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Joe and I were friends before we dated. (Actually we started our relationship when he was my pseudo-boss who hired me on at the paper where he was editor in chief and I was production manager and we both technically worked for the board but he signed my cheques… it was complicated).

As the year went on, and we spent more late nights together in the office trying to get the paper out at a decent hour, as we talked more and laughed more, we became friends. As we got closer we hugged a lot. Hugging it out was a thing we did in our office, also dance parties and sissy slap fights and a lot of other things that were okay in a university newspaper setting but wouldn’t really be anywhere else…

(Although my current office setting is not entirely dissimilar).

Joe is a very good hugger. It might have been one of the things that drew me closer to him, frankly. That and the fact that he gives a great shoulder massage.

A few months after we started dating I learned why Joe was such a good hugger when I went to his cousin’s wedding and met almost his entire family. These people hug A LOT.

I mean, I hug my mom, I have hugged my sister, some of my cousins do the hug and double kiss thing, but my grandfather? Not a big hugger. My dad? Nope. I was just meeting these people for the first time and every single one of them hugged me when they said hello.

So it really should come as no surprise that the highlight of my day these days is when Joe suggests to our little Miss M that she should give mommy an attack hug. This suggestion result in her running across the room, laughing hysterically, and squeezing my legs in a great big baby girl hug. She loves to hug, and she really loves to hug me, and she learned from one of the best.

Tonight, a few hours after she had fallen asleep, she started fussing. I went into her room and picked her up and sat in the rocker and got a great big cuddly hug. Her little arms wrapped around my neck, her legs wrapped around my waist. That is the best gift I could ask for on a day when I’m having a hard time.

Daddy’s girl

July 29th, 2011 | Posted by Amy Boughner in Parenting - (Comments Off on Daddy’s girl)

The first time I remember saying the phrase ‘mom and dad’ I was a teenager. It was in relation to something to do with my sister, a graduation or ceremony of some sort, and I paused as soon as the words came out of my mouth. It sounded odd.

My parents separated when I was 3 years old. Until my sister’s university graduation I don’t think I saw them in a room together talking politely. I do remember coming home from school one day and finding them talking on our front porch. We lived around the corner from him and I guess he had just happened by while she waited for us.

We saw my father a handful of times a year when I was growing up. He travelled constantly for work – still does, often. We didn’t see him regularly until we started going to hockey games together when I was 15. Even though I didn’t see a lot of my father, I was lucky enough to have a great parenting team: My mother and my maternal grandparents. If there is a greater father than my grandfather I haven’t met him.

It was very important to me that my children, should I decide to have any, would have a great dad, and also that they would have great parents. But the fear that I wouldn’t be a good parent made me think twice and three times. Until I met Joe. Joe had always known he wanted a family. He always wanted to be a dad, and I decided I would be okay as a mom with him by my side.

I have a daughter now, and I want her to be the ‘Daddy’s girl’ that I always wanted to be. I can envision a few years from now – they’ll go out sledding or skating and I’ll be at home with the hot chocolate. He will be wrapped around her little finger – even more than he is now and I will love every minute.

————

I was lucky enough to grow up with my parents together – in fact, they just passed their 39th anniversary and they’re still as in love as they’ve always been. So the whole “mom and dad” thing is as natural to me as anything else.

But what I do remember is how special it could be to have moments with just one of my parents. Especially given that I have two older siblings, I always appreciated special little moments and traditions with one my parents.

So yes, I do look forward to my “Daddy’s girl” moments with our little one; but I’m just as excited for the “Mommy’s girl” moments too.

I feel like I’m swimming in the middle of the ocean and I have no destination. Trying not to go crazy.

I’m anxious. Things can make me teary out of nowhere. Thoughts fly in and out of my head. I forget things.

I’m gradually working me way through things I want and have to do. I’m trying to exercise, trying to sleep, trying not to slip back into my old habits.

I’m trying to be a good parent, trying not to give in to a toddlers minute to minute wants, trying to deal with the tantrums as they come.

I’m trying to remind myself to eat, and to choose carefully. I’m trying not to slip away into my own little world of sitting on the couch, watching television and surfing the internet just to do something.

I have a pile of books to read, I have knitting to do, I have things I want to write, projects I want to take on.

Is it just being overwhelmed? Maybe. Is it a little bit of overwhelmed, plus exhausted, plus stressed and sad and anxious and muddled and muddy?

I don’t feel healthy. I’ve been eating better, cutting the bad things out most of the time. I’ve been making better decisions. I’ve been getting exercise, improving my fitness. I have been keeping myself occupied. I still feel wrong.

Maybe it’s all the stress of work and a toddler and trying to make big changes all at once, and trying to take on too many projects. Maybe. But I feel as if I’m doing something all the time and I’m never doing enough. I’m failing.

Maybe this is just what the life of a working mother is, but I can’t imagine giving up either job. There isn’t much that I’m willing to let go of right now.

I keep thinking it will get easier – it will get easier after the campaign, after my trip to Vancouver, after Joe’s work travel, after my mother’s visit, when everything at work becomes more clear, it will get easier when…

But then something else always comes up. Always.

So if something else is always going to throw a wrench in our day to day “easy” then it’s always going to be this hard, isn’t it?

And if it’s always this hard, and this is leaving me in tears for no reason on a regular afternoon, going to be at 8:30 at night, if that’s what life is, what can I do?

Because I am not okay.

I’ve been following Lara and Sara, and now Vicky while they post their lists of things they need to accomplish, things they’ve been meaning to accomplish for a while. I have a list, and it would be great to have some place to track it, update it and to put things as I remember them, so here we are. Not all of these are of major importance and I will be adding more as I go along (and some of things are things that I’m reminding Joe to do):

Fix up the bikes so we can actually ride this summer

Get a ticket for the Social Capital Conference

Arrange a date night (with babysitter)

Organize a book swap in Ottawa – July 31 at the Elmdale Tavern, 2-5 pm

See Harry Potter

Weed the garden (started by Joe)

Knit a shawl for my mother (in progress)

Knit a sweater for Joe (in progress, but barely)

Go to a FatCats game

Find a fall activity for the kid – waiting for the city’s fall activity guide Looks like we might register her in Indoor Soccer and Skating lessons, but we have to wait for January starts

Schedule a physical

Get through my at work to do list (in progress)

Back up my computer

Organize the laundry room

Organize the storage

Hold a garage sale – Harass Lara about a kid’s sale

Organize the kid’s wardrobe and figure out what she needs

Check the air pressure in the tires

Schedule the facial to use my Groupon

Make brunch reservations at Le Cafe to use our LivingSocial deal

Renew Joe’s passport

Learn more about Google+

Change my LinkedIn profile picture

 Actually do something on my Pinterest ‘Things to Make board
 
Get the car serviced
 
Potty train the monkey – in progress
 
Check out Teksavvy
 
Go to the Running Room to check out new shoes
 
Attend at least one of the Capital City Derby Dolls’ open houses
 
ETA – Throwing in my post-campaign, 2010-2011 goals:

My main goal for 2011 is figuring out the easiest ways to get everything done.

I need easy ways to make small changes.

My other goals for 2011 include:

  • Hitting 175 lbs – and then to keep going

I took my measurements, I weighed myself, I need to push this goal and I need to keep going.

  • Being able to make it all the way to my 10th floor office on the stairs

Turns out I could already do this, I just had to push myself a little more. I was at a point when I was taking the stairs once a day, sometimes twice, just for exercise, and I made it every time, even if I did get a bit winded. Now we’re moving to the third floor so there’s no excuse for me not to skip the elevator every day and maybe even start jogging upstairs.

  • Consistently having a meal plan so that the whole family is eating healthy food

We go back and forth on this one, sometimes we’re awesome and sometimes we blow it, so consistency is what needs to improve.

  • Continue to test my knitting skills in my project choices

I finished a dress for Miss M and I have started a shawl for my mother – her requested Christmas gift. The shawl is not challenging in pattern, but I can’t let myself get bored and cast off early like I have in the past.

  • Make my way through my ‘to read’ pile (my ever-expanding ‘to-read’ pile)

I finished Let the Great World Spin and another book  called Case Histories, which turned out to be the first of a series and expanded my to-read list even more, but I have a nice reminder that I love to read.

  • Build up my profile at work

Things are ever-changing here right now, and so I continue to do what I can do to help.

  • Keep blogging, keep tweeting, maintain my connections

I attended SoCapOtt and go to meet more people that I’ve been talking to, also had the chance to meet up with some of the friends I’ve made at a lunch for Karen’s birthday. And of course the book swap is coming up on the weekend.

  • Organize the second annual Road Hockey Showdown

Have you heard of Five Hole for Food? They were in Ottawa recently, doing what we did at the Road Hockey Showdown bigger and better.

  • Improve my French

I started training at work, and then the world went a little crazy. I’m going to have to push myself on this one.

  • I really, really need to stop biting my nails. It looks bad, it hurts, and there’s no reason for it.

Nails still looking good.  

I work for Jack.

It’s not something I generally share widely, because people judge you for your politics, but for the past four years I have put my heart and soul into my job – through House sittings, elections, conventions. Everything I have worked for has been for Jack.

Yesterday, my boss went on national TV and announced that he has a second form of cancer after battling a first successfully. Yesterday I cried at work.

This man is the strongest, healthiest, most optimistic person I have ever had the privilege of meeting. His energy is outmatched only by that of his wife, a woman I have a great deal of respect for.

Today I will be sad, scared, tomorrow I will move on and continue working for Jack.

Today I went to see Harry Potter 7.2 for the second time.

I started reading the books when I was in high school, I think I had finished the first two in time for the third to come out so I didn’t have to really wait for one until Goblet of Fire. I bought Order of the Phoenix in Saskatchewan as I drove across the country for my first real job. For Half-Blood Prince and Deathly Hallows I attended book launch parties at Tiggy Winkle’s in the Glebe at midnight.

I loved the books, I’ve read them several times. I love the movies, but I think they’re nothing without the books. And so today, while I was watching the movie with my mother and my sister, I was also unhappily listening to the family behind us. Two parents and three children that were some of the worst kind of movie patrons – talking, kicking seats, declaring their opinions on the next plot movements. My favourite part was when the mother told her kids to be quiet and then continue speaking her thoughts out loud.

It became clear that neither the children nor the parents had read the books.

I am more peeved by this than I reasonably should be. I can understand an adult choosing not to read the books, though I do think they’re missing out if they’re only seeing the movies. (Frankly, I can’t understand why someone who enjoys the movies would not read the books, which add so much to the movies, but anyway). I cannot for the life of me understand why any parent would introduce these characters to their children without reading them the books.

I was raised on books – they were a constant in my life – and I think I owe a lot to my love of reading, which is why I am passing my books on to my daughter. I plan on reading Harry Potter with her, and I tell Joe that he’ll have to read them or else he won’t be able to follow any conversations with her for a good part of her childhood.

She already has a love of books, she pulls them off her shelves and flips through them, brings them to us and asks us to read to her. She will have good language skills and a wide vocabulary, she will have a wonderful imagination and she will always have something to occupy her time.

Why would you not want to give your child that gift? Why would you miss a great opportunity like the Harry Potter series?

18 months

July 21st, 2011 | Posted by Amy Boughner in Parenting | Personal - (Comments Off on 18 months)

I took Miss M to the doctor yesterday for her 18 month check up and shots. I suspected she was doing just fine but I was curious to see how she was growing.

Since she was born at 21 inches, the kid has been pretty well off the charts in terms of height and weight and at 18 months she is 35 inches tall, which is actually just above the height of the average 2 year old. I imagine she’ll end up about 6 feet tall when all is said and done.

When we arrived at the office the receptionist gave me a checklist for her development and we got yeses on every question – she walks up and down stairs by herself, she has plenty more than five words, she can use a spoon by herself, she responds to simple instructions.

All in all she’s an amazing kid if I do say so myself.

I’m looking forward to sentences forming, continuing the journey to potty training, I want to watch her try more and more new things – I cannot wait until we can sign her up for soccer, as playing with balls and running through grass are two of her very favourite things.

I look forward to reading longer books with her, sitting down to colour with her, showing her all the things I loved when I was a kid.

I can’t believe she’s been here for a year and a half already, but I can’t believe I haven’t known her all my life.

I’ve been following Lara and Sara, and now Vicky while they post their lists of things they need to accomplish, things they’ve been meaning to accomplish for a while. I have a list, and it would be great to have some place to track it, update it and to put things as I remember them, so here we are. Not all of these are of major importance and I will be adding more as I go along (and some of things are things that I’m reminding Joe to do):

Fix up the bikes so we can actually ride this summer

Get a ticket for the Social Capital Conference

Arrange a date night (with babysitter)

Organize a book swap in Ottawa – July 31 at the Elmdale Tavern, 2-5 pm

See Harry Potter

Weed the garden (started by Joe)

Knit a shawl for my mother (in progress)

Knit a sweater for Joe (in progress, but barely)

Go to a FatCats game

Find a fall activity for the kid – waiting for the city’s fall activity guide

Schedule a physical

Get through my at work to do list (in progress)

Back up my computer

Organize the laundry room

Organize the storage

Hold a garage sale – Harass Lara about a kid’s sale

Organize the kid’s wardrobe and figure out what she needs

Check the air pressure in the tires

Schedule the facial to use my Groupon

Make brunch reservations at Le Cafe to use our LivingSocial deal

Renew Joe’s passport

Learn more about Google+

Change my LinkedIn profile picture

 Actually do something on my Pinterest ‘Things to Make board
Get the car serviced
Potty train the monkey – in progress

I’m single parenting again for a few days this week. Hate it. It’s hard to get everyone ready for the day with no one to tag team with, it’s hard to wake up to a crying baby and know it must be your turn because there isn’t anyone else.

It reminds me what my mother did for me.

This morning I got myself ready, got the baby up and fed her, got the dog out to the backyard before there were any accidents, I got my lunch made, everything was as smooth as it could be. Until I forgot her milk and snacks for day care and didn’t realize it until I was arriving at her day care and ended up late for work and nearly got side-swiped by a woman who failed to shoulder check, but that’s not what this is about.

Today as I was driving her to day care, as I looked back at her – so big in her car seat, so talkative all the time, so happy most of the time – today my heart didn’t want me to drop her off, didn’t want me to go to work, my heart wanted me to take that little girl someplace where we could sit together and play and talk and cuddle.

Today is was hard for me to drop her off. It’s not usually hard. She’s happy to be there and her provider loves having her. She’s well fed, she plays all day, she has friends. I have things to do at work that are occupying my time but that could be a great learning experience and a good tool for my coworkers. I’m taking French training for the next two weeks, which will hopefully make me comfortable enough to speak a bit at home and help her become bilingual.

We both had good days today, but for the first time in a long time my heart yearned for a day together, just the two of us, me watching her grown and play and learn and just breathing her in for a little while. She’s getting so big.

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