Friday, January 27, 2012

Bedtime lasts forever

I know I recently posted about my lack of sleep but that mostly has to do with my almost 8 month old daughter.

This is different.  This is bedtime.  Since the baby arrived 95% of the bedtime routine with Miriam has been done by my hubby. Every night she comes and asks me to put her to bed.  I usually say no because I am nursing, or trying to settle a baby or I am just relaxing for the first time that day.

Unlike Miriam, Lucy is fine to sit and hang out with daddy!  Today Seth and I went shopping for his friend's birthday present. I called home and asked, "Do you need to me rush home or can I get gas before I come home?"
the response I would have received when Miriam was young is this, "Get home.  She is freaking out.  I can't get her to calm down.  I will get the gas."
Today the response was, "Go ahead.  We need gas, so you might as well get it now!"
I have come to the conclusion that either Eric is getting better with babies (which he will deny, saying babies do not like him) or Lucy is relaxed enough with him that she doesn't feel the need to be upset.

Either way, this is good.  This is great. No, no, this is AMAZING, FANTASTIC, WONDERFUL.  After having a daughter who could not and would not leave my side, having a little free spirit is such a relief!

Back to my point, I am now able to hand the baby to the hubby and get a little bedtime time with Miriam.
Miriam is organized.  Miriam likes things her way.  Miriam takes a long time to be ready for bed.

First she needs to pee. Second brush her teeth.  (This is normal... I know, just wait.)  She needs to pick her CD for the night.  She needs to pick 2 books for bedtime stories.  She needs her snowman blanket, her sheet, her green blanket and her comforter.  Then she needs Rapunzel, Cinderella and pink puppy. Somedays the toys change, somedays she adds A LOT more to that list, but those are the staple toys. Sometimes she needs to wear her clip-on earrings.  Sometimes she needs to wear a headband.  She ALWAYS needs to wear socks. She needs the music on, the red light on and the hallway light off.  Now you can settle in for the stories.

Although bedtime takes a plethora or patience, I truly enjoy this time because this is when she is the most candid, honest and affectionate.  When I finish reading stories she asks, begs and pleas for me to stay in her bed, but I can't because I am fully aware of how the lack of sleep causes instantaneous sleep when my head hits a pillow, and I don't want to wake up in her bed at midnight.

When she asks for me to stay it reminds me of my childhood.  I used to do the same thing.  I would ask my mom to stay in bed after reading, and she often stayed and always fell asleep.  So now when Miriam asks me, I laugh and say, "I used to ask my mom to do the same thing!"  and that smart little girl says "My grandma used to fall asleep in your bed!"

But my favourite part of bedtime, by far, is praying for/with my kids.  I think it makes them feel special that I would take the time to pray for them, and I love to hear what they feel God needs to hear.  Miriam always thanks God for all of her friends, sometimes we list them, other times we just say 'friends'.

This week one of our cats was laid to rest in the backyard and she told us that "Azara is with Jesus."

Although she sometimes likes to tell me that God doesn't love her and she doesn't love God, I think she is really starting to grasp the fact that God will always be there for us.

Bedtime with Seth is incredibly different.  He has a lot of responsibilities.  He does his own thing, feeds his gecko and his fish and read to himself until I tell him it is time to turn the lights out.  Then I go in and pray with him.  I am really starting to LOVE the thought of having a 10 year-old.  I love hearing his daily 'news' and his stories about friends and teachers, but his heart-felt prayers are touching and occasionally eye opening.

So if you have kids and you don't pray with them, I think it is time to add that to the bedtime routine.   I personally like to say a verse, and give them a blessing, but the prayer you say with your own words will give them confidence and teach them the power of prayer.

This blog isn't to tell people what to do.  I am not giving you any Unsolicited Advice.  If you don't want it, don't take it, but since you are reading, I figure you like to know what is going on in my life.

If you are not a christian, I suggest some other form of blessing, perhaps telling them some nice things about themselves, or something my mom enjoys doing with her grandkids, start listing all of the people who love your child.

Either way, I know how difficult bedtime can be sometimes.  I know we just want to plop our kids in bed so we can have some down time, but I urge you to take the time, it's not very long.  The TV show you are missing isn't that important, your kids will remember bedtime forever.

It's been a long time since my mom stopped tucking me in and reading me bible stories but I will never forget those nights.  I enjoyed it so much that I would request that my mom wake me up if she was out for the night just so I could get a little alone time, just me and my mom.  (Hey mom!)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Unsolicited Advice

Have you ever felt like walking around with a GIANT florescent sign that reads "No Soliciting"??  Forget the front door, I mean wearing it, all the time... everyday.

When I first moved from Belleville to Aurora I felt like I moved from the ghetto into a posh urban utopia.  People smile here! People say hello when you pass them on the street.  Neighbours in cars wave when you are taking a stroll.  This is a family friendly town!  Even the teenagers smile, wave and talk to my kids!  Polite teenagers!?!  Where am I??  Someone pinch me!! In fact, I even overheard one teenager say to an other "Watch your language, there are kids that can hear you!"

Now I have an infant.... teenagers still react the same way, with smiles and silly voices, ooo's and ahhh's. Those friendly adults have become nosey and opinionated adults.

I have been scolded when walking out of the doctor's office for allowing Lucy to be immunized (I should keep it herbal and natural). I have been YELLED at for carrying her in the mall.  I was confronted at the library for being too young to have a baby (this lady didn't even see my other 2 children).  I have been told I need to take Lucy to the doctor for several ailments I never knew she had. I have been given attitude for having my infant on antibiotics.  I have been interrupted by a stranger while I was speaking with a friend to tell me that the chiropractor could paralyze or kill my baby.

I have also been schooled on everything from feeding, sleeping and managing a house.

This is why I need a florescent sign.

I hoped that somehow when I had Seth the placenta would come with a list of explicit instructions for any and all circumstances where I might need help.   And that the amniotic sack was filled with some extra batteries for all the toys he would one day want, but that didn't happen.

So, I have learned a new skill.... my mom might argue that this is NOT a new skill, rather an old skill that I am re-using.  I have perfected the art of nodding, smiling and pretending I am interested without actually retaining one piece of information that is being shared. Granted, my ears do perk up if it seems like valuable information.  Anytime anyone mentions sleep, I am all ears!

Yes, I do believe I have given unsolicited advice on more than one occasion so I am once again being hypocritical.  After giving said advice, I usually dwell on it for days feeling like I overstepped some invisible line, but I don't give it often.  I did not receive any instructions with my children, I have no idea whether what I do will scar them, liberate them or make them stronger.  All of these things have yet to be seen, and differ greatly between the personalities of my children.

Ever hear the saying "Too many hands in the pot spoils the whole batch."  That is what I think of when I get these tid bits of advice here and there.  I know these people have good intentions.  Maybe they feel the appropriate saying goes something about having a village to raise a child.

or maybe they got instructions on their placenta and I should really listen to them.....

Monday, January 16, 2012

MY life, in perspective...

It is funny how stressed we become in our everyday life.  Some days, if you heard me complaining it would sound something like this, "I dealt with so many temper tantrums today!" and "I am too tired to be awake right now!  Why am I still awake?" AND "All I heard, all day long, was WHINE WHINE WHINE!"  (Which is what Eric could say about his evening... this time coming from a 26 year-old wife instead of the almost 3 year-old daughter)

All of these little insignificant moments add up, and I am left thinking "Is this my life?"  Allow me to reiterate the most important part of the sentence is that these things are INSIGIFICANT! 

Sometimes I sit down on the couch and I completely zone out.  When I was a teenager I had a friend ask me if I could shut off my brain - my answer at the time was "How could I do that?"  My answer now is "Heck yes!"  Miriam crying  - I can't hear it. Seth waving frantically, I can't see it. Those noisy toys that annoy most parents - not me!  Jumping, screaming and lots of rambunctious behaviour, and I don't even take note.  I may look like I am awake - but my brain is not registering any thoughts.  When I catch myself I just give my head a shake, stand-up and get back into the routine of chasing children, making food, singing songs and cutting things out for crafts.

I feel stuck here.  I am 26, but somedays I feel like I am 75.  I give little to no thought about what I will do when my children are off to school. I that is an eternity away.  Eternity...4 years... same difference.

I have to remind myself that this is not the end for me.  Although I feel like this is what I will be doing for the next 18 years, that is not exactly true.  Currently when Miriam gets into trouble, she wants a BIG hug, that is not going to last forever. I'm sure that it won't be too far from now that she is slamming her bedroom door in my face.

They won't need me to wipe their bum anymore, but I will always be there to wipe their tears.

I won't be picking up all the pieces of the puzzle that was dumped on the floor, but I will always be there is pick up the pieces of a broken dream or broken heart.

They will stop asking me to pick them up and carry them, but I will always be there to pick them up when they need me.

I won't need to tell them over and over again to stop spinning until they are dizzy and running into things, but I will always try to set them straight.

Sure, this is my life now, and taking it a day at a time might help, but all these days turn into weeks and months and I wonder where my life is headed.  As long as I have my family with me, I will go where ever.

My moment of perspective this week happened when I heard the news about pro skier, Sarah Burke.  During training she landed a trick, fell back onto her head and is now in a coma.  She is a vivacious young lady in the prime of her life, and suddenly her family is rushing to her side, hoping for the best.  Sarah Burke went to Midland Secondary School, the same high school I attended.  She is the same age as one of my brothers.  I met and spoke to her many times in the year that we shared the same school.  Although I cannot say I am or was ever her friend, she is the type of person that makes you feel welcome with just a smile.

I looked down at my baby girl and thought, she could be the next Sarah Burke.  A woman respected and revered among her peers.  I hope there will never be a day where I have to rush to the hospital to be by my child's side when they are in critical condition.

This is my life now, I don't sleep much. I never pee alone.  I don't often get a warm meal but I am one of the lucky ones who can say my family is cared for, healthy and happy.  
What is better than that?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The ongoing battle with...


Yup, zits, pimples, acne, whatever you want to call it, I still get them and so do a A LOT of other mommies.

They make me feel like I am 17, and not in a good way! They make me feel self conscious and just plain gross.

I've been thinking about this more and more since Seth has started getting them.  My poor 9 year-old boy with lots of little pimples all over his forehead!  I am always tempted to go on a popping spree (hahah) and get rid of all those little white heads for him, but he won't let me near his forehead.

But what causes this anyways?  For Seth, I think it is the fact that his oily hair is constantly resting on his forehead, because long hair doesn't look good if it doesn't cover part of your face!?!?!  For me, I guess it is hormones, what I eat, stress and perhaps a plethora of other things. My body doesn't seem to know if I am 26 or 17, but either way, they pop up here, they pop up there, everywhere they pop up and I just want to scream!

Let me keep this short and sweet because the topic is less than desirable.

If my body doesn't know whether I am 17 or 26, maybe other people aren't sure either!  And in 15 years time, when I am (gasp) 41, and people think I am 30, things will be great!

Last night when I was shopping with Seth he turned to me and said "Mom, you know that most mothers would only come in this store to buy stuff for their kids right?"

My response was, "Why can't I wear this stuff? I'm still cool enough to wear it!"

"I know" he says, "But you wonder why my friends think you are 16!"

Yes, if pimples and clothing can keep me young (even though I often feel like an old bag)  then BRING IT ON!

At work one evening a lady who has the most exceptional skin told me that she always had oily skin, and lots of pimples, and it's those ladies who had perfect skin that end up all wrinkly. Perfect.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Precious, precious sleep...

The topic of the year/month/week/day when you have little kids around is...


None of us have enough of it, and even if we did get it one night, we have about 1 zillion nights to catch up on.  I seriously think I could sleep for a week.  A week straight.  I wouldn't even wake up to pee.

I know you feel me.  I see everyone's Facebook status'  and I know we all need a few extra zzz's.

If you think I am giving you any tips for getting your child to sleep through the night - you are sorely mistaken!

Seth didn't sleep through the night until he was about 6 years-old.

Miriam has just recently started sleeping through the night.

Obviously a little 7 month old is not expected to sleep through the night, but I am always hopeful.

It seems to me that every time Lucy makes it through the night, an other one wakes up for some reason or an other.

I had a couple really good nights with Lucy when she was little (like newborn little) but Seth was up every time that Lucy slept through the night!  And if it is not Lucy or Seth then Miriam sneaks into my bed, tosses and turns all night, and I get zero sleep - as usual.

I have heard that a lack of sleep can actually lead to insanity.  I have no idea where I heard this, it was probably on one of those TV crime shows but someone, somewhere, somehow claimed that they were temporarily insane after several weeks of very little sleep.  There are days that I am glad there is no vehicle left behind for me to get out because I may fall asleep at the drop of a hat.

When I boil the kettle 10 times before I make a tea - insanity.

When I put the milk in the cupboard and the cereal in the fridge - insanity.

When I start talking in a funny, cutesy baby voice and there is no one around (thank God), insanity.

When I get down the the basement and then stand there wondering 'What on earth did I come down here for?', insanity.

When I make it back upstairs and realize I only needed to pee and didn't need to be in the basement at all, insanity.

Get the picture?  You can play along... list the crazy things you do.  Blame them all on temporary insanity.

I don't know what it is about sleep, but we fight it and fight it when we are young.  As teenagers we want to stay up all night and sleep all morning.  As adults (without children) we get regular hours of sleep and think nothing of it.  As adults (with children) we are ready for bed at a time that is normally reserved only for toddlers and the elderly, and still hope to sleep all morning!

A good nights rest makes the next day so much better!  Food tastes better when you are well rested.  You don't crave as many sweets when you are well rested.  A clean house appears to be somewhat attainable when you are well rested, but best of all,  children are like little angels dropped from heaven directly onto your lap - when you are well rested.

There is nothing better than 8 straight hours of sleep... well, except maybe 10 straight hours of sleep.

Yet, when I am awoken by a sweet little voice saying "Aahh, da da da da" I can't help but think I am the luckiest girl in the world.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Hypocritical New Year

I'm all set up here in my own little world.
2012 is upon us.  Maybe the apocalypse is coming, if we judge this by the Mayan calendar.
If we listen to what my Oma used to say, the apocalypse is always very close at hand.  Only God knows.

Happy New Year!

'So what is your new year resolution?'


I have ALWAYS hated making resolutions.  Well - kind of.   I like making resolutions on my own terms, not when the rest of the world is making them and telling me that January 1st is a chance to change things up, improve and become the person you have always wanted to be.

My previous statement should read :

I have ALWAYS hated making New Year resolutions.

I am frequently sarcastic, and sometimes cynical and judgemental (this is one of those times) and occasionally I am a hypocrite (this is also one of those times).

Why is it that we always make these extreme promises to ourselves for the new year?  By the end of 2012 we will be remembering... or perhaps we will have completely forgotten, what our resolution was.  We will be left feeling guilty and ashamed.

GUILT!  Why does it always consume us?  WE HAVE BEEN FORGIVEN!!  We just celebrated Christmas, this miracle of life, the son of God given to us so that when we sin, WE ARE FORGIVEN!

And here is the clincher.. most of our New Year resolutions are NOT some sin we need to stop, it is things like "I am going to eat well"  or "I am going to exercise more" or "I am going to work less/more"  or "I am going to be a happier person!"

Sheesh...  I know, I am being a cynic, and now I am going to join ranks of the hypocritical.

My New Year resolution is to stop feeling guilty! 

I am going to eat vegetables, because it makes me feel good, but you better believe I am going to grab the last cookie out of the jar as well!

I am going to go for walks because I LOVE fresh air, but I am also going to be glued to the TV for new episodes of Glee and Grey's anatomy.

I am going to be kind, patient and nurturing with children, but I am human, I am going to become impatient and frustrated from time to time.

I am going to pull my bible out before bed and read, but I will also fall asleep with it on chest.

I am going to clean my house (but mostly just before people come over).

I want to live each day til I die!  GUILT FREE PLEASE!

(But just so you know, there are times when I am going to feel sooo sooo guilty, and I guess that is ok too!)

Oh, if you are reading this, and never feel guilty about things... you don't have kids yet.