sista sista

5 Jul

A lot of people have been asking me if my girls are getting along any better. As I’ve written about previously , it’s been a tough go. There was no “Mommy can I help with that diaper?” or moments made up of me breastfeeding while reading A a lovely storybook. There was a point in my very near memory when I could not leave them alone together, because A was so rough with her sister. In her defense, because I love this kid to the moon and back (and she may read this one day, love you first born!) she was only 20 months when her permanent visitor entered the scene, so she was not into sharing, and was barely able to string three words together. This made it hard to say “Mommy, I’m jealous of this bald stranger” or “play with me not her”.
So if you’re in this position, you are not alone, older sibs do always like the newbie. Sometimes this strong dislike lasts 16 months. Because… wait for it…  in the last few weeks there’s been a bright light at the end of the tunnel! My husband went away AGAIN ( I know what you’re thinking, wife of the year right?) a few weekends ago, and it went surprisingly well! In fact, I am going to say we had a quite a lovely girls weekend. Sigh. Remember when ‘girls weekend’ meant cheap beer boozy cocktails and midday wake-ups? Now it means waffles at 6:30am (A pronounces waffles “awfuls” with a serious face) and park dates by 7:30am. The date was with myself. And my kids. But this time, A was playing with L and they were having so much fun. Now I know what people mean when they say “it gets easier with two”. A runs around and L waddles after her but now, she’s not getting slapped (well sometimes but they are still sisters right?) she’s being helped up the slide (yes they often just want to go up) and asked to swing. It took 16 months, but goddamn it’s heartwarming. These are the sorts of things they like to do together:

Be ballers.

Be ballers.

Go on long drives.

Go on long drives.

Plan their future tattoos.

Plan their future tattoos.

I was hungover for the first time in 16 months when I let A paint her sister. No judgment.
Today they played in A’s room quietly and not once did I have to run in and scold and/or comfort someone. They snuggle up in bed together, hug each other in the morning, and A even yells “get away from my sister bee” at bees that fly near L. We have rounded the bend! Once again it has been helpful for me to remember “this too will pass”. I am so happy for them, to have a sister (at least in my case) is wonderful, amazing, the best gift you can get. A best friend who also gets your crazy-ass family (because they all are, you know it) and is beside you forever. Hooray for sistas!

Ps- When A is angry lately she has been calling me “adorable” in her really loud angry voice. She thinks she’s saying horrible. It’s really, really hard not to laugh. Peace out.

we survived (barely)

29 May

It’s been sooooo long! I’ve been inundated with email requests for an update on my life. Kidding. But currently I have a moment (both girls are sleeping hurrah!) and I feel the need to write. Normally I feel the need to sleep, but with all this sunshine I’m awake. Plus I dozed while A watched Batman (totally inappropriate for a 3 yr old by the way) before her nap. Lately she wants to watch “Hero” shows. I’m pretty much blaming this on my husband who for sure channels an inner nerd and has always wanted to be a super hero. Doesn’t every man?

Because I like to keep my life simple, we moved in November and since then have completely gutted our new house. Easy-peasy. Holy hell. Don’t do this. I feel like my shoulders have been tighter than Donovan Bailey’s bootie since November. It’s like this constant level of stress, having to get two kids out of the house for house showings, trying to pack boxes while they simultaneously unpack them, then moving, unpacking, re-packing, and renovating. Under extreme stress, people kind of lose their minds right? So I try and see the humour in it. Like when I sent this text to Edward after locking A in the car, with the keys:

This is how we keep the love alive....

This is how we keep the love alive….

Scroll to the last part. Yup the part about the poop slipper. Earlier that day I found Leah stamping around in her poop with the cutest knitted slippers on. I sometimes feel like her sole mission in life is to destroy our house. Why wasn’t she wearing a diaper you ask? Damnit. Don’t ask. I like to give them “free” time as I’ve mentioned before. But obviously this goes badly, a lot. On this day she was in only slippers (very free), and climbed to the top of the stairs, pooped on the carpet (which is now hardwood thank-God) then basically danced in it. So, I was laying in bed that night, remembering that I threw the poop slipper outside onto the back deck because I didn’t know what else to do with it.  I know my child, and like a puppy, if she saw that slipper the next day, she may or may not chew on it. All in all, that text was golden right? Plus I explained to Ed my heroic actions of saving A out of the car I locked her in, with the car keys. Luckily, in these intense moments, you often notice kindness in the world. In this case, a woman gave me a blanket, gloves, and let me use her cell phone. People are good. Especially to crazy Mama’s singing nursery rhymes through the window.

What have my kids been up to? Well L is another giant. People think she’s two years old, and I think babies run from her in fear that she wants to eat them. She also like to “hug” other babies but then pulls them down on the ground and tries to kiss/bite them. It’s embarrassing. She was running around with bacon in her hand last weekend. I thought she was going to be my calm placid child. Then I found her doing this:

Is there bacon at the top?

Is there bacon at the top?

This was just a day after she climbed onto a full-size trampoline herself. She still loves to cuddle and for the most part puts up with A’s slaps and rants, but I see a flicker of mischief behind those baby blues. Lately she’s taken it upon herself to waddle into A’s room, while A is napping, and scream “Hiiiiiiiiiiiiiii!!!!!” Rude awakening much? I need to get new door handles, kid-proof ones….

My sweet first-born is turning three on Saturday. She’s like a fully formed human. It makes me cry.

Big girl.

Big girl.

Truthfully she still often makes me cry once a week with her behaviour, but she’s come a long way. Her words are unbelievable… “Mommy I’m frustrated!” and “pee comes out of the vagina and poo comes out of the bum”. Genius I tell ya, genius. Speaking of poo (again) her new trick is to have to pee when we are in locations with no loo. So, I taught her how to pee outside thinking this was a great out-doorsy plan. I took her behind a tree and she squatted and then stamped like a pro. The next we were in that same park, surrounded by other parents, my friend tapped me and said “I think A is peeing…?” Whose bare butt was in the air, NOT behind  tree you ask? Yup my kid’s bum, in the middle of the field. It was too late to even stop her. She thinks this is normal now. It’s like a thing for her, that she apparently enjoys. She did it on the wood chips at a park last week (gross, I know but it happeneed so fast). At another park, out of nowhere she yelled “I have to poop!” What does one do? We were 15 minutes from home. So…. we go behind a tree, she lays three clean logs (with Leah’s face pretty much next to  her bum-hole investigating, as you do) and runs off to play. What am I supposed to do with this new thing? I swear she’s doing it for attention sometimes, but on the other hand I have not dealt with poopy pants for a long time and don’t care to return to that region.  Guess I’ll just pack Kleenex? And doggy bags? And encourage toilets? #fml

Peace out!

 

I caught puke in my hands (and other niceties)

10 Feb

Last week was the week from hell. It was as bad as having a sleepless newborn, staying up all night on vacation with two kids (not by choice), or having adult diaper rash Except it was WORSE because my husband was away. Like away, away and not for work. Away for snowboarding and drinking beer. This man-holiday happened to fall during a week where L. had a head cold, diarrhea that never ended, four molars coming in and apparently, an ear infection. Because she is my sweet content baby who I can generally count on not to cry- unless she is hungry or it’s bedtime- I didn’t take her to the Dr. for a good week and a half. I knew her teeth were coming in and I thought all the add-ons were a result of this. Plus my kids are tanks and eat a lot of dirt, so they never get sick. Finally after two calls to Public Health I took her in, trusting my gut. She had an ear infection, though of course after crying all week didn’t make a peep in the Dr.’s office.  Poor sweet baby. She was so uncomfortable in moments she was pulling my hair and scratching my chest.

She's been laying her head a lot. It's tired.

She’s been laying her head down a lot. It’s tired.

It’s so, so, tough to hold a 20 lb baby all day when you also have a 35 lb toddler. My stress levels in moments were incredibly high. The breaks were for very short windows, because A. also got sick (more on that in a sec) and therefore was not allowed back to pre-school. A. is now in half-days at pre-school, instead of three full days of daycare. I don’t know who had this genius idea… oh yeah it was me. It has been a big adjustment on top of the move. I know she doesn’t handle change well, and I told myself it will take six weeks, but it has been longer and it’s hard on all of us. On an amazing note, this week she was very sweet to her sister. I don’t whether it’s the new behaviour “tactics” we are using (no time-outs) or if she sensed  L. was down and out and Mommy could not handle refereeing the WWF-style interactions- but it put a smile on my face.. I was so proud of her. It has continued into this week, she has been softly patting L.’s head, and also kissing her toes to make her laugh. Sigh. Tear.

Back when things were good...

Back when things were good… And yes we do dress her like a boy sometimes.

Anyways, back to hell week. A few days in A. started peeing out her poo too. Yes that rhymes! Then we were in the car on Friday and she threw-up (for the first time in her life) all over my iPhone that she was watching. It smelled like grape mixed with rotten cheese. Why does kids vomit always smell like some kind of sweet fruit?  Then she came inside and asked to go to bed, and slept for three hours. When she woke up she had some juice, then walked over to me and puked it into my hands, several times. L. at this point was trying to stamp her feet in it (obviously). So I was catching vomit while also trying to clean it up. Does this mean I’m officially a Mom? It’s horrible having sick kids, but especially when you have no back-up. My husband is my only back-up within 50 kms and he was gone. The shifts were long. I’m talking 5am-9pm. It’s unreal what you can do when you have to. I washed my hair once in five days. I honestly couldn’t put them down. I thought we were in clear after the weekend, but no… the vom continues. L. and A. both threw up today. I will say the upside to all of this is the cuddles. I never seen my toddler sit so still. She fell asleep with me Sunday afternoon, fell asleep while putting on her pj’s tonight, and had three long naps on Saturday. Ed and I were in our house “alone” (both kids sleeping) for the first time in a year.  I cooked! We made baby #3! KIDDING. KILL ME NOW. Just seeing if you’re awake.

Oh, and somewhere in all this sickness L. got the energy to take her first few steps. It’s adorable. Obvio.

But seriously sick kids are the worst and back-up should not be allowed to travel for the first year of a baby’s life. New rule. I have learned that I have to get waaaaay more babysitting and build in a lot more breaks. Because this is a hard job, and I need to wash my hair more…

feel good tuesday (and some resources)

22 Jan

Everyone should write a blog. Seriously, Tuesday was a feel good day because after yesterday’s post I have had several mothers (readers and friends) contact me with supportive/hilarious stories about their own experiences. And with great ideas about Positive Parenting. While I don’t love Dr. Markham’s stuff from the link above (I find she can be quite sweeping and judgmental at times) she does have some good information on parenting spirited kids. I have loved this article about “time out or time in”. It made so much sense that what works for one child may not work for another. She’s not saying “never use time-outs” she’s saying they don’t work with certain kinds of kids. Plus the Q & A on temperament is fantastic on this site. If you don’t know much about temperament and kids, have a look and keep looking! The way parents and kids “click” together is something I learned about only this year, and it really has changed the way I understand myself and my children. Though I clearly still have a long way to go.

They do have moments. In this one the flash scared them.

They do have moments. In this one the flash scared them.

An amazing Mom also told me to check out Gord Neufeld who has a great book, videos online, and lots of great suggestions around parenting the way I need to with A. As of today (Wednesday for those of you who forget and are in the blur), she still has not peed her pants. She is continuing to pick her sister her up and drop her, and I am stuck on this. Distraction does not seem to be working. Seriously, it’s like a dog trying to get a steak.  Poor L. being compared to a steak…But I will get some help around this and figure it out. She has also gone to nursery school two days in a row very happily. Normally she loves it once we are there but getting there is a nightmare. They tell me she’s a star (of course). I walked in one day last week and she was running around with a plastic bucket on her head. Everyday when I ask her what she did she says “I danced”. I KNEW this was money well spent!

First day pic.

First day pic.

Yesterday she did not want to wear her coat (it’s -19 here) so I rolled with it. I explained calmly that it’s cold and that if she needs her coat, Mommy has it. She high-tailed it to the car and jumped in without a peep. Normally, I would wrestle her into the coat, sweating and stressed, and after getting it on or she would stall getting into her  car seat, or take off in the parking lot making all of us freeze. It would turn into a tear filled mess (her in public, me in the car) and we’d all feel terrible. So I am trying. Trying to stay calm at all times and breathe.
I am also making beautifully decorated cupcakes:

These are pretty much sugar bombs.

These are pretty much sugar bombs.

I am taking a cake decorating class and loving it. Self-care is a big part of parenting, and this is two hours in the week when I do not think about my kids, and I do something I love. However, I did eat one of these at 10pm last night and then was awake until 12am with sugar pumping through my veins. Not cool. I suggest giving these to kids you don’t like. I mean… all kids are cute…

tough times in toddler-ville

20 Jan

We’ve been going through a tough period in this house. By we I mean my toddler and I. I was inspired to write this post because again I crave honesty, honesty from other parents about what it’s really like, in the trenches, in this period I once heard a more seasoned mother call “The Blur”. I barely knew her, and yet I love her for that comment. No really. When someone tells me they ate a carrot off the floor while sweeping, or strapped a DVD player to their toddlers bed, it makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside. Because mostly, for some reason, mothers skip the crappy stuff and say “she LOVES her baby sister” or “I just farted once after giving birth and there went the baby weight”, or “those 3am feeds are magical”. As I have said before, I love having kids, but when times are tough I just need to hear that my rage-filled toddler is normal and so was my queef in hot yoga last week.

A. and I seem to be in  a major cycle of negativity. The issue is still jealousy. When I am around, she is constantly aggressive with her sister. It’s been 11 months! I had NO idea it would go on this long. If L. is anywhere near her she pushes her, tries to pick her by the neck, kicks her, and the battle goes on. I literally cannot even go to the bathroom these days because I have to stay in between her and the baby. It gets worse. Ed and I decided to “follow through” every time she’s aggressive, and decided on time-outs on the stairs or in her room. She often is so upset by this that she pees her pants within the first 10 seconds of being there. This is distressing to me, but more often than not by 4pm it’s infuriating. She’s perfectly potty trained. It’s not about her bladder. It’s about attention, and what’s hurting me so much is she wants negative attention. ALL DAY.

Sometimes I wish she would do this for more than 30 seconds.

Sometimes I wish she would do this for more than 30 seconds.

At my wits end a few days ago, where my shoulders were so tight from stress (I can’t even hand wash a dish when they are together) I phoned Public Health (a great resource around here for all things related to pregnancy and parenting) and spoke to a nurse. She was lovely and very reassuring. Like any professional I have spoken too she reminded me it is a phase that she will grow out of, and that this is an intense time as a parent to two very small children. Again, as others “in the field” have advised, she told me time-outs aren’t recommended for kids under 3. She advocated for distraction and re-direction. This is always a tough call. One camp says consequences. The other says gently teach. When thinking about discipline I am always reminded of the quote “parenting is the easiest thing to judge and the hardest thing to do”.  A. is clearly very sensitive, very reactive, very smart. She can be so hard to parent for me, as I am also very sensitive and she pushes every button I have.  I just want to get along, because I love her so much. Instead I am often saying no, often pleading with her to do something… or ending up frustrated and sad.  Right now any sort of invitation into a power struggle she will take, and I never win. So I always have to think and be one step ahead and allow her to think it was her idea. People say “give her choices”. It’s not that easy. Last week I said “do you want these pants, or these ones?” She replied “NO PANTS”. For her nap I said “do you want to pee on the toilet first, or wear a pull-up?” she said “NOTHING”. Hmmmm. Then when I shut her door, she peed on the floor. When I was speaking to the nurse I told her how I have asked other mothers if their toddlers have shown jealousy to a new baby, and mostly I get blank stares, or “noooo he loves his sister/brother”. So then I am left with that feeling that mothers feel everywhere… what am I doing wrong??? The nurse replied by saying “no one tells the truth about anything to do with motherhood except labour, and then it’s horror stories”. Preach.

The other part of this is, when I’m not around, she is protective of L.! Ed and I spied on them once in the gym daycare and A. was feeding L., patting her, loving her. The staff even told me she was “so good with her sister”. Seriously? WTF!  So, it’s all about The Mommy. Ohhhhh The Mama. Lately, I have some dread back as I wake up. I know that’s not a great sentence, but if you’re a parent you might know about dread. It often happens when you know you’re going to be up all night, or if you know you’re in for it with teething/behaviour/a long car trip with kids. I used to have this dread right when L. was born- how am I going to manage this today all by myself with two tiny’s? Then it passed. Now it’s back. However, I have a plan.  Everyday I am going to spend 20 minutes of one-to-one time with her, where she directs the play and gets all my attention. I am scrapping time-outs for now (hopefully). I am also pretty much not going to leave them in close proximity of each other because at this point I just can’t, unless I’m right there.  This plan was in effect this weekend and she has not peed her pants once. So we’ll see. I hope this phase passes soon. Basically if you have a spirited toddler and you are reading this post, I’m right here with you! Apparently they make great teenagers. Ten more years and counting…

Good 'ol fashioned topless finger painting, sans baby sister.

Good ‘ol fashioned topless finger painting, sans baby sister.

As for L. she is 11 months old as of yesterday and is obsessed with her sister. Loves her every action. Claps when she hears her voice. Mostly doesn’t even cry when her sister slaps her bald head. She is standing on her own now and I tried to get her to walk this week by dangling a turkey sandwich in front of her. She’s very food motivated.

Did someone say turkey?

Did someone say turkey?


Sigh. As a wise friend once quoted to me about parenting “the days are long but the years are short”. In a week or two we could be right through this difficult stage. Fingers crossed.

updates

9 Dec

We have moved. This always sucks, even if you like where you’re going. I would say having two children made it harder but it felt just like the other three times we have moved since 2009 (pre-children). Stressful and overwhelming. We are now down to the boxes that look like this:

Dinner plate, afro wig and a stocking. Purrrrfect.

Dinner plate, afro wig and a stocking. Purrrrfect.

So we will be un-packing for the next 6 months. In reality we will be throwing boxes into our new basement and not opening them again until we down-size in 2040. No matter who you are, you end up having a lot of CRAP. On the bright side, the girls a didn’t seem to notice we moved. A. got lost once (bigger house, different looking bathrooms, she took a wrong turn). She also takes the long way around to the kitchen every morning because she seems to aim for the dining room table which she recognizes from our old house, and just heads there en route. Or maybe she’s wearing a pedometer in her underwear that I don’t know about. You go girl. Other than that it’s business as usual.

This house needs a few reno’s. Basically the long and short of it is there is carpet on the bathroom floors. REALLY? My grown man husband can’t even hit the seat, so I’m pretty sure if I look closely (which I won’t) I will be faced with a lot of pee. Who  does this? Was this ever a trend? I love the house don’t get me wrong, but there is a lot of gold and a lot of white carpet. L. has peed on it twice, and A. coloured on it during her “nap” this weekend. It’s not kid-proof.

Other than that life is good. L. is still sleeping like a dream, two naps/day and 12 hours/night. If you are a new reader and now hate me, please read my posts about sleep training. A. is also now fully potty trained. This pretty much happened on its own. Getting a diaper on her started to be ridiculous. I was chasing her and she was wriggling so much that things were getting ugly. So, I thought, maybe it’s time. Her little daycare buddy went cold turkey (no diaper, just undies) at 2, so I’m pretty sure A. was longing for some peer pressure panties. So, in September we cut the diapers and it has gone really well. My advice on potty training is go cold turkey (other than at night and maybe nap time), and ask them on the hour if they have to pee or poo. A. held the poos for a few weeks- meaning she saved Ed and I the steamy ones in her pull-ups post nap or in the a.m. However the last two weeks she’s been a pooping rockstar. Yes, this is my life. I reward her by feeding her raw eggs for lunch….

Crossed ankles, spoonful full of dough.

Crossed ankles, spoonful full of dough.

L. is crawling, working on her 8th tooth, and eating up a storm. Her head is still in the 85th per centile. No surprise there.

I buy my toques at Mr. Big 'n Tall.

I buy my toques at Mr. Big ‘n Tall.


For the last three days she has also been laughing at my boobs, and refusing to breastfeed. I posted on Hamilton Public Health’s Facebook page about this, and they said it was probably a nursing strike. It has been hurting my heart, as I love this time with her, but I am trying to just be patient and see what happens. She seems to prefer tortellini, and I can’t blame her.
Finally, during this move I bought an expensive pillow to go with our new king-size bed. I call it the eargasmatron. Why did I not invest in this little $100 piece of heaven years ago? Ohhhhh riggghhhttt because it’s $100.
I love you eargasmatron.

I love you eargasmatron.

But seriously, it’s the best. Just ask my ears.

two munchkins and my milk

30 Oct

Before I had L I wondered if A would want to breastfeed again. I’m sure most Mom’s wonder this, am I right? It’s only natural that an older child might see the cuddle and be jealous. As we all know, A is jealous. This week she bit L’s finger so hard it left a mark. And it’s so sad because L was just sitting there minding her own business, gumming a piece of bread. When A comes into the room L flaps her hands like Justin Bieber is lighting up the stage. Under no circumstances can I leave them alone together, because it results in L being flat on her back after a A body checks her.

This ended badly.

This ended badly.

Back to the boobs. To be honest, I was really hoping A wouldn’t be interested in nursing again. She has a whole mouthful of massive teeth, and can talk. Plus she ran away from my boob just before her first birthday, and has never looked back. I did meet a woman who told me she “tandem nursed” her daughters for a few months when her second was born. Holy shit kill me now. No judgment. Ok, judgment. I can’t think of anything that would make me feel MORE like a cow. I mean a real cow that has calves suckling. Breastfeeding is great. But on certain days I literally feel like my kids are crawling all over me every.single.second. Lately A has this new move where she pulls on my shirt while I am in the kitchen. If the pulling doesn’t work, she kinda tries to hang off my shirt. This gives my clothes an amazing stretched out look, which is great because L has a a cold and uses the shoulders as a Kleenex all day, making for a smokin’ hot look for me. Once again, this is why Mom’s wear sweatpants a lot. What’s the point? If you see a “put together” Mom she has either changed five times already or never picks her kids up (meaning they are like feral little wolves, think Mowgli from The Jungle Book).
This is how it has played out. Initially she didn’t notice. A few weeks in she started to play baby, and pretend cry “waaah, waaah” and crawl into my lap. A few times she has said “milk milk” so I went with it. Honestly, everything I read said if they are curious see what happens, let them play it out and they will get over it. Basically she came really close to my nipple and laughed. Another self-esteem builder for Mama. Once in the bath she kissed my nipple. She really has no idea how to extract the milk, but is curious. So all in all it has not been a big issue. However, as kids do, she has recently chosen two very awkward times to crawl onto my lap and ask for “boo-boo milk” (kill me now). The first was when we had friends over that are new cool friends. As you can imagine, we need all the cool we can get right now. I’m not sure they will come over again. The second incident was while we were signing papers for our new house, at the dining room table with three Real Estate agents. I hope to God none of them heard it. I sure did. Blush.

Mostly she has just been doing adorable things like this:

Mini Mama

Mini Mama

And she has also chugged leftover breast milk out of bottles L has left lying around. I feel this is like baby steroids, so I don’t mind.

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