Category Archives: Population Explosion

I was alone, I was all by myself

After a whirlwind week last week in which I dragged Neil and Isaac off to a few auditions, mostly for my own entertainment, it turned out we booked a shoot for an upcoming diaper commercial.

Except at the last minute they changed the job from “families” to “dads & babies” and expressly asked the moms not to come along, because it makes the babies act differently.

So I find myself unexpectedly alone, all day. For the first time in most of a year.

I’m totally discombobulated.

It’s not that I haven’t been away from Isaac for long stretches of time. He spends lots of time with just Neil while I go get any number of things done. He’s also in daycare once a week, and is watched by family or sitters when Neil and I go out.

It’s just that whenever I’m away from the rest of my family, it’s usually because I’ve got to go off and do something. This time it’s them doing something away from me, and I didn’t have a chance to fill the time with chores and errands in advance.

Frankly, I’m a bit delirious with the possibilities!

I rattled off a list of things I’ve considered to a friend on twitter: baking, shopping, cleaning, napping (glorious napping!), spa-ing. I might actually get to a few of them.

But so far I’m reveling in drinking coffee while it’s still hot, eating cereal without anyone begging to share it, and reading the internets without a million tiny tugs on the computer power cord.

You people whose days still primarily belong to yourself: what else should I do? I have forgotten how this works.

Ready for his Closeup

Edited to Add: that was remarkably short-lived. Isaac was in the group of “backup babies” in case the primary babies didn’t perform well. Except they did, so he and Neil were sent home early. They arrived about an hour after posting this. Oh well.  

Work-It

So this week marks my first back at work since Isaac was born.

Wait. What?

I know. The year isn’t yet up. My parental leave isn’t yet over. Have I lost my damn mind? Yes. And no. And yes.

I wasn’t really sure how I was going to feel about taking a year off work, and thought I might go a little crazy spending all day every day with the tiny human. And while spending time with him is far more awesome than I would have thought (go ahead I-Told-You-So-ers, it is different when it’s yours), I do feel like my brain is sortof… melting.

Neil and I talked about what to do about the melty-brain syndrome, and all signs pointed to a part-time return to my day job if that worked for my employer. Thankfully it did! And I’ll be in the office one full day a week and doing a few hours remotely as well.

A few things I learned in the return to work process:

For the Canadians, you can earn some money while receiving EI parental leave benefits. This has always applied, but with a current pilot program to increase allowable earnings, if you qualify for regular parental benefits you can earn up to $75/week or 40% of your benefit rate, whichever is greater. Any additional earnings will be deducted, dollar for dollar, from your benefit payments.

This seems like an excellent way to encourage a gradual return to paid employment, ensuring those on parental leave aren’t penalized for starting employment before their leave is over. I know a big factor in deciding what to do was what kind of financial impact it would have on us. If I’d had to end my benefits completely and pay for childcare, I may not have chosen to return to paid employment until March.

Speaking of childcare,

The Wrong Reason to Work From Home. If you have a professional job, something you take pride in and want to keep, absolutely do not be trying to watch your children at the same time,” says Sara Sutton Fell, CEO and founder of FlexJobs, a job site that specializes in telecommuting arrangements. It isn’t fair to your job — or your kids.

That article really guided my return-to-work plan. No childcare; no work. Isaac’s going to be in daycare for one full-day a week while I’m in the office. I also have another few hours a week of work time allowance during the week for working remotely on admin-type things: email, research, content moderation, etc. This time is happening without childcare, but it isn’t scheduled and isn’t for things like meetings or phone calls or anything that requires more than 10 minutes of conversation with another person.

This is great while I catch up on what’s been going on the past 8 months and am in the research phase of project planning. But eventually I imagine I will move that time to another full or half-day of childcare before full-time work resumes in earnest, so I can be more productive and have a few thoughts in a row before being interrupted.

So this all sounds great. I get to flex my mind-muscles and talk about non-baby things with adults. I have a boss who realizes the values of not writing me off and putting me on the mommy-track, and being flexible as I ease into the whole “working mom” thing.

Except…

I am of course a little terrified of this first big step in the kid’s village being broadened and him having adventures and experiences independent of us. I’m not worried about him missing me in particular – he’s so easy-going and really happy to be with anyone who’ll return his big, beaming smiles. But I am worried about missing him. I am worried about missing things like first steps or first words. I am jealous of the person who’ll be cuddling him after he falls or giggling with him while playing silly games. And I am jealous of the person who wants to do that all day. Because I love doing those things, but worry that I’m a little deficient because god I hate them sometimes too. This is nothing new for any parent, I’m sure.

But! Clothes are laid out and lunches made for the two of us. And first thing tomorrow morning we both set off on a new adventure. I just suspect mine might require a little more kleenex (and wine) than his.

Six Months

I can’t believe it’s been half a year already!

2 weeks vs. 6 months

Commiserating with friends who just had a baby a couple weeks ago, I realize how much of Isaac’s early days are a total blur. It’s probably for the best – he’s way more fun now.

Which is a good thing, because despite not wanting to be one of those people who basically only talks about their kid, I basically just talk about my kid. Or so it would appear to the internet (in person I am – I think – fairly capable of carrying on conversation on a broader range of topics). I mean, how could I not? He’s adorable!

Happy Kiddo

And being okay with appearing to just talk about my kid is one of a few things that I’ve found have changed since becoming a mom. It’s part of the larger “caring a whole lot less what other people think of me” shift. I used to care. I used to care deeply, too much, really.

Over the last few years I have grown up some and cared less, and then last March I spent 8 hours being completely primal in front of a crowd of strangers, most of whom also got all up in my hoo-hah, and all dignity went out the window. Giving birth is dignity rock-bottom, my friends.

I do still manage to shower and put on pants (not mom-jeans, never mom-jeans. I may not have dignity, but I do have a modicum of pride) before leaving the house, but mostly because I enjoy the sanity of the routine. It is for me, not for you.

Seeing the world

Time also feels like it is racing by, and taking up one fleeting year being obsessed with the minutiae of spending my days with this crazy baby feels like the right thing to do.

There is a limit, though. I am not talking about poop. You’re welcome.

The other big change is that my cynicism has all but vanished. You try being mopey and world-weary when you spend all your time with someone who is infectiously happy and curious and having his tiny mind absolutely blown in the best possible way by the simplest things. Peas! Rolling over! Things that go scrunch! Another human smiling!

Bumbo! Tiny mind = blown

The world, indeed the whole universe, is a beautiful, astonishing, wondrous place. It’s easy to forget that, until you end up seeing it again through the eyes of someone who’s seeing it for the first time.

And speaking of himself, as far as baby-updates go, he is exactly as he should be. He’s got roly-poly thighs and deliciously chubby cheeks. He’s in the 50th percentile for height and the 15th for weight, so he looks less like a little Michelin Man and more like Elmer Fudd.

He’s a super busy guy and can’t seem to bear to be still. Even at his most calm, when he’s nursing, he still needs to kick his feet or wave his hands or flex his fingers or something. He doesn’t yet crawl or sit (sitting requiring being still, and not diving for one’s own very exciting toes), but he rolls and squirms everywhere. Watching him try to get places is like watching a hilariously bad driver try to park, using a 1000-point turn.

Left him like this, went to the bathroom, found him like that. Locomotion sequence unknown. Any guesses?

He likes to get into things he shouldn’t, and his eyes are already full of mischief.

He drools and chomps with such fury that I have to believe teeth are imminent. Bittersweet, because it is awesome and amazing to watch him grow and power through these milestones (I am still mostly flabbergasted that I made a whole person!) but a bit sad because it’s yet another reminder that he won’t be a tiny baby forever (and I am still terrified of cryptic, whiney, running, mysterious toddlers).

But, if the other parents are to be believed, it does keep getting better. So we’ll continue to soldier on, one mind-blowing discovery at a time.

Hmm. It may be time for some sort of containment unit.
Hey Ma, I like apples!

Up-to-the-Date

The reality of hanging out with an infant all day is that not much happens worth blogging about. But we have had some progress on a few things I mentioned recently, so for those who’re interested, here’s how life is shaking out these days:

The Dog

We had a session with a trainer who confirmed what we suspected – we have a really great dog who had a really bad day. And who is suffering from a distinct lack of leadership. Two distracted humans does not a quality dog-owner make, so we’ve been working hard on giving her clear directions, a “job” to do, and acting more like leaders who are capable of “protecting the pack” so she doesn’t feel she has to.

She also didn’t have a good command for getting out of an uncomfortable (to her) situation, so we’re working on something called “This Way,” which is basically a cue for us to give her so we can make an about-face and walk away from whatever is stressing her out, be it a rude dog or a loud noise or just a chaotic environment. So far it’s all going quite well. Sasha hasn’t had an aggressive moment since, and we’re well on our way to having a much less neurotic dog around.

The House

We are not moving. We are, in fact, not doing anything. We are sticking our heads in the sand for at least a year and just enjoying the place we have now, which is, a la Goldilocks, just right. Well, it’s not quite just right – the outdoor space is still pretty barren and uninspiring, so we’re going to attempt to remedy that so we can enjoy it through the end of this summer and whatever nice weather Spring/Summer/Fall 2012 brings us.

The biggest factor in the decision was the fact that we really love the neighbourhood we’re in. The amenities, parks, local shops, community centers and activities are pretty much perfect, and we make good use of them on a regular basis. We’d love to stay exactly where we are, but local prices in the 8 block radius around here are insanely overvalued, and with the Westside teardown market being what it is, finding something bigger than 2 bedrooms that’s not $1.5m and/or falling down is actually really tough.

So we’re holding tight and waiting until we really are out of space before doing anything.

The Trip

I didn’t end up posting much about the logistics of our trip to DC and Montreal, but traveling with Isaac went really well. He was an absolute charmer, and really calm and quiet on the flights. He didn’t sleep particularly well at night while we were away, but made up for it with an abundance of stroller & ergo naps while we were out and about.

We took a lot more luggage than we’re accustomed to when traveling alone (we generally fly with 1 or 2 very small carry-on bags each), but I think still managed to fly pretty light:

  • 1 medium-sized suitcase for Neil and I
  • 1 small duffle bag for Isaac (that straps onto the suitcase)
  • 1 stroller, checked in a travel bag (about the size of a large suitcase), along with a pop-up travel bed for Isaac and a couple extra baby blankets, etc.
  • 1 diaper bag (carried on)
  • 1 backpack with the computer/camera/usual carry-on comforts for Neil and I
  • This setup meant we each had one wheeled thing to pull, one back/shoulder bag, and one of us carried Isaac in the Ergo. We navigated airports, train stations, rental cars, buses and taxis easily.

    In fact, the one packing fail we had was packing for me! I totally misjudged the weather, what I’d decide to wear on a day-to-day basis, and what would make most sense for exploring and nursing on the go as well as how much I’d be spit-up and spilled upon. I only wore about half the clothes I brought, which is really quite bad compared to my usual efficient packing.

    Excitingly, we get a do-over next month as we’ve just booked tickets to Europe for September. I feel a tiny bit more nervous about this one, mostly because we don’t have our accommodations and intra-European transport all planned and booked yet, but it should be pretty fun.

    And if you have suggestions for baby-friendly things to do in Amsterdam, Barcelona and anything between the two (along with a way to traverse that – we are torn between driving and training), and a day or two in London near Gatwick, drop a comment.

    Otherwise, that’s pretty much it for us. It may sound like a lot, but in reality, we mostly do a lot of hanging around:

    What I learned on my summer vacation

    1. Washington, DC is stunning. And the Smithsonians are amazing. Be realistic about what you will see, and plan to go back!

    2. Small-town North Eastern America is totally like Star’s Hollow. Still a bit disappointed I didn’t run into Rory.

    3. Renting an infant carseat with your rental car is a great idea if you’re not going to drive much. But if this is a road-trippin’ kinda journey, bring your own.

    4. Train travel is lovely. Train food is not. Being stuck in the train clearing customs for an extra 1.5 hours is just fresh hell.

    5. The anti-plastic-bottles movement is alive and well, so bringing your own refillable water bottle along is super easy and convenient.

    6. Maple Leaf Lounges are sanity savers.

    7. Always call the restaurant it takes 2 months to get into anyhow. They may have a cancellation, and if they’re full, they may have another great suggestion.

    8. Don’t bother dragging a stroller through the airport. Check it with your bags. It’s truly better that way. But definitely bring it. Baby-wearing in 30-degree heat with 90% humidity is miserable for all involved.

    9. Never book more than 1 night through Hotwire. It will burn you. You will end up with 5 pre-paid, non-refundable nights in the noisiest hotel known to man. The savings are not worth it!

    10. Unpacking and laundry will take days. It’s ok. After a vacation with a baby you’ll want a couple days to re-introduce the couch to the shape of your butt anyhow.

    Planes, Trains & Automobiles

    4 Plains
    2 Trains
    1 Automobile
    And probably a motley assortment of public transit options on top of all those.

    We’re off this weekend on a 10-day summer trip, heading to Washington, DC to visit friends and take in the 4th of July festivities, then taking the train North to Montreal for a few days before flying back home.

    All our tickets are purchased and travel documents are in order, but before we finalize our packing and transit strategy, I wanted to ask you, gentle readers, for advice you may have on any of the following:

    1. Things to eat/see/do in the DC area (we’ll be staying in Virginia and will have a car)
    2. Things to eat/see/do in Montreal (we’re staying downtown and relying on public transport)
    3. Tips for making travel as painless as possible with the wee one (flying YVR-YOW-IAD, Amtrak from Union Station-Penn Station(3h)-Montreal (10h), flying YUL-YYZ-YVR).

    Merci!

    Chatty

    This is probably of little interest to you, unless you are a) related to us or b) totally enamored with other people’s children.

    But in case either of the aforementioned applies, Isaac has been getting incredibly chatty lately. I present:

    Exhibit A:

    Exhibit B:

    Haunted

    I want to preface this post with a very big I AM OKAY – because it (spoiler!) deals with some new-mom emotions. I am not depressed, please don’t worry, but we all have tough bits and this was one of mine. Okay? Onward!

    If you’d asked me before last week what I was afraid of, you’d probably get an answer like “spiders.” You still might, really, because eeeeeech. But until last week I had never known fear like what I experienced when I saw “the face.”

    Poor, wee Isaac had a nasty case of diaper rash, and to help sort it out, we were having some quality naked-baby time to air out his tush. And, as eventually happens with babies (naked or not), he peed. Except he ended up with fresh, hot urine on his burning, exposed rash (for those without kids, baby pee & poo, when combined, create a reaction that turns caustic and eats away at tender flesh – that’s diaper rash).

    And that’s when he made “the face.”

    He turned bright red, his eyes watered up and glazed over, he screamed in a way I’ve never heard before. Like Clarice’s lambs. My baby was in the throes of complete, utter and abject terror. He was really hurt and so very afraid.

    Even getting his vaccinations, or when I’ve taken a small chunk out of his fingertip when trying to cut his nails, Isaac’s yelling and tears are more angry and indignant than afraid. They come by accident, or for his own good. And in any case, they’re quickly forgiven and forgotten, by both of us.

    But this one’s different. Not for Isaac. He has (I hope) gotten over it the way he gets over most things. He was cleaned up, made comfortable and returned to his usual smiles.

    For me though, that face haunts me. Seeing it again is what I’m afraid of.

    And I am not a “soft mom” – I am pretty nonplussed by Isaac’s cries, because frankly he can be an impertinent asshole. It is also one of the few forms of communication available to him, so it’s what comes out when he’s over-tired, over-wet or over-hungry. We solve the problem and move on.

    But those terrified shrieks and wails, as if he really believed his little life was in grave, imminent danger and going to end in a torturous, painful way, they broke me. They are what I see and hear in my imagination in dark moments when I’m extra tired or feeling sad. The fear that he will ever feel that way again just wrecks me. Especially knowing if it does, I may not be able to prevent or fix it.

    Also, knowing that I would do anything, anything, for him to not feel like that.

    I suppose you may already know this fear if you are particularly empathetic. But I strongly suspect this is what the nebulous “they” are talking about when they say you do not know how fiercely you can feel about another person until you’re a parent. And frankly, it’s as overwhelmingly frightening as it is overwhelmingly wonderful.

    Hockey with Baby

    The 2010/2011 NHL season has come to an end, and while it didn’t finish up at all the way we wanted (especially thanks to a crowd of douchebags), the Canucks gave us one of the most exciting season’s we’ve had in 17 years, and I’m glad we got to experience so much of it in person.

    And a huge part of being there to take it in was being able to take Isaac with us.

    Me & mt little good-luck charm. He's 1.0 for #Canucks winning when he's at the game

    For those unaware, Rogers arena applies the same rule to babies as airlines do: they can attend, in your arms, until they’re 2 years old (after that, you need to buy them a seat of their own).

    There are also a few other family-friendly amenities and services at the arena that make bringing baby along a bit easier.

    All of the washrooms have change tables (usually near the handicapped stall), but there are also family/accessible washrooms at either end of the arena (sections 103, 109 and 319) with a change table, chair and sink. They’re well-used, so hunkering down to nurse (especially over an intermission) seems like it’d be a tad inconsiderate to your fellow parents, but it’s a much less chaotic space to change a baby than the regular washrooms.

    You can also bring your stroller right into the arena with you and check it at customer service (section 114 and 310). I’m thinking this would be super handy for heavier babies, or even if you’ve bought your toddler a seat (bonus tip: Guest Services also provides free booster seats – deposit required!) and he or she isn’t so good with the walk to and from your vehicle or transit to get to and from the arena.

    In addition to the arena amenities, there are a few things we always bring along to make sure Isaac’s comfortable (and we don’t miss much of the action).

    A baby sling. Isaac will curl up in pretty much any carrier and crash out after a short walk. We’ve found the sling works best for games, because it keeps him close without being bulky. It also works equally well for sitting as standing, and we don’t have to wrestle it on and off as we pass Isaac between us. Bonus: we can drape the tail of the sling over his head to block out some of the atmosphere if he’s getting overstimulated.

    A convenient nursing setup. This is obviously a personal preference thing, but during a 3 hour game, a baby’s going to need to eat at least once, and it’s best to be prepared. There isn’t any extra elbow room to be wrestling with pulling your shirt half-off, or fiddling with complicated snaps and straps, so any garment (nursing-specific or not) that gives you quick, easy access to nurse your baby is going to be key. I also use a nursing cover because a) I’m a giant prude and don’t enjoy the idea of flashing 18,000 of my closest friends and b) the cover blocks out distractions so Isaac focuses on eating rather than everything else.

    Ear Protection. If I hadn’t found this, I wouldn’t bring Isaac to the games, period. He’s got a lifetime to ruin his own hearing with whatever noise kids are listening to by the time he’s old enough to annoy me with his musical preferences. While he’s young, I’ll try my best to preserve he hearing he’s got. I’ve even found that the music and ambient noise at the games has gotten so loud, we’ve been bringing earplugs for ourselves as well. Has it always been that way, or am I just getting old and crotchety?

    Anyhow, the only earmuffs I’ve found for the tiny set are ems 4 bubs. The headband earmuff cups are extra small to fit little ears, but still offer 22dB noise reduction. The headband (instead of the over-head bridge that regular earmuffs have) ensures even pressure around your baby’s still malleable head. Locally I’ve found them at Hip Baby on West 4th, or you can order them online.

    And that’s pretty much it. We plan on reprising our hockey plan for baseball and soccer games this summer, and maybe football in the fall. After all, he actually seems to have a pretty good time watching the big boys play.

    Focused on the action

    Community Conferences – Bringing along Baby

    The other weekend was the 7th annual Northern Voice social media conference. I’ve attended this conference many times in the past, and this time went avec Isaac.

    I was a bit nervous about bringing him along, even though the conference has always been billed as welcoming kids, because of what happened last year.

    Reader’s Digest Version for those who don’t want to click: There was a noisy baby during the Keynote. Some people thought this was okay, many didn’t.

    After “Babygeddon 2010″ I was one of the many who agreed with the “Anti-Noise” sentiment. I also have a permanent bug up my arse about anyone who (deliberately or not) acts as if their actions are allowed to negatively impact the comfort and enjoyment of everyone around them. So I really REALLY wanted to make sure I treated bringing Isaac along as the privilege it is, and that his inherent baby-ness didn’t take away from the experience for any of the other attendees.

    From the number of cute-baby coos I got at the conference, and total lack of hearing anything about a “Babygeddon 2011″ during or afterward, I’m calling this one a success.

    I like to think it’s because I put a lot of thought into how I’d tackle attending the conference with a baby. Here’s what I came up with:

    1. Know the event. I’d never, ever bring a baby along to one of those $3000/week professional conferences (as opposed to a more casual community event). Most of them expressly forbid anyone under 18 in the venue for liability reasons. This conference, however, has a long history of allowing parents to bring their kids along for the ride, assuming the parents can keep the kids safe and unobtrusive.

    2. Know the Venue. I also made sure I was familiar with the venue and the places I’d be able to sneak away if things started to go sideways.

    3. Know your baby. Isaac is still at a stage where he basically eats, sleeps and poops. And not much else. I knew he would pretty reliably sleep in a sling through sessions. Whenever he started to act like he was going to wake up (and I know he likes to announce the fact that he’s awake) I’d make sure I gathered everything together so I could bolt in a hurry with a minimum of disruption. I also left the sessions I attended just before they ended, to avoid the thunderous applause, which would’ve been almost sure to startle the kid.

    4. Timing is Everything. I made sure I got to session rooms early so I could get a good spot near the door for a quick escape. I also kept a close eye on the time so I knew when Isaac would be likely to start to fuss and could be ready to dash.

    5. Have a baby-wrangler. I didn’t plan as well as I could have for this one on Friday. I didn’t have a solid plan for handling Isaac during lunch or bathroom breaks. Thankfully I have some lovely friends who held the baby at lunch so I could wolf down a sandwich. I Brought Neil along Saturday to deal with almost all things baby, which worked out MUCH better. I just had to duck out for feedings.

    6. Lower your expectations and have a Plan B. This last point was the biggest thing for me.

    I knew I wouldn’t be able to attend all, or even any of the sessions if Isaac was having a bad day. I figured if the acoustic situation was the same for the Keynotes as it was in 2010 (thankfully it wasn’t), I’d miss them entirely. I was ready to admit dragging a baby along was a bad idea and just go home to drown my sorrows in chocolate cake and ice cream.

    I had accepted that it was essentially okay to fail.

    This is a very strange concept for me.

    And it seems to be crucial to surviving life with baby. If the kid is having a terrible day, I just need to let him have that and try again tomorrow. The bad mood won’t last, the world won’t end, and I’ll have a chance to do something else to fulfill my grown-up needs sooner rather than later. Everything will be all right.

    Baby Isaac has the most amazing blue eyes. @peechie is a prou... on Twitpic

    Any other parents out there want to chime in on bringing their babies to adult-oriented things? What works for you, both in keeping your kid from being disruptive, and maintaining your own sanity?

    Two Months

    Dear Isaac,

    I am shamelessly copying so many better bloggers that have gone before me down the path of motherhood by writing you an online letter, but I can’t think of a better way to share what life has been like with you so far. So here we go.

    It seems like the past two months have simultaneously flown by, and like it’s been this way forever.

    You are fascinating. Watching you figure out the world around you and take it all in is stunning. Especially so in the past couple weeks, as you’ve transformed from being a benign (and adorable!) lump to becoming much more interactive and having quite a personality. You have opinions, not about anything critical (mostly whether you’d rather bounce or swing your way into a nap, or whether to eat quickly or slowly), but still, I am constantly amazed that you are really a real, tiny human.

    So considering there are now three of us working together at this crazy thing called life, it’s nice to feel like we’ve all really started to gel as a family as days are settling into something resembling a routine.

    You wake up in the mornings any time between 5 and 6 am, and Dad grabs you and brings you into our room for your breakfast, then starts the coffee. The three of us hang out for an hour or so before he heads off to work. Then you and I get up for your second breakfast. You eat like a Hobbit!, next up is elevensies.

    Between second breakfast and elevensies you usually take a nap, which I am extremely grateful for. This is when I get to shower, and deal with one or two of the small mountains of laundry you create.

    Speaking of the laundry, let’s talk more about that for a moment. The volume of spit-up you generate is becoming discourteous. I worked hard to provide you with that meal. And if you’re not going to keep it in, at least don’t add insult to injury and demand more after ejecting most of your meal. The well is dry kid, better luck next time.

    Aside from that, though, you really are pretty chill, and once you’ve eaten (again) it’s usually time for adventure! This is when we head out into the world for a walk, a workout or to visit with friends. You’re comfortable almost anywhere and happy to be passed around and cuddled by anyone who’ll have you. You charm everyone with your little rosebud lips and big, blue eyes.

    In fact, one could go so far as to say you’re really, really, ridiculously goodlooking. Because of this, your early reluctance to turn to the left as well as the right, and your recent experience as a model for a local baby clothing company, your Auntie Ki has dubbed you “Zoo.” I’m sure you will develop a taste for orange-mocha frappucinos and grow up to do great things for kids who can’t read good, though I hope your friends are spared the fate of perishing in a tragic gasoline fight accident.

    But back to the present – I do wish you’d succumb to a nap when the afternoon sleepiness hits that gives you big yawns, heavy eyelids and a fierce temper, but we soldier on until your dad gets home, when you bust out the biggest smiles of the day! That’s right, you’ve also started to give us big, open-mouthed, big-eyed grins. I’ve tried to catch them with the camera, but so far you’re just too quick!

    With the lack of afternoon nap you do get a bit frantic as the evening wears on, and a walk in the Ergo with Dad and the dog is usually enough to calm you down and get you ready for bed.

    This is probably very odd for a new parent to say, but I think you are my favourite in the middle of the night. You wake up a couple of times to eat, and you are all business. Your Dad goes to fetch you from your room, and though you’ve been fussing, you quiet down as soon as he walks in. Your eyes are so wide, and you are so still as you endure the routine of a diaper change and head in to the bedroom to eat, which you tackle with the focus and seriousness of an olympic sharpshooter. Then, as soon as you’re done, you pop your head back, throw your arm over your eyes in dramatic fashion, and drift back to sleep.

    Before I know it, morning comes and we do it all over again.

    I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about being a Mom, but even though it’s only been two short months, it seems pretty great so far. That could be the delusion brought on by a lack of sleep, but whatever it is, I’ll take it. I hope I keep finding little things to enjoy about you when you’re being a terrible two-year old or surly teenager.

    But even then, it’s pretty clear that you’ll always be my little Monkey Toes, Captain Pouty-Face, Tiny Baby.

    Much Love,
    Mama

    The Tired

    Even though Pregnant Women are Smug, Neil and I have both tried really hard not to be “smug parents” or let parenthood entirely consume or change us too much.

    This has actually been pretty easy so far, especially these first 6 weeks while Isaac is highly portable and able to nap easily in his carseat, stroller, carrier or sling. We’re also very lucky to have a pretty easygoing baby. Not to say he doesn’t have his moments (or entire days), but more often than not, he’s a pretty chill, happy little guy.

    So far, parenting (or, more accurately, the care and feeding of an infant) for us is Not Hard.

    But one thing falls into the realm of “things parents can totally be smug about” in that “you can’t know until you’ve experienced it” way:

    The Tired.

    The total exhaustion that comes from not having slept more than 5 hours at one stretch (and usually more like 3 or 4) for so many weeks is physically draining in a way that’s hard to comprehend by anyone who hasn’t been there, done that.

    I also grossly underestimated the energy drain that comes along with putting one’s abdominal cavity back together from the inside-out, and continuing to be the sole food-source for a now external little parasite. I suppose it makes sense that rearranging the contents of my torso and managing the conversion of nutrients into consumable and digestible milk, instead of mainlining nutrition through the umbilical cord are calorically intensive, but really, I had no idea. Honestly, it still doesn’t make sense that what feels like even sitting around doing nothing is so draining.

    Not to say all I do when not feeding or changing Isaac is sit around, far from it. We visit and walk, run errands and do yoga and baby storytime. I love getting out of the house (especially now that the sun is coming out). I’m just now used to doing everything in a bit of a fog.

    Neil isn’t immune either. His sleep is just as impacted, more actually, since he takes over the baby-wrangling in the late evenings and early mornings when I try to bookend the night with a couple extra hours of sleep. On top of that, he goes to work each day and actually has to *think* and be productive.

    So yes. The sleep thing? I apologize to any parent I have said or thought were exaggerating. Because holy cats, it’s real.

    At least so far any worries I had about feeling bored or under-stimulated are unfounded. Because honestly? Right now, thanks to that fog, I’m just too tired to care.