Category: Parenthood

How to Meet a Baby

I’ve been wanting to pull a post together on baby etiquette – that is, how non-babies should interact with babies. The thing is, it mostly ends up being my pet peeves and weird stories that have happened over the past year, and how am I to know where to draw the line between what freaks my baby out and what I just project onto him because I think you’re way too excited to see him.

DSC07969Babies are different too, as are parents, so if I made up the top ten rules for how to meet my baby, it might not be quite right for the adorable kiddo you see in the grocery store. So instead, I have condensed all my almost-a-year of experience to one piece of advice to keep in mind when you are meeting a baby:

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Awesome and Sucky

I gave my notice this week to make it official: I’ll be returning to work part-time when my maternity leave is up.

We also had friends over for dinner this week who are expecting a baby in December, and it was amazing to ponder how quickly Torre has grown and developed. He only recently crossed the threshold of being alive outside of me longer than he grew inside me. Now he makes faces and claps his hands and walks along furniture and crams his mouth full with too many cheerios to chew all at once.

I can finally recognize his tired cry before I lose my mind wondering what the heck is wrong with him.

And as I contemplate motherhood pretty much constantly, and reflect on how quickly this year is passing and how quickly I know the coming years will pass, and my heart gets all giddy and achy thinking about milestones, I came across this article: Ten True Things About the First Year of Parenthood, and the very first thing is, “You are going to suck at this parenting gig and be awesome at it at the same time, all the time.

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Oh my, yes.

I don’t think I have ever experienced so many highs and lows in such short proximity to each other.

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Our True Selves

This morning got off to a terrible start. Terrible. It was a rough night and early start to the day, and all in all I could not imagine feeling any worse.

I texted a friend, wallowed in self-pity, then cooked myself the most delicious breakfast possible.

Torre’s favourite thing lately is to pull himself up to stand against a chair or a table and then call me to help him down or help him walk to somewhere. As bacon sizzled in the kitchen, I tried to explain to him that he had used up all of me during the night, that it was just a sad shell of me lying on the carpet unable to help him. He mostly just stood there yelling. At one point he crawled over and bit me on the leg.

Finally breakfast was ready, and Torre warmed my heart by eating some banana and some egg. Feeding him is an area that I feel almost as helpless in as getting him to sleep. Like, babies come with no skills at all, and I just don’t know how to teach the basic necessities of life. Part of me knows it will all work out, but a tiny, panicky part of my brain insists after every wakeful night and every rejected meal that I will still be waking up in the night to nurse my 12 year old because all he ever eats is rice crackers. So with some real food in both our bellies, my dejection began to ease, and I grabbed my Bible to read a bit while Torre played on the floor.

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Routine Vs. Schedule

How much sleep does an eight month old baby need? Apparently the average is 16 hours, which only means the range is 12-20 hours per day. New babies get all the sleep they need because they simply take it, brains shutting down to rest whenever and wherever. As babies get older, however, they gain the ability to keep themselves awake. If they are in unfamiliar surroundings, or if it seems like lots of fun is happening, babies can opt to resist their own tiredness and stay alert to the world, taking in all the information they can.played outThis is a good thing, but as with all developmental milestones it is hitting me as a parent as a mixed blessing. Growing up isn’t sad, after all, and I would never wish my child to be narcoleptic, but now that his body won’t simply take whatever sleep it needs, my responsibility as a parent has expanded. And it’s stressful.

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Thinking about Kids and Gender Stereotypes…

Over the last week I really enjoyed two separate blog posts that relate to raising boys who don’t fit 100% in the box of what our culture expects from boys. Although really, does anyone fit 100% in any cultural box? I wanted to share them both because I have enjoyed the food for thought and have the luxury of being not in the phase of parenting where Torre’s choices make me uncomfortable. Well, his choices to pull my hair and kick my guts and affectionately gnaw on my shoulder make me uncomfortable, but in a different way. He wears what I dress him in, and today I opted not to buy the pink diaper cover – I am happy to put blue on any future daughters I have, but I just don’t feel like putting pink on my son. If, down the road, he wants to wear sparkles or butterflies or have a princess-themed birthday party (my friend’s four-year-old son’s request), we will have that conversation and I’m not 100% sure how it will go. I am totally okay with him wearing pink, I just don’t want to buy it now when he doesn’t even care (why do I care, when he doesn’t?).

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