From Bean to Sprout

a first time mom's forray into parenthood

Goodbye Old Friend August 25, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — frombeantosprout @ 8:34 pm

CAVEAT: there is some swearing in this post but it’s semi-censored for the faint of heart.

The other day, Henry was playing with some toys when he dropped one on the ground and said “oh f*ck”. I turned in shock to him and said “what did you say?” (I know, I shouldn’t have reacted at all but I was shocked). He said “you mean f*ck?” I then had to have an explanation that “f*ck” is a grown up word and a bad word. That he should be using that word to express himself.

Later on I had to do some thinking of my own. I’m a huge fan of the word “f*ck”.  There’s something primitively satisfying about saying it.  It works with almost all emotions and conveys so many sentiments. Ask the people who sit in a 10 foot radius around my office. I say it a lot. If I’m frustrated about an email, I often say out loud “ you have to be f*cking kidding me??”. If I’m angry or annoyed I’ll yell out “Oh for F*ck’s Sake!!!” Since having kids, I’ve made a huge effort to curb my swearing at home. I’ve removed it from my day to day vocabulary in front of my kids. I knew that was the right thing to do however occasionally, one slips out. Like if I injure myself, I swear. Depending on how painful it is, it might be a string of swear words. The other day my arm snagged on a protruding screw in a cabinet and tore some flesh off. Out it came. It’s like I lose all control over what comes out of my mouth when my brain is focused on pain. I’ve tried replacing the word with something similar, but “Ducking hell” just doesn’t sound right. So what can I do? How do I train my brain to not swear when I’m hurt? Or frustrated beyond belief?

How do I explain to my kid that when I say it when I hurt myself, it’s ok? Or maybe not ok, but understandable? How do I tell him he shouldn’t use those words when I love using them? Don’t start dialing the number for children’s aid yet, I’m not going to all of a sudden let my 3 year old swear his little mouth off because I like swearing myself. It’s just something I never thought I’d have to stop and think about. What do you do to stop yourself from swearing? I refuse to use the words “fiddlesticks” after gouging my arm open or stubbing my toe against concrete but do I have a choice?

Maybe it’s time I say goodbye to my swearing crutch. Or at least, retire him completely from my home environment. I should at least try. I pity my coworkers.

Merde…

Putting away bad words for these bad boys...

Putting away bad words for these bad boys…

photo 2 (31)

 

So You’re Having A Baby, What Should You Get? August 11, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — frombeantosprout @ 8:11 pm

A friend of mine is having a baby soon and she asked me “what do I need to get?”. I can completely understand this question. If you show up at Babies R’ Us, they give you this huge sheet full of crap saying “your baby needs all this”. The logical part of your brain thinks “no way my baby needs his bum wipes slightly heated” and then the new mom part of you thinks “wait, if my baby bum wipes are room temperature, is that child abuse?” and then if you’re anything like me, there’s that irrational splurge shopper in you going “They gave me a  scanning gun that I can tag every single item in this frigging store! OMG THAT’S SO CUTE!!! I NEED 6 OF THOSE!!”.

Now with two babies under my belt, I feel like I can look at the whole baby registry thing with an educated slightly more detached approach. This isn’t an exhaustive list. It’s more a list of stuff I wish I had known and how it would have reflected in my registry had I known. So some of these things will be “you should really get one of these” and others will be “don’t bother” items. I’d also like to point out that you don’t have to go to Babies R’ Us for baby registries. They’ve somehow developed a monopoly on the industry but a lot of the time they don’t have the “good stuff”. Try out Belly Laughs, Extraordinary Baby Shoppe, Fab Baby Gear or any other independent shop where the people there are pros on the items.

1. MUST ITEM: A good stroller…. Or two.

This is a tough one. A good stroller is expensive. Like around $400 expensive. A lot of people hesitate putting this on their registry and end up putting something cheap in there instead. Trust me, get the good one. Research what kind of stroller you want. Don’t just go based on what’s cute. Check out consumer search or rate a stroller websites. There are tons. Figure out what you want from your stroller and ask for it. Or if you feel like it’s too much to ask, get it yourself. Your future self will thank you. We got a mid-range stroller with Henry and I wish we had done a bit more research. It served its purpose but it rusted out pretty quickly and did not make it to baby #2. We ended up buying a bob and a bob dualie (a side by side) from our neighbor and they are amazing. They serve us well for walking off trails and winter walks. You can often find some on Kijiji as well if the cost of a new one is too daunting.

And then get another one…. Ok maybe not exactly the same, but we co-bought a travel stroller with Chris’ sister. It’s an uppababy umbrella stroller and it’s amazing. They brought it to France and we brought it to Mexico and plan on bringing it to England in September. It works so well. You’re not crouched over like you are with the usual cheap umbrella stroller and it has a reclining seat so your kid can sleep comfortably in it. It’s got a huge shade on it as well to protect from the sun. I often bring it to malls and Gill and George have brought it to museums since it’s so compact.

I’m not saying you have to get these two strollers, I’m just saying, don’t impulse shop with it comes to strollers. This should be an educated decision. Many strollers come with car seat adapters as well, so you’re not bound by the graco stroller if you have a graco car seat for example.

 

2. MUST ITEM: A supportive baby carrier

Again, I’m going to suggest getting two of these. One for when your child is newborn age. I’d go for a wrap carrier at this age. Babies love being snuggled up against you and a wrap carrier keeps them all bundled up and warm . They’re very comfortable even though they are a bit of a pain in the ass to put on. I used this type of wrap carrier on Freddy more than Henry. Again because I knew better the second time around. I ended up using the wrap for the first 3-4 months of his life. Then I switched him over to a soft front facing carrier. We had the Ergo baby. I absolutely love the Ergo Baby. Chris loves it too.  If you go to a store like Belly Laughs, they’ll fit you for a carrier that works for you. I know there are a ton out there, just please make sure it’s a forward facing one (as in the baby is facing you, you’re stomach to stomach). The ones where the baby is facing out puts a lot of strain on their developing hip bones and can cause issues later on.

 

3. DON’T BOTHER BUYING NEW, BUT GOOD TO HAVE: a bassinet

Please don’t waste your money buying this new. Chances are you have a friend who was sucker enough to buy one (or a sister, hi Steph!!! :-) ) and you can borrow it from her. Honestly these things cost over $100 and your baby sleeps in it for maybe 2-3 months depending on how fast they grow. Kids are going to cost you enough, don’t bother wasting tons of money on stuff they’ll get a month or two out of. I’d even suggest skipping the bassinet and going straight to a play pen that has the upper level for newborns. They’ll stay in there much longer than they would the bassinet.

4. MUST ITEM: A Costco Membership

Diapers and wipes are freaking expensive. Costco’s Kirkland brand go on sale regularly. The membership pays for itself in the savings you’ll get from just diapers alone.  We did cloth for the boys 1st year and had paid up front for a diaper service but once they started daycare and had to go to disposables route so we’re grateful for the low prices at Costco! Oh and don’t get me started on the freaking adorable Peckle PJs. I honestly started collecting them at one point.

5. DON’T BOTHER BUYING NEW, BUT GOOD TO HAVE: A bouncy/vibrating chair and a rocking swing

Again, not something you need to buy new. If a friend has one to lend (hit up those friends who are between kids. They’ll still have stuff lying around for when they plan on having another). Both of these items are good for the first 3-4 months of their lives. I don’t know what I would have done without our vibrating chair and swing that our friends gave us. Especially the chair. What a life saver. That thing traveled everywhere with me and I’d just put Henry or Freddy in it and bounce it with my foot. Guaranteed to make them fall asleep. I ended up passing both along to another new mom once we were done.  Hopefully one day, she can pass it on as well.

6. MUST ITEM: a good sleep sack

I cannot state how awesome sleep sacks are. Babies are squirmy little things and it’s not recommended that you toss a blanket over them when they sleep. We buy our sleep sacks from Wee Urban. It’s a Canadian company that makes them out of organic bamboo. They’re super breathable yet still warm. They also have a side zipper so if you have to change your baby in the middle of the night, you can just zip open the side without having to pull legs out. It’s also great if you have stomach sleepers like my boys. Henry used a sleepsack until he around 2.5 years old. I honestly sometimes wish they made bigger ones since he’s such a fidgety sleeper that he’s often without blankets most of the night.

7. MUST ITEM IF NURSING: reusable nursing pads

Do your boobs a favor, get reusable nursing pads instead of those weird disposable paper ones. You’ll thank me later. Plus, it’s environmental!

8. MUST ITEM: Audio baby monitor

I know this isn’t really a must have. Like if you live in a two bedroom apartment, trust me, you’ll hear your baby freak out no matter where you are. I have found ours useful for having it in the basement just in case we don’t hear the baby. We’ve also brought it with us while traveling if we’re staying in a cottage or large house. I wouldn’t bother with a video monitor though. I don’t see them being all that useful. In fact, I kind of find them creepy, but that’s just me.

9. MUST ITEM: a mesh bath sling

Bathing Henry as a newborn was a headache. We had this baby bath that we had borrowed and he would freak out the entire time. Then a friend suggested we just take a bath with him. By week 2, we were in the bathtub with him and had a folding mesh sling that we could lay him on. He relaxed instantly. We skipped the baby bath entirely with Freddy and went right to the big

10.  MUST ITEM: A snot sucker

I’m not talking about those cheap push bulbs where you struggle to keep your fingers clamped on the bulb while fighting your fussy baby and then when you finally get it in there, realize you had let go of the bulb and it’s basically useless. I’m talking about the one with the filter and the tube that you put in your mouth and suck. Sounds gross but if you’ve had a baby struggling to breathe and he/she isn’t sleeping well at all, this is the thing you need. Trust me, you will not ingest snot. What you will get is a baby finally able to breathe. CAVEAT: your baby will probably freak out during the whole process but this is one of those “greater goods” moment.

11. MUST ITEM: a glider

These chairs are miracle workers. We still have ours. We splurged on this one and got the Cadillac model (also the only one that comfortably fit my very tall husband). The amount of time we spent rocking our children in that thing makes it totally worth the cost. I still walk by the chair and it invokes all these memories in me. I love that chair.

12. MUST ITEM: a good nursing pillow

I had a shitty nursing pillow my first time around. I bought it and hated it. I didn’t realize that there are different kinds of nursing pillows out there and I needed one to accommodate my larger chest. My sister has this great Jolly Jumper nursing pillow. It opens a little wider so it doesn’t feel like you have the jaws of life circling your ribcage as you try and feed your baby without suffocating them or yourself. I ended up getting one for myself with Freddy and what a difference. If you’re looking for a nursing pillow, go somewhere where they know all about nursing. Again I’d recommend Belly Laughs or even Milkface could point you in the right direction.

13. MUST ITEM: a large portable folding change pad

Most change pads that come with diaper bags are these cute little tiny things the size of a piece of legal paper. A friend got me this large folding one by Gund and it’s amazing. It still fits in a standard diaper bag yet it folds out to a huge size so you can put your baby on it and not worry about smearing poop everywhere when they wiggle around. THEY WILL WIGGLE AROUND.

14. DON’T BOTHER: an entire crib bedding set.

Guess what… you’ll never EVER use it. Sure that duvet is cute, but it can also suffocate your baby so your best bet is to get a few fitted sheets (you’ll need more than one for spit up, diaper leaks, general baby messiness) and a sleep sack or two. Pocket that extra cash for something usable… like a night out pre-baby or some cute Peckle PJs! (see number 4)

15. DON’T BOTHER: Wipes warmer

I’m all for protecting our children from the harsh realities of the world, but I draw the line at warming wipes to prevent their bums from feeling drafty. Life is rough kid, get used to it.

16. DON’T BOTHER: Johnson baby lotion

This stuff is terrible for baby’s skin.  It dries them out even more. Spend a few extra bucks for something with coconut oil in it. It took us a long time to get through all our Johnson baby products that we got and we haven’t bought any since to replenish. I’m a much bigger fan of Live Clean stuff for their skin.

17. DON’T BOTHER: A bajillion different bottles

Babies R’Us’ registry list has like 6 different drinking bottles you should register for. Not knowing anything about feeding babies, we registered for almost all of them, and got them….and then watched them collect dust for a few years before giving them away. If you plan on breastfeeding, you don’t need a ton of bottles. Get one or two   (and again RESEARCH RESEARCH RESEARCH) and then wait and see. If you need more or switch to formula or pump regularly, then yeah, go nuts and buy a few more. Just don’t feel the need to follow their list.

18. DON’T BOTHER: a bunch of outfits for sizes 0-3 months

You’ll get maybe one or two uses out of one of those outfits but you’ll quickly realize it’s much MUCH more convenient to have them in sleepers. Ask for older clothing. Like 6-12 months and above. Same goes for shoes. Those little newborn shoes are cute, but they constantly fall off and you end up with them all over the house. Again, no issues if you have sleepers with feet on them. So much easier.

 

19. OTHER DON’T BOTHER ITEMS:

-          A bunch of receiving blankets. Sure they’re good for burp clothes but if you’re trying to swaddle a baby in them, you’ll quickly realize they’re just a tad too small and you can’t get that perfect swaddle/burrito. Get blankets that are a little bigger. I’m a huge fan of muslin blankets. They’re big and breathable.

-          Fancy fragile dishware. Another great dust collector. Ikea has these awesome bowls, plates, cups. Every parent I know has them and loves them. They’re sturdy and dishwasher safe and cheap! So much more bang for your buck.

-          Bumbo chairs: You kid just looks awkward and uncomfortable in this. I know they’re sold as something that will help your child sit upright but I’m not even sure if they do in fact work or if it’s just a timing thing that coincides with them sitting in it. All I know is I felt like I was torturing my kids for information when I’d put them in there. “WHERE IS THE MICROFICHE???? YOU WILL TALK!!!”

-          Door frame Jolly Jumper: With most open concept homes these days, it’s kind of hard finding a place where you can clip your baby. I’d definitely go with one that has its own frame.

-          A Baby Bullet: I’ll save you some money and point you towards a regular blender/food processor. You honestly pay more because it has the word “Baby” on it.

-          A high chair covered in cloth. Those things take up a lot of room and are a pain in the ass to clean. If you think your baby won’t make a mess while eating, well you better sit down because I have some bad news…. All babies are messy eaters. We had a booster seat that we strapped to a chair and then switched to an IKEA high chair. They’re $25 ($20 for the chair and $5 for the tray) and all plastic ie. Easy to clean. You can also put it away if it’s taking too much space since the legs pop right off.

 

20. OTHER ITEMS I LIKED ALTHOUGH NOT MUST HAVES:

-          Facecloths. We got these really cheap ones that we use every day for wiping hands and mouths and a friend of ours got these really nice thick ones that we use for bath time.

-          Hooded towels: we have a few of these as well that are great. I’d suggest buying just a few of the baby size ones and then get some bigger ones for when they’re over the age of 1.

-          Wet sacks. Great for putting soiled clothing in if you’re out and about. Contains the mess perfectly and then you can wash everything, including the bag.

-          Exersaucer/jumperoo. Not something you need to buy new but a great time killer. It can get very boring entertaining kids, I know that sounds terrible but sometimes putting them in the exersaucer while you veg out for a second or while you make dinner can be a lifesaver.

-          Foam floor mats. These are great if you have hardwood floors. If you have cats though, put them away when you’re done using them or you end up with shredded pieces of foam all over your house.

-          A picnic blanket. I know this sounds weird, but I love it. I bought a Tuffo one when Henry was a few months old and I was doing my fitmom classes outside and wanted something big that we could both be on. They’re so easy to clean and fold up. It’s one of my best purchases and we still use it.

-          Larger clothing for when they’re 6-12 months

-          Robeez slippers for when they’re crawling around and starting to walk. They have these no slip grips underneath and it keeps their feet warm. We only really used these when visiting outside our house and at daycare when Freddy started. AT home, it’s usually barefoot.

-          A few toys. We have a few lamaz toys and Sophie the giraffe and links and the kids love it but they kind of loved everything at one point, so no need to get a ton of these. A little musical rattle is always great for them to grip their hands around, something that’s black and white or contrasting colour, something with mirrors in it.

21. THINGS I WISH I HAD ASKED FOR:

-          Freezer meals. My mom made us a bunch of food for which we were grateful. My sister in-law requested some for her baby shower and it was such a great idea.

-          Newborn photo session. There are so many great photographers out there. I love Baby and Belly Photography where we got last year’s Christmas cards done. I would have absolutely adored receiving this gift.

-          Cleaning services. We already have a housekeeper who comes every two weeks but I can’t picture a new mom getting upset about receiving this gift. You’re overwhelmed in those first few weeks, months, 18-20 years…. Someone coming in to deal with the mess helps restore your sanity.

-          Baby medicine kit. This is something I make a point to give to new moms when I go to a shower. Some baby Tylenol, Advil, teething and colic tablets. Stuff you don’t think you need until it’s 2am and your baby is running a fever of freaking out due to colic and you can’t make it to a pharmacy.

-          Donation towards a baby and mommy activity. I can’t say enough good things about the activities I did with the boys while on mat leave. They really help me keep my sanity. We did infant massage classes (a class I would recommend to anyone who has a baby with colic or gas), fitmom classes which helped me form great friendships and pushed me physically, making music meaningful and monkey rock music, baby sensory classes, salsa babies. Heck even gift cards to Cineplex theaters for stars and strollers movies would have been a cool gift as well. Having a baby isn’t a sentence to staying cooped up for a year. Donations to activities can really help mom’s get out there and meet other moms and socialize. I can’t tell you how comforting it was talking to other moms while doing our final stretches at fitmom classes and finding out they were going through similar issues I was.

 

Ok so that was a super long post. Hopefully it was helpful to some of you. :-) I leave you with pictures of the two little guys who inspired this post!

photo 4 (23) photo 3 (23) photo 1 (30) photo 2 (30)

 

My Little Monster July 21, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — frombeantosprout @ 7:47 pm

Freddy is 15 months old now. He’s growing into such a big boy. Both figuratively and physically. The kid can pack away food like it’s nobody’s business. I’m convinced he has a hollow leg or two. We were at a family party in Kingston a few weeks ago and he just sat contently at the kids table for over an hour, munching away at some corn on the cob while all the other kids got bored with their food and ran off in every direction. He’s going to be a big tall one. I see a future in football. It’s amazing how different Henry and Freddy’s personalities are. Freddy has a bit of a bruiser quality to him and isn’t showing any signs of shyness. He’ll flirt with anyone (correction, any woman) who gives him the time of day. Case in point, we were at a restaurant on the weekend and as we’re leaving, he notices a little girl on the patio. He walks to the window to flirt with her (we were sitting inside) and leans into the screen to press his face against it and do his kissy face. Well the screen pops right out and he fell right through onto the patio and scraped his head. Poor kid lost it. He cried and cried and the second we get out of the restaurant, he’s fine and wants to walk around. I think his ego was bruised the most in that moment. Embarrassed in front of a potential love.

As much as Freddy loves you though, he has a little rage issue as well. Chris and I have a theory that his mind is growing faster than his little body can keep up with. He’s blowing through milestones like crazy but if he can’t get his message across to you quickly enough, he loses it. He goes crazy hulk-like. He’ll just start shaking violently with rage, holding his arms up and with his tiny fists balled up and then slam them to the ground. If we still don’t understand what’s bugging him, he takes it to the next level where he’ll charge us, from like across the room, with his arm up, just running towards us wanting to hit and then upset that we stop him from hitting us. So then he goes in for the biting. Those little shark teeth are sharp!

We never had a biting problem with Henry. Don’t get me wrong, Henry had some rage issues at that age as well. I think all toddlers have it. He just never got physical about his anger. He would just roll around on the ground screaming/crying in frustration. Freddy needs a physical outlet. And now it’s at the point where he bites even when he’s not angry. He just thinks it’s hilarious. I’ll always remember the first time he did it to me. I was sitting on the sofa and he was trying to climb up on me. He had his hands on my legs and brought his head down and sunk his teeth into my inner thigh. I was wearing shorts at the time, so it was direct contact. I yelped, grabbed him, said “NO BITING!” and put him on the ground. He just sat there laughing about it and then tried to do it again. Now we can tell when he’s about to do it, but poor Henry is innocently clueless when he’s about to be bitten.  Henry will be minding his own business and Freddy will come in and bite him on the shoulder. It got to the point yesterday that I put Freddy in his crib for a one minute time out. He freaked for like 5 seconds then started playing with a toy in his crib. I really don’t know what to do about the biting. I’m hoping he grows out of it soon.

Now I may describe him from time to time as a little monster but he’s really a sweet kid. He loves giving kisses and hugs. He’s started saying a few words. He’ll say mama, dada, ginger, dendy (I think that’s Henry), ball, milk, tree, car. It’s amazing watching him say all these things. He’s such a chatterbug. Henry was not much into talking as a young toddler. We’d find out later a lot of that had to do with him not hearing properly, so this 15 month old talking thing is all new to us. He’s great with listening as well (well, when he wants to). We’ll tell him to do something and he does it. One thing he really likes is copying his older brother. He follows Henry around like he’s his own personal hero. Henry started saying “Ooh la la” (I have no idea where he picked that up) and Freddy has started saying it too, with the same tone. It’s so frigging cute I just want to bite him….hmmm, maybe I should use a different expression there given our recent issues.

This is totally safe right?

This is totally safe right?

I don't know how this happened but I know I HATE IT!!!

I don’t know how this happened but I know I HATE IT!!!

Standing tall... on the wings of my dreams

Standing tall… on the wings of my dreams

Freddy: No pictures, keep walking Henry: CHEEEEEESE!!!

Freddy: No pictures, keep walking
Henry: CHEEEEEESE!!!

I love my chicken legs!

I love my chicken legs!

This is the coolest thing EVER!

This is the coolest thing EVER!

All that activity tuckers a little guy out

All that activity tuckers a little guy out

as well as the not so little guy

as well as the not so little guy

 

Where In The World Is Carmen San Diego? April 14, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — frombeantosprout @ 7:13 pm

Ok, so I’m not Carmen, but I have been MIA for a while now on this blog. Life got in the way. Honestly, blogging is a lot of work. If you’re not doing it full time and getting paid for it, at some point, the motivation drops a little. Our house has been just a whirlwind of activity that whenever I have a free moment, I want to spend it with Chris, or vegging in front of the tv.

Every time something big happened, I kept making a mental note “this should be a blog post” and then more and more stuff was happening and I felt I wouldn’t be able to keep up with all the posts I had told myself I’d write.  So I kind of started avoiding it altogether. I get that way with housework as well. It’s one of my fatal flaws. A room looks like a disaster area and then I just shut it out of my mind completely. I’ve been working on it. Trying to keep up with the clutter never realizing I was doing the same with mental clutter.

Anyways, before going too deep into psychoanalysis, I figured I’ll do a bullet form of what’s been happening.

1- The BIG ONE! Henry is potty trained! It’s been about 6 weeks now. He just decided one morning “no more diapers” and that was it. He had a few accidents in the first couple of days, but since then, he’s been excellent. Now he still sleeps with a diaper. He kind of fights us on that one. He doesn’t want to wear one, but the two times we let him have his way led us to cleaning sheets and stuffed animals at 5:30 in the morning. I’m still trying to figure out a way to wake him up to go when we got to bed, but once Henry’s out, he’s out. Having only one kid in diapers is slightly euphoric. For the first few days, I didn’t know what to do with myself. Also, for those first few days, having Henry in underwear was like having a live grenade in the house. Pretty much every second sentence out of our mouths were “do you have to go potty?”. Even now, it’s still one of my most commonly used sentences along with “don’t hit your brother” and “you have to eat your dinner before having a cookie, those are the rules!” Can I also take a second to say how freakingly adorable little underwear are? Henry has some sesame street underwear and some Avengers underwear and every time I pull them out in the morning, I have a moment of “geez these are cute”, they’re just so tiny!

2-  BIG DEAL NUMBER 2: Freddy is walking. He started walking around pretty much the same time Henry started using the potty. I guess the Ward competitive spirit lives on in my boys and Freddy didn’t want to be outshone by his potty using older brother so he decided “alright, time to step it up, I’m walking!”. I have to admit, I did feel a bit of pride when people would say “he’s only 10 months and walking? Wow that’s young!” and I’d say “oh he’s playing catch-up with his brother” but inside I was like “that’s right! My little man is awesome!” I know walking early doesn’t make one smarter or more mentally advanced than those who start walking at 1, but I couldn’t help thinking that anyways.  Nowadays, Freddy is just motoring everywhere. He’s a really fast walker even if he still looks like he’s slightly drunk and wobbly when walking.

3- I’m back at work. I’ve been back at work for a month now. I came back earlier than with Henry because I shared a month of leave at the beginning with Chris. I’m glad I shared with him that time given how sick Henry ended up being when Freddy was born, but at the same time, I wish I had a bit more time with Freddy before going back to work. I didn’t think there would be a big difference for him, between starting daycare at 11 months vs 12 months. I quickly learned that the difference was I could have had an extra month of trying to get him to sleep on his own. Daycare integration was rough on Freddy. He’s doing better now but he’s sleeping about 45-60 minutes a day at daycare and it’s not a deep sleep. He’s restless and when I get home, he cries and cries and cries until I hold him. I used to nurse him right when I got home but then he’d practically fall asleep around 5pm and then would be up for good at 3:30-4:00am. It’s a bad cycle that we’re slowly getting out of. I just nurse him before bedtime now, which is 6pm. He can’t stay up later than that. He’s just exhausted. I’m trying to get him to stay up a bit later so that he sleeps a bit longer in the morning but 6pm seems to be his cut off time. Even 6pm is pushing it, given that he freaks out from 5:30-6:00… For the past two days though he’s been sleeping in until 5-5:30 which, trust me, is AMAZING! I feel much more rested.

4- Chris has started a new job. (I told you, LOTS AND LOTS of stuff happened). He accepted a position with Industry Canada as a junior examining officer. He’s in an intense 3 month training period right now which is part of a larger 2 year program in which when he successfully completes it, he’ll be bumped up to a senior examining officer. It’s a developmental position. I’m so happy for him. He’s no longer working in some industrial park in the booneys of Gatineau but in downtown Hull. He got all excited about the prospect of eating out for lunch given that there was nothing available food wise at his old location. Well there was a treats but apparently it was garbage.

5- We’re expecting a 3rd child… HAHAHAHAHA!! Nah, just wanted to see if you were still paying attention.

6- Henry is getting tubes for his chronic ear infections. FINALLY! It’s happening on April 22nd and I can’t wait. I feel like this is going to be a huge game changer for us. He’s had ear/hearing problems for a long time due to fluid buildup and drainage issues which has affected his speech as well. I have high hopes that this surgery will basically open up a new world for him. I’m also nervous as hell. My little guy is going to be in surgery! Having a hard time wrapping my head and heart around that one. I had it done as a child as well so I guess that’s slightly reassuring in that I know what to expect for him, but still, I don’t think I can promise that I won’t cry when they wheel him into the OR.

Well I think that’s all the big stuff out of the way. Phew, that’s a load off my mind.

My little walking man, all proud of himself.

My little walking man, all proud of himself.

Henry showing off that his gymnastics lessons are money well spent.

Henry showing off that his gymnastics lessons are money well spent.

Henry showing off that his gymnastics lessons are money well spent.

Although it helps having dad as a spotter.

 

Freddy not enjoying a bath. The kid is all about showers. He refuses to sit down in the bath.

Freddy not enjoying a bath. The kid is all about showers. He refuses to sit down in the bath.

Doodle riding is not for the faint of heart.

Doodle riding is not for the faint of heart.

 

Hot, Cold, 3 Years Old! February 15, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — frombeantosprout @ 9:13 pm

Our little man Henry turned 3 years old on February 7th. He got spoiled rotten this year by having his birthday spread out over two weeks and two countries. It’s pretty much the only way we got him to get over Christmas. So let’s start with party number 1.

We had our first party in Mexico with family on my mom’s side. We had suggested since we’d all be together in one place, why not take one night to celebrate Henry. As our kids grow, our house is filling with more and more stuff, making it less and less crowd friendly. So having a party with 15 people in Mexico was great. We went to the Mexican restaurant in our resort where Henry got some great food, some sweet gifts and even sweeter chocolate cake.

My parents arranged for a little surprise in our room on the day of the party

My parents arranged for a little surprise in our room on the day of the party

translation: Happy Birthday Henry.  He enjoyed those balloons all week long

translation: Happy Birthday Henry. He enjoyed those balloons all week long

Getting spoiled by grandmaman. It was cute, he opened one of the gifts which was a Diego book and said "Diego... Very Cool!"

Getting spoiled by grandmaman. It was cute, he opened one of the gifts which was a Diego book and said “Diego… Very Cool!”

Flexing muscles with Uncle Frank and Aunt Catou

Flexing muscles with Uncle Frank and Aunt Catou

Playing with the dinosaurs he got from grandmaman and grandpapa

Playing with the dinosaurs he got from grandmaman and grandpapa

Some heartfelt dinner conversation

Some heartfelt dinner conversation

This cake is pretty delicious

This cake is pretty delicious

You'll notice Logan and Martin were not at dinner. They unfortunately were at the hospital since Logan had a serious ear infection. Steph, Niko and Victoria were great stand ins for Logan.

You’ll notice Logan and Martin were not at dinner. They unfortunately were at the hospital since Logan had a serious ear infection. Steph, Niko and Victoria were great stand ins for Logan.

Yum!!! He couldn't even finish the little cake it was so sweet.

Yum!!! He couldn’t even finish the little cake it was so sweet.

Freddy totally fell in love with Aunt Catou this week. He would only stay calm in her arms at the restaurant.

Freddy totally fell in love with Aunt Catou this week. He would only stay calm in her arms at the restaurant.

Uncle Frank reading Henry a birthday card.

Uncle Frank reading Henry a birthday card.

Aunt Pichou (yes her name is Melissa but the kids call her Pichou) and Uncle Tom got Henry a sombrero which he proudly wore all the way back to the room.

Aunt Pichou (yes her name is Melissa but the kids call her Pichou) and Uncle Tom got Henry a sombrero which he proudly wore all the way back to the room.

On Henry’s actual birthday, most of the day was just Henry, Freddy and I, so I decided to take Henry out for a celebratory birthday breakfast at Zack’s diner. We then walked over to the toy store in the same strip mall, Tag Along Toys and I let Henry choose a gift. He ended up choosing a mini motorcycle and side car that comes with a little squirrel couple. It’s pretty cute.

Playing with his little motorcycle

Playing with his little motorcycle

Overwhelmed by the amount of pancakes he got.

Overwhelmed by the amount of pancakes he got.

spreading some love to Freddy

spreading some love to Freddy

Henry got to order a chocolate milk

Henry got to order a chocolate milk

Henry got a little cupcake after dinner which he savoured very slowly

Henry got a little cupcake after dinner which he savoured very slowly

On Saturday, we threw a toboggan party for the rest of our family as well as my best friend Sandra and her kids. We had some comfort food for lunch which consisted of pigs in a blanket, mac and cheese, veggies and dip and some of our favourite fruit. We then went tobogganing at a hill down our street and came back for some hot chocolate, cake and presents. Henry loved every moment.

I made this Cookie Monster cake for Henry. It was my first time attempting to decorate a cake and I was pretty happy with the results even though I got icing all over my hands and a bit on Freddy's head also (he was clinging to my leg the entire time)

I made this Cookie Monster cake for Henry. It was my first time attempting to decorate a cake and I was pretty happy with the results even though I got icing all over my hands and a bit on Freddy’s head also (he was clinging to my leg the entire time)

Our "Loot Bags", hot chocolate travel mugs for the kids that contained chocolate bars and some hot chocolate mix

Our “Loot Bags”, hot chocolate travel mugs for the kids that contained chocolate bars and some hot chocolate mix

Freddy helping out with the decor

Freddy helping out with the decor

Since Henry loves monsters so much, I decided to have fun with the food.

Since Henry loves monsters so much, I decided to have fun with the food.

More monster food.

More monster food.

Our hot chocolate bar. With marshmallows, crushed candy canes and chocolate chips.

Our hot chocolate bar. With marshmallows, crushed candy canes and chocolate chips.

Henry, Greta and Pops heading down the hill

Henry, Greta and Pops heading down the hill

Me heading down the hill face first. I hadn't tobogganed in many many years. It was so much fun. I could of gone on and on but Freddy wasn't having much fun so I came back home with him and Juan

Me heading down the hill face first. I hadn’t tobogganed in many many years. It was so much fun. I could of gone on and on but Freddy wasn’t having much fun so I came back home with him and Juan

Freddy and Juan all bundled up

Freddy and Juan all bundled up

Devouring his cake. I'm so glad he loved it. It's pretty cute hearing him say "Can I have some more please?

Devouring his cake. I’m so glad he loved it. It’s pretty cute hearing him say “Can I have some more please?

Chris having a serious discussion on the fashion merits of foam crowns.

Chris having a serious discussion on the fashion merits of foam crowns.

 

The following day, my dad took us out to brunch at Big Rig Brewery since he couldn’t make it the day before. We were joined by my uncle Bruce and his girlfriend Nancy. This was the first time my uncle got to meet the boys which was pretty neat. Freddy did some serious flirting with Nancy but I don’t think Bruce minded all that much. The cake lasted almost an entire week as well. By Friday the 14th it was gone, and thus the birthday officially over. I have no idea what we’re going to do to top all that next year!

 

 

 

 

Once Upon A Time In Mexico

Filed under: Uncategorized — frombeantosprout @ 8:12 pm

So we’ve been back in Canada for two weeks now and I have been wanting to write a post about our time in Mexico since we arrived, however Freddy got sick on our way home, and it’s pretty much been one person after the other getting sick (minus Chris, knock on wood). I’m feeling better now so I here we go!

A few years ago, my parents suggested that instead of buying us gifts for Christmas and birthdays that we don’t necessarily use, that they would put aside money towards a family trip. Well that trip took place this winter, in the Mayan Riviera of Mexico. And what a great winter to get away. It’s been pretty cold this winter. It was good to have a break from the chill for a week. It was also good for Henry to just get as much pent up energy out of his little body as possible. This winter has not been kind for him playing outside given that his little brother freezes so quickly.

We stayed at the Barcelo Maya Beach Resort which was really nice. They had excellent food. Chris made a point to have guacamole every meal, except for maybe twice. The beaches were beautiful, they had two full size waterparks on the complex on top of a few splash pads and some jungle gyms for kids. The complex consists of 5 hotels owned by Barcelo and spans about 3km. Chris got to walk those 3km trails every morning with Freddy who refused to adjust to the one hour time difference. Freddy didn’t really cooperate at all sleep wise during the entire week. He would make a point to be up between 5 and 5:45am every morning. I think it’s because he got used to seeing the sunrise with Chris who would take him out and let Henry and I sleep. He would make up for his early rises by falling asleep on the beach later on in the day in his stroller. I think the sound of the surf, the heat and the slight breeze were a perfect sleep inducing trifecta for him.

Henry was a real champ most of the week. He had a few meltdowns here and there, including one epic one in the buffet one night that resulted in him being dragged back to the room for 45 minutes until he calmed down. He just loved spending the week with his cousins. I’m pretty sure he couldn’t care less if we were there or not sometimes, as long as Logan and Niko were around, he was good. In fact, we often had to use the possibility of not seeing his cousins as blackmail/bribery to get him to obey. We had hoped to do some kind of off resort excursion but never got around to it. It would have been too much of a hassle to take the kids off resort plus there was so much to do there that we weren’t left feeling like we were missing out too much. Plus the excursions that really interested us were not kid friendly at all. They had a little shopping mall on the complex as well where you could haggle for merchandise, instead of paying an arm and a leg at the hotel gift shop.

Our days consisted of waking up (some of us earlier than others), heading to the breakfast buffet between 7-7:30. They had these amazing churros (friend donut sticks) that they would lay out every morning. I’d top my breakfast with one each morning… Then we’d head back to the room and start the “want to go swimming? Ok, we have to put on sunscreen! No? Ok, then we’re staying in the room then. Oh, you want to put sunscreen on now eh? Yeah that’s what I thought” routine. You know, people complain a lot about having to put on so many layers of clothing on their kids in the winter. It’s just as bad in the summer with constantly reapplying sunscreen. Especially if you spend 75-80% of your time outdoors, swimming and playing in the sand. We’d often be at the beach by 9am and hang out there for a few hours then go to the water park, or vice versa. We’d then go for lunch and then back at the room where we’d try and put the kids down for a nap. Often by 2:30 pm, Henry was out cold. Freddy was hit or miss so we’d often take him out for a walk while the other parent stay in the room and watch Henry and Mexican tv. We’d have dinner at 6:30 when the buffet open and were usually back at our room by 7:30 for bedtime. Then Chris and I would have some drinks and hang out on our balcony, chitchatting and playing card games. I think for me, that was my favourite time of the day. Just chilling out and enjoying each others company.

While there, we celebrated Henry’s 3rd birthday. Well part of his birthday. I’ll do a separate post on all the birthday festivities he got to enjoy.  We also had a night where my parents took the boys for dinner so Chris and I could have a romantic dinner with each other. It was great. I find we act all giddy when we’re kid free, even if it’s just for 2 hours. That could have to do with the fact that we haven’t had a night out with each other since early March 2013. We ate at the resort’s Mexican restaurant and had a blast. It seems like the boys took it relatively easy on my parents as well which is great. I always worry they’ll act out.

People often say “Don’t travel with your kids”. I can understand where those people are coming from. If you want to just relax, do nothing but slowly bake, drink and party, then for sure, don’t travel with kids. Traveling with kids is not relaxing. It’s a very different sort of travel but if I reflect on my entire week, I’m glad we did travel with them. I love the idea of exposing our children to different cultures and experiences. Now I know, a resort isn’t really where they’ll get the full Mexican culture, but they got to see a bit of it. It’s hard work traveling with them, but I find the memories we created worth it.

Gorgeous sunrise

Gorgeous sunrise

Hammock time with daddy

Hammock time with daddy

see daddy, if we had slept in, we would have missed the beauty and splendor of greeting a new day!

see daddy, if we had slept in, we would have missed the beauty and splendor of greeting a new day!

sunrise with daddy

sunrise with daddy

Freddy ate pretty much non stop the entire week.

Freddy ate pretty much non stop the entire week.

we only bought two pictures because they were crazy expensive

We got some professional pictures taken while there. We only bought two pictures because they were crazy expensive

The entire gang!

The entire gang!

We got some professional pictures done while there. This is one of the only ones we could get of Henry smiling

 This is one of the only ones we could get of Henry smiling

Now it's not

what’s happening here?

OMG the water is touching me!!!!

OMG the water is touching me!!!!

We like to spell out the place we are in the sand whenever we travel. Henry loves this tradition.

We like to spell out the place we are in the sand whenever we travel. Henry loves this tradition.

My little monkey Freddy and I

My little monkey Freddy and I

Football with the cousins

Football with the cousins

Henry made sure he had about 6 bananas a day.. It's pretty much the only thing he wanted to eat the entire time.

Henry made sure he had about 6 bananas a day.. It’s pretty much the only thing he wanted to eat the entire time.

More beach sleeping

More beach sleeping

a vintage water

a vintage water

You'd never know that this playpen is actually Freddy's with the amount of time Henry hung out in it.

You’d never know that this playpen is actually Freddy’s with the amount of time Henry hung out in it.

Henry completely in love with his cousins

Henry completely in love with his cousins

Enjoying a predinner drink with my boys

Enjoying a predinner drink with my boys

Toasting our childfree dinner

Toasting our childfree dinner

One of the many sunrises Chris and Freddy witnessed

One of the many sunrises Chris and Freddy witnessed

One of the cool water parks

One of the cool water parks

Chris seemed to be having more fun than Henry

Chris seemed to be having more fun than Henry

I always wondered why they call it a play pen. Now I know.

I always wondered why they call it a play pen. Now I know.

one of his many morning naps.

one of his many morning naps.

This water slide is much more fun with you go down backwards

This water slide is much more fun with you go down backwards

Freddy is obsessed with his cousin Victoria's face. He keeps wanting to take it off.

Freddy is obsessed with his cousin Victoria’s face. He keeps wanting to take it off.

 

I’m A Rage-Aholic January 22, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — frombeantosprout @ 7:55 pm

Those of you who know me, know that I can fly off the handle pretty quickly. What can I say, the French Canadian in me gets all fired up sometimes. Well this winter has definitely sent me into a bit of a rage. It’s not necessarily that it’s been freaking cold most days interspersed with days where it thaws enough to drop a crapload of snow and then freezes again. I can live with that, I know it’s to be expected what with living in Canada, especially in Ottawa. No what sends me into a rage most winter mornings is getting my kids dressed for the outdoors. Holy hell what a production it has become to get those two out the door. It’s getting harder and harder with Freddy becoming more mobile and with Henry becoming more defiant.

I used to be able to just threaten Henry with the idea that I would leave him behind. That would send him scurrying to me in a panic, begging me to take him with me. Then slowly I had to start actually going outside for him to panic. Now, when I say “I’m leaving without you, you’re going to stay home alone” he pretty much shrugs his shoulders, says “bye!” and continues playing. Meanwhile I have little Freddy writhing around on me, screaming his head off as I try and put him in his snowsuit/bunting like if I’m pouring hot molten lava on his bare skin. Once I have him dressed, I clip him in the bucket seat which I know I will have to replace sometime soon since he’s almost to the point of outgrowing it, but for now, it’s really convenient being able to immobilize one of two kids. So now I’m rocking a shrieking Freddy in the car seat while trying everything in my power to coax Henry to put his boots and jacket on. Without fail, every morning it’s a fight. I’ve even gone to the point where I go outside, put Freddy in the car, start the car, run back in and tackle Henry one on one. He doesn’t even register that I’ve left the house because he’s so into his make believe play. So then I come back inside and my voice is raised to “threat level” and I say in an ice cold voice “Henry, put your boots and jacket on….NOW!” and that’s usually when he runs to me and informs me that he’s pooped. Yep, pooped. So now I’m really in a rage that I have to take all my stuff off quickly, and change Henry’s diaper with lighting speed while I’m telling him “take your pants off, take them off, help me out a bit here, Freddy is in the car waiting, hurry up! COME ON! FOR THE LOVE OF GOD COOPERATE WITH ME FOR ONE FREAKING SECOND!!!” and he’s just lying there like a limp noodle while I try and force his pants back on. I often have to turn around and take a breath to collect myself and stop myself from channeling all my rage and frustration and punching a hole in the drywall.

So now he’s clean and finally cooperative but it still takes time to put those boots on, then the jacket. And the freaking zipper on those kids winter jackets is a pain in the butt. I remember seeing a comedian joking about zipping up kids jackets and how frustratingly complicated it can get and I have to totally agree. Here I am, trying to zip this thing up, while I have a kid kind of dancing and swaying and not helping one bit and the stupid zipper is getting caught on everything on it’s way up. What should take approximately 2 seconds for a normal human being takes about 10. 10 long seconds where I’m thinking of Freddy in the car in the garage, probably screaming his head off in anger.

When Henry is finally dressed, we then go out through the garage and I swear, he stops at the top of the stairs that go down into the garage and assesses everything he sees. Or he says a little prayer or something. Whatever it is, he takes his sweet time walking down those stairs. I’m going “Hurry Henry, HURRY! We’re going to be late!” while he slowly meanders down those stairs and I’m glancing back into the house making sure our cat Purrl doesn’t try and make a mad dash to the outside world as I keep the door open because the kid ain’t budging.

So that’s my morning. EVERY MORNING! By the time we’re in the car, my anger and rage are gone. We sing on our way to wherever we’re going. But every morning, when I wake up, I know we’re going to have to go through this process again. I have no idea what I’m going to do when I have to go back to work and am on a tighter schedule. Nowadays if  I know we have to be gone by 9am, I start the process at 8:40 and we still leave later than expected. I’m going to have to force some cooperation with this kid. Maybe I could bribe him with chocolate or something. Or pray that spring comes early this year.

Free to a good, patient home

Free to a good, patient home

 

Henry fiddling around with my phone while I ran around getting ready.

Henry fiddling around with my phone while I ran around getting ready.

 

Ok, this has nothing really to do with this post, but how freaking cute is this?

Ok, this has nothing really to do with this post, but how freaking cute is this?

 

Out cold after a long car ride freak out.

Out cold after a long car ride freak out.

 

 

 

 

 
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