Saturday, July 23, 2011

Patience is a Virtue that's NOT Easily Accessible

I'm not sure why it's called the "Terrible Two's" it should be renamed the "Don't Feel Bad About Locking Your Child in a Padded and Sound Proofed Room so You Don't Strangle Them Stage." I was expecting my daughter to be the most terrible of twos but I just am not sure how to go about this anymore. My daughter does not listen or heed to ANY form of discipline. I even have seasoned mom's baffled as to what I should do with her. She does not care one ounce about Time-Outs, a swat to the bum does nothing but give her a slight evil stare towards me, taking away toys, refusing her treats and even sending her to bed has little to no reaction.
How do you instil that overwhelming feeling that "my parents are the BOSS," into your children? I remember being terrified of the prospect of getting spanked or having my mom disappointed in me. I can tell my daughter doesn't care either way.
The day before yesterday was a day that will go down in the records of being one of the most patience trying days of them all. I was going about doing my usual laundry, dishes, cleaning up after breakfast routine. The kids were playing in the living room. I went into my bedroom to put a few pieces of folded clothing into their proper locations and I could hear "Would you like some tea Pooh bear?" Splash, splash, splash. It was that part (the splash, splash, splash) that made me nervous. So I opened up my door and my daughter was scooping water out of the toilet with her tea-cup set and drinking it. Needless to say my first reaction was NOT one of patience and calm.
Later that same day we went into the office of the company I've worked in the past 9 years. I'm currently back there once a week to teach a course for them and am now applying for a position that will greatly help not only my financial situation but will also allow me to parent my children full time. Regardless I brought my children into work with me because I needed to do a few things. Usually going to the office is fun for me because there are several people there wanting to hold the baby and hang out with my daughter. This was not the case. It turns out it was a meeting day so there I was left all by myself to not only tend to my children but get said work accomplished. My kids ran around the building like each room they stepped into caught on fire and they had to escape as fast as they could. Exhausted but finished it was finally time to leave and I had the baby in one arm and some paperwork in the other. I asked my daughter to follow me. She looked and me and said "NO!" I said "Ok fine, bye-bye." Usually this works. She will follow me out the door because she loves the prospect of going somewhere. She then turned on her heels and ran as fast as she could in the other direction. I gave her about 2 minutes because I figured that she would come running as soon as she felt a little uncomfortable in her surroundings. I began getting nervous when she didn't come back. I was sure she had found something that interested her and was now getting into mischief. It took me about 10 minutes to find her. I LOST that battle spectacularly.
Now here's where most smart mothers would have turned around and taken their kids straight home...but NO. I had to go grocery shopping. Up until now it hasn't been too much of an issue going grocery shopping with both kids. My son was still little so he would stay nice and secure in his infant car seat and placed side ways on top of the cart, my daughter would be strapped in and locked in the buggy area. Well recently my giant of a son grew out of his infant car seat so I've now had to move him to the buggy area. This was also not a problem as of recently because my husband was with me and able to help with the shopping but now that he's gone for 6 weeks there is an issue, not only do I NOT have any help but if I do not get groceries we starve. This now means my daughter is "walking" beside the cart with me. I tried the put her in the cart with the groceries method, that didn't pan out well because she poked 1000 holes in the various bags of produce, squished the bread and opened the boxes trying to eat the contents. There are also zero grocery stores in town (we live in a small place) that have any double buggy carts. I would honestly switch my regular shopping destination if ANY of the places got better carts. Now she walks beside me. I try to keep her interested in helping me push the cart. It's all good until she sees something she wants and goes running for it. I should've known that it was NOT a good day to be doing the shopping with the kids because it's one of those things that normally takes an entire FULL TANK of patience (which had been drained earlier from said events). The trip started off a little rocky, I had to pry some fruit and vegetables out of her quick little hands and continuously remind her to hold onto the cart and not let go but it came to a head when I went to reach for a box of cereal and she pulled the two bottom boxes of Mac and Cheese Dinners from the bottom of a pyramid display at the end of the isle. Needless to say the display tumbled to the ground causing quite the scene and noise. All I know what happened after is I went into what I'm going to refer as "The Zone." I think it's the point where you clamp your teeth shut, you tune most foreign noises and stimulus out and try not to visualize too strongly about strangling your kids. I grabbed my daughter's hand, apologised to the kid coming to rebuild the Temple of KD and finished the shopping. Now there are few things my kid hates more than me holding her hand or holding her back. She LOST it. Was screaming bloody murder and flailing around so most of the hand holding was actually me dragging her around by one arm. I know that the other patrons of the store were looking at me with disgust and contempt but what was I to do, we were out milk?
I ended up winning in the end. I A)did NOT kill my child, B)got all items on my list marked off and C)put my child into her room for a 3 hour nap. It did however drain my Patience Tank to Zero and used up half the tank for the next day. Needless to say we did NOT leave the house yesterday and I think we're staying home today too. I'm not quite recovered.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Finding the Time

I think of things to write in my blog almost on a daily basis.  Quit laughing mom I know in order to say you have a blog you should probably maintain it at least once a month.  I throw back the only argument I can come up with, I need to put more effort into finding the time.  Tis true I spend a fair bit of my morning tea on the computer catching up with the daily gossip, however in between Status Updates and peering over the latest life brought into the world by various friends, I am usually feeding a kid, cat or dog, wiping up a spill or two and taking my daughter to the bathroom to "Poo Potty" for the 78th time since we've woken up a half hour before.
Usually by noon I'm ready for a nap along with my kids, one that I never take because I can't seem to find the time in between the laundry, bringing out the garbage, sweeping my son's Mt. Cheerio off the floor or preparing for some event or another that I'm sure to be signed up for.  Bed time sounds much more peaceful than it really is in the land of toddler.  There are baths to be given, snacks to be doled out, "Smiley Face" books to be read and bottles to be prepped for tomorrows feedings.   I'm sure you're getting the idea.
My husband is making a huge sacrifice for the family and has started a new job approximately 2600km away in the USofA.  He's going to be gone for a LONG one this time around.  6 weeks in total.  That leaves me with not only the responsibility of ensuring the kids don't kill themselves from their own actions but attempting to keep up with the house, pet and vehicle maintenance.  On top of it all I've began working again temporary (teaching a course) which as left me with almost zero time. 
I do miss the days of reading a book at my leisure, planning an afternoon of golf (that doesn't require babysitting arrangements) or waking up to go for my morning run outside (I find the treadmill about 1000 times easier when the two kids are napping and I'm not pushing the Duallie BOB which increases the intensity of my run beyond my current fitness level).  I however am starting to finally feel as I'm getting into the GROOVE of things around here.  Finally after 9 months of having two kids I'm feeling a bit myself again.  I can feel the old bubbly energy creeping back up into my brain, along with a better frame of mind.  I'm hoping that will also give me a bit of a shove to get writing again...but I'm not promising anything.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Seriously Bad Blogger

Yeah I know. I suck at this. I've found myself basically run off my feet, which really isn't much of an excuse but it's the only good one I've got. The last several months have been extremely busy. My family had a mini emergency, my grandmother ended up sick in the hospital. I being the "brave" or extremely crazy person that I am booked a flight and five days later flew across the country (literally) from BC to Nova Scotia with two very small children. More on that on a later date though.
The trip was really great. I got to spend some time with my grandmother, who made a full recovery, got to see my parents new house on the lake in (and this is sort of an inside joke) the middle of no where and do some serious house hunting as my husband and I are hoping to be moving that way by the end of this year. I was in Nova Scotia for exactly one month and then my hubby and I braved the West Edmonton Mall with two kids for 4 days before making the 7 hour drive home.
One of the other reasons I've been so busy is due to a possible impending move. I'm not sure what it is about the human race, a bazillion years of evolution bearing down on us I'm assuming, that ensures you collect as much junk as possible and shove it in every nook and cranny clogging all the storage available. My theory right now is if we end up moving there is A LOT of crap we can leave behind so I’m purging the house. Then of course if for some reason we don't end up moving there will be A LOT more room for me to store the junk I'll inevitably collect to replace to crap I'm now getting rid of. Therefore my time is now being spent chasing two small children around the house carrying the crap I’m pulling out of cupboards and trying to put it in piles strategically labelled “Garage Sale Items,” “Not Sellable but Donate-able,” “Give to Friends,” and my all time favourite “Garbage.” Usually this is something I do twice a year. I really hate the build up of clutter but my life hasn’t been the usual since I’ve had two kids.
So those would be some of the reasons I haven’t been so loyal to my blog. I somehow find it relaxing to get my thoughts and feelings written down. Could be something to do with my teenage years when I documented everyday of my life in a journal or could be because I just get it off my chest. So here’s attempt number 3 at being a blogger (as crappy as I can be). Maybe I’ll do this instead of indulge in my usual night cap (or maybe I’ll do both).

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Bad Blogger

Wow I'm a bad blogger.  Just when I thought I was on a role and dreaming about my blog I stopped.  Could have something to do with being extremely busy for the past month.  Could be that I'm lazy.  Really it's just because as a mother of two sometimes you get doing other things and you spend your valuable time hanging with your kids.
My daughter successfully turned 2.  I'm quite proud of the fact I was able to keep her alive up till this point as she makes it her lifelong ambition to get into as much trouble as possible.  My son will be turning 6 months old in two weeks.  Hard to belive that so much time has gone by since he's come into the world.  I'm just now hoping I can shed the last of the baby weight in the next couple months before summer hits and I can squeeze my buttocks into a bathing suit.  I would like to enjoy this summer as the past several summers have involved pregnancy and breastfeeding.  Can't wait to pull out the Margarita Machine my hubby and I bought 4 years ago.
I'm now off to bed.  I figure instead of writing long and in depth details everyday it might just be nice to add a blurb here and there so it doesn't seem like another chore.  I enjoy writing my daily trials and tribulations as it gives me a way to vent and let it out there.  So here's to trying again and not letting my expectations ruin a good thing.

Monday, February 28, 2011

And the winner is....Me! A Kudos to my friends.

I would like to take this moment and thank all my friends out there. Without trying to sound like a speech from the Oscars. Which I did not by-the-way watch last night. I maybe would have if I had seen any of the movies nominated. I’m pretty sure since I’ve had kids I have not watched one full movie start to finish without distractions and before 9pm in a very long time. If I do happen to sit down to a movie past bedtime than usually my eyes start to close and I miss the end anyhow. So today is NOT about the Oscars but more about my friends.
My friends have become like family to me. My parents just moved about as far away from me as possible, across the country, and my husband’s parents live in various places in the Vancouver/Victoria region. I am a single child, my husband has one brother who is 11 years younger and is just graduating from High School this year. My husband has very few cousins, several of them much younger and all my cousins live at least a 3 day drive away. In conclusion we have very little family support raising our babies, except on holidays or special occasions (such as the birth of a new baby). Thank goodness for my friends.
Most of my friends here are in very similar situations or share a few of the same predicaments: one or more children, live far away from the family, husband’s that work crazy hours in the oil patch and are stay-at-home moms. In a funny way it works for us. We have a main group of friends that we hang out with on a regular basis, we then also have friends that are very close but we hang out with separately. I think through our trials and tribulations we have formed some very tight knit connections.
We are currently going through, what I consider to be, the worst part of the winter. We’ve already been through about 3-4 months of snow and cold weather, our husbands are usually sent to camp this time of year for a month or more and winter blues have become a constant companion. Usually this is the time of year I start to lose my mind a little and start demanding things from my spouse such as “I want to move,” and “you should come home now.” This year however has been way different and I attest it to all my friends and my kids.
I mean don’t get me wrong of course I would still love to live somewhere warmer and have dreams of living near my parents on their lakefront property but I have never felt as at ease and part of a community as I have these past two years. It’s funny too because when we all get together with our kids in a big group the # of children to parent ratio is usually over 2:1, sometimes it makes for some pretty chaotic gatherings. It’s wonderful though. These are going to be some of the best times of our lives, the pitter-patter of little feet, the squealing laughter, the inevitable wake of toys taking over the living space. I used to think that this was going to be a time in my life to just “get through.” What I’m realizing now that this IS our life. I don’t want to just muddle through it in order to get to the next stage, I want to enjoy it. I’ve also realized that in order to make it up here without losing my mind it’s really important I embrace my fortune at finding a wonderful surrogate family.
What I originally wanted to do is write a little piece about each of my friends and the reasons why I love them so much and what each person brings into my life. I however am not going to for a couple reasons. 1) I have too many close friends that I could say amazing things about. I would be writing until 4 am if I was to do that. 2) Maybe my friends don’t want to be mentioned in my blog. I haven’t asked most of my friends so I’m going to keep them out until I get some sort of permission.
I like to hope my closest friends know who they are. Without mentioning people specifically I just want them to know how important they are to me, my husband and my children. Without you guys I’d probably be the crazy mom trying desperately to find ways to keep my sanity, instead I find myself more rational and happy than I could ever imagine under the circumstances.
Now wasn’t that a speech suited for an Academy Award?

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Disturbed by Routine - A Never Ending Story

Evenings in my household are fairly predictable. I typically follow a specific routine that seems to aid with the following morning going smoothly so I can hopefully start my day off right. I’m not overly strict about it and the timeline usually varies but once executed I am fairly confident that all is right with the world. I also sort of have a morning routine but I find that it has way less impact on the success of the entire day, therefore the evening routine seems much more important. The evening routine general outline is as follows: bath(s), pyjamas, snack/bottle, bed, clean-up, next day preparations and then mommy time (usually including a glass or two of wine or a spiced rum and ginger). It may sound basic but it takes a lot of effort.
I may or may not have to give two baths. I am one of those parents who baths my kids everyday, well mostly every day. We’ve been known to skip a bath here or there but my daughter is always into too much stuff and my son pukes about 1000 times a day.  I've found in order to keep the dirt and smell to a minimum I use several gallons of water and litres of Johnson’s baby soap per day. The evenings I only have one bath to do are the days when my daughter has already bathed during my daily shower (and she‘s managed to keep relatively clean up till bed time). It’s so much easier to contain her mischief when I can see her so I find myself quite frequently sharing my shower time with several bath toys and a child that likes to sit under my feet. Today was such a day.
Routine generally starts between 8 -9pm (but like I said this is just a rough guideline). I usually bath my daughter first (if necessary), then get her teeth brushed dry her up, lotioned-up, diapered-up and pyjamaed-up. After she’s done I use my secret “ABC’s with Elmo,” weapon and plop her on the couch with a sippy cup of milk and a small snack. The video provides me with almost exactly enough time to run the bath for the second time, get my son bathed, dried, lotioned, diapered and pyjamaed and given a bottle (and for you literary buffs out there I know that lotioned and pyjamaed are not actual words but I’m using poetic license). I’m also so efficient at multi-tasking that I usually remember to throw my son’s bottle into the warmer before his bath so it’s the right temperature when he’s ready to eat.
After both kids have had their evening snack I waste no time and put my son to bed first. I kiss him on the head place him in his bed, cover him with a blanket and close the door. I then get my daughter make her help me clean up some of her toys and then bring her to her room and if it’s not too late read her a quick story and then she goes to bed. I must stop here and get my one little brag I have about my babies. They are AMAZING sleepers. I know it has nothing to do with my talents or my parenting skills but all credit lies with their father. My husband comes from a long line of really good sleepers. I’ve never known people that enjoy their beds and “resting their eyes” as much as his family. Let me tell you I’m glad I’ve bred with a man who passed his great sleeping genes to his offspring.
After the babies are snug in their beds I begin the remainder of the clean-up. This involves all remaining toys getting put away. We have an awesome system of just throwing all the toys into a couple bins that get strategically hidden in various locations in the living room. Then I gather all the laundry thrown down my “laundry shoot” (down my basement stairs) and put it in the appropriate piles for the next day’s inevitable chore. I do at least 2 loads of laundry a day or else we’d be swimming in dirty clothes. Who knew that little people could create so much soiled garments, towels, bedding, dishrags, etc? I then bring the load up that’s sitting in the dryer and throw it on my bed.
In between the cleaning I stop and prep all my son’s bottles for the next day. I love having them made in advance so if anything exciting happens in the morning or I want to get out of the house in a hurry I just have to grab pre-made bottles and run. After bottles I do all the dishes and ensure all bottle parts are in the dishwasher and turn it on with Sanitize Rinse button pressed. I then rinse the bathtub out, fold the last load of laundry and let the dog out for one last pee. After all that it’s supposed to be mommy-time. Mommy may or may not have a glass of wine (depends on how crazy the kids were during the day) and then a bit of reading before I pass out.
Lately however I’ve been getting a little down in the mouth about all this schedule. I mean this is what my life has become and sometimes it seems like the never ending monotony of necessary to-do-lists. I was actually a little freaked out tonight when in the middle of my normal routine I gathered my laundry up and put it in their piles for tomorrow, I then went to get the load of laundry from the dryer and the dryer was empty. My first reaction was to be pissed off at myself because I must’ve forgotten to switch over the laundry to the dryer. When I opened the washing machine it was empty. I was dumbfounded. I looked at my regular piles and there wasn’t any more laundry in them than normal. I went back upstairs and finished off the regular agenda but couldn’t stop thinking about that lacking load of laundry. What does that mean for me? Am I losing my mind to be disturbed about NOT having laundry to do? I’m actually so “weirded-out” that I chose to blog about this instead of the other piece I’ve been meaning to get to. One things is for certain I need to get a life…maybe I’ll pack up and head back to Grande Prairie?

Friday, February 25, 2011

Boob vs Bottle, a guilty decision either way.

Guilty, guilty, guilty. For any woman that’s recently had a baby (I mean within the last 20 years or so) one of the major feelings you have to battle with is guilt.
Take feeding your child. I mean this should be a basic instinct for our survival. It just goes to show how much brain washing goes into our public. The current trend, and I use this term with a smirk on my face because it seems a weird thing to be trendy, is breastfeeding. I myself was not a breast fed baby, neither was my husband, nor was the majority of my generation. When we were babies the companies that produced formula had everyone convinced that formula babies performed better as they got all the nutrition they needed and then some from their product. I, even though it wasn’t my history, decided to give breastfeeding a shot. Now before people go and get their panties in a knot about whether or not I think one way is better than the other , I don’t. I am not going to bash either way you want to feed your child. I am going to however argue both points.
We can all agree that human breast milk is produced specifically for human babies. Our bodies, due to evolution and I believe our sole purpose here on earth, is to continually try and ensure that we keep the human race going so therefore it is only fair to say that yes breast milk is probably the best choice for your baby. It is perfectly, genetically engineered for our babies. It is also very, very, very convenient, no packing bottles, formula, liners, worries about sanitization (unless of course you get into pumping milk, which is a whole new can of worms). It is always fresh, always available and easily accessible (for the most part). It also beneficial to mommy in ways such as helping you shed those extra pounds faster by ridding yourself of an extra 500+ calories a day and breastfeeding has been shown to help prevent diseases such as breast cancer.
However I must now point out some points that you can argue against breast feeding. First of all it’s a HUGE pain in the ass. Even though it may be the most “natural thing in the world” to do we have to consider our generation. We live in an extremely busy world and things that counteract our over productive society usually don’t mesh well with current living. Not to mention that people may find it offensive for a woman to “expose herself” by taking out her breasts and feeding her child. My second point, and I know that this doesn’t apply to all new mothers, but most women I know that have gone through the breastfeeding ordeal have experienced about a month in the beginning where it feels like razor blades tearing at your nipples before they toughen up. I’ve actually come close to fainting it hurt so bad, my pharmacist even suggested getting a prescription for T3’s just to get through the feedings. Which brings me to third point, maybe our breast milk isn’t as good for our babies as we think, did our ancestors have as much exposure to as many contaminants (drugs, alcohol, preservatives, pollution, pesticides, salts, fats, etc) as we do now, probably not. That formula isn’t sounding so bad now is it?
The guilt does not just stem from our own consciousness.  We have our own opinion, our parent's opinons, grandparents, friends, random lady at the post office, Dr. Phil, Today's Parent, cereal box advice and the dreaded Public Heath Nurses.  I'm pretty sure the Health Nurses are soley to blame for the rising percentages of Postpartum Depression occuring in new moms today. They apparently did not get the memo that every kid is different and therefore come with their own set of rules. I just returned from my son’s second set of vaccinations today but before I even left my house I began getting nervous, not even about the actual needles, but I was dreading the Health Nurse’s inevitable question “What are you currently feeding your son?” Even though prepared with a very reasonable and good answer the guilt was already setting in. I breast fed him for three months in total. The first month was fairly hellish, each feeding feeling as if my nipples were going to explode at any time. After they toughened up I had a really good second month. Then the unthinkable happened and my son ended up with Thrush (a very common occurrence in babies, basically a yeast infection in their mouth) which in turn was transferred to my nipples. This caused my breasts to swell, crack and bleed. Now not sure about you but when something is extremely raw and sore the last thing you want to do is have someone re-open that wound every two hours, which essentially what was happening. So I quit. I said “Fuck it,” and started to use formula.
Does the Health Nurse hear all this now? Nope what she hears is “Breast-fed for three months and then…blah blah blah. They’re response of course is “It is, as you know, recommended that each child is breastfeed until they’re ready to graduate from University.” If you did happen to make it until High School Graduation they may let you off with a slight slap to the hand and manage to let you leave without the smug look of disappointment on their face. Don’t EVER mention to them you might possibly be starting them on solid foods before 6 months of age, they might report you to Social Services.
I realized just how bad the Health Nurse guilt capability was the day I went to the doctor about my son’s Thrush issue. My son is also a puker. He throws up ALL the time, and I’m not talking just a little bit of baby spit up, I’m talking full out projectile vomiting almost every time he eats. Anyhow the doctor recommended that I put a little bit of rice cereal in with his bottle to try to give some weight to the food in hopes to keep it down better. He then looks me straight in the eye and says “ Please under no circumstances tell the Health Nurse you’re doing this or that I gave you this advice.” THIS CAME FROM THE DOCTOR!!!  The look in his eyes told me he was even in fear of the Health Nurse guilt-trip. Made me feel much better about my own guilty conscious.
So if just the subject of feeding your kids can build up this much remorse and dread just imagine how much worse it gets when talking about other aspects of raising your child. Other major subjects of guilt include: Disposable Diapers vs. Reusable Diapers, whether or not you should let your kid watch TV, letting your kids explore or baby proof, structured education tactics, letting baby cry themselves to sleep, nature vs. nurture, forms of punishment (to spank or use timeouts or both), and the list can go on and on and on and on.
I myself have decided I’m done with feeling guilty. Do you think our parents felt guilty, or our ancestors for that matter? I’m pretty sure because of the amount of time our society has on it’s hands due to creation of washers/dryers/dishwashers/vehicles/disposable materials, etc we’re just getting ourselves all muddled up with idleness. But that’s an entirely different subject.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

300 Square Feet is Not Enough!!

I haven’t written for a couple days because I’ve been gone on a short, 3 day, trip. I decided I would pack my bags and go visit the hubby. Now where the concept is really nice, the actuality of it is a little more ominous. My husband often works in a town called Grande Prairie (GP) which is approximately a two and a half hour drive away from our house, so it’s quite reasonable to pack up to go visit.
Packing for a trip like this has to be looked at as part of the adventure or you’d never actually do it. My son is currently being bottle fed (due to too many unfortunate circumstances to list here…maybe another time) so therefore bottles, formula and all the supplies that go with it had to come. Now both kids are still in diapers so you want to make sure you have enough packed to at least get there and have enough for the evening and night so you don’t have to run to the store if you don’t want to. Then the list grows and grows; bath hammock for baby to bath in the big tub, baby toiletries, playpen, bathing suits, swimming diapers, sippy cups, bibs, blankets, toys, enough clothing for a couple days, diaper bag (packed of course), portable DVD player and DVDs, double stroller, pyjamas, snacks for the drive, etc. Notice how I haven’t even listed my stuff to pack yet. The professional that I am, managed to pack everything into just one suitcase and had the diaper bag and the playpen. Now to me that sounds fairly reasonable. I however drive a cute little SUV so not only did I have to share my front seat with a suitcase and the diaper bag (the double stroller takes up the entire back space) I also concluded there would be absolutely NO room to bring anything back if I wanted to shop. Of course it doesn’t end there. As a responsible house keeper I arranged for the animals to be looked after, watered the plants, checked all the doors and windows, made sure there was no wet laundry in the machine and did a quick spot clean (I HATE coming home to a messy house, makes the unpacking seem that much worse). We were finally all set to go.
Of course just before leaving my husband explained that we would be staying in a different style room this time. When he’s sent to GP he's always put up in a very nice hotel where all the rooms are like mini suites. Unfortunately due to a flood in the hotel (apparently a hockey team had a meeting on the 4th floor last week and shut the heat off in the meeting room, which in turn froze all the pipes because it was -45 degrees outside, causing the fire sprinkler pipes to burst creating Lake Superior in half the hotel) we were stuck in a bit of a smaller room this time. The room we normally get to stay in is actually a separate bedroom unit. It has a living area with pull out couch and kitchenette, a separate master bedroom, a nice sized bathroom and a walk out patio to the outside (not like the patio is useable right now with the subzero temperatures out there but it’s nice to mention). The room we had this time was a typical kitchenette style, single roomed, tiny and two double beds.
The first issue came at bed time, our daughter will not for the life of her settle down if she knows someone is right beside her and she has access to them. We have done quite a bit of traveling with her and have tonnes of experience with her in a hotel but now that we've got her in a "big girl bed" and have a baby that utilizes the playpen it’s all changed. She’s great if you can contain her or put her in a separate room (she’d just lay down and go to sleep) but as soon as she knows she has the capability to get out and about, well lets just say she takes full advantage of it.

Then came the growth spurt.  That's the only explanation I have as to why she all of a sudden became an accident prone. She scared me quite a few times and I wasn’t really sure if we’d make it back with all of her intact. I am not even kidding when I say every day we were there she got herself into an accident that left her bleeding. 
I figured I would enjoy my days swimming in the hotel pool because I can't currently take both children to the public pool at the same time.  My kids are both too little and need constant supervision so unless I have a volunteer to come to the pool with us and watch one of the kids (more like hell would freeze over first), we do not swim much any more.  At the hotel pool, however, I can put my son in his car seat near by and keep a close eye on him.  In the day time at the hotel it is usually just me and my daughter so it's almost like having a private swimming oasis. The first morning after our complimentary breakfast I brought the kids swimming. We were only in there for about an hour and by the time we were dried off and headed to our room our skin began to itch.  My daughter and I had a shower right away but it didn't seem to do any good...the PH in the pool was way off.  Maybe they had to over chlorinate it due to all those hockey teams they had in the week before?
After showering my goal was to take the kids to the mall to do some window shopping (as I said earlier there was no room in the car to do any REAL shopping). I however didn't realize it was -45 with the windchill outside.  The trip to the mall was short lived because I was terrified my vehicle would freeze and we would be stuck until my husband got off of work.
So now you have it,  I'm stuck in a 300 square foot room with my daughter the practicing circus performer,

-45 degrees C outside, no room in the vehicle to go shopping, my husband’s company keeping him extra late every night (I’m sure just to drive me crazy), the over chlorinated swimming pool giving us all nasty rashes, no sleep at night as my daughter was too busy trying to get us to play and a grumpy, PMSing mom. I'm already planning my next trip back, possibly next weekend!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Snow day....aka Entertaining a Two Year Old.

I would like to mention that I live in what has got to be one of the most miserable, relentlessly cold and boring parts of the world. The only reason we live here is because they pay my husband a ridiculous amount of money to do a job where he ends up, from what I can tell, watching lots of movies and tv series. If someone asks me to describe my husbands job I just mumble something about the oil patch and leave it at that. Unfortunately this also entails a specific type of life for us as a family. The life of the oil patch consists of hours that the law doesn't seem to apply to, being called out at anytime of the day or night to do...we already covered this, who knows what...and is dictated by one of my husband's favourite sayings " pack for a month and hope for a day." If you haven't already put the idea together it pretty much means I am a single parent with a substantial pay cheque but no where to really spend it. This may sound like a blessing in disguise to many people out there, which sometimes it can be, but usually it makes for really long days left to find things to do with two kids under the age of two.
Today is worse than most days. I can't say that I didn't have warning as the little Weather Eye Icon at the bottom of my laptop screen began to flash a menacing lightning bolt surrounded by a deep crimson red yesterday afternoon. This is NEVER a good sign. We went from a -2 degrees C (quite liveable) morning to -25 degrees C with a wind-chill of -37 degrees (oh what does the type of degree really matter -37 is EFFING cold in all types of degrees) in less than 24 hours. With this drop in temperature also came the snow. My house is in the utmost perfect location to build up snowdrifts that could rival the glacier sizes in Jasper. All my friends with older children have been indicating the buses have been shut down for the day due to the bad weather. So it's a snow day.
As a kid a snow day was a glorious, rare and beautiful thing. As a parent, well it means using up some of your patience portion of your brain to be creative and try to entertain your children. I almost thought I was in for a treat because my husband came home first thing this morning after an early start to the day. No sooner was that hope dashed because the excess snow also meant he had co-workers that needed saving due to vehicular breakdown and my husband's always good in a bind to go help out those fellow oil patchions in need. Once again I was left to my own devices.
My daughter will be two in less than a month. She’s beginning to embark on that lovely journey into temper tantrums, attitude and in need of constant attention so she doesn’t destroy the house. It is up to me as the “adult” to try to keep her from killing herself, her brother or the various animals we have roaming around, which also means keeping her entertained because otherwise she makes it her goal to put herself and others at terminal risk.
I had to call off our usual walking date with a girlfriend of mine and her daughter. Not because we actually walk outside in this but because we’re scared that the hour we spend on the town’s indoor walking track will have us stepping back out to frozen cars and roads not fit for a dog sled team. Which for the same reasons also meant that the Tuesday visit to the Pre-School Centre is off too. Not like I’d even get out of the driveway due to my own personal rival to the Athabasca-Glacier forming right before my very eyes. What is my point you may ask. My point is I have now eliminated two of the options I use to keep my sanity. Exercise for me and exercise for my kids. I am stuck once again indoors keeping the children occupied by myself.
First thing this morning on went the TV tuned to the Blu-ray player which is constantly on repeat with my daughter’s current favorite “ABC’s with Elmo“. I may be a “bad parent” using my TV as a babysitter but tell me what else I’m supposed to do with her when I’ve got to get my 4 month old son ready for the day (plus a bonus to this DVD is my daughter now knows her ABC’s). Since then I’ve done flashcards with her, given her at least 10 time-outs for various breaks in the rules, let her paint in her coloring book, cleaned paint off of the floor, brought some snow in the house to play with, had 6 tea parties, played a minimum of 10 games of peek-a-boo, stopped her from pulling tails of the dog and cats, played dress up princess party, fed her breakfast, lunch and snack and read various books that all consist of less than 20 words and are full of vibrant photographs and in between have accomplished regular house chores (mainly the never ending mountains of laundry and dishes) and all the duties that come with the 4 month old baby (too many more to list). By nap time (2pm in my house) I’ve used up my entire creativity/patience for the day. I’m pooped and would love to use this nap time constructively but I find myself gravitating towards some “me-time” and sitting here writing this blog which my son is making very difficult because he would like some of my attention now too.
So I’m crossing my fingers for some better weather tomorrow. After two days in a row of this my daughter is no longer the danger to the household but Godzilla Mommy who is going to go stir crazy, ape shit.

Monday, February 14, 2011

I don't give a $h!t how talented your kids are, I still like mine better!

It starts from day one. You and your significant other (or possibly just yourself, I’m a very liberal thinking type blogger) announce to the world that you’re expecting a baby (I‘m sure even if you‘re adopting a baby). After the congratulations die down it seems that everyone you come across, let’s say in the grocery store, that are also expecting, begin with the cutthroat competition of who’s offspring is better. It usually starts out relatively passive-aggressive. There are the small comments such as “Wow, it’s been so hard for me to fall asleep at night because the baby starts kicking right before I go to bed, he/she is SOOOO strong.” To the untrained ear this just seems like a soon-to-be mom complaining of the many ailments that the “joy” of pregnancy brings with it. To the well-tuned ear it means, “My baby is so much stronger than yours…na na na booskie!!
I consider myself a fairly easy going person but I have to say now that I’ve been through the entire cycle of pregnancy and labouring twice in my life and produced two offspring of my own, things are starting to irk me more than they perhaps ever would have before. No matter who you are, what your kids are like, how much faster, smarter, stronger, whinier, brattier and different personalities there are in children you’re ALWAYS going to love your children best. It could be due to an evolutionary wonder gene, that promotes survival of our species that I like to call “If they weren’t so freaking cute they’d be out the window gene.” I’m getting a little tired of hearing about how perfect other people’s kids are, how they can already sing the ABC’s before they learn to walk, how they NEVER get into the cupboards or use their bum cream as paint on the walls, how their discipline tactics are faultless. I honestly believe that each child needs a different style of parenting to the next and each mom knows what the best thing is for her child.

I’d like to add briefly that under no circumstances am I a perfect mother. I do have the wonderful privilege to be a “stay-at-home-mom” and be with my children everyday and keep the battle of parenthood on my own turf. I used to be the type of person who poopooed the title “housewife” and looked down my nose on such things and believed myself to be above something so domestic sounding…boy was I ever wrong. Maybe it’s with age or wisdom or looking into the kids faces for the first time that really drove into me the feeling that something more amazing than I could ever imagine just happened here (that is however after the pain meds kicked in). I find myself on a daily basis screaming at the top of my lungs, trying to find bits in the day where I can sneak off for 20 minutes as they're both screaming for some reason or another to be alone so I don’t explode, using the TV to entertain my kid as I try to fold some laundry or even to check my Facebook. I sometimes feel completely lost and have no idea of what steps I’m going to take to try to get my child to listen better or how I can improve my temper when things go really awry. I also believe, as they saying goes “kids don’t come with a manual,” (well unless you totally believe everything in “What to Expect in the First Years,” or YAHOO Answers, etc), each kid is different and is going to come with their own set of “rules.” What may work with one kid doesn’t necessarily work with another.
Let’s take my kids for example. My firstborn (my daughter) is what I’d consider a fireball. She is the busiest, most inquisitive, stubborn, fierce, toughest kid I know, and trust me this isn’t bragging (more like a plea for help). If I begin by first off saying “no, do not touch” as she reaches for something I don’t want her to destroy, she thinks it’s a game and does absolutely everything in her power to touch it. If I then yell “NO, DO NOT TOUCH!” at her she laughs and it now has become even more of a priority (Defcon 1) that she lay her hands on said object. By the time I’ve put her in timeout, screamed at her and  finally put the object out of reach she’s found the next object that she's going to focus on that  will get her into trouble even faster. This kid, before her 1.5 year mark, broke her arm doing a belly flop off of the coffee table and about 20 seconds after getting home from the hospital was trying to climb on the same table, cast and all. Now on to  my second born (my son). He is currently only 4 months old. He is a very different personality already. There are times when I’m yelling at his sister for various shenanigans and if my tone of voice is somewhat menacing he gets very upset, his little baby lip will quiver and he begins to cry. Obviously each of these children is going to need completely different parenting tactics.
Which brings me back to my original point. Each kid is different, each kid comes with it’s own set of personality traits, with it’s own genetic code, with it’s own loveable features paired with pain-in-the-ass features. No matter though what those features are you as a parent are going to love that kid more than anyone else’s. So next time some mother tells me that her child is so much better because it got it’s PhD by the time it was 6years old or that they can actually leave the bathroom door open without their kid stuffing the entire roll of toilet paper into the toilet and then start eating the soggy mess they can kiss my butt. No matter how talented your kid is lady, I’ll still always like mine better!