Thursday, October 28, 2010

Growing Pains

It's a tough thing to watch your child learning the tough lessons of life. I haven't had to do much of that until now but I am starting to see it and it HURTS. I know that I can't shield Pk from everything and she needs to learn to cope but it's a real fight... I would do anything to spare her pain if I could. The current lesson isn't a particularly painful one for her but for me, it's a foreshadowing of some of the social pains that will come some day and it makes me so sad.

Pk takes semi-private swim lessons. We used to go to group classes at the big pool and we never heard a word and she didn't learn anything. The instructors were 16 and silly and it was a waste of time and money. We stumbled across a private salt-water pool that's 15 minutes from home. The lessons are expensive (hence why we don't do private lessons) but the instructors are really good and with only two kids, no child falls through the cracks.

When we went for our first lesson of this session, there was Pk and another girl. The other girl had come with her father who drove a big, VERY expensive SUV and was the opposite of friendly. For the first lesson, the other girl seemed to do a pretty good job and Pk loved her lesson, as she almost always does. The next week, it was a complete change - this other child, R, screamed and screamed and refused to get into the water. Her father stood back, not doing anything, other than dragging her off to sit in time out when she wouldn't cooperate and wouldn't get into the pool. I will be honest, I was a bit ticked - we were paying a lot of money for the lesson and the instructor was having to spend a lot of time on this kid, meaning that Pk wasn't getting much out of the lesson. It was obvious that the father had money and could afford a private lesson... I considered whether to complain to management about paying for the lesson and not getting attention but decided that I needed to have some compassion for the other kid.

Pk has come home talking about how R had to go to time out (in that tattletale kind of voice, you know the one). She was pretty judgmental of R and talked about how R wouldn't do what the teacher asked. This situation has continued and each week, R cries, Dad does nothing to help and while the instructor tries her best, you KNOW this is a half-hour that she would happily eliminate from her week. I felt for the kid - if Dad is anything to judge by, there isn't much sympathy in the way the child is dealt with and she is obviously bothered by something.

I decided to make this a lesson for Pk. We have talked a lot about how R must be very sad or very scared and that God wants us to take care of people who are hurting. We have talked about what we could do to help R feel better and we had a plan that this week, Pk would go out of her way to make R feel better. I was proud of Pk - she seemed to genuinely want to help and to make "her friend R" feel better.

This afternoon, when I arrived at the pool, an Audi shot by me and almost ran us over. The driver was a woman who looked very annoyed at our existence and she brusquely shepherded her child from the car. It was R. There were no smiles, no affection, no sense of gentleness between them at all. It made me feel for little R.

We got into the dressing room first. Pk started to change and when R came into the room, Pk immediately spoke up. "Hi, R! I'm so glad to see you!" There was no response. The mother just started to get R changed as if Pk was invisible. Again, "R, I hope you want to swim today. We can have so much fun." Again, the child (and mother) ignored Pk as if she were a fly on the wall. I could see that Pk was confused. She wanted to be friendly, she wanted to make a friend and the other child was treating her like dirt. She tried one last time (with me wondering what to do - my heart wanted to smack the woman upside the head and ask her to teach her child some manners and my logical mind knew that there really wasn't much I could do aside from loudly telling Pk that some people just have no manners and to ignore people like that).

Ultimately, I did nothing other that get Pk to the pool and then go and brood about mean people. Pk is very friendly with other kids and, I think, opens herself up to rejection a bit because she doesn't wait to be invited to interact, she just walks up to people and starts talking. She usually gets a pretty warm response - she's cute, she's funny and she has a real zest and enthusiasm that other children seem to like (Pk's sitter says that "it ain't a party until Pk has arrived"). On the other hand, at times, she meets a brick wall and you can see that she is confused and, in some cases, a bit hurt. It is like a knife through me. I hate to see her vulnerable and I hate to see her hurt. It brings out all the "mama bear" in me.

I don't think there is any easy answer, other than that I need to see these as growth situations and that she and I will both have to learn to cope with challenges. As someone told me, you can't protect them from the bumps and the scary things of life, all you can do is to help them get up and dust themselves off and let know that, no matter what, you will love them and have a hug and a word of encouragement. It makes my heart ache, though. I know that we need these lessons to shape us and that without struggle, we can't learn and grow but, frankly, it hurts.

And I wish I could kick those parents!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

What's On Your Parenting Bookshelf?

We have been doing a parenting small-group at church on Friday nights and I have really been enjoying it. I like the chance to get out to a child-friendly venue and the content of our study has been really good so far. We are studying "Have a New Kid by Friday" by Dr. Kevin Leman, a speaker who both dh and I really, really, really like.

His methods are straightforward, humane but also firm, establishing parental authority in a way that recognizes the needs of kids and also of their parents. I had read this book before and found it very helpful, especially the concept that you say it once and walk away, and that consequences don't always have to be immediate (which connects to his idea that you need to "let reality be the teacher"). We had really gotten into a situation in which we found ourselves arguing with Pk which was unhelpful to any of us - you can't reason with someone who is deliberately misunderstanding and, as Dr. Leman says, "the only person who has anything to lose in an argument with a child is the parent." Things have really calmed down around here with his reminders of how to handle things without losing our cool and I don't go to bed feeling guilty because I have lost my temper and yelled or said things that I didn't mean. (If you read this book, you must read Dr. Leman's section on how to deal with it if you find pornography in a child's room - I almost died laughing).

Another book that I have been reading and ADORING is "Grace-Based Parenting" by Dr. Tim Kimmel. I can't tell you how much this book has meant to me. Two weeks ago, we had really gotten into a situation with Pk when I was just feeling generally very hopeless about how we were doing in our relationship and this book has really, really gotten me back on track in terms of what I want to accomplish as a parent. Dr. Kimmel's thesis is that there are three things that any child needs - security (a secure love), purpose and strength. I will be honest, I have only read the introduction and the chapter on security but it made such an impact on me that I wanted to really let it sink in before I moved on. He outlines the ways that parents create a love that is secure in their children and when I read the section entitled "Children feel secure when they know that they are accepted as they are" I did a little squirming. I would say that I try to do that but reading this, I had to accept that Pk may not always be getting that message. I plan to take a long time with this book and probably go back to it again in a few years - the message resonated so clearly with me. I can't suggest this book highly enough!

It's so nice to find Christian parenting books that fit with what I believe. Sadly, too many fit in the "spare the rod and spoil the child" mold (for an approach to this text that fits so well with my beliefs, see Dr. William Sears' "Christian Parenting and Childcare"). There are other books I am hoping to read soon - the top on my parenting list is "Sacred Parenting" by Gary Thomas.

What's on your parenting bookshelf these days?

1000 Gifts 41 -

holy experience

I have been finding myself feeling so happy about so many things right now. I actually can't remember a time that I felt so content. Here are a few of the things for which I am grateful right now:

41. being able to stay home with my children for the next 6 months
42. the wonderful parent-friends we have made here in town since Pk was born
43. the love between my children - Baby Bean now looks at Pk with adoration and she cares for him with devotion
44. the way that having my own children has reminded me so much of the wonderful times I had with my brother growing up
45. having places to go where my children are welcome so that I don't feel like I have to entirely leave the world but I don't have to be away from my children
46. a carpet of leaves
47. new recipes that turn out well
48. days dh is home and we can do things as a family of 4
49. fall hikes in the woods
50. the moon
51. finding a good read
52. knitting
53. new beginnings and fresh starts
54. watching my daughter mother her babies with such gentleness and love and knowing that at least some of that comes from her perceptions of me as a mother - the highest compliment ever
55. seeing my father gradually getting back to health
56. the wonderful friends who all rallied around and offered to help my parents when dad was so sick

I feel truly blessed!

Monday, October 18, 2010

1000 Gifts 30 - 40

holy experience

We had my parents-in-law down for the weekend and it was a good time for gratitude. For a long time, there was a great deal of tension in the family but lately, things have gotten better. Dh and I finally stood up for ourselves which, at first, brought stress but has since really helped. We are the type to stew over something and let it interfere instead of having the courage to be honest, even when it isn't easy - this has been a steep learning curve for us but in the long run, it's really paid off, for all of us.

30. family meals at our dining room table
31. the glee of children seeing their grandparents
32. princesses and dress up, especially when Grandpa gets to be Queen Esther
33. fall Saturdays
34. meals for company when everything turns out just right
35. the love between my children
36. belonging to a church that is committed to supporting families
37. being able to share hospitality
38. spicy gingerbread with vanilla ice cream
39. a good read
40. lingering in our pyjamas

Nestle Boycott

I am a big fan of breastfeeding. I believe that it is, as my cousin the doctor has said, "the optimum nutritional environment for human babies". Just today, I was talking to my doctor about the fact that, while I don't believe that formula will kill my baby, I have the goal of making sure that Baby Bean never drinks a single drop of it. Just reading the ingredient list makes my skin crawl and knowing that the cans are lined with BPA, I just can't go there.

I know that many women have issues with breastfeeding and come to believe that formula feeding is the best option for their family. I respect the fact that I can't ever completely understand someone else's struggle and, having experienced supply issues initially with both of my babies, I know the heartache that goes into a nursing struggle. I have heard the comments from friends about "lactation nazis" and, with Pk, I would say that I was at the mercy of one initially and it was a horrible experience. I am a member of some attachment parenting lists and I know that the pro-breastfeeding lobby can be pretty aggressive and disrespectful of the struggles of women who have trouble. I don't judge mothers for using formula, although in many cases, it makes me sad because either the parents can't really afford it or they end up regretting the shift to formula (as happened to at least two of my friends who ended up with babies with horrible G.I. problems because they couldn't find a formula that was gentle enough).

While I don't judge the mothers, I certainly judge and am disgusted by the practices of the formula companies and one in particular who is known for behaving atrociously, especially in the third world, is Nestle. For more information on Nestle's practices, I strongly suggest that you read the following link and consider joining the Nestle boycott 25 to 31 October, 2010. It is important that Nestle appreciate the fact that women will stand in solidarity and that the health and safety of ALL (not just the children of the developed world) babies is more important that the corporate bottom line.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

High Fructose Corn Syrup

I try to feed my family as healthily as I can and one way I do that is by reading what I can about new developments in food. Generally, we eat fairly well and I try to make as much as I can from scratch but it doesn't always happen. I have seen quite a bit in the media about H.F.C.S. and initially, I searched labels for it as an ingredient in products that we eat. Fortunately, I never saw it listed anywhere so I thought we were safe. I was wrong.

According to an article that I saw online on Sunday, in Canada, HFCS is not called that here. We called it "glucose-fructose". To see the article, click here. Of course, me being me, I had to go and check. Here are a few of the products that we found in our house that contain it (as listed on the label):

I wasn't so surprised about the cereal (we are oatmeal people generally since I think cereal has a lot of ingredients about which I am not so keen). I wasn't so surprised about the HP either since I know that ketchup is notorious for HFCS (I am hoping that if I buy the English-made HP at our local British shop that it will be o.k.) but bread? Really? I mean, it's not like we are eating white Wonderbread, we always go as natural as we can and whole wheat. Why does it need HFCS???

Guess I need to start really reading labels.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Halloween Dilemma

For those of you who aren't Christians, you may not know that Halloween is a debate similar to the vaccine debate for parents. People fall into two distinct camps and I don't find that there is much middle ground. You are either against Halloween as being satanic and judge Christians who allow their children to celebrate as being "worldly" or, you allow your children to celebrate Halloween and you think of Christians who don't as being judgmental, harsh and/or fundamentalist. I hate black and white issues because I never want to be wrong and Halloween is one of those situations in which I know that I will be wrong in someone's eyes. I hate that.

Today, the issue came up again. I am the fellowship coordinator at our church and I lead the committee that makes the decisions about the social events we hold. Someone made the suggestion that we have a movie night on Halloween to "get the children off the streets". It was obvious that she was totally opposed to Halloween (especially when I emailed her to ask how she felt about kids wearing positive costumes to the movie night - I'd like Pk to dress up but I would not be heartbroken about her not having oodles of candy - the answer was a resounding no). It made me really uncomfortable as I felt like she felt I was a lesser-Christian and too worldly by far. I hate being judged more than anything and when it comes to my faith, it really hits a sore spot (my parents, especially my mom, have some, well... very liberal ideas and I grew up in the church feeling like people thought we were not Christian enough so I'm pretty sensitive about that). I spent the day brooding on Halloween. I suppose I have to thank this person because, through the course of the day and through a discussion with my minister and with dh, I think I have decided where I stand.

Before I declare my reasons for allowing Pk to participate in Halloween, allow me to state that I feel that there are some really good reasons to be concerned about Halloween. I make a large distinction between taking young kids out in sweet costumes to visit friends and family, and haunted houses, horror movies, mass murderer costumes and corpses hanging from trees in people's yards. The Bible is clear that we are to avoid sorcery, divination, any kind of the occult. I have no issue with that at all and, as Philippians 4:8 states

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

We are not supposed to dabble in the darker side of the world and the less attention we give it, the better. It would, in some ways, be easy to say a total no to Halloween and be done with it. For some reason, though, that just doesn't feel right to me.

Dh and I have agreed that Pk will be living in this world. To us, that means that the burden falls upon us to teach her how to live in this world. She will need to make moral decisions all the time, she will need to weigh how all kinds of life situations fit with her faith. Instead of an absolute no, having Halloween in our lives gives us the chance to discuss the smaller decisions - is it o.k. to wear a certain costume? what kind of message does that outfit convey to the world? does it fit with her Christian world view? would she be proud to have her God see her dressed that way or is it something of which she would be ashamed? She will have to justify her choices to us and to her friends, giving her a chance to share her beliefs but in a context that does not automatically come across as judgement of others, which shuts people down. There will be room for conversation.

One thing my minister said that hits home (and he was not arguing for or against, he was just sharing some insights into the struggle to make a decision, so don't read into my quoting him as being his absolute position). He said that we don't want to be parents who say no all the time. That breeds rebellion. We believe that in celebrating Halloween as a family, we are seizing it as our own and making it into something that fits with our beliefs rather than turning it into something verboten, something tempting and alluring. We don't want our faith to be something that our children view as being a stumbling block, something that takes away all fun and disconnects them from the world around them. Sure, there are things that will need to be an absolute no but we feel that we need to reserve that strong no for the things that really go against all that we believe so that it retains its power.

Another thing my minister said really stuck with me. He said that some Christians keep the light off and stay in the basement instead of giving out candy. His wife made an interesting observation. We are supposed to be light in the world. If we are hiding away, are we really being that light? That led me to reflect on how we might use Halloween to be light in the world. Might we, as Christians, show others that we CAN have fun and that the Christian life is full of joy? We can enjoy ourselves and be a part of things but in a way that does not compromise our lives as Christians. We can model being involved parents who oversee our children, parents who enjoy our children and who create memories and morals that endure with our children long after they leave home. We can create environments that are safe so that children around us have an alternative to the dark and scary side of Halloween.

Finally, one other thing from this week really hit home. I was listening to an interview with Dannah Gresh of Pure Freedom, a ministry that works with girls and mothers to navigate the rough waters of modesty and perceptions of beauty in our culture, with a particular focus on adolescent girls. She was saying that having a particular kind of connectedness with daughters can be a huge indicator of how well they will navigate the teen years. This connectedness is achieved largely between the ages of 8 and 12 and is done through building a shared culture, a shared bank of wonderful memories and a sense of belonging. We see Halloween as a chance to do just that.

As you can see, we will be taking Pk trick-or-treating this year (she has an adorable ladybug costume and Baby Bean will be going out in a cute little outfit with an orange shirt that says "Mommy's Little Pumpkin" with a cute jack-o-lantern on the bum). We will only be going to houses of friends and family and we will not be engaging in any of the "darker" side of Halloween. Daddy is already excited about taking her out and he is planning his costume as well. If costumes are not welcome, we won't be going to the church (and I strongly suspect that few people will, most families in our church do take their kids out on Halloween). I respect those who choose not to participate and I hope that they will respect my decision, as well.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

On Babywearing

If you had told me four years ago that babywearing would become a topic dear to my heart, I would have told you that you were crazy (not that I would have known what you were talking about). I always associated babywearing with third world countries and my hippie mother who had a mei tei back in the early 1970's.

Along came Pk. She was colicky and high needs. She never slept and we paced hours with her, trying to settle her down. A good friend of my husband's gave us a basic pocket sling, a model that they had used and really liked with both of their boys. I never got a great fit with that sling but Dh used it a lot, those many evenings when he would pace downstairs with her for hours at a time while I cried upstairs, beside myself at not being able to console my baby. Gradually, Pk began to be really happy in her sling with daddy and it became a lifeline. I bought a ring sling and never felt comfortable with the fit in that, either.

When Pk was about four months old, I joined several attachment parenting lists (another thing I had never heard of before Pk but thanks to Dr. Sears, who offered me the only comfort in my desperation, I quickly learned all about it). On the lists, there were two particular kinds of carriers that everyone discussed - a wrap (which looked too complicated for me) and an Ergo carrier. My mom offered to buy me an Ergo and I fell in love. We have two dogs and do lots of walks with them and Pk spent hours in the Ergo with me. We hiked, we walked dogs, we cruised the mall, we did grocery shopping, all with her riding happily on my back. Even better, my impossible-to-get-to-sleep little girl would fall asleep in the Ergo in less than 30 minutes and it became my go-to for getting naps to happen in the afternoon. Some of my happiest memories of us spending time as a family took place with Pk riding on my back.
Just under four months ago, Baby Bean arrived. This time, I got brave and decided to order a Sleepywrap after I kept hearing such great things about it and about the Moby. I was nervous about tying it but it was easy and oh, so comfortable. Baby Bean thought so, too. Luckily, with him, we didn't have to deal with colic but he still had the evening fussies all babies seem to suffer from and he and I would wander the house cleaning, with him just hanging out in the Sleepywrap. It helped him sleep, it gave me my hands back and most of all, again, it gave me precious time with my child.
While I am not quite as rabid about babywearing as some, we do own a stroller and I do use it, there is just something so wonderful about wearing your baby. Even as I type this, I find myself yearning for that warm, complete, relaxed and cozy feeling of wearing my child. I love being able to wrap my arms around my child, kiss the top of a head and feel my child breathing against me. After 9 months of deep connection with this life, wearing my son was the closest I could come to that kind of connection. I will really miss this stage of our life together when it passes.
Yes, I know that there is controversy about the safety of some of the carriers on the market but, as someone who did own an Infantino Slingrider, it never felt safe to me, hence why we didn't use it. I don't think that we hear stories of children in cultures that traditionally babywear suffering ill-effects and I, for one, am convinced of the safety of wearing a baby (in fact, I always felt that my baby was safest with me - I could feel his or her breathing, I knew exactly what was going on in his or her environment and I could immediately lay my hands upon his or her body). Babywearing is gaining in popularity and I sincerely hope that by the time my daughter has her own children, that it becomes something that is "the done thing" and that a good baby carrier (or two or three) becomes a must-have on every registry list. I know that it's been on of the most important and precious things that have joined us on our parenting journey.

Learning Games

Pk and I have been having a lot of fun with our morning games when Baby Bean is sleeping. Today, he slept for almost two hours - something unheard of in a baby in our family during the day. Pk and I had a blast with some fun learning games.

Pumpkin Grab
I got this idea from a blog that I am grabbing ideas from all the time, now - Teach Preschool. I had a ton of these little pompoms left from another activity I took from there and since I had to have black ones for that and my dollar store only sells assorted colours, I was in luck. The goal is to pick the pompoms up using the clothespins. Using a clothespin uses a very similar muscle pattern to holding a writing tool - it's something that occupational therapists have suggested for students in my class in the past who have fine motor difficulties. Pk loved this game!

Colourful Fish
This is an activity from Slow and Steady, Get Me Ready, a book that I LOVE for activities for Pk. This is a game that allows you to reinforce colour knowledge while also adding in a fine motor element. Since Pk saw a man fishing the last time we went to the beach, it has added meaning to her and she loved this game, too.

Number Pegs
This is a simple game I made up myself. Pk is great with letters and sounds but she really doesn't like to work with numbers. Given her fascination with clothespegs right now and the fact that they give a good fine motor workout, I made up this game. I wrote each number on a piece of cardstock and then punched that number of holes for her to use as a guide to match the same number of pins. She is working on her one-to-one correspondence and working with the numbers at the same time.

Salt Box
I saw this on someone's blog and I feel funny about sharing but this idea is so great and dh, who is also a teacher, said that he used it (or something very similar) when he taught kindergarten so maybe I am the only person who didn't know about it. You get a reasonably deep box lid and you fill it with salt. Your child can work on writing letters in the salt. It may sound like a little thing but it's really working with Pk. We are talking a lot about how letters are formed and while she is writing a little bit with a pencil or marker, this way, I can systematically teach her how to form letters without doing printing sheets, which are beyond her right now. As a teacher, a big pet peeve of mine is that a number of students begin writing letters from the bottom instead of from the top and this way, when we write in the salt, we are talking about the parts of the letter and how to form each part. It can get messy, which is why I put the box lid into an old cookie sheet. Don't turn your back (I ended up having to do some vacuuming the last time that Pk and the salt box were left alone together).

Monday, October 4, 2010

Gratitude Monday 17 - 29

holy experience

My gratitudes for Monday 17 - :

17. that the rock was removable from Pk's nose

18. being able to comfort a scared little girl

19. the way that Baby Bean fills up my arms

20. the warmth of a baby smile

21. hot tea

22. the blue of an autumn sky

23. fellowship with our neighbours and a shared table

24. apples, pumpkins, acorns and chestnuts

25. the red of maple leaves in the fall

26. walks with the dogs and a friend

27. the comfort of wearing my boy

28. coming home to the smell of dinner ready

29. when the Bible study speaks directly to my soul

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Different Strokes...

When it comes to mothering, I try to follow the "different strokes for different folks" philosophy. As I have said here many, many times before, when Pk was an infant and impossible, I got lots of advice and most of it just made me feel inept and like a failure as a mother. I try not to offer advice unless asked and even then, I suggest a book or an article, saying, "It worked for us but that doesn't mean it will work for you..." I try not to be judgemental and to let other people do things their way without my judgement, despite the fact that, in this house, we are hard-core against cry-it-out practices until a child can articulate what is wrong, we don't believe in spanking (largely because the times when I would most likely use it are the times when I would be least responsible in its application) and I am a very firm believer in the "breast is best" mentality. Most of the time, I can live and let live but once in a while, it's hard to bite my tongue and in the last couple of weeks, I've hit two such situations.

The first cry-it-out fight came via our church nursery. Pk has never been willing to go to the nursery alone. I haven't sat through an entire church service since she was born (well, since she was old enough not the sleep through the entire service). From what I have heard from other mothers, I am not alone in the "church nursery struggle". I tried to leave her quite a few times but the hysterical crying wasn't worth it. She goes to her babysitter without any fuss and now to her dance class so I am not concerned that she will be attached to me when she is 25. Given that I leave her Monday to Friday when I go to work (when I am not on mat leave, which I am right now - hooray!), the last thing I want is to "abandon" her on Sunday, especially at church, which is supposed to be a wonderful, pro-family place, not a place of stress and trauma. I have somehow become one of the people coordinating the new nursery curriculum at our church (something which I enjoy, by the way) and we needed a few new volunteers for staffing. The minister asked me to see if I could drum up someone so I went on Facebook and asked. Whew! The discussion that ensued was fast and fierce. What emerged was that our church has two distinct camps - the "I'm leaving my kid no matter what and if he cries, he'll get over it and the volunteers with just have to deal with it" crowd and the "I will go to nursery with my kid until he/she is o.k. with my leaving even if I have to be there until he is 15" crowd. It got kind of fierce and I found myself feeling very defensive. It seemed that there are those who feel that I am in the nursery to socialize with others and that if I just left Pk, she would deal with it. I don't know about you, but I feel a bit unfair leaving a poor once-a-month volunteer who already has his or her hands full with some of the almost feral boys with Pk in full-on meltdown. It was one of those situations in which defending myself would almost certainly come across as being critical of the choices of others. Not fun.

The other situation happened at the park the other day and I haven't been able to stop thinking about it. There is another mother I have gotten to know from the area who we see at the park. I have always experienced her parenting techniques to be a bit harsh (not abusive, not in the least, just very different from the way that we do things). She has a four year old daughter and a baby boy who is 5 days older than Baby Bean (making him 14 weeks). We were chatting last Wednesday about the fact that both boys had done very little napping during the day and that almost always leads to a fussy evening. I said that I wasn't looking forward to it and her response was that it didn't matter to her - he would probably cry for an hour in his room but it wouldn't be a problem since he would be doing it alone with the monitor turned off. I just keep thinking about the little guy, less than four months old, screaming for an hour alone without any comfort. I think that even a lot of the hard core cry-it-out advocates would say that less than four months is too early for that. It kind of took my breath away but I kept my mouth shut. I wonder if I did the right thing?

So, I guess what I am saying is that you are allowed to do things your way and I won't judge you, unless you disagree with me :-).

Saturday, October 2, 2010


It's been a wonderful day. The kind of day that makes me almost afraid - why I am so blessed? Things feel like I am where I should be, doing what I should be doing and getting to enjoy a life of rich blessing.

This morning, dh took us to the place Pk calls "Old McDonalds" for breakfast. She's a huge fan of their pancakes. As you can imagine, eating anywhere other than home with two children 3 and under is often less than relaxing. This morning, everyone behaved and we had a great time.

Our next stop was the open house at the local firehall. We thought that Pk might be interested - these days, she has an interest in vehicles and transportation (although not anywhere to the degree of the boys around her). At first, she was really shy and it felt like we were wasting our time but after she saw some children getting to operate the siren, she was hooked. We left with a free barbecue lunch, timbits, a firefighters hat, a pumpkin, a toy and memories of both "driving" a firetruck and having sprayed the hose. The firefighters were really kind to the little ones and given that we have a volunteer fire service, they were generous with their time.

In the afternoon, our next-door neighbours had a street party. It was wonderful. We have lived here for 7 years and while we have gotten to know our immediate neighbours, we haven't met everyone on the street. It was exactly the kind of gathering I love. The make-up of our street is very interesting - the houses are older but with really large lots. Some homes are owned by people who have lived here for 30 years and several have been bought in the last few years and renovated (like the hosts of the party, who bought an awful house with good bones and have done a full renovation worthy of a magazine). The younger people tend to be professionals while the older residents tend to be more working class. We had everything from teachers, nurses and I.T. professionals to the bikers from down the street. I love groups in which the social distinctions that tend to exist drop and people risk relating to people who are different than they are. It's why we moved here in the first place - oddly enough, in the city, with its incredible diversity, people tended to stick so closely exclusively to "people like us". It was really fun and people were so kind to the kids - one neighbour even walked around with Baby Bean for half an hour so that I could eat hot food. I came home feeling very lucky that we live where we do.

I hope you enjoyed your day as much as I enjoyed mine.

Friday, October 1, 2010


I need to shout to someone. It's been a great day and truly, a reflection of how limited my life has become.

1. Baby Bean only woke up to feed once last night!!!! Of course, like all mothers of children who, to put it kindly, aren't great night sleepers, I woke up and checked that he was alive several times and I woke up with one breast that felt like it was going to rupture at any moment BUT I GOT 5 HOURS SLEEP UNINTERRUPTED!!! Please let this be a foreshadowing of things to come.

2. Pk pooped on the potty twice yesterday and 3 times today. It's hard to explain the significance this has for me. I had just about resigned myself to changing her diapers when she is in high school and whenever the subject of poop came up, she would dig in. Wednesday evening, we did what you aren't supposed to do and took her diapers away (she gets one at night to sleep in). She was HYSTERICAL and begged and pleaded to have it back but then went on to have no accidents, yesterday she did two poops and had no accidents with only her nap and bedtime in a diaper and today, there was only one accident. I had called my mother, despondent about the potty situation and my prayer warrior went to work. Dad called yesterday to tell me that mom had gotten him on the praying bandwagon as well and that he was fairly certain that it was the first and last time in his life that he will pray that someone poops.

It's amazing what pleases small minds these days.