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.

memories of grandpa g

as i sat down tonight with a cup of tea and some chocolate chip cookies tonight, memories of my grandfather came to mind. my hubby had just left for work and i decided i’d have a little snack before heading downstairs to do some freelance. i quite enjoy dipping cookies (especially chocolate chip or rainbow chocolate chip) in my tea. that warm, soft, goey texture is just soooo good! especially after a long day chasing around my adorable, little-ball-of-crazy-energy son. although, i must admit, it’s hard to not eat the whole bag! we can’t keep cookies in the house for that very reason; i just love them too much, and i get it honestly. when i was a child i, apparently, used to always need to have 2 of everything, especially cookies. and now, my son is following in my footsteps but, really, can you blame him? who wants just one cookie! that’s crazy talk.

i fondly remember my dad’s father telling me that he’d wake up every night between 3-4am, head upstairs, eat 5 cookies and then go back to bed. he used to try to bring them back to bed with him but my grandmother wasn’t too fond of being woke up by his crunching and munching, lol. he said, sometimes you just need to have a few cookies; even if it’s the middle of the night. i pictured him sitting in his button down pajamas (a matching dark blue long-sleeved set is the one i remember most) in the rocking chair and enjoying his late night/early morning indulgence. he definitely had a sweet tooth! when i was a child he used to give me a loonie to go to the variety store around the corner from his house to buy candy (and back then, you could get a lot for a dollar!). i think now you’d probably just get one chocolate bar, and really, what fun is that.

as much as he loved his sweets, he was one of the pickiest eaters. when i worked at our local newspaper, i frequently had lunch dates with my grandparents. they’d pick me up from work and we’d go to a restaurant of their choosing. my grandfather’s meal of choice was almost always wieners & beans or a hot-beef sandwich. he’d always bring the leftovers home (as a man in his late 80’s he didn’t eat much), but they were for the dog, of course. he also used to put the little sugar, butter, jam and peanut butter packets in his pocket to take home for later. he tried to sneak them into my grandmother’s purse but she would scold him for trying to do so, haha. i would often get a soup & sandwich combo which, naturally, came with a dill pickle on the side. oh how i LOVE dill pickles! well, my grandpa didn’t. even the smell of them was enough to drive him batty. if a food looked funny he wouldn’t eat it; smelled different, nope; a colour other than the “normal” colours (say pink), no way. ahhh memories.

i often think about how much fun it would be to be able to see him with my son. he’d get a kick out of his silly behaviour and definitely would’ve teased him to a ridiculous extent because, well, that’s what he used to do to us! sadly, he passed away 3 months before the little man was born.

he was a wonderful, silly, old fart who’s family meant more than anything in the world to him. i know that one day i’ll see him again and until then, i’ll do my best to be as wonderful and silly as he was.

MeandGrandpaG

it’s a blog

here i sit at my computer, 11:21pm on Sunday night. there are SO many things i’ve been thinking about blogging lately but just haven’t found the time to do so. it’s been a little busy around here. and by a little, i mean, A LOT. everyday we have something going on, whether it’s big or small, there’s always something preoccupying our time instead of just being able to sit and enjoy our little family. for example, i had to work 11-5 today. since hubby is on midnights my mom came over to watch the little guy so that the big guy could sleep. i got home close to 6pm, we had dinner and then put our wee man to bed. tomorrow afternoon we have an in-house appointment for transferring funds to a spousal rrsp; i work  on Tuesday so hubby will stay up to hang out with the little guy until i’m home and then he’ll sleep until he needs to head to work for his midnight shift. little man and i may be visiting with a friend of mine that day as well. Wednesday we actually have no plans (shhhh, don’t tell anyone). Thursday we have a funeral in the morning (sudden death on my father’s side of the family). Friday we’re visiting with my sister (YAY!). i work Saturday & Sunday so we’ll have one of the grandmas over to watch the little man so hubby can sleep, and that brings us back to Sunday night. somewhere in there we need to get groceries, cut the little guy’s hair, clean the house (which is seemingly neverending), dye my hair, work on photobooks, do freelance design, oh, maybe some laundry, perhaps squeeze in a workout or two and maybe, just maybe, find some time to relax. sigh.

i promise i’ll get back into the swing of things and my usual tone of blogs; i just need to find the time … i’m heading off to bed. thinking about being busy is making me tired, go figure!

 

the hound

for those of you who don’t know, we have a 6 year old, black and tan coonhound named Gus. he’s been driving me batty these past few months. he seems to be reverting back to behaviour from when he was 1-2 years old – not listening, extremely roudy, more vocal than normal (he’s usually pretty “chatty” anyway), begging for food ALL THE TIME, and howling/baying whenever we leave the house … a little background on our playful, loving, noisy, silly and very handsome hound: we brought him home at only 6 weeks old (we were told he was 8 but found out otherwise when we received the paperwork with his actual birthdate) back in the fall of 2008. he was (and still is) and extremely stubborn dog, as most hounds are, however, he was very easy to train, go figure! full of energy and always ready to curl up on the couch beside us, he seemed to be a good addition to our little family.

my hubby never had a dog growing up, which i always though was sorta odd, but every situation is different and i’m sure his parents had their reasons. i think for me, growing up on a farm instilled a need for always having some sort of furry companion; as well as the chickens (upwards of 20,000 at a time), or pigs (a few hundred at a time) we always had a house-cat and at least one dog around.

i think on a weekly basis, for the first 2 years that we had Gus anyhow, i told my husband, “this is NOT how most dogs are. Gus is special, and by special, I mean a wild and odd dog, nothing like any dogs I’ve ever had.” as my father likes to say, he’s 90% nose, 10% dog! haha

i feel now, with the little guy growing like a weed (he’ll be 2 in February, ahhhhh!) that my time is spent even moreso, chasing the dog around telling him to leave the kid alone, stop barking, go lay down, stop begging etc etc. it’s rare (lately) that he receives positive interaction from us and i feel terrible. he’s not a bad dog, he’s just frustrating us lately (so much so that my parents will take him out to their house to run around with Lola – their big, loveable, red doberman).

i think we need to invest more time with him, but honestly, i don’t know where that time is going to come from, which makes me kinda sad. going back to work hasn’t really helped the situation. before i was working, i would take both our son and the dog for daily (sometimes twice a day) walks, but i’m just so exhausted now that i rarely feel up to it. no good, i know. with hubby being on midnights, the days that i’m not at work he’s sleeping, so getting the dog out of the house, with the kid in the stroller isn’t always easy – especially because the little guy doesn’t really want to always be in the stroller, he wants to run free!  it’s hard to contrthehoundol a crazy 80lb dog and carefully watch a wild & curious almost 2 year old walk down the street with ease. if the dog (or our son for that matter) wasn’t so energetic, hyper and easily excited, it would likely make things a little less stressful around our house. alas, that’s the hand we’ve been dealt and we’re (somewhat) dealing with it with a minimal amount of sanity.

but i know that one day i’ll look back and say, remember when?

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.

i really should be doing something else right now …

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

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

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

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

a long day … zzz …

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

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

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

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

35 years. really!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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.