Friday, May 31, 2013

{this moment} swinging

A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see. 

Inspired by SouleMama.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Monday, May 27, 2013

Sprout is Five Months Old!

Today Sprout is five months old!

-I know I'm likely jinxing us, but she is one of the most easy going babies I have ever met.  She is usually all smiles when she wakes up and just continues on like that throughout the day.  She gladly tags along on all the running around we do --grocery shopping, daycare pick up and drop offs, swimming lessons, visits with friends.  Whatever.  As I know I've mentioned before, really only fusses when she's tired, hungry or gassy.

-She has started combining naps here and there, but generally still naps three times a day.  I've determined that most nights she is still basically cluster feeding through the evenings and wakes about three times overnight to eat.  I'm tired, but it doesn't really warrant complaining about.

-She is getting increasingly distracted nursing in public, or even at home when The Bean is running around.  Her best nursing is side-lying in Mama and Mommy's bed when she gets up from her naps.  I'd say her typical nursing session is about 10-15 minutes long.  She's started playing with my shirt/bra/hair/hands or just patting my chest when she nurses now.  It's pretty sweet.  I love her dimpled little knuckles.

-She's been chomping on everything --toys, teething rings, blankets, her hands, our hands.  About a gazillion people have asked if she's teething, but I really don't think she is.  The Bean chomped on everything at this age too but was eight or nine months old before he popped his first tooth.  (For the record, I really hope she is not teething.)

-As you may be able to tell from her photo, Sprout has discovered her feet.  It happened just this past week, but she's already a pro and getting them into her mouth.  (See above re. other items she puts into her mouth.)  

-She has the back to tummy roll down-pat and seems to be enjoying looking around with her head lifted high.  She cannot roll back over though, which sometimes seems to be a source of frustration.  I feel like she's trying to crawl.  She'll straighten her legs out, lifting her bum into the air or she'll wiggle her legs furiously like she's trying to get forward.  She hasn't figured out the hands part of it yet though.  I don't mind her still being limited in her mobility.

-She loves people and is all smiles when she gets attention.  She seems to enjoy being sung to and read stories.  She'll now grab at books when we're reading to her.

-She's had a few tastes of real food now.  Avocado seems to be the favourite out of avocado  banana and mango.  I picked up a butternut squash the other week so we'll probably try her on that next.  We're in no rush to have her be eating solids, but she was showing some interest, so why not?

-This month Jen gave me an early birthday present of a woven wrap.  I am loving it.  I think Sprout is loving it too.

-Her clothes and disposable diaper sizes have stayed pretty consistent over the past month.  3-6 in tops, 6-12 in most pants, and size 3 in 'sposies.  I feel like she's stretching out a little.  I'm happy she seems to be thriving, but I don't want her to get big too fast!  (My last baby!!)

Friday, May 24, 2013

{this moment} wishing

A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Inspired by SouleMama.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Vetting Children's Books

I think anyone who has been reading this blog for a little while knows that I love to read.  I also love to read to our children.  I started my children's book collection well before we were even trying to conceive.  While I had the "excuse" of being able to use the books I purchased in my teaching, it was a personal collection, and not a class collection I was creating.  The collection now numbers well into the hundreds and contains favourites, both old and new.  Admittedly, it also contains some duds.

The Bean loves to be read to.  Jen (who was home on maternity leave during his first year) was amazing at making reading to him a priority from his earliest days.  Our bedtime routine includes three stories before songs and being tucked in.  Now that he's getting older, we're moving away from the board books that we pretty much stuck to his first few years, and starting to reading some longer stories.  Books we haven't looked at for a while are making their way off the shelf and into the basked beside the rocking chair.

Just the other day Jen pulled Robert Munsch's We Share Everything out.  Robert Munsch is a much loved children's writer.  He's American, but began writing after moving to Canada and though widely known in Canada, doesn't seem to be recognized across the border.  I grew up on his early books, which is likely why  We Share Everything, one of his newer books, is in our collection.

On the surface it is a funny story about two friends going into kindergarten who have to learn to share.  However, reading it a couple dozen times over the last week has also made me realize there are things I really don't like about it.  The two main characters are mean to each other.  Bullies even.  I don't want The Bean to grow up thinking that treating someone the way these characters treat each other is acceptable.  They threaten.  They yell.  They knock down block towers.  When they finally begin sharing, they share their clothes.  After swapping outfits Jeremiah comments, "My mom never gets me pink shoes" and "No other boy in kindergarten has a pink shirt."  Perhaps worse is when the teacher makes a big deal over Jeremiah's pink clothes.  The Bean doesn't seem to think pink is a "girl's colour", and I agree.  Messages like the ones in this book only bring the issue of society's ideas of what is acceptable for girls vs. boys to the forefront.  I know there might be a day when The Bean wants to throw his pink marker in the garbage, but I would like to delay it as long as possible.  If I can avoid him hearing this kind of messaging, I will.

So now I have to try to go hide this book.  Good thing we've got others to distract him with.

What are your kids' favourite books?  What do you do when you have issues with the subtext in the books you have?  

Friday, May 17, 2013

{this moment} laughter

A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Inspired by SouleMama.

This and That

There is much to say, but I haven't been able to find the time to say it.  I have a huge list of drafted blog posts (most just a sentence or two long) waiting to be completed, but realistically they'll probably just sit there until they become so outdated that I delete them, so you get this... a quick jumble of some of the  things that have been going on here the past few weeks.  (I only have until Sprout wakes up.)

  • My mood had improved quite a bit over the past several weeks, but last weekend we went to a local fair and I ran into some (actually many) students that I used to teach.  One was a girl that I had in my class last year.  I was wearing Sprout and introducing her to the girl and her family and the girl asked me if I had left the school to have Sprout.  I responded that I had left the school and had Sprout, but not left because I was having her.  Honestly, I didn't give her question a whole lot of thought at the time, but as we were leaving and after we got home I kept thinking about the implications of her question.  I realized that I don't know what sort of an explanation the kids got when they realized I wasn't at the school this year.  I never did get to explain to them about my leaving.  I fully realize that the reasons are much more significant to me than they are to the kids, but for over an entire year the heaviness of not being able to/having explained has sat with me.  It makes me very, very sad to think about. 
  • On a related note, I have sent out a few more job applications but haven't heard anything back at this point.  I'm anxious about what we will do if I do not find a teaching job for the fall.   (Likely start subbing once my maternity leave is over.)  I am quite sure that my anxiety surrounding this plays into how I've been feeling lately.  
  • In lighter news, it seems like the good weather might finally be here to stay.  We enjoyed fiddleheads last week --such a spring treat!  We've been going straight to the park after picking up The Bean and often playing there until dinnertime.  This week there was even an unexpected (for us) ice cream party to celebrate Shavout.  (We are not Jewish, but our neighbourhood has a lot of Hasidic Jewish people living in it.) The Bean ate devoured his first ice cream cone.  It was all over his nose/mouth/chin.  So cute.  Unfortunately I did not have my camera with me or else you'd surely be subjected to at least a hundred photos of his messy ice cream face.
  • This weekend is Victoria Day weekend in Canada so Monday is a holiday.  Jen took today off so right now we are packing for a visit to Grandma and Grandpa's house.  The Bean is SO excited.  (Okay, so some of us are just blogging about packing, but as soon as I'm done I'm going to throw some clothes into the suitcase.)  
  • I have new books!  Two of them!  I have no idea when I will read them, but I am excited about the prospect of reading them nonetheless.  Maybe The Bean will happily entertain himself on the six hour drive to Grandma and Grandpa's so I can read?  
There is much more I could write about, but I really should get going.  I'll try to check in again soon.

Friday, May 10, 2013

{this moment} playtime

A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Inspired by SouleMama.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Book Review: And Then It's Spring

And Then It's Spring
by Julie Fogliano
Illustrated by Erin Stead

We picked up this book as a part of The Bean's Easter gift.  It was one that I had heard of and had been meaning to check out for a while, so I took a chance and ordered it.  I'm really glad that I did.  It's lovely. 

This is a very simple text, with a single sentence on most pages.  It is all about the hopefulness that accompanies the planting of seeds and waiting for them to grow.  It is also about patience.   
The language is almost poetic and a little above The Bean's level of understanding, but he understands enough to get the point of the story.  (I also believe it's a good thing to expose children to language that is a little above their level.  But I don't intend to discuss that right now.  If you're curious as to why ask and I'll explain my thoughts in the comments.)   

The illustrations in this book are stunning.  Simple and full of small details.  The Bean loves looking at them as I read and pointing out the things that he sees.  ("Look Mama, birds!"  "Look Mama, a worm!")  We talk about things like why the bunny is sitting next to the little carrot sign.  And the first time we read it, when we got to the last page he let out an audible "Ooh!"  Really, how can I not love the book after that?  

I'd definitely recommend And Then It's Spring to anyone with kids who are about 3-6 years old. 

(FWIW  -I just showed Jen this post and she says she likes the illustrations, but does not like the writing in this book and would not recommend it.  To each their own.)

Saturday, May 4, 2013


I am very glad to say that the warm weather finally seems to be here to stay.  It was a long winter.  I am very much ready to put away my coat and boots.  

Now that the weather is nice, Sprout and I have been getting out for walks much more often.  The Bean has also been requesting trips to the "little park" which is right outside our front door almost every evening when he gets home from daycare.  I'm usually pretty happy to oblige.  I push him on the swing and he tells me about his day.  Two year olds can definitely make you crazy, but they can also be super amazing.  (Conversations!  Real ones!!)  

This post is going to be a little all over the place.  I've wanted to update daily, but I seem to run out of awake hours before I'm able to get to it.  I've already been up for an hour and half (i.e. since 6am) with Sprout since she is four months old and does not understand about sleeping in.  Fortunately she does understand about naps, so I have just a few minutes now.  I can hear The Bean starting to stir in his room though, so I better get to it...

First, the photos here are ones I took while walking around after a very nice morning in the park with Ashleigh and her brood.  Sprout fell asleep as we were making our way back to our cars, so I walked for another 45 minutes while she napped taking pictures of people's flowers.  I love the flowers at this time of year.  I've noticed some gorgeous magnolia trees that I want to get out and get some photos of and this weekend the cherry trees are in blossom, so I'm hoping we'll make it out to High Park this weekend so I can capture those too.  Maybe even sneak in a few family pics.  

Sprout and I finished our Monday music classes.  They were pretty good for a free program.  I learned a couple of new songs, but tend to stick to my favourites when I sing to her.  It made me realize how many kid songs I know compared to your average person.  (A lot!)  And it also made me wonder what other people sing to their little ones.  We do a lot of the kiddie songs, but she also hears a fair bit of Ani DiFranco, Ben Harper, Death Cab, or other songs where I more-or-less know all the lyrics to a couple of tunes.

This week we started what Jen calls "Baby Camp", but what is officially called "Living and Learning with Baby" which is a program put on by public health.  It's for new moms, which I'm not, but being a non-gestational mother the first time around seems to be a loophole.  The program is supposed to address all sorts of questions and concerns that new mothers (and fathers --there's one in our class, which I think is awesome as it adds a whole other perspective which as a NGP I can relate to, though he seems to be a bit shy) have.  I don't have so many of the questions, but sometimes it's just nice to be around people who are going through the same things that you are.

Next up on the baby-related schedule may be some visits to the hospital.  I got on the list for some PPD therapy.  My doctor referred me after my appointment last week and the nurse from the hospital called this week.  My conversation with the her was difficult, but good.  Things have been getting better, and I told her as much, but I agreed that it still may be good to talk to someone or meet with a group.  She's going to try to find a good match for me.  She seemed to think that I have some Postpartum Anxiety symptoms, which I didn't really realize was a thing, but seems to be fitting.  I've had (undiagnosed but obvious) anxiety issues in the past, so in a way I feel sort of better, as I know I can get through this.

(Here might be a good place to add that I did not get the kindergarten job I interviewed for and haven't yet been contacted for any other interviews.  Discouraging to say the least, but I will keep looking.)

The Bean continues to love daycare, and as I think I've mentioned, he is now going gymnastics on Saturday mornings in addition to swimming on Sunday mornings.  We certainly don't want to over-schedule him, but have found he's happier when he's busy and active.  Jen and I find the scheduled activities on the weekend to be helpful in giving some structure to that activity, though we still go to parks and the Science Centre quite often.

He often asks during the week if we're going to "nastics" and sings the songs from his swim class and practices in the bathtub, so I think it's fair to say he's enjoying the programs.

Though we are sometimes exhausted by his two-ness, he is a lot of fun and can be incredibly sweet.  Here are some of the little things he's been saying that I want to keep track of...
-helicopters are called "hello-copters"
-cupcakes are "pupcakes"
-knives are called "cuts"
-when we're driving he'll call out "Next stop... NASTICS!"  (See, he does love it. ;) )
-he used to often say "I sad" (sometimes when he was legitimately sad, but often more as a way of manipulating us into getting what he wanted).  He has added "I frustrated" to his repertoire  which can actually be quite helpful in opening up conversations about what it is that is frustrating him and working towards a solution.
-he sings all the time.  He picks up the lyrics to new songs quickly.  I'm pretty impressed by it.  He can also carry a tune.
-he is incredibly social and will approach kids in the park to play with them.  He's also taking to walking up to people and telling them "I 'The Bean'".  Totally cute.

The littles are both up now, so I should get going.  I'm going to try to be better about updating though.

Friday, May 3, 2013

{this moment} balcony weather

A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Inspired by SouleMama.