Sunday, January 18, 2009


I spent all of yesterday evening with a few fellow first-time Mothers of 1 year olds. Babies stayed at home with Dads and/or family, and we went out on the town. It was really nice to be able to hang out and chat, and I was quite surprised that only about half the conversation centered around the kids. Although a good chunk did revolve around the husbands and their involvement (or lack thereof) in all things household-ish.

But while it was nice to be able to sit there and chat and compare notes and just be able to eat and drink in peace (no, I don't really get to get out much), I was also quite surprised and saddened to realise that there was a lot of feelings of unfair work splitting between the spouses. As usual, it really seems to be a case of misplaced expectations. I mean, even if both spouses are planning to contribute 50/50, unless you explicitly discuss what that 50/50 means, there's bound to be some disappointments. For example if the mother nurses, meaning she takes care of the majority of the feedings (if not all), should the father take on more diaper changes? What is "fair", really?

As always when it comes to relationships, the answer is communication. Being able to express your wants/needs is the first step in making sure their met. Well, actually, the first step is probably figuring them out in the first place - that's probably the hardest part. Ideally, all that stuff can be sorted out before the baby comes into the picture, because once (s)he is here, time an patience are at much more of a premium, and long, quiet and composed discussions can become a thing of the past. Communicating in shorthand is usually all that can be afforded.

In our specific case, DH and I had spent a lot of time prior to BRs birth figuring out the split of responsibilities. Not because it was a hard one to figure out (me- take care of all things baby, DH- pitch in around the house, take care of cars, work and long-term planning), but because we wanted to make sure we were both comfortable with it. Because we knew it's hard to go back and renegotiate those things when sleep deprived, overwhelmed and overstressed.

Still, there are things that crop up now and then that threaten to topple our carefully built pyramid of domestic bliss :) In a society where the old divisions of labour no longer apply, and new divisions have to be negotiated for a true and fair partnership, sometimes you have to renegotiate. And sometimes that happens in the most inopportune times.

That's the train of thought I embarked upon after our long and therapeutic conversation. I mean really, who needs to sleep at midnight anyway?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Cherry on top of the sundae

So after fighting with the car all morning, then hearing about the bankruptcy protection, I also found out last night that there is a recall for the crib that BR sleeps in. All in all, we can handle all of those small hurdles, but I sure hope that's it for bad news. I'm getting enough stress at work right now (completely unrelated to the filings, more related to coworkers), that it's at times hard to keep things in proper perspective...

On the good news front, we've now had 2-3 nights with BR only waking up once around 2 AM. Means I am starting to catch up on my sleep after a week of frequent wakings, taking care of a coughing baby all night (including sleeping with her resting half-vertical on my chest to drain the congestion for hours at a time). So maybe there is a light at the end of the tunnel?

I'm afraid this post makes me sound more down than I actually am. I have been a little stressed by the work stuff, car trouble and trying to somehow partition my time between work and family, but overall I am still enormously thankful for everything I have and determined to make it all work and not let real or perceived obstacles bring me down. Having BR in my life helps keep things in perspective, and I am much better about letting go of stresses and frustrations than I was before she came into this world.

Time to start working on updating my resume :)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Work news

My company officially filed for bankruptcy protection today. In a way, it doesn't really come as a shock, we've been hearing rumors and innuendos for a while now. But still, it was kind of nice to be able to stay in denial. Now it's official. Sucky thing is, they don't have to pay severances
for layoffs under bankruptcy protection. Also, I need to keep my job until April if I even want to dream about getting any employment insurance...

But in the meantime, there's still work to take care of, and customers who are waiting for stuff. So we go on slogging away....

Frozen comedy

It's cold today. In fact, it's very cold. Like -26 celsius, -39 with the windchill. Brrrr... Luckily, since we've been hearing the windchill and frostbite warnings for today all week, I somehow prepared mentally for it, and didn't find it too shocking when I walked out of the house this morning.

I bundled up BR nicely, bundled myself up, put some cream on our faces (she would not let me cover up her face at all), and we ventured out into the freezing cold. Got to the garage with some residual house warmth left, and I was feeling pretty good about getting to the daycare early for a change. I went to open the rear passenger door to put BR in her car seat, only to find out the door was frozen shut. So here I am, babe in hand, trying to wrestle the door open. No can do. I stood her up on the floor, leaning against my legs, and tried to pry the door open with both hands. Still no luck. I popped her into the front passenger seat, which worked well as she was so bundled up she couldn't really move around :) I went to start the car, which proved to be somewhat problematic as well, despite the fact that it had been plugged in (or maybe because of it). In the end, though, I convinced it to start.

I still had to figure out a way to get at least one of the back doors open, as it would be quite challenging to get myself and BR into the back seat without that. I ended up getting in through the trunk, and pushing the door out. You gotta wonder what BR was thinking this whole time about the crazy gymnastics Mum was engaging in. She has a lot of patience for my eccentricities :)

After all that, I figure the rest of the day has got to be easy as pie :)

Thursday, January 08, 2009

These are a few of my favourite things

In no particular order:

* BR having a big hearty belly laugh. When she's tired after a whole day of daycare, she tends to find most things I do completely hilarious. Funny noises, funny faces, funny voices or funny gestures, she's not picky. It's quite heartwarming!

* DH becoming all protective of our little family. When I was staying at home, he let me set the tone of everything that was going on around here. Now that we're both back to work, he seems to have found more of a voice, and has many opinions about the best things for us. I think it's great, because most of his opinions make a lot of sense (as much as it sometimes pains me to admit it).

* BR requesting to be put in bed by pointing to her crib when she's tired. I was really worried that she would fight us when it came to bedtime, but it seems like she only has good associations with her crib, and actually likes to spend time in there. In the morning, she plays quietly with her little turtle, waiting for us to get up, and most of the time we don't even know she's awake!

There's more, but I really need to go to bed and go to sleep. I'll have to add the rest another time.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

This kid is going to be a handful some day...

and that day is coming soon I fear...

It's no surprise to anyone who's met BR for even the briefest time, that she is an independent spirit. She's not much interested in cuddles or displays of affection, preferring solitaire exploration and discovery. She does not like to have books read to her, instead she insists on choosing the pages and pointing to what she is interested in (and you can then read it or tell her what she is pointing to). Since she's learned to crawl and especially walk with the help of Dad's hands and/or the couch, the ottoman and assorted other pieces of furniture, she will often get mad when I try to pick her up, because that is loss of control, and she will simply have none of it... And she generally refuses to come to you if you ask her, simply on principle. Even when I come to pick her up at daycare, she will only crawl over to me on her own terms, not if/when I ask her to.

And so I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised this morning, when I handed her a giftbag with a nice big book in it (thinking "she loves books, especially big ones, this one is the biggest yet, she's bound to just love it") and asked her to open it up, and she simply took a quick look at it and crawled away. It took until the evening for her to actually decide she was now ready to discover the contents of the bag.

Later on, I took her into the basement with me while I was refilling the pellet stove. I have a little kid chair and table setup for her there, so she can sit and watch me while I mill around. Unfortunately she has been figuring out how to stand on the chair and then crawl up onto the tabletop. It's not very high, but she could still get quite hurt if she fell onto the concrete floor. And so I sternly told her not to climb onto the table. The little monkey looked at me with a wide, happy grin, shook her head sideways (to signal "no"), and then climbed up some more, visibly delighted to be doing something she shouldn't be. I may have to start calling her CM for Cheeky Monkey instead of BR!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Life changes

I just got a call from a "Private Number" here at work. While before BR (or BBR) it wouldn't have meant much of anything to me, today I found myself instantly wondering "Oh no! Is it the daycare? Someone from the daycare? Something is up with BR?". Turns out it was something totally mundane (a coworker calling from a cell), but I found it interesting to observe my immediate reaction. Being a parent changes you...

Monday, January 05, 2009

The first day of the rest of my life

Last night, after my family had left and we'd gotten the house cleaned up, it suddenly hit me: tomorrow we were going back to work and daycare. Intellectually, I knew it well, but I hadn't taken any time to think what it would mean to us and specifically to me. When I went back to work in December, it almost felt like a temporary thing, I knew it was only for a few weeks and then we would have almost two weeks off to spend together as a family.

And now the break is over, and it's back to work full time for both DH and myself, and daycare for BR. What a reality check! We're establishing a routine, a pattern, that will serve us for a long time to come, maybe until elementary school? High school? It seems like very serious business.

I guess what this really means is that the break was good. In fact, I'd even say the last week might have been the happiest week of my life. Not the most exciting or extravagant, but definitely the most peaceful and content. Spending my time with DH and BR felt so right, it's almost like we built a little cocoon for ourselves and nested all together.

Now, that's not to say it's all sunshine and roses, it's not like we all of a sudden see eye-to-eye on everything, it's not like there's no moments of frustration or disappointment. But I feel like we've come a long way in learning to deal with all those bumps in a way that's not damaging to BR, and it feels good to see we've made so much progress.

And the result just speaks for itself: BR is such a happy, spirited, independant and interactive kid, I love her more each day. I always enjoyed newborns and babies, and I knew I'd have a lot of fun with BR when she first joined us, but I find with time I'm enjoying her even more! She's such a little person now, growing in leaps and bounds every day!

Alright, better end this post before it gets overly mushy. Her birthday is just 2 days away now :)