Thursday, October 31, 2013

My Son, The Princess

Happy Halloween everyone!

Spiderman.  Too cute for a mask.

A few weeks ago we broke out the dress up clothes and started asking The Bean what he wanted to be for Halloween.  He adamantly told us "Superwhy" and we subtly tried to steer him towards a costume that we a) had or b) could make (easily).  He then ran through a number of ideas --witch, doggy, skeleton, ghost, Spiderman, cat-- trying on various costumes as he went.


 By the time our first Halloween celebration rolled around we had settled on a skeleton.  We threw on his skeleton sweater and a pair of black pants, I quickly painted his face, and off we went to the party.

Sprout seem mildly unsettled by The Bean's skeleton makeup. 

That evening we had party #2.  It was a neighbourhood party at the nearby streetcar barns where we go for the farmer's market.  We went last year and had a great time, however, we both remembered it being hot.  We decided Sprout would forego the piglet costume in favour of something more breathable.  She has a sparkly little fairy get up that someone gave us when she was born (adorable, but yes, an odd baby gift) so that was settled.  As I was getting her changed The Bean walked over with a beautiful gold brocade number out of our costume box and announced, "I be a princesses too!"

Our little fairy princess, trying to eat her wings.

Jen and I looked at each other.  "How about a horse?" we asked.  "No, a princesses."  Neither of us were totally comfortable with the idea, but he insisted.  We pulled out a pair of tights and I quickly cut out a paper crown and into the car we piled with our two princesses.

On the way there Jen and I tried to convince each other that this was no big deal.  It's a costume.  He's two.  Halloween is about dressing up.  Still, we were concerned that someone might say something hurtful.  We told The Bean people might think it was funny that he was dressed as a princess.  He shrugged and responded, "That happens."  Clearly this boy is better adjusted than we are.

The Bean did get some glances at the party.  I think people mostly thought it was cruel that we had given such an adorable little girl such a severe haircut.  No one commented other than saying things about "All the beautiful princesses."  The Bean was happy.  He twirled with the best of them.  We thanked the Halloween gods.

I'm still thinking about it though.  Halloween is about dressing up.  And who cares what a two year old decides to be.  Is it really any more unusual to put our daughter into a fairy costume than it is to put our son into a princess costume?  It's pretend.  I repeat: Who cares?

Only the thing is people do care.  As parents, we want to protect our children.  I don't think twice when The Bean wears the princess dress at home, but out in the world I worry what others will say.  I don't want to see him hurt.

On no level to I believe that The Bean is gender non-conforming, but this small experience made me feel so deeply for parents of children who are.  How difficult they must find it to allow their child to express their individuality while knowing that not everyone will accept them for who they are.  I can't imagine how ambivalent parents in that situation must feel.  (And yes, I am talking about parents who are wholly supportive of their children, knowing full well and feeling heartbroken for children who do not have this kind of support from the people who should love them unconditionally.)

Tonight he's dressing up as a horse.  

I love my son, the princess, but I am also relieved.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


So, I don't think I ever updated about the psychologist I was seeing.  After the intake appointments with a lady that I really liked taking to I was placed with someone.  Honestly, I knew in the first five minutes that I didn't like her style, but I tried to stick it out.  I went to two appointments where she asked pretty much all the same questions I had been asked in the intake appointments.  It made me think she just hadn't read my file.  I then had one or two more PAINFUL appointments with her where she would ask a question, I would answer, and then she'd ask them same question again.  It totally pissed me off.  While I appreciate that I had access to free counseling, if felt like she wasn't listening, the questions she was asking were irrelevant to the issues I was having, and being there was a huge waste of time.  I cancelled my third appointment and never rescheduled.  

The one minimally helpful thing she did was recommend a book about using mindfulness to help with anxiety.  I never did read the book, but it got me started thinking about mindfulness.  (She, of course, recommended it after I told her that one of the ways I was dealing with my anxiety was by being mindful --big help.)  Anyway, as I said, I had already been using mindfulness as a way of helping combat some of the anxious thoughts I'd been having.  However, I find that it's also been helping when I've been feeling overwhelmed lately.  

I always seem to have a mental to-do list that's a mile long.  Nap times are gold in terms of getting things crossed off that list.  Often the tasks are tedious ones like "clean up the breakfast dishes", but things like "make tea and check Facebook" are also on there. I was finding myself getting increasingly frustrated when Sprout was having fitful naps where I would have to go in and rock her multiple times or sit and hold her for to sleep.  I felt like it was cutting into my time to get things done. 

Then I decided that rather than be frustrated, which really isn't a fair thing to be feeling toward a little baby who needs comfort, that I should accept it for what it is and enjoy this time where I get to hold her close.  Goodness knows it will be over soon enough.  

Now when she fusses I try to go in, pick her up and soothe her (which I did before) but also study her face.  How her bow lips pout when she's falling asleep.  How she leaves her eyes open just a crack, then squeezes them shut before finally letting them close.  I watch her hands.  Kneeding the skin on my chest.  Reaching up to touch my face.  Finally falling down relaxed.  I listen to her breathe and watch her chest move in and out.  I notice how I now need both arms to support her body, where just a few months ago I could hold her with one.  

This mindful focus on what I am doing has carried over into other daily tasks.  I'm not a fan of doing dishes, but now when I do I think about what we were eating, the conversations we had.  I prepare food and focus on how it will nourish my family, hoping that they will enjoy eating it.  I clean the floors feeling and feel grateful that my little ones won't tread over a sharp piece of cat litter.  I dust enjoying the shine of the wood and the almond scent of the cleaner.  Okay, so I haven't dusted for weeks, but you get the point. ;)  

There are still plenty of times when I feel bogged down in the tediousness of chores.  When I really want to finish my blog post when I hear Sprout starting to fuss.  But trying to focus on what I am doing and the positive aspects of it helps.  

And on that note I think I heard something from the other room...

Friday, October 25, 2013

Fall Foto Friday: Creepy Crawlies

I honestly didn't think I would get a photo of any creepy crawlies for this week, but this morning my sister and nephew joined me and Sprout for a walk, and they spotted this fuzzy little creeper.

{this moment} poppy and tea cozy

A Friday ritual. A single photo (except this week I couldn't resist posting two!) - 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, October 24, 2013

Sprout is Ten Months Old!

Today Sprout is ten months old!

I could say it every month, but I just cannot believe how quickly the time is going by.  In two short months will have a one year old.  Unreal.

-Other than her hair getting longer and more unruly (hence the barrette) I feel like there hasn't been a big change in Sprout's growth.  I mean, I'm sure she's growing, but I think it's slowed down.  She's been in the same size disposables (4) for a long time now and I haven't had to do a big wardrobe switch-out for a while.
-There has been all kinds of other growth though.  This girl makes me laugh with all the new things she learns and how proud she is of herself to show them off.  She now waves "hi" and "bye bye" and will mimic a "moo" sound.  She's also figured out how to push the "lawnmower" (Fisher Price Bright Beginnings Activity Walker) around all on her own.  Yup.  Walking.  I mean, she doesn't have the balance to do it all on her own, but it's coming.  Similarly she can ride the ride on bus toy that we have all on her own.  Impressive if I do say so myself.

-She got her first tooth on October 1st (bottom left incisor) and her second (bottom right incisor) on October 10th.  It looks like there are quite a few more on their way.

-She eats!  She still nurses (a lot) but she's just recently started having three meals a day and actually seems to be enjoying food.  She also really seems to enjoy feeding herself.  So messy.  But it's okay, we're happy to see her trying new things.  Greek yogurt mixed with fruit for breakfast, and usually a blended meat/protein and veggie for lunch and dinner.  Plus finger foods like puffs, yogurt drops, and bananas.

-Aside from the nursing she has grown VERY attached to her Mama.  While she will play very contently on her own, there are certainly times when she does not want me to be out of her sight line (and other times when she does not want to be out of my arms).  I've been doing laundry in the mornings and often will come back upstairs to find her whining by the door even though Jen and sometimes even The Bean are around.

-As an add on to the previous bullet, when she wants to be somewhere, or more accurately with someone she makes the cutest little crawling bee line right to them.  This is most often witnessed when she "chases" us into The Bean's room when we go to get him out of bed in the morning.

-She loves, loves, loves playing with her brother.  Balls have also been a big toy this month.

-Bathtime is a lot of fun.  She loves to splash.  Unfortunately she doesn't seem to have the same love for splashing in swim class.  I enrolled us in the next session, but am sort of regretting that decision.  She almost always fusses a little bit, sometimes even cries and almost never smiles.  I'm disappointed that she doesn't like it more, but I think we'll just drop it after this next session and wait until she's older.

-She also likes to splash in the cat's water dish. She usually waits until I have my back turned and than does her previously mentioned speed-crawl over to grab the bowl.

-She seems to be outgrowing chairs, bouncer and jumpers.  I think she rather have the mobility.  I'll still stick her in the doorway Jolly Jumper when I have to do something, like prep dinner but usually isn't happy going in and wants out after ten minutes or so.  Though it was certainly easier to be able to have her happily confined, I won't be sad to get rid of some more of the space hoarding baby gear.

-We've gotten into a fairly consistent routine.  Up between 6-7am nap around 9am, awake by 11am, nap again around 2pm awake by 4pm and then into the bedroom by 6:30pm.  (The times vary slightly day to day and she almost ever naps the full two hours.  More often than not I go in to settle her back down after 45 minutes and then get another half our or so out of her.)  Good nights she's down before 7:30pm, other times it's not until after 8:00pm.  She still gets nursed and then rocked/bounced to sleep.

-Weekdays she has been napping in the nursery.  It's going well.  Nighttime and weekends she's in our room on account of the brother.

I'll leave you with one more photo, because even though it's blurry (they all seemed to be this month.  I guess being sick has effected my ability to take a focused photograph), the chubby little hands on the even chubbier little knees just kills me.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


By all appearances, I have strep throat.

Monday night I came out of the bedroom after settling Sprout to sleep and pretty much collapsed.  Fever and chills.  Throat so sore that I wince when I swallow.  Tonsils the size of golf balls.

I'm feeling just slightly better today.  At least I've been able to eat and drink a little bit.

Maybe this is why I was feeling so run down?  Or, you know, maybe being run down just caught up to me.

(Jen and The Bean are also feeling under the weather, but thankfully Sprout seems unaffected so far.)

Wordless Wednesday: Peek-a-Boo

Monday, October 21, 2013

Worn Out

I wrote this over the weekend, but only just got to finishing it up.  Fortunately I'm feeling much better today, though nothing notable has changed.  I figured it was still worth posting.

This is the kind of post I feel terrible writing, because I feel like it makes me sound ungrateful for the beautiful family that I have.  I feel like it will make you think I'm a bad mother.  

So let me say this first: I love my family, my children, so, so much.  More than anything.

But still, I am exhausted.

When The Bean was a wee baby whenever Jen or I got to that breaking point, where we felt like we just couldn't deal anymore, the other could take over.  I would play with The Bean while Jen showered.  She would take him for a walk while I slept.  It worked out pretty well.

We usually seemed to find the time to have discussions about what was and wasn't working.  About both how amazing our son was and how frustrated we could be by his behaviour.  About parenting and how we wanted to raise our children.  

These nights, we can't trade off.   I've got Sprout and Jen has The Bean.  And by the time both kids are asleep I feel like I barely have the energy to have a conversation, never mind a conversation about parenting philosophies.  Many nights all I want to do is melt into the couch, turn the television on and my brain off and be absorbed into someone else's story.

Sometimes when it's going on a hour of nursing/rocking/nursing Sprout to sleep, I envy Jen in the room beside us reading stories to The Bean, though the rational part of my brain knows that it's not easy for her either.  Nearly everything these days seems to be a negotiation with him.

I get jealous that Jen gets to go to work and talk to adults, have a lunch break that's actually a break , and can go to the washroom by herself and/or not worry that she'll wake someone up by flushing the toilet.  In these moments I overlook the fact that she is working eight hours a day to support us, on top parenting and partnering at home.  She deserves a kiss or a back rub, heck, probably both.  But it's hard to find the time to give her recognition and attention when I feel like I've been giving all day.

Even though I am worn out physically, mentally and often emotionally, I know I'm going to miss these days.

I have this photo that I took nearly six months ago.  It's the shadow me and Sprout cast on the blind in our bedroom as I was rocking her to sleep.  I would stare at that same shadow for hours every day.  Her funny little sideways mohawk would bounce as I rocked her.  She had to be upright, because her reflux meant she'd fuss when lying horizontally.  I took the photo because I knew it was one of those things I would likely forget, even though at the time that seemed like something that would never change. 

Sometimes I daydream about having an entire day to  myself.  A day where I might not ever get out of bed.  A day where I hold a complete conversation without being interrupted by a two and a half year old.  A day where I don't have to do dishes or laundry or straighten up the same toys at least four times.  A day where I don't have to think about feeding other people or getting them to sleep.  

But as much as I daydream, I know if I were to get that day my bones would ache with missing my children.
Every day has moments that I treasure.  Snuggles and hugs.  Sprout giggling at her brother's antics.  Then Bean coming in to give his little sister a kiss goodnight and asking to stay and read her a bedtime story.  Jen holding my hand when we're walking the kids to the park.  Sometimes I stop and think: THIS.  This is what I dreamed about.

I need remind myself how quickly these days are passing and how precious these moments are.  

Friday, October 18, 2013

Fall Foto Friday: Leaves

I've already posted this photo, but it's my favourite of the fall leaves that I've taken so far this year.

And because I feel like I should be posting something new, here's another "leaves" photo, which Jenn from 2moms2dogs2babies took for us.

{this moment} think i'm going for a walk now...

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, October 16, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Bubbles

Knox's Pumpkin Farm

This post is a few days late, but better late than never...

On Saturday we headed out for our third annual visit to Knox's Pumpkin Farm.  This year our friends Ashleigh and Jenn and their twin girls, Teagan and Quinn (from 2moms2dogs2babies) joined us.

We could not have asked for a more perfect day.  It was sunny and warm.  You never know what to expect here in October, and we definitely lucked out.

We arrived just as the farm was opening, which meant it wasn't overly crowded.  The kids found the ponies right away and decided that they wanted to take a ride.  It was a first for all three of them.  Jen grabbed the camera and managed to get some shots of all three kiddos on their pony rides.

After the ponies we headed over to the tractor to see the pumpkin patch.  We ended up just making a loop, as Mamas and Mommies weren't terribly keen about actually picking pumpkins out in the patch.  Lucky for us the kids were just as happy to watch the big tractor wheels and wave at everyone we passed along the way.

Following that the kids climbed around on the hay bales and another big tractor.  There was a bit of competition over who got to "drive", but everyone got a chance.

It was getting close to lunch time by then so we tried to coral the kids towards the picnic table.  None of them wanted to stop playing, but eventually we made our way over and got everyone sitting down.  We shared our crackers, hummus and apples and Ashleigh and Jenn shared their pomegranate salad and curried chicken.  LOL.  You can tell which family contains the foodies. ;)

After lunch Quinn took off into the corn maze which was right in front of where we were sitting and the others followed her in.  We drew them out with promises of seeing animals in the barn. Sprout was getting hungry by this point, so she and I hung out while the others visited the cows, sheep and donkey.

We wrapped up the visit by letting the kids jump in a big pile of leaves, which was hard to tear them away from.  Both The Bean and Sprout conked out on the car ride home, so I'd say the morning was a success! :)

Monday, October 14, 2013

Shopping Local

I know some people leave holiday shopping until the last minute, but  I am not one of those people.  Especially when it comes to the kids.  Maybe it's because their birthdays also fall around the winter holidays, so we go a full year between celebrations, but come September I start getting excited for the upcoming season and looking for gifts that we think they'll love.

As I've written before, when we buy toys, we look for ones that our kids will want and be able to use for a long time.  A part of this is choosing toys that inspire creativity and open-ended play.  Another part of it is choosing toys that are high quality and made to last.  We prefer toys that are made of natural materials, but we do own our fair share of brightly coloured plastic.  (And to be honest, the kids enjoy the brightly coloured plastic, particularly if it makes a sound and/or lights up!)

We do a lot of shopping online.  A nice thing about having Jen's parents live in the U.S. is that we're able to shop the American websites and have things shipped to them, which is often much more economical than having things shipped across the border.

Still, I like to support Canadian businesses, and get pretty excited when I find a Canadian website, or even better, a local shop, with the kinds of items we're looking for.

A month or so ago I was browsing and stumbled across Ava's Appletree, a Canadian retailer specializing in natural and organic baby and children's products.  And they just opened up a shop in The Beach neighbourhood of Toronto!  I reached out to the shop owner, Alexandra, and she offered me a discount on my purchase in exchange for a blog mention.

I easily could have filled up my online shopping cart, but I reined myself in and only picked out a beautiful set of enamel wear dishes for each of the kids --something that's been on my wish list for them for a long time.

I love enamel wear dishes for kids because they're super durable, yet so much nicer than a plastic plate.  I originally envisioned these being used with our play kitchen, but now that we have them I think they'd make lovely everyday dishes.  They're still hidden away in a cupboard waiting for the holidays, so I guess there's time to decide what purpose they'll end up serving, though I'm not quite sure that I'll be able to keep them tucked away for another 2+ months.

Sprout chomping on a  Finel enamel wear mug from a set we already owned.  (This has been our go-to mug for The Bean since he was about a year old and really won me over to using enamel wear for children's everyday dishes.)

For those curious, a few other items that I was very tempted by were a dust pan and brush set for The Bean (he loves helping clean up), a Peppa doll for Sprout, a chalk board set, and play silks.  It's quite likely that if we're ever in the shop's neighbourhood I'll convince Jen that we should pop in and we'll come home with a few more items for the kiddos.  :)

Friday, October 11, 2013

Fall Foto Friday Catch Up

I feel the need to explain not posting last week:  Every single time I was thinking about the challenge during the "clouds" week (last week) there was either a completely cloudless blue sky OR it was totally overcast and grey.

Anyway, I took this photo on Monday, which was a cloudy day.

By dinnertime the storm clouds had rolled in, but then, The Bean noticed this:

And for this week, some berries Sprout and I found on a walk around the neighbourhood.

{this moment} grandpa cuddles

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, October 10, 2013


I just f***ed all the photos on the blog.
I could not be more upset about this.


Oh. My. Goodness.

Today has been A Day.  Actually, we've been having quite a few Days lately.  And Nights.  Our lovely little sunshine baby has been quite unhappy with all this teething business.  At least I hope it's this teething business, because if this is the new normal...

...Well, let's not even go there.

Sprout actually slept fairly well last night.  Maybe it was the Advil I gave her.  Or maybe it was the HUGE glass of wine I  had.  In any case, it was the best night we've had for quite a while.

She made up for it by skipping her morning nap.  For about forty-five minutes she would nurse until she was thisclose to being asleep and then wake up sobbing.

Yes, I feel terrible for her.

And I feel terrible for myself.

And my boobs. (I brace myself every time she breaks her latch, worried that she's going to draw blood the next time she clamps down.)

Anyway, eventually we decided that the nap was not to be and went and walked around the mall.  She got a new dress out of it.  Maybe the girl is onto something.

She is currently napping in the toddler bed because that's where I last nursed her and I didn't want to risk waking her up by moving her into the crib.

Is it too early for another glass of wine?

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Just Do It

Is anyone else amazed at how quickly the days are flying by?  It's OCTOBER.  When did that happen?!
Before I know it we're going to have a one year old and a three year old.  Absolutely crazy, I tell you.

What is also crazy is how much I intended to do this year.  I told myself that each month I would update Sprout's baby book and at the same time I would do The Bean's, since it didn't get done when he was a baby.  Well, I think I have her birth information recorded and that's it.  Likewise for The Bean.  Shameful.  I've wanted to crochet up a new warm hat for the ever-growing little boy too, but that has yet to happen.  Nevermind the new cupcake recipe that I want to try out or the fact that I need to vacuum again.  There always seems to be something that needs to get done.  Sometimes it's quite overwhelming. 

Admittedly, I can be a bit of a perfectionist and sometimes that leads me putting things off until I feel that I can devote the time necessary to do them properly.  Thing is, it's hard to find the time anymore.  I get little pockets, like now, when Sprout is sleeping, but it's easy to piddle those away.  Anyway, what I'm trying to make myself realize is that I need to use those little pockets to just do the things on my to do list.  And not just the things that need immediate attention, like the vacuuming or the dishes, but things the bigger projects too.  The crocheting and the baby books.  Ten minutes here and ten minutes there adds up over the course of a week or two and I might actually accomplish some of the things I want to get done.  

I guess rather than blathering on here about it anymore I should go... there's a book I've been reading since June that's calling me...