, for the first time ever, i’m going on an overnight shopping trip with a girlfriend tomorrow (hi Laura!) – weeeeeee!! i’m so excited! not only because it’s the first time i’m doing this, but because it’s like a little mini vacation away from my crazy toddler (whom i adore but naturally need a little time away from).

i was feeling overwhelmed with work (and family) and hadn’t had a lot of time to myself – even bathroom trips alone are a rarity when you’re the parent of a curious little child … i decided to take a little break from the wedding photobooks and freelance design work that i do. back in the spring, actually, right around the time that i wrote my last blog post, we were going through some intense sleep issues with our son and everything started to pile up on me. all of my “free time” was being occupied by working for someone else. i would come home from my part-time job and hubby would head upstairs to go to bed (since he’s on midnights). i’d hang out with our little man, put him to bed and then sit down at the computer to work on photobooks, logo design, etc sometimes until midnight or after. i was doing this almost every night of the week (on top of that, add in laundry, dishes, tidying etc). i think i finally came to a breaking point when my son conveniently went through his sleep-rejection bout, as i like to call it. i was snapping at my husband and our son over the silliest and smallest little things. i wasn’t being the person i wanted to be; the wife and mother that i should and used to be. the stress of working too much was starting to take over and i finally noticed.

after a few weeks of less-work-and-more-me-time things started to change. my attitude improved, my stress-level dropped and i was happier. i wanted (and needed) to spend more time with my family and friends and was finally able to start making that a reality. it’s been an amazing and eye-opening experience over the last 4 months and i don’t intend for things to every return to how they were.

i’ll keep it short and sweet as i have laundry to finish and my overnight bag has yet to be packed … this mama is ready for some girl time!

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mom.

well, it happened. for the first time in my employment history, i cried in front of my boss. i’m not an overly emotional person and have never been one to break down in front of someone other than my family or close friends, but i did today. i never thought i’d be that person who cries at work, but i crossed that one off this morning.

i went into work for a meeting with my boss about upcoming holidays (i’m hoping to get 2 weeks off, one in July and one in September so that we can have an actual family vacation) and was planning on mentioning my disappointment and frustration with working so many weekends (as of the second weekend in June, i will have worked 7 out of 8 weekends in a row). everything was going fine, and then we started talking about the work schedule and she mentioned that i don’t offer a lot of flexibility so it’s not always easy booking me in (that’s another story). i started to tell her about how the wee man hasn’t been sleeping (for the last 2 months), how he’s sick and teething right now, how hubby is on midnights so it’s just me with the little guy almost every night, how the lack of sleep is draining me mentally & physically, and, add to that, working every weekend, is starting to pile up and is wearing me down. i only have one day a week that i can spend with my husband and son where hubby doesn’t have to go into work (Saturdays). while i don’t expect to have every weekend off (i’m in retail and that’s just part of the job), i also don’t expect to have to work every weekend. i welled up with tears and they lingered there in my eyes for a good 5-10 minutes while we spoke. i told her i’m not normally this emotional and that i’ve just been going through a lot outside of work and it’s all coming down on me. she told me she thought i was going to tell her i was pregnant, ha! i replied with, oh gawd, i hope not. i’m not ready for another one yet.

i don’t want to quit my job. i enjoy where i work. i love the products we sell, our customers are great, and i have fun co-workers. honestly, it’s been a refreshing change after working in the newspaper industry for almost 12 years. and it’s worked out well with it being part time so we don’t have to pay for daycare (which is a little too pricey for us right now).

we sat and talked for a little while longer and she shared some of her personal mom stories and struggles with her 3 kids. we spoke about mom “guilt” and how it has a hold over us in so many situations (when they won’t sleep, when they’re trying to get their way but don’t, etc etc). about taking breaks from our kids, for our own mental health and well being.

mom’s feel like they need to do it all, and take care of everyone and everything. it’s something most of us just do without really realizing it until someone points it out, or until we’re at our breaking point (ahem).

one thing she said really stuck with me and that was that i need to fix myself first and then focus on the little guy. i completely agree. it’s just easier said than done right now.

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.

toddler life.

i have oh-so-many intentions of blogging more often than i actually do it. i am constantly thinking about situations and topics that would make for a good post and then by the time i sit down at my computer i end up doing design work instead. and, of course, the design work needs to be done but, really, when i have so much on my mind i’d rather be writing a blog! well today, i decided to put some of that design work aside and do just that (YAY!).

now, what am i going to write about …

for 10-ish days we’re dog-sitting my parents’ doberman Lola, so things are a little hectic around here. having her, plus our hound, plus a wild toddler (with a little too much energy) equals a crazy house! it’s definitely a change from when we watched her last fall when they went away. both the dogs are the same but i’m working more and my son has grown and changed so much since then, oh, and my hubby is on midnights (happy happy joy joy, right?) … she’s only been here 3 days and i think i’ve swept 10 times (not exaggerating) and vacuumed at least twice (and the dog hair still appears to be everywhere). our hound sheds more than any dog i’ve ever had and Lola is a close second.

oh, and add to that the fact that little man has been having a sort of nighttime sleeping hiatus (the fun we have around here, eh?). the past two and a half weeks have been rough. every few months he seems to go through something like this – whether it be from teething, a new developmental milestone or just being a toddler, it’s hard. on all of us. and of course, this all happens when hubby is working overnight. i now know how single parents feel at nighttime when their children just won’t sleep and they have to work in the morning. patience wears thin. very thin. especially when you’re going on only 4 hours of broken sleep from the night before. doing that more than 2 days in a row makes you go a little nutso, and by a little, i mean a LOT. the middle of the night seems to be when my patience is at it’s lowest. i think it’s even worse when i’ve literally *JUST* fallen asleep and all of a sudden the monitor clicks on and i hear a soft little voice calling out to me, “moooooom, mooooommmy, mom”. i love that little man of mine but my sleep is a close runner-up for things i love most.

when he was younger it was easier to be awoke in the night by his faint little cries. i wasn’t working at the time and he was still nursing so a little milk sometimes solved the problem and if that wasn’t the case, i didn’t mind sitting with him to help him relax again. the fact that he now has oh-so-much energy and enthusiasm (and tantrums, did i mention tantrums?) during the day likely adds to the frustration i feel at night; i’m much more exhausted than i was when he was a wee babe! but, alas, you do what you have to do to help your child feel safe, comforted and loved.

the amount of pure, raw energy that my son possesses never ceases to surprise me. he is a little ball of crazy! he’s always running (and i mean constantly), jumping, screaming and squealing. ALL. DAY. LONG. i’ve spoke to friends, colleagues and parents of toddler boys and i know that his behaviour is (fairly) normal. he does not sit and colour for more than 3 minutes. the crayons become a toy and then dumping them in and out of the container is the new thing to play. or peeling off the wrappers, or trying to eat them, or hide them, or colour on the floor with them. he does not sit and read a book for more than 5 minutes. the stories are changed to a short version with words left out so that we actually can finish “reading” one or two (two, ha!). the only time he’ll sit and listen to a story is at naptime or bedtime, otherwise, pffft, why would he sit down when there’s things to do?! he does not sit and watch an entire movie. he’ll sit for (maybe) 10-15 mins and then get up and play with his toys, but don’t you dare turn that movie off because he’ll tell you he’s watching it. and meal times? forget about sitting for more than a few minutes unless the iPad is on with one of his “shows”. it’s he only way i can get him to eat anything lately, and honestly, i don’t care because he’s actually eating something. i know this too shall pass and one day i’ll be able to sit down and do a fun activity or craft with my son, but until that time comes, i’ll let him be the wild, crazy, funny and loveable little man that he 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.