Category Archives: parenting

If . . .

If you ever find yourself watching a two-year-old.

If it goes quiet.

If you note said quietness and go to investigate, but walk in the completely wrong direction.

If you backtrack and find her.  Her being someone else’s two-year-old.

If you inhale so bad you deplete oxygen for the whole room as you notice she’s smeared nappy/diaper rash cream all over her cardigan and a square foot of your 2.5-year-old carpet.

If you’re glad you bought a steam cleaner a few years ago, but quickly realise it’s not taking it off . . .

Be grateful for Google.

Shout Triple Action (clothes) stain remover.  Huggies Thick N’ Clean wipes also came in handy.

Damage removed.

Nightmare gone.

Take that how you wish.


An Open Letter to Cameron

My sweet little Cameron, I can’t believe I brought you home a year ago. Where has the time gone? It has disappeared all too quickly and I can’t believe I am here already. When I arrived at the hospital, I had six names for you in mind, but I think in my heart I knew you’d be Cameron, but I wanted to see you anyway–just to make sure. My eyes danced across your little face, and with each movement I offered the unspoken name and stared. None of them seemed right until I ended with your name. And anyway, it was the only name your Daddy and I could agree on.

OK, fine, I’ll admit it, I fell in love with you the moment I saw you: The perma-scowl was so endearing, the gentle cooing and squeaks, the soft downy hair, the tiny uncoordinated fingers and toes. Despite my insecurities and diffidence, with a soft smile (or was it gas?) and loving sigh you made my heart expand and make room for another child. I felt it change with every soft tear that graced my face.

I love you explicitly. I knew who you were after just a few months; but now, especially, I can see your big personality shine through your pint-sized body. You are lead by your heart, you will be my Mr. Sensitivity and I definitely recognise this trait in myself. Don’t ever change because here’s a little secret–women love it! Always go with your feelings – your gut, if you will – it’ll fair you well in life.

I love watching you interact with your older brother. I marvel at the love you have for him, your eyes light up every morning as he greets you. You have been saying his name for a long time and I know this delights him too. “Ee-ah!” I hear you call. At his tender age of 3, he sees you progress and learn too, and he gets excited when you take on a new skill.

I am amazed at how much you have accomplished in such a short time. I asked you not to take your first steps as quickly as your brother (9.5 months), so you obliged and waited. One. More. Week. I even made sure I didn’t encourage it! You were so determined and here you are now–running! At seven months you had eight teeth. Not content at sprouting one at a time, you push through two and three all at once. What amazes me is that you took it in your stride; you stayed content and happy. You are my happy, smiling little boy.

Thank you. Thank you for having a healthy curiosity. You see something once and you are satisfied with it. The cupboards in the kitchen are locked on the outside, you see this and are content to leave them alone. Thank you for that. It is a small mercy, and a difference from your brother I am so happy to live with.

Maybe I should tell you. I think you’re beautiful. OK, fine. I think you’re handsome. I entered you in a Beautiful Baby competition online. This is my favourite shot of you:

My Little Blue Eyed Boy
You have reminded me that tiny, generally unseen things in the world are a delight: A tree swaying in the wind, our cockatiel when he takes flight, a warm bath filled with bubbles and toys, the wonders of being outdoors, hiding under blankets and little games of hide and seek.

I’m grateful for the head butt love taps, the soft open-mouth wet kisses, how you stop in your tracks to wrestle me as I lie on the carpet taking a moment. You make me smile with toothy grins and laughs, an amazing love-filled hug when I need it, or when you reach up and gently stroke my hair. I’ve learned that I need you just as much as you need me.

My favourite moments? When you come up to me and pat my legs to get my attention. You almost say, “Lift me up! Hold me, it’s time for my nap.” It’s those quiet times as you fall asleep in my arms, your little body cradled naturally around my waist as we sit together and just dream. The soft sighs as your breathing slows rhythmically and your arm drapes over me. I silently stare at your beautiful face and just marvel that you are mine, mine to take care of and nurture forever. I’m still learning all this Mummy stuff, but I love every minute of it.

Aiming for 5 Hours and Other Big Deals

So far, it’s been a big week in the lives of our little family. Last Wednesday (7th Nov), Cameron shared his food with me for the first time. Also that day, Ian learned quite a few opposite words and shocked me when he was able to recite them back to Daddy. The next night, Cameron pointed to our cockatiel and said in a quiet voice, “buuuh”. “Yeah! That’s the birdie!”

Saturday night, was an amazing night for milestones. Cameron was spontaneously playing peek-a-boo from one side of the t.v.with me, squealing and laughing in delight saying, “Sah, sah, sah!” All of a sudden, and without warning, he then attempted to walk to me – just a few steps away from him. He took one unsteady step (because he was so hyped up) and then lunged at me. It was so adorable! Then I realised the implications of this feat.

“Okay, that’ll be enough of that business, pal!” laughing, and perhaps only half-joking.

Last night was also a big night for changes, although implementing the transition afforded me no sleep at all.

Ever since we brought Cameron home from the hospital in January, I’ve had him near our bed in a Pack N’ Play (and napping in his crib during the day). I worried about SIDS and its risks and I knew it was best to have him near me, especially when he was tiny. Despite sleeping for five hours straight during the night at just 6 weeks, for the past two-and-a-half months, he has been waking every two hours again and it has really begun to take its toll on me physically and mentally. I’ve been completely exhausted constantly without reprieval.

Exhaustion being my motivation, I began laying down to feed him, and soon I was falling asleep with him in my arms. Although this isn’t really a point of concern for me, having him become accustomed to it, and show preference for it, was my main catalyst for initiating the move. And, for an extra nod for sympathy, Cameron’s room is a good one hundred feet from mine, on the other side of the house. It doesn’t sound like much, but when faced with the trek at 11, 1, 3 and 5 a.m., having him at the bottom of my bed always won.

Last night, I placed him in his crib intent on keeping him there for the duration of the night, and I kept the monitor on the nightstand next to me. Of course, it wasn’t as pain-free as I would have liked it to be. I know I was sunconsciously stressing about it, I was waking every two hours and pressing my face close to the speaker. Conveniently – or maybe inconveniently – he awoke too. Despite the long night, he did really well.

We’re on Night 2 and already doing better.

Well, go ahead and scratch that. He woke at 1:15 a.m. to be fed (incidentally, ten minutes after I went to bed. I stayed up late for some Me time. Why do we do that?!) and I played musical chairs trying to get him back to sleep again. He faked me out and fell asleep for five minutes (just as I was drifting off) and awoke again. I gave up at 2 a.m., totally exhausted and took him in our bedroom.I am thinking part of the issue may be that his room is the coolest in the house. He’s the furthest from the furnace (it’s directly below our bedroom) and it’s not easy to keep his room at a median temperature. My next course of action is to buy lots of soft fleece jammies. For him.

Oh, and btw, he slept for five hours. About as much as I got too.

Training Day

I first introduced the wonders of the potty to Ian when he was just about 18 months.  I’d read that having it in his sight was a great way to introduce it to him, without the pressure of being formally acquainted right off the bat.    He thought the contraption was awesome, and mainly used it to sit on or reach things from the bathroom sink.  I never pushed the idea, I’m not the potty pimp type.

A few months before he turned two, he suddenly wanted to take charge of potty/step stool.  I was happy too.  He wanted to pee in it all the time, but nothing consistent, or daily, for that matter.  If I’m really honest, I felt a pressure to have him potty trained by other mothers in my little neighbourhood back in Utah.  I was good friends with about 5 or 6 women and they all had children around Ian’s age.  Despite the unsaid words, and perhaps my imagination, I never pushed him to do it.  I never once sat him on the potty, and only stayed with him when he ventured in there by himself.  I followed any and every guideline a book (or website) could offer.

Over a year into it, I printed off a Potty Chart and stuck it on the fridge.  Seems sick now.  Anyway, looking at his progress, I could still see it was really sporadic at best.  I was beginning to take it personal, another 6 months down the line and Pull-Ups were costing us a sweet $25 a case per month at Costco.  I was mentally spending that money in the Home Deco stores elsewhere.

One day in early July of this year as we reached over and hefted the box of Pull-Ups into the trolley (cart), we mentioned (perhaps a little blaze and only demi-threatening, “Ian, when this box is finished, there’s no more…”  I didn’t even believe me.  We were both highly unconvincing.  I think there’s something in the back of your head that tells you small threats where you have absolutely no control over the situation will be completely futile.  But I knew he could do it, I just wondered if giving him a time frame was really beneficial, and more importantly, if it would work.

It was the 24th August, and a mere eight days before we were due to leave on a 6-hour drive to Yellowstone National Park, and in Target, of all places, Ian decided to be potty trained.  He just went.  Unannounced.  Unassumingly.  No questions asked.  Of course, happy smiles and lots of cheering ensued for many weeks.  We’d do a happy dance when he’d go #2, it was pretty crazy.

Three weeks into it, he was still wearing Pull-Ups to bed.  I sat one night, watching t.v. but not, and internalised it.  Why was he wearing them to bed?  Well, he was waking up wet in the morning and I had visions of having to replace his mattress after a very short amount of time.  That wasn’t it though.  When I really thought about it, the only thing that was holding Ian back from going to bed “unassisted” was me.  I was slowing everything down, subconsciously, perhaps out of doubt, insecurity and possibly even fear.

The little guy did it.  All he needed was encouragement and people he loved who believed in him.  We showed him the night light in the bathroom and left the door open a little.

He has done great and still impresses us, except now he’s using half a roll to wipe his butt.

There’s No Skimping in the Design World When it Comes to Fancy Door Signs

I’ve been meaning to write for weeks, there’s definitely no shortage of material or news.

However, today, Ian has (I believe) Rotavirus again and I’m trying to take care of him as best I can.  At least this time at age 3 he’s:

  • drinking fluids (slowly)
  • responsive
  • potty trained

The first clue to sickness was last Friday morning at 2 a.m. when I was abruptly woken to “Muuuuumee!  I’m…*PHROAW!  phroaw  PHROAW!*”  “Ohmygosh, ohmygosh, ohmygosh”, was all I managed to mutter and yelp at the same time.  Key phrases in today’s lesson are:  Beds, carpet, washing machine, carpet cleaner and attachments and lastly, couch-sleeping-pre-schooler.

Bryan, the sweetheart that he is, stayed up with Ian all night and slept in the La-Z-Boy next to Ian, allowing me to rest a little and take care of Cameron.

Over the following days, I endeavoured to keep Cameron away from Ian, but the little stinker dotes on his big brother’s every move, and the inevitable happened at 7 p.m. the following night.  I can’t say I was ready for it, because I certainly didn’t want to be.  He had been really clingy with me all day and was eating sporadically.  I just couldn’t understand why at seven o’clock on a Saturday evening, he’d suddenly decided raisins were gross and juice was an abomination.

It all became very clear.

There’s definitely nothing like first-hand experience, especially if empathy is a goal you actively strive for.  But just one person is never enough, so the two of us decided to try it out.  Bryan first, and then me a day later.  At least we paced ourselves, you can’t fault us for that.

Let’s just say, being British, I love meat pies.  The closest thing I can find to what my Mum fed me growing up are pot pies.  Damn Marie Callendar and her freakin Cheesy Parmesan Chicken flaky goodness!  I’m still throw fiery daggers with my eyes at the sight of the box.  It’ll be a while before I can bring myself to eat another one of those babies.  You see, Rotavirus and I became previously acquainted.  You could say he was my 15-year-old boyfriend.  We were pretty close for three whole weeks.  Inseparable, you might say.  You may also know him by his street name, Gastric Flu or Gastroenteritis.  I’ve been there, done that, and still can’t abide the smell of cherries thanks to the re-hydrating sachet powder crap they tried to make me drink.  I’m not bitter.  Not after, what?  Ten years?  (Shut your dirty mouth, I’m 25.)

So life was slowly plodding on.  Days have passed and Cameron is eating like a bird (but at least eating), very picky, but still nursing and in great spirits.  No temperature and no crankiness.  Ian was doing much better, getting his appetite back and being adorably obnoxious.

On a bright note, the day started off well.  With no real excuse, I didn’t get to sleep til 3 a.m. this morning, my sleep broken a few times, and with one eye short of feeling interrupted, I can’t help but wonder how I’m making it through the day coming off well-spoken and coherent with all the mind fluff floating around in there.  My 7 a.m. alarm clock arrived at the side of my bed.

“Mummmee, my tummy hurts again.”
“Okay Ian, go in my bathroom”, perhaps said with a little too much flippancy, I might add.

That’s really all I remember.

My poor little Ian sat hunched over and helpless on the toilet.  As I stood there, wondering how to help him, he threw up all over his legs and on the floor.  I cleaned him up and placed him in the shower and took the toilet mat to the washer (that’s another story) and came back to silence.  No water flow.  Nothing.  “Wow” I thought, “he’s cleaned up fast.”  Not so.  I opened the shower door to see him throwing up down the drain.

It went on like this for an hour-and-a-half, and all I could do was offer vocal support, rub his back and run to the washer.

Incidentally, if you’re running on 4 hours sleep, and if you need to wash your red bathroom mats, make sure there isn’t a beautiful, baby blue, soft shag, terry cloth changing table cover in there.  Oh, and turn a light on.  Better yet, put your contacts in.  And if your child happens to refuse to rest anywhere except the oversized mat in front of the shower with a scrunched up bath towel for a pillow a mere half-a-foot from the toilet–when you take that bath mat to the washer, make sure there still isn’t something in there.  Needless to say, I now have a perfectly lilac changing pad cover and a positively pink Scottish football team onesie.


Bring the angry mob and the mallets, I need a sign and a barricade.  Make it 6’x36′, bevelled wood with beige vinyl lettering please.  “Caution:  Contaminated Keep Away.”  Oh, and wash your hands, will you?

41w +1

Tomorrow morning it is then.  Unless he makes a move later on tonight, that is.  Stay tuned.

The Long Road Home

I am now dilated to a 3.  My doctor also stripped my membranes to see if it would move things along for me.  The next available induction day was next Monday, so I have a definite date if things don’t go anywhere before then.  Trouble is, I have to be there at 07:30.  They only set aside 3 spaces per weekday for inducing mothers, to give walk-ins the chance to birth, which I think is totally fair.
We had to go back to Costco, so I could pick up the contacts I’d ordered, so we took a walk around to see if anything would come of it.  At the checkout one of the women there smiled and said, “when’s your baby due?”  I laughed and said, “three days ago.”  Both she and the one right behind the till were a little shocked that they hadn’t taken me in to get me started and we explained about the inducing scheduling.  Then one of them said, “is this your first then?”  And I am just as surprised that I have went overdue as everyone else seems to be, but somehow I was kinda expected it.
I started feeling some contractions coming on in the store, but didn’t take too much notice.  Then about 25 minutes after leaving the doctor’s office I started having some major contractions all within about 6-7 minutes of each other.  Now, bear in mind I had just come from my doctor’s office, and the last thing the medical assistant said to me was, “you know, if you’re having regular contractions 6-8 minutes apart – just go.  Go to the hospital.”  So I kinda had that thought in the back of my mind.  I watched the clock vigilantly from 5:36 p.m. onwards and they were regularly spaced out, all much stronger than last week, for the duration of an hour.  So I thought, ‘why not, the hospital’s right here, may as well go in and see if it’s anything.’
Long story short, the contractions got stronger, same amount of time in-between and then after a while they gradually tapered off and got less intense.  We walked around the ward for an hour to see if that would give any indication of what direction I was headed in and I slowly realised it was probably time to head home.  Again.
I’m actually fine, I’m not concerned or depressed about it at all.  Just really sarcastic.  The baby is fine, his heartbeat is great and the fluid is perfect, everything is fine, my body just isn’t quite ready.
I’m fully expecting Ian to be mad at me for not bringing home brother (he’s having a sleep-over tonight).  But give him a week after he’s here and he’ll be telling me to put him in the trash.
Personally, I think the baby didn’t want to come out because he’d heard it was going to be -8F (-22C) tonight, and I don’t blame him one bit.

And Deliver Me From Evil

The phone call:

Blah, blah, blah…due date yesterday…blah, blah, blah…came and went like a bad smell…blah, blah, blah…set up a day to be induced(?)”
Cue: “Girl from Ipanema” while you wait
“Okay Siobhan, the nurse said that you need to be seen before we can schedule you for that, okay?”
“Well, I have an appointment for Wednesday – if I make it that far – should I just wait till then?
“Oh, you have one for Wednesday?  Oh yeah, there you are down there.  Yeah let’s go ahead and wait till Wednesday and we’ll go from there.”

Help Ma Boab!

I have this feeling lately that I really am losing it …

Since my son decided to try cruising between furniture at the ripe old age of seven months and start walking at nine-and-a-half months, my life has never been the same. Lately I can feel the insanity creeping in, and I can’t help but feel like I am under the thumb of a thirteen-month-old.

Ian thinks it’s great to chew dirt and spread it around his face. He climbs on side tables and propels himself onto the couch. Chews candles and rubs the wax on my windows. Unravels toilet paper, shreds it all over the floor and then eats it. Opens drawers full of folded clothing and tosses it behind him in a cotton and polyester orgy. Empties the dishwasher as I’m loading it, at times stopping to grab a nasty spoon and attempt to suck on it, or grab a steak knife when I’m picking something else out of the sink.

While I am drying my hair and have both hands occupied, he opens my makeup drawer and chews eyeshadow applicators, sucks powder brushes and chips out blusher and spreads it all over the inside of the drawer, on the floor and on his clothes.

I think I need professional psychiatric help. Oh mama … is this a stage, and how long will it last? I am constantly checking and isolating grey hair and I don’t think I can spare too many more. The sad thing? He grins at me so sweetly with that beautiful innocence of a child, he giggles heartily as I chase him and watch him fall over his own feet in his haste to escape. I love the little guy and I am beginning to wonder if his behaviour is normal and I am the inconsiderate one for not letting him explore his world and express himself.

See what I mean? He’s made me delusional. I’ll be strumming my bottom lip like a banjo and whistling “Dixie” before I know it.

It’s not that I want answers or sympathy, I just need an outlet. I am seriously going to invest in magnetic door and drawer locks. I already have some plastic ones, but I fear that his IQ will increase ten-fold and they will be but splintered fragments discarded on the floor, like the clearance rack at Old Navy.

Resources for New Mothers
Everything you need to know: Pregnancy and beyond
Babies R Us
Product feedback from the buying public (and a great place to register)
Another good place to register
Good Start by Nestlé
Sign up for free formula samples and coupons
More free samples and a diaper bag
Coupons and the occasional free sample
meal ideas when they get older