I've been meaning to post an update for a while, but as seems to be the case lately, I can't seem to gather my thoughts in the rare free moments I find to write...
But really, there are no free moments, are there? Blogging is something I need to start carving some time out for again. I really enjoy having this space, recording my thoughts and memories, but it seems the longer I stay away, the harder it is to get back to.
Last week ended up being quite busy. I was called in to teach a few days, which was great. This is the last week before a two week spring break, so it's doubtful anyone will be calling off. I have, however, taken a three day contract from a childcare company I used to work for quite a bit, so this weekend and early next week will be busy too. I went to a job fair last weekend and am hoping to get on a few more independent school's sub lists. It's hard to know how many places to reach out to --I want to be getting work most days, but I don't want to be turning work away (the kiss of death for subs). Hopefully I can get on with one or two more schools and find a good balance. A foot in the door a few new places wouldn't hurt either.
This week I also found a little bit of free time to finally go through some of our TTC paperwork. Please tell me we're not the only ones with SO much paper from the whole process. Cycle monitoring protocols and charts. Donor information. Shipping receipts. I threw out a lot, but then there was some stuff I wasn't sure about --The donor info we kept. Obviously. But I also kept the pro/con list we made when we were deciding on a donor. It seemed like something to hold on to. I also kept the cycle monitoring info. We'll probably get rid of it eventually, but for some reason it just didn't feel right to throw out those papers with all our hormone levels and lining measurements. Maybe because it was such a process and it seems like there should be a record of it? I don't know. Maybe it's just that I'm a bit of a pack rat and nostalgic to boot. Not a good combination when it comes to getting rid of stuff. At least the shipping receipts got trashed.
Going through all our paperwork reminded me that I STILL have to put together baby books for the kids. We have store-bought books that are sort of half filled in, but I also want to do baby photo books online for each of them. I've always sort of held it against my mother that she never did fill in our baby books beyond our birth stats and first visitors, but now that I'm on this side of things, I can totally understand how it happened. Never mind that she already had a four year old and that there were two of us and that we were premature.
Organizing seems to be an ongoing process around here. I've always prided myself on being hyper-organized and I hate that things have been piling up so much. It's so hard to find the time to get to thing these days though. A little bit at a time seems to be the way to go. Tomorrow I'll drop off a bag of clothes at Goodwill. Hopefully before the end of the week I'll find some time to get to my overflowing crochet basket and finish a new hat for Sprout. (Poor thing has outgrown all her winter hats, and winter doesn't seem to be going anywhere anytime soon.)
I don't think I've mentioned yet that I am going to have both kids home with me for a while in the not-too-distant future. Our child care provider has to go through some medical procedures and gave us the option of having him place somewhere else temporarily or keeping him home. We chose to keep him home. I'm happy, because I think The Bean will be excited about it and I am excited to have more time with him, plus we'll save some money by not having to pay for daycare; but I'm also terrified because how do I feed and give naps and play and take out two little children on my own?! I've started compiling a big list of things to do, but I know that keeping busy won't be the (only) issue. I'm sure we'll be fine, but I'm a worrier, so it's hard for me not to panic just a little bit.
Even though I'm tired (always) and overwhelmed (often) things are going well. Like everyone else I'm looking forward to spring, but I feel like change is coming, and that's a welcome thing right now.
Doing the last monthly update so late really makes it seem like this month has flown by. :)
-Sprout is really and truly walking now. She's been out to walk around the mall and one mild day did a walk down our street. She mostly wants to do it on her own, but every once in a while will reach out to hold on to our hands. She has a bit of a cowboy walk --her legs are quite bowed. We're pretty sure it's just because she's a little more stable on her feet this way. -A new favourite game is "big hugs." If Sprout is across the room we hold out our arms and say, "Big hug?" and she'll run across the room as fast as her little legs can carry her to give us big hugs around our neck. I don't know who loves this game the most. -She's been more into playing with dolls lately. The Bean has a baby doll that she's taken to pushing around in the stroller. She has her lovey doll and will hug and give her kisses. She'll also bounce and shush dolls. I wonder where she learned that. ;) -She also loves playing with balls, especially the big ball we have, which comes up to about her waist. She'll happily chase, toss and kick it around for quite a while. -Her absolute favourite gross motor activity is probably still climbing though. She has figured out how to get up onto our dining room chairs. She can also climb up onto the big stool. She's surprisingly quick and fortunately nimble. No big falls yet. (Though I know that by saying that I am asking for trouble.)
-Fine motor wise she's really taken an interest in a toy we have with switches, buttons, etc. that makes little bugs pop up. She loves the actual light switches on the walls to, and she has to flick them on and off at least a dozen times before we can leave a room. She's also started using crayons to colour (scribble). Like with other things, she can get quite demanding when she sees the crayons and decides it's time to colour. -She keeps picking up new words. Jen noted that they can be easy to miss if you're not really paying attention, which is true. She often tries to repeat words I've said/read. This list will be far from complete, but some of the words that come to mind are banana, shoes, apple, woof, meow (when she sees a cat), bubble noises (when she sees a fish), light, off, hot ("haa!"), dip, hop, banana, hello, hi, Ma, her brother's name and his nickname, and others I am sure... -She understands quite a lot too. The Bean loves that he can give her instructions and that she will do what he asks. Admittedly, it can be rather entertaining.
-She's still enjoying lift-the-flap books. We read a lot of Peek-a-Boo Kisses this month. -She loves being sung to. She's really been enjoying action songs like Skidamarink and Head and Shoulders. She also loves Round and Round the Garden... especially when I tickle her! -Eating is going well. She really seems to be taking an interest in what we're eating and often refuses her baby food in favour of what is on our plates. She'll nod or shake her head to indicate what she wants. She loves dipping into humus, dips, maple syrup (as a treat), etc. She also loves drinking water from a glass. She constantly asks for bananas and often only eats about 1/4 of them. She LOVES cheese. And crackers. And Cheerios. And all those typical "baby" foods.
-We've turned a bit of a corner with sleep. For the past few weeks she has been settling herself back down when she wakes in the night, and overall it seem like her night-waking has decreased. She is usually up between 4:30-5:30am and Jen will move out to the couch so and I will nurse her and put her back in the pack'n'play for an hour or so. After that if I want her to stay "asleep" I pretty much have to keep her in bed with me. Once she's decided she's up, it's very hard to convince her to settle back down. She's still doing two naps, but if necessary we can get away with giving her just one. -The past week or so she's been chomping on her fingers even more than usual. We're pretty sure that her two bottom lateral incisors are on their way. The one on her right seems particularly close to popping through, but our past experience with her teething lead me to believe I may be saying the same thing in the next monthly update. -She went to daycare for the first time on her fourteen month "birthday." I got called in for a job, so she went in with The Bean. He was SO happy. I was kind of emotional. The report home was that she made it through the day with only a few tears when they woke her from her (only) nap. Why they woke her from her nap, I don't really understand, but whatever. She look pretty red-eyed when I picked her up, but she wasn't crying and she hung in there until bedtime, which was only slightly earlier than usual. She'll go in again at the end of this week, so we'll see how she does for round two. -The daycare provider was saying how ready she is to be with other children, etc. I know she would enjoy being with kids and the different activities, but if I'm home she'll be staying with me. She's definitely enjoying more "big kid" things and it's really amazing to watch her and help her navigate all that. She is a loving, silly, willful, delightful little girl. We love her to bits.
Some outtakes from her monthly photos, because I just couldn't resist.
I know it's not just me who's feeling the relentlessness of this winter. Generally speaking I like winter, but this year it seems like it's never going to end. Sprout is just getting stable on her feet, and while I'd love to take her out and let her walk around our quiet neighbourhood streets, or find a park with a nice path, there's too much snow and ice and slush for that to be a possibility. She also seems to have inherited my sensitive skin, so if there's even the slightest bit of wind or a chill in the air her cheeks are bright red and chapped within minutes. I feel like The Bean has been feeling cooped up too. He's been spending a lot of time indoors both at daycare and at home, which is not easy for him. He likes to move far too much to be content in closed areas. But again, the weather isn't making it easy to get him outside. This weekend we did driveway bike riding in snowpants.
Spring cannot come soon enough.
I'm also feeling the busy monotony of being a SAHM. There's always plenty to do, but it's not the most engaging. I love, love, love spending time with kids, but really the only thing I do love about it. I'm ready to be working again, but job postings seem few and far between with a lot of competition for the few positions that do come up. I've started subbing at one school, but they don't call often. In fact, it's been nearly a month since I was in. I've tried to get on other school's sub lists, but they must be set for the year, as most of my calls have not even been returned. I miss the classroom. I miss teaching. And I really, really miss the kids. I feel the emptiness of not having these things as a part of my life more than I expected to, and I expected to, so that's saying something.
I feel like I do a lot of complaining, and I really hate that. (I know, complaining about complaining, please humour me.) I love so many things about my life and am bursting with gratitude for them. Especially the three main ones. I mean, how I ever got so fortunate to have these people in my life, I just don't know. They're amazing.
Maybe I should just bundle that baby up and go outside when she gets up from her nap. Chapped cheeks are not so horrible, right?
I've been extremely stressed about our finances. On Sunday I was checking our banking online and noticed that I'd bounced not one, but two cheques. This NEVER happens to us. And really it shouldn't have happened this time either. I had been moving money around and somehow the cheques got processed in the short time between money being transferred into the correct account. I called the bank and they agreed to reverse one of the NSF charges, but we still got stuck paying for the other one plus having to rewrite the cheques and pay their NSF charges. Grr.
Then on Monday I decided to keep the car for the day. I offered to drive Jen into work so that she wouldn't be concerned about getting there on time and so I could get an extra 20 minutes of time with her. Anyway, on the way back home after dropping her off at the office I smashed the side view mirror off of the car. Again, it shouldn't have happened. I was on a side street driving (well) below the speed limit, but there were trucks from a construction site parked along the right side of the road and a woman pulled out of her driveway on the oncoming lane as I was driving by, so I tried to pull over so she could get by (not that she was giving me much of a choice) and sideswiped one of the trucks. I was SO mad. I got out to check what had happened. Fortunately the only damage was to our car. Not worth reporting to insurance, but still going to cost a few hundred bucks to fix. Then, as I was talking to the owner of the truck a woman in a car behind mine started blasting her horn and rolled down her window to yell at me to get out of the way. I told her she was going to have to wait a minute. Her mature response, "No! YOU have to wait." I took my sweet time walking back around to the driver's side and driving home. Not my finest moment, but really, as if she couldn't see I was already having a shitty day.
And that got me thinking. Had she shown some semblance of compassion in that moment I probably would have left feeling at least a little less shitty. It may have made her commute a few minutes longer (if that), but she probably would have felt better too. We chose how we are going to react to a situation, and this choice can pretty significantly effect our emotional state and potentially the emotional state of others.
There's been a "kindness initiative" going around on Facebook. I signed up on my friend's wall. The gist of it is that you sign up and your friend promises to do something kind for you at some point during the year if you promise to extend the offer on to five more people. I think it's a really nice idea. I've even already done something kind for one of the people who responded to me.
But here's the thing of it, it's easy to be kind to friends. I want my friends to be happy. I'm happy when I can do something that brightens their day. I don't have the same investment in some random stranger's happiness. But that's not to say that they couldn't use something to brighten their day too. An act as small as that woman asking if I was okay rather than yelling at me to get out of the way would have made a big difference to how I felt earlier this week.
Later in the week I was corresponding with someone (also on Facebook) about a toy they were looking to buy used. I didn't end up having what she wanted, but after we'd established that, she wrote one final message saying thanks again, and "Off topic but your cover pic is beautiful! Lovely fam." My cover photo is one of me and Jen with the two kids. It's not the best photo, but I love it because it's the four of us together. I never really thought about people other than my friends seeing it when I changed it, but her noticing it and then commenting on it meant so much to me. More than she would have ever thought, I'm sure.
So I have a new kindness initiative for myself: Try to do something kind for people that I don't know. Even if it's just something small, like commenting on how well behaved their child is in the check out line at the grocery store or holding a door open for someone.
I think the world could use more kindness. Don't you?