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Monday, January 31, 2011

Sleep Training.

My advice to a mom of a 8 month old that wakes up every two hours and is at the end of her rope..

The thing is that some babies can be "trained" by No-Cry, or Shush-Pat, or whatever...but some just can't. You either get a good sleeper or you don't. What is more important is for you to get some coping techniques.

My eldest STILL doesnt sleep though the night and he is 5. (he stopped napping at 15mos as well.)

I would suggest going to bed with him so that you get *some* sleep before that first wake up, and if you leave the lights off he may just dream feed and go back to sleep. I know, it sucks! But when we choose to parent the way that we do, alone/adult time becomes part of the sacrifice.

I also found that the *more* I stressed about sleep the *less* my kids will sleep. It's almost murphys law. If I took a couple days and said, I will just go with it, my kids would not *feel* me trying to pull away and they would become more secure and then let me have more freedom.

Does that make sense?

Our kids can feel when we want space, and feel resentment, and they get scared and insecure so they *latch on* (pun intended) even more.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Younger and Wiser?

I was just looking at a bunch of my favourite Bloggers the other day PhD in Parenting, CodeName Mama, The Feminist Breeder and Christie Haskell on the Stir. All pretty much blog about my "type" of parenting. I think their blogs are wonderfully informative and I forward them often to friends on Facebook.

I was noticing today, as they have all posted about their own families recently, that not one of them has a child *over* 6. (PhD in Parenting's son is the oldest and born in 2004)

What is up with that?

It's a theme that has been following me for a while and just now rearing it's ugly head in my Blogreel. My child is older than the children of a lot of the parents that I go to for advice.
I really don;t think that this is intentional...I follow blogs because I am a techy. I have had this particular blog since I was pregnant with my first (way back in 2004/2005) because I was looking for somewhere that I could share the milestones of pregnancy with friends (since I was the first to get preggo - well... second).

Some would say that maybe it is because Blogging is so new. Well, that is kinda true but there are bloggers of teenagers out there..they just don't blog about "parenting" and more about "life" or school/food/crafts/cakes/etc. etc.

Others would say that it is because "Attachment Parenting" or "instinctual parenting" or what ever you want to call it, is new....and it really isnt. Dr.Sears came out with his first books in the late 70's early 80's...and my own mother breastfed and co-slept with ALL her kids until they were 2. (not to mention sharing feelings, gentle discipline...the whole deal (pssst. she was also a TEEN mom - does that shock you?! :P )

I feel that when I read these posts of my favourite bloggers I get more of a sense of validation...that yes, I have been saying that all along, or hey, I blogged about that 3 years ago, or just wait until your child is 4....

What I would love is to read a blog by a mother who parents like I do, but has children that are OLDER than mine. I want to see what she would have done *differently* so that I can maybe change some of the things that I do in my life.

When everyone is going through the same thing, it is great to commiserate, but you don't learn as much as listening to someone who has already *been* at that stage and survived to tell the tale.

What do you think? Do you follow any "AP" blogs that feature parents who have older kids????

Monday, January 24, 2011

Great Apps for Preschoolers

While many parents will shy away from technology I have fully embraced it for me and my kids. We are all apple users. A year ago I got a MacBook Pro for Christmas from my hubby and with the purchase we got a free iPod Touch. It kind of sat dormant in the car until one day I was searching "Transformer" Apps out of curiosity and then both me and my 5 year old son have been hooked!

Many parents wonder what are some Apps that are appropriate for kids, so I have put together a list of all the Apps that my children (preschoolers) love!

Angry birds - Who doesn't love this App? It is incredibly easy to navigate and it teaches physics at the same time. While my son just loads the slingshot and fires without much thought...he loves to see the buildings crash to the ground. He also passes some levels that I get stuck on, because he just doesn't stop firing!

Animatch - A matching game. I am not a huge fan of the matching games but my kids love them. This one is more for the 5 year old and not the 3 year old as the little one just gets frustrated. The cool part about this App is that when you press on a tile it makes the sound that the animal makes so not only are you using visual learning, but audio as well. (and kinaesthetic if you attribute that to the tap screen.)

Glow free - These are kind of like old school "paint" for windows. You just pick a colour and drag it across the screen. Both boys like this App. Easy, easy to use.

Fire Lite - This is a really cool App. It is just like the "paint" above but it is with fire. The kids can make it glow and get hotter and change the direction of the flame. Even I like this one!

Zoola - This is a great App for the under 5 set. (yes I let my 3 year old play too!) This App. has 3 screens with 12 animals each. Farm, safari and forest. The child presses one of the animals and it lets you see/hear how to say it's name and what it sounds like (male, female and baby). I really like this one, and my 3 year old does too! It is a really easy to use App. and great for teaching the little ones how an iPod/iPhone works.

Planets - This App. isn't really for kids but it is a Free App. and you can't go wrong with Free! It actually shows you all the constellations and the way that the planets look in 3D. My kids don't understand this one as much but they like to look at Earth and Venus and se how alike they are and it leads to many different conversations about space!

Cute Math - Exactly like it says...cute! This is another Free App. so the quality isn't that great (picture wise) but the idea is there, and I don't think the kids notice that the graphics are not outstanding. Kids are told how many melons or apples they are supposed to collect and then drag them to the basket. They also do easy adding and subtracting. A little early for my particular kids, but you can never start math too early in my opinion. :)

Feed Me (french) - This is another great Free App. that teaches kids french. (Although I wish I understood it!) Oh, well....exposure to another language is good...right?

Lekar - This App. is made by IKEA, which I think is awesome. IKEA is known for being an innovative company and this App. is no exception. It's whole premise is to get you up and active with your kids, and I love that!!

Animals Lite - This is a letter/word recognition game where the child drags the letters into the right spots to make a word. Each letter says it's name and when they are strung together properly they hear what the word says. This one is more for 4-6year olds.

Tales 2 Go - I just downloaded this App. as they had a free trial. It is basically stories for different age groups. My kids don't love this one as much as Angry Birds or Make a Martian, but they do use it and sit quietly for the amount of time it takes for the story to finish...which is a win in my books!

Word Wiggler - What starts with this letter, etc. This App. is great for learning letter recognition. Both my boys love this App. and it is super easy to navigate for the 3 year old which is awesome. I like how they will play this one together, the older one telling the younger which is right!

Make A Martian - The kids LOVE this one, and who wouldn't? Super easy to use for both the kids and this is the one that they fight over... (need a new iPod it seems). The basic premise is that the kids click different eyes, ears and tentacles among other things! I really recommend this one.

And lastly, the App. that started it all.

Cybertoy Free - Or so it says! This App. is smart because each transformer costs .99c and of course the kids want everyone. I do like that they can transform the cars with a swipe of a finger and that there is an option for Bumblebee to bust a move, but otherwise this is the App. that I load when I need that 15 mins of peace.

Do you have any favourites? Leave your suggestions in comments.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Screw the Books

As some of you may know I have been in this parenting journey for 5 years. Funny enough 5 years seems like a lifetime. Working with parents I am exposed to a lot of mommy judgement, not directed at me in particular but listening to moms conversations when I am setting up or taking down a class, trade fair, event etc.

And every single year new moms put their feet so far up their butts it is not even funny. They talk and gossip about how so-and -so and her kid is so this or so that. How the kid will be messed up, and how they will NEVER do that....

I know, I know! I did it too!! This is the sad part. We are so disconnected with our community that we don't even know it!! Imagine if you became friends with moms before you were pregnant...if we had an opportunity to learn rather than judge?

When I had my first son I had to run into a local baby store to grab a soother clip or something and left him in the car with my husband...he was 3 0r 4 months old. In the store there were these two moms having a conversation, one was holding her baby and the other had her (7 to 9 month old) baby sitting/crawling on the floor.
I can't tell you how disgusted I was. I mean that baby was on the dirty store floor!!! Gross.....laughable isnt it?!

My children would NEVER go on a gross floor like that....oh yes they would! And later when I had my third he would eat cheerios of said gross floor if it meant I could make a purchase with both hands!

The Feminist Breeder wrote a post recently about this phenomena. It's so true, each generation of mothers sits upon her high horse if only for a moment to be kicked off by her kid...maybe not kid #1, or #2 but at some point she will.

Reading every parenting book and following every class and doing everything that the "experts" say will NOT make your kids any less fucked up than they are going to be. It will just make you feel more depressed that you are doing it all *wrong*.


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Impossible Passport Photos

We would like to take a holiday into the states later this year to visit family. We thought that we would drive since we really don't want to have to deal with any of the TSA drama that has been unfolding in the last couple months.

We also thought that it may be a good experiment to either A. See how insane we really are. or B. See if we can make it as far as it will take us to the cottage in the summer, and C. If we can make it there without killing ourselves, the kids or eachother (all in the figurate sense of course!)

So the trip (driving) is going to take us a minimum of 3 days. We know that to be realistic that it will probably take closer to 4 because we have 3 small children and a dog that will probably need to pee just as mush as the children maybe 4 days isn't even realistic....hmmmm......

Anyway, because we are leaving our beautiful but COLD country and decided to go down to the warmer parts of the U.S of A. we needed to get passports. However, getting passport photos for 3 children under the age of 5 is a journey all in itself.

First of all they want your children to look straight on into the camera so that they can see *both* of their ears. This is almost impossible as kids look everywhere BUT where you tell them to. Second their mouths must be after you spend YEARS trying to get them to smile at the camera you are now telling them NOT to.

My five year old would not look at the camera even with bribing him to. I tried to no avail to get him to look straight, no smile, chin up, look straight, chin up....straight!!!! It was so frustrating. So finally after we got his picture done and on to the next kid to do this all over, the photog told's too dark!!!

We finally got all the pics done after 45 mins (no joke) of pleading, threatening, and bribing....and still have to see if the passport office will make us do it again.


What are your tips for getting passport pictures done with children?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Pass the Vegetables Please

My son is a vegetarian. He refuses to eat anything that ever had a heart beat. The rest of our family is about 75 - 80% vegetarian depending on the week. Ever since I had my first son I have been trying to eat more local, sustainable and in season. I have many friends who are vegetarian, vegan and the like, but I have never been able to fully commit myself. (it's the sushi and the lamb).

At first I thought that my son was just an incredibly picky eater. He was only 3 years old. He just didn't like the way chicken tasted...or beef...or lamb...or fish....hmmm. I tried him on Tofu expecting him to turn his nose up at it, I mean even some grown ADULTS turn their nose up to tofu. But no, he gobbled up his whole plate and asked for seconds and thirds!!

I tried to bribe him with chicken nuggets and fish and chips. He wouldn't have any of it. More carrots he would ask, more sweet potatoes, more peas. I finally resigned myself to the fact that my 5 year old can make some decisions all by himself.

He loves Edaname. Can't get enough noodles and loves to eat gnocchi. Veggie Potstickers, spring rolls, and of course peanut butter sandwiches. There isn't too many veggies that he doesn't like apart from mushrooms and black beans.

I used to try and fight it, because lets face it, vegetarian is a better/healthier option...but for a busy mom of 3 sometimes it's easier to get drive thru Swiss Chalet.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Freak of Nature.

When I would go out with my first I would secretly hope that people would look at me and think how cute my baby was. I really did. I loved getting those smiles that people give you when they see you with your first baby. Of course, they could have been secretly thinking, "hahaha! She doesn't know what she is in for!" But, I think for the most part people just like seeing babies.

After I became pregnant with my second, I would hope the same. I would hold my 2/3 year olds hand and then have the baby in my carrier of choice. We would walk and people would say, "oh, what sweet boys you have..." I really enjoyed just going out with the two of them and walking wherever we needed to go, taking our time and being our silly selves.

I didn't think that it would change. As my brood got bigger I thought that people would still give me that smile and say how precious my kids were. They didn't change, so why would I think that the interaction with people would?

But it did. I wrote about it in this post and this post. It were these outings that made me feel like a freak of nature with all of my kids. And the sad thing is that I only have 3. Many people I know have 4 or even more. I dread going out with them. I feel like everyone is looking at me, and maybe it is all in my head, but I can't handle the judgement. I just don't have the confidence to put up with it.

Sometimes I get the nerve to try go out again with all 3 because I need something that can't wait until the husband comes home. But inevitably every time that I do, fate steps in and shows me that I am a fool to think that anything should really go my way.

For example. We went to the grocery store (ahh the grocery store land of judgement galore) and I had both my kids in the "car cart" and the baby in the wrap (tied loosely because he was nursing). The 3 year old started acting out and standing on his seat, I warned him that I was going to buckle him in..he ignored me. So I calmly leaned over and put the strap on...the baby started fussing because he was being compressed by me bending over (but it would take a SECOND to snap the strap and we could go) and all of a sudden this old lady (70's) came over yelling, "HIS HEAD!! HIS HEAD!! YOU ARE SQUISHING THE BABY'S HEAD!!!" and I was...a bit...(it really wasnt that bad.)

Anyway, the WHOLE aisle then decided to look at this freak wearing this long piece of cloth tied to her squishing her baby, and her two other children crying and whining.....I wanted to crawl in a hole...I thanked the lady, said he was fine, and left.

I go to that particular store often, and feel sad that it's things like that which make me afraid to go out.

It's almost like I feel ashamed to have 3 children. When I am around my friends I don't as like I said, many of us have more than one...but when in public and I have one child holding my left hand, and one child holding my right, and then the baby on the front, it just makes me feel uncomfortable.

ps. the picture is from Demi Bella which I am totally ordering from!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Barely Making It? Change it up.

I have talked before how it irritates me when people say "I don't know how you do it" in regards to single parenting 85% of the time. My response is always "Not well!" Today was sure one of those examples!

My lovely sister came over last night to watch my children for me so that I could go on a much needed Moms Night Out. (which I enjoyed immensely) When I came home we decided to stay up and have some girl time. I stayed up WAY too late! 2 am is not okay for moms of 3 kids. I felt sick in the morning. (and I didn't get my latte, so that makes me grouchy as well). She helped me put together some furniture (IKEA), and then went back to her life...and I back to mine.

There is something about lack of sleep and lack of latte that makes children's fighting and whining that much more hard to take, and makes me a much worse parent. I was yelling and screaming and sending kids to their rooms because *I* was having the tantrum.

It's interesting how just that little bit of extra sleep can really change the tone of the day. Also, how when I lose control it just reinforces the behaviours that I don't really like to see in them...but they are just copying the way that I react when I am having a tough go.

Weekends have always been the toughest in any case because being alone with no adult interaction really drains on me. But I have said this before. I really feel that being a parent that tries to be present and aware of my kids feelings etc, sets me up for a little bit more failure because the expectations of my self are much higher than they could be.

I try not to speed through the day because I don't want to rush through their childhood, so I decided instead to sign them both up for a class. It's a sports class right in the middle of the day. So we get out, change the routine and make the day better.

After our class we visited Starbucks and got hot chocolates, and my latte... we then came home and watched a movie together, dinner then bedtime....and the hope that tomorrow will be much better! :)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Confessions of a Lazy Mom

As of late I have seen many different blog posts and Facebook statuses of moms telling WHY they choose to do something one way or the other way. A lot of these posts pertain to the AP or "attachment parenting" way, or as it is now being called "instinctual", "intuitive" or "natural" way of raising children.
What gets my goat up is when these mommy bloggers extoll the virtues of their way, or that it is the "best" way of raising children....not that it is just a different way. I don't understand why they have to "defend" their position.
So, I have decided to come out of the closet and tell you how I started to "AP". It's because I am the laziest parent you will ever meet.

Breastfeeding : Which is easier?
1. Popping a boob into the mouth of a hungry 4 month old and going back to sleep, or
2. going to the store, finding formula, buying the right bottles,
sterilizing said bottles, walking down the hallway at 4am to mix the formula, feed the
baby, burb the baby and then have to wash the bottles and start all over again?

Having said all that, I did have to use bottles and formula for my first born as we had an uphill battle with establishing nursing for the first 6 months, but I can tell you that while nursing my 2nd and 3rd with no issues Breastfeeding is the easier choice. Convenient, less work, and way way more sleep.

CoSleeping/Bed Sharing : Which is easier?
1. Laying down with the baby when you get tired and nursing them to sleep and falling asleep yourself, and when they wake up, pulling them close and popping said boob...or
2. Rocking, shushing, bouncing, nursing, to sleep, trying to transfer, having them wake up 20 mins later to start all over again, waking in the middle of the night, having to get out of bed and walk down the hallway to get the baby to sleep and then come back to your own bed exhaused to start all over again an hour later?

I absolutely started bedsharing with my kids because I did not want to have to walk down the hallway and go and get them. It was so much easier for me just to roll over, comfort them and go back to sleep. Sure there is a safe way of cosleeping and of course I need to highlight it, and funny enough people who do feed children formula should not...but for me and the fact that I was nursing through the night, it saved me HOURS of sleep. This was not at all about lowering the risk of SIDS, about regulating body temperature, or for was all because I am way to lazy to get out of bed in the middle of the night.

Babywearing: Which is easier?
1. Having a baby content and sleeping on you or
2. Holding your baby all day until your arms feel like they are going to drop off, or trying to get the baby calm and then putting them down, only to have them cry and have to pick them up and do this over and over and over again, or have to buy so many batteries for all the devices that they now make to give us some reprieve for our sore arms?

I think I became a babywearer the first time I tried to pee while holding my son. It's true. He had fallen asleep while nursing and I didnt want him to wake up when I tried to transfer him so I thought, how hard can it be to pee holding something that weighs 10lbs? HARD. Getting my pants around my ankles wasn't the hard part, it was pulling them back up...with one hand...and dont even get me started on the button. I know, I know, too much information...but seriously, it was the hardest thing ever. Put that baby in a wrap however (mind the tails) and you can do ANYTHING! Anything. With two hands the possibilities are endless!! You can eat steak!! You can cut it yourself!! (I also babywear with wraps because they are cute...but that is another blog post.)

There are many more things that I do because of my laziness...but that is for another day. (the kids are bugging me to play!!) :)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A New Year - A New Outlook

I have been feeling extremely burnt out with the husband being away so often that it is spilling into all aspects of my life. I feel that I am a grouchy friend, a grouchy mom, and just pessimistic in general.
I have decided that every time that I feel the urge to post a whiny status update on Facebook I will write about something that I feel grateful for instead. It will be a stretch but I am sure that I will be able to turn my pessimistic attitude around.
For the most part it comes from having to be a single parent for more than half of the year with little to no support. I find it interesting that people always wonder "How do I do it" and the sad truth is that I don't have a choice...what else are we going to do? This recession has hit us just as hard as it has hit anyone we truck on.
It's not the taking care of the kids that puts me in a bad mood, because for the most part my kids are pretty awesome. They like each other and play really nicely, they listen and are a joy to be around...we have our moments, but what parent doesn't?
It's AFTER the kids go to bed. When I am all alone with no one to talk to about my day. I came from a family of 6, there was always someone around to just BE around. To talk to, or not talk to...but they were there. Now my family is Facebook or A&E.
It's so easy to get sucked into the computer and chat with people but I am feeling a massive lack of community. Maybe I am the type of person who just needs more - who knows? But I am going to try and look on the bright side, do more things than the computer and TV....and get a life.
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