Monday, 31 August 2015

It's Nice To Be Wanted, Right? RIGHT??

So my kids love me.  Of this I have no doubt.  None.  And they love my husband as well.  Absolutely.  But somehow I am needed to do everything, all the time.

Why?  I have no idea.  Maybe it's the two X chromosomes.  Maybe it was the acting of birthing out these children.  Maybe it's just my dumb luck.  But when the girls need help with something (anything) it's "MOM!  I need you!"

Hair brushing, bath washing, teeth brushing, clothes choosing (or just helping to put on), food getting, drink filling, swing pushing, walk taking, driving to events, and especially bedtime facilitating - all seem to need Mom.  Dad will do if Mom is not around (or is busy, or put her foot down) but he is never really the first choice.

Sometimes I think the kids are jealous of my book, computer, quiet time, dishes doing, laundry folding (and putting away), or whatever else I'm trying to do at any point during the day.  But that can't be it since they let Dad be on his computer, cut the lawn, cook on the BBQ, or whatever he's trying to do at any point in his day.

Can anyone explain this?  I'm open to any theories.  If I am not at home I hear they rarely ask about me, or refuse to do things since I'm not there.  A big change from a year or two (or maybe three or four) ago when I was needed even when I was not at home (thank goodness for this change!)  But if I'm home and I dare to suggest that Dad could put whomever to bed there is usually a sizeable resistance.  Again I'll say it's much better now, but they still want me.  Most of the time.

People keep telling me I'll miss it when the girls are older and they don't need me.  Right now I don't believe that.  I know they'll grow out of bedtime stories, and needing help with their clothes, and all that stuff; but at this point I'm kind of excited for the day I don't have to drag them out of bed, ask them 100 times what they'd like for breakfast, and then get it for them, then rush them through eating and getting dressed so we can get out of the house on time.

Life with little kids is always an interesting adventure.  No two days are the same, and no one will eat the same food twice.  But there is one constant - needing Mom.  I love that they need me.  I enjoy the mom-kid time.  But sometimes it's just too much.  I'm so glad I have a loving husband along on this journey who's ready and able to wrangle the kids when I've really just had too much.

Domesticated Momster

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Organization Is Key - No Matter How Much You Hate Organizing

This weekend we cleaned up.  And I mean reorganized our entire house.  Okay, well not our bedrooms, but we reorganized the main living spaces.

We have a lot of stuff.  We also live in a semi-detached, multi level home.  We have lots of games and toys in their boxes still (for storage purposes).  There is Lego, and Barbies, unlimited craft supplies, and 2 bedrooms worth of stuffies.  We also have board games, Playmobiles, My Little Ponies and Littlest Pet Shops.  Oh, and books.  SO MANY BOOKS!

I spent an afternoon on Wednesday (my weekday off!) rearranging cupboards in the kitchen so they made more sense.  Now the kids can find their snacks (and help pack their lunches this school year?  Maybe?) and I can find the soups and dressings without having to crawl under the counters in the kitchen.  So far it's working out.  We'll see how long it lasts, or how many more cupboards I can get organized before I quit all together!

I'm loving the new, organized and tidied areas of the house.  I'm wondering how to keep people from just dumping everything either on the dining room table, or the table by the door.  Both are easy receptacles for the everyday "stuff" but these things need a home.  All of my pigeon hole cubbies are filled already.  All I have left is floor and hallway (and the lovely dining room table covered in stuff).  Storage solutions (ideas?) are great if have somewhere to put them.  I do not.  I realize there is still potential in what I do have, but it's still not going to be enough.

We loaded 4 recycling bins with stuff over the weekend and recycled it.  We gave stuff away, repurposed stuff, and stuffed a bunch of toys and other kid things upstairs in the girls rooms - which is an organizing project for another day (year).  And I still feel the clutter is overwhelming.  I've lived with it this long, I'm sure I can hold out longer still.

The bonus to this new organization is it prompts the girls to now put things back in their places when they're done with them.  The toybox holds all the stuffies on the main floor, and everything else seems to be going back to its boxes/bins/designated area.  I can only hope this trend will continue.

If any of you, loyal readers, have suggestions for small space (or no space) organization, please share!  I am always interested in good ideas for my home!  Thanks in advance, and toodles for now!

Sunday, 23 August 2015

My Mom Confessions Part 3 - Random Mom Thoughts

*This post is personal and not meant to offend anyone, or spark any great "child care" debates.  Read at your own risk*

Some of the "confessions" I'd like to share are more general, more about me than the kids.  So this post will outline some of my more personal mom thoughts about the way I've been raising my daughters.  Read on and (hopefully!) enjoy.

  1. I've spent about 6 years perfecting "mom anxiety."  From the minute my first child was born I was anxious about everything relating to her.  My most anxious moments happen when someone is sick - like throwing up sick.  I feel compelled to be by that child's side every minute, and always with a receptacle at hand to minimize future clean-up.  This lovely anxiety lead to...
  2. I did not gain a pound during my second pregnancy.  I'm not saying this to make anyone jealous, by any means.  I topped out at 200lbs during my first pregnancy, so I was definitely not a "skinny minny" by any stretch.  But my toddler was almost as rough as she was as a baby, so I was still experiencing "home time" anxiety at work, which led me to not be hungry for dinners.  Also I had awful, all day, "morning sickness" at least through half of both my pregnancies.  Looking back from where I am now, I had a terrible time for those 4 or so years!
  3. My daycare lady was (and still is) one of my favourite people of all time.  I am not at all ashamed to think that she has been with my kids more during their waking hours than I ever have been.  She loves them just like I do, and they love her too.  I don't know if I could have found a better day care, and I don't care.  She is a blessing to our family, and I hope she remains our friend long after the girls are done being in her care.
  4. My house is a disaster.  My kids have too much stuff.  Even I have too much stuff.  And don't get me started on my hubby!  We live in a multi-level semi-detached house.  It was too small when it was just hubby and me.  Now we have kids, and toys, and craft supplies, and so so so many books.  I mean it's great, but I need about 10 more hours in a week to deal with the messes that we make just by living.
  5. The recycling bin gets most of my kids crafts.  It's not that I don't love their art and other stuff they create, but what am I going to do with 1,000,000 pieces of construction paper with scribbly drawings on them?  I do keep a few good things from every time frame (which is now becoming every grade) and put them in a Rubbermaid bin with their name on it.  Even this practice is becoming too much!
  6. I leave my kids unattended a lot.  Even when they were smaller, I would go upstairs while they were playing in the living room.  If I wanted a minute to myself (like to read a book) I had to be away from them.  If I was in eyesight they would constantly talk to me and ask me to play.  Sometimes I love to play with them.  Sometimes I really don't want to.  This summer I've been escaping to the deck, under the pretence of hanging out or bringing in laundry, where I would then relax (after the work was done) with my book and a drink - sometimes an alcoholic one!
  7. The idea of the girls stretching out their bedtimes terrifies me.  I enjoy basking in the quiet after the girls go to bed.  Watching something on tv I'd like to see, having tea and a cookie before bed, or just taking time to read my book may all disappear now that kid #1 is approaching 7 and already trying to darnedest to stay up late (like past 8:00).  I really don't want to lose my "me" time, and I know as they get older their likes will change and eventually they'll watch my shows with me, but we're really not there yet. 
I'm sure there are other moms out there who identify with these things.  I'm also sure there are parents who are disturbed by these confessions of mine.  And some who have completely different confessions of their own.

Parenting is just a continuous learning experience.  I am so looking forward to seeing where my kids take me next.  This life is a fabulous adventure, and I look forward to sharing more confessions in the future.

To catch up on my previous two "mom confession" posts, click here for Part 1, or here for Part 2.

Thanks for reading - please share with me your "mom confessions" or things that drive you crazy sometimes in your own home life.  I'm always interested to read other people's observations and life experiences.


Friday, 21 August 2015

My Mom Confessions Part 2 - Pre-schooler Years

*This post is personal and not meant to offend anyone, or spark any great "child care" debates.  Read at your own risk*

My way of doing things changes every day.  Sometimes I feel like a helicopter mom, while others I'm totally free-range. I try hard to be consistent for the kids, but it isn't always possible.  Anyway, here are some confessions I have from the "little kid" years.

  1. I sent kid #1 to daycare when I was on mat leave with kid #2 - purely for my sanity.  Kid #1 was such a needy baby I was so concerned that kid #2 would be too, so I kept kid #1 in daycare in the beginning just because I thought I needed to.  Once I realized kid #2 was so much more relaxed than my first I could have had her at home more, but she loved her daycare and the other kids, so I left her going full time.  This still, to this day, I maintain was the best idea I've had, with regard to my kids, so far!
  2. I let my kids play alone at the park as early as age 4 (for kid #1) and 3 (for kid #2 out with kid #1).  I would still walk them across the street, but then "play on, kids!  Come home if you need anything or get hurt."
  3. I also let my kids cross the street alone at age 5 (for kid #1) and age maybe 3 (for kid #2, when with kid #1).  They haven't got hit by a car yet!
  4. We don't do much "learning specific play" - and by this I mean we don't really sit around and write letters or numbers, or do math in any obvious math-y way.  I can sometimes work it into play, but I really didn't focus on learning at home.  At least not during the toddler/preschool years.
  5. Sometimes dinners were (and still are) whatever the kid will eat.  Applesauce, goldfish and a cheesestring would be supper some days.  I'm not ashamed of this - it was my choice not to have that fight on those nights.
  6. I still hated bedtimes at this age and stage.  Both my girls were drawn-out bedtime kids.  A million stories and a huge fuss if I tried to put my foot down.  It was much easier to give in and read "just one more story" four or five times until they really were ready to sleep.  And it always had to be me.  Why?  No idea - but I hated it.
  7. My kids had lots of screen time.  TV in the morning, usually more tv in the evening, and sometimes (more rare at this age) phone or computer time.  Once they learned how to turn on the tv, all bets were off.
So far both the baby stages and the toddler/preschool stages have been incredibly difficult for me.  My second child is now 4, so we are leaving the pre-school stage behind this September.  It's one of those happy/sad things for me.  Where did my tiny people go?  But also yay, they're growing past these terrible stages where you can't communicate clearly, or reason with them!

Stay tuned - I may have more confessions as the days go along.  Some will be kid-centred, but some may be more me-centric also.  Only time will tell where my ramblings take us next time!

What did you allow your toddlers or pre-schoolers to do that you felt may have been frowned upon by society?  And did you care?  I subscribe to the philosophy of "Hey, it worked for us!" and I try so hard not to judge others on their parenting decisions.

Toodles for now!

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

My Mom Confessions Part 1 - The Baby Years

*This post is personal, and not intended to offend anyone, or spark any great "child care" debates.  Read at your own risk*

I always thought I'd be a great mom.  My mom always seemed to know what she was doing, and I hoped I could continue that family trend.  I was so wrong.  And since this blog is where I can just talk about whatever I like (and hopefully people are enjoying it so far!) I'm going to publish a list of the things that I've done during the baby years that may not have gone along with the current trends.

  1. In the beginning I couldn't stand my baby.  My first baby.  The thing I had been waiting 9 months (and 2 years, I think, trying to conceive) for.  If she wasn't nursing, she was crying.  If she wasn't crying or nursing, she was sleeping - only for a short period, and only in someone's arms (usually mine as she fell asleep nursing).  Eventually the baby swing became my best friend, but it took a bit for me to figure this out.  Hand in hand with this was...
  2. I co-slept with my first baby until she was almost one year old.  Or maybe past her first birthday, I don't really remember.  Funny how a year of barely sleeping muddles your memories...
  3. I introduced baby #1 to rice cereal at 5 months.  It was just a day where I couldn't take the nursing every 10 minutes.  Thank god for random samples of everything that you get if you sign up for stuff when you have a baby.  If you're so hungry, eat this instead!  And guess what, she ate it and loved it!  I think this may have been a small turning point for me - meaning I finally realized things will get better.
  4. Going back to work after maternity leave almost felt like a vacation for me.  Someone else is now watching my fussy kid (who, by this time was becoming quite cute and interesting and less of a time-consuming monster) and I get to go interact with other humans who actually speak and listen and have to be nice to me (at least some of the time).
  5. Escaping the house was such a great relief to me that I would work myself into minor anxiety attacks at the end of every work day when I had to go get the baby from daycare.  Sometimes there would be tears before I pulled into the driveway to pick her up.  And then that would cause yet more mom guilt.  Vicious cycle.
  6. I hated reading bedtime stories.  Bedtime is supposed to be this nice, relaxing, bonding time with your child, right?  WRONG!  We would read stories for an hour and she would still put up a fuss.  This is around age 2 or 3.  And of course toss a new baby into the mix and all bets are off.  Luckily baby #2 was a blessing - she slept on her own right from the beginning.  I thought she had died the first time she did it, as I had never experienced a newborn going to sleep.  I don't think I would have made it if she hadn't been a "good" baby from the beginning.
  7. I liked baby #2 better from the get-go.  That's not saying I love one child over the other, I just enjoyed baby #2's baby stage much better than #1's.  Is that because I now "knew what I was doing?" and was less of an anxious first-time mom?  I'm sure that's a factor.
This is definitely not an exhaustive list.  Just some highlights that I think may be helpful, or interesting, to other moms (and dads!) who may be dealing with some of these things.  I know it's always helpful to me when I stumble upon other people who are coping with the things I'm going through, and hearing about their trials and tribulations usually makes me feel better about my own scenario.

Share in the comments, if you have any similar (or completely different) confessions or things you've done with or for your babies that may have gone against popular opinion.

And stay tuned as I plan to continue this "confessions" series into the now ages of my kids, and on.  Thanks for reading!


Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Our Top 5 Ways To Keep Cool

We're having a heat wave right now in Ontario.  It's hot.  When we leave the house in the morning, it's hot.  When we come home at night, it's hot.  I have to water my plants like crazy because - you guessed it - it's hot!  While we wait for a break in the weather I thought I'd share with you the ways we stay cool when the temperature gets hot.

  • Swimming in "Nanny's Pool."  Hubby's mom has a pool and lives nearby.  This is a no brainer, although we don't take advantage as much as we could.  The girls spend every Sunday with their Nanny, so they take more advantage that we parents do.  But it's nice to know it's there and to take a dip on sunny Sunday afternoons.
  • Putting on the sprinkler.  This is an oldie, and a goodie.  I remember sprinkler play from when I was a little kid.  Sometimes we get a few neighbour kids joining is as well.  This makes for a very fun afternoon for the girls.
  • Outings to cooler places - like the mall, or the movies, or even just downtown on the waterfront.  There is almost always a breeze by the water and it does make for cooler days.  Plus the kids love looking at boats and other interesting waterfront things, or just taking a walk.
  • For them - Freezies and popsicles.  For me - cold Palm Bays or White Wine.  Also, lots of hydrating liquids for everyone.
  • The number one way we stay cool at home is, of course, air conditioning.  It is the hugest blessing you can imagine.  Because of our central air I can sleep at night.  And we can cool down after some fun outdoor play (in the crazy hot weather).

So there you have it - my top 5 ways to keep my cool in the sweltering hot days of summer.  My hope is always that the hot days will bring some good thunderstorms (which will water my gardens) but that has not come to pass as much this year as some.  Clouds do appear to be rolling in as I write this.  My eternally hopeful soul prays for a storm, but only time will tell.

How do you, faithful readers, keep your cool in the dog days of summer?  Share in the comments and we may put your ideas to good use as well!  Thanks for reading.


Thursday, 13 August 2015

7 Things I'm Appreciating This Summer

This summer is going along swimmingly.  The kids are 4 and 6 (almost 7) so we're well clear of "baby baggage."  Meaning if we want to go somewhere, we just grab some snacks (and pjs if we'll be out late) and go.  We don't need diaper bags, and planned itineraries, with foreknowledge of all stops between A and B usable for nursing, changing, or just strollering around a baby who's been fussing for ages. I guess this is the first thing I'm grateful for!

  • Living where I live - meaning both in Kingston, and in my neighbourhood.  There are tons of events in town during the summer.  Most of the stuff we check out is free, but there are so many interesting things going on we really have to pick and choose what we want to do!  Also we live about 10 minutes from downtown.  This means I get to work quickly and easily, and we can decide whether to do Movies in the Square with only a little lead time and we still get a good seat.
  • My clothesline - I know it's corny but I love hanging our clothes outside.  We put up a new section of fence earlier this summer and now I have a nice long clothesline that helps my clothes dry and feel fresh.  Also the kids like to help by handing clothespins and such and soon they'll be able to reach and hang stuff themselves!
  • My kids senses of adventure - We took an unplanned hike (quite rugged terrain) and the girls loved it!  They want to do more.  And they want to go to Wonderland and try the rides.  And they like seeing things in the theatre - live plays and stuff (as well as any movie).  I wouldn't say they're thrill seekers, but definitely up for new experiences.
  • The weather - Also a corny thought, I love that the weather is always changing.  I love the hot days that I can justify sitting around reading my book, and I love the rainy days that water my gardens.  Watching storm clouds roll up and being outside watching the lightning before the rain.  The other day we had an amazing deluge and then a fantastic double rainbow.  It was beautiful.
  • My family - If it wasn't for them (immediate and extended) I wouldn't be able to do as many cool and interesting (to me!) things in my life.  I love that my kids get lots of time with grandparents and aunts and uncles - it gives them different experiences they would not necessarily get with us, and teaches them to be flexible and to learn to obey other's rules.  If any of you are reading this - I appreciate you more than you know!
  • All our friends - separately, and together, you have made our live easier and more fun.  Thank you to our neighbours who do look our for our kids and property; my co-workers (who I consider friends) for listening to me, and sometimes joining me, at local events, concerts and attractions and I am so amped up to visit; my mom friends, who I don't see as much as I'd like, but I know you're there if and when I need you; and our random backyard barbecue/cottage/after-event friends who are always up for a good time, kids included.

I know there are more things I'm appreciating this summer, but that's a long enough post for now.  What are you enjoying more this summer?  Anything I miss?  Post it in the comments, and stay tuned for more random mom posts! ;)


Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Ages and Stages - My Girls Keep Growing!

Last night after work I took the girls outside.  We grabbed a blanket and my Yoga book and we had a stretching session.  I'm amazed at the flexibility of my daughters.  I was also amazed that Rose was interested in trying this out.  Of course we had to eat Cheerios while we were yoga-ing, but they both took an interest and did some of the moves along with me.

My girls are quickly leaving the really little kid stuff behind.  They will happily tell me some shows are too "baby" for them (Emma more than Rose) and they both understand the philosophy of passing on your too small clothes, so they can graduate into more new (to them) clothes.  I don't really know when I noticed this stuff starting to happen, but it's in full flow now.

My favourite thing that is happening now is their ability to reason.  There are many less "tantrums" as they've started flexing their reasoning muscles.  We can (usually) calmly discuss sharing and taking turns, as well as if we watch movie A now we can watch movie B next time.  This doesn't always end well, but we're getting there.

Along with reasoning is the knowledge that 'it is time to sleep when I'm tired.'  Emma took a very long time to learn this skill.  Rose is further along at a younger age, and actually goes and lays down for a nap if she's tired in the afternoon.  We've gotten away from naps with her, but sometimes she'll just take one and not even tell anyone!

Last week my parents had the girls for 4 days at their place.  Usually getting them there entails tears and fits and all that (even though they always have a good time), but not this time.  Genuine excitement and full knowledge they were going to be there for a few days in a row.  My mom told me that before they were brought back home they both - separately - went to her and told her they would miss her and asked for snuggles.  How sweet, right?  Then they were super affectionate with me when they got back, which I totally missed while they were away.

The real excitement for me was also last night.  Emma watched her Murdoch Mysteries while I read Rose a story upstairs.  When it ended she went up to brush her teeth and I looked for another Murdoch.  The only one I found was the one she had just watched, so I put on Jeopardy! until she returned and gave me input on what she wanted to watch.  Well guess what?  She wanted to watch Jeopardy with me!!  I don't think I've really watched it since Emma was born.  And I could see her looking at (reading?) the words.  She thought it was great!  Let's hope she keeps her interest in it, so I can test my knowledge on any and all things another night soon.

Stay tuned for more random thoughts from me.  Toodles!

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Is It A Vacation, or a "Family Vacation"?

The family went to a cottage for a week's vacation.  Vacation happened, we relaxed by the water, did some swimming and camp-fire-ing, visiting with nature and all that.  However the royal "we" also:

  • Packed up shop at home for about 3 days (which includes numerous loads of laundry, and trips to the grocery store etc.) then jammed it all into the back of the truck
  • Made the beds, swept the floor, stocked the fridge, organized the luggage, and so on AT the cottage when we arrived
  • Cooked, cleaned, washed the dishes (by hand!), made the beds (some days), swept our messes up, and washed some clothes by hand in the sink
  • Had an eye on the kids at all times - are they on the dock?  do they have lifejackets on? did they have breakfast? is it bedtime? is the fire going? are they close to it? and so on...

I was happy to go back to work after returning home and washing yet more loads of laundry and trying to put the house back together after we took all the important stuff away with us.  That trip was definitely a "family vacation."

Later this week hubby and I are taking some time for ourselves and going to Toronto for a few days.  My parents are having the girls stay with them for those same few days (plus an extra 2 overnights, before and after).  So far for this trip I have:

  • Packed luggage for the girls, as well as accessory bags with toys and food they'll actually eat
  • Done yet more laundry for everyone to have clean clothes while away
  • and tried to not buy much groceries for the time between these two trips so I don't have to throw out food when we get back!
I can't wait to stay in a hotel for a few nights, and eat some meals out and about that I don't even have to think about until I get where I'm eating (and that I don't have to clean up after!!).  I also can't wait to not have to put the kids to bed for a few nights, and to stay up late(r) without knowing someone will be up at 6:20 to get me up.  Sadly I know I will be awake before 7am most days anyway, as I'm now biologically programmed that way.

We have a few things planned (a baseball game, visits with friends, and a trip to Canada's Wonderland) but overall we're just going to be with each other and do what strikes our fancy.  What I do know is this is a much better chance for me to relax, than when we're at a waterfront with two young kids and no maid service! ;)