Posted in Parenting, Toddler

Rosy Cheeks

Today was an awesome day!

Since it was a holiday, I was off work (yay!) and it was a beautiful day.  Sunny, hot (but not too hot).  Perfection.  Needless to say, the little guy was thrilled.

You see, he absolutely loves to play outside.  Now that he’s understood that outdoors = fun (because it was kind of hard for him with all the snow this past winter) he wants to go out all the time.  Seriously.  Yesterday morning, he was up at 6:15 am and was asking to go out 15 minutes later.  Dude, let mama wake up, will ya!

Today was no different and he spent loads of time outdoors.  After getting up, we had some breakfast.  Then I got him dressed and we walked his dad to work.  He started getting tired when we were almost home (as the trip to work and back is a little over one kilometer), but he immediately forgot his fatigue when we turned onto our street and he saw the park.

Oh boy, he was excited!  He practically ran to the park and we spent quite some time there on the swings.  Then, he decided to go down the slides over and over and over again.  He wasn’t super pleased when I coaxed him back towards the house, but he didn’t make a big deal over it so it was all good.

Once we were back in the house, he helped me with the laundry (he especially loved handing me the clothes to hang on the clothesline ’cause that meant we were back outside 😉 ) and I phoned my parents to ask them if they wanted to go have a picnic and take a walk with Little Dude and myself.  They, of course, agreed.  I mean seriously, who can resist spending some time with Mr. Cuteness?

Incidentally, it's getting really hard to take pictures of my boy.  As soon as he sees a camera, he comes in as close as possible to try to grab it.
Incidentally, it’s getting really hard to take pictures of my boy. As soon as he sees a camera, he comes in as close as possible to try to grab it.

We ended up going back to the Ecomuseum and, after having some lunch, got to see some of his favourite animals (namely, the turkeys).  Once again, he walked almost the whole way despite the fact that we had already passed his nap time.  He was tired, but also wildly happy about observing everything around him which meant that he wasn’t cranky.

Quite predictably, Charles fell asleep in the car and wasn’t very pleased with me when I changed his extremely wet diaper (the little guy drinks so much when it’s hot out and our bamboo inserts just aren’t cutting it), but went down for his belated nap happily.

I woke him after two hours and off we went again to get daddy from his workplace.  This time, though, I brought the stroller along and Little Dude was grateful for the ride.  We stayed outside when we got home and helped the dada start setting things up in the yard.  Charles and I cleaned the patio set while we let his father do the heavy lifting.

Of course, every good thing must come to an end and though we had spent some (read: a LOT of hours of) good time outside, it was time to get in, have supper and get the bedtime routine rolling.

This is how happy my son was with me when I brought him back inside.

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But why can’t we stay outside just a little while longer?

He did end up calming down when I took out the DS for him to play with and he ate like an ogre at supper.  And now, after chattering a storm in his crib for the last hour, he’s finally asleep.

Posted in Parenting, Toddler

Our Easter Sunday

We had a wonderful day today despite the fact that the little guy is sick.  The weather was very nice and we didn’t have to get dressed in a whole bunch of layers to go outside.  Because, of course, now that Charles knows how fun it can be outside, he wants to go all the time.

I got him dressed and the first thing he spotted when we crossed the street to the park in front of our house was a bird.  He, of course, wanted to get up close and personal and try to touch it.

The bird mustn’t have felt that the little guy chasing it was a predator, because it stayed on the ground and just kept its distance on foot.

After a while, I grabbed my son and walked with him to the park.  He had lots of fun climbing up the stairs, going down the slide, looking at me through the clear plastic bubble window and going on the swings.

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When we got back inside, the little guy had some water and a snack and I had fun styling his hair (because it’s long enough now that I can actually do something with it!).

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We also had a lovely lunch with my sister, brother and grand-parents.

As the day went by though, Charles became more and more whiny and his cold was clearly gaining some ground on him.  So, we used a three-fold approach to help him feel less miserable.

  1. Lots of mommy cuddles (because, in his book, daddy cuddles just don’t seem to work when he has a cold…)
  2. Letting him eat what he wants (because he pretty much outright refuses to eat anything when he’s sick and my partner and I prefer he eats something to nothing)
  3. Swapping bath time with a shower with mommy (combining mommy cuddles, a back massage with the stream of water and clearing up his nose with the steam that the shower produces!)

Crossing my fingers for Little Dude to kick his cold in the butt during the night!

How was your Easter Sunday?

Posted in Toddler

Boynton Is Driving Me Bonkers!

My son has a lot of books.

But his favorite, by far are the Sandra Boynton books.

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I don’t know why he likes them so much.

Maybe it’s because of the awesome illustrations.

Opposites
Opposites

Maybe it’s because of the catchy rhymes.

MOO, BAA, LA LA LA!
MOO, BAA, LA LA LA!

Maybe it’s because the books are in English and he’s used to hearing French all the time.

In any event, he LOVES them.

He loves them so much that he pretty much knows them by heart.  And, admittedly, so do I.

I mean, seriously, he’ll come and sit on me with a book and want me to read it over and over and over and over…again.

It’s gotten to a point where I can just start reciting a particular book and he’ll go into his room and grab it.  It has also gotten to a point where if I dare change things up and don’t read the story exactly as is, he’ll throw a fit.  We’re talking close-the-book-and-throw-it-then-proceed-to-scream-and-dramatically-let-his-head-touch-the-ground-between-his-legs-while-crying fit.

Thank you Sandra Boynton.  Thank you.

No, but in all seriousness.  Her books are awesome.  A big thank you to Jocelyn from The Home Tome for mentioning them to me a few months back.  I really don’t regret buying them.

A cow says MOO.  A sheep says BAA.  Three singing pigs say LA LA LA!

There I go again…

What books are your little ones enjoying right now?

Posted in Infant, Newborn, Toddler

Let’s not Forget the Daddies!

As I was scrolling through the babycenter posts this morning, I came across a thread that was written by one of the few fathers that are around on the community.

Gamerdadc writes:

I’m a first time dad. [My wife] and I worked for over 8 years for our little [daughter] and we couldn’t be happier. However, as a parent that does a ton of googling and research on our parenting decisions, I’m so frustrated that everything is marketed and angled to moms.

It’s almost like we’re still in the 50s and the kids are the mom’s problem, cause [insert sarcastic tone] gosh darnit us menfolk have to work! [\tone]

I’d be a stay at home dad if I could. As it is, I’m thrilled that [my wife] can fill the [stay at home] parental role, but it kills me to leave them every day. Not that I need recognition or anything, I’m not looking for validation, I’d just like more parental blogs and advertisements to realize that it’s not just moms running to Babies “R” Us every few days to get a different tether because [their son or daughter] seemed a bit frustrated with [their] normal one last night. It’s not just moms that cuddle the baby to sleep.

Grr ok rant over.

I honestly had never given this much thought, but he is totally right!  Fathers are playing a more active roll in the lives of their children than was the case half a century ago.  It isn’t true, despite what you might think by reading through parenting forums, that all husbands/boyfiends are worthless with kids and don’t do anything other than work and play some video games once they’re home.  Some, may just not be given a chance to help out.

Earlier today, I decided to do a quick wordpress search.  I used “parenting” as a search term.  Out of the first 25 blog posts that concerned parenting, 20 were written by mothers, 4 by fathers and 1 by a couple.  Then, I went and surfed on the web a bit.  The vast majority of pictures portraying babies, are of the child and his or her mother or of the two parents (um…ok, so dads don’t spend time alone with their little ones?).  I also found three contests geared exclusively towards mothers.  One of them was: win diapers for a year!  (Oh wait, what?  Why is it that only mothers can enter this contest?  Don’t daddies change diapers too?).  Some contests were geared towards a parent or guardian, but none towards solely dads.

Then, as I was googling Baby Einstein to motivate my son into doing tummy time (more on that in another post), I came across an article that I found to capture the spirit of what Gamerdadc was mentioning in his post.  It’s called Parenting Advice: What Moms Should Learn From Dads.

Here are couple of excerpts that struck a cord:

My mother used to tell my father that he was a very good mother.  […]  In those days, “good mother” was the highest domestic achievement; to have called him a good father, given how low the bar was set, wouldn’t have done him justice.

The typical father spends about seven hours per week in “primary child care,” which doesn’t sound like a lot until you realize it’s more than twice as much as in 1965.

We talk about fathers like puppies tripping over their big paws, a portrait long mirrored in a culture in which Father Knows Least, from Fred Flintstone to Homer Simpson.

I write this as one who always knew that my husband would be the better parent of the two of us, able to slide, with joy and mischief, into our children’s world rather than drag them prematurely into ours.

It is a really interesting read and I highly suggest you read it.  Reading it, reminded me to which point my partner, was an awesome dad.  He is much calmer around our son when he is cranky, does the whole bedtime routine, usually knows what to do when I’m at wits end, plays with him on his days off so that I can sleep in, changes diapers AND kicks me out of the house for three hours once a week so that I can have some time to myself and he can spend some time alone with the baby.  I realized that even though he may not do everything exactly as I do them, he still does everything great!  I mean, we keep talking about motherly instincts and how sometimes, fathers are clueless.  But I think we should start to see that fatherly instincts exist and that we have to accept that our partners will do things differently.

We have come a long way from the 50s, but there is still a ways to go.  I’m lucky enough to live in a province that allows me to be on paid maternity leave for up to a year.  Fathers can get from 3 to 5 weeks off (depending on the length of the mom’s leave) of paid parental leave.  Plus, if the mother cannot or chooses not to take a whole year off, the dad can stay at home to finish the parental leave!  But despite all this, fathers are still frowned upon when taking the weeks they are entitled to because just 30 years  ago, when the bosses became fathers, they didn’t even have a day off when their wives gave birth.

Definitely food for thought.

Speaking of which, what are your thoughts on the subject?

Posted in Infant, Newborn, Toddler

Devil’s Advocate: Cry It Out

Sleep: it’s the word on everyone’s mind in babycenter community’s November 2012 birth club.  It’s quite natural.  I mean, being a parent requires energy, a LOT of it, and to have that, we need to sleep.  Obviously, for us parents to sleep, we need our little bundle(s) of joy to sleep as well, that is something every parent will agree on.  Where there’s disagreement, however, is in the method used.

There are, as I understand it, three major schools of thought on sleep training.  The first is know as the “Cry it Out” (or CIO in the online lingo) method.  The second, is the Gentle Sleep Solution (proposed by the Sleep Lady).  The third is Elisabeth Pantley’s No-Cry Sleep Solution.

In a nutshell, the first method advocates helping babies develop self-soothing techniques to fall asleep on their own by letting them cry it out alone for set periods of time before going to them and soothing them.  The second method is, from what I understand, a variant on the first in that though the parent will let his/her child cry s/he will be in the room and will soothe their baby when they cry.  As for the third method it, quite obviously, encourages parents to not allow their child the chance to cry in their quest for sleep.

I bring this up because this week, a rather provocative thread appeared on the subject of CIO.  The user was clearly frustrated by the bad rep the method was getting in another thread.  At first, I found her reaction to be rather overwhelming.  I mean, when I’d first heard about the cry it out method my first thought was : “wow, what kind of parent would put their child through that?  I will never do that to get my child to sleep”.  I’m a pretty easygoing and ‘live and let live’ kind of person, so if I had that kind of a reaction, I can only imagine what others may have thought and written about it in the babycenter community (because let’s face it, a large group of women isn’t ever going to all agree on one subject and a group of women that have a two to three month baby on their hands is likely to be full of emotionally-driven hormones).

The thread, however, has been running through my mind all day today and I didn’t know why…until I had a light bulb moment.  I can imagine that at least one use must have been emotional enough to claim that a parent that used CIO was a bad parent.  After all, there was at least one study that concluded the method to be harmful.  On the other hand, another study found that there was no harm in the method.

Coming back to the user that sparked a controversy, I can imagine that she is a very loving mother.  I am certain that she loves her children deeply and cares for their every need and so, to be told (whether it be directly or indirectly) by others that a parent who uses CIO is a bad parent (and by extension that she is a bad mother because she has used it) must have been like being stabbed in the heart.  I know that if anyone ever questioned my love for my child because of a personal parental decision, I would be pissed.

I guess my point is that though you can disagree on a method (I, personally do not find the CIO method appealing), it would be best not to attack a person on his/her decision.  Also, though I can say that I much prefer using the No-Cry Sleep Solution if bedtime becomes an issue, I will not stubbornly declare that I would never use CIO.  Why is that, do you ask?  Simply because all children are different and perhaps I will come to a point (where all other options will have failed) that cry it out will be the only thing left for me.  I do not wish it, but I do acknowledge that it may happen.  After all, it has happened to other parents before.

I’m curious, how did you get your children to fall asleep on their own and sleep through the night?

Proof that one should never say 'never'.  I am finally able to swaddle my son to help him fall asleep!
Proof that one should never say ‘never’. I am finally able to swaddle my son to help him fall asleep!