21

On Mourning and Santa Claus

I apologize in advance if this post seems to have no direction. Actually, it is kind of fitting as it feels as though nothing has any direction right now. I can’t seem to pull myself together, and life (or more appropriately, death) is taking its toll on me.

I am mourning the loss of a very special man. This man was a Veteran of the Merchant Navy. He was proud, stoic, gentle, kind, and giving. He was my Grandfather – the last surviving Grandparent I had.
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He and my Grandmother both treated my sister and I like we were more precious than anything in their lives. Having had two sons, we were quite literally the daughters they never had. I have many fond memories of them from my childhood. My Grandfather was the one who taught me to ice skate. He’d clear the snow off of the pond around the corner, hold my hands, and we’d skate and skate for hours while my Grandmother sat and cheered us on. When we got home, Grandpa took my hands in his to warm them up, while my Grandmother got the hot cocoa ready – with just the right number of marshmallows floating on top.
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One winter he piled the snow into a hill that seemed to reach the top of the trees, carved a ladder onto one side with a shovel, and smoothed the other side out into a slide which landed me on the other side of the yard. I spent hours out there that day, climbing the snow slide, and flying down. He stayed by my side the whole time quietly smiling and chuckling at my screams of laughter.

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We used to have sleep overs at their house, and to this day certain foods and smells remind me of them. My parents never drank coffee, so every morning when I woke up at their house and smelled the coffee pot brewing, I knew where I was. I always had the same breakfast there (shared with my Grandfather) – a bowl of Harvest Crunch cereal and half of a grapefruit eaten with a special grapefruit spoon. We didn’t eat those things at home often either, so I always associate those things with mornings spent with him. Quiet mornings at the table, sharing breakfast. He wasn’t one to talk much, but when he did it was always important – always an observation, or something insightful. I don’t think he ever once raised his voice to me in anger. He was always calm, quiet, and warm. His lap was the best place to sit when he did his crossword puzzles, and his hugs wrapped right around you like a warm blanket.
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He passed away suddenly at 1:45 am Friday morning. I had only been asleep about an hour when my Mother called to tell me. Three days earlier, he was getting a military escort down to a Remembrance Day ceremony at the Veteran’s hospital, and he was fine.

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Now, he’s gone. I can’t seem to wrap my head around it. It was quick, sudden, and it’s tearing me apart. Based on what happened, they suspect it was a GI bleed. As much as I want to know what happened, and why it happened, I mostly want to know that he wasn’t in pain. The last thing he deserved was to be in pain, or to be scared. I am crying at the thought of his last moments in the arms of the nurse who found him. I wish more than anything that he didn’t suffer.
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So needless to say, I’ve been a wreck these past few days. My normal sense of humour is lost, and my eyes haven’t stopped being either bloodshot or glassy since the wee hours of Friday morning. I am crying spontaneously without control – it’s like my eyes are faucets that are stuck in the on position.

Today, during another random cry fest, my little L looked at me from across the room and said “Mommy?”. She came over, climbed up onto my lap, placed her little hand on my cheek and said “Mommy…. happy please?”. Well as if my tears weren’t already uncontrollable, that did me in. It got worse…but then it did get better. She doesn’t understand why I’m sad. She doesn’t understand what death is, and she doesn’t understand why Mommy keeps crying. Her little sentence was enough to slap a bit of sense into me – at least temporarily. As much as I want to just lay around in a pile of sadness and self-pity, I have a job to do. I am a Mother to a sweet little girl who needs her Mommy back. I had to pull myself together.

So I got up, put on my big girl pants and took her out to see Santa Claus. He was in town today, on his big red sleigh and had a little train that the kids could ride. Santa was even nice enough to bring along some elves to hand out cake to everyone and they got to make a Christmas craft. I got to stand outdoors, breathe the slightly chilled air and relax. Yes, I realize it is only November 16th and Santa came by really early, but this Mommy didn’t care. She was glad to have a reason to get out of the house and something festive to focus on with my L and my fiance.
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I needed it. I needed to get out of the house and off of my ass. I needed to breathe the cool air, look forward to Christmas with my little family, and focus on all that I still have in life. I needed to be the Mother to my L that my Grandfather was to my Father and Uncle. I needed to continue to make him proud. I needed to pretend to be cheerful, and in turn, feel a bit of cheer.
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It isn’t feeling any easier. I have a viewing at the funeral home tomorrow afternoon (informal), and a formal viewing/service on Thursday. The weekend of the 30th, we will travel to Prince Edward Island to place him with my Grandmother so they can be reunited once more. My Grandfather was never quite as boisterous as he used to be when she was alive. I think secretly, though he’d never voice it out loud, he was longing to be reunited with her. I was in Korea when she passed and was unable to return for her funeral. The weekend of the 30th will be the first time I will see her grave, since she is buried in a different province. I have a feeling that I will fall apart that weekend. I will in a way be saying goodbye to two people that day – my Grandfather, and my Grandmother.
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I hope that the person I have become today is a person they would be proud of. I hope that my little L can develop as many fond memories with her Grandparents as I have of mine. I hope that I can get through this stronger, and a better Mother at the other end. As much as I am skeptical of the idea of an “afterlife”, I can’t help but secretly hope that they are both up there, sitting in their armchairs side by side, drinking a cup of coffee and watching their Great-Granddaughter grow up.

I promise my next post will be more joyful, but I needed to get this off of my chest. It’s almost therapeutic in a way.

To moving forward. To grieving, but never forgetting. To living as our loved ones would have wanted us to live. To life, death, and the joy that happens in the middle. I’ll miss them always.

16

Open Farm Day

Sorry for not being around as much lately. Chronic pain has taken over my life for the moment as we’re trying to come up with a solution, but I’m hopeful after a specialist appointment today that we might be making progress.

This past Sunday was Open Farm day in Nova Scotia. Basically, it’s a day where farms in our province open their doors to welcome the public, so that we can all meet our farmers and see where our food comes from. It’s a great program, and we wanted to take advantage of it.

We chose to go to Noggins Farm because it is only 1hour away, and is great for kids! Besides the u-pick area of the farm where you can pick apples, herbs, berries, pumpkins, etc., they also have a giant corn maze, and lots of kids mazes, a play area and pony rides.

We started out apple picking. We had to wait about 15-20 minutes for a wagon ride to the orchard, which wasn’t too bad as it was a gorgeous day, but L had other ideas. Waiting is boring and not very fun when there’s a whole farm to explore. Luckily there were some giant corn stalks nearby she could check out!

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After a brief tantrum due to the fact she wasn’t allowed to run wild, the wagon arrived and we were off for a trip to the apple orchard! We were picking Gravenstein apples that day, and L loved it! It took a while to teach her that we didn’t want the rotten apples that had fallen on the ground, but she got the hang of it! She also learned that pulling apples off of a tree is hard work for a not quite two year old! She had to put her whole body into pulling!

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You can just see her working so hard. Hard work pays off though, because the best part of picking an apple straight off of the tree is eating it straight from the tree. Those apples were quite literally dripping with juice!

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After we finished picking apples, we went to one of the food trucks on the farm. They had the usual offerings of fries, poutine (a Canadian thing – fries, cheese curds and gravy. Sooo good!), etc. But they also offered hot fresh corn on the cob dipped in a thermos full of melted butter. Nothing says “welcome to fall” like that!

After eating we decided to do the corn maze. L was loving it and was running full speed ahead – that is until she didn’t like that Mommy and Daddy wanted to head in a direction she didn’t want to go. Try explaining to a toddler that we have the map and she’s going to get us lost for days if we listen to her. There was no reasoning with her. There are places in NS that offer Haunted Corn Mazes close to Halloween where you are chased through the maze by people dressed as zombies, chasing you with chainsaws (no blade) etc. They’re super scary – almost as scary as being stuck in a corn maze with a toddler tantrum. FML.

So needless to say we hightailed it out of that maze and played on some kiddy games for a while. She went through a rope maze, climbed bales of hay, scooted through tunnels, and then sat on top of a giant tire.

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All in all, it was a pretty great day at the farm! We had lots of fun, and came home with more apples than I know what to do with. I gave a bunch away and still have too many. It’s like I was temporarily insane and forgot that I’m lazy and unambitious and that all of these apples would just lead to work. I’ll have to do some baking, or they’ll go to waste. Sigh. Stupid Momma.

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Time to get creative. I’ve you have any “lazy mom” recipes that involve using up a crap ton of apples, I’m all ears. Anything that takes too much effort will be promptly ignored.

I’ll be trying to up my frequency of posts again soon, I just need to get some pain relief so I can sit for long enough to write.

xo

(ps – did you vote for me on Top Mommy Blogs? It won’t take away my pain, but it will make me smile! Just click on the image to the right – one click = one vote!)

21

The wait is over – Motherhood Confessionals!

I’d like to start off this post by thanking all of the Mama’s who put their guard down and submitted Motherhood Confessions to me for this blog post. I quite literally couldn’t have done it without you!

I know I normally try to take a funny stance on my posts, but sometimes more serious posts are necessary. Like this one, for example. I read all the time about Moms who think they are failures and think they aren’t living up to the standards a “good Mom” should be able to achieve. What we don’t realize, is that we are all good Moms who are just way too hard on ourselves.

One of the Mum’s brave enough to submit some confessions eloquently described why I felt this was important. I’m including what the awesome Mama from Momma Needs Coffee wrote to me about submitting confessions (with her permission to do so, of course).

“I am really glad How to Ruin a Toddler’s Day decided to run this. I am always stressing out about the ways I think I am failing and trying to find ways to make myself better. I was going to write about a specific time when I felt like I had failed, but I realized that it was the day to day things that stress me out more than the one time occurrences. I realized that there might be some other mom’s out there who feel equally guilty while they are confessing things, even if it’s only to themselves. I needed to forgive myself for not being perfect. And at the end of the day, I am not failing at all. Why? Because my kids are happy, healthy and most importantly: LOVED.”

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Before I post the confessions, I would like to again stress that these are completely anonymous and posted in a random mixed up order. I’ve also put one or two in there of my own that I needed to get off my chest. If we learn anything from this post, I hope it is that we are all good parents, no matter how much we feel we might be failing. We all go through ups and downs, highs and lows, and moments of immense frustration. It doesn’t make us bad Mums – it makes us normal ones!

So without further ado, onto the confessions!

  • At my daughter’s first Christmas, we had to go to multiple family members homes to make the visiting rounds. With a baby less than 3 months old, and very little sleep that night, I was plain exhausted. We didn’t leave my father in law’s home that night until after 11pm to head home. My partner fell asleep in the car, and I was driving. It was a 45 minute commute. Thirty minutes into the drive, my baby started to cry uncontrollably. I pulled over 15 minutes away from home, and went to check on her in the back seat. Her winter hat had fallen off of her head and was completely covering her face which lead me to panic. But that wasn’t the worst part. She had fallen asleep at my father in laws house, so I put her in the car seat to sleep on the floor with a blanket tucking her in. When we packed her up for the drive, we must have forgotten to remove the blanket to be sure she was strapped in – she wasn’t. We drove 30 minutes on a highway with her in the carseat, but without being strapped in. I strapped her in and cried for the 15 minutes remaining in the drive, and then cried myself to sleep that night. I was a new Mom, and I’d failed at keeping her safe.
  • There have been times when I have left the kids in a diaper that I know is wet because I am preoccupied with something else. Not something important. Something like a game on Facebook, or reading a book.
  • I have plopped my kid in front of the TV so I could write more, I’ve hid in the laundry room to eat a chocolate bar while inconspicuously wiping the residue off of my face as I casually walk out, I’ve bribed and threatened all in one sentence…but one other thing I do feel bad about and need to work harder to stop is being on my damn iPhone. It has so many apps that notify me of things and being a lover of instant gratification and validation, I check them immediately, if possible, rather than waiting until free opportunities. WordPress has me bad…I love that damn notification sound. I don’t check FB very much on it, but definitely check texts and WordPress when they notify me. Both kids know how to work the phone from seeing me. When my daughter says something about me being on my phone, I say that I am scheduling playdates and activities for her and her brother..which is partly true and partly a lie. I’m doing that but also checking in to see what new comment just came to my post. So, there you have it. I spend too much time on my iPhone. Now that I’ve confessed, I may have to make an effort to stop.
  • I’ve yelled at my newborn asking him what his problem was on a few occasions (all the while knowing that I was the one with the problem because, y’know, the crying baby is crying because it’s the only way he knows how to communicate).
  • I keep “fast food” in the house for days when I am too lazy to put any real effort into cooking a meal. Frozen waffles, chicken nuggets in a box, a bag of fries, corn dogs. I tend to go through these pretty fast, even though I normally enjoy cooking.
  • One Christmas I was given some Lindt chocolates. You know the really yummy red balls. Whenever I ate one I’d give the kids a cheap Walmart foil wrapped chocolate. When I ran out of cheap chocolates I’d sneak eating my special yummy chocolates so I didn’t have to share with the kids. One day I got caught eating one and the kids wanted some, so I lied and told them I couldn’t share because these chocolates have alcohol in them. Lol Oops!
  • I’ve let my son cry in his crib “just one more minute” to “see if he can sort himself out” more than once in the middle of the night.
  • I snap at the kids. I lose my patience. More often than I want to admit to. I try not to, but I do.
  • I’ve been careless enough that my son ended up doing a face plant off the couch and onto the floor.
  •  I too, sometimes wait to see if the baby and the toddler with self soothe, partially because I’m tired and I really don’t want to get out of bed. I’m also guilty of the pajamas until three o’clock, potato chips as a meal, and toys when they really don’t deserve them because they have been misbehaving but everyone in the store is staring at me like I’m the world’s worst mother if I don’t buy them, offenses.
  • I love my kid more than life itself, and wouldn’t change having her in my life for anything. But sometimes I really miss life before her – things like sleeping till noon, making last minute spontaneous plans with my girlfriends, and generally being able to put myself first for anything. I love her, but I miss my “before” life.
  • Sometimes I wish I could go back to when I didn’t have kids. When I could sleep whenever I wanted. Eat when I wanted. Have extra money. Not have to wonder if I remembered to put the wipes into the diaper bag when we are out and catch a whiff of something unpleasant.
  • When my son was a little baby – about 3 months old – I went out for a few Xmas drinks with friends. I left a couple of bottles with daddy – one for the middle of the night wake up and one for the morning even though I’d be back. Anyway, my son just would not take the middle of the night one. There was no way I could feed him either. I’d had quite a bit to drink. We ended up just pouring just a little down his throat from a cup. He finally settled and went back to sleep. When he woke up for his morning feed he just refused the bottle again and screamed and screamed and screamed. With the calculations from the breastfeeding website, based on what I drank the night before I felt I still had about another hour to go before my breast milk would be 100% alcohol free but he just wouldn’t stop crying and in the end I fed him. He had a big sleep after that feed, I’ll never forget it, and I stood over him virtually the whole time as I was terrified I’d made him drunk. To be clear, I hadn’t had a drink for something like 7 hours, but still, it was worrying for me.
  • I love my daughter, but sometimes other people’s kids really annoy me.
  • I’ve gotten annoyed with my son because he was being needy and I just wanted to read one more post.
  • I sometimes sneak money out of my kids piggy banks when we are getting low on cash before pay day.
  • Forgetting baby wipes. I have done this. Numerous times. And not noticed until I had the diaper off one of them and no way to get anything. I used a receiving blanket and threw it out. When the baby spit up…I used the spare clothes that were in the diaper bag to wipe her and I up.
  • I’ve “not noticed” a few dirty/wet diapers so that my partner would have to change them.
  • I turn the TV on for the kids almost every day so I can lie on the couch and cat nap. I need it. I can’t function otherwise.
  • Sometimes I pretend to be asleep when the baby wakes up in the middle of the night in the hopes my husband will hear her and wake up to deal with her. If he doesn’t hear her, I’ll “nudge” him awake so that he does.
  • I cry a lot and wonder how other Moms do it. I don’t tell my friends that I’m having a hard time dealing with being a new Mom because I’m afraid it will make me look like a bad Mom. So I cry to myself.
  • I’ve told my daughter that her lunch/dinner is actually called “cake” or “cookie” just because I know if I use those words to describe her meal, she’ll eat it.
  • I sometimes feel resentful towards my partner for not doing as much to look after our child as I do.

 

That’s all I received for confessions from all of you lovely, amazing, spectacular Moms. I’m sure most of us can relate to one, if not all of the confessions on this blog post. And if we’ve learned anything from relating to these confessions it’s that we’re all in the same boat. We’re all Moms. We all struggle, we are all forgetful, but above all else, we all LOVE with every inch of our hearts. That is the most important common factor.

So let’s focus on the love, and not the failures. Because after all, we aren’t the first or last Mom to feel that way.

Xo.

(PS – Don’t forget to click to vote for me on Top Mommy Blogs – just click on that fancy button on the right hand side of my blog. One click = one vote!)

1

Motherhood Confessionals – Last Call!

Do you make your kids eat a healthy breakfast, while you yourself scarf down a doughnut?

Do you ever hide when eating candy or a chocolate bar so you don’t have to share with your kids?

Do you ever plunk your kids in front of the TV so you can get a 30 minute cat nap on the couch?

Have you ever been out and had your kid have a major diaper blowout, only to realize you forgot to pack extras?

Did have difficulty bonding with your child from the beginning?

Mother’s never talk about how they’ve messed up, the shortcuts they take to get through the day, their secret shames, their failures or their breakdowns. Here’s the thing though…we all go through it on some level or another. Nobody is perfect, no matter how much they try to make you think they are.

I truly believe that we as Moms are too hard on ourselves and need to stop putting so much pressure on ourselves. In case you haven’t heard of my proposed “Motherhood Confessionals” post, I’m planning to post ANONYMOUS confessions sent in my Moms (or Dads!) so that we can all read them and say “Hey, I’m normal. Everybody goes through stuff like this, and it isn’t anything to be ashamed of!”.

I’m hoping to start writing it and putting it together on Thursday September 12th, so this would be your last call to submit a confession. It can be anything – big, small, funny, shameful, embarrassing, stressful, etc.

All of the confessions will be posted in a random order, and completely anonymously so there is no way to be able to see who sent what. If you’ve put in anything I think would be an identifier (Ex. if on your blog you always refer to your child as “Moon Pie”, and that name was included in your confession I will edit that to say “Child/son/daughter” to make it less identifiable).

So this is it – last call for confessions! I’d love to have a big selection to choose from, so please I’d love it if you contributed. You can contact me on the Suggestions/Ideas section of my blog, or by private message on How to Ruin a Toddler’s Day on Facebook.

Thank you so much to everyone who has contributed so far. Imagine how great it will feel to read these and realize you’re completely normal, and doing an amazing job!

 

9

Motherhood confessionals…the proposal

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Last night, I was a bad Mom. I’m going to partially blame it on a new medication I’m on that has left me anxious, irritable, kind of depressed and snappy. (I have an appointment on Thursday to get off of this medication, as it isn’t really working for its intended purpose anyway).

This medication has shortened my emotional fuse immensely, and because of it I snapped at L.

L didn’t want to eat her dinner last night. She spit in on the floor a few times, and pursed her lips tightly closed in refusal to eat. More than once I said rather loudly to the fiance “I’m so done with her! I can’t take her anymore!”. Then when she was still whining and complaining I did the worst. I got right in her face and raised my voice too loudly and harshly and said “That’s ENOUGH! STOP IT!”, all while pointing my pointer finger out right in her face nearly touching her nose.

Instantly I felt regret. Instantly I felt like a failure to her. Instantly, she cried. Not just any cry…an afraid cry. She didn’t understand why Mommy was yelling, and didn’t understand why I was so angry. After all, this isn’t the first dinner time fight we’ve had, but it is the first time I lost my cool.

To be honest, I don’t really understand what made me so angry either.

How could I have done that? That is not my personality. That is not me. I later broke down completely in my bedroom (poor fiance trying unsuccessfully to console me) feeling like I’d failed her as a mother. My bedsheets had a puddle of my tears stained on them. I know that my losing my patience did nothing to better the situation. She still didn’t want to eat supper, only now Mommy was scary, too. I need to get off of this medication…

(I will add that 5 minutes later, I knelt down to her level and apologized to her. I told her she didn’t deserve to be spoken to that way and that Mommy was wrong and sorry. We hugged and kissed it out, and the two of us were good for the rest of the night).

This is way worse than the times I’ve forgotten to pack her a change of clothes when she was younger and she had baby poop explosions all over the one outfit I had for her. It’s way worse than the times I’ve left her in her pyjamas all day at home because Mommy was too lazy to get either of us dressed for the day (all day PJ parties!). And it’s way worse than the time I let her cry in her crib just “one more minute” to see if she’d soothe herself back to sleep because I really didn’t want to get out of bed.

Then it got me thinking. None of us are perfect, right? We all must have some secret confessions we want to make.

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So here is my proposal – I want to do a blog post called “Motherhood confessionals”, where I can anonymously share some of our weaker moments. Something you forgot to do, something that makes you feel like you’ve failed, something that you do to get by day to day (like drink wine after the kids go to sleep).

If you’ve got a confession to share, just contact me under my “Suggestions/About” area, and let me know your confession. I will not post your name or blog URL to your confession (unless you’ve given me permission to do so).

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I think it would be a great way for all of us Mom’s to see that nobody is perfect, we aren’t alone in our struggles or our failures, and that life does indeed go on.

Hopefully this will work out and we’ll end up with a great (anonymous) confessional post. Oh and Dad’s – if you have a secret confession please feel free to share it as well. Would love to hear from both sides!

15

Let’s play a game called “Did it make her cry?”

That’s right folks. It’s game time again!

This time the game is called “Did it make her cry?”. So basically I’m going to throw out a real scenario, and you have to guess if my sweet little L cried, or didn’t cry. Let me know how many you got right in the comments section. The winner will get….well nothing. Unless you count pure satisfaction, and the knowledge that you are a toddler expert a prize, then by all means you’re the top banana!

Here we go!!!!

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1) After climbing onto our coffee table/ottoman, L forgot she was near the edge and leaned back. This resulted in a surprise fall flat onto her back with a bonk on the head (complete with deflated ego). Did she cry?

2) When Mommy went to pee, L had to be in the bathroom, too. I mean of course she did. What Mom gets to pee alone? But when Mommy was done peeing she flushed the toilet and L didn’t get to wave “bye bye” to Mommy’s pee. Did she cry?

3) Daddy took L to the park! She ran and ran and ran away from Daddy. She ran so fast into the bicycle path, that she fell and scraped her knees and Daddy had to scoop her up and away from the bike path into safety. Did she cry?

4) Looking backwards while running forwards meant that L ran head first into the dining room table. There’s a bruise now. Did she cry?

5) While watching Dora the explorer (Uggh I hate that show), the map came on to show Dora where to go. Did she cry?

6) While watching Daddy play a game, she saw zombies and dragons and monsters. Did she cry?

7) Mommy told L that she couldn’t bring all of her stuffies into the tubby with her. Did she cry?

8) L watched Daddy writhing in pain after she elbow dropped him in the guts while he was lying on the floor. Did she cry?

9) L asked Mommy for some juice. Mommy gave her some juice. Did she cry?

10) Daddy put on his shoes, but then sat in the chair. Did she cry?

Those are the questions to be pondered. Get into your little toddler brains and try and figure out what happened. Are you ready for the answers? Here goes!

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1) After falling off of the coffee table, L rolled over and looked at Mama and said “hahahaha uh oh”. She proceeded to get back up onto the table. You could then see she was seriously considering “falling off” again to see if it was funny a second time. Mommy put a stop to that. So the correct answer is: Did not cry. Will also accept: Future in physical comedy.

2) When L couldn’t wave goodbye to Mommy’s pee, mayhem ensued. Mommy clearly didn’t realize that she had an emotional bond to the urine, and taking away the ability to say goodbye to something so special has left her emotionally scarred. Mommy couldn’t bring back the pee….well at least not for an hour or two. So L cried, and cried, and cried some more. So the correct answer is: Cried. Will also accept: Needs a new “special friend”.

3) After running away from Daddy, falling in the bicycle path and scraping up both knees, L didn’t cry. However, when Daddy scooped her up to move her to safety (away from the bikers), L lost her cool. Nobody can tell that wild spirit of mine what she can and cannot do. So the correct answer is: Trick question! Didn’t cry from the injury, did cry because she lost her independence.

4) The bonk in the head caused by looking backwards while running forwards into the dining room table resulted in an obviously fake, attention seeking, no real tears cry. It wasn’t real, and after 5 seconds when she realized the world hadn’t ended, she laughed and continued her running race around the house. So the correct answer is: Didn’t cry. Will also accept: “And the Oscar goes to…”

5) That map on Dora is almost as creepy as Dora herself. No wonder she cries when he comes on the screen and runs away! The correct answer is: Cried. Will also accept: I cried, too.

6) She may cry when she watches Dora the Explorer, but show her a zombie, monster or dragon and she’s in her element! She does the best zombie impression in the world, and runs around pretending to be a dragon. My kid is the coolest! The correct answer is: Hell no she didn’t cry, she knows where it’s at!

7) When Mommy said the stuffies couldn’t come in the tubby, all hell broke loose. The tubby was the enemy at that point, and she’s a fighter. She would not get in the tub, and when we finally got her in, she stiffened every muscle in protest and refused to sit down. She had a “standing up” tubby that night, and the water level doubled in height by the time we were done with her crocodile tears. So the correct answer is: Cried. Mommy doesn’t understand that stuffies need tubbies, too.

8) After elbow dropping Daddy in the guts, L thought his pain was hilarious. She proceeded to elbow drop him a few more times, gently sit slam down on his belly, and slide down to the floor like Daddy is a human jungle gym. Apparently to L, pain is funny. So the correct answer is: L didn’t cry, but we can’t necessarily say the same for Daddy.

9) Mommy gave her the juice she asked for, but she cried anyway. Mommy still isn’t quite sure why. Maybe she filled up the cup too much? Maybe she used the “wrong” cup? Maybe she had planned to cry regardless of what Mommy did? Who knows. So the correct answer is: Cried. Will also accept: Messing with Mommy’s head is fun.

10) Daddy put on his shoes, then sat down in a chair. He didn’t immediately scoop up L and take her out for a walk or for a ride in the car. Can you see the potential problem? Lack of instant gratification! The correct answer is: Cried. Will also accept: It’s our own fault for looking more ready to leave the house than we were.

Thanks for playing! How many did you get right?

Don’t forget to like How to Ruin a Toddler’s Day on Facebook! 🙂

11

The Field Guide to Visiting a New, First Time Mom.

I was so flattered to be asked to guest blog over at Modern Man of the Cloth, for my post entitled “What a New Mom Wants from You“. This post was mainly directed towards the Father figure/partner in the Mom’s life. I really enjoyed writing things from that perspective, and was very appreciative of the offer to guest post for him. As a result of that post, I got another amazing offer.

The wonderful Mama from Mama Miller Parenting contacted me with a great idea. Why not have the two of us collaborate to come up with a two part blog post, covering what a new mom wants from friends/family who visit after a new baby is born? I would cover “The Field Guide to Visiting a New, First Time Mom”, while she (a soon to be Mama of three) would cover “The Field Guide to Visiting a New, Veteran Mom”. Two different views, from two different women. I jumped at the idea, and wrote her almost immediately with scattered thoughts and ideas.(I shamefully admit she seems much more organized than I do when it comes to blogging).

Be sure you pop over to read her take on things here: “The Field Guide to Visiting a New, Veteran Mom“.

1) Call before you pop over for a visit.

I get it. There’s a new baby and everyone wants to meet her/hold her/fawn over her. As a new Mama, she wants everyone to fawn over her baby, too. But she also would like to have notice that she should put on a bra, some clothes that aren’t covered in baby puke/shit, shower (since she likely hasn’t in a few days and smells like be aforementioned baby puke/shit mixed with the stench of hormonal changes we experience post-birth as mentioned here). Plus, do you know what she hasn’t had time to do lately? Clean. At least not to her prior standards. So yes, a call would be nice, with at least a couple of hours notice.

2) When you come over, surprise her with something she just might need.

She likely hasn’t fed herself properly all day (or all week for that matter), hasn’t had a chance to run to the store, and is running low on both the essentials and her sanity. Not sure what to surprise her with? Here are a few ideas: Her favourite coffee/tea, some basic groceries (think a loaf of bread and some milk), her favourite chocolate bar or snack, a rotisserie cooked chicken from the grocery store so she has one part of dinner looked after. Heck, if you’re SUPER close to her, pick her up some hemorrhoid cream, overnight maxi pads, or lanolin cream for her surely cracked and bleeding nipples. As tempting as it is, DO NOT BRING HER FLOWERS. It’s just one more thing she has to look after (which is the last thing she needs) and they will likely suffer a quick death.

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3) Do not make any comments on her appearance.

If you have called and given appropriate notice and she still looks/smells less than stellar, don’t say anything. Sway away from comments like “Oh you look exhausted!”, or “I’ve never seen you without makeup” and especially “Are those maternity pants you’re still wearing?”. You’re lucky she even managed to get up and answer the door for you, so shut up and focus on the precious baby. PS – the same advice goes for the state of her house. Pretend you don’t notice the mess. If you do notice it, and it bothers you that much, she’d much rather have you clean it than hear your opinions about it.

4) Keep your visit short.

She’s tired, and likely not really up for entertaining. Don’t hold it against her if she forgets to offer you a drink or take your coat. If she keeps looking at her watch, don’t take offense. She’s probably caught up with trying to remember the last time the baby was fed or pooped. Don’t overstay your welcome, unless you plan to be helping out around the house.

5) If you’re sick, don’t come.

Even if it’s just a little sniffle. A new baby is susceptible to germs, and the effects on a tiny human are much greater than on an adult body. If you’re even the slightest bit sick, or have been making out with a sick person, or even breathing the same air as a sick person, postpone your visit. It is not worth the health of the baby, and the mother doesn’t want to be the bad guy who says “You’re sick? Sorry you can’t hold the baby”. On the same note, if you do come over to visit please wash your hands before handling the kid. It might sound like overkill to you, but it’s just plain smart and respectful.

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6) Can it with the unsolicited advice.

If she’s asked you for your thoughts, opinions or suggestions by all means advise away. But if she hasn’t asked, don’t offer. She might not be perfect yet, but she has to learn about her child’s cues all on her own, and she will. Both she and the baby are new to this, and they are learning together.

One great example of this is how she chooses to feed her baby. If she is breastfeeding/bottle feeding, she doesn’t need your advice on why the other choice is better. She’s made her decision so just support her in it. If she is breastfeeding and is having difficulty with it (as I did), she does not need to be inundated with 6,537 pieces of advice on things to try, stuff to take, etc. Chances are if she’s made this decision she has already been in touch with her doctor, a public health nurse or a lactation consultant for information. Hearing over and over and over about other things to try and how it was “easy” for this person because they did “this”, just makes her feel even more stressed out. And guess what? Being stressed makes breastfeeding EVEN HARDER!

Again, the best rule of thumb is to keep it to yourself unless she asks for your advice.

7) Don’t tell her that her birth must have been easy.

It’s the question that always follows meeting a new baby. People want to know how the birth went. It’s fine to ask, and most Mama’s I know don’t mind telling their birth story at all. Just don’t follow up with things like “Oh your birth was only 20 hours? I wish! Mine was 53 hours!”. Seriously. Whether it was 1 hour, 20 hours, or 53 hours – it all is painful and it all sucks. Don’t try to minimize what she went through or felt. Empathize, share your story if you like, but don’t tell her what she went through was “easy” in comparison. Nothing about giving birth is easy. We’re all just as tough as the other to have gone through what we did, no matter the process, length of time, or outcome.

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8) Don’t complain about how tired you are in front of her.

I’m sure some of you are wondering if that’s really necessary to include, but it is. Trust me. I came off of a 47 hour labour and delivery, followed by nearly a week in the hospital with a baby who was really jaundiced, so I wasn’t sleeping most of those nights either out of sheer worry for the health of my baby. The second or third night I was home, I got a phone call from someone. We chatted for a bit, and they then complained to me about how tired they were because the neighbours had a party till 1am the night before. They only got to sleep from 1am till 9am, so they were “exhausted”. Looking back, I honestly don’t know why I didn’t tell them to stuff it and then hang up the phone. I probably should have. So yes, just don’t even bring it up as a topic of conversation. It won’t end well.

9) Offering to babysit.

I’m torn on this one. Since my girl is a toddler now, I’m all for having people babysit her (family at least). But when she was first born I was literally overwhelmed by the number of people that offered to babysit for me. Some of these people I wasn’t even close with, and the thought of leaving her with these people sent me into panic attacks. Heck, the first time I decided to leave her with my own mother so my fiance and I could go to a movie, it took me 45 minutes to leave the house, I hyperventilated a bit, checked my phone every 5 minutes and cried. So chances are if she hasn’t come right out and asked you if you’d be willing to babysit in the future, you are best served finding another way to help.

Need some suggestions? Offer to come over and sit long enough for her to shower or take a one hour power nap (she might feel less anxious about leaving the baby if she knows she’s still under the same roof). If you’re close enough, and she’s comfortable with letting you, offer to come over and help her with the dishes or the laundry that is piling up. Heck, if you’re rolling in the dough and you want to gift her the ultimate help, buy her a maid/cleaning service for the first month she is home with the new baby.

10) If she’s coming to visit you, remember to greet her as well as the baby.

It takes a lot for a new Mom to get it together enough to trek to your place for a visit. She has to think if she’s got enough diapers, wipes, changes of clothes, toys, etc. Chances are she is paranoid and has grossly over packed her bag, which makes it ridiculously awkward to carry around. She probably had to start getting ready 2-3 hours before her time of arrival just to be sure she got there on time. So when she gets there and hears “Oh there she is! Look at that sweet little one. We’ve been waiting for you to get there!”, then sees that you’ve whisked away the baby into the house and left her at the doorstep alone, it is kind of a slap in the face. She put in the effort to come see you, the least you could do is acknowledge her existence as well. It happened to me more than once, and left me feeling like the person couldn’t care less that I took the time to come see them. Yes, we all know the new baby is the star of the show. But don’t leave the new Mama feeling like she’s invisible.

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11) If she’s breastfeeding, be aware that she might be modest.

I was never really a super modest person, so this wasn’t as big an issue for me as it can be for some. Breastfeeding for a new Mom is hard. Likely at first, it is hard to tell if baby is latched properly unless you can physically see that your nipple is going in the baby’s mouth correctly. This makes nursing with a cover difficult for a new Mom (until she’s got the hang of things). Also, every new Mom I know has one particular “spot” in the house that is her comfort zone for nursing. Don’t know what I mean? Think of Sheldon and his “spot” on the Big Bang Theory. This spot is sometimes essential for a relaxed Mama and a successful feeding. Maybe that spot for her is in her chair, smack dab in the middle of her living room. Be aware that there is potential for her feeling modest about exposing her breast. If it is time for a feed, it is perfectly fine for you to ask the Mama if she’s comfortable with you being in the same room while she feeds, or if she would prefer privacy. For me, I didn’t care and just fed my kid. I felt if they were uncomfortable seeing my boob that was their problem, not mine. For some new Mom’s, however, it could be a make it or break it situation as far as feeding goes.

12) Don’t complain to her about how she’s “changed”.

Becoming a Mom changes you. Hot pants are traded in for sweat pants. Make up caked on your face is traded in for baby food caked on your face. Vacations with the girls down south are traded in for escaping to the grocery store by yourself. Is it a complete change? Yes. Does she miss some of her life from before? Probably some aspects of it, yes. Would she trade in her kid for any of it? Never. Complaining to her about how she isn’t fun anymore since she’s become a Mom is a surefire way to ruin your friendship. Her kid will always take precedence over a friend who doesn’t “get it”.

So, if you’re a Mama to be and are worried some people won’t follow the not so subtle hints I’ve written in the Field Guide to Visiting a New, First Time Mom, feel free to forward this along to them. It might save you the trouble of looking like a crazy person (I’ll gladly look like that person for you). If you have any other points to add, feel free to leave them in the comments section!

And don’t forget to visit part two of this post – The Field Guide to Visiting a New, Veteran Mom written by Mama Miller Parenting.

Be sure to like How to Ruin a Toddler’s Day on Facebook!

10

My second guest post – What a new Mom wants from you.

I’m so thrilled to have my second guest post up and published – and even more thrilled that I was invited to do so from a blogger who writes from a Daddy perspective, rather than a Mommy one. I find it refreshing to read things that come from life at a different angle than I’m experiencing myself. Plus, he’s from the same area I’m from, so we’re supporting “local” if you would. 🙂

The Blog post is entitled “What a new Mom wants from you”.

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It’s stuff I think we all want, but might not feel like saying because we’re afraid to admit we need help, want support, or can’t do it all on our own. I’d love you to take a peek and share your thoughts!!

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So follow the link, and head on over to Modern Man of the Cloth’s blog, to read the guest post featuring yours truly!
xoxo

 

16

“Sweetie, please don’t touch my boobs in public.”

Success Kid

The time has come. My daughter is obsessed with my boobs.

She’s learned all of her body parts and can identify them on command. But as of today, she seems to be enamoured by my breasts.

It started this morning when I was buckling her into her car seat. As I was leaning in to make sure her belt was tight enough, she touched my right boob. At least by going for the right one, she went for the one that still has some oomph left and isn’t deflated and flaccid after my breastfeeding days. (On a side note, did you know flaccid was spelled with a double “c”? I’m usually quite good at spelling, but I actually was taken back when my typed “flacid” was shown as spelled incorrectly. Learn something new every day!). She used one little finger, touched it, looked up at me and said “That?”. Fair enough. I’m fairly well endowed, so it’s not something I can hide or camouflage easily. All I could think was that it was best to be matter of fact about it.

Me: “That’s Mummy’s boob”.

L: (pointing again) “That?” – I guess she’s looking for confirmation. We learned her other body parts by repeating.

Me: “It’s a boob sweetie”.

I didn’t think much more of it, got into the front of my car and drove her to my Mother’s for the day. At my mothers, she did the same thing when I was in my Mom’s kitchen. She again, touched my boob and said “That?”. I don’t think there’s a point in not telling her what it is, so I answered again. “It’s a boob”.

I don’t know if she obsessed upon it for the remainder of the day while I was at work. However, after work, while shopping for a new computer monitor (Yay! I can actually see what I’m typing now – our old monitor was shite!), she reached up from the shopping cart. I had a feeling what was going to happen, but I had her half-eaten banana in one hand, and my purse in the other, while trying to push the cart. She didn’t just point this time. She took advantage of my full hands, and full on grabbed. Actually, she didn’t even stop at a grab. She “petted” my boob and said “Oooohh!”.

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Oh for God’s sake. You haven’t been breastfed or seen a boob since we stopped breastfeeding, and that was 15 months ago. Why all of a sudden are you caressing me in public!

Queue me dropping my purse on the ground, shoving the peeled banana inside (yeah that was fun to clean off of my wallet later), and trying to distract her as quickly as possible. What’s nearby? My fiance is looking at electronics, and there’s some DVD’s – quick! “Here L, look! It’s Strawberry Shortcake!”.

Success found in pink, cartoony, animated goodness.

It’s not that I am ashamed of my breasts, or don’t understand that curiosity is a natural thing. I was just taken so off guard by the sudden caressing, with the “Oooooh!” and the people staring at me.

I wonder how long this phase is going to last…

 

 

11

“Will you ever say Mama? No? Do you hate me?”

My sweet little L is 20 months old.

At 9 months old, she said “Dada” for the first time. She loved saying Dada, all the time. Still does. We tried from that point on to get her to say “Mama”. She’s stubborn that one, and a little bit mean. Our conversations would go like this:

Me: “L – who is that?” (pointing at her Dad)

L: “Dada!!!!!” – with so much enthusiasm you’d think she just won the Stanley Cup.

C (fiance): “L – who is that? (pointing at me).

L: (A big devilish grin) – shakes her head “no”.

Fast forward a little bit, and they slightly changed.

Me: “L, who is that?”

L: “Dada”

Me: “What does a _______ say?” (Insert cow, dog, cat, monkey, frog, snake, duck, horse, bird, lion, etc. – she knows them all!)

L: She would answer any of the above correctly and with enthusiasm.

Me: “L, can you say Mama?”

L: Looks at me, devilish grin, and says “Dada”.

Uggh. I mean seriously what does a Mom have to do to get a “Mama” in this house? I feed you, bathe you, read to you, play with you, change your poopy diapers, etc. (Granted, Dad does those things too, but come on!). Then that little sly grin and saying Dada. It’s like she knew it was slowly breaking my heart that from ages 9 months to 20 months (that’s a whole damn 11 months!) I kept longing to hear that word, and she thought it was hilarious that I was getting depressed about it. She would actually laugh after saying “Dada” and seeing my face. What a nice girl I have.

I am pleased to say though, that Sunday night, after 11 months of heartbreak, my daughter said “Mama”. I was having the worst day. Just all around awful, but not worth getting into details over. So I’m lying on the couch just counting down the minutes until bedtime, when she’s trying to get my attention. I’m so out of it (not due to a fault of my own) so I’m only half paying attention. Then I hear it…. “Mama!!!”.

She didn’t just say it – she shrieked it. With a smile, and a running jumping hug, and a cuddle with an “Awww” attached to it.

The girl who was breaking my heart for 11 months, just made my entire life with one word.

Now she won’t stop saying it.

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I might regret longing for this down the road.