Saturday, November 9, 2013

Baby weight race

I am standing in line with my groceries the other day and see the headline about Kim Kardashian's weight loss after baby. Immediately I am enraged. Why is this a "thing"? Why are women being told there is a race to lose the weight we gain while growing a human? In a society that puts a value on a thigh gap and sells the impossible dream of a 15-year-old body forever, how can mothers feel satisfied with our bodies?

Last night I was at a friend's house and we talked about baby weight. Here's what I had to say. Buy a bigger pair of jeans. Because it is exhausting trying to put on your old pair, only to hate yourself for not fitting into them. Buy a new pair and show off that sweet butt you have, thanks to a couple extra pounds of baby weight. You model that butt all over the room!

It's hard, in today's image obsessed society, to not have an issue with some part of your body. But while I may dislike my poochy tummy, I would hate it even more if my daughter thinks the size of her thighs is important. I realize it's hard to quiet the inner dialogue, but I need to at least try. I want my daughter to know that it is important that she is a good friend, compassionate, and brave. I need to recognize the things I am doing right now, whether it's with her or around her, are shaping her perception of the world. I stopped watching the Real Housewives because it's garbage television and it's not behaviour I want my daughter to think is okay. We go grocery shopping together and she picks out the fruit and veggies she wants. Unless it's onions. Then I say no. Because onions are gross. She is getting to pick which one piece of candy she has after dinner because chocolate is not the devil and she walked for an hour for that candy. And we tell her that we love her, because we do and that's what matters most at our house.

All the moms I know are different shapes and sizes, but it doesn't change the fact that they are amazing mothers who love their children. When I read about celebrity moms weighing themselves on 17 different scales, it makes me sad. And mad.

Let's teach our children to love their bodies by modelling that behaviour. Instead of dieting, I want to learn more and cook more nutrious, good food. Let's talk about what we like about our bodies (my freckles and my butt) and ask people, including our kids, what their bodies help them do (run faster, give good hugs). I want my daughter to know how she feels about herself is more important than how she looks. 

I would also like her to tell good jokes, but that's a personal preference ;)

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Where did summer go

So to make up for two posts in two weeks, I went over a month before another one! Clearly, consistency is not something I should put down as a top skill. As the title implies, I'm looking at the calendar and wondering where the H E double hockey sticks summer went?!? I feel like I blinked and it became fall. I usually feel this way, but this year it went by extra quick. A short (short) recap of our summer:

  • My husband and I ventured away without The Babe, leaving her in the very capable hands of her grandparents. We went stand-up paddle boarding, wine tasting, walking, and day drank. It was awesome. It was nice to reconnect as adults and as a couple and spend time with friends just lounging. I even managed to read a whole book, much to my husband's chagrin. We came home recharged and relaxed.
  • I took a midweek vacation day to walk onto the ferry and headed to Victoria for a 8 hours of eating and pampering with my sister-in-law. We ate some comfort food, went shopping, hit up a spa, and laughed. Add in some amazing weather for both my crossings, and it definitely was a slice of heaven for a short time.
  • Other than the two days we took for our getaway and my one day trip, we have had no other time off work. So it's been a summer full of work and evening family time when we can manage.
  • We have been tearing apart our backyard, and my husband has been tirelessly building us a new fence, garden boxes and clearing out old landscaping. We were rewarded with our first crop of fruit and vegetables and the crop just keeps on giving. It's been a learning experience for both of us - more watering, more weeding, more picking, and perhaps less beets next year. The highlight has been watching The Babe eat ripe, and unripe, strawberries right off the vine. I know now we made the right decision to not plant rhubarb due to the toxicity of its leaves. Now, what to do about the mildew on the zucchini leaves?
  • Due to the yardwork, we haven't been able to enjoy our pool as much this year. Next year I'm aiming for some serious lounging furniture and perhaps tidying up the pool shed to create a little changeroom.
Finally I have been reading Don't Sweat The Small Stuff by Richard Carlson as my bedtime reading. Talk about a mind shift! Though it's hard to break behaviours which have been ingrained for years, I am making an effort to retain and practice what the books instructs. It's so simple and so applicable to life and everything in there exemplifies the kind of life I want and the type of family values I have. It's so easy to get caught up, become self-centred, need to be right, but when you put in perspective isn't thinking of what you have instead of what you want less tiring than the alternative? Doesn't focusing on consuming less versus more just make sense? 

I'm so tired of "stuff", so tired of sorting through the mess (physically and emotionally), and my life has had an exceptional amount of mess for the last five years - some self-inflicted and some out of our control. I'm trying to sort through the mess, focus more on the experience and less on the goods. It's a process, an unlearning of sorts, and I'm sure I'm driving my husband crazy with my bold statements on values and my obsession with throwing out everything we're not using right this second. We're getting there, not quickly by any means, but we're getting there. Emotionally and physically. 

So, with that in mind, anyone want a Wii with no controllers, but with Mario Kart and Dance Dance Revolution? Make me an offer. I'll use the money to take The Babe to the aquarium ;)

~ H

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Something has to give

Two posts in two weeks, what?!?! Don't come to expect this ;)

I love being a mom. I now know what's it's like to have a little person wrap herself around me because she finds comfort in my hugs. I also now know not to use baking soda to take crayon off my walls, because it will take the paint off too (eff you Pinterest, you liar you). I have learned the art of distraction, and that if you sing "You Are My Sunshine" 30 times in a row, you will lose your voice. For me there is no nicer sound than the one of The Babe laughing. Plus she gives great kisses.

But here's one thing I don't love - the lack of time and subsequently, the loss of hobbies. I do not have enough time to exercise. I am not making excuses. I am looking at my list of grocery shopping, spending time with my child, dishes, lunch making, dinner cooking, replacing faded work pants, unpacking a storage locker, seeing a friend (rarely), cuddling my husband, weeding my new garden, cleaning (occasionally) and there is not enough time. Something has to give. And it seems to be exercise. How did I come to that conclusion? Well, we need to eat. We need to have clean clothes to wear to work and daycare. We need to love each other, and that takes effort. Having a garden reduces my grocery bills, and we need money to pay for things. Like clothes and daycare. I need social interaction, so occasionally seeing a friend is a must. Oh, and I have to sleep. A sleepless me = a fricking nightmare. And my husband helps and is supportive, so it's not a question of him picking up the slack. I haven't even mentioned his list here.

Now everyone's situation is different, and my loss of exercise rests on the fact that The Babe hates her stroller, despises the carrier, tolerates the bike trailer, but prefers to walk (slooooowly) everywhere. This limits the exercise I can which involves her such as running or hiking with her with any semblance of calorie burning. I can cycle with her, which I will try to do more often. And I did commit to an obstacle race in September with work that I am super pumped about. But I refuse to go to the gym and put her in childminding when I work full-time. That's not something I will do.

People don't talk about the things they give up when they become parents. It's not sexy to talk about how you gave up friends, or reading or vacations. But it happens and it's hard and sometimes it frustrates me. Why isn't there more time? You know those parents who say, "oh our lives didn't change too much, we take our little one to all the same places we went before,". No? Never heard that either, huh? Weird. I wish people talked about it more. Talked about what's hard, so that I would know I'm not crazy, selfish, failing, alone. Don't worry, I know I'm not! But I think there needs to be more transparency here people.

I'm dealing with it, knowing that there will be a time when my life may be more conducive to stand-up paddling sessions on Tuesdays and Thursdays, or a morning yoga class. But right now, it's the something that has to give.

~ H

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Celebrate Moms

I want to take a minute today to celebrate moms. The reason behind this? Last night I finally watched the entire SoulPancake video of Zac Sobleski's Last Days. It took me four attempts to watch it, because it hits fairly close to home for me and most days it's too overwhelming for me to watch. But last night I was in the right headspace and I finished it. Wow. That video will change the way you look at things, as least for a little while. One thing that struck me was at the end, Zac's mom says how lucky she was to be Zac's mom. It made me think of my friends and family members who are moms and how they may not realize how lucky their children are to have them as mom's. So here goes:

  • To my sister - you go above and beyond in every aspect of being of a mom, from uber-creative birthdays to hours spent working on language, both verbal and signing. 
  • To my sister-in-law who recently moved to a new community - you are doing an amazing job of trying to find resources for your son in your community and making the most of the natural surroundings you have access to. You have made a huge change and are doing a great job at keeping your son in touch with his surroundings and having lots of play.
  • To my other sister-in-law who is raising twin boys. Those boys are lovely, full of smiles and jokes. You found a way to make full-time school and mothering work and are setting a fantastic example for your sons.
  • To my lovely cousin whose son is the sweetest the baby I have ever met (for real), your love and kindness is so great that your son cannot help but brighten up any room he is in. Your warmth is something I miss, and something your son will always have to come home to.
  • To K who is raising a daughter and building a business at the same time. You are an inspiration for those around you who want to make a change but are unsure how to do it. You did it and are doing it well, something your daughter will recognize as she grows up.
  • To B, a new mom with a 2-month-old and an injured husband, you're doing great. You have a natural instinct to mother and it's evident to everyone you encounter. The rest is just background noise, because your love will get you through anything.
  • To T who is raising a son and doing a killer commute full time to kick ass in the corporate world. Your determination and work ethic at work and at home is admirable and your son is a reflection of your easygoing nature, which we all love.
  • To B who's ginger-haired babe is a hit everywhere she goes. You're focused on keeping your family healthy and balanced while balancing work. It's clear from your daughter's joyous nature that you're succeeding and building her up with love and determination.
  • To C who's about to have two under 2, your positive energy is infectious and your daughter is a testament to that. Your patience is something I strive to emulate in my own behaviour.
  • To T who works a different schedule from her husband and is parenting solo frequently, you are getting it done and still finding time to explore our city and create lasting memories with your daughter. Your drive is nothing less than amazing.
  • To J, an old friend whose daughter is the light of my daughter's life, you were amazing in a crisis and the rock we all lean on. Your daughter will be stronger because you are her mother.
  • To C who is raising a daughter, two dogs and studying for a new career, your commitment to a healthy lifestyle and balance is something your daughter will only benefit from, both in the short term and long run. Keep with girl!

And finally, to my soon-to-be moms, I know you have what it takes to be mothers and anytime you are scared or question what the future holds, just know that you are strong, kind women to begin with and you will only become stronger and kinder in motherhood.

Love to you all.

~ H

Monday, June 17, 2013


So we have reached (and now passed) the amazing 18-month mark when The Babe can walk, speak an amazing vocabulary, put on her own shoes, and more frequently than ever... act like an asshole.

I write this and realize that it is strong language, but it's true, and there is no other word which accurately describes the one-toddler show she seems to be putting on at home and in public places such as the local swimming pool, grocery store, ferry, etc. We've departed crying town and this behaviour train is now pulling into temper tantrum city where the scenery consists of full-body spasms, biting, and planking. The most fun is when she planks while I am attempting to buckle her into her car seat. I am careful as to how I handle the situation, because it never looks good to passerby when you are having to force your child into her carseat. Even if it will save her life. Even if you do have a book for her to read, a snack trapper of puffs, a sippy cup, a sock monkey toy, a kiss, a frickin' pony if that's what it takes. She nearly drowned herself at her last swimming lesson trying to break free of my hold in the pool. The instructor looked on with mild amusement and asked if she was "excited". Not the word I would have chosen.

It's a trying time in our house, as we would prefer she eat dinner, drink from her own cup, not wear her shoes on the couch and she does not agree. She also doesn't understand why she cannot ride on our backs around the top floor of our house for more than 5 minutes. Explaining pain and lack of flexibility of a 30+ body is lost on her young mind. And frankly, she could care less.

She is a crazy person with wild hair and a general disregard for danger. She jumps on chairs and eats books and screams with a shrill which could shatter glass. But in the blink of an eye, she is kind and loving and rubbing my back when I pick her up out of her crib. For a moment I forget, and we sit peacefully on her bean bag chair reading a book and laughing. She also is quite funny, and can dance to Macklemore like no one else. She blows kisses before smearing snot on the couch and running away, laughing as she goes.

Never have we faced such highs and lows, and I can't imagine it's going to change anytime soon. I have found a few tricks - giving her an apple to eat from the produce department the moment we enter the grocery store - and a few times I just say "she's crazy" to explain her behaviour. Because she IS crazy, but crazy is okay at our house because her mom is a little crazy too ;)

~ H

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Being brave

Blogging about new motherhood often ends up leading the way to a lot of self-reflection and comparison. I've heard that comparison is the thief of joy, which I somewhat agree with. I agree comparing your life to another's can lead to negative thoughts and self-doubt, however it can also lead you to be brave and do something out of your comfort zone.

I'm being brave and have signed up to do the Spartan Race with a few friends. I have been looking at pictures online this week and somewhat regretting that decision. Fifteen obstacles? A rope climb? Oh my, I am going to be soooooooore afterwards. You may be asking, “why on earth would you sign up for something like that?” I am doing it for a few reasons: I like to see how fit I actually am (though I am sometimes disappointed with the results), I want to show The Babe you can do anything you put your mind to (even if it means finishing further back than you would like) and I also want to try something different from my usual solo running and swimming. I may regret this, this being brave thing. I may injure myself. I may cry, throw up or get yelled at by my teammates (you know who you are). But I'm going to try, and that's half the battle.

There are some other people in my life who have recently been brave and I'd like to applaud their efforts here. A family member and his new bride are choosing to leave their known life here and make their way in France, a daunting venture which can only be done with the open minds they both have. To leave all you know for the unknown in another country is extremely brave, so kudos to them! I’m hoping they blog about their adventure so we can keep up with them from across the world.

Two people close to me are studying for new careers, a decision not easily made by anyone - to leave something you know can support you, to learn entirely new industries full of risk and reward. Well done my dears and keep up the good work!

A mom I know chose to recently leave her job to be a stay-at-home mom, something not as embraced as the opposite in this 21st century world we live in. The balance between work, life, and family is different for everyone and finding your own balance and embracing it takes conviction. Recognizing what's good for the goose isn't always good for the gander and supporting that recognition is something I constantly work on as a friend and family member.

So, if you don't hear from me for a while, it may mean the Spartan Race didn't go as I planned. Or you may hear from me a lot more if it goes really badly ;)

Wish me luck!

~ H

Friday, April 26, 2013

I need to tell you

Inspired by a Pinterest post, I wanted to share the things I want to tell my daughter before she becomes the wildabeast I was once at 14. There are the 7 things I want her to know:

1) You are valued.
You are valued by the people around you. By your father, your family, your friends and by me. Being valued can be more meaningful than being important.

2) You don't need to pretend you like things if you don't.
And vice versa. If you like climbing trees, climb them and don't let anyone tell you it's dumb to climb trees. If you don't like make up, you don't have to wear it. If you like listening to classical music, I will take you to concerts or drop you off with a friend who shares your interest. There are a lot of ways you can continue doing the things you like, even if some of your friends don't like all the same things.

3) You will always have immunity.
If you are in trouble, in an unsafe place, cannot drive or don't want to be in a car with someone, or need help, you can call your dad, myself, or one of the adults in our world who you feel close to and you will not be in trouble. We may have a conversation about the choices you made leading up to that call. But you will never be yelled at or made to feel ashamed for calling for help.

4) We will always protect you.
If it means changing our phone number, driving you to a friend's house to sort out a problem or talking to an adult about a situation, we will always protect you and keep you safe. If you have gotten yourself into a situation, we will work together to find a resolution.

5) If you want me to know, you have to tell me.
If you want me to know what music you like, tell me. I'll listen. If you want me to know how you're feeling, tell me. I'll put on some tea and we'll have a conversation. If you want to join a different team, tell me. We can have a family meeting and sort out which team is the best fit for you and your skills.

6) Try hard always.
To say do your best is a lot to ask, though I hope you would, but you can always try hard. Try hard to be a good friend. Try hard to understand what the teacher is saying. Try hard to talk to people at school that you wouldn't normally talk to. Try hard to be a good teammate.

7) Respect your father and I.
We will always treat you with respect and we expect the same. Talk to us in a respectful manner. If you are unsure what that means, just ask. Respect our decisions and our opinions, because we have experienced the things you are just experiencing and we remember the outcome of our experiences. Treat the people in our house with respect because they are guests, invited by us. We will always treat your friends with respect an so we expect the same courtesy.

I love you and I know that you will be happy and successful. I enjoy the time we get to spend with you :)

~ H

Friday, April 19, 2013

Groundhog Day

Yesterday I hit the wall. Figuratively, not literally. I came home from work, The Babe in tow, and scrambled upstairs for the beginning the evening routine. This week has been a bit chaotic, topping off with my husband having to wake up The Babe yesterday morning to find that she had thrown up in the night and her entire bed needed to be stripped before heading off to work. Yay. I haven't made as many meals, have found myself eating out due to convenience  and what seems to be one big craving for processed food. As a result, we have been out more and the house has suffered as a result.

As I came upstairs I looked around and it looked as though a wild animal had torn through my kitchen, leaving dirty dishes, garbage, watermelon rinds and sippy cups in its wake. Clean Tupperware littered the floor and I came to the realization I had pretty much nothing for dinner for The Babe, as she is choosing not to eat chicken at the moment and that it what we were eating for dinner. As I struggled to put together a meal, avoid the ever-present dog, I felt as though I was in the movie "Groundhog Day". As though I wake up every day and spend time every day cleaning and doing laundry and cooking, only to wake up the next day and have it all undone, have to redo it, only to wake up again with the same thought. I felt defeated. I felt tired. And sad, because I don't want to constantly clean and cook. I want to hang out with my kid. But I'm struggling to find that balance and to quell the desire to clean everytime I'm in the kitchen. Some weeks it feels like a winning battle, but this week was not one of them.

Perhaps its the weather, or an over-scheduled week. Perhaps its the time of year - out of the winter but not quite into the nice part of spring. Perhaps I am looking at the house we own, the storage locker we pay for, and doing the mental math and realizing the end of the clutter and disorganization is nowhere in sight for us. Maybe it's all of that.

Luckily for The Babe and I, my husband swooped in right as I was in the thick of my stressed out melancholy. He took one look at me, put in his earbuds, loaded up a podcast and got to work. While we have different approaches to cleaning and organization in life, he knows I have a breaking point and has learned that when he sees it drastic measures must be taken. He handled the laundry while I spent some time reading to The Babe. He vacuumed while I did the dishes. In the end, we managed to tackle the brunt of it before dissolving into bed. There's more to do, but when I woke up this morning, I didn't see my shadow and went on to a brand new day.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The 80/20 rule

Today my post is about balance - can you achieve it, what does it look like, does it really matter? A friend recently told me she strives for an 80/20 balance of homemade vs. storebought baby food when it comes to daycare lunches. My question is: how do you attain that balance which makes you comfortable and should it really matter?

Tonight the Babe ate half a banana and half a cup of cornflakes for dinner. They were not organic corn flakes. They probably have high fructose corn syrup in them, and most likely are dyed yellow. You know what? Tonight I didn't care. I bust my butt on Sundays prepping food for the three of us for lunches and dinners for the week. If she doesn't want to eat the chicken, rice, corn purée I made on Sunday, then a banana is fine by me. Because I'll be damned if I'm going to thaw another batch of homemade purees, just to have it poo-pooed by her and end up in the garbage.

I am constantly trying new ways to get the Babe to eat veggies, legumes, less dairy and more fruit. But somedays it's hard, and I'm tired and uninspired and she ends up with something less than ideal for dinner. It's no one's fault, it's just the result of having two parents who work, somewhat clean the house and try to cook as often as possible. Sometimes she gets a delicious well balanced meal and sometimes, a banana because that's all she wants.

I think we need to give ourselves and other mothers a pass. You want to feed your son Annie's Bunnies for a few nights? Me too! Are you fed up with making oatmeal filled with squash, prunes and fruit purees, only to have it spat out? Me too! You've been sending your baby to daycare with jarred baby food for the last three days because the pizza you ordered for dinner doesn't purée so well? Welcome to the club sister! Or brother :)

Whether you work full-time outside the home, part-time, or work as a stay-at-home mom, this week give yourself a pass. Easter dinner wiped me out, as I'm sure it did the rest of you, and despite what Baby Centre may tell you, a few snacks of Goldfish crackers will not turn your child into a salt-hoarding Gollum. However, eating all your child's Easter candy in one sitting may require a few extra minutes (hours) on the treadmill.

~ H

Monday, March 18, 2013

Back in the swing of things

We've recently returned from a vacation to Oklahoma, which I blogged about here, and have now completely unpacked and gotten back into the routine of life. I feel as though we are starting to hit our groove with this work/life/daycare/fun time balance. Our days are pretty structured, but I have committed us to less (in my opinion) however if you were to ask my husband he may have a different answer. I am feeling somewhat more in control of our lives, which sounds laughable and naïve I know, but who knows - maybe we may actually be getting the hang of this parenting thing after all?

Our days look something like this: 6am wakeup for myself and the Babe (some days it's closer to 7am for her), a bottle and snuggle time for her with Daddy while I get ready for work, finish making her lunch and coffee for us and breakfast for me, 7am I am out of the house and the Babe is sitting down to breakfast with Daddy. Once we figured out that my husband was going to be the one taking her to daycare, my stress level decreased immensely as I no longer ran around the house like a screaming banshee trying to dress her, feed her, get out the door and into the car and to daycare on time. The day goes on normally from there while we are at work, and then I pick up the Babe sometime around 4:45pm. We head home, having a one-way conversation about our respective days. Me talking while she checks out the scenery. Sometimes we sing. Sometimes she cries. That's usually when the radio goes on, volume dependent on the level of crying. 5pm We get home quickly, and begin the dinner preparations. If I've meal-planned well (which I am getting better at), then dinner is usually a short process as everything is purchased and prepped on the Sunday prior to the week. If I haven't meal-planned well, I'm fumbling around attempting to chop and mix a million things while the Babe opens drawers and flings Tupperware around at my feet, creating a small obstacle course for me to dance around to get to the stove. Somedays, the Tupperware gets the boot. Other days, the dog by accident if she's underfoot. Once dinner is ready, the Babe and I eat together, sometimes joined by my husband if he's home in time. This is dependent on his worksite, as it's ever-changing.

If we finish dinner early, we play with toys for awhile, sometimes have a run around the hallway or bang on pots and pans in the kitchen. We rarely put the entire Tupperware obstacle course away, and I'm often left lid-less when packing dinner away for lunches. I suddenly understand how people end up with so many Rubbermaid containers. The lids seem to get up and walk right out of the house, choosing the life less lived. 6:30pm we're heading for the bath, the Babe in the bath and me or Daddy sitting beside the tub, trying not to check Facebook and to continue to engage with our child. My "no cell phones from 5-7" rule works better on some nights than others. Damned you Pinterest and all your tasty slow cooker recipe ideas! And stop it friends, stop pinning even more cute outfit ideas which I must catalogue before they disappear off my screen, pushed down by calligraphy and wedding ideas of other friends. After the bath we sit quietly in the living room with a bottle. This used to be a calming zen time for the Babe and I, but lately she's become squirmy and chooses to walk around or on the couch, bottle clenched between her teeth. It's sometimes a fight to get her to finish it, but not as long of a fight now that we've dropped to 4oz of milk from 6oz. Two pee-soaked mornings and the idea of lessening her fluid intake at night became quiet appealing! Most nights it's Daddy putting her to bed, but some nights it's me. We put on the sleep sack (when is she too big for these?) read a story, sing a song, turn on the ocean sounds and down to bed. A good night wish and I'm out of there, usually no later than 7pm.

I wish this is when adult time began (deep conversation, a cuddle on the couch watching HBO, reading together in front of the fire) but it's usually just back to the kitchen to do the dishes, clean the counters, pack the lunches, throw on a load of laundry, and then I'll take a shower to give myself more time to get ready in the morning. Add in a weekly run with a friend, soccer for me and a softball or hockey game for my husband, and that's our routine.

Whew, I'm tired just writing it. But I am a creature of habit, and once I get in a routine, I like being there. This is both good and bad depending on who you ask. I'm working on leaving the weekends open, so we can spontaneously go to the park, zoo, a family member's house or even, gasp, clean the house! That last one rarely happens. I'll be the first to admit that other trying to keep down the clutter, my cleaning regimine is non-existent. We have a cleaning woman in once a month so nothing goes too long without being disinfected  however I don't do much in between her visits. Frankly I don't have the time and I'd rather be taking the Babe on a walk with our fat beagle. We all could use the walk more than a cleaner house ;)

I think it's the meal-planning and the help from my husband that has saved us. Before the morning routine was sorted, and I was making meals up as I went, my stress level was crazy high. I felt I was neglecting everyone and everything, most of all the Babe. But now I leave the house in the morning with a daughter who's blowing kisses at me while her dad makes her scrambled eggs. It keeps me smiling all day until I see her little face at daycare, banging on the door when she sees me walking up to get her. Ahhhh ain't life grand?

~ H

Sunday, March 3, 2013


Traveling with a 15-month-old who is very stubborn sucks. Big time. We recently flew to Oklahoma City for a wedding. After careful considerations of naps and bedtime, I picked an 11am 3.5 hour flight to Chicago, followed by a 2 hour flight to Oklahoma City landing at 8:30pm. Perfect timing. But perfection, though often desired, is rarely achieved.

We made it to the airport on time, but forgot our carseat in the car, meaning we now needed to rent one from Budget. Unfortunate, but not terrible. The Babe was awake the whole flight, 3.5 hours, until our descent into Chicago. Though rarely crying, she was a wriggly wiggly demanding toddler the whole flight. Her dad and I took turns wrestling with her and convincing her to watch Sesame Street, to eat, drink, and to play with anything and everything. Then she fell asleep as soon as we began to descend, but only slept for 30 minutes in the airport. Our flight out of Chicago was then delayed two hours, finally putting us in OK at 10:30pm instead of 8:30.

To add to our already sunny disposition at that point, Budget only had an infant seat and a booster seat for the van we were renting, so we took the infant seat and crossed The Babe's legs so she would fit. The situation became unbearable on day two of the trip, and I managed to track down a forward-facing seat on Craigslist for the duration of our trip, as well as finagle a refund from Budget for the infant seat rental.

The Babe has become what I affectionately call a "whirling dervish". She does not stop moving. Ever. At home, this is easier to manage because I know where she can go, we've locked the cupboards she should not open and we rarely go out to eat. On vacation, this becomes infinitely harder. Dinners are often out, as we like to explore local food and culture. However trying to explain to the The Babe that Mom and Dad are eating and would like to finish out food, is like trying to get Lance Armstrong to admit he doped ALL the time. A waste of time and energy. So we end up taking turns walking around restaurants with her, apologizing to servers as she stumbles in front of them, or strategically blocking her from entering the kitchens and off-limits offices.

However, on day three of the trip I discovered a park nearby the house we were renting. With a massive playground and three baby swings. It became a saving grace, somewhere to go when the house became boring and somewhere The Babe could explore with less instances of me saying, "no, not for baby!".

All that being said, I cannot envision traveling again until the Babe is at least a year older, maybe more. It is just more work than I can handle, and I would rather the next time be sometime that she can remember. Or at least when she read quietly for short periods of time ;)

~ H

Monday, January 14, 2013

The times are a-changing

Online reading and conversations of late have led to this blog post. It's not a criticism of anyone, more of a clarification between old beliefs of mine and the questions I have received from others.

I have a child and my life has changed because of it. I cannot do things at the drop of a hat anymore. Except in the rare moment when the seas part, the baby is napping and my husband is home and usually, by that point, everyone has made plans, the esthetician is booked up, and there is nothing good playing at the movies.

I probably will not want to come to your house for dinner. It's not you, please know that. It's not your cooking - you are a lovely cook. It's the fact that you don't have a baby gate, you keep magazines on coffee tables as most do, and you have breakable/stainable/lovely furniture which I would rather not spend my entire evening protecting. When I am at your house I am constantly on the defense, ensuring my child doesn't destroy the things you like to look at and keep close, and why shouldn't you? When I am at home, I have baby-proofed, and can sit back for at least five minutes and know there is (almost) nothing within reach of The Babe. But I appreciate the invitation, and will make an effort to attend more.

I probably will not invite you to dinner. But it's not because I don't want to have dinner with you. It's because the idea of putting away the plethora of toys, having beverages other than water and homo milk in stock, and figuring out the timing of our dinner versus when The Babe needs to eat while managing not to burn anything is mentally exhausting. Sometimes I forget that we can just order in. Sometimes I still forget to brush my teeth and where I put my cell phone which is on silent so I can't hear it ring.

Any free time I have that I don't spend cleaning or having quality time with The Babe and my husband, is time I feel guilty for not doing those things.

I am "one of those parents". The kind I spent several conversations saying I would never be. I would rather be home for naps, because she sleeps longer at home. I don't go downtown. Ever. Because the idea of putting The Babe in the car, which she hates, for more than 30 minutes for anything other than to see family or go on a holiday, is completely unappealing. Your child doesn't hate the car? Lucky you. Mine does and there is no amount of Cherrios, new toys, or Charlotte Diamond singalongs which can change that for now.

We don't have a lot of babysitters. Our family, for the most part, is not close by. Other people offer, but the times we want to go out are often the times they would want to go out too, and the babysitters are often the people we want to go out with! Plus, people are busy and have commitments and their own families and late jobs and we don't even ask if we know it's not feasible. And if possible, we like bringing The Babe with us because she's funny and most people like her and I have a lot of cute clothes still left for her to wear.

But here's the thing - I like my life. Yes, I miss certain things but I don't miss them more than I love the things I have gained. I don't go dancing anymore, but I spin around the kitchen with The Babe and she laughs really hard. I don't go out for as many dinners, but perhaps I cherish those dinners out a little more now when I do get them. I do miss my girlfriends, but we're getting to a place where we all just seem to have less time. My life change is just one of many and we see each other when we can.

If you are thinking about becoming a parent, or have a friend who has become a new parent, I hope this helps to understand why you may see and hear from them less. Know that my feelings towards my friends haven't changed, my child doesn't shackle me to my house, but there are things which are more complicated and involve more stuff than they used to.