Thank You?

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Hi Friends.

The kids are sleeping, we just ate some burgers, and now I’m sitting here looking at a sink full of dirty dishes, but I think I’m going to write a blog. Congratulations to the people who do all their dishes the same night they create them. I mean, that’s f*cked up, but still impressive.

The other night I was being a couch potato, and working on a white wine spritzer. It had been a hectic and stressful week, but I was out of red wine. Otherwise I wouldn’t have drank that garbage. Go red or go home.

I was thinking about the mind games that I play with my kids on a daily basis. It’s all part and parcel of parenting, though. I’m realizing this. At two-and-a-half, Annika is reallllly starting to test various methods (and our patience) in order to get what she wants. It’s become a system of staying one step ahead.

When my babies were still hypothetical and I was a parenting-wizard, I would NEVER have resorted to bribery, trickery, hypocrisy or yelling. But here I am with real human children, and yes, I will sometimes I go into survival mode, and stoop to their level. Oooops.

One thing that struck me was how little kids get praise and thanks for REDICULOUS things. And to be honest, I’m jealous. It just doesn’t seem fair that by the time you’re of an age where you can appreciate how good you had it, you’re suddenly held to a much higher standard. It’s BS.

Anyway, I thought it might be fun and funny to make a list of all the crappy things my kids get thanked for. So in no particular order, here they are:

Simply. Wearing. Pants.

My Mom and I had a baby shower for my sister on the weekend. In the middle of a crowded room, my daughter took off her training pants, and handed the soggy mess to a woman she just met. There was no second thought to it. Someone approached me to tell me what happened. By the time we got a fresh pull-up on her, I found myself whispering “thank you” in her ear for being willing to even wear new underclothes during the excitement of the day.

That left me thinking “What the actual heck”. She got a “thank you” for not being naked in a room full of strangers. And all this after handing someone her wet diaper.

Sleeping.

My GOD do we praise them when they sleep. Especially Mark because he’s a night psycho.

They get praise for sleeping in, sleeping well, sleeping during the day, sleeping long stretches, sleeping frequently, and sleeping without tears and tantrums. Any kind of sleep, and here we are applauding. I just want ONE day where someone puts me down for a nap and then gives me a great big hug and smile when I make it an extra long one.

Eating food.

And not just eating food, but willingly eating food that they happily ate previously, but now hate. I think there should be a restaurant for parents of young kids where you get to enjoy a role reversal. A waiter tells you that you only need to take two more bites of broccoli and you’ll get an ice cream sundae on the house. Then the entire staff shouts “hooray!” and claps as you finish your veggies.

Andrew and I will hold our breath when Annika is sampling a plate of healthy food, and then when we deem it a successful meal, we’ll act like she just found the cure for cancer.

Having their hair washed.

There’s always hair-washing drama in our house. And they act as if they’ve never had it done before. Here I am trying to book my first hair cut in two years, and I’m giddy about having someone other than myself shampoo and massage my head. Meanwhile, Annika will hate me for ages because I asked her to close her eyes for a rinse. It takes 30 seconds to rinse her hair. But those were 30 seconds where she could have been eating the bubbles. It’s DUMB.

So at the end of a bath, when she – get this – HAS survived a hair-wash, we end up telling her how “brave” she was. Brave. Like a fire fighter, or Harry Potter.

Just NOT hurting each other.

If we survive a mall trip without pushing and shoving, I’m thanking the heavens. Annie gets easily annoyed with Mark these days because he’s little and grabby. And I understand that. But right now there’s a lot of shoving going down in our household (which results in Mark toppling and crying) and it’s a daily battle to stymie the bad behaviour. OMG, it’s all day, everyday.

When we are out and they’re smiling, giggling and EVEN occasionally handing things to each other, I’m like “you two are angels and you can have have all the ice cream and boobie milk in the world!!” Okay, not quite. But I probably make TOO big a deal about it.

Having a generally pleasant disposition.

So. As adults, we go to work, the grocery store, the library, etc…and we’re expected to be polite and aware of our surroundings. Kids? Not so much. This toddler can scream bloody murder if I tell her we’re not buying the seven spatulas she “needed” from the dollar store. So when she sometimes shrugs it off and puts back her spatulas (or coffee filters, or Nicorettes, or condoms, or Preparation H…whatever she decided to pick up that day,) I’m thanking her profusely, like she saved my life.

Being anything other than disgusting and sticky.

My kids could make themselves sticky and gross in an empty room, I swear.

So if it’s been an hour out and their hair isn’t caked with something, and their faces and hands aren’t gross to the touch, I’m like “look at you! You’re still clean and your general smell isn’t vomit-inducing! Mommy is SO proud.”

SMH.

Not assaulting strangers.

The other week it was my turn to be THAT mom (who gets looks of hate from childless people, and looks of pity/understanding from other parents) because I had the kid who was lying in a pool of tears and flailing arms on the floor of Giant Tiger. And all because I wouldn’t let her run a shopping cart full steam ahead into a crowd of elderly people. She definitely faced a punishment for her actions, but when the subsequent trip out wasn’t as bad, I kissed her face all over and made her feel like a million bucks. Kids, man. They set the bar THAT low.

Just once, I want someone to say to me: “Laura? You did a really good job today of NOT punching people at the grocery store. People cut off your cart and dilly-dallied in the aisles and you STILL didn’t wound them. You’re a humanitarian.” But it sucks because the EXPECTATION is that we wont wound others, and the reality is jail time if we do. Why do my kids get forgiven, and praised when they simply choose civility?

And last but not least:

Using the flipping toilet.

Truth time: sometimes we bribe Annika with Smarties to keep at the potty training.

And every time we do it, I cant help but be envious that I’m not getting candy for using the bathroom (instead of using wherever I am and whatever I’m wearing AS a bathroom). It’s. Balls.

Sigh.

Like I said. It’s redic. The only comfort is they’ll forget these days when they had it THIS good and they’ll have to conform to adult society at some point. And we’ll help get them there, not to worry. But it doesn’t mean I’m not going to roll my eyes until then.

Love you peeps.

Laura

Classy Hotel. Busy City. Baby & Toddler. A Life Experience.

So a few days ago, my husband had a business trip to Toronto for a couple of nights. Because it was only an hour from our home, the kids and I tagged along. We got to stay in a hotel that we would never be able to afford, and have some fun exploring the city. I was excited to be back in Toronto because we lived there for a number of years. However, this time I knew it would be a bit different. We moved away when Annie was three months old and Mark was a mere twinkle in our eyes. We always said we’d return often, but we really haven’t.

This little vacation seemed like an awesome idea until I remembered that our children are insane. Not moreso than other children…but still insane. They all are. All children are insane. They’re just tiny, filthy dictators covered in snot. Especially these two since they’re both on the tail end of head colds.

So needless to say, it was eventful.

We checked in midday Tuesday, and Andrew had to go off to work right away. The kids had a blast exploring the big, bright room and weird (aka clean) furniture. I wanted to make the most of our mini-vacay, so I decided to try and get us ready without too much dilly dallying. I was packing up the double stroller when Annie discovered the complimentary Book of Mormon. Fantastic. It kept her occupied for a few minutes, while I got us ready to go. BUT that’s when things took a turn because there was just no leaving without her “book of momo”. After a prolonged battle, I bribed her into the stroller and out the door without her new favourite religious text. I realized later that maybe bringing it would have been okay because people avoid missionaries like the plague. We could have had a nice broad space around us on account of my kid trying to sell people a religion. Oh well. Next time.

Thus we began our adventure of traversing the busy city with a giant, clunky double stroller. To my surprise, there were quite a few strollers out and about. Mostly slick, newer strollers, but still. Some contained kids, others contained small dogs. One of the dogs even had the same hair bows that Annie owns, but never lets me put in her hair.

The first thing I wanted to do was hit up a dollar store because if I drop 20 bucks on craft supplies and playdough, sometimes I can get some peace and quite for a hot minute or five. Well. Dollarama wasn’t stroller accessible, so we carried on. Next we passed the LCBO, and since we were on vacay (though midweek) I decided that Andrew and I deserved a drinky-poo. Any excuse, really.

We went into the LCBO, and Annika promptely wanted out of the stroller. I agreed, but only if she let me put on her backpack and harness because I just LOVE getting judged by other parents. It’s a secret thrill. Just kidding. My daughter is a “runner”.

As if a harness does any good in a store full of glass bottles, though. Not five minutes in she smashed a wine bottle, then slipped and fell in it. First priority was making sure she wasn’t cut up by the glass. Second priority was mourning the loss of that beautiful wine. Third priority was letting the humiliation set in. Fourth priority was finding someone who worked there.

The guy was really nice. I offered to pay for it and he said “don’t worry! It happens every day! We just expense it.” Amazing. Still. My toddler was soaked (and I mean SOAKED) with wine, so I wanted to get the hell out. I didn’t buy anything, and we made a beeline back to the hotel. I envisioned someone calling child services wondering why she was covered in booze and acting drunk. BUT…the acting drunk part has nothing to do with wine, and eveything to do with the fact that she’s two, and that’s how they behave. All the time.

We got back empty-handed and annoyed. I had to forgo even getting groceries because it was planned for after the wine-splosion. So I ordered pizza. Before long I got a call from the front desk, and they told me that they wouldn’t let the pizza guy up because that was their “policy”. Exasperated, I said “b*tch please. I have a baby and a wine-covered toddler in this room so cut the crap and let that man come up”. Okay, so I didn’t use those EXACT words, but I think they heard the desperation in my voice and escorted my pizza guy up to the room.

Annika decided she did, then didn’t, then did, then didn’t, then did want to eat pizza. And then she left most of it on the floor where 8-month-old Mark helped himself to it. Wow did he cry when I took it away. We curtailed the tears with some obnoxious kids shows and by that point my hubby had returned. And guess what? He had brought wine.

Sadly, after getting both the littles to sleep in a new and exciting place (so read: it was a long and drawn out process) I was too tired for wine, and I passed out with the baby. By around 3am I was a child sandwich, and I couldn’t deal, so I put Annie in with Andrew where she proceeded to go horizontal on him (as she does) and put her feet in/around his mouth (as she does).

The next morning rolled around and I was happy because my Mom was going to meet us for the day and help me out. I hopped in the shower and – of course – had company. Not only does Annie “need” to shower with me (aka play in the bubbles) but she has running commentary, tries to lick the suds off the floor of the tub, and lies flat on her stomach the whole time. So it becomes a dangerous game of don’t step on the slippery child.

The day actually unfolded pretty great and with minimal hiccups. There was swimming, park fun, shopping, and Greek food for dinner. The whole time Annika wore my sweater and/or Nana’s hoodie which fell to her ankles. The only jacket I brought her was – that’s right – covered in wine. The biggest issue arose when we wanted coffee and happened upon the only street in Toronto that doesn’t have a Starbucks or Timmy’s for, like, 17 miles. Or so it seemed.

Bedtime was easier the second night because of all that fresh air and exercise. Mark was even in a good enough mood to be brought down to Andrew’s work dinner, where he sucked serious face with one of Andrew’s colleagues. I was upstairs with slumbering Annie, but I heard it was quite the sight to see. Like, he was really going to town on her face. It was a regular slobber fest.

The next morning I was going to attempt the aquarium tour single-handedly, and check out by 11am. Naturally, it was a morning full of perfectly timed double meltdowns. I was glad it was our last morning because I was PRETTY sure we were going to be kicked out from noise complaints anyway.

About an hour before we were set to leave, who walks back through the door? My hubby…who had injured his back beyond anything I’ve seen before. His company had basically ordered him to go home. (He’s still barely able to walk.) Annika was disappointed because I had told her she was going to see fish, but it my head I was like “whatever, we can stream Finding Dory at home and that animation is dope. You’ll live”. And we left.

So that wrapped up our big city adventure and before we knew it we were back home. In the back of my head I knew it was going to be a rollercoaster, but I also know that’s what we signed up for. I’m trying my hardest to roll with the punches these days. I’ve never been good at that, and I still fail a lot, but I also know that if I don’t live in the moment, (as crazy and chaotic as those moments can be), I’ll regret not soaking up these days like my daughter’s stockings soak up wine. Everyone (seriously, EVERYONE) will tell you “they’re only little for a short while”…but it is true. So I’ll push forward and try and find the fun in those wild and crazy adventures.

Carpe diem, my homies. Until next time.

IMG_7729Laura

Sleep. Beautiful Sleep.

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Happy Friday, Peeps! And it’s a long weekend Friday to boot! That’s what dreams are made of. I’m trying to squeeze in a little writing with the kiddos still up. I’m hoping it works. Mark is yelling at the vacuum cord, and Annie is putting stickers in her hair, so they’re content. They’re doing what they love. Fingers crossed.

I want to talk about SLEEP, but let me just start this off with a disclaimer: I have a grand total of no expertise on the matter (at least from an education standpoint). I’m no sleep expert or sleep trainer, nor have I studied infant development or anything like that.

BUT! I do have a totally biased and completely anecdotal opinion! So ultimately, this is just me ranting, raving and coming to my own conclusion. Feel free to disagree.

Obviously, sleep is vital to our physical, mental and emotional health. It shapes how we function, how we interact, and how we deal with our sh*t. But as a parent, it can sometimes be hella elusive. And there isn’t a person I know who doesn’t HATE alarms. Unless an alarm signals the beginning of some amazing day where I’m off on a tropical vacation to swim in pools of money and wine, I’m not interested. I’ve racked my brain, and I think that’s the one and only alarm I would jump out of bed for.

Whether your alarm is a beep, the radio, or an obnoxious kid putting her fingers in your mouth and nose holes, they all suck.

I hate lost sleep. I’ve always been a light sleeper and I’ve always woken at night, but right now is a special kind of bad. Mark isn’t such a great sleeper these days, and to be honest, I can’t remember if Annie was or wasn’t at this age. I know it’s very stereotypical of parents to complain about sleep, but for me, it is set apart from other life chapters. When I was working or going to school, I had – at least – a modicum of control over my sleep. Even if I knew I had a stupidly early class, or a 12 hour work day, I could go to bed when I needed to. I could wind myself down. I could relax and drink sleepy time tea. Most importantly, I could sleep from “this hour” to “that hour” and have no one bother me.

These days, Mark is sometimes up EVER HOUR. It isn’t uncommon for us to see every hour on that damn red clock. Both Andrew and my doctor have reminded me that he’s not hungry anymore. He eats three solid meals a day and breast feeds half a dozen times in between. He doesn’t need to nurse at night as his body no longer requires it. BUT! If I nurse him, he dozes off on the boob and I’m able to put him back to sleep (and put myself back in turn). It’s – hands down – the easiest way to get us both back to bed.

AND sometimes I let him sleep beside me. And sometimes Andrew goes and sleeps on the pull out so that he can be functional for work. Sometimes we do all the no nos.

We tried various sleep training methods with Annika. Sometimes they helped, but sometimes they didn’t. I’m realizing, however, that the things that worked for her aren’t necessarily right for Mark because he’s a different kid.

It’s definitely a process. I’ve heard of these strange, dubious cases where people say it’s a quick fix, but for US it’s a process.

I’m genuinely perplexed by people who ask “when did your first sleep through?” as if it was like a light switch. Does this actually happen to some people? If so, who are these freak show babies? Because Annie slept through…but only for a week here or there. Sometimes she’d even trick us by sleeping through for a few months! BBBUUTTT then she wouldn’t for the next five. It was a roller coaster. I have a hard time believing the parents who say “little Johnny decided at nine weeks old to sleep from 7pm until sunrise, and he never woke once at night. Ever again.”

I remember both the kids getting some amazing eight hour stretches when they were a couple months old. Those were the bee’s knees. But here we are a few months later and those glorious nights are a thing of the past.

HOWEVER, all that being said, I know there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I know that the exhausting nights wont last. Annika is two-and-a-half, and I can legitimately say that she sleeps through the night. I don’t mean every night because she has bad dreams, or stuffy noses, or wakes when there’s loud thunder…but on a normal night, and over all, she sleeps through. Plus, she was our first born so she was just basically a human experiment. We blindly manoeuvred our way through those first years, completely clueless and making it up as we went along. Despite this, we managed to keep her alive, and eventually get her to sleep through.

If I can offer any advice to parents it’s this: never feel guilty about naps. I napped SO HARD when Annika was little. I fully embraced the “sleep when they sleep” philosophy. Now she’s given up naps entirely, so I can’t exactly do that with Mark.

Also? Do what you have to do to survive. Don’t worry if you have to “break the rules”. Don’t listen to the “tsk tsk. He shouldn’t drift off on your breast” or “she shouldn’t ever be brought in with you”. DO read up and try different methods, though. Give things a shot and take things one day at a time. Progress can always be made. Finally, drink coffee. Lots and lots of coffee. Don’t act like you’re too good for coffee.

Ultimately, remind yourself that “this too shall pass”. Plus, if your kids are as wild as mine can be, sometimes it’s nice to seize those dozy snuggles, even if they’re offered at 2am.

Anyway, I hope my rant was relatable, or maybe even helpful!

Happy weekend!

~Laura

PS. Don’t get me started on pregnancy sleeping. As IF it was possible to sleep when I looked like this:Annie

Or worse, THIS:

Mark

How To Become A Wine Connoisseur. Like Me.

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I sure did have to Google how to spell “connoisseur”. There’s no shame in that. You might want to say “but Laura..if you’re already a wine connoisseur, shouldn’t you know how to spell your own title?” That’s where you’re wrong. “Like Me” is the key part of this blog heading. I’m not here to teach you how to be a wine connoisseur by someone else’s interpretation of the term. I’m here to teach you how to hone those wine-drinking skills whilst juggling life, parenthood and all those other crappy adult obligations we have. I play by my own set of rules. And though highly biased, I think my rules are downright fantastic.

Firstly, it helps to have a background in olympic-level university drinking. It’s not a prerequisite, but it can help you know how to handle your shit. If you’re an adult with responsibilities (as I mentioned before,) you need to know how to get your wine on, but not black out. So if you’re not a seasoned wine drinker, you should probably start slow.

Secondly, pre-pump your breast milk, girl. There’s always a chance the baby will wake up before anticipated. Enough said.

One important thing to know is when to buy the box. Let’s not kid ourselves into thinking we’re too good for wine-by-the-box. Those big mothers contain like 5.5 bottles, and so if you’re gonna be sharing with multiple people, a box is key. There will also come a time in your life when your stupid husband will want to get in on your wine. If you sense that might be coming (for instance, he’s out of beer) consider those XL bottles. Sharing wine will – without a doubt – be one of the harder things you’ll have to do in this life, but the alternative is telling him that he gets none, and then he’ll probably set up an intervention for you. You don’t want to run that risk.

I want to talk a bit about pairing wine with cheese. If you’re thinking about doing this, I would advise you to drink at home. The main reason is that you WILL polish off that entire wheel of brie single-handedly, and you might not want to world to witness it.

So when you’ve put your spawn to bed and you’re getting down to wine time, select your finest yoga pants. When you’re a couple glasses in, the last thing you want is to realize the sad state of your life. Having clean…possibly even stain-free yogas on will give you that little extra boost of confidence you need to avoid a sadness spiral.

If you’re like me, you’ve now settled into the ass grove on your couch, and started streaming ‘Chopped’. There’s nothing quite like judging people who are miles better at something than you. So while you critique those chefs as if you have a right, you might start to get some ideas about your own cooking skills. Do NOT attempt that shit in your own kitchen. Don’t do it. Even with your wine-induced confidence boost, you should stick to making cereal.

And speaking of, you’ll probably have a moment where you go back and forth about whether or not you want cereal. Then you’ll blink and realize you ate three bowls. So just make sure you have a good lie to tell your children about why it’s all gone.

If it’s the weekend, and you thinking that the wine might lead to romance, consider running and comb through your hair, and finding a washed sports bra.

So at some point, you’re gonna wanna watch Dr. Phil on youtube. I would say around glass three. I would recommend taking the time beforehand to find full episodes, and put together a playlist. That way you’re not struggling to find part seven of ten JUST as it’s getting good.

It’s also around this time that you’ll consider online shopping. I’m not really the type to buy expensive purses or heels (chronic vertigo right here), but one time…pre-kids…I did get a pleasant (but expensive) surprise when a package arrived in the mail. It turned out I had ordered ALL the seasons of Criminal Minds after a party. So before you online shop, ask yourself this: DO I need it, or CAN I stream it illegally online?

Chances are you’ll have this notion that you’ll be able to savour your “me time” and have an evening for the record books. The reality is…we’re getting old. Chug that water before you pass out at 9:15, and have Advils at the ready. Mentally prepare yourself for the 5am toddler-on-crack-tornado-alarm that will hit you like a ton of bricks in the morning.

Most importantly. Lady. Know that you deserved your short-lived fun.

Hope you all had a wine-tastic weekend!

Stay classy, my friends.

~Laura

My Week In Thoughts: Part 2

Annika is currently brushing Mark’s barely-there hair with the vacuum brush attachment. She’s being fairly gentle though, so I’m gonna sit back and see how this plays out. If I stopped ALL the insane things she did, it would take up 100% of my day.

I was in the mood to write a silly post, but once again I had little bits and pieces of ideas floating around my head and I couldn’t really settle on one thing. So I decided I’m going to do another instalment of “My Week In Thoughts”…as the title suggests.

Much like before, this is just a bullet list of the random things that cross my mind in a week as a SAHM. Hopefully a person or two will find them amusing or comforting.

Without further ado, my week in thoughts:

~If you’re on the fence about having kids, here’s an example of daily life that could help inform your decision: I gave Annika a clementine with breakfast, and she deemed four of the nine segments disgusting (but ate the other five). She then left the inedible pieces in a pile on the messy rug for me to step on at my leisure. Which I did. And I thought I killed a frog. These sort of situations are endless…

~I feel like coconuts, raisins and white chocolate are in a competition to see who can ruin the most desserts. It’s depressing.

~I’ve broken a lot of the vows I made pre-kids about what I would/wouldn’t do (like TV time…I had considered no TV time…they definitely get TV time.) However, the one vow I’m still adamant about is that I will never give (or let Mark get) a hipster hair cut..so long as I’m still in charge of his hair. When he’s old enough to make that decision for himself…I’ll just try my best to point him in the non-hipster direction.

~Everything that makes food amazing is being replaced by zucchini and it’s not okay. People need to stop acting like this is an equivalent to much superior ingredients. I keep watching delicious looking videos only to realize that there’s a zucchini substitute. Life is too short to replace spaghetti and lasagna noodles, and to infect brownies with your “healthy alternatives”. JUST STOP. If I want to eat zucchini (and I do like it as a side veggie) then I will cook and eat zucchini. But if I want a frigging lasagna…it better contain legitimate noodles.

~I may as well keep this filthy shirt on because now it’s a competition between the wine stains and the baby barf stains to see which can become more abundant. Edit: I just added soup stains into the match, too.

~Mug cakes are a dangerous path to do down…

~Two-year-olds have this incredible ability to react as if every night is the first night of their lives where they’ve being asked to go to bed. They act as if they’ve NEVER encountered this scenario before, and it’s a travesty beyond measure. The shock, awe and despair are something else. At what point in our lives do we suddenly see bedtime as the glorious, glorious thing that is it?

~I spend far too much time asking myself “why is this wet?”

~Everyone in my life it worried about Annika’s toes getting cold because she refuses to keep her socks on. It’s just weird to me because I’ve never heard of a child dying from chilly feet. I’m pretty sure the worst case scenario would be mild discomfort, and believe me…she lets us know when she’s in mild discomfort.

~I got an allergic reaction to lip gloss this week, and it made me realize that sometimes there are much easier and cheaper alternatives to cosmetic surgeries. And also, Kylie Jenner can eat her heart out.

~I demoted pee from the category of “gross” to just “meh”. Barf, snot and poop are so much grosser that pee no longer fazes me. I have a hard time classifying it as icky when it’s such a constant in life. “Oh I got peed on again? That happens. Anyway, let’s not skip a beat talking about this Bachelor finale…”

~I could spend YEARS watching people frost things on youtube. Cookies, cakes, bicycles, lizards, toilets, I don’t care. It’s all good. Frost away.

Well, there you have it. That kind of sums things up. Today is my St. Paddy’s Day birthday, so I’m off to drink myself stupid. Just kidding. I’m sick as a dog and so is the toddler (snot…omg, SO much snot). So I’m gonna eat cake in bed, and put showering off for a few more days. Hope everyone else is enjoying those green beers! Cheers!

Reflections On International Women’s Day

Today is International Women’s Day. I’m embarrassed to admit that I didn’t realize it was around the corner until yesterday, but thank you facebook. You were my reminder. This day means a lot to me (woman alert). And I will do a comparison for you: my birthday is St. Patrick’s Day and I am a “wine aficionado” (it’s a nicer term than wino). So you’d think having a birthday on a holiday dedicated to drinking would mean the most…but today means more. Here’s why.

I’m a woman. Not only that, I’m a woman who has a mother, sister and daughter. But honestly? All those things shouldn’t matter as much as the fact that I’m a person. And every PERSON should want every other PERSON to be treated properly.

For that reason, I’m a firm believer that everyone should respect this day, and reflect on it. We women are humans. We’re half the world’s humans. And we deserve to be treated humanely.

I do wish I saw more men being vocal on this day, because it’s not just a day “for us”. It’s a day to stand up for what’s RIGHT. However, I don’t want this to be confused with Sophie Gregoire Trudeau’s post that is stirring the pot today. I don’t believe this is a day to “celebrate men” as she so…strangely…put it. I DO think it’s a day for men to join the movement…to remember that women globally are STILL in desperate need of equality and recognition. Your support does matter, men. And you shouldn’t be afraid to share it.

And for the women: it’s easy to say “I don’t need feminism. I live in the developed world. I have it okay.” Comparably? We do. But we shouldn’t have to feel afraid to walk alone. Or wear less clothing when it’s hot as crap outside. Or glace away from our beverages. We shouldn’t have to live in a world where we assume we’re going to be victimized and targeted SIMPLY because we’re women.

Then there are the people who question if it’s really “that bad”. Are that many of us actually targeted? The answer is yes. We honest to God all are.

I was tall and had ample breasts at twelve-years-old. So I was also cat-called, sexualized, and harassed at twelve-years-old. All I knew was that I wanted to sleepover at my friend’s house, eat cookie dough and watch The X-Files at twelve, but I still had to deal with the barrage of sexual comments as I walked from the bus stop. Moreover, I began to worry that one day it would become something more than “just comments”.

The sad thing is, that’s “having it good” because I’m fortunate enough to live where I’m not punished for being raped, stoned to death for choosing my own partner, or beaten for bearing a daughter instead of a son (and hi…it’s MEN who decide the sex of the child).

International Women’s Day should matter to you, no matter who you are or where you are. You should want BETTER for the frickin’ human race. It’s like that beauty of a meme says “someone else having more rights, doesn’t mean you get less. It’s not pie.” So get vocal women, men, everyone. Demand better.

It’s proven that when women are given the tools and ability to succeed, and when oppression and abuse is overcome, WHOLE communities are healthier and better for it.

Here’s to women. Keep shattering those ceilings.

PS – This is my little strong, fierce and stubborn girl. She’s gonna do amazing things.

Raising A Boy

I came across this article floating around facebook:

http://www.elle.com/culture/movies-tv/a43408/casey-affleck-oscar-win/

It’s an unsurprising, but disappointing read. It’s nothing I didn’t already figure, but it’s a let down nonetheless. It always is when you realize and re-realize how far we have to go as a society.

I consider myself a feminist, an ally to disenfranchised groups, and a proud liberal. As disappointing as society can be, I’m grateful that we seem to be talking more and more about disparities and injustices. It seems that we’re fighting harder than ever, and calling people out when it comes to iniquites.

I think my notions and ideas surrounding feminism and liberalism have changed a lot since having kids. And get this: I think they’ve change more since having a SON. Betcha thought I was going to say daughter.

My girl is only two-and-a-half, but yeah … I’ve Googled “how do I talk to my daughter about consent/rape culture/self image/sexism/etc. Not that we’re going to sit down and have these chats while she’s still eating bubble bath and collecting pine cones, but I feel like I need to have a game plan. I feel like it’s a process that starts young and progresses. It’s scary to think about carefully choosing the right words so that you can impart information to your children without terrifying them. However, I feel like there ARE the initiatives, the resources, and a plethora of articles, blogs and insights written about talking to young girls.

I feel considerably more lost when it comes to the challenge of raising a feminist son. I feel like it’s a “newer” idea to raise little boys to realize their unearned privilege. Mark is growing up as a white male, and maybe he will fall somewhere on the LGBQT spectrum, but if he winds up as a straight, white, adult male, I want him to understand his responsibility.

I feel like it’s a specific kind of challenge in the Trump/alt-right/etc. era to raise a white male to know that he has all the advantages for absolutely no fair reason. I feel like it’s up to Andrew and I to instill in him that he has to LEARN and LISTEN. He can’t abuse the privilege that he has and he can’t deny racism, sexism, homopobia, rape culture, etc. He can’t get defensive, or get his back up.

He has to learn that he isn’t being asked to apologize for all men, but yes, he is being asked to align with others and support those who have less of a voice.

I feel like the focus will be on teaching him that he doesn’t need to prioritize being macho. He DOES need to be kind, thoughtful, fair, empathetic, and to check his advantages at the door. And he should never be ashamed to express his emotions or embrace so-called “girly” traits and qualities.

Sometimes I wonder if his birth order will come into play. Moreover, the fact that he has an older sister who’s already fierce, strong and stubborn. We don’t call her a princess because neither of us like the word, but she isn’t one, regardless. She’s the furthest thing from a princess. We also avoiding using words like “bossy”. I try and tell her that she has to learn boundaries and respect the word “no”, but I also think that she’s on the path to be a CEO one day. If she wants to be. I’m sure Annika’s nature will shape Mark’s to some degree. Hopefully he can look up to a strong-willed sister and see that as something to be admired.

He also has a Dad who is a self-described feminist (which to me is the sexiest thing). We both endeavour to parent our girl and our boy in different ways based on their individuality as people, and not their genders. So that gives me some peace of mind when it comes to raising our boy, even when I start to feel uneasy.

BUT! Some days the prospect of teaching a son to NOT be a mysoginist feels more daunting than making sure our daughter is a strong, confidant barrier-breaker. Though I guess raising children SHOULD feel daunting to a degree, because how they turn out has everything to do with how we raise them. If we’re not a little bit terrified, it probably means we don’t care.

Anyway. I don’t really have an insightful conclusion to this post, mostly because my kids are both itty bitty, and often I feel like I have no hot clue about what I’m doing as a Mom. So to have some tidy final statement would make it seem like I have all the answers, and I sure don’t. Instead, I’m wondering if anyone else has thought along these lines? Anyone else flying by the seat of their pants as they figure out raising boys vs. girls in today’s world? If so, how’s that going?

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Graduating From Milk To…Mush?

We started Mark on solids the other week. He’ll be six months on Thursday, so we went ahead and started him a couple weeks early. It was a decision that I hemmed and hawed over.

I’ve read that it isn’t ideal to introduce solids too quickly, because it can lead to gastrointestinal problems later in life. I tried to find out whether a couple of weeks prior to six months was considered “too early”, or if doctors simply meant don’t do it at four months. I got a lot of conflicting information.

We weighed the pros and cons, took into account our personal circumstances, and decided to go ahead (knowing that six months was just around the corner).

The good news is Marky LOVES food. He gobbles it. Right from the first bite he was hooked. He’s liked everything to date.

Annika got the shivers with her first meal, and spat a lot of food out for a few weeks. Mark’s the opposite! Everything goes in and stays down.

I know that Baby Led Weaning is all the rage these days. I read a lot about it because I was curious to see if it was right for us. I’m always hesitant to jump on bandwagons, though. I’ll admit that part of that is simply because they’re bandwagons and I like to be a little defiant. I understood the advantages, and agreed with a lot of what they preached, but I still felt like purees were beneficial in their own right. Furthermore, our doctor has worried about Mark’s weight, and that made me lean toward feeding him a way that had him ingesting a good amount of calories. Plus, iron is really important at this stage, and baby cereals are usually fortified.

After some back and forth, we decided to do a bit of both, because eff the establishment. There’s no rule about using one method over the other. I told people our plan, and was quickly corrected. If we’re doing both, it’s actually NOT Baby Led Weaning. The very concept of BLW is to let them choose their own amount and feed themselves. Well. Okay then. Because semantics matter, what we’ve decided to do is a combination of purees, cereals, and “finger foods”.

So far, Mark has tried and loved the following:

•Ancient grains
•Prunes
•Homemade sweet potato puree
•Apple sauce
•Cantelope slices
•Santa Claus melon slices
•Homemade carrot puree
•Avocado slices

Otherwise he still breastfeeds a bajillion times a day and night (as per his request).

My goal is to try and make as much as I can from scratch. Believe me, I’m lazy enough at parenting in a bunch of other ways. So fingers crossed.

Anyway! Here are some cute pictures of him being messy, and devouring food!

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February In Photos

A couple things have stood out to me this February: we’ve had some weird weather, and my kids continue to be cute. Those are pretty much the only things I’ve been documenting since I got back to my camera.

We had a crazy ice storm a couple weeks ago, followed by unseasonable warmth, and a thunder/lighting/rain storm. Now it’s back to just plain cold. I’m pretty sure this is climate change at work, though, and that’s a bummer. However, I have had fun getting creative with the camera. Wild weather provides something interesting on an otherwise dreary February canvas.

I’m also a sucker for storms. I know it’s easy to say that as a stay-at-home-mom who doesn’t have to commute in bad weather. I used to work and commute a lot, so I’m careful about what I wish for…for the sake of other people. But you have to admit that there is something exciting about getting copious amounts of snow, or really crazy thunder.

Today we bundled up the kids, and took the double stroller to some walking trails. I took a lot of random pictures and lost my family for a while. Found them eventually, though.

I don’t have the best and most up-to-date camera equiptment, but since I’m only playing around, I’m okay with that. Maybe we’ll win the lottery one day and I can invest in all the best gear.

I think what I like about taking pictures is similar to what I like about sketching. I like playing with composition and balace, I like textures, I like organic shapes and I like interesting depth.

Here’s a little collection of some of my February photos. Like I said: kids and nature. My life hasn’t been much more exciting than that!

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