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Tag Archives: Stay-At-Home-Parent

On Shopping for Shoes

I just came back from a couple of days State-side.  The 5 of us, plus 3 more from my side of the clan, all loaded into our modes of transport and headed south of the boarder to celebrate a friend’s nuptials.  Yes, the wedding was lovely, and the weather was great.  The kids did really well on our journey – thank you for asking!

This post however, is not about any of those details.

This post is about shopping for shoes.

We spent some time in a local mall on the day of the wedding, not wanting to be too far from where we needed to be that evening.  And they had a couple of my favourite shoe shopping places.  And really – when does a girl *not* need a pair of shoes?  Exactly.  Never.  So of course, I went in along with my sister, my Mom, my niece and my daughter.

While I was perusing the aisles for the illusive basic, black, everyday shoe that I’ve been looking for on-again, off-again for the past 2 years, I was struck by how my 20 year old self would be dying of embarrassment over the shoes I was looking for.  Actually, that didn’t occur to me until I was pondering whether or not a shoe like this is what I was wanting:

It's nice, right?  I mean, for an older, middle aged woman.  Oh crap: I fit both criteria!

It’s nice, right? I mean, for an older, middle aged woman. Oh crap: I fit both criteria!

Don’t get me wrong: I still think this shoe looks like it would fit the bill perfectly for me.  My 20 year old self though…  well, it’s not like I rocked stilettos or anything in my youth; I surely did not.

This was more my style:

Yeah bitches, combat boots!

Yeah bitches, combat boots!

Okay, that was in my late teens.  You’re right: in my 20’s it was more like this:

This looks almost exactly like mine.  Except my favourite ones were square toe.  LOVED them!

This looks almost exactly like mine. Except my favourite ones were square toe. LOVED them!

I “came of age” in the grunge era.  I wore mismatched flannel shirts with dirty jeans.  I wore long johns and worker socks and baggy sweaters.  And yeah, I had some heels, but they were more like this:

I think I had this exact pair!  Except they were black, of course.

I think I had this exact pair! Except they were black, of course.

Cute, right?  I know.  So anyway, in my 20’s I thought I had style with an edge.  I listened to Oasis, I drank G&T’s or Guinness; some times both on the same night!  I went to bars like Velvet Underground or (s)Lime Light for the retro 80’s night.  I lived in an awesome city and when I met people my age who lived in the surrounding suburbs, I would say to them, “Oh – I’m so sorry!” and laugh and laugh…

Which brings me back to my shoe quest.  Which, it turns out, is probably more about me making peace with being a subrurban-dwelling, mini van-driving, stay-at-home-mom than it is really about the shoe.

I guess the combat boots just kicked the shit outta my urban self when my arches fell?  Yeah, let’s go with that.

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Posted by on July 26, 2013 in Randomness

 

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Things No One Tells You

So breastfeeding…

It’s great.  It’s fem-affirming, it’s convenient and man-o-man is it ever cheap.

Here’s the thing that I notice most, now that we’re 4-months into this thing, having my 2 previous children on formula by this point: it’s exhausting being the sole source of sustenance for this little person.

And really?  Motherhood is exhausting enough.  Well, motherhood for an infant anyway.  Once the kids are sleeping soundly through the night (yeah, yeah, “6 hours is considered sleeping through the night,” you helpfully point out.  To that I say nuh-uh and you know it too) the exhaustion I experienced was primarily of my own making.

I’m not talking about just the getting-up-at-3/4AM-to-feed-her exhaustion, I’m talking about the feeding every 3 hours, the changing of diapers (some times clothes too), the reading, the singing, the floor time, the chair time, the do-whatever-she-needs time.  I’m talking too – especially today – about the crying times.

What, for the love of all that is good and holy, do you want, sweet child of mine?!?!?

I mean seriously: I hold you, you cry.  I rock you and sing to you, you cry.  I feed you.  You are quiet for a moment but pop off to remind me – through more crying – that this is not going to placate you for ever.  I put you on your floor mat, you cry.  I pick you up, you cry some more.  I put you in your swing: yet more tears.  Car seat, crib, bath, all of it: no dice.

~ahem.

But I digress.  You’ll forgive me, I know, because I am tired.  I am tired of being yelled at all day.  And I’m tired of being the only one who feeds her (yes, I have a pump.  Yes, I use said pump.  And there are 4 bottles in the freezer waiting to be consumed.  But it takes a while to get enough pumped to make a bottle, and MOMD & I are looking at taking some time away so those bottles are reserved gold right now).  I would love love love to take off.  To pick up MOMD from the train one evening and head somewhere… else.  A beloved friend has offered to care for our 3 kids, giving us some time away.  And I want to take her up on it, like…  right now.  Like every thing else though, it takes planning and preparing.

And so, I continue.

To feed (and not just the baby but the whole family), to soothe when possible, to entertain and be entertained.  All the while I must remember to cherish these moments, because as so many helpful people point out, “the moments are fleeting,” or “You’re going to miss this,” or “before you know it they’ll be grown up with children of their own.”  And while at the moment I do not at all appreciate these sentiments, I know they are true.

For she is my last baby.

 
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Posted by on October 23, 2012 in Family, Raising Kids

 

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New Adventures

Today is a hard day for me.  Just as last night was a hard night for me.  And yes, in part because Little Miss didn’t sleep really at all last night, and yes too because she received 2 injections today and so is not her usual happy self.

Mostly though, mostly because my little man Sam started school today.

The first time we faced the world together

The month before Sam was born, I left my job at the office.  MOMD and I knew that I would not be returning to The Pit of Hell to work for She Who Must Not Be Named, what we didn’t know is that in fact I wasn’t going to go back to a traditional job at all.  There has been so much change in my life since Sam was born.  And yes, change is really the only constant in life.  It’s great to have a partner to face it all with .

That was what Sam was to me.

I am the woman who grew up in the City, a few blocks from where her parents grew up in the City, which was not to far away from where their parents grew up in the City.  The City is in my blood, and I was never ever going to leave it.  I am the woman who was adamant that she would never have children.  And even if the unthinkable happened and I did somehow procreate (because too, I was never getting married) you could be damn sure I was not going to be staying home with the little ankle biters!

And yet: here I sit, in the middle of the afternoon, on a typical work day, at my kitchen table in the suburbs.

I became this woman with Sam.  He regularly tells me, “You are the super, awesomest, most best Mom ever!”  Hourly he tells me that he loves me.  Every night before he goes to bed he asks, “Momma, what are we going to do tomorrow?”

Last night he asked that question, and I said, “You’re going to school tomorrow, Sam!”  He looked at me and I swear he realized that our time together – just the two of us, facing the world – was over.

I was giving him a kiss before I went to bed (note I did not say “went to sleep” because who are you kidding?) tears sprang to my eyes and I thought, “This is his last night as a preschooler…”  So while he is so ready for school, and I am so ready for him to be in school (all day, every day, junior kindergarten thank you very much!), it was hard to say good bye this morning.

Waiting excitedly at the school bus stop

It’s a new start for us both, and he’s now facing his adventures on his own.  He’s ready, and I’m sure I must be too… because we always do these things together, me and Sam.

And… he’s off…

 
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Posted by on September 4, 2012 in Family, Raising Kids

 

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Awesome Moments as a Parent

This is a quickie.

About a month ago, after talking with Connor following an incident with a neighbourhood kid, we started the wheels turning on speech therapy. He’s always had a weird way of saying his “R”s; sounds almost like he has an accent. Anyway, today was the conclusion of his 4th session, and his therapist came out to tell me how amazing he is doing, and that his progress in the last week has just blown her away.

You guys… he can make his R sound… I know this may sound insignificant to many, but truly? Hearing him actually make the real-live “grrr” sound? It moved me to tears. In fact, I am still crying about it…

It amazes me the capacity for growth and learning that children have. In fact, I think I’m going to start to emulate that a bit.

 
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Posted by on June 25, 2012 in Family, Raising Kids, Randomness

 

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Starting School Worries

As you probably know, I have a preschooler, who is soon-to-be a kindergartener (YAY!!).  And while September is really a ways off, I’ve been spending time over the last several months thinking about how to prepare him for school.

We’ve attended programs run by the Early Years Centre which happen in the school that Sam will attend.  We’ve take advantage of the programs run at the library too.  We read at lot at home, we sing, we even attend music programs that the EYC runs too.  He started occasional daycare in the fall with a woman in our neighbourhood, so he would get used to the idea that someone else can take care of him for part of the day and that I will always come to get him when the day is over.

He knows his colours, he sings the alphabet, he can easily count to 10 without error, and stumbles his way up to 20.  He can even count backwards; easily from 5, and with some struggle from 10.

The thing is, if you point to a block or something and ask him, “What colour is this?” he will answer, but it won’t be right.  The block might be yellow, but he’ll say it’s orange.  And while he can see A B C D stamped on the side of a playground structure and say, “Hey!  It’s the ABCD’s,” and launch into song, he cannot look at a single letter and recognize it.  He can count, but has no number recognition.

And don’t even get me started on writing his letters…  We’re working on concepts like holding the writing instrument (crayon, pencil, marker, pen, whatever he chooses) in the correct position.  He doesn’t like it, but he can do it.  But then: ask him to outline a pre-drawn letter?  You may as well cut off his arm.

Yes, I know you don’t start from nothing and go to letter tracing.  We have lots of sheets where you connect the dots to make straight lines, or boxes, or triangles or whatever.  He did that activity ONCE.  Every time I have suggested it since he has forcibly declined.  The one thing that’s been drilled into my head by Connor’s teachers is that learning at home must stay fun.  Do not force the child to do what the child does not want to do.  Tears, yelling, temper-tantrums should not be a factor in learning at home.  The Special Education Advisor who has worked with Connor stresses that the hard work should be done at school, so that home continues to be a safe place to explore concepts.  It is because of this that I do not force the issue with Sam.

Thing is… this causes me stress.  I have no facts to back up this opinion, but I believe that the majority of Sam’s classmates will have spent a significant portion of their toddler & preschool years in daycare.  When Connor was in daycare, they worked with him on writing his letters (he could write his name before he started school), number & letter recognition, and hell — they even helped him learn to colour inside the lines!  Sam can do none of these things.  No, not even colour within the lines.  He acts as though to do so would affect his creativity; “I will not be confined by your LINES, Mother.”

So my expectation is that come September, Sam will start school (full day, thank you GOD) with a classroom full of peers who can write and read their own names, write and recognize letters of the alphabet, and their numbers too.  Sam can verbally spell his name, and like I said earlier, he can say the alphabet and count…  but he can’t read or write.

I worry that I have not set him up for success.  Isn’t that my job as a parent?  To make sure my kids are equipped to face the challenges the world throws at them?  How can I get him to where he should be come September, while respecting the “fun learning at home” rule?

No seriously: I’m asking for your advice.  PLEASE HELP ME!

 
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Posted by on June 14, 2012 in Family, Raising Kids

 

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I feel like I *must* have something to say…

Every now and then I see a posting on blogs that I read regularly where the topic is basically, “I want to be writing but I have no idea what to write about.”  Those entries always make me smile.

That is, until I experienced my own bout of it.

Never having been through this before, I have no idea what to do to break the streak.  All I can think to do it just write a post full of randomness.  I’m sure it’s not going to be enlightening or riviteing – for either you or me, frankly – but maybe just the act of writing will get my juices flowing again.  So here goes nothing.

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MOMD is a Newfoundlander.  His parents mailing address is on “The Rock”, in a small town called Fox Trap, on the outskirts of St John’s.  Like so many Newfoundlanders, his parents are working in Fort McMoneyMurray in the oil sands.  They work 2 weeks on, 2 weeks off and fly home for their 2 weeks off.  It works for them, because they are on the same rotation and so spend the majority of their 2 weeks off together.

Last night, MOMD took a call from his Dad’s cell phone.  Turns out that while he should have been happily arriving at his lovely home with his loving wife sometime after supper, he was in fact trapped in a hotel in Toronto.  His flight left Alberta on schedule, made a stop in Red Deer, Newfoundland and was on it’s way to St John’s when the fog rolled in.  The plane was not cleared to land.  And so, instead of going to either of the other 2 airports on the island, or any of the airports in the Maritime provinces, he was re-routed to Toronto.

We talked to him this morning and he has been scheduled to get on a 10:00 flight this morning, flying to Halifax, then to Gander, and then to St John’s.  Needless to say, he is not at all happy given that he paid for a direct flight.  There is a 9:00 flight that he’s trying to make it on which is a direct, non-stop to St John’s.

What gives with Air Canada, huh?  The worst part though is that by the time he actually makes it home, my Mother-in-Law will be halfway through her first week of her 2 week break.

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My darling daughter will be delivered in just 29 days today.  Unless – as many have pointed out – she decides to make an early entrance.  Which she may, and once I make it to 35 weeks (that’s Saturday, if you’re keeping track), I will happily greet her before then.  I don’t have words to describe my excitement about meeting her. I’ve been talking to her, interacting with her and her spirit for some time now, and I simply cannot wait to see her, hold her, kiss her… and dress her!!

Every morning, Sam (my almost 4 year old) asks me, “Mommy, what did you dream about?”  Usually my answer is “I don’t remember, honey.”  Because I really have a hard time hanging on to my dreams once I’m awake.  This morning though…  this morning I remembered.  I dreamed of her face.  Not her infant face – I think she was 2 or 3 years old.  And in my dream, I clearly saw her dark hair – like mine, which neither of our sons have – and her eyes.  I saw her beautiful, smiling, compassionate sparkling eyes…  I was entranced.  I could have stayed in that dream for 8 more hours, which is really a relief.  Because (as I wrote about here) the eyes I saw are my brother’s eyes.  They are also my Mom’s eyes, and her Mom’s eyes; a legacy of the Kelly-Keenan family.  As it turns out, I’m really okay with her having his (really their) eyes.  In fact, I feel giddy and strangely honoured that she will carry on that legacy of her Irish roots.

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A friend of mine returned to work this Monday after the end of her 12-month maternity leave.  I wanted to get together with her last week, for one last hurrah, but the craziness took hold and it was impossible.  She works shift work at Mount Sinai and I don’t know when we will have a chance to see each other again.  This makes my heart a little sad.  I know that when things settle down a bit, I can call her and figure out scheduling; I just wish I had called her last week is all.

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Life is moving forward.  I am not in control of many of it’s events; none of us are.  We are in the “flow of life,” as I like to call it.  We can get a paddle and speed up the journey, racing all the way to the end; we can watch behind us and spend all of our time pining for what has passed; or we can sit on the bench with a delicious, refreshing drink, enjoying each moment as they happen.

“C’mon Mom! Let’s go!”

Yes, let’s go.

 
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Posted by on June 6, 2012 in Randomness

 

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Doing Less to be Better

So yesterday I shared with you about my recent pregnancy-related scare.  Today when I woke up, I started thinking about what I could do today to maximize my “sitting down” time, thus taking it easier*.  MOMD came into the room to say good-bye to me at 6:40, telling me that the weather man was promising rain, rain, with rainy periods.  With that cheery news he kissed me goodbye, and suddenly I had the first thought of how to maximize “sitting down” time.

Connor would take himself to the bus stop!

This isn’t the first time he’s done that, there have been instances over this past year where it’s been prudent for us not to go with him.  Today though, today it felt different.  When I told him that we (Sam, the dog and I) would not be going with him, he asked why.  I reminded him that I’m not feeling my best these days, with the baby and all, and he got a concerned look on his face.  This wise old voice came out of him and just said, “Oh.”

MOMD & I have created a fairly transparent family.  When we are having issues or emotions – dare I say fighting? – we experience the moment exactly where we are.  We do not remove ourselves to another room to have “adult discussions”, we do not remove ourselves to resolve the issue either.  I read somewhere once that while it is distressing for children to witness their parents arguing, it is more problematic when they don’t see it, and even more troublesome when they do not get to witness the resolution.  Children learn that it’s okay to argue, and how to resolve disagreements when they happen, by watching their parents.  This resonated for us, and we strive to practice it.

Anyway — so we’re transparent.  Which means that Connor and Sam are both aware (as aware as an 8yo and an almost 4yo can be) that this has not been a great time for me.  They know I’m tired, that I’m hurting, that I’ve been sick, that I can’t always do all the fun things I like to do with them.  So it wasn’t really a shock to Connor I’m sure when I said that we weren’t going to go.  And too, it’s not that he’s not ready for the independence – he totally is.  In fact he craves it.  The look in his eyes this morning though…  the concern that flashed across his face…  In that moment, I felt awful.

I felt like his face was saying, “Another thing you can’t do?  Oh Mom…”  I felt like I was letting him down, robbing him of those few moments where I was his parent in the morning.  Those final moments where I was caring for him – even from a distance.  I felt like he was sad to be dropped from my list of things to do.  I said, “I’m sorry buddy… there are going to be a lot of things that I just can’t do in the next few weeks until the baby comes.”

He nodded his head, telling me that he understood.  And when we went to the door to see him off, I knew he did.  “So Mom – can I take myself to the stop every day from now on,” a big grin on his face?  Sure you can buddy, sure you can…

*May I just say how ridiculous it feels to me to say “taking it easier”?  I mean, what do I do all day?  I take Sam to the park or the drop-in centre, or his Early Years Centre programs; sometimes we run errands; mostly though I’m sitting on the couch or at the kitchen table surfing the web!

 
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Posted by on June 1, 2012 in Raising Kids, Sickness/Wellness

 

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