Wednesday, September 29, 2010

To nap or not to nap...

I've been quizzing all my fellow moms out there lately about just when their toddler gave up their afternoon nap. After a few months of bedtime worries - fighting Maddie to go to sleep by 8pm, dealing with a thousand requests after she's actually in bed, listening to her play around and read to herself in her room sometimes up until 9:30pm - I finally realized, huh, perhaps she's getting ready to give up her afternoon nap.

Thing is - I'm not so sure I'm ready for her to give up her afternoon nap. That time is precious to me. During the week, with her coming home from daycare after lunch, it means that I still get a few hours just with Katie. Whether that's spent eating lunch, doing errands around the house or just napping myself - it's still On the weekend (and non-daycare days like Friday) it gives us a bit of a break after a full morning of toddler energy.

I like that break. I need that break.

I'm told if she gave up her afternoon nap, she'd likely start going down in the evening much earlier (like 7-ish) - but really? That only gives me an extra hour in the evening. And it would mean she would see her daddy for approximately 30-45 minutes every weekday.

Ah.... nope. That's not for us. To be honest, she's stopped with the full-on-body-attack-refusal of bedtime that she was giving us during the summer. And I really don't give a damn if she sits and reads to herself between 8-9pm. She's not coming out of her room. She's not requiring me to read beyond my requisite 1-2 stories per evening. She's just sitting up reading to herself until she gets sleepy. Not the worst thing in the world...

However, she has started doing this at naptime as well (to the point where I have to go up and sternly tell her "that's the last story - go to SLEEP"), so I can see how we may be transitioning to a couple of hours of just "quiet" time in the afternoon. BUT when she does finally fall asleep, she's down for a solid few hours and I'm usually having to wake her up at 4pm. So I'm just not convinced she's ready to give up that rest period.

So yes - this is me - resisting change. Fighting for the afternoon naps to stick with us for a little bit longer. Fighting tooth and bloody nail to keep that "me time".


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Three Months

Dear Katie,

Three months - you are a big girl already! I can't believe that our year is a quarter of the way over - and yet you still feel so new to me.

I love that you're still a little cuddle monster - you love being in my arms and I love snuggling with you while your sister is at daycare. We've got our daily routine down now - while Maddie is in daycare in the mornings we either run errands or do things around the house while you doze in the sling or sometimes we just sit and watch bad tv for an hour or so. It feels a bit lazy but I know the days where you'll just be happy to chill in my arms is fleeting and so I'm greedily taking advantage of it and screw the housework.

We started Pilates this month - you love it as long as you're down in the action. Meaning on the mat, watching me quiver with exertion while my poor stomach muscles beg me to stop. You find this hilarious and coo and smile at me constantly.

You really have started interacting with us - including Daddy - which is nice, because he was feeling left out there for a while. You love to talk and given any sideways glance you start cooing and owwwing and waving your arms energetically looking for some attention.

Oh the tightrope of guilt I walk whilst I give one of you attention and the other is doing handstands trying to tear my attention over their way... This too I know is fleeting and soon it will be me trying to get your attention while you and your sister play off in your own little world, so I'm okay with feeling pulled in so many directions right now. It's nice to be popular...

What else can I tell you about your life as it is at 3 months? You are chilled - much less angry and grumpy and snorty and groany than when you entered the world. You're happy as long as you're in on the action, sitting in the bouncy chair being a spectator to the goings on. You have a million and a half smiles for me and for your sister - and just this month you are so down with your Daddy and his attention too.

And the sleep ... damn it's good. You sleep like I never realized a baby could sleep. Why is this? Is it because we put you in the crib from the first month? Is it because I'm more relaxed and have let you fuss a bit longer to give you the ability to lull yourself back to sleep? Or is it because you are YOU. Your own little person and where Maddie struggled you just champion through? No clue - but I love it. You're usually in bed between 8:30-9pm and you sleep anywhere from 4:30 to 6:30 ... and then back down again for another 2-3 hours. I actually wake up more because of other silly things like poor bladder capacity than because of you. And the daytime sleep is amazing as well - you always take at least a shorter nap of about an hour and a longer nap of 2 hours or more.

Really, I feel like I'm bragging - but if you went back and read about my sleep obsession with your sister at this age, you'd understand...

So that's you - an attentive, chilled little cuddle-monkey that sleeps through the night like it ain't no big thang... Squawking only to get some attention every once in a while and giving most strangers the crook eye to really make them work for a smile.

I like your style already lady...


I'm glad this got to be my next post after the last. It's hard to feel normal about being flippant and writing about everyday nuances of life when everything is so changed. There's guilt about acting like everything is normal and there's guilt about not acting like everything is normal... This weekend is the memorial service and I'm looking forward to being surrounded by family and getting some closure. Thank you for all the thoughtful notes - I know I've been extra quiet, but it's been very appreciated.

Sunday, September 19, 2010


You taught me how to hammer a nail. Install drywall. Cut miter joints and install trim. I knew how to use a drill before I could drive. Your motto was, "Why pay for it if you can build it?" I'm so glad I got to share with you my most recent project - even if you did laugh at me for using a bowl to make my corners, instead of your proper-angle-measurement method!

I remember winter weekends at the farm. Sledding down the big hill, you always took pity on us and towed our sleds back up the hill with your Arctic Cat so our bodies didn't tire out before our appetite for fun did. Learning how to tap a maple tree - making toffee in the snow - drinking sap for weeks later. I still have the last bottle of maple syrup you gave me in the fridge. You're right - it is so much better than Aunt Jemima.

I remember summers spent in and out of the pool. BBQ'd lunches and dinners. Learning to swim. Learning to catch a baseball. Learning to fish. I was never really any good, but I was always happy to join in on the fun with you and Derek.

You introduced me to Elvis. Roy Orbison. John Fogerty. I remember dancing silly sock hop dances in our basement rec room while the greatest hits of the '50's played on the record player.

You taught me how to train a dog. You taught me how to shoot a gun. You taught me how to plant a vegetable garden. To use a Q-tip to fertilize the cucumber plant so the bounty was plentiful. No, I didn't do that this year. Yes, I'm sure that's why my cucumber plants sucked.

So many things learned and I never said thank you. Perhaps that's the last lesson.

You died last Tuesday and you will be dearly missed.


Thursday, September 9, 2010

A is for Apple

Maddie is learning her ABC's at this new daycare - starting with the obvious... A is for Apple...


Same-same, but different

A girlfriend of mine traveled through Thailand a few years ago, and in her attempt to be as open-minded as possible, tried many of their culinary delights. In one restaurant she was a little trepidatious about what had been set in front of her (and the language barriers made her a little uncertain as to just what she was ordering most times). She asked the waitress, "Is this chicken?" The waitress responded, "Oh yes, chicken. Same-same,, but different." Apparently it was not so much on the "same-same", and a whole lot on the "different". (Don't ask me what it was, I don't think she ever really found out)

When she told a group of us the story, we all howled with laughter, and now "same-same, but different" is part of our everyday vernacular.

Raising a second daughter just two and a half years after my first, I get a lot of "same-same, but different" moments.
  • Walking slowly, quietly up the stairs, with a swaddled bundle in my arms. Her body limp from a voracious feed, eyes fluttering with REM and her little mouth gaping open, breathing her little milk breath onto my arm.
  • The little grunts and sighs and whimpers only the smallest ones make while they sleep fitfully in your arms. Knowing she is close to awakening, I don't bother trying to attempt the crib. Instead, enjoy the feeling, the smell, the warmth of her body snuggled against my chest.
  • The cries - rising in a crescendo - so quickly they get annoyed, frustrated, angry at being left that one minute too long in the bouncy chair, on the playmat, in their crib. Oh the temper in one so tiny.
  • Clenched fists. Enthusiastic little fist pumps. Jerky arm motions that get more and more determined to capture attention.
  • The cross-eyed look of intent concentration while fist is brought to mouth and fingers are chewed on, drooled on.
  • The look of pure joy. Unadulterated, innocent, pure bliss in a baby smile. They smile with their eyes first, and then slowly it spreads down to their cheeks, into a gummy little grin. Is there anything more innocent and pure than a baby's wide grin?
Isn't it incredible how similar babies are? And at the same time totally different? It's like deja vu, but with something a little changed.

Same-same, but different.


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Half days rock my world

Yes, this is another daycare-related post. Yes, I'm sorry in advance as you're probably bored to tears with my daycare drama. But at least this time I'm not whining...

We have been with our new daycare provider for almost a month now - started with a few weeks of full days, but just 3 days a week. Then, as of last week, we switched over to half days. This is supposed to be a pre-school program... I suppose we'll see just how much Maddie actually learns, but at least she's crafting on a regular basis (instead of learning new shows to watch on the Family channel - woot).

So... the half day thing. It's set up like this - Maddie attends from 8am until 12:30pm. Which means she gets lunch at daycare, but doesn't go down for a nap. Instead, I pick her up and she comes straight home and down for a nap immediately.

As IF this is going as well as it is! I didn't want to say (brag) anything last week, in case of jinxing it - but yeah, no fighting, no tears - she comes home and heads straight upstairs to her room for one (yes, really, just one) story and then nap.

Clearly she's getting nice and tired out and this is one of the reasons it's working so well. And perhaps the fact that I'm hardcore not giving in even just once on watching a show before she heads for nap. I just tell her that it's very late and we have to nap now so we can get up and play before dinner.

And so she does.

Sounds deceivingly easy, doesn't it?

And so, this is the new rhythm of our lives. Hubs does daycare drop off, I spend the morning alone with Katie either doing things around the house or running errands, pick up Maddie from daycare and (cross fingers) most days get both girls down for a nap at the same time while I eat lunch and finish whatever task I attempted to get done earlier in the day. Usually? Laundry. Man there's a lot of laundry these days.

A bit anti-climatic after all my posturing and worrying about daycare drama and what we were going to do and nail-biting over the expense and yadda yadda yadda. It all worked out in the end - better than we could have expected.

Doesn't that always seem to be the way?


Monday, September 6, 2010

Katie's Room

Hey! Remember when I droned on and on and on and bloody on about all the cool things I was doing to decorate my new baby girl's nursery? Well looky looky ... it's finally done (and she's only 10 weeks old).

Indulge me while I take you through a walk through...
She's all "Dude - come on in and take a boo around at the room my Slacker Mom finally finished. I'm partial to the pillows as you can probs tell."

The layout of the room and adding a daybed to the mix means that the only spot for the rocker is right here, jammed up against the crib. Not the biggest fan of the aesthetic, but wasn't about to lose the rocker. Also of note in the above pic, my ADORED wainscoting (we used a thin-thin-thin moulding to create the illusion of boxes as I wanted a dainty look in the room - end result is exactly what I had envisioned in my head - which is all kinds of awesome). I especially love the freshness of the white wainscoting against the blue painted walls - with the pops of cherry here and there, which just makes it kind of fun.

I love this rocker. It rocked me as a baby. Has since rocked many hours of Maddie's life in the wee hours. And now it helps me lull my Katiebear back to sleep when I'm not taking the short-cut and just crashing with her in the oh-so-available daybed.

My absolute favourite part of her room. This is a project Maddie and I tackled during our week together before Katie was due. I had purchased a pkg of 10 canvases from Michael's and over the course of a few days, I helped Maddie decorate them all and we chose the top 5 to use as the background for Katie's name. It was a great way to incorporate Maddie's efforts into the room, make her a part of the process and give her something to show off when visitors wanted to view the nursery.

This picture gives about zero credit to how cute this little corner of the room is (blame my photography skills). The little sock kitty on the antique children's chair (that I'm sure is covered in lead paint and is definitely on the project list before Katie can start gnawing on things) and of course my birdcage with my super-easy-to-sew bird softies (pattern courtesy of Spool).

This is my attempt for you to see the lovely birdcage in all it's adorable glory. Aaaaaand, another photography fail...

The bed in all it's glory without a distracting 2 month old to take away from all my fabulous-o pillows. I went a little crazy on fabric purchases (Pink Panda Fabric - it was my addiction) (Also? Ignore the monstrosity white pillows that I made, thinking I'd make some cool rectangular pillows to act almost as arm cushions out of my old bumper pad - they are an example of good idea... POOR execution. But they sit there until I can get up the energy to do more stitch ripping). Oh - and you can also see the wall decals in this pic that I purchased on Etsy the day I found out it was a girl! I think they play off the Amy Butler Lotus-patterned drapes very nicely.

Overall, a success. I love the colour scheme. I love how fresh everything feels. I love how (most of) the projects and small ideas worked out. And hey, she's sleeping in her crib fairly well at night these days (*knocking on wood frantically*) ... so I think she likes it too.

Thanks for indulging me...


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

It's all about the swaddle

I have never really bought into the whole "Oh you gotta swaddle, swaddling keeps you sane, keeps them asleep, what you don't swaddle? Sacrilege!" dealio. Yeah, we swaddled Maddie... for a while... with receiving blankets. So, um, not for that long I suppose.

It always felt a little "straight-jacket" to me. I think I would go effing bonkers if I had to sleep pinned down like that. I'm very much an arms-above-the-head-at-all-times sleeper. (And yes, I get the whole, being pinned down, bunched in makes them feel like they were in the womb and that's cozy for them and inhibits the Moro reflex and yadda yadda yadda) (I'm not a rational thinker - don't you know this by now?)

And it doesn't help that Maddie (and now Katie) was an expert swaddle escape artist. It really didn't matter how tightly she was wrapped, she'd wiggle her arm out, start punching herself in the face, and LO and BEHOLD! Awake baby.

So, yeah, I was not so much into the swaddle...

Until I saw a post on a loverly blog I read regularly, Listen to Lena, who (amongst other things) posts various product reviews and cool deals to be had on the Interwebs. She had written a review about the HALO Sleepsack Swaddle and included a contest to win one. The swaddled pictures of her little one looked, tight, to say the least - so I figured, huh, let's enter this contest...

And guess who won?!!? Woot to the woo - yes indeedy, 'twas yours truly. (And I never win ANYTHING, so yes, I was a TITCH excited). And at the very least, even if the swaddle dealio didn't work out - because it's a removable attachment, I figured I at least had a sleepsack to use through the winter.

Well, my friends, the swaddle ROCKS THE CASBAH.... seriously. While it is more than a little straight-jacket-esque - that velcro is strong - she ain't moving baby. And because the other part is a sleepsack, you can do diaper changes without messing with the swaddle. Or you can undo the swaddle and just have the sleepsack part keeping her tootsies warm while she say.... nurses and bedshares in the early morning hours.

And guess who's sleeping for 5-7 hour stretches at night now*? Go Katie! Go Katie! Go! Go!

Needless to say - I'm a fan. Loving it. Loving the not worrying about her smothering herself with loose blankets, or being cold, or punching herself in the face and waking up anymore. Loving the SLEEP.

Thank you to HALO. And thank you to Lena ... seriously. Y'all have changed our lives over here.


I think I'm supposed to put some kind of compensation disclaimer here? I dunno - I think I was pretty forthright about the fact that I tried the product because I won it in a contest. And because the product rocks some serious ass, I am recommending it. That legal enough for ya?

*As this has only been happening for the past 2 nights I expect I have just jinxed myself yet again and she will now stop sleeping altogether and force me into another round of sleep deprivation torture...