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Monday, January 31, 2011

Embarrassed

Yesterday, DH, Evan, and I hit up the annual Lifestyle Home Show. This year, we actually went for a reason: to get a couple quotes for getting our roof done and getting a new bathroom put in on the main floor.

After we finished with that, DH walked around a bit more and I went to watch a show (a personal stylist was talking about how to dress for your body type). I took Evan with me, since it was pretty busy and kind of a pain in the ass to push a stroller around. He did really well for about 20 minutes - smiling, cooing, all that cute stuff. Then, within about 2 seconds, he went from smiling to pouting to screaming his head off.

This was the first time he really made any noise in public and, it saddens me to say, that I was embarrassed. I got up from my seat quickly, and walked around for a bit with him in the stroller to try and find DH and hoping it would calm Evan down. Nope. So, I stopped in a corridor and picked him up, rocked him, tried to give him his soother- that didn't do anything either. People were staring and I just felt awful! Thankfully one woman stopped and started telling me how cute Evan was and to enjoy this age (yup, while he was screaming!), so that made me feel a tiny bit better.

About five minutes later he was calm again (though it felt like hours) and we found DH. We decided to leave at that point, so DH carried Evan as we made our way back to the entrance. Of course, he was being a perfect angel and practically every woman we passed fell in love with him, but I still felt embarrassed.

I think the universe is getting me back for being so judgmental of parents/screaming children in my younger days. It makes me worry about when I take Evan to go visit his great grandmothers and my parents in May. I so do not want to be that person on the plane that everyone hates because my baby is screaming. I know I shouldn't care, but it's hard not too.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Daycare Conundrum

Things are rolling along for a job for me and I will be starting June 1st (more on this soon, I promise!). The person I will be working for is incredibly flexible, and is okay with me working completely from home the first couple of months. However, since things will become very busy come the start of the new school year in September, I will need to be at the office more days than not.

So, we have started to look into daycare options. We are on the wait-list for two, and we've had a tour of one of them (we hope to get a tour of the other soon). They both seem really great, so no issues there.

The conundrum we're having is whether to enroll Evan part-time or full-time. There are cons to both:

Part-time
- It is more difficult to get into a daycare on a part-time basis (they give preference to full-time children)
- I'll have to choose the days Evan would attend ahead of time. So, if for some reason I need to be at the office on a day he's not in daycare, we would have to scramble around to figure something out.
- Evan would not get the continuity of care that the full-time children get.

Full-time
- We likely wouldn't need full-time care for the most part. My plan right now is to work 3 days a week at the office, and 2 days at home.
- This would be more expensive, of course.
- Both of us would be away from Evan longer.

Right now, I just feel so guilty about sending him to daycare in general! So, thinking of sending him full-time, when he might not need it, is making me feel even worse.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

"Breaks"

A friend of mine, who also is a new mom, was telling me the other day how she "escapes" to the grocery store. We talked about sad it is that a) that's considered an escape or break, and b) she feels guilty about it.

Ever since Evan was born, both DH and I try to get out on the weekends on our own. This is basically meant to be a break - to get out of the house, and away from the parenting thing for a while. But, is going grocery shopping or running to Home Depot to pick up a filter for the furnace really a break? I don't think so.

I also have a hard time taking breaks when I'm at home. When DH gets home from work, he is awesome. He takes Evan right away and pretty much takes care of him until bed time. Even then, I feel like I don't get a break. How does that work?

Now, at this point I'm pretty much over feeling guilty for going out for an hour or two (so hopefully my friend will feel this way soon!), but it would be nice to have a real break. One idea for at-home breaks is to just go upstairs for an hour and do whatever (read, knit, nap). The only problem here is I like to spend time with DH in the evenings, and this would take away from it. I certainly need to get an out-of-the-house break. Maybe a pedicure is in order?

Friday, January 21, 2011

Hunger Games: Book Review

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins takes place sometime in the future in Panem, a nation located in what used to be North America. The Capitol keeps the surrounding 12 Districts in line by holding an annual Hunger Games, in which two teenagers from each district get pitted against each other in a fight to the death. The story is told by the main character, 16-year-old Katniss, who volunteers to take the place of her 12-year-old sister in the games.

It is gruesome and violent, but incredibly intriguing. The book starts out a bit slow, but once the games begin it picks up the pace and it was difficult to put down. It reminded me of Ender's Game, which I read last year. However, I found the characters in The Hunger Games to be more interesting, and the story was more fluid.

I believe this book is written for a teenage audience, but it was still interesting enough for a more mature reader. I give The Hunger Games 3.5/5, mostly because of the slow start. However, I am intrigued by the story enough to want to read the other two books in the series.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

3 Months

Evan is three months old today! I know my last few posts have been on the negative side, so here's where I celebrate the good!

- He's "talking" to us now! When we ask him a question, he'll respond. Sometimes he'll tell us stories too.

- He can smile "on cue" now instead of them being random. I can ask him for smiles and he gives them to me.


- He's not giggling quiet yet, but he's starting to make sounds when he smiles. I can't wait until he laughs!

- He can hold his head up pretty good now, although it's still wobbly when it's up for a while. He still hates tummy time, so it's been hard to get him to work on his neck strength.

- He found himself in the mirror! He just loves to look, coo, and smile at himself.

- He finally sees the mobile in his crib, and loves watching it go round and round. It calms him right down too, which helps when he goes all insane on me!

- He's found the TV too - does that make us bad parents? ;)


- He is absolutely enthralled with his Daddy when he gets home from work. He just stares and smiles at him. So cute!

- We have been on a few play-dates, and although he doesn't interact (or even notice!) the other babies, it's good for him to get out of the house. It's also good for us mommies :)

Happy 3 months, my little man!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Trials

There are a few things going on with this whole parenting thing recently that are causing me a bit of frustration. Hence my post a couple days ago about not loving everything about it. Here are the issues:

Pumping
There are benefits to pumping that suit us: he gets the awesomeness of breast milk but we know how much he's getting, DH (or someone else) can feed him, and I produce more than he eats so I can build up a supply in the freezer. However, it is a time suck. Basically I'm spending 2 hours a day doing it. So, this weekend I decided to drop from five pumps a day to four, and my plan is to be done with pumping by the time Evan is six months (or earlier if it gets way too annoying). This might mean my supply doesn't meet his demand and that I will have to supplement with formula --- and I've decided at this point saving my sanity is worth it.

Daytime Naps
Evan's napping "schedule" is completely unpredictable. Sometimes he takes a bunch of short naps (20-30 minutes) throughout the day. Other times he has a couple long naps, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. I much prefer the latter, as it gives me more of a break. Plus, he seems to be more cranky when he has shorter naps. He pretty much has to fall asleep in my arms during the day. So, once he falls asleep, I try to put him down. On bad days he wakes up and fusses every time, on good days he'll stay asleep. I really would like to get him napping in his crib, but because of his erratic napping and waking up and fussing when I put him down, I haven't tried this yet since I'd have to walk upstairs. Thankfully he's a champion sleeper at night. Usually he goes to bed at about 9:30-10pm, falls asleep all on his own, wakes up at 4pm for a feed, goes back to sleep on his own easily, then up at about 8am for the day.

Transition from Bassinet
The last issue, which isn't really an issue yet but is on my mind, is how and when we're going to transition him from sleeping in a bassinet in our room to the crib in his room. We're both fine with having him in our room, but he might outgrow his bassinet soon. So, that might force us to put him in his crib soon or buy something else to go in our room. I'm not sure if I'm ready to move him into his room yet, especially since he has never slept in his crib (another reason why I'd like to get him to nap there during the day).

I have a plan for the first issue, but not really for the other two. Any advice or suggestions would be appreciated!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

WTF, World?

As if I'm not having a tough enough time already --- I now have a frickin' blood blister on my nipple! FML.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

This is it

This post is hard for me to write. It's always hard to admit things aren't perfect, especially as a mom. But, I figure if I'm going to blog about motherhood, I want it to be real. So, here it is.

I find myself thinking "Is this it? Is this my life now?" fairly often.

Don't get me wrong - I love Evan more than I ever thought I would. But, day after day of feeding, diapers, crying, pumping, rocking, holding, bathing, and getting kicked in the nipple over and over again (seriously! Do his feet have a homing beacon to my nipples??), it can get tiring and overwhelming.

As much as I thought I was prepared for how much our lives would change, I never truly got that you just never get a break. Ever. It's continuous and it goes on forever. FOREVER.

It's not like I want to go back to life before him. I don't. He makes me happier than I ever have been --- most of the time. And even when I'm frustrated, annoyed, or overwhelmed, his smile reminds me of why I'm doing this.

But, wouldn't it be nice if I could knit more than a few stitches, read more than a couple pages, write more than a couple sentences of a blog post, watch more than a few minutes of a favorite TV show, or go to the bathroom without being interrupted by a scream or cry? Even when DH comes home and takes over with Evan, I don't get a break because dinner needs to be made or something else needs to be done.

Then there is the pumping. Good Lord, the pumping. Okay, so I know I'm doing the best I can for Evan by providing him milk this way (we gave up on breast feeding about a month ago - best parenting decision I've made so far), but it sucks up a lot of time (25-30 minutes 5 times a day). During the day when I'm alone with Evan it can be hard to take a half-hour to pump. I try to keep him entertained (or at least quiet with --- yes, sue me --- a pacifier), but that just doesn't work all the time.

I know I should relish every moment with him when he's this young. Every parent I know has told me to enjoy this stage because it goes by so quickly. But, you know what? I don't enjoy every second of it, and as hard as it is to say, I think that's okay. Not just okay - it's reality.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Penrose

One of my goals for this year is to knit an afghan (among other things). I wasn't exactly sure where to look for a pattern, so I asked Wool Free & Lovin' Knit for some help. She suggested Woolly Thoughts, and I immediately fell in love. I mean, knitters who base their patterns on mathematics, and the knitting is straightforward but the end products look amazing? How could I go wrong?

So, after looking at the various patterns for a few hours, narrowing it down to four choices, I finally decided on Penrose. I really like how the finished product has a mathematical quality, but still has a traditional afghan feel to it.

I am starting today. I wonder how long it will take me?

Fig. 1: First quarter of first square done!

Friday, January 7, 2011

First Week

Well, today is the last day of my first week at home with Evan alone. It went really well, and I'm actually enjoying it much more than I thought I would!

I was really stressed about it in the days leading up to Monday. I wasn't sure that there would be enough time in the day to feed/change/hold/play with Evan AND be able to eat/pump/do other stuff for myself. But, it turns out, even though the days fly by, there is a lot of time in the day to get things done! I think one thing that has helped is I started to shower in the evening while DH is home. This gives him some time alone with Evan, I don't have to rush through it, and it's one less thing I have to do during the day.

Evan and I also had two play dates this week! On Tuesday, a friend and her son came over to our house, and yesterday I took Evan to another friend's house to visit her and her boy. In both cases the babies didn't really notice each other, but it was good for us mommies :) Eventually they'll start to interact though, and it will be fun to watch I'm sure!

Evan has clearly grown out of all his 1-3 month clothes now, especially his full-body sleepers. They actually fit fairly well on the body, but they are SO short on his legs and arms. We've actually gone a bit ghetto and cut the feet off of some of them so we don't have to buy new ones yet! I think I'll have to bite the bullet this weekend though and get him some new sleepers --- maybe some without feet so they last longer!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Still Alice: Book Review

My first book of 2011 was Still Alice by Lisa Genova. It is about a 50-year-old female academic (Alice) who gets diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's.

In a nutshell: It was really, really sad, but really, really beautiful.

It was difficult to read because it is narrated by Alice. So, as the book progresses, you really experience her declining mental capacity full force. Some scenes were very hard to get through because of her embarrassment - or worse - how unaware she was in certain situations. I think it hit close to home for me because she is an academic who is married to another academic. She values her brain and knowledge above anything else, so to lose that is extremely heartbreaking.

I know it was good because I keep thinking about it days after finishing, and in fact wish it was longer so I could still be reading it! Although an agonizing read, I absolutely loved it and recommend it to anyone. So, I'm going to give it a 5 out of 5! Hopefully this is the start of a whole year of great books!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Family

I dropped my parents off at the airport early on New Year's Day. I think this was the first time since I moved to Winnipeg that I cried when we said goodbye. I guess having Evan has really made me realize how important family is.

It makes me sad that we live so far away from everyone: my parents are in Calgary, my brother is in Europe, and DH's family are out West too. We'll be lucky if Evan can see his family once a year.

That's the way I grew up as well. We would visit our grandmothers, who both lived in Saskatchewan, about once a year. I remember having a blast, but never felt really close to either of them. It breaks my heart that it could be the same for Evan. Luckily, my Mom's sister and her family also lived in Calgary, so we were always much closer. Maybe things like video chatting will help, but it's not the same.

I guess it's the way life goes though: children grow up and leave the nest. These days, a lot more of us are moving out of our home towns, even across the country, or across the globe. It broadens our horizons, opens more doors, and can be an adventure, but it also takes us away from our homes and families. It saddens me that, one day, Evan will do the same.

I think I'm feeling extra emotional about this because today is my first full day at home alone with Evan. How is it that a 10+ pound little baby can be so intimidating?! It would be nice if we had more people around to lean on. We don't have a huge support system here - no family at all.

If you live far from your family, how do you foster a close relationship for yourself and/or for your children?

Saturday, January 1, 2011

2011 Resolutions

I love the beginning of a new year. Somehow, even though it's just a new day, that turning of the calendar gives us all a clean slate - like anything is possible!

So, that means it's time for a new set of resolutions. Making 10 resolutions for the past couple of years has really worked for me, so I'll be continuing with that tradition. This year, I'll need to take Evan into consideration when deciding what is realistic!

Reading
I reached my 2010 goal of 20 books (I read 21), but this year I'm going to scale it back to 12-15. One a month should be doable. I'll also do a book review on my blog of each book I read. Take a look at my Books page to keep track of what I'm reading.

Knitting
This year I want to try my hand at making a sweater, an afghan, and these slippers.

Activity
Yes, yet another exercise resolution! This year I just want to find ways to get off my butt, especially while at home with Evan. This includes going for walks, signing up for swimming lessons with my boy, and breaking out the Wii.

Social Mom
I need social interaction while at home with Evan! I'm hoping to find a mom's group to join, or at least get together with other moms who also have young babies.

Ask for what I want
I'm really horrible at this, both at work and at home (just ask DH). I need to stop assuming people can/should read my mind!

Pumping
I hope to keep giving Evan expressed breast milk until at least the 6 month mark. I'm not sure if I'll be able to do it exclusively, but so far so good!

Internet/TV addiction
I desperately need to stop watching TV or surfing the net just because it's there. My goal here is to only watch TV shows I want to watch, and only go on the internet when I have something specific to do.

Experiment with cooking/baking
I have a ton of cookbooks with amazing recipes that I have never tried. To be realistic, I would like to try a new recipe at least once a month.

Get some style
I confess: I've basically been living in pajama/yoga pants, T-shirts, and a ponytail since Evan was born. I want to reclaim my sense of style - at least before I start working again!

Great-grandmother visit
I want to take Evan to visit his great grandmothers in Saskatchewan before I go back to work.

So, there we are! As with last year, you can follow my progress on the resolutions page. Wish me luck, and good luck with any resolutions/goals you make yourself this year!

Happy 2011!!!