Goals and Dreams

by , on
June 28, 2012

The Ottawa Senators are hosting their development camp this week, and it so happens that our new house is about two minutes away from the practice rink.We decided it would be a good idea to take the kid down to see the practice, since she’s inherited the hockey gene fully and completely.

I don't think we had any influence at all

She was smiling the minute we sat down and the boys started skating. She was even more excited to see the goalies. She just beamed through the practice and she couldn’t take her eyes off the ice for most of the hour and a half we were there.

We put her in skating lessons last winter, not necessarily because we want her to play hockey (though Coach Daddy would love it, I’m sure. Me, I’m totally impartial). I signed her up for skating lessons because it was something she and her Dad could do together and because I never really learned to skate and it bothers me. It’s a skill I want her to have.

While we were watching the Sens up and comers practice the kid declared that when she was older she would be a “beautiful goalie.”

This is good, because I am partial to goalies. Goalies are the last line of defence. They are the solo player on a team. They’re a little bit kooky, but so is my kid – I mean she already said she’d keep her helmet white, and that’s just not the way this works. (Also, in the back of my mind: Crap, that’s going to be expensive).

Nope, no influence at all

Whether she’s a goalie the women’s national team, or the loudest cheerer at an OHL game, I’m proud to watch her love the sport that changed the course of my life and sort of proud my husband and I together. As long as she cheers for Canada.

Lists of my lists

by , on
June 27, 2012

One of my greatest discoveries is that writing leads to more and better writing. Also, reading leads to more and better writing. This is why I am very excited that the jobs I’m doing from home involve lots of reading and writing.

Also, I’ve been reading more lately just for myself – there is a correlation here to the fact that we have a wonderful, large bathtub in the new house.

The only problem is that it’s hard to keep all my thoughts together. I’m trying to keep my to do lists, the same as I did before. I keep those and notes I take in my Moleskine. I have a big calendar in the kitchen that I write all our appointments and important dates on. Plus my Google calendar. And then I email Joe with notes about the week ahead.

And I send him emails with to-do lists.

And I send him emails with our meal plan to go along with the Google doc we share.

I may be overly thorough for fear of forgetting something or dropping a ball.

When I’m getting my work done and I’ve got a good flow going I feel as though I’m dropping the ball on being a parent. When I’m playing with my daughter I’m constantly thinking about my email and what I might be missing.

The front page story in Atlantic Monthly is being called a manifesto: Why Women Still Can’t Have It All.

The fact is, no one ever told me I could. I knew that having work and a life and a family was going to be a struggle. I’ve known that my whole life.

What no one told me was that I would have no real choice. I have a family, which means I have to work because we have bills to pay. I have to have an income and that means I have to make time to work. I have a daughter and that means that I have to take care of her and her needs. We have a home and that means that I have to clean it. We have to eat, so I cook our meals. I try to have a little bit of fun so I’m not a miserable person.

No one ever told me that I could have it all, no one told me that if I chose to have a child I would have to.

The Power of Creative Play

by , on
June 25, 2012

My daughter is two and a half (or close enough, any way) and her imagination is running circles around us. She’s pretending things almost all the time, whether she’s being a puppy or one of her favourite characters. (Lately, she’s been Stella and I’ve been Sam, or she’s been Minnie and I’ve been Daisy).

I’ve been trying to come up with activities to engage her imagination – we go to the park, play in the backyard, blow bubbles and paint together. One day after unpacking some boxes in the basement I got the idea that she might be able to imagine with those. They became towers and sleds and houses. One day the giant box we got with her outdoor play structure caught my attention. A perfect playhouse.

When I brought the box into the house she started playing with it right away. The first thing she said after going inside was that it was so dark, so I suggested we start by making windows.

And then we got to start decorating.

We used markers, chalk and stickers to make this house exactly what she wanted it to be.

She let me draw a window box full of flowers and we made an outline of her on one side, but every other design element was hers. Every time I thought she was done she went back to draw some more. The decoration took all afternoon.

Already the big box has been a house and a ship and I can’t wait to see what she dreams up tomorrow.

Disclosure – I am participating in the Energizer program by Mom Central Canada.  I received compensation for my participation in this campaign.  The opinions on this blog are my own.

Energizer is holding a Free Their Imagination contest featuring an hourly draw that runs from June 25 through Oct 1, 2012 with over 2,000 Crayola prizes available to be won! You can get a bonus entry by using the PIN ILoveCrayola

For more details visit www.facebook.com/EnergizerBunnyCanada

 

When I’m Little

by , on
June 22, 2012

Last night the kid asked me to tell her a story about her sleeping. This was a bedtime stall tactic, but she was having a lot of issues so I went with it.

I told her the story of her first night in the world and leaving the hospital and that when we got home I took her out of her car seat and gave her to Grandma and she slept almost all day.

She asked me for another story about ‘when I’m little’ and I sat there on her bed trying to think. I have hundreds of pictures of her, I used to take at least one a day. All those pictures and I couldn’t think of another story for her.

The time has gone by so fast it’s unbelievable. Soon she’ll be three, I’m looking around at pre-schools, she’s so talkative and active. It’s hard to remember those times when she could hold her own head up or crawl. It’s funny to think that months ago she was saying single words and now she’s putting together pretty great sentences.

I can’t believe two and a half years ago I had never even met her. Someone so fundamental to my life.

I remember her first night and day and night. I remember my first day at home alone with her, when the first thing I did was knock my water onto my computer and cry because I was at home alone with a baby, terrified of her, terrified of leaving the house and I had just fried my connection to the outside world.

But that’s not a great story to tell her.

I guess that’s why I blog. Tomorrow I can read up on my own life and tell her another story. I can look at the pictures I’ve taken and tell her what we were doing.

I can tell her that I’m not exactly sure when I fell head over heels for her, but she’s got me now.

Praise Alfie

by , on
June 20, 2012

I am an Ottawa based hockey fan that has trouble watching Senators games because I’m not great at following games on TV. I do, however, have my favourites on the team. I own a Jason Spezza jersey (I’ve been watching him since he played in Belleville) and a Matt Carkner shirt.

Daniel Alfredsson has been around forever. At least it seems that way. I remember when he won the Calder Trophy for rookie of the year. He’s the longest serving captain in the NHL.

Our hockey players here in Ottawa, they’re good guys. They visit kids at CHEO – the children’s hospital – they raise money for Roger’s House (a children’s hospice built in honour of the team’s former assistant coach Roger Neilson). They are a great addition to the community.

And Alfie most of all.

He leads the team and provides a great example for the kids who look up to him, he speaks out for mental illness and is trying to remove the stigma. Tonight he won the King Clancy Award for showing leadership and being a humanitarian. He was drafted in the sixth round and became an all-star.

His career may be over, it’s at least almost over, but Ottawa will remember him forever. I’m glad to have had the change to watch his career.

Knock Knock

by , on
June 18, 2012

When I decided to quit my job, my husband and I made that choice because we have the opportunity right now. We can cover our bills, I can earn some money here and there and try to build a reputation. I can be at home with my little girl at this great time in her life.

Right now I’m 31. I’m at home, I can create my own schedule for the most part – depending on the kid’s day to day needs. I’m also obese. I have the opportunity to change that. I have a treadmill, walking paths, and a full kitchen at my disposal all day every day. I have a stroller I can strap the kid into, and god knows she loves to swim and run and play.

I make the meal plans and grocery lists, I do a lot of the cooking. We have healthy dinners. The problem is that I don’t know how to take care of just me. I can come up with breakfast and snacks and lunch for the kid, but when it’s me I just don’t know.

I have been moving more lately. I’ve been going on walks and I got on the treadmill once this week. I get moving but it’s not enough for me.

And the snacking. The snacking is still the worst thing I do.

I’m 31. The older I get the harder it will be.

It makes me angry that I can get up and read an emotional post that I’m so proud of having written at Blog Out Loud Ottawa, but when I look at the picture of me reading, all I can think is that I thought I looked good in that dress.

When I look at her, I see a strong kid. She’s active almost all the time and she loves it. At soccer last weekend they played a running game and when they took a water break she just wanted to keep on running.

She is my hero, and I want to be able to keep up with her.

 

 

Father’s Day

by , on
June 17, 2012

When Joe and I got married. He had always known that he wanted kids and I was on the fence leaning towards no kids.

I told him he shouldn’t marry me, but he did anyway.

We talked about kids and I knew I wanted him to be a father. My entire pregnancy was nerve-wracking for me, but three years after our wedding Joe got to meet his little girl.

Being a mother was easier for me than I expected and being a father was harder than Joe thought it would be.

She’ll be two and a half next month, and she usually demands Mommy, but there is no doubt in my mind that Daddy takes up a great big place in her heart.

Hard week, bad day

by , on
June 15, 2012

A day that involves me crying in a parking garage while my toddler screams at me from the backseat.

Yup.

It’s been a difficult week. We had a busy weekend and no real plans for the week following, so it may have been a letdown for the kid, or maybe we’re just all tired. Daily tantrums and her constant need to be with me were wearing me down all week.

I’m good at dealing with the tantrums, I know how to handle them and we get through them and we’re friends again. The grabbing onto me and begging me not to leave is much harder. On Thursday she didn’t even want to let me shower – she grabbed my hands and told me not to go.

On Friday morning we went out to breakfast and we were fine. We came back home and we were fine. We went out again to run some errands and she screamed and cried until she was red in the face, and hit the window and kicked the door because Grandma went in the store and we stayed in the car. She settled. We went into Michael’s and Grandma told her she would have to ride in the cart, which she resisted, but did. We were okay.

We went to pick up my grandfather and stopped at the bank – all good. We drove down to Glebe and went for ice cream (Have you tried the marble slab ice cream place in the Glebe? You should) and all was well with vanilla and sprinkles.

I knew she was tired and opted to drive downtown hoping she would fall asleep, my mother remembered that she and Gramps needed to go into City Hall to the government services centre. I went and parked, we went upstairs, everything was fine. Then she started squirming, and demanded to be carried instead of walking or sitting on a chair. Then all hell broke loose.

It was the first time I’ve tried to give a time out outside of the house. I just kept putting her back in the chair. I pulled out my Supernanny skills – I got down to her level and talked to her. We calmed down. She declared she wanted to go to the car, we left my mother and grandfather to finish their business and went to the car. She got into her seat just fine. We talked for a while. She asked for a diaper change, and that went well. She got back into her seat.

I can’t pinpoint exactly where everything went to shit, but it was right after everything seemed okay.

Suddenly she was screaming and crying and I thought she was going to make herself sick or hurt herself. Suddenly she was repeated the same things over an over and I knew she was tired because she started yelling things that didn’t make sense. She wouldn’t stop, I was at a loss about what to do, and I didn’t know how long we would be waiting.I realized I was yelling at her. I don’t usually yell at her. I’ll yell stop when she’s about to do something that might get her hurt, but I was raising my voice when I usually lower it to try to maintain my cool and calm her down.

Something about this week made me go off the rails.

And then I started crying.

 

To the ladies at the Goulbourn Pool

by , on
June 15, 2012

I took the kid swimming and she wasn’t too happy about getting out of the pool. We got to the change room and I wrapped her in a towel, she said she was cold. When I told her it was time to get dressed she didn’t want to take off her swimsuit.

When I wrestled her out of her suit and swim diaper she started a fit. She didn’t want to get dressed, she wanted to swim, she wanted her suit. So I got myself dressed hoping she would calm down.

During this time there was one lady who was getting herself ready to go into the pool. She was an older woman, probably a mother, maybe a grandmother. She started talking to the kid. She told her that you can’t go outside without anything on, she made some jokes. She went on her way.

Soon another woman joined us in our corner of lockers. This woman talked to the kid too. What a pretty dress she had to put on, how nice it was outside, what was the matter? She was lovely. She asked me if her being there was making it worse and I told her no. She heard me tell the kid that we had to go home and see Grandma and the woman said she was a grandmother too. I told her that I had suspected that. She was great, she showed the kid her earrings that were shaped like stars and while she was there M agreed to her dress, diaper and a pair of shorts. She wished us a good day and went on her way.

Minutes later we had our shoes on and were headed out the door, the kid happy again, running and playing in the grass outside before we got in the car.

These two women made my day that much easier. I hope people like them know that they help.

SAHM

by , on
June 14, 2012

I’ve been working from home on a few different things for almost a month now. It was easy enough to adjust to no commute, to not having to rush to get dressed in the morning, to settling down to breakfast and going through my day on my laptop. It hasn’t been easy getting through every day and sometimes it’s hard to get any work done because the kid wants to be entertained.

I’ve been able to cook dinners almost every night, I have the time now, and the kid helps me – or tries to.

It’s hard not to be afraid that I’m not doing enough of anything. I’m not paying enough attention to her because I’m trying to get work done and I’m not getting enough work done because she’s taking my attention away from it. Sometimes she’s awesome and some days she’s constantly needy – basically, she’s two.

Joe has traveled for work three times since I stopped working, and it’s been easier to get through it, not having to worry about getting her to daycare, getting to work myself, getting us both fed, doing bedtime on my own.

But days like last Friday are the reason I left my job.

On Thursday the kid had a total breakdown. She was angry and sad and crying and kept saying nonsensical things and stringing thoughts together as reasons she was mad and crying. Joe was away and couldn’t help, couldn’t even understand what was happening because I’d never seen her that way before. This went on for so long I thought she was going to make herself sick. It all started because she had wanted to go swimming and I told her there it was too late. Eventually my mother and I got her calmed down, and we set up the kiddy pool in the backyard for a little while and I promised her that we would go swimming tomorrow.

So Friday morning, we got up and had breakfast and played for a while, and then we went swimming, and after swimming, we picked up Grandma and went to see the movie Pirates! and she got to have popcorn.

It was a really good day.

It was something I never could have taken a day off to do, because it always seemed as though I was out of time to take.

There are plenty of kinks to work out, there is a ball dropped every day, and there will always be times when I feel like I’m doing that when I should be doing this, but I have a happy healthy kid and the gift of time.

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