Happy Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day to all of the wonderful mom’s out there!  It’s a difficult job from which there is no break.  But it’s a job that you willingly and lovingly dedicate yourselves to day after day.

Happy Mother's Day

To my own mom: thank you for always being there, thank you for teaching me all about life, thank you for teaching me how to be a mom, and thank you for being the best grams to my little man.

Mother’s Day: what it really means to me

Mother's Day- what it really means to me

This year I will be celebrating my third Mother’s Day as a mom (I count when I was pregnant as my first).  I find myself feeling incredibly emotional and thinking about what the day means.  For most of my life the day has been about showing my mom how much I love and appreciate her.  But now that I too am a mother even that takes on new meaning.  I think it’s true what they say, you appreciate your parents more when you too are a parent.  I can now understand the love she has for me and the dedication that is required to take on the important role of parenthood.

Now that I’m a mom I would like to know that I’m appreciated for all that I do, but it’s not what first comes to mind as I contemplate this day.  What really comes to mind is what it means to me that I even get to celebrate this day as a mom.  I am one of the many who for years was poked, prodded, and tested.  I underwent test after test, and treatment after treatment.  I prayed every night, and made the same wish with every fallen eyelash or blowing of the birthday candles.  I shed many tears when month after month I would receive that notice from my body that yet again our attempts had failed.  Yes, my husband and I are one of many couples who dealt with the difficult reality of infertility.  It’s the most trying and painful experiences we have had as a married couple.

That’s why, as Mother’s Day approaches, I get very emotional thinking about the fact that I now get to celebrate as a mom.  My husband and I are blessed to have achieved our dream of becoming parents.  So for me Mothers Day is not only about celebrating, but also about counting my blessings.  I find myself revisiting the emotional journey we took to get here.  Whenever I look back upon that time I can’t help but get choked up.  We have a gorgeous little boy who lights up our life and brings us immense joy.  It wasn’t long ago when the dream of motherhood was a painful thought, and now it’s a joyous celebration because I’ve been blessed with my little angel.

I will celebrate this Mother’s Day with a full heart.  A heart that remembers the pain that infertility brings, and that now knows the joy of motherhood.

Happy Mother’s Day to all mom’s, and to all of you who are struggling in your journey to parenthood, I hear you, and I understand you.  I can’t take away your pain, all I can do is offer you my story as hope.

My Kid Doesn't Poop Rainbows
Mummuddlingthrough

Potty training: when is the right time?

Potty training: when is the right time?

I’ve noticed over the past few weeks that my son is letting me know each time he has dirtied his diaper.  Basically he makes sure to get my attention and then touches his diaper.  And sure enough he’ll have a freshly soiled diaper.  I shared this development with a few fellow mom friends and they seem to think that it means he’s ready to start potty training, and that I should get started right away.  When I heard this my first thought was, but he’s only 16 months old, isn’t that too young?

I’m a first time mom so I’m learning everything as I go, but I never thought I would be thinking about potty training my son at only a year and four months of age.  It just seems so young.  But one thing is quite clear, he knows when he has soiled his diaper and he’s asking me to change him every time.  So I started to wonder, maybe it’s not him that is still too young, but me who is not emotionally prepared for him to conquer another milestone?  This growing up thing is beautiful, but it also tends to produce a tear-jerking reaction that pulls on my heart strings.

Maybe it’s not him that is still too young, but me who is not emotionally prepared for him to conquer another milestone?

So I purchased his potty seat, and I even bought him his first big boy underwear.  I’m not entirely convinced that he’s ready, but I’m willing to try.  And if we give it a shot, and I see that he’s still not quite ready for this life-change, then that’s ok.  We can always put it off and wait for him to mature a little more.  In the meantime I will introduce the idea of using the toilet to him and just see how it goes.  If he does decide to conquer this milestone now then I’ll just have to be ok with it, and really, who doesn’t want to get away from the diaper stage?

Fellow mom’s: what are your thoughts on the potty training subject?  What age were your kids when they stepped away from diapers?  Any tips for successfully tackling the training stage without losing my mind?  I’d love to hear your thoughts!

My Kid Doesn't Poop Rainbows

Delicious meals that hide vegetables from your picky eater

Delicious meals that hide veggies from your picky eater

Do you have a picky eater who refuses to eat vegetables? My son doesn’t outright refuse all vegetables, but he doesn’t like a lot of them and on some days he does indeed refuse all of them.  So I have found a few dishes where I pack them full of all kinds of “hidden” veggies and he just gobbles it up.  So if you have a veggie avoider try some of these meals and see how it goes:

Spaghetti sauce. I put everything in my sauce (peas, green and yellow peppers, spinach, celery, tomatoes, onions, etc.) and my son just eats it all up. I do it both vegetarian style or bolognese (with beef) and he loves them both. Another great thing with this option is that I can serve it with zucchini noodles rather than pasta so my son eats lots of veggies. 

Lasagna. When it’s chicken lasagna with a cream sauce I use a ton of spinach, there’s actually more spinach than chicken. When it’s a meat sauce I can use all of the same veggies that I put in my spaghetti sauce. Also if I want to avoid pasta it can be made with eggplant instead. My son loves the flavour of the sauces so he devours these meals.

Quiche or frittata. A quiche or frittata is so yummy that my son doesn’t even notice all of the veggies that I put in it. You can put pretty much any vegetable that you like into either of these dishes.

Meat balls. This is another way I add pretty much any vegetable I have on hand (carrots, celery, onion, green peppers, spinach, etc.). Just make sure they’re chopped up nice and tiny (use a food processor for ease if you have one) so that you’ll have no problem making the balls. Occasionally I even make them using turkey rather than ground beef for a leaner option, and really just to have a bit of variety. Either way my son loves them and gobbles them up.

Shepherd’s pie. My son loves the combination of meat and potatoes, what he may not realize is that the meat has tons of vegetables in it.  Again, I just make sure they’re chopped up nice and small so he doesn’t notice they’re there. I include carrots, celery, green peppers, onions, tomatoes, peas, and even spinach.

What dishes do you make that have “hidden” vegetables?

When is the right time to school?

When is the right time to school-

Lately I have been struggling with one, rather important, question. When is the right time for my son to start school?  My husband and I have read all of the studies, the general consensus is that early education is essential.  And we agree with that.  The question is, at what age?

Around here most schools start at age 3 (with PPK), but there are many preschool programs that commence at age 2 (and of course nursery that starts from just a few weeks).  We found a great half day program nearby that will accept our son as of August (he will be just under 2 years of age).  It’s a fantastic school where he will learn through play, and we have no doubt that they will not only educate but also take great care of our little guy.  But he won’t even be two years old yet, that just seems so young to me.  I’m fortunate enough to be a stay at home mom, so it’s not like we need to arrange care for him.  And of course I want the absolute best for him, but I want to be sure he’s ready.

After turning this decision over and over again in my mind, I came to a realization.  My hesitation is not with whether or not my son is ready, it’s with whether or not I am.  I have no doubt that my son will thrive and thoroughly enjoy the program.  I, however, will struggle as I watch my sweet baby boy growing up.  Right now I’m the one who teaches him, guides him, and gets to bear witness to every adorable moment in his life.  The truth is, I’ll never be ready.  He’s my baby, and there is no being ready for him to grow up.  I have been blessed to be a stay at home mom, taking care of his every need, and I have enjoyed every minute of it.  I also take great joy over seeing him grow and learn, but it would be great if he’d slow down a little bit.  I know he’s still only a year old, but like all mothers out there, I think it’s just going by too quickly.  I won’t enroll him for August, it’s just too soon (for me).  I’ll keep him to myself for a little while longer, and then watch him spread his wings.

So I will enroll him for next year (when he will have turned two), and take these next several months to mentally, and emotionally, prepare myself.  And I will try my best not to cry too much on his first day.

10 Things I’ve learnt since becoming a mom

10 ThingsI've learnt since becoming a mom

We all know that becoming a parent is a life changing experience.  Here is a quick roundup of just a few things that I have learnt since becoming a mom.

1. Your heart really is a living, breathing creature that is just walking around outside of your body.

2. As a mother you really do put all of your own interests on the back burner. Which is why it becomes so important that you make an effort to take care of yourself as well.

3. Pregnancy and motherhood is one of the most joyous moments and life changing events you can experience. Unfortunately it is also a time when you will feel the most judged and criticized.  It’s not always easy, but it’s so important to learn how to tune the judgers out.

4. I’ve learnt not only how strong my own intuition can be, but I’ve also learnt to trust it.

5. I’ve learnt that another persons tears hurts me a lot more than my own. (can’t stand hearing my baby cry!)

6. But I’ve also learnt that there is no greater joy then seeing your baby happy and hearing that adorable laughter.

7. There is nothing more attractive than seeing your husband being a great father.

8. I’ve suddenly become an expert at knowing which places are stroller friendly and which places to avoid.

9. I’ve learnt that time passes too quickly.  Stop growing so fast my little man!

10. And finally, the main thing I’ve learnt since becoming a mom, is just how much my own mother loves me and how much she did (and still does) for me. Becoming a mother definitely gives you a new appreciation for your own mom.  Thanks mom!!

 

What would your list include?

Mami 2 Five
My Kid Doesn't Poop Rainbows
Mummuddlingthrough

Powering through parenting when you’re sick

powering through parenting when you're sick

It started with an itch, a slight scratching at the back of my throat, I took some medicine trying to prevent the inevitable, but it was too late.  Now I’m sick.  Now I’m stuck coughing, with watery (and yet somehow at the same time dry) eyes, and an achy body.  There is one sure way to quickly cure myself of this flu, unfortunately I have a toddler so I cannot simply down some medicine and head straight to bed.  I must find a way to power through the exhaustion and entertain my little man.  Here are a few ways that I manage to power through when I get sick.

Don’t be a martyr, medicate.  Don’t insist that you’re strong enough to get through being sick without taking any medication.  Yes nature can take its course, and yes that may be how you used to deal with things.  But if you’re a parent you know full well that parental duties are exhausting enough on their own.  So just get to the drug store and buy whatever non drowsy medication works for you.

Comfort food.  Ok so toast and peanut butter may not be the most nutritious food out there.  But being sick and having to power through it is no time to be worrying about how healthy your food is.  You’re probably already consumed with making sure your child (or children) eats a healthy meal.  Just eat whatever makes you feel happy in that moment so you can get on with the day.

Coffee.  Lots and lots of coffee.  Yes I know that many people say that you should not drink so much caffeine, but if all I want to do is go to bed for a week then I don’t care how many cups of coffee I drink that day.  I need the caffeine boost and I will indulge myself.

Relax on all non-urgent duties.  This includes the housework.  If you’re a stay at home mom (like me), and have an energetic toddler that is still too young for school, then that means you’re on kid duty all day.  So just forget about all non-urgent duties, including the house.  Who cares if the laundry piles up for a couple of days or if the vacuum hasn’t been run.  Rest whenever you can so you can get better quicker.  This also means ordering in for dinner if you have to.

Those are my basic tips that help me power through the day when I’m sick.  They may seem kind of obvious, but too many of us try to keep up with everything even when we’re sick!  As a stay at home mom I can’t call in a sick day, so I have to lighten up my load however I can when I’m in need.

 

Once a baby, now a toddler

Once a baby, now a toddler

The first year has come and gone, my son is now a toddler.  It seems like only yesterday we received the joyous news of being pregnant.  And yet now, somehow, we no longer have a baby in the house.  We blinked, and there he is, a gorgeous, angelic, sometimes frustrating, toddler.  I know, I know.  It all sounds so cliché.  Every parent out there says that it goes by too fast.  But here’s the thing, the reason every parent out there says that is because it’s true!

I knew this going into it, I knew that I needed to savour every moment because they do in fact grow up quickly.  And I’ve done my very best to appreciate every snuggle, record into memory every milestone, and enjoy every moment of being a new mom.  But even so, here I am, after the first year, watching him in amazement and wondering when it went by so fast.  There will still be a lifetime of milestones and important moments to experience, but you only get one year to enjoy living in baby world.

It all hit me the other day when I put away several things he has outgrown.  I’ve put clothes away before, and while it did make me sad to put them in storage it didn’t hit me in quite the same way.  This time I put away the bouncy chair, the play-pen, the walker, and then the jumperoo.  That jumperoo is what did me in.  My little guy has loved to jump his heart out in that thing.  He could easily spend an hour just non stop jumping and grinning ear to ear.  And the laughter, oh the laughter!  I have countless videos documenting his joy.  All of which have of course been sent to his grandparents (and pretty much everyone that I know) so that they too could relish in his excitement.  Putting it away just signifies the closing of a chapter.  An adorable, amazing chapter.

I know I’m not the first mother, or parent, to go through this, and I certainly won’t be the last.  This past year has been one of the most exhausting, emotional, and simply fantastic years of my life.  Every time I look at my son I’m in awe of what we created, and how impossibly cute and terribly smart he is (not that I’m biased or anything).  I look forward to the years to come, to the many more fabulous memories that we will make.  And to me surely, on many occasions, looking back and wondering how it can possibly be going by this fast.

Why raising a toddler is like raising a puppy

Raising a toddler is like raising a puppy

It might sound odd to say, but if you’ve ever raised a puppy and a toddler then you’ve probably come to realize that there are some striking similarities between the two.  Here are just some of my favourite examples:

 

Excitement.  When they get excited over something (such as food), and go running (or crawling) towards you at top speed they often lose their balance and fall due to their extreme level of elation.

Debris.  You need to make sure to pick up anything that is within their reach unless you’re ok with it going into their mouths (and possibly being swallowed)

Teeth brushing.  If you’ve ever brushed a puppy’s teeth then you know what I’m talking about.

Discipline.  When disciplining a puppy or a toddler there is a frequent amount of repetition until they finally concede to the notion that you are the one in charge.

Forgive me eyes. When they’re in trouble they look up at you with their cutest, big beautiful “I’m sorry” eyes in the hopes that you’ll forget all wrong doing and just melt at the cuteness overload.

Raising a puppy or a toddler can be a chaotic stressful turmoil at times, but the joy and unconditional love that you receive in return makes it all undoubtably worth it.
Have I left anything out?  What other silly similarities have you observed?
A Bit Of Everything
Mummuddlingthrough
Mr and Mrs T Plus Three

Christmas gifts: go all out or rein it in?

Christmas gift giving

The other day I read an article that challenges parents to save their money and give only 4 gifts to their kids for Christmas.  The author talked about how, in the past, she was accustomed to showering her children with dozens and dozens of presents, until she decided that it wasn’t necessary and was going to limit it to just 4.  Each gift would be from a set of categories; something they want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read.  After reading this article the first thought that popped into my head was “wow, it never occurred to me to give anyone 4 gifts for Christmas.”  It seems like a lot to me, why do you need to give several gifts to anyone?

The more I thought about it the more I realized, it really depends on how extravagant each gift is.  Something to read is an easy gift to agree with, books aren’t expensive and reading is always a great thing to encourage, plus they make great stocking stuffers.  But the other 3 categories can be tricky because each one could easily be something expensive and over the top.  For something they need and something to wear you can certainly make an effort to not go overboard, but how do you limit something they want?  What if what they want is a really expensive item?  I don’t know how the author of the article goes about selecting the want item, and I’m not saying don’t get your kids things that they want, I just think that it’s a potentially tricky line to walk if you set the expectation for your kids that they will receive several gift each year.

When I was growing up my parents always provided us with a great Christmas experience that included receiving a great gift.  In general, each year we would receive one main gift and several small stocking stuffer items.  And no we did not have huge oversized stockings, we had the standard size (actually they’re small based on today’s average) stockings that my mom would fill with candy and small items (this could be socks, a scarf, pj’s, etc.).  Of course, when we were really little, we had a gift from mom and dad as well as a gift from Santa, as we grew up the Santa gift naturally went away but the gift from my parents always remains.

Now that my husband and I have embarked down the road of parenthood we are faced with the question, how much is too much?  I’ll most likely take the example from my parents; my son will get one gift from us, one from Santa, and a few stocking stuffer items.  Of course the key will be not to go overboard on those two gifts.  And I’m pretty sure that this year he will only get one gift, no stocking stuffers or gift from Santa, I mean he’s only one so he doesn’t even know who Santa is yet.

So my question to you is how much is too much?  It’s easy to go overboard because we all want to spoil our kids, but how do you decide where to draw the line?