This morning I was on the bus and there was a mother with two girls, one of whom was having a raging tantrum because she wanted a cookie and she didn’t want to sit in the seat she’d been sitting in, and whatever else she decided was not up to par.
The mother yelled, the kid got louder, the mother got louder.
And I judged her. I thought what empty threats she was making and that’s not how I would handle such a situation.
But that’s not my kid, and I wasn’t here when it started. I wasn’t at their house when she was fighting them into their snowsuits or begging them to eat what she had given them for breakfast.
I was judging her the way I would never want to be judged while dealing with my kid.
I was being a mean mom when I should have been empathizing.
My kid is not perfect, and neither am I, and I have been mostly lucky that I have never found myself in such a public space with such a raging tantrum going on and me in charge of fixing it. This mom was having a really bad day, and it wasn’t yet 6:30 am.
For the rest of the bus ride I tried to catch her eye, give her a supportive smile, let her know that I’m sorry she’s so tired and worn out and frustrated and that I understand.
It didn’t take long before the youngest – the tantrum thrower – was laughing and singing and mom got a smile on her face, and then I got the chance to think of my little girl and the good times we share.
So rock on, fellow toddler mom, I’m sorry I leaped right to judging you. I hope your day gets better.
This weekend was a great weekend. An all around success.
After a tough Friday with close to no sleep and missing a get-together with friends I hardly seen when I’m working, this weekend set a bar for weekends future.
We both got to sleep in, we both got some great time in with the kid and things still got done around the house.
I took the kid to play in the snow at the park, got some exercise, we had a nice dinner out (thanks to Christmas gift cards). The kid got to her soccer and skating classes and is suitably tired out.
We got to watch the all stars skills competition and the game, which my lovely city was hosting, and watch our wonderful captain get the adoration he has earned in his years here.
We got some old clothes, old electronics and old toys out of the house and donated. We got our budget figured out with a new way to go forward that should leave me less stressed overall, using the tools on the lovely Gail Vaz-Oxlade’s website. I’ve been getting my exercise and having some fun with the kid.
I feel as though my mood is picking up, our plans are moving forward, and things are looking up.
It’s a good feeling.
I even successfully trimmed the kid’s bangs:
I have heard about these people (usually women) who cook for an entire day once a month and never have to worry about what to put together for dinner.
I want to be one of those women. Sadly, I have not yet been able to get my act together.
The biggest thing I think about it budget. Cooking once a month seems to mean one giant grocery bill that week. I’m sure it balances out for the month, but I’m always anxious about spending one large sum instead of multiple smaller ones.
Of course, the fact is that without having meals in our freezer we often get stuck and end up eating out when neither of us feels like cooking or we forgot to take meat out of the freezer to thaw and that gets more expensive than groceries.
I am determined to get started cooking at least a few meals for the freezer so we are scrambling or ordering in when things go wrong. Now I just need the recipes.
What recipes do you love that freeze well?
I’ve been reading the blog Buggering Crap Monkies (which I started following mostly because of the name) and she did a few posts on her life in five places, so I started thinking about that. What five places have defined my life?
1) Rather than talk about my childhood home, I have to just say Old Ottawa South – that is, the part of Ottawa between the Bank St. Bridge and the Rideau River. I lived in three different houses in Old Ottawa South, My parents bought the house on Aylmer Ave, where my Dad still lives, before I was born. They moved there because it was close to Carleton University. When my parents separated Mom moved us literally around the corner, about a minute walk from the old house, onto Seneca St. – that was the house that I loved. We lived there until I was 12 and then we moved a bit further away – maybe a 7 minute walk to the Aylmer house.
I grew up riding my bike around that neighbourhood. My friends lived there. We had Brewer Pool, Brewer Arena and Brewer Park a short walk away, I went to Hopewell PS from junior kindergarten to Grade 8. I went to pre-school at Southminster United, at Bank and Aylmer, and the librarians at the south branch (now Sunnyside Branch) knew me on sight.
Joe and I went for a walk around the neighbourhood one day and laughed at me because I had memories connected to almost everything we passed. But the fact is that I do. I barely left that neighbourhood until I started high school, except for weekly trips to the Glebe. I still don’t know my way around downtown very well. We had everything we needed, and I had visions of my kids growing up there too, but I think it’s out of our price range at the moment.
2) Belleville and Loyalist College
When I finally moved away from home I went to school in Belleville, a town of about 40,000 people two and a half hours away. I was scared to leave home, I didn’t know if I could live alone and get myself to school and handle it all. But I loved it. Belleville was a good place to live, it was big enough for me to have access to pretty much everything I needed and I love my classes and classmates. I had a wonderful two years in Belleville and got some great opportunities and memories out of my time at Loyalist.
3) Carleton University
Though Carleton is about five minutes away from Old Ottawa South, I have to consider it a whole separate experience. Though I grew up spending rather more time at the university than most kids probably do (my Dad would take us to visit his classes, I went to basketball and football games with him) and I did a high school co-op in athletics there, Carleton wasn’t really MY place until I decided to go back to school for my degree when I was 23. I decided to take Political Science because it seemed to have to most courses with descriptions that interested me.
Once I started my degree and started really finding my own way around, I got a job at the student paper. Fair to say that job changed my life forever. The Editor in Chief is now my husband and the father of my child, I still consider most of the staff I worked with my good friends, and I grew more confidence as I worked and fit in there.
I have lived in two places far away from my home, St. Paul, Alberta and Fort Frances, Ontario. Both of these places were much, much smaller than anywhere else I’ve lived, and I found myself increasingly depressed while living in both places. These were the towns in which I worked as a reporter. In Fort Frances I was specifically a sports reporter, which is what I thought I wanted. Both of these places made me reconsider everything I thought I knew about myself.
When Joe and I went too see his family in Dryden we drove down to visit Fort Frances with the kid. Joe lived there with his family until he was about nine. It’s funny how it connects us that way.
5) Parliament Hill
My mother and my grandparents used to take us to visit Parliament Hill when I was a kid. I liked the lookout behind the Peace Tower and the old bell that fell off the original buildings during a fire. I love visiting the Hill on Canada Day and being with thousands of people who love this country like I do.
When I was in third year university an email came through from the Poli Sci department, an MP’s office was looking for a volunteer. I immediately expressed my interest and felt so lucky to be able to work in one of those grand old (freezing) offices.
Little did I know I would be working for Parliament full time a little over a year later.
I have a great deal of respect for our parliament and our systems and I feel a little bit in awe whenever I go up to Centre Block. Parliament had always been a special place in my life, and now even more so.
We are now the proud parents of a two year old. She is absolutely wonderful in so many ways and I think we both love her more than we ever knew was possible. She entertains us and gives great hugs and she tells great stories and laughs and laughs.
But holy hell.
Right now we are in the “No” stage I have heard so much about. She doesn’t want to do anything the first time you ask. I have no idea where she learned that the secret to tantrums was to lie down on the floor and thrash, but she does that too.
The biggest issue for both of us right now is the constant need for Mommy. She always wants me with her. She wants me not Daddy to take her down for breakfast, she wants to come to work with me or stay home with me instead of going to daycare.
Not only is it hard on me to listen to her cry when I tell her I have to go to work by myself and she had to go to daycare, it’s also difficult for Joe who is the Daddy that is never Mommy. She’s upset when he opens her bedroom door in the morning because she’s been calling out for me.
It’s nice to be wanted, sure, but it’s really hard to be constantly wanted.
Sometimes I think it’d be easier if she was always pissed at me. But the weird/hard part is she freaks out when I get her from her room in the morning but is usually calm and loving by the time we get downstairs. One day this weekend she actually kicked and thrashed as I carried her down the stairs so I plopped her down in the living room and walked into the kitchen to make the coffee. Before I had the pot out of the coffee maker she was in giving me a hug saying “Hi daddy!”
I guess it’s like everything else when it comes to toddlers, wait an hour and she’ll be a different kid. Two weeks ago at skating she refused to even try to stand up, last week she was making her way around only needing me to hold one of her hands.
When I’m thinking rationally, I know we’ll get through. But in the midst of a meltdown it’s hard to be rational. She’s certainly not.
I got the opportunity to spend a great day with some great women last weekend and one of the projects for the day was to set goals and get specific about what you have to do to reach those goals.
Organize the next book swap
Organize a knit-in afternoon – Check it out here and join us on February 12
Potty train the monkey – in progress, and going smoothly
Get to 175 lbs
Write, whenever and wherever
Read – I added a page to the site to track the books I read through the year
Improve my French
Let my nails grow (I started biting them again at the end of December – bad and ugly)
Make bread – I used to do this when I was a kid and it was always fun, and it makes the house smell good too
I was glad to turn 30. I really was. My twenties were a bit chaotic. I start and graduated college, moved away from home four times, had two jobs that taught me what I didn’t want to do, had some bad bosses and some good ones, started and graduated university, met and married Joe, got a dog, had a baby, started a job that I thought was a short term solution that turned into a long term.
I had gone from being totally confused about my career path to trying this on for size to finding things I love to do, I had gone from being alone and assuming I would stay that way to having a husband, dog and daughter – a lovely family.
Turning 30 I still didn’t feel like a grown up, but I was happier than I had been and felt a lot more stable.
Now as I approach 31 I feel that 30 doesn’t have to be the put-together woman that we see around us. I can still be dorky and weird, I can watch terrible reality shows like Teen Mom, I can blast Linkin Park when I’m in a bad mood. I can knit on the bus while laughing out loud at the podcast I’m listening to.
At 30 I don’t have to be anything anyone else expects, I can be me like I never have been before.
This morning I had a wonderful experience with my baby girl.
She had actually slept in a bit – a rare event – and I had to go in to get her around 7 am. Her head popped up as soon as I opened the door and she asked me where her feet were. We found two feet, and two arms and two hands and shoulders.
I told her it was time to get dressed and I picked her outfit and sat on the floor with her.
After we had changed her diaper it was time to put on socks. She grabbed them off the floor, pulled the ball apart, and declared “my turn.” She wanted to try getting her socks on herself.
After trying and being unable to stretch her little sock over her toes she handed me the first sock and said it was my turn, so I took it, showed her how to stretch it over her toes and pull it up.
She took the second sock and tried to stretch it like mommy did, and then something happened that I hadn’t seen before.
She looked up at me and said “I can’t.”
“Yes you can, baby, just try again.”
“I can’t,” she said and lay down on the floor, hiding her face.
I had never seen this before. She’s always upbeat, always trying new things, and when she thinks she can’t, she hands her sock or shoe or shirt to me and simply says ‘you turn.’
But this time she said ‘I can’t,’ and just lay there, sad and giving up.
“Baby girl, you can, you just have to try again,” I said. “You can, you’re learning.”
She sat up, took the sock and tried to stretch it over her toes – I helped to make sure the little toe went along for the ride. She pulled her sock up.
“Mommy, I did it!”
“Yes, you did it. I knew you could.”
“Mommy, I tried again.”
She was so proud of herself. She had such a big smile on her face. She thought she couldn’t, but she tried again, and with a little help she did it.
Now I can smile just think about what we did together this morning, this moment we shared, and she can remember that if she tries again she’ll figure it out.
My kid is an active kid.
Before she was born she spent most of her time kicking me and moving around in my belly. She used to kick the microphone that the midwife used to listen to her heartbeat.
She started crawling early and started walking early and she never seems to stop moving. She loves to dance and run and bounce and flail. It’s tiring just watching her sometimes.
And so, this winter, we decided to enroll her in two classes. She’s done gymnastics in the past, and taken two swimming classes, but this winter she’s doing skating and indoor soccer.
She had her first soccer lesson last Saturday and we were a little worried because she had her birthday party that morning and we didn’t know if she’d be alright doing both, but when we got to the gym she was raring to go.
I have never witnessed such patience as the two instructors demonstrated with the gathered 2 year olds. Have you ever thought what it would be like to try and get ten 2 year olds to act in an organized manner while running around a gym with soccer balls?
It was hilarious.
My kid? She ran around, chased the ball, the whole time she had a big smile on her face. It was awesome. I think we’re really going to like soccer.
Next up, dance classes.
My Mom came to Ottawa for the kid’s second birthday. It had been a while since she had visited – We last saw each other in August.
We try to keep up with lots of phone calls and video chats, but nothing is the same as getting hugs in real life.
What was pretty amazing, what my Mom couldn’t believe, was how much watching the kid, her facial expressions, her bustling activity, was like seeing me when I was two years old.
My mother was astonished. We look alike, we sound alike. She couldn’t believe it. It was pretty cool. And Mom just kept laughing. The kid did everything in her power to delight her grandmother. Through some very busy days – running around all day Friday, birthday party on Saturday, then soccer lessons, breakfast out with friends and skating lessons on Sunday.
Today we had one last day with my mother before she flew home, and I think we made the most of it. Grandma helped Maggie with her puzzle, we did some painting, we played and played, she even read us some stories. We stayed in the house and did what we felt like and it was everything it needed to be.
Tomorrow the kid will probably be looking for Grandma, and I’ll wonder when the next visit will be – too far away.