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.

just call me super mom

14 Oct

Last week I had one of those moments. It was a moment where I realized I looked a lot like I had my shit together and that just this once, my girls were angels. If I was another Mom, looking in I would’ve been thinking “how are her kids so well-behaved??? What the f*%K am I doing wrong?!” I say this to myself often when I’m around other peoples angels. On this special day, L was waving her hands gleefully and A was dancing around but also running back to my lap. Seamless. I didn’t realize I was “that Mom” in the moment, but as I was driving home, it dawned on me. We had been at Mother Goose, it’s a pretty wonderful (free) program run by Ontario Early Years Centres. There is singing and some wiggling around and the best part is the staff are laid-back and knowledgeable around child development. Basically, they get that sometimes A will lick her finger and draw on the window with it for part of the class.  Which I love. It’s so nice to not feel like your 2 year-old should know how to sit in a circle. Anyways, back to my moment of glory. Let’s talk about me for a minute. Wait, isn’t that what every blog is? Amazing! Seriously though, the memory of this moment will help me to survive many more years of parenting. Ha! I had both kids with me, and for some reason it worked. L was nibbling bread in between hand flaps, A was dancing, singing and laughing. Plus she sounded super smart because she knows the words to Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. Yes! The only touch and go moment (which had me sweating, note *always wear tank tops to group activities*) was when she started to take her pants, then diaper off and said “I have to poo”. These days she’s all about the phantom poos. She talks the talk, but does not poop the poop. Other than that minor pantless mishap, it was a really great hour!

The moral of the story is that for every parent,  it depends on the day. If you sign up for group activities, and you see it through to the end, you’ll realize almost all toddlers have their moment (good or bad). Meaning they freak out at least once during group time and try to get out the emergency exit. Or was that just my kid? Even if it looks perfect, it is not always that way. It just can’t be when you have children. I watched that day as one Mom left early, carrying her infant in a heavy car seat and chasing her 2 year-old who wanted to sit in the armchair outside the circle instead of on the floor (can you blame her?), and as another Mom tried to stop her 2 year-old from squishing her baby brother with what I call “I-Love-You-So-Much-I-Hate-You-Hugs” (death grips that only babies can survive with their floppy bodies). And there I was, with my two well-behaved kidlets. I always think back to a Mom I briefly chatted with at Early Years when I first had L. She seemed so perfect. She had three blonde girls and their hair was perfectly braided and they had not a speck of food on their faces. I have to pin A down to get anywhere near her with a brush. On a good day the best we get is a messy bun. Her look is boho-chic (think Olsen twins), everyday. Most days we get this:

hair

Just throw a hat on it girrrrrllll.

Just throw a hat on it girrrrrllll.

But as I drove home from Mother Goose I realized all parents have their sweaty moments, probably more than once a day. It really isn’t just me. An a-ha moment. (I still dropped out of music class when I learned there is no running allowed. That was too much sweating for any normal person).

***If any Deodorant companies want me to review their product please call me- but it must be strong enough for a man, made for a mother***

Ps- Happy Thanksgiving!

giggles!

19 Sep

A peed on the potty this morning! I don’t think it was planned as when she saw the pee coming out she looked really surprised. Sometimes I feel this same surprise when I do jumping jacks.  But still, she was a champ! I didn’t have any treats in the house so instead I put a sticker on my forehead and danced around:

Naturally right?

Naturally right?

It has been a tough week in our house. I think being back from a vacation and into fall mode has been hard on all of us. I still have managed to have three belly laughs, and all because of this thing we call the world-wide web :) My sister sent me this hilarity:

Then I read Back To School Pinterest Bitches from a link on Facebook. Sweet lord that’s funny shit. The kids in Kindy part killed me. So true!!!

Finally, I read this little diddy about Whole Foods and was cracking up in my living room. Alone. That article said everything I always want and try to say about our food-obsessed society and more. How middle-class people seem to often have nothing better to do than talk about food, worry about food,  focus on food! I just want to eat and not have someone talk about what is in the bloody food that is not good me! Personally, my rules are to try and  stick to the perimeters of the grocery store (mostly), and cook at home as much as possible. And then eat. Obviously I will sprinkle in a few treats  here and there, for balance. I could quote so many lines from it that are my favourite, but I won’t. I will just let you read it when you need a laugh, because your toddler threw a milk cup at your head for no reason.

Happy Thursday!

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