Fussy, Fussy, Fussy

For any parents, there is a new F word that we cringe at.

Fussy.

My daughter has been going through a bit of a terrible phase. She seems to be fussy more often than not, and as any parent knows, a fussy baby can eat up your whole day. I spend my days pacing the apartment, rocking in the rocker, dancing like a monkey on the pier for change, all to keep her satisfied.

Before any other parents pop in and ask me if she has colic or gas or reflux or any of those other very important questions. No. She doesn’t.

Her fussiness is not nonstop crying, or being impossible to soothe. It is more like a diva throwing a tantrum, storming to her trailer and refusing to come out to film her scenes at the very end of a very hectic work day. She is calm and happy so long as I am interacting with her. In my arms, she is a happy baby, but I can’t live my whole life with her in my arms.

I feel like the whole becoming a parent journey is glamorized. No one was admitting how awful pregnancy was, no one was talking about how it felt more like a virus you couldn’t kick than the glow often advertised. No one mentioned the excruciating pain of pre-labour that broke you in a way that’s indescribable. They say they often can’t remember the pain of labour, because once they saw their baby, nothing else mattered.

I saw my baby and felt a love that made me feel so full, but once that epidural wore off, the pain and discomfort was there. Bathroom runs were terrifying and despite all the photos I saw of sleeping moms in the hospital, I couldn’t get a single wink of sleep no matter the weight of my exhaustion.

No one mentions how for the first month your baby is here, you are shell shocked. You are doing routine sitz baths, covered in breast milk, wearing pads you could use as a raft to escape a deserted island, exhausted, and if you’re breastfeeding, you are living off the couch.

Another thing not a lot of parents are admitting, is that not all babies are easy. Most of them are difficult in their own way… and being a new parent at times, can seem downright awful. Then, something happens that shines this bright light on your heart and reminds you why you wanted this… and then that moment is gone and you’re drowning again.

My daughter is sweet, she is adorable, and I love her more than I can put into words. However, she is a fussy baby. She likes around the clock attention, otherwise she is screaming.

And it’s okay to admit that.

Babies are different. Some are quiet, some are content, some are inconsolable, others are just fussy.

Fussy, fussy, fussy.

As parents, we should talk about this. We should be open to discussing that our babies are sometimes frustrating and despite our best efforts, fussy. It seems most parents will only admit to a fussy baby based on circumstance.

“He’s fussy because he’s sick.”

“She’s fussy because she’s tired.”

“He’s fussy because he’s hungry.”

Let me be the first to say my daughter is just plain fussy. Tummy full, in good health, well rested fussy.

And that’s okay.

Can’t You Just Hold My Baby While I Nap For Five Minutes?

My daughter is going through an extremely clingy phase.

So far, if I had wanted an hour or so to myself, I could put her in her swing or sit her down in her chair for a bit so I could do fun things like get in the shower, eat, tidy up a bit, wash my face, brush my teeth… you know, all the fun things you take for granted before a little mini-you comes into your life.

It all started in Christmas Day when I was really sick. She spent most of the day with daddy and then that night I noticed she was as close to me as she could get, which wasn’t easy, considering I was still under the weather. Since then, she acts as though a single moment apart will be the death of her.

I am wearing her around the house when I go to the bathroom, when I make food, when I eat, even when we are sitting around, she wants to be on top of me.

What this means is moments to myself have been rare, and mama is worn out.

Last night, she decided she didn’t want to sleep. I have to say, I am pretty lucky. Since my husband returned to work and has been working really hectic hours, I have moved into my daughter’s room and we have been co-sleeping. The queen bed in there gives me loads of room to feed her to sleep and roll away. It’s great. Sure, I miss my husband sometimes, but the sleep I get in there compared to when we were all in the same room is worth it.

When my daughter can’t sleep, she gets really chatty.

Above the bed are four vibrant Tiki masks carved from palm tree bark that we brought home with us when we went to Cuba. They are beautiful! My worry was that they may scare her when we first started sleeping in there, but it has been the opposite. She looks up at them and will talk to them for hours. Little coos, exercising her vowel sounds, laughing, grunting, every sound imaginable.

In one way it’s great, because it keeps her pretty occupied. On the other hand, I am such a light sleeper, always have been, and since having my daughter it’s even worse, if that’s even possible. So as exhausted as I am, I just lay there with my eyes closed, listening to her chat, chat, chat.

With her clinginess, her lack of sleep, and her nighttime monologues, this morning I am feeling worn out. Like… extremely worn out.

I was snapping 6am photos of her because when she gets overly fussy, she finds taking photos funny… kids, right?

Anyhow, this blog entry is more for all the moms out there who feel like it’s an endless cycle of spent energy and not getting any back. I am in the same boat as you, I feel your pain and your misery.

Don’t feel alone. There are thousands of new moms, veteran moms, single moms, new and old dads all feeling exactly like you are right now. Being tired doesn’t mean you are not a good parent. Being tired doesn’t mean you aren’t doing everything right,

It just means you’re a parent. Welcome to exhausting, this is your life now!

The Aftermath Of The Holidays

Christmas lights were hung, halls were decked, stockings were filled, presents were wrapped. The pre-Christmas season, excluding the hustle and bustle, is kind of serene. Everything is neat, everything is tidy, everything is kind of like a dream or a wish.

After Christmas is a completely different feel. There are pieces of wrapping paper and cardboard from torn boxes everywhere. The sight of the Christmas tree is a reminder that you are going to have to go through the trouble of taking it down, sooner rather than later. There is a stack of gifts that have no place sitting in plain view, a reminder that you will have to organize as well.

The holidays leave behind a chaos most people don’t really talk about. There are toys that need batteries, toys that need to be returned because they don’t work the way they should, confusing gifts you have no idea what to do with. The fridge is full of leftovers you don’t want to throw away but you know you will have to.

The days between December 26th and January 2nd are a blur. You never quite know what day of the week it is, where you are supposed to be, or what you are supposed to be doing.

This year, my husband and I were smart. We usually have two holiday celebrations; one with my family on Christmas Day that is a little bit more traditional. The big family running around, kids screaming, the turkey and the stuffing. Gift exchange, cheesy games, all that fun stuff. We also have a second celebration with his aunt and uncle who are his only family that live here in the city with us.

My husband’s holiday work schedule is torturous. Last year he had three days off, Christmas Eve, Christmas, and Boxing Day. This year he only had Christmas Day off. Which meant he was going to do more running around than he would like if we were going to do both celebrations.

We did the small celebrations with his aunt and uncle on the 17th, which meant he could spend what little time he had close and around Christmas with his baby girl, the only Christmas gift we really wanted this year.

I’ve had to check the date today three times, because I am still in that wormhole. I kept telling myself I would put things away these past few days, but I haven’t. Today, my daughter and I are wrapped up on blankets on the couch because she is a little under the weather.

I started writing this blog entry thinking maybe I would offer some tips and guidance on how to get things done during the holiday aftermath, however, I don’t have any. For parents, this may be some rare time you have when you are off from work and your children are home from school. My advice would be: enjoy it!

Do all the things you wish you could do with your kids when your schedule is full. Go for walks, play outside, just spend quality time together and ignore the chaos Christmas left behind. There will be time enough to deal with all that later.

Happy Holidays!

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Christmas At 3 Months Old

Saying I am The Grinch would be putting it lightly. I am not, and have never been a Christmas person.

December is a stressful months for me. I have three siblings celebrating birthdays, which can be pricey, not to mention I come from a big family which in the past has required a lot of gift buying. Three years ago I put my foot down an implemented a Secret Santa within my family. We got to buy one great gift, and everyone buys for the kids. It definitely eliminated some of the stress and hurrying around.

However, I still have never been one to get into the Christmas spirit.

This year, as an exhausted new mom, it has been especially hard to summon even the smallest amount of Christmas Spirit.

My husband and I decided it wasn’t worth the added stress or hassle to exchange gifts this year, thank goodness. Knowing that has definitely taken a load off my shoulders. Instead we decided we would do a couples spa day, and have my sister watch our daughter. It will be great to relax and unwind together, and feel like a couple once again.

A common question I have been getting lately is what we got for our daughter for Christmas. To be frank, we haven’t gotten her anything.

Why?

Because we buy things she needs constantly, and stockpiling things she needs for a single day when she won’t even realize anything special is happening just didn’t make sense to us. We have bought her a lot of interactive things lately as she is growing and slowly becoming independent. Chairs where she sits upright, toys that sing and light up, activity mats, and these days none of that comes cheap.

We’ve been giving them to her as we feel we need them. On days tummy time isn’t going well but she still needs exercise the new activity mat was brought out, and a plush car for her to sit in. Life as a new parent is hard, and all these things make things seems just a little bit easier.

With that in mind, waiting to open and use them until Christmas didn’t make sense.

Yesterday I opened up this PlayGo car that sings, flashes and is perfect for her to sit in for an hour or so on the floor exercising her neck and core strength. She has been overly fussy lately, drooling a bunch, which may hint the early stages of teething are upon us. Putting her in this yesterday gave me half an hour to myself where I could sit nearby and sip some decaf coffee and just breathe.

I pushed her around on the floor in it for a bit, and parked her under the tree where she could marvel at the lights and give me a little more time to run to the bathroom. I mean, technically if it stays under the tree, it is still a gift, right?

There are so many new parents I see that pile things for the baby, perfectly wrapped, under the tree and to be perfectly honest, I don’t see the point of if. At 3 months, my daughter won’t remember this Christmas. We have our photos with Santa for the photo album, and she has everything she needs. I am sure there will be gifts for her from my siblings at my mother’s house when we got over for Christmas dinner, not to mention my mother in law always sends a care package around Christmas. She has more than she needs, and now wrapping and running from store to store shopping for her makes things easier on us.

Next year, when she is older and can actually enjoy herself, we will put in a lot more effort for the holidays. This year, we are planning on just relaxing a bit while we can.

If you are a new parent who did go a little overboard this Christmas with your new arrival, that is great! Good for you! I am not telling you to do anything differently. I am just letting you know what has worked for our family this year, and letting other parents know, that if you didn’t there is nothing to feel guilty about.

Do what works for you and your family.

Mommy’s Me Time

My baby girl will be three months old tomorrow. I have to admit, as rewarding as being a new parent is, it’s also tedious, overwhelming, and downright exhausting. It is a 24/7 job being a parent, and even a super parent is still human.

About a week ago I got completely worn down. I was tired, I was frustrated, and mama just needed a break. I sleep with my daughter, I am up with her in the night if need be, I spend the whole of my day with her, and all-in-all I maybe get about two hours a day to myself where no one is touching me and I can just breathe.

2 hours is not a lot considering how much time you have to do nothing or everything before you have kids.

Worn out, I popped on my computer and signed up for a membership to the Fit4Less down the street from my house and told my husband that I was going to get up early in the morning and go to the gym. I needed adult interaction, I needed a moment where I didn’t have to be in Mom Mode. I just needed to swim up to the surface and catch my breath.

The next morning I was up before my alarm. I fed my daughter, changed her bum and slipped her back into her bed and clocked out. Mom duties were done for me for the next few hours. It was daddy’s turn to be at our sweet baby girl’s every beck and call. No mommy to pass her off to.

Out of the house, I walked to the gym, signed in, got my membership card and started in.

I was in the gym for a total of two hours, some of that time was spent just exploring and getting to know the new facilities I would hopefully be spending several days a week. I did dome exercising, some cardio and I left the gym feeling refreshed and like I was ready for anything.

I took my time walking home, stopping off for a coffee at the little shop across the street to chat with a few strangers and just relish in feeling a little bit like my pre-pregnancy self again.

This is definitely going to be something I do often, I can’t tell you what something as simple as going to the gym did for me mentally. I just felt good knowing that if I did ever get too overwhelmed, I had somewhere I could retreat to for a few hours.

And dad survived, so that is a major plus!

Parents, if you can, try to find time to do something for yourself, by yourself, outside of your house. I can’t stress how important this could be for your happiness, your mental health, and even your relationship with your partner and your baby!

How Important Is Including Your Family In Your Child’s Life?

When you are pregnant or thinking about starting a family, it is so common to think about the kind of family you want for you baby. You start to think about your own childhood and your experiences and memories, and you make a mental list of all the things you want to do differently, all the experiences you want your baby to share with you. 

My childhood was rocky. It was chaotic and messy, and in a way lonely.

I have four siblings, an older sister and three younger brothers. It was an odd place to be in the line-up. My sister was a cool kid, very Regina George from Mean Girls. She was the It Girl, she had all the friends, knew everyone, did all the partying. Because of this a lot of the time people just knew me as her sister, and not as myself. Having Regina George as an older sister also meant that I was bullied mercilessly, and put in the supervisory role for my younger brothers because she was always doing something that kept her from babysitting. 

My mom was a single parent. She worked tirelessly to make sure we all had what we needed, but that also meant that I didn’t get to see her very often. One of the first things I told myself when I started making a family of my own was that I wanted to spend a lot more time with my kids when they came along. It isn’t something I hold against my mother at all, I admire her work ethic and she taught me a lot, but it is something I wanted to do differently. 

My relationship with my father was complicated. He had cheated on my mother when I was a kid and had an abusive relationship with her both emotionally and physically. It was difficult for me as a kid because when I was really small I was more of a Daddy’s Girl. He was the one I ran to when I had a problem, he was the one I ran towards with pure joy, he was a big part of my life and I idolized and loved him more than I could ever say. 

However, watching what he put my mother through and the emotional toll losing him put on my brother, he suddenly became the villain in the tale of my life. Parents are human, and I completely understand they will make mistakes, we will all make mistakes. But I do think as a parent, it is your job to hide some of you mistakes, some of your villainous attributes from your kids and he made no effort in doing any of that. He included us in his villainy, made us bear witness to it all, and that to me was unforgivable. 

When I became a teenager, I cut all ties with my father. He is a toxic person and I could no longer stomach his influences. I just needed distance, I needed to pull away for my own survival. I think in a big way that is what being an adult is, realizing that a lot of life is just trying to survive different situations. 

When I was pregnant, I thought a lot about family. My husband’s family is the kind of family I always wanted when I was a kid. Two loving parents. A mom that is supportive and just radiates joy and love, and a father that finds a lesson in every situation. He is close to his two brothers and they have this bond that seems as though it would survive anything. Not to mention both his parents come from huge families and he is close to all 15+ aunts and uncles, and their children. It’s just such a wonderful family vibe and I am so happy to be a part of it. 

However the downside of being the new addition to such a great family, is that it makes you look at your own in this sort of judgemental way. It made me long for they type of family I never really had. 

In our family it is just us. We aren’t close with my mother’s sister and her kids. We don’t speak to our dad who remarried and has a whole new family. We don’t have relationships with our grandparents. It’s just the 6 of us, my mom, my four siblings, and I. Over time that family has grown a bit. My sister had a son, my brother had a son, I married adding my husband and now our daughter. Our family of 6 has become a family 11. It’s dysfunctional at times, but it’s mine and I love it. 

When I was pregnant a lot of family related questions came to mind, but the biggest question I asked myself was whether or not I would finally answer one of those emails from my father, the ones where he makes a weak effort to reach out and attempt to rebuild the bridges he had burned. 

Hormones can make you act crazy and question everything. I questioned my decision to completely cut him out. 

I am happy to say I resisted that urge. Why? Because although family is important for children, there is nothing better for them then a healthy environment where they can witness healthy and functioning relationships. 

There are no cookie-cutter families. Some families are two parents, four grandparents with lots of aunts and uncles and cousins. Some are one parent, four grandparents. Some are just a grandparent. Some are just one parent. Families come in all shapes and sizes and as long as everyone in that family is constantly working to make one another happy with their best interests always in mind, that’s what’s important, no matter what members make that family. 

Toxic relationships are never good for anyone, and although it’s hard, sometimes you need to say goodbye to the harmful people in your life to ensure your happiness, and the happiness of your children. 

It’s so important to make a family for your baby and your children, but it’s important for us as parents to be smart enough to know what family our children need. Sometimes including everyone isn’t what’s best. 

Living In Chaos: Is It Possible To Have A Routine With A Newborn?

I have been a mother for two months now, and a lot of the blogs and forums I had read to prepare me for being a mother (yes, I read some books too) told me that it would be so difficult in the beginning and that the best way to get through it, was to give up on the thought or idea that you can keep a routine this early in your baby’s life. Is this true? If you had asked me that the first week I had brought my baby home, I would have told you it definitely was. A routine was something single people and people with older children could possibly keep if they planned and had a strong desire, but for a new mom, it was completely out of the question. 

Now, I realize how wrong that was. 

Babies are unpredictable in a way, but if you pay attention to all the little things, you will realize that your baby does have a routine… it just may not be the one you want them to keep. 

My daughter wakes up between 10:00am and noon. She is NOT a morning way in any way shape or form. You may think I am just making that up, but if you spent a morning with me at my house and watched how utterly miserable she was for no other reason than because it was before noon, you would whole-heartedly agree with me. 

My daughter + mornings = one unreasonably cranky baby.

When she gets up I change her out of her sleeping clothes, wipe her down (we usually give her a full bath in the evenings) and then I take her to the rocking chair (glider) or the couch depending on how we feel for a feeding. She eats until she falls back asleep which is anywhere from 30 minutes to and hour. I use the time she is asleep to pump out the remaining breastmilk and do a few things for myself (wash my face, brush my teeth, change my clothes, read through some news highlights, have my cup of decaf coffee). 

She will usually sleep for two-three more hours and be up by 3:00pm. By that time, I layer up, get her layered up and she and I take our fur baby out for a walk. We are usually out for between fifteen-twenty minutes depending on the weather. I really wish it was summer or even fall weather because then I would go out and walk for around an hour, and hour and a half and just spend a lot more time outdoors and less in my apartment. 

When I take her in, I usually check and see if she needs a change because outside I can’t necessarily hear her volcano eruption of poop. Even my daughter’s diaper change has a routine. I lay her down and weather she is wearing socks or a onesie, I make sure her feet are bare when she is getting changed because she loves when I kiss her feet and kissing her feet or nom-noming them is sometimes the only thing I can do to calm her down is she is fussy while she is on the table. 

We play with her feet before and after her change, I usually give her a few cherry kisses on her tummy as well before I get her dressed again. Now, the dressing her after her change is always a bit of an adventure because my daughter hates wearing clothes. If she is being overly fussy, I will just shrug the whole idea of clothes off and let her be free in her diaper and some socks. If my apartment is too cold, I will put her in a cover-all onesie. Her happiness does depend on how much clothes she is wearing so typically if she gets off that table in a onesie we have to do a couple laps in the apartment before we get on the glider and she feeds again. 

Typically after this feeding she will stay awake. We will move to the floor for her tummy time which she also hates. Usually she does about five minutes of that before she is grunting in frustration, bright red, and ready to stop talking to me for the rest of the day. Toby of course accompanies us for tummy time and tries to soothe her with his toys or kisses if she gets too fussy. 

After tummy time, I put her in her swing with the music playing and she will enjoy that until she dozes off (the life of a two month old). She usually dozes for an hour to two hours. At this point… mama takes a nap/break. 

When she wakes up, she eats again. Usually when she is done eating I will realize I haven’t eaten since her first nap and I try to get something in me and I will do my 7 minute exercises (I usually choose three different ones and do that for about 20 minutes). By this time it is between 6:00-6:30.

This means we bundle up again and take Toby out. If we popped out for only a short fifteen minutes earlier, I will typically stay out longer. If we were out longer in the morning, I will typically do the same amount of time or less depending on the weather. 

We come in, same changing routine, she eats some more. Then I usually sit with her and chat with her for a bit. Exercising her legs, playing with her arms, rubbing her tummy if she has excess gas. She will doze off, eat, get changed. Before I know it, it’s 9:00pm and I try and set her back in her swing so I can get dinner started. (I know, my husband works weird hours and usually doesn’t get home from work until around 10:30pm)

My daughter will be wide awake from 9:00pm until around midnight. There is no way around this. She will be cooing, and squawking, and kicking and punching and just keeping herself up and entertained. 

We go into the room and I chat with her some more, telling her stories, singing, and usually after another long feed, she will clock out at 1:21am every morning like it’s shift work. 

In the beginning I thought it was madness and there was no routine to it. I only started to realize there was a routine when I went out for the day with my sister and she was fussy in the morning. I told my sister it was because she usually napped between 1:00-3:00pm and then I wondered to myself if that was true or something I just thought she did. Sure enough, the whole routine started to play out in my mind and I realize there was a routine.

For all those new moms who were hoping to have a baby that goes to bed by 7 or 8 and you could get them up early, feed them and have your breakfast, have your lunch at noon, dinner at 6 and that they would fall into the schedule you had before you had a baby, then you may be feeling like it is chaos, because it isn’t normal. But you aren’t that person anymore, and you have to be open to changing your schedule to suit a new baby, even if that schedule doesn’t work for you. Their routine will change as they grow, and sooner or later it will click into place with what you had planned. 

“What is normal for the spider is chaos for the fly.” This is important to remember. We were spiders before and now we are feeling a little more like flies, because a lot of our planning isn’t up to us anymore. 

And there is nothing wrong with that. 

So you can definitely have a routine, I just can’t promise it will be the one you want. Here in Canada, not living in that work life routine for months on end is fine because of our Maternity leave we have the time to adjust and months to figure it out before we go back to work. For those living in other countries without maternity leave, I definitely understand how frustrating it can be to have a newborn that doesn’t make your transition from pregnancy, to new mom, to working new mom easy as you ride the wave of their schedule. 

I would strongly suggest keeping a journal of their naps, feedings, and diaper changes so it is easier for you to notice these patterns and plan your life around them. When you feel like you are falling into the groove of things, even though you may not be getting much sleep or living the hours you want to live, you will start to feel less anxious, less tired and enjoy being a new mommy. 

Everything in life take times to adjust to. Give yourself that time and try not to rush a change that may end up making life more difficult for you. It’s better to have a baby on a night-owl routine than to have a miserable baby who cries all the time because you are trying to change it. Then no one is getting any sleep. 

Until next time, hang in and keep pretending you know what you’re doing. 

Social Media and Your Baby

We just returned from a two-week stay with my in-laws on the East Coast. This was a great trip. We got to introduce Sunshine to our family and friends, she got to spend a lot of one on one time with her grandparents and uncles. We even got her baptized.

Having so much family and friends around was a big help to me as well. It gave me a chance to really sleep. Do you remember the kind of sleep where you can completely turn your mind off, where you can take up as much of the bed as you want and move about freely? Well, I got a few hours of that in a day.

It also just gave me time to exist on my own. My husband only took two weeks off from work after I gave birth to Sunshine, which meant after that I spent a lot of the day with her on my own. My daughter loves to be held, so this often meant that I barely had enough time to run to the bathroom and pee before she would start fussing again.

With the all the people at my in-laws dropping in for visits, not to mention nana and papa Gus, and her two uncles, I could actually sit on my own. I could eat, have a cup of coffee or tea, or read through the news without wondering when my time would be cut short and I would have to pick her up again.

At this stage in Sunshine’s life, she in unable to self-soothe. So letting her cry it out isn’t an option.

It was a nice break.

Sure, there were things that I didn’t love. I didn’t love living out of suitcases and not having my own space and time where I could just do whatever I wanted without worrying if people were wondering where I was or what I was doing. All of that were things I could shrug off, telling myself that in a short while I would be home again wondering where all the time went, so I should enjoy the little things.

One of the things that really got under my skin though, was people and their links to social media.

In this day and age, people are constantly snapping photos and taking videos. Viral videos are posted every single day of people the poster doesn’t even know. All of this is amplified when there is a baby around. People love babies and they love snapping photos of them, and taking videos.

I don’t mind people taking photos with my baby, what I do mind is people posting photos of my daughter without my permission.

On our trip, I spent most of the time with my in-laws and my brother in-laws new girlfriend. She was sweet, and I didn’t have anything against her, but she took a lot of photos of my daughter. That alone was odd to me because she and my brother-in-law have been dating less than a year. It was a little soon for her to be filling up her phone storage with photos of my baby.

However, I can totally understand baby fever, hell, I went through it myself.

What bothered me was later when I asked my husband to see photos that had been taken that day and he told me they were on her Instagram.

She had posted photos of my daughter to her Instagram, not just one or two, but upwards of thirty without even asking me if it was okay.

This bothered me. A lot.

I work with children, so maybe that is what makes the lines of what is and what isn’t appropriate so defined in my book. I am the kind of person who doesn’t take pictures of other people’s kids. If I had, it was to share with their parents through personal email, not through social media. Even the photos I take with the kids in my own family I never post on social media, I wouldn’t even dream of it. If I had, I would have asked my sister or brother if that was okay first.

So to me, this was brazen. This was ballsy for someone who had never met me before, someone I wasn’t close to and who was still skating on thin ice with me because we didn’t have a relationship that was in any way established.

I think for people who don’t work with kids or aren’t parents themselves, they don’t realize how standoff-ish we can be when it comes to children in our care, especially our own! This made me feel violated and had me questioning this woman and who she thought she was.

However, I had just met her and had she been dating my husband’s other brother I would have addressed this with him right away but conversations with the brother she was dating always felt forced and my wording was always somewhat scripted in my head.

I am not on Facebook or Instagram personally. I am not the kind of person who posts things constantly, and even if I was and I did, it is every bit my right as a parent to decide what is posted of my child, when and where.

In this age where social media is at everyone’s fingertips and almost second nature, I can understand why someone would post something without thinking, but with children, I would always tiptoe to the side of caution.

Advice I would give to new parents is to voice your rules and regulations in regards to your children at any event where you know photos would be taken. If you see someone taking a picture of your baby or child, let them know you are uncomfortable with any of those pictures ending up on social media. Do this right away, because if you are like me and you wait to voice your views and feelings to your husband until you are sitting in the airport waiting for your flight home, it becomes harder to address and undo.

I post photos of my daughter on this blog and on the twitter account affiliated with this blog. As her mom, that is something I debated whether or not I would do when I started this blog.

I think it’s important for parents to sit down and discuss social media, it’s reaches and whether or not you are comfortable with your children being online.

My comfort level is not overly high… I find with older generations, it is hard to limit an overzealous grandparent from posting every photo on their facebook page. It’s a comfort to know they are only sharing it with their 30 or so facebook friends (mostly family), most of which don’t know how to re-share those photos. I had accepted the grandparents would share photos of my daughter, but outside my husband and I, and our parents, I hadn’t thought I would have to limit other people.

The issues that arise with parenting are so different now than they were ten years ago. The internet is playing a larger and larger part in our kid’s lives and it’s important not to forget about that. A lot of things can’t be undone once they are online. You tweet or post something that gets shared by the right person, and that will be circulating forever.

It kind of makes you miss the days of polaroids, photo albums and phone calls.

Travelling With a Newborn

For any Canadians that follow my blog, or for those who pop in for a read but don’t necessarily follow, you know how ridiculously expensive it is to fly across The Great White North. Considering you can get across Europe for fractions of the price, it seems ridiculous to spend $500+ on plane tickets just to get us a few provinces over… IN THE SAME COUNTRY! However, my husband’s family lives on the East Coast, so we made the trip.

When booking our plane tickets out, we tried to co-ordinate with my husband’s brother as he was flying over to Nova Scotia from Alberta the same day and we were all planning on taking the two hour drive from Halifax airport to my in-laws together. His flight was landing in Nova Scotia at 7:00am I think, so we tried to get an early flight so he wouldn’t be waiting as long. The earliest we could get was a 7:40am flight out of Toronto Pearson Airport.

For those of you who don’t know, and haven’t flown in or out of Pearson, it’s a nightmare. There is a tram connecting three giant terminals. Each terminal is usually packed with people with lines that take forever to go through.

Just to set the mood for you guys, I was travelling with my newborn who was five weeks at the time. We were also travelling with our moody dog and a butt-load of luggage to last us the two weeks visit.

Babies need a lot of stuff. Bottle warmers, breast pumps, creams, receiving blankets… it all takes up a lot of space. Because of this, we couldn’t just take a regular cab to the airport, we had to take a van cab at 5:00am in the morning. Doesn’t seem too hard, right? Well, I forgot to mention that in Toronto, there aren’t as many van cabs on duty, particularly this early in the morning. Not to mention, there are a lot of drivers that refuse to take pets, even if they are in a travel kennel.

I had called our cab company the day before to ask if I needed to book a van cab in advance. The cab company said no, just call when you need the cab despite me telling them my need for a van and a pet-friendly driver.

This, of course did not work out for us on the day. We had to call three other companies before getting our van cab which put us forty-five minutes behind schedule.

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Arriving at the airport, we had two large suitcases that needed to be checked. WestJet used to give each passenger one free bag to check, but they recently changed it and now it is a $30 charge per bag. Then we each had a carry on. I had a small suitcase that had all the necessities I couldn’t go without for our daughter during the trip, my husband had a back pack and we also had the diaper bag. Not to mention my daughter in her travel system, and Toby in his kennel.

Checking in took a bit of time as Toby, the two pieces of the travel system, and the two checked bags needed their own tags. The woman checking us in was nice, but very slow and didn’t show any reason to hurry despite the growing line behind us. Normally I wouldn’t care about something like this because we got to the airport with what we thought was enough time to go through all the motions, however we were wrong.

After being checked in, we should have hurried right over to the oversized baggage section and put Toby in so they could load him onto the plane. However she didn’t tell us this and told us to proceed to check out regular luggage and then move on to oversize.

With all the lines, we ended up missing out flight!

It was early, I was a little stressed and it didn’t take long for my frustration to kick in. We were bumped from our flight because they refused to check Toby in. It was past their pet check in time. Which, now, I completely get, but having been at the airport for as long as we were, going through all the lines, and waiting for that woman to check us in at a painfully slow pace, I was internally fuming.

All of those annoyances aside, I think it’s important to note that even though we did have to pay for our checked bags, WestJet will gate-check two pieces of infant equipment for free. Which was great because that meant I could use my stroller all through the airport until I got to the doors of the plane and then I could hand it off. The flight attendants are very helpful when you are travelling with an infant.

Our Sunshine was great on the flight. She slept the whole way there, breastfeeding on the way up to ease any discomfort caused by cabin pressure changes.

She didn’t sleep the whole way back, but was still better than I would have expected.

What I will say is that flying with a baby at the newborn stage is the best time to do it. Feeding them always quiets them, you can scoop them up and bring them wherever you want without much fuss or debate, and they sleep a lot. I imagine travelling with a toddler is a different ballgame.

Travelling with a toddler may require a little less equipment, especially if they can walk and you can go without the stroller all together, but honestly, the stroller is a big help moving through the airport, and since they check it for free at the gate, I would bring one along even with a toddler.

All in all, it was not as difficult as I imagined it would be and if I could afford it, I would travel as much as I could with her at this age.

 

First Birthday As A Mommy

I would be lying if I didn’t say these past 7 weeks have just flown by. I remember the moment I felt my first back contraction as though it were yesterday, and those minutes felt like hours as I walked through the pain, struggling through contractions waiting for my water to break. Now, my Sunshine is 7 weeks old and I am celebrating my 28th birthday.

I have never been the kind of person who enjoys celebrating myself, so birthdays have never really been my thing. I am more of a sitting at home with a book, or a good movie kind of person. Being a mom hasn’t really changed that, but what it did change is my thoughts on this specific birthday.

I am 28. That’s not a huge deal. What is a huge deal is the way I can look back on this past year and the dramatic changes.

I am a mom! That is a huge deal.

Thus far, that has been the biggest change in my life. Moving out, falling in love, even getting married… none of that changed my life as much as becoming a mom did. Saying that now, so close to the beginning of our journey together made me think about how special this birthday actually is.

Even if you don’t like the idea of celebrating yourself, if you’ve recently become a parent do your best to try and make this, and every birthday you have moving forward special. Take time to be appreciated, and loved. So much of your days after becoming a mom or dad will be dedicated to your child/children. Even time spent apart from them will somehow circle back to them.

Try not to get lost. I know that probably seems impossible, especially if you are a new parent like me. It’s overwhelming this early at times, and even though you have this new babe, it’s easy to feel isolated and alone.

You are a parent and that is such an amazing thing! But you are also a person outside of that, and both of those people deserves a day to be celebrated.

So on my birthday, I wish all of you would take the time to celebrate yourselves. Even if only on one single day a year.

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