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!

Advertisements

[insert clever title here]

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

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

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

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

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.

a little grocery store rant

do not, i repeat DO NOT go to the grocery store on a Sunday, especially the one we go to. it was busier than i’ve ever seen it! urgh. and i hate that. being over-populated means less products on the shelves that we like to buy; and today, less zucchini. i love zucchini. slice it up thin with a little butter and pepper in the frying pan, YUM! well today i wanted to purchase said yumminess. walking down the aisle, i came upon the section where zucchini should have been, but in it’s place i saw green beans, and way too many of them. however, i noticed a woman standing there who had just placed a zucchini in her cart. i politely asked, excuse me, is that the last zucchini? she glared at me and said, rather rudely, i dunno. i said, ok, i was just curious if there was anymore. she ignored me. i said, well, i guess that was pointless asking you. she still ignored me. so then i thought outloud, wow, i wasn’t being rude asking you that question, and now you’re being kinda rude to me. i then turned to my son and said, that lady was pretty crusty, eh buddy? and we walked away. now, i realize that i didn’t need to say anything to her after she ignored me, but honestly, i’ve never had someone react like that when i asked a simple question. normally people are more than willing to converse, and sometimes even share a little too much. the other day i went to Costco and while standing in line, a couple behind me asked how my dog liked the weight control dogfood i had in my cart. we had a little conversation about it and went our separate ways. nice, polite, easy (i have a coonhound, by the way, who doesn’t get as much exercise as he should in the winter so weight control food is a must for our crazy dog). i guess that’s probably why i was so irked by the woman in the grocery store today. i can’t imagine being rude to someone who you don’t know, for no good reason, especially when it was just an innocent question about zucchinni. sheeeeeeeesh 😛

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.

telemarketers, telemarketers, go away. don’t call back, EVER.

GRRRRR. so i just got off the phone with Rogers. i called to inquire about blocking specific numbers from calling our home phone and the only option is to pay them $6/month to do so! apparently some other features come along with it, such as specific family ringtones, blocking private caller names, specific long distance rings, forwarding calls to another number etc etc BUT i don’t care about those. i just want to block the ignorant people who keep calling my house when i’m trying to put my son to bed. the first call was at 8:15pm tonight and the second was at 8:45pm! telemarketers should not be permitted to call after 7pm, ever. whether you have children or not, who wants to sit on the phone and sign up for services or do a survey (or whatever they’re calling about) when you likely are tired from a long day and would like to unwind and enjoy that at that exact moment, you have no responsibilities, nothing to cook or clean, nothing to do but to sit your ass and reeeeeelax (ok, so there’ll always be laundry and cleaning to do, but really those can wait). every evening, especially when my hubby is on afternoon shift, i look forward to the small amount of “me” time that i get after my son goes to bed. if someone disturbs that time by calling to ask me to take a survey or to tell me that my computer has a virus i’m going to lose it on them (and by the way, we have a MAC so telling me that my PC has a virus is a bad excuse for calling). you’d think that a company like Rogers, who has hundreds of thousands of customers and makes millions a year would be able to offer a simple feature of blocking callers without it costing me $40/year. i know it doesn’t sound like much, but every time i add another feature to our bill that’s more money we have to fork out, to a company who likely could survive without my $6/month. what’s even more infuriating is that when i tried to call said numbers back i wasn’t able to speak to anyone, surprise surprise. i discovered that the one number, upon Googling it, is from somewhere in Quebec, and apparently the person at extension 200 is unavailable and i am to leave them a message. i did just that, more than a few times over the last few weeks too. and it wasn’t a pleasant message, and i don’t care. when i phoned the other number a recorded message came on thanking me for calling Greenwich Associates and explained that they’re just calling to do a survey and not sell me anything, and that they look forward to talking to me in the future. unfortunately there wasn’t an option to leave a message for them; if so, they wouldn’t have been looking forward to any future phone calls from me asking them to not call me at 9pm, ever. while i understand that telemarketers have a job, and that said job is phoning people to sell services, take surveys and inquire as to recent customer experiences, it’s still shitty for those of us on the receiving end. i had a telemarketing job like that once, it lasted for half a day of training and then one shift and i quit. it just wasn’t worth it. i felt like an asshole calling people to ask them to take a survey about carpets, and then calling them back later to tell them that they’d won a free gift basket for completing the survey. the gift basket was a ploy to get a vacuum salesman in the door to try and sell them a $2,000 vacuum. REALLY?! it felt dishonest and very wrong. which is exactly what i said when i told the supervisor that i wouldn’t be returning to work the next day, or ever. that was almost 15 years ago now, how time flies. i feel better ranting about it here; that way my hubby gets to hear the more condensed and less-angry version, which i’m sure he appreciates.