Monday, 15 October 2018

Perfect Parenting Part 2

I marvel that I've kept a little human alive for three years, and wonder how anyone survived to their eighteenth birthday before the invention of helmets, seat-belt laws, and for that matter, pillows.

After discussing some of the admirable parenting decisions I made last week, I didn't plan to revisit the subject again so soon. But today has been one of those days...

Kiddo likes to climb. Especially on the arms of the couch. He sits on them, stands on them, and jumps off them. I'm always telling him to get down (or at least sit down to reduce the distance between his head and the floor). For some time now I've had images in my mind of him diving backwards, head first, from the arm of the couch onto the hardwood floor.

Well, it turned out to be more of a back flip than a dive. I don't think he fell from full standing, but I can't be sure. I was looking the other way until motion, or something, caught the outer edges of my vision and made the hairs stand up on my neck. I turned in time to see Kiddo roll backwards over the toys scattered on the floor in his landing zone.

I was sure we were going to the ER, but after a quick cry and a hug he was pulling himself back up onto the couch and bouncing up and down. I checked his pupils, looked him over for bruises, and poked my fingers around his neck and collar bone. All seemed well. Kids really are more resilient than adults.

An hour later, while following me up the stairs, he tripped and bumped his chin on the step. His chin already has a good bruise from yesterday when he slipped (on nothing that I could see) and landed on the ride-on toddler car that happened to be tipped sideways nearby.

Kiddo is now in bed. Half an hour ago, I figured I should check that he was still breathing. As usual, he'd worked his way out from under his blankets. As moms do, I decided to cover him back up. An innocuous action, right?

Kiddo usually sleeps like a rock. But there are exceptions to every rule and this was one of them. The second I moved the blanket he startled and leaped (like really jumped) the bed, headfirst, onto the floor. It happened so fast I hardly had time to let go of the blanket let alone catch him. Thankfully, due to some recent 2-am rolls out of bed, there happened to be a blanket and a cushion present to break his fall. Still, I'm amazed he hopped back into bed and let me cover him up without, as far as I could tell, even waking up fully.

I should mention, my husband has been out of town since yesterday afternoon. Now that I think of it, this isn't the first time Kiddo has sustained multiple bruises while Hubby was away. Possibly, he's the one who has been keeping this kid alive all along. Figures. I do ninety percent of the worrying and yet the injuries still happen on my watch.

Hubby won't be home until tomorrow night. Maybe it's a good thing Kiddo goes to daycare tomorrow.

Friday, 12 October 2018

# Perfect Parenting

It’s been a week of shining-star parenting moments for me.

Kiddo hasn't gone around with a soother during the day for a while now. About a month ago my husband and I decided it was time for Kiddo to stop using soothers at night. We totally bribed him with toys to accomplish this.

He had four soothers and traded each one for a toy. It worked well as far as Kiddo agreeing to the trade. Mainly because he really wanted these Rescue Bots. However, since he has used a soother (wubbanubs: pricey but amazing) pretty much since birth (three years of good sleep = no regrets), falling asleep without one proved difficult.

In short, I felt bad for taking away his nighttime comfort object. As a result, Kiddo got extra attention at bedtime for a few nights…and then a few more nights. Fast forward one month and we (Ok I) have created a monster. You know the kind:

-  “I need a drink of water!”

-  “I need to sit on the potty again!”

-  “Fix my blanket!”

And on and on and on. It was time to put a stop to this.

On Tuesday night, after an extra potty break and a blanket fix or two, I decided I would ignore Kiddo’s pleas for a drink of water. After all, the water cup was sitting on his dresser where he can reach it. He doesn’t need me for that. I figured he would cry and call me for a few minutes, then realise he could get the water himself and go to sleep.

That was at 8:30 pm. Two hours of crying, screaming, door pounding, and calling for Mommy later…

Thankfully my mother was visiting and able to provide moral support while I sat on the couch drinking a bottle two bottles of beer. I totally would have caved without her there to remind me that doing so would only ensure another, longer, battle of wills in the future.

At 10:45, after fifteen minutes of silence, we went in to find Kiddo asleep with his water cup balanced precariously on his pillow.


On Wednesday morning Kiddo had a 9:00 am dentist appointment. For the first time he voluntarily opened his mouth and allowed the hygienist, and then the dentist, to get a good look at his teeth. This cooperation was, in part, due to my promise we would get doughnuts on the way home. (Don’t tell the dentist.)

At least I was able to truthfully say we’re done with the pacifiers when the dentist asked. I was totally planning to lie, had the soothers still been in use. At our last dentist appointment we got some mild flack of the ‘your kid will need braces and it will be all your fault’ variety to compliment the grave ‘it could impact his speech development’ warning from our GP.

The dentist also told us we should start flossing Kiddo’s teeth once a day as there is some crowding of his teeth (thanks to the evil soothers, naturally) that will leave him prone to cavities over the next couple of years. (Isn’t this set of teeth going to fall out anyway?) We left with some sample flossing tools—those sticks with a bit of floss attached—in a variety of bright colours.

This brings us to Thursday morning at 9 am…when I realised I’ve not only lost the sample pack of flossers, but I just sent Kiddo off to daycare without brushing his teeth.

Yeah, I’ll take that shining-star parent award now.

Other highlights of my week included the discovery that two years into owning this house, we still don’t own a garden hose. And congratulating our next-door neighbours on their two-day-old baby—all the while thinking about the fact our last interaction with them (probably a year ago) was when we complained about their dog’s 5-am barking. It occurs to me they might be avoiding us (and thinking we're dog haters).

Not only am I a perfect parent, I’m a conscientious home owner and an awesome neighbour.

Maybe now that the neighbours have a baby they’ll understand why we were so desperate for neighbourhood quiet at five in the morning…Or maybe I should bake them some cookies.

Friday, 5 October 2018

Where Babies Come From

A close friend of mine had a baby at the beginning of September. Naturally, we wanted to meet the new arrival. And, thankfully, we were between colds and other illnesses. (I’d hate to be responsible for giving a newborn her first cold.) We were able to bring Kiddo and make a family outing of it.

The last time Kiddo saw a newborn he was only eight months old himself. This time, he was much more aware of the situation and not quite sure what to make of it. I needn’t have worried he might sneeze on the baby. He was afraid to get within three feet of her.

I pulled out my phone and showed him a picture from when he was a few days old. We reminded him he used to be a little baby too:

As you can see, in the picture, Kiddo was under the bili-light wearing only a diaper. It’s not the first time he’s seen this picture, but for the first time he was much less interested in the fact he was once a tiny baby than he was suddenly curious about the visible umbilical cord. He pointed and demanded to know what that thing was hanging from his belly button.

I could think of nothing satisfying to say other than the straight up truth. I told him was called an umbilical cord and that it was how he ate when he was growing in my belly, until he was big enough to come out. Kiddo was amused by this explanation and we’ve had multiple discussions since about babies growing inside mommies’ bellies until they're too big to fit anymore.

Thankfully, as of yet, he does not seem concerned with exactly how he got out of my belly. Or how he got in there in the first place. Conversations to look forward to.

Monday, 1 October 2018

Finished Painting...Except Not

I actually finished the painted job that I set out to do two years ago. Unfortunately, it became immediately obvious that the initial goal I set for myself (the living room and entryway) was not sufficient. I thought I could stop painting where the entryway meets the hall off the kitchen. I was wrong:

If you can't tell from the picture, all the corners in my home are rounded rather than 90-degree angles. Curses to whoever dreamed that one up. They must not have had the imagination to think someone might not want to paint their entire house one colour.

Sigh. On the bright side, I overestimated the amount of paint I needed. The full can I have left might be enough to make it look like this paint job wasn't done by a blind person.

I'm not sure exactly when I will accomplish the next phase of this mission. First, I have to work on my next project, staining the bedroom end tables. It went down to 3° Celsius the other night. Summer packed up and took off seemingly overnight and since I plan to do this job in our unheated garage I have to get on it if I want to avoid freezing my ass off while attempting to apply gelatinous stain with a brush of clumped bristles—to reference previous experience.

At this rate I estimate I'll be ready to hang pictures on the walls around Christmas.

Friday, 28 September 2018

Increasing Entropy and the Science of Play-Doh

Kiddo, at the tender age of three, is already learning fundamental scientific concepts. (We always knew he was brilliant.) His current experiments are designed to gain an understanding of the second law of thermodynamics.

This would be the law regarding the ever increasing entropy of the universe. In short, you can stir cream into your coffee and you will get swirls of cream in coffee followed by creamy coffee. But you can’t unstir the coffee to make the swirls and cream come back.

Kiddo, of course, has not yet developed a taste for coffee. Thus, he is conducting his experiments with Play-Doh. For a brief time, we had rainbow Play-Doh. This was soon followed by brown Play-Doh. Kiddo did not look at all satisfied when he demanded to know: “Where the purple play-doh go?” and I explained the brown blob in his hand is where the purple went.

He has since continued his endeavors to fully grasp of this phenomenon. It's time to buy some new Play-Doh. And, now that I think of it, I need some coffee.

Monday, 24 September 2018

You Get What You Pay For?

I spent five dollars on a sweater. That sweater is now in the garbage can. But it's not what you think.

I am far from a fashionista. Especially since becoming a parent without a day job. Jeans, jogging pants, t-shirts, and hoodies (mostly neutral solid colours) make up the majority of my wardrobe. Shopping can be fun, but it’s far from my go-to activity when I’ve got some me time. I don’t get any pleasure from having high-priced items in my closet–I can almost see the inevitable slop of spaghetti sauce before I even get out of the store.

I have, however, learned over the years that paying up a little for the right thing, and buying it once, is better than buying the somewhat cheaper version five times because it shrinks or falls apart so fast. I learned this lesson with jogging pants and pajama bottoms (like I said, not a fashionista). Neither of these items seem worth paying a lot for. Most of the people who see me in them are either at the gym or in my house. Ok, the people at the park see them a lot these days too. (The jogging pants, not the pajama bottoms. But I make no promises.)

 After having pair after pair of jogging pants shrink three inches after a few washes (seriously jogging pants that can’t go in the dryer should not exist), I received a pair of nice Roots jogging pants as a gift. They lasted for years.

Now all my jogging pants come from Roots. They cost easily twice what I used to spend, but they still fit months, even years, later and have no holes. I don’t need that many pairs, so I can handle paying a little (ok a lot) extra. Shortly after my jogging pants conversion, Roots came out with some really nice pajama bottoms. I bought them. I may never buy another brand of pajama bottom again.

Before you start to think Roots sponsored this post, I’ll point out my favourite hoodie is from Walmart. It fits, didn’t shrink, and I ended up buying the same one in four colours. (My mother would be proud if I weren’t talking about hoodies, or Walmart.) The only jeans I have found since 2007 that are the right cut, fit, and don’t stretch out of shape are from Old Navy. It's not always necessary to pay up for the right thing.

But it usually is. And it's still better to pay more for the right thing rather than less for the almost-but-not-quite-right thing. Also, I doubt my Walmart sweaters will outlast my Roots pajamas. Then again, you never know…

Back to the sweater in the garbage can:

A few weeks after I learned I was pregnant, I was out running errands with a friend. She wanted to go into Giant Tiger for socks, or leggings, or something. I came along. I wasn’t really looking for anything, but in the back of my mind was the vague awareness I would soon need some clothes to accommodate my growing midsection.

My friend came across a hooded sweater on clearance. (This was before my Walmart hoodie discovery.) Clearance at Giant Tiger = less than five dollars. I grabbed one, a size larger than usual to make sure there was plenty of room to grow. I had no expectation this sweater would last, but it was early January and I only needed it to get me through Winter and Spring. I figured the sleeves would be three-quarter length after a trip or two through the dryer, but what the hell? How many times have I spent five bucks on a latte?

Well let me just say, kudos to Giant Tiger. Not only did the sleeves not shrink, the sweater was soft, cozy, and stretched to fit throughout my pregnancy. I wore it all…the…time. And then it bounced back to its original size! I continued to wear it regularly after Kiddo was born. Few items in my closet have worked as hard as this sweater that I bought almost four years ago.

Alas, a few days ago, the sweater came out of the dryer with the zipper clasp missing. Yes, I could replace it. But, really? I’d spend as much, or more, on a new zipper as I spent on the sweater. Sadly, I threw it out. But that was certainly five dollars well spent. 

Friday, 21 September 2018

Painting: Pre Kid vs Post Kid

I mentioned long, long ago that I wanted to paint the living/dinning area of our house. Not only has more than a year gone by since I shared this information, but when I wrote that post it had already been about ten months since I’d made the decision. I wanted to paint from the moment we moved in. The multiple shades of beige just weren’t cutting it for me. Still, I continued to live with them for what turned out to be close to two years. 

What’s worse, I’ve also gone two years without hanging pictures on the walls. After all, I was going to paint ‘soon’ and didn’t want to put the pictures up only to take them down again. Yeah, I should’ve just hung the pictures.

Why so long from decision to execution? Because pre-kid painting looked like this:

- Two days after moving into new house: “Hmm, I won’t hang pictures yet. I think I’d like to paint first.”

- Two days after that: Look at colours, pick one, buy paint and supplies.

- The next Friday: Move furniture, put up painter’s tape.

- Saturday: Start painting in the morning, keep going until finished, taking breaks to eat, pee, and sleep as needed.

- Two weeks after moving in: Hang pictures.

However, post-kid painting (at least for me) is more like this:

- Two days after moving into new house: “Hmm, I won’t hang pictures yet. I think I’d like to paint first.”

- Eight months later: Trip over a box in my den. The one full of all the pictures I haven’t hung up yet.

- Two months after that: Look at paint colours (and procrastinate further by writing a blog post about it). Take three weeks to pick one…and another three to take the bristle board sheets painted various sample shades of grey off the walls. Around this same time, realise the entryway that must also be painted, as it seamlessly connects to the living room, has a ceiling much higher than our tallest ladder.

- One month later: Order new ladder on Amazon.

- Three months later: Ladder arrives.

- Six months after that: Buy paint and supplies.

- Let the paint sit in my den for another month or two because…just because.

- Finally work up the gumption to tackle the intimidating entryway wall.

- Wait for the next Tuesday when Kiddo goes to daycare: Almost kill myself getting the ten-foot ladder out of the garage and into the entryway by myself. Paint one coat on one wall.

- Thursday (Kiddo only goes to daycare twice a week): Second coat on wall one, first coat on wall two.

- Later that day: Explain to Kiddo when he gets home that yes, Mommy painted the wall. And no, he can’t paint the wall too. Console Kiddo.

- The following Tuesday and Thursday: Progress continues. About one third of the entry/living/dinning area is painted.

- Leave for a family visit to New Brunswick, fully intending to pick up where I left off in two weeks time.

Six weeks later…

- Back to painting. Manage to make good progress both Tuesday and Thursday. But one wall is still untouched.

- Daycare provider goes on vacation for one week.

This brings us to today. My front wall is currently a different colour than the rest of the living room, and the wall behind the couch needs a second coat. I fully intend to finish this job next week when Kiddo goes back to daycare…probably.

Any bets on how long it will take me to hang pictures??