Friday, December 28, 2012

Potty Training {take 3, or is 4..?}

Silas is turning 3 in a few weeks.  After roaring through his 1's and commanding the world through his 2's I couldn't be more grateful to be on the doorstep of 3.

That is, except for the fact that we arrive at the door standing in a puddle of pee and with a plate full of stale food.

He has gained significant independence with a lot of things including riding his strider bike down hills and over jumps with ease, perfecting cartwheels and putting his own boots on.  In fact, he can say his alphabet, recognize all the letters, and count to 20.  He can recognize his name, says bible verses (to songs) and is determined to do many things on his own.  He says words like "particularly" and says prayers with heart-touching words like "thank you God for our family..."

But he does not want to potty train.  He does not want to eat.  He's determined to have the last word on these subjects and heaven help me, I'm not sure I know how to win these epic 'battles.'

I've tried to be more consistent and firm, supportive and encouraging.  I've even been doing some real work on my own control, anger and rage issues that apparently surface when Silas' whining and brother-pestering push me too far.

But this potty training?  This refusal to eat one last bite of carrot, or 2 last bites of dinner to the point of sitting at the table for 1.5 hours?  Well, there's just little left of me to figure out what to do.

We knew it was time to give potty training a new look and a new attempt because we know that he is more than capable.  Yesterday, our first day at it again (after a few months' rest) he successfully went on the potty all but 1 time [while he was sitting at the dinner table refusing to eat]!  He can tell me he has to go, take down his clothing, and do everything including washing his own hands at the end.  Then today?  Back to "I don't want to, I want to be a baby" and 5 pee puddles later...

Most of his friends and cousins are older.  How in the world do I motivate him?

I am trying not to ask him at all and leave it completely up to him- giving him full independence.  I am trying to not make a big deal about the accidents and let him lead the way. I know he is more than capable- but him saying he doesn't want to because he wants to be a baby?  Well, how can you force a child to grow up, or to even want to?  I dangle words like 'school' and 'big boy' in front of him, but it's no bait for his stubborn refusal.  I encourage and cajole, I applaud and cheer, but internally I am at my wits end.

Oh, and his refusal to eat?  What's with that? We've had ups and downs with this so I know that these things can be a phase, but it's particularly bad right now.  I have heard it said not to make it a battle, but he's sitting there crying at the table because "I'm soooo hungry" but refuses to eat.  I even give him food I know he loves- like bread and he refuses.

Heavens.  This boy.  I mean, will every single stage of his life leave me banging my head against the wall?  

And then there's Toby who went from sweet, dimple cheeked, innocent mr. blue eyes to mr. strong-willed flailer and feet stomper.

{Somehow that still looks 'cute' in comparison with potty training a 3 year old}

On a positive note, I'm eating chocolate right now.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012


A few Christmas moment memories:

  • 100 pack of 'ball pit' balls on Christmas eve = 1.5 hours of quiet, brotherly play so we could visit with friends. LOVE.
  • Driving around looking at Christmas lights with hot chocolate. 
  • Apple cider, crepes, wine, and visiting with dear friends on Christmas Eve
  • new rubber boots from hubby
  • building gingerbread houses with Silas
  • handing out cookies to neighbors and Silas getting really into it "I want to do more!"
  • watching Silas and his cousins run around after each other giggling
  • snow on Christmas, for a few minutes
  • Silas opening stockings from Papa and Nana [brought back lots of childhood memories]
  • the 5 cousins dancing and performing an impromptu concert - hilarious (they're all under 5)
  • eating Nanaimo bars, cake, cookies, and buttery treats I've been awaiting to eat for almost a year
  • play-dough ice cream set for Silas- he is going to love playing with it as much as me!
  • scratch and win tickets. Is there a Christmas without them?
  • Silas loving Papa's Christmas lights "they're even on the roof!"
And the merriment continues...
Blessed. Relaxed. Full of Joy. Thankful for a family to belong in.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

My First Weeks Back at Work

So it's official:

I'm a working mom.

My first weeks back at work were frought with the many difficulties that besiege most working moms, I'm sure, but were challenging for me to manage:
  • Silas had the flu
  • I had the flu and still had to work (feverish, nauseaus and all)
  • Snow hit Vancouver and I spent over 7 hours commuting in the car over two days of work navigating the closed down bridges, snow and slush, and unbelievably harrowing traffic
  • I cried, more than once
  • Almost ran out of gas while stuck on the highway
  • My phone died and I couldn't reach home
  • Had childcare arrangement miscommuncations
  • Toby had the flu
  • I felt guilty to be away
  • I was overwhelmed
  • I questioned my judgement in going back to work at all
  • Found myself at the bottom of two very steep learning curves- could I do this again?  Re-learn, again?  Feel confident in my job, again?
  • I said "I can't do this."
  • Did I mention I cried?
  • I was hit with a wave of emotion on seeing little legs running to greet me at the door
  • I acted like a crazy driver- weaving, honking, and racing to get home to see the kids [more than once]
  • Feeling the weight of incredible responsibility
  • Fatigue
  • High levels of stress and anxiety keeping me awake
  • My mind constantly whirring with all the needs my attention
Working Moms: can I please apologize?  For not helping you more, supporting you more, encouraging you more.  For judging you or condemning you.  For misunderstanding you.

I never really understood that you don't just 'get to be away,' but you bring your mothering with you.  I carry my kids and all their concerns with me.  I carry my work concerns home.  These worlds are intertwined with me at the intersection.  I never knew how much weight working moms carried- it's a lot.  Guilt when you're away, nagging gaps of knowledge and 'things I should do' hanging over your head when you're home.

I think the biggest surprise I've had over these past chaotic weeks has been realizing how much my home life has been in my tight-fist of control.  Finger by finger I am needing to let go.

It's hard.

I need to trust and entrust others to care for my children. I need to rely on God's strength as I endeavour in new roles.  I need to learn how to rest when I can.  I need to be more present with the kids when I'm at home instead of crazily trying to catch up on endless chores. I need to be organized and plan ahead.  I need to be present to listen to my husband and spend the time to re-connect instead of just passing each other in the halls.  I am needed, but oddly replaceable.

This journey back to work is so different this time.  I'm having a harder time leaving the kids and a harder time entering my job and feeling confident.

I hope two months from now I feel different, but right now I just think it's stinkin' hard.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Christmas Cards

I am a firm believer in yearly Christmas cards and letters.  I know, there are some haters out there.  

No one reads them, it hurts the environment, send it by e-mail etc etc.  

I just think at least once a year you should get something thoughtful, hand-written, and personal from those you love.  In. The. Mail. 

I love opening the mailbox in hopeful anticipation and receiving a surprise card with a great photo/update inside.  I love doing the same for others.  It's helped me keep in touch and reconnect with people through the years.

I've sent letters to over 150 people for more than 10 years.  

[Ooops.  I better get on writing a letter this year!  For all those waiting to receive it: IT WILL BE LATE THIS YEAR. I am usually way ahead of myself with new ideas of creative formats like hand-made cards, hand drawn cartoons, and the like.  But, having just started two jobs, getting a letter out at all will be an accomplishment].

However, one element that is complete is our photo.  (Hooray!)  Quite a feat. 

I am the worst at keeping surprises so I have to share at least one of the pics we're choosing from here on my blog.

This one made me laugh out loud.

It was the end of our photo shoot   It was a freezing cold, windy day and it was starting to rain.  The kids were tired and coat-less (for the sake of the photo, right?)  This was all they had left in them:
Humor-less.  Shock. Disbelief: You want us to smile for another photo?!

Can't wait to post some more soon.

[brought to you by the amazing Amanda Gregor]

Monday, December 10, 2012

Heart Strings

There are a lot of things about motherhood that come as a surprise.  

Oh, you read the books, you see your friends doing it, it looks a certain way on the surface.  But there are all these hidden things that you learn along the journey that no one really tells you about.

A recent discovery is the hidden string that is knotted from your heart to the life of your child.  

They get hurt?  Twang.  Your heart is pulled, tugged, grabbed by this invisible line.  They are scared?  Twang.  You realize that they woke up in the night and were sick and you didn't know?  Twang.  You accidentally bang their head against the car door?  Twang.

Then there's this tugging and pulling as your child needs you less or you are away from them.  The line is still there.  You think about them, you want to hold them, you miss them, and your heart is bending towards them.  You are connected in so many ways to your child even when you can't see them.

I've started back at work and I took on a lot more than we originally 'planned.'  Right now it's an extra lot because I'm orientating to two different jobs at the same time.  I went from being home every day with the kids, to be away from them most days.  

It's hard for my heart.  I am done my long 12 hour shift and I'm like a mean, mad, frantic driver racing home to see my babies before they are in bed.  My heart finally relaxes as I enter the door and a little face brightens, and chubby feet and legs race towards me. 

[Twang] I missed them.

I hadn't really fully weaned Toby before going back to work and I realized today that the hardest thing about letting go is the recognition that Toby doesn't really need it, or doesn't really need me in the same way he once did.  He's growing up.

Oh, he's still 1.  But there's this pulling of my heart now in a new way than before.  Toby must be so sad I'm gone all day, he's probably crying and lonely.  He's probably miserable and freaking out because I'm not there to put him to bed, to feed him and hold him.  [I come through the door] Oh.   He was fine.  He didn't need me.  He wasn't crying all day.  He's happy and healthy and glad to see me, but fine.  Oh.  [Twang]

Do any other mothers know what I mean?  You go a bit bonkers sometimes when you're with them all day, every day, but when you are away from them that string is tugging all the same.  You worry, you wonder, you pray.  Your heart bends, it aches, it leans, it pulls, it throbs, and it moves with the swaying of that little life.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

the Big 3-3

Hubby turns 33 tomorrow.  We're celebrating by me going to work.  Arg.  But we celebrated early and had a lovely brunch with family today which included much gluttony:
  • homemade cinnamon buns
  • blueberry topped cheesecake [which I was dying to partake of]
  • fruit salad
  • bacon and sausages
  • homemade quiche
  • marshmallows and hot drink bar

We also had a wonderful rest day together- out for a walk, to the gymnastics drop in centre for some family fun (the kids LOVE this place...and so does Jason).

We spent friday evening with friends sharing Jason's favourite meal: Mexican Lasagna.  
Arg.  I want dairy.

One. More. Feed. To. Wean....

[It's probably better I can't have it because this week we have been flying into holiday festivities and eating ridiculous loads of carbs, goodies, and amazing home-cooked fare.  If I could have eaten all that I wanted to...I'd be huge].  Maybe this will be my diet trick over Christmas?

In other news: hunting for thoughtful, cause-supporting Christmas gifts (suggestions?) and prepared for a stressful, fast-paced, steep learning curve in a new workplace tomorrow.  See if I end my first shift in tears or if I can even make it until the end of shift [ugh.  Back to work post-mat leave is impossibly challenging for me right now].

Friday, December 7, 2012

And then I made Homemade Marshmallows

Why have I ever bought them in a package?

Day 6 Advent activity was making this recipe.  Easy, quick, fluffy and delightful.
I'm thinking I'll make them with some peppermint extract next time.
Nothing like sharing a plate of these gluten free, dairy free yummies:
Since my last post we've put up Christmas lights, made ornaments to give away, and have had a few other adventures in advent [oh, and I went back to work].

More on the work thing later...but for now, while kids are napping, I'm gonna have me another one.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Day 2 of Advent

It was pouring today.  Simply pouring.  But we were determined to get a Christmas tree as part of our day #2 advent box.  Thanks to some helpful recommendations, we stumbled into Port Kells Nursery.  So beautifully decorated. Enchanting, dry, affordable trees, free hot chocolate and cookies, and dazzling decor for the kids.  What more could you ask for?

There was even a 'wonderland' section with anything you could possibly imagine to keep a child's interest- lights, trees, decorations, trains, like you've never seen.  So fun.

As for the decorating process?

I pictured a quiet scene with music in the air, egg nog in my hand, and a slow paced, lovely time of one by one, unraveling, remembering, and then carefully placing each ornament on the tree.

Instead it went something like this:
"Where's Toby?  Silas, don't play with the plug.  No touch Toby!  Silas- don't pull too hard on the beads, you'll break them.  No no Toby- don't put those hooks in your mouth- where did he get that?  Someone is smelly... That ornament is fragile Silas, don't play with that.  Why is there no baby Jesus with the nativity set? [We found him in a sock, in another sock, with a clippie keeping the sock closed] Silas- leave your brother alone." 


Toby was teething, Silas was over-tired and Toby skipped his afternoon nap but somehow we all managed to not get hurt, have a few laughs, and get a tree decorated.

And tomorrow while the kids most likely tear it apart, I will be at work for the first time in a year!


Saturday, December 1, 2012

Beginning of Advent

Now that our advent boxes have been out on display for the last week, Silas has been rather impatient to start opening them.  (I wanted to encourage anticipation right?!)  Each day, "Can we open the boxes now?"  

He's been carefully touching, looking and peaking at the boxes and has been good about not opening them..

Today is the day! Box #1.

I'm so glad that its contents arrived in time via post [yay ebay].  Loving our selection of nativity scenes.  

He's been playing with it for awhile now!
My favourite: he loves hiding baby Jesus in the advent box.  And then he said "but baby Jesus is cold!" and "how do we make sure the animals don't eat him?"  So far I'm not sure baby Jesus has been in the actual manger. I'm excited to see what happens when we 'hide' the wise men far away tonight and each day watch as Silas has to 'find' how far the wise men have moved towards baby Jesus.

 What a great teaching tool for this age!

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