Saturday, January 26, 2013

Winter Blahs

It's cold. It's windy. It's enough to cut ya. It's January. Blah.

I have two minds this winter, like the proverbial devil/angel on your shoulder. Except instead of these two guys, I have a warm and a cold momma sitting on opposite shoulders. The warm momma is curled up with baby in an armchair, a fireplace roaring, warm blankets, tv, and hot tea. This momma is saying, stay home, it's too cold, what could possibly be more important that sitting here in the warmth? She reminds me of my stupidity to not get the remote start for the my car when I have to trudge outside to do it, and scrape with snow up past my boots.  I think of the mess of salt on my pants and baby blankets and the sharp wind that actually hurts your face when you race across the parking lot at a busy store. When you sweat inside those stores because you are dressed for outside frigid windchills of below -20 and not heated stores. Hats and layers are bulky and hot and this can make you more easily frustrated. This is the time when getting out of your toasty warm car (or house) is the last thing you want to do. 

Then there's cold momma who, although cold is still getting out and "getting the smell of house off her". That momma encourages trips to play groups and scheduling playdates, going to reel babies and for walks around the mall with baby, and just visiting friends or having coffee dates - snow, salt and wind included. That momma makes sense and keeps you from getting into a rut, but she's COLD!!!

I am somewhere in the middle, but warm momma is stronger. She can talk me out of a planned but "unnecessary" trip out to run some errands better than cold momma can get me to bundle baby up.  Sigh. I have to let cold momma get stronger as I can't stay home so much. I always feel better when I do go out. In spite of my frosty fingers and cold legs, I am glad to have gotten something accomplished or to have stood up to mother nature and visited some friends. I hope that winter is short, can't wait for flip flops and tank tops and not having to put 4000 layers on baby to just so we can leave the house!


Thursday, January 17, 2013

Armstrong - about Liestrong

I find myself sitting here thinking today about Mr. Livestrong himself, the doping, false seven-time champ of the Tour de France. With all the buzz that Oprah has stirred it's hard not to. I know this does not seem like a topic that would be related to mommy or parenting - but hear me out (read me out??)

I'll admit that Lance had me fooled. But now that I sit and think about it, it just makes sense that there was something fake behind it. Seven times?? The most prestigious cycling race in the world and the same person won it SEVEN times?? Now it seems fishy, of course it does.

This is a sad world we live in. This man, an idol, the spokesperson for a very serious disease, and a role model for so many - adults.... and yes of course- children. How many children saw him win and strived to be like him? How many of them donned those yellow livestrong bracelets in support of his cause, who thought he was something wonderful? He not only cheated to win, he stole the title from someone else, hopefully someone more honest and deserving.  Now he gets to be famous for his faults and like so many today, he gets his 15 minutes( or 3 hours apparently) to suck up to his audience, "explain" why he cheated. Personally, he had me at "cheated", or rather, he lost me. I watched the Fifth Estate for the coverage of the story, to see if it really were true. That was enough for me. I don't want to listen to him, don't want to tune in to watch his last-ditch effort to save face, and to make some more money off his choices and say he's sorry. Sorry there's real evidence against him and that he got caught, more like it. 

I will say that I know he must have been under a great deal of pressure and sometimes we all cave under that pressure. But after the first title that he cheated to steal, he should have wised up and stopped. Instead he waited until he had won so many that he was a superstar, and denied all suspicions adamently, even with new proof surfacing as years went by. What kind of message did he expect to send? Right, my hero.

Now to tie it in with being a parent. Are we going to allow this kind of behavior from an idol to be okay in the eyes of our children? Are we going to help them erase their mistakes instead of facing them to get ahead in life? Are we going to allow them to cheat - or worse - help them do it and cover their tracks? Or are we going to raise honest boys and girls to turn into honorable men and women who actually know that telling the truth and doing things honestly is actually far better than cheating their way to the top? It scares me to think that too often when there are successes, there is something shady along the road to reach that success. While this is surely not true in every instance of success, I do see a major drop in morals here in the world. The world that I just brought a little boy into, and it doesn't seem fair. I want more for my little guy and personally, I don't want to hear about how Lance Armstrong lied to the world or why he is worth listening to.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Stormbound with Baby!

What a wild weekend, and not for the typical reasons. If you are living in Newfoundland, you know what I am talking about. For those of you that don't the best way I can explain it is with this one word - "Snowicane!"We had upwards of 70 cm of snow, winds gusting beyond hurricane force and a massive power outage to go with it. It was not my first time being without power since my son was born, but it was definitely the most challenging.

Friday morning found us buried, stuck in our house with about 5 feet of snow blocking the edge of our driveway. The snow had drifted in places, oddly enough leaving the space around my car completely open but totally burying the rest of our small parking area. The wind howled, the snow swirled and then boom, the lights went out. It was the stuff from movies.

We had taken a couple of precautions getting ready for a potential power outage- hot water stored in thermos bottles, extra candles, flashlights, blankets, batteries - all ready to go and we left our heat up high in anticipation so our house would be warmer than normal in the event of an outage. I also did my son's laundry the day before so he had ample supply of clean clothes in case the outage lasted for awhile.  As it turns out all of this was great preparation but it wasn't nearly enough.   I now realize that I need an emergency kit.

I have never been the type to panic over storms but this was the first time in nearly 10 years that I can remember losing power in the winter. Summer outages are usually isolated and don't affect the heat so save for no TV or stove, I never really have much to complain about. Usually we can go someplace in the city to grab some fast food, no worries about not being able to cook - or even having a BBQ is a feasible option. This was not the case with 5 feet of snow and blizzard conditions for nearly 24 hours blocking our way.  Then there was the cold. We were freezing, wearing layers and fluffy slippers and hoodies, snuggling up under blankets. I wished so hard for a hot shower and some hot tea, life's simple pleasures that I have never appreciated so much in my life.  In the future I am looking into a Coleman stove purchase and setting up a kit with non-perishable food and bottled water, just in case this ever happens again, for peace of mind if nothing else.

In spite of all of this, I am pleased to say that my 8 month old son appeared none the wiser. We kept him in fuzzy sleepers with blankets all around, we used the stored hot water for his food until it ran out and then resorted to things like bread and cheese which he ate readily, and we had him sleep in our bed with us so he didn't freeze in his crib. I felt his little hands the next morning and was never so happy to discover they were toasty warm. Every time I heard him babble or giggle I felt better, that no matter how uncomfortable I felt that he was getting by unaware of what was happening. 

Winter can be unpredictable and I got a shock as I now realize more than ever that it isn't just about me.To be a responsible parent I have to consider my son's needs in times of emergencies and think about things that I normally wouldn't have considered in previous years.

Thankfully today the temperature was up, the snow is melting away, leaving little evidence of the havoc it wreaked all over the province just a few short days ago.  Here's hoping for a warmer winter from here on out - at least inside my house anyway!

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Baby Play

If your child is anything like mine, he or she got their share of toys for Christmas this year. Being his first Christmas and finally being old enough to appreciate toys, he got some things that went beyond rattles and pull toys. The array of musical toys, ball bouncers, ride-and-walk combos, books, teddys and even an outdoor sled that now fill our home make walking around an cautious event. Now he has some time to enjoy and explore his new toys.

Babies are sponges for learning new things. My son soaks up everything new - new people, new sounds, new colors or shapes, things that sparkle and things that feel different to him. His latest thing of interest is moving off his playmat onto the floor and slapping his hands down hard. I believe he loves the new sound and the different feeling of the floor when compared to his mat.  His new toys are of great interest to him. However, a lot of them are a little beyond his capability just yet so I spend a large part of my day pushing buttons, turning cranks, driving trains and zipping around the living room trying to catch balls before they get trapped under the couch. Some of those toys are too heavy and he wants to grab them and pull them on top of him, and therefore he requries constant supervision while playing with them. I love to help him learn new skills, one that he has just picked up is how to roll a ball back and forth with another person. He also likes catching balls from his many ball - popper gadgets that he got. I read his new books to him and encourage him to feel the sensory pages and keep him from putting the pages in his mouth.  We are busy exploring his new things together and I think this is essential to his development.

That being said, I believe it is just as important to allow him to play on his own.  He needs to learn how to figure things out and move around unrestricted. I have noticed that when I play with him, he moves around less than he does on his own. He goes from one end of the room to the other very quickly when he is alone, it's like he knows he has more room. I love watching him from the next room while he is unaware of my presence. The expressions on his face as he is having these raw learning moments are exciting and hilarious. My son is very adept at playing on his own and there are times when I know it would be his preference.

This can be a touchy subject in what's "best" for kids nowadays. Some say that children require structured play to acquire the skills necessary for "normal" development. I know this is true for somethings, but I think it is just as important for him to learn independently. That is one of my main goals as a parent for my son to be as independent as he can be. I will do whatever I can to help him, but I do not want to hover over him all the time for everything. I have some opinions on being a helicopter parent that will undoubtedly come out in my future posts. The only thing I will say for now that I am very determined not to be one.

Momma's Musts

  • Help out. If your baby's toys are too much just yet, figure out a way that he or she can enjoy them with your assistance.
  • Read to baby. Let them experience their new books and stories fully.
  • Step back. Allow your child to experience independent, unrestricted play. They need this too very much!

Friday, January 04, 2013

Welcome 2013!

Ah yes, another year over. Christmas presents unwrapped and put to use or returned, visitors packed up and gone home, leftovers all eaten or tossed away, decorations boxed up and stored away for next year. If your homelife is anything like mine, you can say that you found that Christmas came and went so fast it left you spinning.

We had one of the busiest Christmas seasons I have ever experienced in my life with only two days over the last 17 where we saw no one or did nothing. My son is the only grandchild on both sides of the family and he had a very busy time entertaining and keeping all of his extended family company.  Despite my best efforts, his routine fell off track several times, and we had a couple of rough nights but all in all, it was worth it. That being said, I am eager to let him play in the quiet again, to have some time to explore his new toys in peace and not be constantly brought from one house to another, and to stop eating his meals in someone's arms or from his carrier. He was great throughout it all and I heard him laugh more often in these past two weeks than ever before. Someone told me on one of my many visits that Christmas is hardest on children and animals, as they have the hardest times re-adjusting to changes in their routine. I think my little guy handled it well, but I bet if he could say more than "mom-mom" and "baaaa" he would say "phew, glad I can have some quiet time now", haha.

New years brings with it that feeling of hope, fresh starts, the cliches of resolutions and new beginnings. I can't help myself, I feel like starting something new, and wiping clean some part of myself or my life that I can do better, or change, or even drop. I like to do a little de-cluttering of my life and look at where I am and see if that lines up with where I want to be. 2012 was a big year for me. I became a mom and spent the better part of my time not working, well, not outside the home at least. What I learned this year has amazed me and how my entire world is completely different, but one of the funny things is I am still basically the same person. Granted I have the title mother to proudly wear now but I have added so much more greatness to my life and came out happier than ever before, but I am still same ol me under all of it. My life has never felt so purposeful and has never been better.

I wonder what this year will bring? What will my son learn? This is the year he will walk, talk and transform from a beautiful baby to a handsome little boy. I am so eager for all the new milestones and events, but at the same time, I am hanging on to his last few months as a baby, desperately clinging to the memories that we are making. I am very hopeful for what this year will bring!

Happy New Year to all my readers and stay tuned for some posts on baby topics, relating to my growing son, in the coming weeks!