when we were young…

writing with passion, living with vision and acting with intention


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Toddler says NO!

I remember back when Shae was a newborn, someone telling me that it (being a parent) was easy right now and that it got harder the older they got. “Um, what part about getting more sleep is harder?” was all I could think.

I was right about that part, sleeping is better than in the early days with Shae.

But he’s two now. He’s stubborn. He wants things a certain way and he wants them five minutes ago already! And as for sleep, yeah he sleeps, only takes like an hour to get him to surrender to drowsy eyelids.

And then there’s the whole bit about molding and shaping this spirited toddler, guiding him, teaching him, disciplining him…

Shae loves his brother, he’s very inclusive with him, protective and also likes to treat him like a pillow which he hurls himself on top of. Over and over, we tell him, “Shae, that hurts your brother; that is not kind; no push; gentle; say sorry, Oliver.” There’s just never any sign of acknowledgement from him that he understands he did something wrong – other than avoiding eye contact and refusing to apologize. The same goes for when he throws a fit because we won’t give him something he wants. Wailing, flailing, flat on the floor toddler commences.

How much can we do to show him how to treat his brother better and to place repercussions from bad behaviour that will make sense for his two-year-old brain? At this point, time outs don’t seem to be doing much except delay everything else in our day as we go back and forth to and from his room. Removing him from a situation seems to be the most effective but doesn’t prevent a future incident.

Is it just a matter of time? Are there more effective ways of communicating with a toddler? What do you do???

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Awards await

Blog awards are something I have wondered about from time to time: how does one get nominated for an award? Do you have to apply? Do you have to know somebody prestigious in the cyber world? How do you qualify for a given award?

Well thanks to Rebekah who blogs over at Surviving Toddlerhood, I now have a better understanding since she nominated me for the Versatile Blogger Award.

 

blogging award, badge of honour, a means of connecting with more bloggers

 

Nominees of this award are chosen based on quality of their writing, photography as well as any other defining blogging features. To be perfectly honest though, I think this award, more than anything is to promote other bloggers’ and expand each others’ networking potential. So it is with gratitude and honour that I accept this nomination and thank my nominator, Rebekah for thinking of my blog!

In turn, I pass the baton on to 13 bloggers whom I enjoy following and ask that they follow these three simple rules should they choose to accept.

i. Thank the blogger that nominated you and link back to their site.
ii. Tell seven random facts about yourself.
iii. Pay it forward to 13 versatile bloggers.

And now for the hard part, entertaining you with seven random facts about myself…

  1. I used to pose nude for a live art class.
  2. I speak conversational German (in other words, I am not fluent but can make friends with you if you speak the mother tongue of Deutschland).
  3. I lived in Austria for five months (hence random fact # 2).
  4. I plan, with my husband, to build a cob house within the next couple of years.
  5. I have had two VBACs (vaginal birth after caesarean).
  6. I lived on a little island with a population of 2,500 people for three-and-a-half years.
  7. I led a swing dance class with my husband for a year back in 2010.

And now onto my nominations for the Versatile Blogger award!

  1. As A Bee. This blog written by a dear friend who chronicles her journey of living on a boat, having a baby born with a heart defect and her life as a doula in addition to sharing snippets of her life living on a small island.
  2. Live Simple Anastasia blogs about her endeavour to live more simple and the ways she is changing her lifestyle to meet those goals.
  3. ohmydearloves Written by Stefani, mother to twin boys. She writes about her journey of motherhood as well as sharing her artistic flair and creations.
  4. monicaswitzer.com Monica writes encouraging Christ centered posts that derive from her own encounters being a mother of two and wife to a youth pastor.
  5. This Above All A bit of social commentary, a bit of education, a bit of health and beauty, really just a bit of almost everything!
  6. Soley Focused is written about Carmen’s life as a mom, wife to an army man and covers everything from health, good eats to devotions and prayer.
  7. Becoming SuperMommy doesn’t shy away from writing less than warm and fuzzy topics which is probably why I like her blog! She writes with strength and courage to support mothers everywhere.
  8. The little ways in everyday life Frances writes from Singapore about her journey in motherhood.
  9. Wordy Gertie This mom likes to discuss the many directions relevance takes in motherhood via politics, religion, kids and any other topics the tweak her interest.
  10. Life, Love and the Pursuit of Play is a mommy blog out of Vancouver, B.C. and gives lots of ideas about fun activities going on in the city as well as reflections on parenting and some of her favourite recipes.
  11. Eating Well…Living Thin(er!) The title says it all – Linda shares some fabulous recipes to keep wholesome eating to your table!
  12. Natural Baby and Me Another foodie blog with a lean on gluten-free cooking and baking.
  13. Dreamer of Improbable Dreams Honest thoughts, reflections and realizations from a young mom of two boys.

 

I hope you find some time to check out these blogs and be enriched because of them!

 


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A few of his favourite things…

This past Friday was one of those days that you send photo updates to the relatives about. It was sunny, the babies were happy, we strolled around Stanley Park with a friend from Pender Island and had free lunch at the yacht club (courtesy of our friend, Mr. Tam).

The thing that originally brought us on this most recent visit to Vancouver’s jewel was The Cob House that was built there in 2004 to promote sustainable building practices. It’s funny that I haven’t mentioned it before but this is something Jesse and I are very passionate about. We hope to build our own cob home one day.

cob house, stanley park, sustainable building

Courtesy of stanleyparkecology.ca

Our friend is a member of the yacht club and took us for lunch there. I didn’t think it was possible to enjoy dining out with babies but my hat is off to this establishment. You simply write down your order, take it to the cook and pick up your food when ready.  I could not have been happier and the boys even sat without incident at our patio table.

happy babies, dining out, sunshine, stanley park yacht club

play food, sharing, eating out, yacht club

Shae’s first castle had a tube slide to conquer and my brave little man paused only briefly before coasting through the darkness.

Stanley Park playground, wonderment, challenge

challenge, excitement, thrill

This shot was all Shae’s idea. It’s like he knew exactly what it was there for. On that note, if you’re looking for some fun activities to do with the kids this spring break and Easter weekend, they have an egg hunt down by the Miniature Train and by the looks of it, games and activities at certain times/days.

posed shot

This day was really Shae’s day. Both boys slept peacefully on the ride home. Mama happy, Daddy happy, Shae happy, Oliver happy (as Shae would say).

real ducks, quack quack, geese, wonderment


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Shopping in Richmond not recommended for parents with children under the age of….3?

So here we are, day two of our 12 days away from home and I’m not even dreaming about packing my bags just yet.

Of course, if you had asked me yesterday, my answer may have been a bit different. From the moment we woke up, the day was a steady stream of crying kids, stressed parents, a trip to Superstore that was far less enjoyable than I had anticipated it to be and overtired, snotty babies by the day’s end.

Let me elaborate on the Superstore fiasco.

I had this grand idea of strolling in relaxed wonderment through the vast aisles of the store I haven’t been to in a couple years. I forgot two major inhibiting factors though: babies and No. 3 Road.

If you grew up in Richmond or have ever been there, you know what I am talking about. It’s the road where you get honked out into an intersection precisely .5 seconds after the light turns green. It’s the place where you get caught in between intersections because your lane stopped moving and the light has since turned red. The dreaded stop and go infuriates your baby who wails as soon as the car is motionless. You think, “If we can just make it two more blocks we’ll be home free.” Except that is only the beginning of new trials because suddenly, you remember one of the big reasons you avoid this Superstore – the parkade.

Pulling in, I zeroed in on an available Expectant Moms parking stall which we victoriously claimed. Not a bad start but we must have got ahead of ourselves and we were quickly reminded of where we had come as we went to grab a buggy. First, we had a toonie, not a loonie as required. Then, an old man came up and was struggling to get his loonie out of his cart because he had already pushed his little ejector thingy into his own cart. As we helped him, we realized the cart he would have plugged into had the same problem and so we troubleshooted while a line of people formed behind us waiting to claim their buggies.

We finally got our buggy and went on our merry way until I misjudged the width of the buggy going in the doorway and drove it right in, giving Shae a jarring lurch which he vocalized loudly. Maybe we should have taken this as a sign to just turn back but we continued on.

At last we were inside and I began taking in the wealth of capitalism in all its consumer glory. Unsurprisingly, it served to remind Shae that he wanted a snack. And downhill our shopping trip went ending with both babies expressing their displeasure in their surroundings and the toddler flip flopping between wanting his boots off and on. There was no pleasing him at this point. It was either laugh or cry. I laughed, Jesse cried (well actually he just drove the cart as fast as he could out of the store).

Again we faced No. 3 road and general city traffic which we have become most wonderfully unaccustomed to. We ended our evening on a brighter note with having friends over for dinner and finally tucking our weary children into bed.

The photo for this post is brought to you by a typical park job in Richmond.

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The ways March isn’t mad

A week of action in my household involves tackling projects that have been sitting by the wayside or in a tremendous heap in the garage.

It literally drives me around the bend to see boxes of clothing intended for donation or a garage that makes me cringe every time I open the door (and quickly shut when I’m done there). It’s like a corner of my soul has been deflating with the passing weeks and months.

But there’s nothing like an ultimatum to get your butt into gear. In our case: well it looks like we’re going to start up the business again or else move.

This year has been fairly uncertain in every aspect. So, why not cover all our bases and make like we’re opening a business AND moving?

Boxes gone.

Garage organized.

Heart inflating.

Cleaning garage

You kind of feel like you’ve completed some type of marathon at the end of it because don’t forget, this all happened with the unrelenting demands of these two lovelies.

snacks, hangin, sunshine, brothers

So now that that’s out of the way, we’re not even going to be around to enjoy the organization and de-cluttered space. We are on day one of 12 days at Jesse’s parents’ place while they are in Mexico.

I’m both excited and nervous about being in the city and away from home for so long. I think I probably having a harder time being away home than the boys. There, the boys have their park which we could basically see if a couple houses and a school weren’t in the way.

conquering the ladder, growing up, proud of my boy Conquered, big boy, on to the next challengediscovery, little fingers, playtime

Shae’s latest achievement at the park is climbing this ladder all by himself. He doesn’t get tired of the slide or his new found joy in “de jump!” as he says when he jumps off a small boulder or step. He speaks in full sentences now and narrates every part of his day whether it be “I did a sleep” after he has woken up from nap or “Shae did a bump” when he hurts himself. Here are some other honourable mentions:

“Offa the bed, Daddy.”

“Shae have yogurt? Yep.” He answers most of his own questions.

“Kiss the Shae.”

“Olivaah, no touch.”

“Bye, fweinds.”

These are exciting days watching our baby grow into a little boy. It’s the kind of excitement that comes with a lump in the throat at times.

Oliver is also rising to the spotlight. He started crawling at eight months but only if absolutely necessary. Now, he pulls himself up on anything he can grab hold. And like his brother, he is eager to communicate with the most adorable babble baby and the occasional “dada.” Much to my delight, I have discovered that Daddy has a certain power. Where Oliver will fuss at times with me because he just wants to nurse even though he’s already sucked my milk bags dry, he calms right down with his Dad. And when I say calm, I mean sleep!

daddy power, sleeping baby, happy mama

So that’s a recap. Life at home.

So far for our stay here in the city, the most photo worthy moment is brought to you by Nanny’s knobs.

thinks it's something to suck on Oliver loves knobs


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Banning handheld devices isn’t the answer but maybe brainwashing is…

Attention parents: I realize you are already inundated with articles via web or books on how you are not cutting it as a parent and are most definitely doing something that is having a negative impact on your little darling, but you might as well know about the latest on the ‘no TV til your kid is at least two’ study.

This article has been popping up on my Facebook news feed at least twice each of the last week running. Overall, I’ll give it this: it does reflect a considerable amount of deliberation and credible sources.

The thing with studies though – they don’t always consider this key factor called reality.

I give you my own life experience as an example.

My second son was born when my first son was only 16 months old. The day came quickly when my baby didn’t just sleep all day and needed two good solid naps or at least one long one and a couple short ones – for everyone’s well being.

I would get down on my knees to get my older kid engaged with his cars or bring out some Play dough, anything to keep him busy so that I could I spend 10 to 20 minutes getting my baby to sleep (because heaven forbid I be one of those mothers who let’s their child cry himself to sleep). Trouble is, every time, he would join me in the bedroom after two minutes if not earlier and commence the whine for me to join him.

So tell me, what do you do in this situation? Your fellow is just too little to be thrown outside in the sandbox unattended; you could put him in a room and shut the door but you feel rather cruel listening to his screams or you could plunk him down with the the attractive glow radiating from the little foxes, turtles and bears running about in the screen.

You see? If you leave him outside alone, he could come to harm; if you lock him in a room, you could frighten the little guy and loose a bit of trust or you could go for option c and get that baby of yours into a sweet slumber and even have a few minutes to spare and sip your coffee while toddler man finishes Franklin (which he could have very well be watching on a handheld device).

I’m not for using the TV or any handheld devices as a substitute for my child’s development and amusement. Rowan’s article and references to the destructive nature of TV and handheld devices are always accompanied by the word “overuse.”

Yes, of course there is a problem when children are neglected by their parents and fail to develop creative play skills because they are accustomed to vegetating in front of the boob tube. Yes their sleep can be affected and their physical and mental disposition. And if we are going to worry about the carcinogens and radiation emissions from them sitting in front of the TV, we better get rid our WiFi modem, our microwaves, our cell phones and our beloved tablets because they’re getting a daily dose from all of those too. What next, tap water?

And tell me, how does one expect a ban on these devices to be enforced? Really, I’m failing to see how this will work. Sure, schools can ban them, stores can refuse to sell devices to kids but what’s stopping selling to people with kids? That would be rather discriminatory. In essence, we would have to resort to ticketing parents if they were caught allowing their child to use one of these devices. What does this say about our attitude towards parents? I am not a responsible parent because I let my almost two year old watch a very subdued show that depicts a happy, healthy family unit and a respectful and caring little turtle? I should be fined for violating proposed ban?

Do you see what’s crazy now?

The answer is not a ban.

Do parents need to be more involved and care more about how much and what their child is viewing via screen technology? Absolutely, that is indisputable. All you got to do is watch one episode of Caillou to be convinced of that.

children with technology, times a changing, impact, moderation, no ban

Technology is here to stay. We, as parents, can keep it a bay in our own homes should we feel that is needed but there’s no escaping it altogether. All my son has to do is go to his buddy’s house one day and be mesmerized by the glorious action playing out on a tablet or what-have-you for his sedentary enjoyment. And if I thought I was doing him a favour by keeping it from him altogether, my bubble is about to be burst as soon as he turns 12 or when he moves in to Jimmy’s house after school.

We are an evolving species. Unless we experience some cataclysmic event and a technological collapse, we are better to leave parents equipped with the tools and knowledge to educate their children on proper use of handheld devices and the like. We’ve managed to change the face of cigarette smoking with a fierce propaganda campaign. Let’s see what we can do with psychological influence on the potentially damaging consequences of too much screen time.


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10 questions from a FTM (aka first time mom because that’s just too long!)

I wasn’t scared going into parenthood. I had a couple younger siblings growing up, one of which I took care of much of the time when he was a baby. I guess you could say I felt fairly confident in my mothering abilities.

Was I ever in for a surprise.

That mothering instinct was thrown into high gear and I was DETERMINED to do it all the “right” way…to my own detriment. Not only was there all the questions of what how and why but on top of all that, there was a coded language that mothers “spoke” or rather wrote when discussing their baby frettings in the cyber world.

Here are some questions I can remember from my first couple hundred days or so of mommy hood.

1. How long do you burp them for if they haven’t burped yet?

2. Am I not doing something right if they aren’t sleeping through the night by 12 weeks? I can’t tell you how many books/articles I read that suggested that my baby should/might start sleeping through the night around this time

3. What do, DD, DS, DH, FTM and all these other Baby Center generated acronyms stand for? And why does it feel like I’m the only one who doesn’t know and doesn’t bother to use them?

4. Why is it not good to feed your baby rice cereal mixed in with milk through a bottle? A mom I knew thought it was and suggested I do it – to the disapproving clucking of other moms.

5. Would my baby be forever dependent on me to nurse him to sleep if I used that “crutch?”

6. Why didn’t the no-cry pick-up and put down sleep method work for me? Was there something wrong with my baby or ME???

7.  Would my baby get nipple confusion if I gave him a soother?

8. Why did it feel so natural to sleep with my baby despite mass disapproval from baby sleep books and people alike?

9. Would my baby be at a disadvantage if I didn’t make sure he had daily tummy time?

10. How are you supposed to function if you are:

a) not getting enough sleep at night because your baby is waking every 20-35 minutes?

b) you’re not supposed to let him cry it out?

c) you’re not supposed to sleep with him?

d) you are supposed to spend every time he wakes putting him back down in his crib for a 134 times if necessary ’til he falls asleep only to do it all over again when he wakes up in half an hour???

And that last one is the question that burned my eyes during long nights as I would hold a tiny flashlight up to one of the many no-cry sleep books I had, committing to memory every step that promised a blissfully sleeping baby and mommy result. Had I given up too soon? Did I not have what it took to do this mommy thing right?

To my own detriment.

So focused was I on doing it “right” that I failed to really savor the moment. It didn’t help me feel confident in my mothering abilities. It made me constantly compare how I did things to how others did. I was restless, anxious, so anxious in fact that I developed insomnia (as if I wasn’t already suffering from sleep deprivation!). Sure there’s more that lent to that anxiety than just wanting to do things right. I had just had two babies in the span of 10 months and lost the first. But really, I could have spared myself the needless worry.

Easier said than done right?

But that’s one human condition I supposed. Or maybe it’s something to do with how moms are conditioned in our western society. We haven’t reached some sort of pinnacle of baby rearing knowledge here as much all the literature out there would make it seem to be.

Sometimes I wish we were more tribal and followed ancient customs…

new mom, sweet summer days, tired, in love

Any questions you remember as a FTM first time mom that plagued you day and night?