Milestones

It is crazy for me to even think about, but tomorrow my baby girl will be a month old! I’ve been a mother for a month!

With such a big milestone coming up, it’s got me thinking about what people consider the milestones for babies, and how so many parents question what is normal.

Every new parent wonders if their baby is developing on time, if they are falling behind, and hope they are ahead of the curve. An important thing to keep in mind when you have your new bundle of joy, is to just be happy and enjoy your time together. Who cares how soon your best friend’s daughter started rolling over, or when your brother’s son started cooing and making eye contact. We are all on our own journeys at our own pace, and that goes for our new babies as well.

I find I am constantly pulling out my resources and looking up when certain developmental things are normal, but it’s mostly with things I am not sure if newborns should be doing so I know whether or not it is something to bring up with her doctor.

Some of my questions were; “Is it normal for my newborn to snore?

There are a few reasons why a newborn may make noises similar to snoring. One is because there can be a flap in their vocal chords that is loose and their breathing when they are sleeping rattles this flap. It isn’t something to worry about as this usually corrects itself as baby grows. Another reason could be because they are congested.

I try to clean out my daughter’s nose whenever I give her a bath. The warm water seems to loosen mucus and build up in her nose which makes it easier for me to clean it out with that little suction thingy that was included in her bath kit. Normally I can look up her little nostrils and see if there is some build up in there, which will affect the way her breathing sounds.

My daughter does make noises while she sleeps. It sounds more like whining and growling than actual snoring and I find it is completely dependant on her position. When she is propped up, which is a position she likes to be in during the day as she likes to feel like she is sitting up, and falls asleep she sounds as though she is snoring. If I lay her down, her breathing evens out and she gets a little more quiet. However, not completely quiet. She is a really noisy sleeper!

Is it normal for my daughter to look so red and strained?

This is not a constant thing of course, but whenever she gets fussy she gets bright red. The same goes for if she is lying on one side of her face for too long, or if she is pressed against my breast during breastfeeding. Her skin gets as red as it possibly can.

My doctor says this is normal for babies at such a young age with light pigmentation. Their skin is thinner so it’s normal to see their veins and for them to go quite red for the first few months. I blame my pale, ginger husband for this.

What is my newborn’s poop supposed to look like?

My daughter’s poop is always this yellowish/brown and is practically water. It’s so runny that there have been more than a few times when I am covered in poop if her diaper is on the wrong way.

It’s normal for your baby’s poop to be orange/yellowish/brown and pretty watery for the first few months. Their intestines are not fully developed yet so they don’t break down food the same way toddlers and adult bodies do.

For those of you pregnant with a baby girl or ones that have a newborn baby girl, there is going to be a thick white mucus in their vagina. This too is completely normal and because of hormones that will prevent infections from their overly runny, gag-worthy poops.

Babies are supposed to get a certain amount of tummy time a day to strengthen the muscles in their neck, also to give the back of their heads a break. Babies spend a lot of time on their back, especially because doctors recommend you lay your baby on their back while sleeping at night. All that time on their back, can flatten the back of babies head.

Not to worry, because of the smaller, second soft spot at the back of their head, even if baby’s head does flatten it will go back. The bad news is that your baby may need to wear a helmet to help their head reshape if it flattens to a certain point. So remember to give your baby lots of tummy and side time during the day.

I usually lay my daughter on her side after she feeds because she tends to spit up and this way she doesn’t choke on it, she also loves being on her side and it gets a lot of her gas out.

At one month, my daughter already uses her arms and legs to flip herself onto her belly which has made nighttime a lot less restful for me. Why? Well because she moves herself onto her sides and tummy while she sleeps and although she can hold her head up and move her head from side to side, sometimes she lies with her face pressed flat against the bed which worries me because it doesn’t give her a clear passage to breathe.

She also gets quite a bit of gas because she likes to play when latching sometimes. She rubs her face back and forth over my nipple. At first I thought it was a latching problem, but she will break the latch to do it… not sure why. Because of this, she sometimes gets a lot of air in her tummy while she eats.

The build up of gas makes her all red and makes her moan and groan angrily. Moving her little legs in a bicycle motion helps, so does lying her on her tummy or her side.

Back to milestones, I have an app on my phone that asks me if she has gone through certain milestones based on her age. The Ovia Parenting app has milestones categorized first based on age. 0-3 months, 3-6 months, 6-9 months, 9-12 months, and 12-18 months. Then it’s broken down again into motor skills, thinking and learning, social, communication, body inside and out, and bathing and dressing. It is set up like a checklist so you can check off your babies accomplishments and milestones. I like it because it lets me know what other children are doing in that timeframe and eases my mind to some of the worries I may have. “Should my kid be doing this?” checks the list… oh… yup. Here it is!

It’s weird because the first month flies right on by. I can’t believe my daughter is a month old! I can’t believe I have been a mom for a month!

New parents, savour every moment because you don’t really realize how quickly time flies. It feels like I just took her home from the hospital yesterday!

I would say I’ve been pretending not to notice, but I honestly haven’t noticed the time passing.

One month!

3 Weeks Old

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It’s been 3 crazy weeks since I became a mom to my beautiful daughter! Time has flown by, and I still can’t wrap my head around it all.

As much as I would love to write a long post about all the ups and downs of being a new mom, I am going off of a very limited amount of sleep, my breasts are throbbing because I haven’t pumped yet today, and my mind is complete mush.

And it’s all worth it for this little girl!

I will check in later!

 

Changing

Life is all about changes. We are constantly transforming, growing with every choice we make and every milestone we pass.

At 27 years old, I have been through quite a bit of changes myself. This morning as I lay in bed wide awake, having been woken up for the fifth or sixth time by my beautiful little monster, I thought about how different I was from the little girl I once was. That got me thinking about how different I was from the woman I was a mere ten months ago, before I got pregnant.

Before I got pregnant, I may not have slept through the whole night, but that was because my mind was so busy I couldn’t quiet it enough to get through the night. Now, my mind is completely exhausted, it gets to a point in my day where I can barely remember things about myself. I am up for constant feedings, not because my creativity is running wild and I need to get up and jot something down.

Before I got pregnant all my clothes fit. I could complete thoughts, my body was my own, and I showered every day.

Now, I am sticky, there is dried breast milk under boobs I never had before, I think I may have showered a few days ago but I couldn’t tell you the exact day, I am back to wearing pads which I haven’t worn since high school and still hate, I hot flash every twenty minutes and I am wondering if I am ever going to be the person I was before all this.

Pregnancy was rough. It wore me out mentally. What got me through the last, and hardest month of my pregnancy was the thought that I would have my body back once the baby arrived. I was even naive enough to think I would get my mind back when she arrived as well.

19 days into being a mom and my mind is still complete mush. I haven’t written anything since I got pregnant and even trying to brainstorm out any ideas results in my sitting there staring at the ceiling trying to remember what I am even doing. It’s like my creativity pool has completely dried out and I am going through a drought, which means there is no chance of it refilling any time soon.

My body may look a little bit like my pre-pregnancy body, I will admit that I am happy with the weight I have managed to put on and breastfeeding has taken my belly down substantially. I still have a bit of a tummy and these boobs are always in the way and leaking like faucets. But my body is not mine.

It’s hers.

I am her mode of transportation, her pillow, her milk on demand, her cuddle companion, really anything she needs, that’s what I am for her.

My life is changing.

Here is something you may need to sit down for, new mommies. Change isn’t bad, it’s just different.

When I was pregnant, I was worried about myself mentally, especially once my daughter arrived. Now, as I look at all the things that are changing in my life even through these exhausted eyes, I am a little bit relieved.

I needed to change. We all do, and it’s not up to us when it happens. It’s up to life to change us, and boy, my life has really changed me this past year.

Okay, so my body isn’t mine right now. But I have this beautiful baby girl who relies on me for everything and gives me this new sense of purpose. Every day, even days I don’t get out of my PJs, shower, or comb my hair, I am doing something wonderful. I am being a mom to this little baby.

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Everything in my life seems to be changing, and when I look at my daughter, I know that all that change is worth it.

Any new moms who are going through a rough time because of all these changes, just know that change is good, even if it takes you a little bit of time to realize it!

Hang in there mamas, we’re all in this together.

Taking Baby Home

In the hospital, our daughter was quiet. She whined a little bit and cried when we would lie her down to change her, but other than that she mostly liked to be cuddled up to my husband and I, skin to skin, catching some major Zs.

Once we got her home, we noticed a change in her personality.

She was fussy. She didn’t like the bassinet we had in the room, because, as we would discover later, she didn’t like lying flat on her back. She didn’t like a lot of the little gadgets and gear we had gotten in hopes of her getting a good night’s sleep (and a nice sleep for my husband and I as well.)

Instead of the typical bassinet that she would grow out of in just a few months, we went with a playpen with the bassinet and change table attachment on top. Not only did she not like the bassinet, but she also didn’t like the changing table. We ended up having to bring her into the nursery to use the larger changing table.

Of the things she did like, she liked this Fisher Price rocking chair thingy. I couldn’t tell you exactly what it is called because my brother handed it down to us. It has a base that is supposed to move the seat back and forth, but when we got it, the base didn’t work. However, the legs on the seat itself when you take it off the base are like little rocking chair legs, and she liked the way her body sunk into the seat and how her own movements could make the seat move.

Our thought for bedtime was to remove the bassinet and changing table attachments from the playpen and just sit that little chair in there. That way she was up where I could see her from the bed (and my dog wouldn’t fuss with her being on the floor), and she was secure in the frame of the playpen.

Genius! Or at least I thought.

Nope. As it so happens, the chair was all fine and good during the day, but absolutely unacceptable for bedtime.

She would lie in there for a few minutes before she would wake up and cry. Okay…

Now, all the articles and doctors will tell you that co-sleeping with your baby is dangerous. It increases the risk of SIDS and really should just be avoided all around. Trust me, I have read all the articles, I understand the risk and trauma of rolling over onto your new baby or having your baby tangled up in the sheets. When I was pregnant, I read through those articles and thought to myself ‘What in the world are these people thinking? Just have your baby in a bassinet beside your bed.’

When you actually become a parent, you realize just how ridiculous it is to think things are that simple.

When you are running on empty, and all you want is a mere thirty minutes of uninterrupted sleep, you will put your baby on your chest the way you know they like and doze off completely, forgetting all about those articles.

I am an extremely light sleeper, always have been. I used to wake up when my dog would wake up and move around the room before I was pregnant. Every little coo or deep breath my daughter takes I am aware of, even if I am sleeping. I am also the kind of person who has always slept on my back and doesn’t toss and turn. So the idea of letting her sleep on my chest for an hour while I caught a little bit of shut eye was not even something I thought of as dangerous.

It just made sense.

Over the past eleven days of having my daughter at home, I have noticed things that make her sleep routine easier.

My daughter does not like to wear anything but a diaper when she sleeps. It’s important to test the waters with a new baby, especially when it comes to their sleeping attire. So long as you keep your room a comfortable temperature for baby, there is no reason why they have to wear clothes to bed. If my daughter has so much as socks on her feet when she goes to bed, she will fuss until she gets them off.

My daughter can’t sleep in silence. I think we forget just how noisy it is for babies inside the womb. We assume they will want quiet when they sleep, but in our tummies they hear the constant beating of our hearts, every breath we take, not to mention some of the noises from out in the world are amplified for them in there. They have spent nine months with this constant soundtrack of sound, if you strip away all the noise for them on that first night home, it will be hard for them to settle.

My daughter can’t sleep in complete darkness. I am the kind of person that liked the room pitch black, black out blinds and silence (unless I was listening to my rainstorm sleep sounds). The first night we brought our daughter home, I crawled into bed in the dark and revelled in the silence after spending the past few days in the hospital with no sleep. My daughter however, was not as comfortable as me. She was up constantly, whining and searching for us. The womb is not completely dark either, so most babies do like a small amount of light while they sleep. We decided to go for some dim string lights behind the frame of our bed so it wasn’t so bright for mom and dad but was enough to make our daughter feel comfortable.

My daughter craves skin to skin. Skin to skin is so important to build a bond between you and baby in the first few months they are here. My daughter would curl into my husband and I at the hospital like a cat in the sun and go right to sleep. When she is being overly fussy at night, I take my shirt off and lay her on my chest and she is asleep in mere moments. I noticed she couldn’t initially fall asleep at bedtime without some cuddling. For now, this is okay, but it is something I am going to have to ween her off of as she gets older.

There is no spot in our whole house my daughter loves more than our bed. It has been 11 days since we took her home from the hospital and we have had just as many nights to try and find what works best for her and for us. At the end of the day, there is no spot that puts her to sleep more soundly, than a spot on our bed.

Look, I am not a doctor. I am not telling any new moms out there to co-sleep with their babies. I know the risks, trust me, I do! I am merely being honest with you guys and telling you what works for us.

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Regardless of what you decide is best for you, it is going to take some trial and error. If you do decide to co-sleep, make sure to give you baby enough space away from you to be sure you don’t accidentally roll onto your bundle of joy. Also, remove all the blankets from around baby (this above photo was taken before I did all of that). If you have the space on your bed, co-sleeping could work. If you are still too nervous, than maybe you will be successful where I wasn’t.

Good luck either way!

Feel free to get in touch with me and let me know how you are doing with your new baby!

 

24 Hour Hospital Stay

When you give birth, there is a specific amount of time you will have to spend in the hospital recovering afterward. The amount of time is based on a few things, your health after delivery, your babies health after delivery and they type of delivery you had.

Vaginal delivery with a healthy mom and baby with minimal complications means you will only have to stay in the hospital 24 hours after the baby is born before you can be discharged. As far as I could tell, it is so they can monitor your blood pressure, the baby’s blood pressure, heart rate, and overall health, and because 24 hours after they are born they get their jaundice test, their hearing test and a few other blood tests to be sure all is well and good before you take your brand new bundle of joy home with you.

My delivery would be classified as low risk. Although my daughter’s heart rate was a bit sporadic, and needed to be monitored and I had a vacuum assisted birth, it would still be classified as a normal, healthy vaginal delivery. This meant I only had to spend 24 hours in the hospital after my baby girl arrived.

Now, in terms of time alone, my delivery felt both long and short. It felt long in some ways before I had arrived at the hospital at about noon on the 20th of September to be induced. This was not a quick drop-by visit. I had to be hooked up to the doppler and monitored for several hours before they even started the induction. Then I had to be monitored after. The whole thing took almost four hours, which in hospital time, isn’t really that long.

However, my back contractions started at 5:30pm that night, which gave me only about an hour and a half of peace that day, and I rode those contractions out the best I could until my husband threw in the towel and we went to the hospital at 9:00pm.

So all in all, I hadn’t had any decent sleep since the night of the 19th. The 19th, I had also spent a good amount of time in the hospital because of decreased fetal movement. I had to be monitored for a good amount of time, and then sent for a last minute ultrasound.

What am I trying to say?

I was exhausted.

I had limited sleep since the night of the 19th, and now I had to spend 24 hours after giving birth in the hospital. It would have been a good time to rest.

Well…

I went with the semi-private room. Why? Because when my husband asked me the kind of room I wanted while the doctor was in the birthing suite setting me up for my epidural, I really didn’t care. And I had heard him as if I wanted the private room, which we may have to wait for, I told him to just get whatever.

When we got into the room, there was already a woman in there who was set up on the bed closer to the window and further away from the door.

In all honesty, if you are only there for the 24 hours and your insurance doesn’t cover the private room, I would say to just go with the semi-private room. My only reason why I would maybe say go private, is if you plan on having a lot of visitors while you are there because the shared rooms are small and there isn’t much room for visiting.

My husband and I (mostly myself) had decided we didn’t want any visitors while we were in the hospital. I know myself, and I knew that after giving birth to a baby (all 7lbs, 9oz of her) I would be too exhausted to want to have people there with me. I like to be by myself in times of discomfort and recovery. I would rather have them come to our home when we are settled, when I have had more sleep, and I thought having just the two of us at the hospital with our new baby would give us lots of time to bond.

It was definitely the right choice for us, but other people love to share in their celebrations. To each their own.

Earlier on in my blogging, I had mentioned our fur baby, Toblerone. Now through all of this he was home by himself, so as soon as I was settled into our room, my husband went home to walk and feed him and give him some exercise before coming back to the hospital.

I thought I would use the time he was gone to sleep.

There are a few things about hospitals that make it very difficult for me to settle and sleep.

One, is the lighting. I always find it a little too bright. With a shared room, the general lights are on and there are lights in your little area you can turn on to brighten your space, but just the general lights were plenty bright. It made it really hard, even as exhausted as I was, to get any sleep.

Two, having a shared room means a little extra noise. I am a light sleeper so every little coo from our neighbours baby made me feel like I had to check my daughter.

Three, if you share a room, they may have people coming and going. Now with the curtains closed around your bed, this may not bother you too much, but my daughter’s bassinet was set closer to the door, so I just felt a little bit paranoid. It made me not want to put her in the bassinet with people coming in and out and me slipping in and out of sleep.

Four, my stitches from my third degree tear limited my mobility, so it was difficult for me to get comfortable without being about to scoot lower in the bed or adjust. Every little inch of movement required me to move my whole body.

Needless to say, the hours passed slowly, and all I wanted was to get home where I could fully relax.

A nurse would come by every three to four hours to double-check my blood pressure, both our temperatures and monitor the baby’s heart rate. I was also put on stool softeners so I wouldn’t rip my stitches when I finally had a bowel movement, and they would ask about bleeding.

After my daughter was born I had to get a vaccination for Ruebella because they told me when I was pregnant I was not immune and would have to get it afterwards. I also had to get an antibiotics shot because of the degree of my tear. It should have been given to me through the IV but they removed it before they gave it to me so I had to get it in my butt. It hurt like hell!

What else?

I think that is basically everything for the 24 hour stay.

Right before they discharge you, they run a bunch of blood tests on your baby and they do a hearing test before you can leave. They do a car seat check to be sure it is a car seat that is not expired and that you have baby strapped in correctly. Then (if you are here in Ontario at least) you sign your baby up for an OHIP card and that is the last thing you have to do before you get to take baby home.

A couple things to note that are different than when I was being born in a hospital. They no longer issue your birth certificate in hospital. You no longer register the birth in the hospital. I still have the little photo frame that had my first picture on the weighing scale in a pink blanket, the name of my parents, my name, my birthdate and time, and my weight in a photo album. All five of my siblings had this done when we were born and we were all born at different hospitals through the 90s. They don’t do this anymore. Instead they give you a pamphlet with a government website on it where you register the birth, sign up for your baby’s birth certificate (which isn’t free. This surprised me because it needs to be issued and you would think the first birth certificate would be free.) Your baby’s SIN card, and two other things I can’t recall right now.

I thought a lot more happened at the hospital as far as paperwork for your baby. Back in the 90s, they did almost everything right at the hospital so when you left, you left with a little citizen with little to do out there on your own.

It just made me wonder what would happen if you went home and just for whatever reason, decided not to register the birth of your baby or do any of the other things required of you after the baby was born.

Does that happen?

I don’t know.

Anyway, it’s late. My darling daughter is going through a growth spurt and not sleeping longer than 45 minutes at a time and is currently making what my husband and I refer to as pterodactyl noises at me, so I am going to finish this post here.

Time for me to scoop her up and pretend I know what I am doing, and that I am not slowly losing my mind from exhaustion.

 

Seeing The Finish Line

At 39 weeks and 4 days pregnant I had an appointment booked with my OBGYN. At this appointment, she checked me to see just how dilated I was, if I was effaced and a few other things just so she could see how close I actually was to the finish line of my pregnancy.

FINALLY! That was what I was thinking when I went in.

If I am being perfectly honest, and for those who have kept up with my journey so far you should know I usually am, I was excited for this because I heard the vaginal exam this close to a due date could fast forward the process a little bit. It’s a little uncomfortable having someone shove their hands inside you and this can cause the cervix to loosen and contractions to begin…

BRING IT ON!

After she checked me, I was a little disheartened. I was barely dilated. Less than a centimeter which basically meant there was no way a full term baby was getting through a one centimetre tunnel to find it’s way out to mommy. *SIGH* And I was less than 10% effaced.

Now you hear things like this and think… ‘Okay.’ Because in reality, you have absolutely no idea what any of this means. Don’t worry, me neither. Luckily for you, I have the kind of mind that just can’t function in confusion, so I tend to thoroughly research the answers to all the questions bouncing around in my head.

Let’s start with dilation. Basically this talks about our cervix. The base of the cervix for most women who are not pregnant is closed. This is to prevent infection and because there is never really a biological reason for anything to enter through the vagina, up into the cervix and into the uterus. (You know… except for those swimmers that get the whole thing going, but that is like squirting water up through a crack, which is easier and a lot more fun that getting a baby out of there.)

When you get close to the end of your pregnancy, the body releases hormones that begin to loosen the cervix which in turn, opens it up. It goes from the opening of a straw to one ten centimeters in diameter which seems to be enough to get a bouncing baby out of… I know right?

Now another word you’ll hear in the doctor’s office is effacement. Now this will be given to you in a percentage and it refers to the length of your cervix. So when you go into labour, not only does your cervix open but it shortens so the baby has less of a tunnel to travel through.

When I had first heard the word effacement I thought it had more to do with the placement of baby’s head. It wasn’t until later that I realized it was yet another way for them to measure your cervix.

Being so close to my due date and getting anxious, at this point, my doctor asked me if there was anything I wanted done to speed things along.

Of course before the question was even fully out of her mouth I was saying yes.

I had been at this game for 39 weeks and 4 days. I had withstood the nausea, the vomiting, the dizziness, the headaches, the cravings, the swollen ankles and feet, the mood swings, the constant discomfort, and at this point, so close to when they said I would have my baby in my arms, I was ready. I no longer wanted to wait. If they told me they could pull her out right then and there I would have given them the A-O-K!

So she did what they call a membrane sweep.

What is that?

Well, if you thought the vaginal exam she had just done on you was uncomfortable, buckle up! Because now she was going to go back in and sweep her hand around in there in hopes to separate the sac that is holding your baby from your cervix.

Ouch!

In addition to hopefully separating the sac, this often gets your hormones going and will start up contractions.

I left the doctor’s appointment more hopeful than I had been at any other appointment and feeling a little excited.

The finish line was closing in, and boy was I ready!

Age Appropriate Birthday Parties For Kids

At 36 weeks and 4 days I begrudgingly got out of bed and staggered, eyes still shut, towards the bathroom. I had slept in longer than I had anticipated because these days, I usually do. All that was on my schedule for the day was my two-year-old nephew’s birthday party.

Sighing dramatically, I tried to find an outfit that would allow me to walk around all day without my feet turning into roasted honey hams, and something that could be worn in the heat but would protect my thighs from chaffing. Getting dressed these days is a battle that I am constantly losing and it really rains on the start of my day.

With the bags under my eyes covered, and my hair pretty much all in place, I opened my weather app to check out the forecast. The birthday party was 100% outside and I wanted to know what I was in for.

Rain. Scattered thunderstorms.

Immediately, I took off the comfortable orthopedic flats I had on and put on some sneakers, put on some yoga tights and a comfortable t-shirt that could be worn under my light rain jacket.

It was going to be a rainy day, and it was also going to be crazy humid and hot. Suddenly, I found myself wishing I didn’t have to go. I am a pregnant woman who will have nothing to do at Toronto Island’s Centreville which is a small amusement park for kids. Of course I want to see my nephew, but the party is actually a week and a half before his actual birthday. I would much rather see him on the day, get some one on one time with him and not be out in the rain.

Mentally I battled with myself about going and told myself to just go.

Which meant I had to drive downtown to my mother’s where I could park for free (parking downtown is atrocious), then we had to Uber to the Ferry Dock, take the Ferry across to the Island. Walk through the island to the amusement park area and find where they had set up the party tent.

It rained on my drive to my mom’s which was already a bad sign. Rained a bit in the Uber and then it seemed to die down. The wait for the ferry was short and dry but once we got on, it again started to spit. Right away I could feel that wet chill in the air and was happy to have worn my rain jacket, but kicking myself on my decision to go. This close to delivering, I was nervous that I would get sick. I am already fighting off constant discomfort and misery.

We got to the party tend which was only big enough to cover two of the four picnic tables and it started to pour. It rained for about fifteen minutes, big, heavy raindrops. This happened four times before I finally said my goodbyes and left.

On the ferry ride home with my younger brother, who is 18, we wondered about the choices of a lot of parents. My nephew was 2. Although a lot of his guests were between the ages of 6-10 (aside from the adults, and there was only one other guest there his age), having a party at a place where he couldn’t even go on any of the rides didn’t really make sense.

He was completely happy with an umbrella, running around the grass and chasing the birds. They had spent a great deal of money on a venue that made absolutely no sense for a 2 year old.

It got me thinking about all the other parties that didn’t make sense for the kids and the guestlists. When children are that young, the simplest things make them happy. When I was a kid, we had parties at my house. Friends came over and had food and cake and they left after a few hours. We never really went anywhere for our birthdays.

My husband was raised pretty much the same way.

Although I am not against taking your children somewhere for their birthdays, I don’t understand bringing them somewhere they can’t even really enjoy. Who is the party for at that point?

Most of the older kids had run off, they were going on rides and keeping busy. The parents seemed to hang out together with the four children who were under the age of two. Other parents stood around smoking and keeping themselves busy.

The birthday boy was being chased by myself, my sister, and my mom to keep him away from the little pond where they had swan paddle boats that was about twenty feet in front of us, and the train track for the train ride that was ten feet behind us. Although him being chased was the time of his life, we could have done that anywhere, and we could have done that inside somewhere, dry where most of these kids wouldn’t be complaining about cold side effects today.

When your child is under the age of five and you plan these types of parties, who are they for?

I had suggested an indoor playground where there had been a party room and everything from a ball pit for the younger kids, climbing structures, trampolines, everything to keep all the kids busy. Plus, it works for any weather. The party room is a place all the parents could hang out without being in the way and always knowing exactly where their kids were.

Waking up today, with a cold, I wished they had thought about a party that made more sense for a 2-year-old and the weather.

I hope I am more logical when my baby girl arrives.

Who knows, maybe I am just pretending to know what I am talking about now, and will be just as silly later.

Putting Baby In A Corner

Pregnancy happens regardless of your circumstances. You may have gotten pregnant with no warning and are living in a small bachelor, you may have planned it but gotten pregnant before you moved into your forever home, and maybe you’ve been trying for years and have already been living in your dream home for years.

Regardless of your circumstances, baby is coming and you are going to have to make a space for him or her. My husband and I live in a pretty spacious apartment. It is our last stop before we bite the bullet and buy a home.

Two bedrooms, plus a den, one and a half baths; it’s definitely enough room to raise our little bundle of joy in. The main reason we moved out of our tiny one bedroom apartment and into this spacious two bedroom almost five years ago was because my husband’s family lives mostly on the East Coast with his brother living to the West. Although my immediate family is all here in the city with us, he loved the idea of them being able to come and visit and stay with us.

This was something we considered when I got pregnant. If we turned the second room into the baby’s room right away, it would eliminate a place to stay for his parents when the baby arrived. Plus, I know myself and I know that I had no intention of putting the baby in the nursery before the age of 6 months anyhow. I wouldn’t be able to sleep with them so far and would end up sneaking in there for peace of mind.

So it was decided, a co-sleeping nursery. This way the room was still usable by family while baby was sleeping in the master bedroom with us and then when baby was old enough, we would still have a place for them in the other room.

We also considered work schedules. Although I would be taking a year off to be home with our baby, my husband would be going back to work less than a month after baby is born. A co-sleeper nursery meant that when he returned to work, I could move into the second room with the baby.

Everything just made sense.

Now, on to the second room. Unfortunately because of our busy schedules, my husband and I have both been guilty of using the second room as a storage room. We would pile things in there with the promise of getting to it later, and later never really came. We had no rush. Before guests would come and stay with us, we would spend the day reorganizing and shoving all those piles here and there only to move things back when guests left. The room was a sore spot for the both of us, that neither had the time or energy to sort out.

After our baby shower, the accumulated mess in there was unbearable and baby was on the way!

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Yikes!

The decision was to make a space for the baby in the closet, which meant removing the ugly faux wood sliding doors to make more space for her and open up the room a little bit.

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For other people who are renting and have these doors over their closets, they are actually pretty easy to move. You can pop them off the top track pretty easily, but you will have to unscrew the track in the floor and completely remove it in order to get the doors out. Most rental places won’t care you’ve done this so long as you put them back before you move out. (Also these doors are a complete headache and never stay on the track anyway so getting rid of them was something I was ready to do.)

The room is actually larger than it appears in the first picture. I had a better photo before, but with all the technical difficulties I had experienced, I lost the photos I had taken with the doors still on the closet.

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I always wanted a more gender neutral nursery. I was a kid who didn’t love pink and the idea of surrounding my baby in pink makes my head spin. I kept the room the original teal and cream it was, and painted the inside of the closet. We also added a tapestry to the bottom portion of the closet to make it seem a little bit more baby friendly. I put some photos of my husband and I as babies above. These were frames we had bought years ago and never hung up because we had no idea where to hang them. Finally! They are up!

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Now I have to go on about the crib, changing table/dresser, and bookshelf that I bought from IKEA. I didn’t love the idea of the white crib sets and I found it hard to find something between the white and the dark woods that wasn’t grey, especially because I wanted to pick it up in store and not order it online.

The three pieces of furniture cost me less than $400 CAD. We also bought the carpet from IKEA for $40 CAD.

The main reason I didn’t want white was because the rest of the furniture in the room is dark/chocolate brown. I felt like that colour was too dark for the baby’s half of the room, but the white was too much of a contrast.

I still want something to hang from the ceiling to hide where the sliding doors had once been, and I would like to do something to make the bar seem less like a hanging bar for clothes. I may just remove it all together.

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The other half of the room still needs some major organizing, but I think we are well on our way. Every day I do a little bit more in between bouts of fatigue.

Anyway, I think this post is important because for a lot of parents, especially first time parents the baby stays with them in their room for some amount of time in the first year. Even if you had a one bedroom apartment, this is totally something you could do to maximize the space in your bedroom.

As for all the things you once stored in your closet, you could get drawers for under you bed to help take on some of that storage, most queen sized beds can have three drawers on each side, and if you are like me and like to buy most of your furniture at IKEA, their MALM line has drawers that fit perfectly under most of their bedframes.

Not everyone is in a living situation where their baby will get their own room right away. Other’s like me, are too paranoid to have their babies sleep so far from them when they are new. Whatever your reason, having a co-sleeping room with your baby is definitely a possibility.

I will slowly try to get that room in tip-top shape and hopefully have it done before baby arrives. If I do manage it, I will be sure to post the finished product.

Until then, I am off to pretending this pregnancy isn’t making me completely miserable.

 

My Life and Kids

Since I was little, I have always had this responsibility for children. My mom was hard-working, she was one of those independent women who wanted to do it all herself, if not only to prove to herself that she could, to prove to the world that it could be done and to show her children that effort and hard work was always rewarded.

There were five of us, and she did it all on her own.

What that meant was as soon as my brother came along, my sister and I had this unspoken responsibility for him. We were his protectors, his surrogate mothers, his sisters, his friend, whatever our mother needed us to be. He was four years behind me, and my sister had a bit of a mean streak to her, so we stuck together as much as we could.

As time progressed, my brother and I grew apart, my sister grew up and we got two more brothers. The age difference between my brothers and I are four years, eight years, and ten years. So by the time my second brother came along, I was more willing to step into a maternal role for him. Babies to me at that age were cute, and I was more than willing to lend a hand.

I could say that when my teenage years came around I became rebellious, I didn’t want to babysit because I would rather be out with my friends and there was always something else I would rather be doing… but that would be a lie. I was a bit of a homebody. I liked making little hiding places for myself around our house, curling up in there with a dull light and reading a book. I was the go to when it came to someone to watch my siblings because my sister was more the rebellious type, she had an attitude and to be quite frank, my brothers were terrified of her.

When I was ten we moved into our first townhouse. We had only lived in apartments up until that point and the prospect of having a back yard and my own room that I didn’t have to share with my sister… who at times I could have sworn was possessed by a demon, seemed like some type of dream coming true. What also seemed like it would be something new and fun was that we lived a mere few blocks away from my mom’s sister, my aunt and her four kids.

It was fun. It was back in the time when children weren’t really supervised. We went outside as soon as we came home from school and stayed out until the streetlights came on. We roamed the neighbourhoods without fear, crossing streets, and climbing fences and no one could care less. We were being kids.

It was also a time when it was completely acceptable for a ten or eleven year old to watch your five or six-year-old. What this meant is that I was responsible for a whole brood of children while my mother, aunt and uncle were at work.

Most would think that once I got older, got my own job and a taste of freedom, I would put as much distance between kids and myself as I possibly could. I was finally in my teens, I had a handful of friends and was no longer a hermit. Somehow, pushing kids out of my mind and out of my way never really felt right. I went from babysitter, to volunteering at the local recreational centre, to being a camp counsellor, to working at a tourist attraction that was a mix of families and drunk university students. One way or another, no matter where I turned, kids were there.

I was never the type of person who dreamt about being a mother, despite always being surrounded by kids. My mother became a mom very early, and although she never really spoke about it, I could see her struggle. I could sense her desperation at times. She had my sister when she was only eighteen years old. I came along at twenty and so on.

My sister also go pregnant young. She had my nephew when she was twenty-two. It seemed like no matter where I turned, there were young mothers, especially growing up in the low-income “ghetto” that I did. I promised myself that I wouldn’t be one of those young moms, that I would try to figure my life out first. Mostly, because I didn’t want to do it alone.

Single parents have it hard. They are wonderful and they have a strength that few can understand unless they live through it. I have the utmost respect for them. That being said, I wanted something different for myself and for my family when I was ready for one. I didn’t want my kids to experience the heartbreak of seeing their parents break up, of promises to see a father that showed up once in a while and then never at all. I wanted that picture perfect family.

It may seem silly to some, but I didn’t want to follow in my mother’s footsteps… or even in my sisters. I lived through the struggle with both of them, I’ve heard about their regrets and didn’t want those regrets to become my own.

For a short amount of time, I did step away from kids. I moved out of my mom’s house. I became a hostess at a bar, a waitress for a time. I worked a bridal boutiques. I did whatever would make me the money I needed to try and sort my life out. I wanted the independance my mother had always strived for, I wanted to provide myself with things I felt guilty asking for as a kid.

Yet somehow, I ended up as a nanny.

Right back in the kids zone.

Now, as I am so close to becoming a mom I think about that a lot. About all the choices I made and how I always seemed happiest working with kids. There is just something about their innocents that almost rubs off on you, it lifts some of your worries and woes and leaves you a little bit lighter.

These days I find myself worrying about what is going to happen when the baby in my life is my own. When I can’t simply return it at the end of the day. I wonder if I will still have that patience I am known for, if I will still marvel in that innocence. Mostly I worry if I am as prepared for it as everyone else seems to think I am.

As someone who has always been surrounded with kids, I should be ready for this.

So why don’t I feel ready?

Is ready ever something anyone expecting to be a parent can be?

These are questions I am going to have more than enough time to try and find the answers to, questions I will learn the answers to sooner or later… ready or not.

Until then, I guess I will just keep on pretending.

 

Back to Blogging

For those of you who have been following my parenting blog, you have probably noticed that I have gone MIA in the past few weeks. Why? Well, first off because my computer decided quite suddenly that it no longer wanted to work and was going to go on a bit of a vacation.

As someone who considers herself somewhat tech savvy, this was especially infuriating. I had made the switch from Mac products to PC mostly for price point. After buying my first MacBook back in 2009 and being so in love with it, it slowly started to deteriorate over the past year and buying a new one with a baby on the way seemed impractical. Also, they seem to just be making the newer models smaller and smaller. What I loved about my original MacBook, you know, the one with the one rounded unibody was that it was  little heavy, it was durable. I liked the fact that I could write for hours and then just tuck it back behind my couch cushions and now worry about it getting damaged at all.

Now just picking up the newer laptops and holding them in my hand makes me wonder if I am responsible enough for those sleek, light models. I have a baby on the way, and even before that I am not the most agile person. Some tend to refer to me as a clutz, or clumsy. Smaller for me, is not better.

It’s why I own the largest iPhone. Because I have dropped three in the toilet… that’s right people. THREE! Getting a phone to big to fit in my back pocket seemed the only solution and it has been working out well so far.

So price point and overall durability had pushed me back to PC. All was well, I could do things for a lot less money like upgrade my RAM, graphics cards, I could play way more PC games, which is a pastime my husband and I like to do together. However, I forgot just how frustrating an issue with a PC could be. With my Mac I would just run a program that would fix everything for me and it was pretty much smooth sailing after that. With a PC you have to know all these codes, you have to know how to run and operate Powershell, you have to research all these little things and even then, you can be staring at a blank screen in frustration.

It has literally been something I have been trying to fix for weeks. With my work schedule, my fatigue and the fact that for whatever reason sitting at my desk tends to make my feet swell up twice their size, I haven’t been putting in the effort to really come up with a solution.

With Friday being my last day of work and me finally being on Maternity Leave, I figured today was the day. I was going to figure everything out, and luckily… I DID!

So I am back, ladies and gents. Back to documenting my journey with just a month left to go.

Buckle up, I have a feeling things are about to get a little more exciting!

Until next time, keep on pretending folks.