Sunday, March 28, 2010

Having a Sensitive 5 Year Old Means . . .

. . . waiting three months before he'll decide his old worn in, comfortable hat is too small, then spending ten minutes before school trying on every winter hat in the house to find one that covers his forehead JUST RIGHT. Then adjusting said hat a hundred times because it is really too big and keeps falling in his eyes. And stopping every twenty steps on the way to school to adjust the hat again so it is JUST RIGHT. And finally getting a new hat that will cover his forehead but not fall in his eyes and doesn't pinch his ears and fits JUST RIGHT.

. . . making sure the soft pants are clean on school days so that he can feel JUST RIGHT at school.

. . . having to throw out socks before they have holes because they are wearing out unevenly and he can feel bumps on his feet. Then having to find new socks that feel JUST RIGHT, like the old ones did.

. . . having bread in the house with no seeds in it. And, if his preference is met, only eating the slices in the very middle of the loaf, because the other ones are slanted on the top.

. . . cutting the peels off fruit, the soft spots out of bananas and every single little shred of white stuff off the oranges so that they are JUST RIGHT.

. . . roughhousing gently.

. . . buying the same brand of toothpaste and jam and cereal.

. . . making sure bath soaps and laundry detergents aren't too smelly

. . . having the volume on the t.v. JUST RIGHT so he can hear it, but not too loud so it hurts his ears.

. . . having a lot of patience as a mom, and remembering that slowly, over time, he will either grow out of some of his sensitivities or learn to deal with them on his own.

. . . reminding myself that I hear, see, smell and feel the world in finer detail than most people also. And that when I allow it to affect me, I see subtle details that help me to enjoy beauty, creativity and nature more.

. . . being careful to guard my son's sensitivity. If he is taught to fight against it, he will feel irrational that little things irritate him and he can't explain why. If he learns to work with it, it will serve him well.

A Confession

As a mother I am really terrible at some things. I can't swaddle a baby very well (they always find their way out), I have a hard time remembering to give my babies vitamin D daily (thought I'm doing much better at this with my 3rd than I did my 1st) and I am terrible, terrible when it come to tummy time. I know it's important in their muscle development, but it pains me to watch my baby struggle and cry about it. I think, "oh, I'm doing something horrible to you" and then flip them over to give them some peace. There, I'm glad I got that out.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Just For Laughs

Some days we just need a little break and a moment to laugh. Here are a few clips of parents who found the humor in having and raising kids.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Incredible Growing Baby and the Clothes that go with it

We recently moved from a small Canadian city to a big one, a very big one. We also just had our third baby, our first girl. Ah yes a girl. An invitation to all things cute and pink. I was out shopping the other day and I just happened to walk by the baby section of the Bay. Okay really, I'm loving being able to look at the little girl clothes, previously I could only do so when shopping for my niece. It's very rare that people do a double take in real life, but I really did have one of those double take moments. There was a plain pink outfit. Soft fleece pants and a matching shirt. The price was $70. That's right $70! Oh and yes, the shirt happened to have a little tiny logo of a polo player. Yes, I was looking at Ralph Lauren's baby layette collection. Now, if people want to spend $70 just to have that little logo on their baby I guess that's up to them. Personally, I think it's more than slightly ridiculous (no offense Ralph). As I said, this is my third baby. Babies, especially small babies, wear their clothing for no more than a few months. And let's not forget, "spit happens", so does baby poop. Diaper explosions are no secret among the mom community (the whole reason I'm a big fan of Shout). I know that I can spend a lot less money on something pretty much identical (minus the polo player logo). Maybe that's where I'm showing my colours of "hello, I am clearly not from the big city".
Big city living does have some shopping for baby advantages though. I have rediscovered the beauty that is an outlet mall. My sister in law is the expert at finding absolutely beautiful, quality clothing for her children (and mine) without spending a lot of money. She cued me back into some of this. I did a little googling and found a Children's Place outlet about half an hour from home. I took my kids in to have a look. I found a lovely long sleeved shirt for my daughter for $2.99, jeans for my 3 year old for $5.99 and pants for my 5 year old for $12.99. Both boys also got sunglasses for $4 and $5 respectively. I know it's not Ralph Lauren, but it is quality clothing for less.
I'm also a big fan of the Joe line (sold at Loblaw's/Superstores across the country). They are cute, well made clothes that don't cost a fortune.
Please Mum is also a big favorite of mine, they have the most incredible sales and when they do, look out! I love finding a good deal.
Let's face it, kids grow fast. They get clothes good and dirty as well. The average family needs to be able to find a good deal when dressing their kids. I would rather shop with the sales and get the quality that I like than cheaping out and buying clothes that aren't as great for the same price. I've made that mistake too. Bought clothes that had a great price but not a great quality, only to have them fall apart in the wash (you'll end up spending more money overall if you do that).
And yes, I do keep clothes my children have grown out of to save it for the next child growing up into that size. There's nothing wrong with hand me downs when you are budgeting (another good reason to find quality).
Where do you find your deals? How do you keep your kids well dressed while staying on budget? I'd love to know where the other deals are! Also, here's your moment to brag about a good deal...what was the best deal you remember finding?

*None of the above companies are giving me anything to endorse their clothes on my blog, but I'd love it if they would :o)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The 2nd

I have 2 boys. They are 2 and a half years apart. The second does everything the first does. It has gotten to the point where you almost want to say to him "Do you have an original thought in your head?". But that's not exactly accurate. Under the little mimic boy is a lovely boy who is original, funny and creative all in his own right, he just happens to be born second. He adores and idolizes his older brother. He wants to play what his brother is playing. He wants to say what his brother is saying. He wants to be bigger like his brother is too. This is both encouraged and scorned by said older brother. Most of the time the older one loves this. He will pick out matching clothes for them. He will set up the games and toys that they are to play. He will also ask me, "Why does my brother love me so much?", somewhat exasperate
I would love to see more of my second son's own personality shine through. He's a loving little guy and it's a give and take race of figuring out how to do what he wants while also emulating his brother. Sometimes, he tries to take initiative. They will be playing and the younger will have an idea to continue in their game of pretend; however, if the older one doesn't like the idea, he'll trump it and usually the little one will go along with the bigger one's direction. That's not to say the little one is a wimp about things, he will stand up for himself most definitely, it's just that right now, big brother is the one he wants to be most like and what he says goes. Is this just part of life for a 2nd child?
What I don't understand about all of this is why my youngest will emulate his brother on everything but the really key things we'd want him to do. He will not copy cat his brother when it comes to expanding his eating repertoire (remember my oldest is a very good eater, my 2nd is Mr. Picky). Even when his brother tells him how yummy something is,this is the moment my youngest boy declares that he is in fact an independent being. Same with using the toilet. My older boy will encourage his brother to be a big boy, wear underwear and use the potty or toilet. The younger one is really anti this at the moment, telling us all that he is perfectly happy to wear diapers.
I guess it is all about finding our identity somehow. I know that underneath the copy-cat is a personality all his own (and quite a lovely one too). I get to see it more when his brother is at school, or, we are having time just the two of us. We all struggle to see where we fit and for my second, he fits himself in with his brother. That really isn't a terrible thing.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Some Days, I Just Don't Have it in Me

I have been a stay at home mom for five and a half years now, and I must tell you, it is not a natural fit for me. By nature I am extremely extroverted, approval oriented, and enjoy a high level of intellectual stimulation and novelty. Routine bores me. Doing things the same way everyone else does them bores me. Cleaning rice and yogurt and juice and jam off the floor a hundred times a day and answering the same question ten times in a row really, really bores me. Reading "What Do People Do All Day" all day can make me despair for my sanity, never mind putting someone in time out for the same thing ten times in a row.

A lot of days, I feel guilty that I don't enjoy my job. I live in a town with a lot of retirees, so you don't know how many times a week someone says to me, "These days go by so fast -- enjoy every moment of them". And some days I feel like answering back -- "Can you make them go by any faster?"

Some days, when I have dealt with a 5 yr old screaming, a 3 yr old dumping all the toys on the floor again, and a 3 month old nursing every 30 min., I don't have it in me to enjoy the day. I really want to smile and savour the one sweet moment where my 3 yr old helps me wash the dishes, and the two boys stop arguing and play together happily for 20 minutes. But I find that I am too emotionally drained and busy trying to keep our house functioning to feel anything at all.

Now don't get me wrong -- this is not my constant state. There are days when I love being a parent. When I see my boys running around in the costumes I made and collected for them and my baby wakes up happy and smiling at me, and my 3 yr old tell me I'm the most beautiful mommy in the whole world . . . I treasure those moments.

I guess I just wish people would be a little more honest about how difficult it is to raise small kids. I wish someone would say that it is hard, draining work and sometimes your only goal is to get everyone, yourself included, through the day. You know what, I really appreciate it when older women say to me, "I remember what it was like to be in your place. You are doing a great job. Make sure you take care of yourself." or "Been there, done that. You'll get through it."

I know that I spend a lot of time beating myself up for not "feeling" the way I'm supposed to feel as a parent. I feel guilty that I'm not enjoying every moment of this crazy time. I feel guilty that some days my children push all my buttons and leave me exhausted and drained by the end of the day, and I dream about going back to work, or having grandparents to send them to for the afternoon.

I recently decided that this is silly. Some days, my children are difficult to deal with, and I am not a very clever or sane mama by the end of the day. Some days, parenting is hard work. And some days, I just need to tell myself, "This is hard work. Its okay to not feel blissed out all the time. My children will get older and this or that stage will pass. I still love them, even though I don't feel it right this second. " And I need to remind myself that these feelings mean that it is time to take care of myself for a little while, even if it means the kids watch an extra video or eat pancakes for supper again. Because this will mean the next day, I will have it in me to enjoy my kids again. For a little while, anyway.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Oh, they grow!

My darling preemie daughter is now wearing her 'big girl' clothes. She has officially passed the 7 pound mark and out of preemie wear. And so begins another chapter of sorting through clothes. Our girl will most likely be our last baby, so this is the first clothes sorting that is not just putting away clothes, but giving them away. At the same time, my second child is growing out of a 3T and into a 3x/4T size. Now that we know the 3rd child is a girl, I am looking at the stacks of boy clothes waiting in the basement, knowing that most of them will be passed onto children that aren't my own. Oh, sure there are some gender neutral wear items in there, but let's be real, most of it is pretty boyish. So yes, I have a big job ahead of me. I do need to sort through what I have and start donating away (I'm up to the 18 months size currently), but I do so with a sentimental tear. This is hard evidence that my kids are getting bigger. And I'm not ready for them to be older yet. I love them the age they are at (although the same could be said at every age they have been). I want to take more videos and more photos. I want to write every moment down, but I know I can't. I know that I'll forget things (and I already have). You only have to listen to the radio to know how common a theme this is. Make the moments you have with your kids matter because soon enough they will be grown. My own mother can't believe that her babies are 34 and 32 in a blink of an eye. I do look forward to tomorrow and seeing what kind of people they grow into but I'm really enjoying the people that they are now.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


I know, I'm really behind on the times with this post. It's very apparent that I haven't had cable for years. We have cable now simply because we moved and cable is included in our rent. So I'm making TV discoveries and my favorite is the Supernanny. I love her. And I love that she's on W every day. She has some completely practical advice and then guides you through it. I have to say that I admire these parents for opening up their homes and allowing her in. I can't imagine exposing all of my parenting mistakes that way.
Back to what I love. I love that she is kind and firm about discipline. She doesn't give in to the demands of children and teaches parents how to do that in a loving way. I love that she approaches time out as a method and teaches parents how to use it. Often we use time out and warnings but with no real idea how to make this effective. I love that she teaches parents not to put up with any guff from their kids, she demands respect from them and gets results. I also love that she loves kids. It's very apparent that this is why she does what she does. She cares about families. She views having children as a choice, a choice that you must follow through with in raising them, not just letting them go when it gets hard (because parenting does get hard). It is a difficult full time job that is with you for years and years and years. You can't just quit on your kids.
So thank you Jo Frost for doing what you do and letting me get tips from you that really work with my kids.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Full Hands

I have found that three children = full hands. All. the. time. Someone is constantly hungry, dirty, needing help or making a mess that will require cleaning. Then there is laundry to fold, dishes to wash, and floors that constantly need sweeping / vaccuming / scrubbing. Not to mention the odd pieces of lego drifting around the bathroom, the sippy cups hiding under beds and couches, and the essential missing piece of playmobil that must be found right this moment! Add to this a baby who doesn't particularly like the sling, and would much prefer mom's arms, and an energetic preschooler who hates the cold, and there is no time to type. Sorry to be so absent from this spot lately, friends, but I am a bit overwhelmed.

Good Morning?

Please excuse any bleary eyed typos, it's been one of those nights with the baby. I was so pleased that she had seemed to realise that midnight to 4am was not awake time the past 2 weeks and lulled into the belief that I had finally had the perfect child. One who sleeps at night, wakes to eat and goes right back to sleep again. I had forgotten that a baby's sleep cycle is completely different from ours and that her awake time rotated a little bit at a time. So sneaky that. And not appreciated at all while wandering the halls this morning at 3:30am pleading with her to sleep (she finally caved at about 10 past 4).
The notion of sleep while baby sleeps works very, very well when it is your first baby. The third baby? It's a nice thought, but not at all practical when you have a kindergarten child to get up and ready. And let's not forget the preschooler looking for mama to play with him once brother is at school. So this morning I'm compromising. My kindergarten child is safely delivered to school. My preschooler and I are just finishing our banana bread breakfast, and I'm quite content to let him watch a little Playhouse Disney while I snooze on the futon in the living room. He can cuddle up with me. As for baby? She's out cold in the downstairs bassinet.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Eat Your Veggies!

I've written about my picky eater before. He's my second child. He's turning 3 this weekend. I thought he would be getting better with his eating. He's not. He's getting much worse.
I know there are some of you out there who will insist that any child can be a good eater. I really don't know what to say to you except, congratulate yourself on a job well done with your child who will eat everything, and please don't continue to make the rest of us feel bad by pointing out that you just put sushi in front of your little one and they ate it up no problem. Same with enchiladas, lasagna and any sort of vegetable. My little guy won't even eat corn. I forced him (and yes, I use the word forced) to eat one spoonful of peas last Thursday and you would have thought I was pulling his arm off for all the noise he made.
"I NO LIKE THIS!" he screamed as he spit it back out at me. The only way that I got the little bit of it into him that I did was that he knew I had made custard for desert. He wasn't getting any without eating that spoonful.
And yes, I've tried all the tricks. He doesn't eat what is served for lunch?, there isn't any more food served to him until the next meal. We are cutting out all liquids in between meals except for water so he can't fill up on them. He just wants to eat what he wants to eat and is really, really stubborn about the rest of it.
He loves breakfast foods (cereal, toast, muffins and yogurt). But you can see the pattern there, bread and dairy. He continues to only eat fruit if it is dried (raisins, fruit leathers, apricots) or purred (all varieties of applesauce) and will only eat veggies unknowingly because I've hidden them inside pancakes or muffins or something else I know he will eat. Yes, I serve him the same foods we are eating at every meal (I will always offer). He refuses most meats except for chicken (sometimes he will eat fish, thinking it is chicken). And I really don't know what to do about it anymore.
My first child is not like this. He had his picky stage and grew out of it. At 5, he's a really good eater, surprising me even today my eating avacado. He was quite logical about getting out of picky eating. When he was 3 he didn't want to eat his veggies and started getting constipated as a result. We told him that eating his veggies would help make his poo not hurt any more. He started eating his veggies. For a while even declaring at the dinner table, "I don't want my poo to hurt!" (So much fun when you are in a restaurant). This same kind of logic doesn't work on my 2nd boy. He doesn't care, if he doesn't like it, or like the look of it, he won't eat it. And it's surprising to me what he won't eat. He loves applesauce but won't touch an apple. He loves strawberry "fruit to go" fruit leathers, won't even lick a strawberry to taste that it really is delicious too. I don't know, I just don't know. Do you?



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