Parenting 2.0

Archive for January 2010

Now that our trip is coming to a close, both Niko and I think it has been a great success! We managed to fly here, rent a car and make our way around Halifax (in part due to our trusty GPS, aka Susan).  Most of our trip has been made up of visits to friends and family including: Grandmother and Grandad, Uncle Bob and Deb, Joan and Doug, Aunt Marion and Wayne, and today to finish off with Aunt Angela, Emma, Noah, Uncle Jimmy and another visit to Grandmother’s house. And of course our lovely hosts: Natalie, Darren, Charlotte and Lauren have been most welcoming and gracious! Charlotte and Lauren have taken a particular interest in little Niko and have supervised and helped out with many a diaper change! I am sure they will make fabulous babysitters one day, but at the ages of six and four they remain babysitters in training.

Tomorrow Niko and I are flying back to Ottawa and we are really excited to be reunited with Borys and Frasier! On our daily telephone chats Borys has been talking to Niko and it is so cute to see Niko’s expression as he tries to figure out where that familiar voice is coming from: eyebrows raised, half-smiling and curiously adorable! This trip has definitely helped to build my travel confidence and also reiterated how challenging being a single parent would be. I mean to take care of the babe on my own 24/7, despite the helping hands of Charlotte and Lauren has been a learning experience. Actually, Niko has been a wonderful baby this trip, it was just last night when he had sort of a bad evening right around bedtime and was screaming almost unconsolably for about two hours: as Darren said, “Whew, Niko’s pissed!” And he was! But who’s to blame him? He had been constipated for about 48 hours, and only finally got some relief this morning! Yah, as dealing with a gassy child during my impending travels (including a stopover) tomorrow is a challenge I would not necessarily want to face alone.

Even though there is no Big Bad Wolf (phew!) and neither Niko nor I have a red riding hood, there is something Little Red Riding Hood-esque about going off for a visit at Grandmother’s house. Yesterday Niko and I made our first trip together to Chestnut St. aka his Great Grandparents’ house, and upon arrival I experienced that wonderful welcoming and nostalgic feeling that can only be brought to life by a visit to see these two!

The feeling was a bit new this time seeing as I was introducing Niko to his Great Grandparents for the first time: and weren’t they delighted to see him! He enticed smiles from them, as they both held and cooed over him – I didn’t know that my Grandad liked babies so much, but according to the tell-tale smile on his face when he looked at little Niko, this is the case. Of course, I wanted to take a picture documenting the visit (gotta keep up with the blog, you know) and they both sort of resisted – Grandmother explaining that no one was even allowed to take a picture of Grandad on his 90th birthday, this past December. But then I convinced Grandad (after a short tutorial on how to use a digital camera) to take a photo of me, Niko and Grandmother, after which and probably to his chagrin I enticed him into a pic as well! Even though his eyes were closed I thought I better just count my blessings and take what I could get – so a closed eye pic it is, but a pic documenting the reality of the moment nonetheless.

Of course Niko went through his full baby cycle of wakefullness, sleepiness, and then hunger during our visit, and when he got sleepy, I wrapped him up like I normally do, only for Great Grandmother to say: “He looks just like a little papoose”. Then she wisely suggested I lie him down on “this blanket that had just blown in one day”. “Just blown in?”, I questioned. And she said yes, after some sort of storm it ended up on their lawn and when they hung it out to dry and no one came for it they adopted it for themselves, which eventually lead to Niko lying down on it’s thick and comfortable surface.

Grandmother spoiled me with a slice of her homemade apple pie while I was there (can you say YUM!), saying she had thought of me the day before when she was baking it! How sweet!!! Niko and I stayed for a good three hours and plan to go back this afternoon. There is something just so sweet about seeing their smiling faces waving from their front door when we arrive and and upon our departure.

Note: Yes, I am aware that it is winter and Niko and is shoe and sockless, but this is because Great Grandmother and Great Grandad got so much pleasure from seeing and touching his bare little feet! Hence the lonely Puma that sits on the edge of the table…

Arrived safely in Halifax? Check!

Proud of myself for making this journey (including a stopover), with a baby and both of us ending up in tact? Check!

Is the title of this blog entry a bit of an exaggeration? Check!

Sometimes I am left wondering why I pack so much extra stuff for the baby – you know that staff for the “what if” scenarios. Well, yesterday I finally got good use of the “what if” stuff that had always been packed and never really used, when I ended up busting out the extra outfit for Niko in the Toronto airport. I was always warned about changing little boys’ diapers, and the possibility of an impending arched fountain or waterfall that may occur mid diaper change, and yesterday I experienced this full on in the comfort of the bustling public bathroom at Pearson International. Can you say joy? But like I said that “what if” outfit came in mighty handy! And once I got him changed we were good to go for the next leg of our journey.

Today marks the day that Niko will be taking his first flight(s)! Do seat sales automatically mean flights with stopovers? Well, I know now that the answer to that question is no. But how was I to know that when WestJet offers seat sales, so does Air Canada, but the flights from Air Canada are direct?! Oh well, I am now resigned to the fact that Niko and I will be taking a leisurely journey to Halifax today and stopping over in Toronto to catch our next flight.

A few weeks ago I got an email from WestJet about the seat sales, and Niko was enticed! So we booked a flight to Halifax to visit his Great Grandparents and a few other relatives; we are going for six days in total and staying with Natalie, Darren, Charlotte and Lauren. And once again I am left wondering about the baby logistics of it all: how will we manage? In talking with friends and family they all assure me that I we will be just fine, and I know this journey will help to build my “travel with baby” confidence -although sometimes I think it is a bit of a crazy trip to be making on my own. But, I think I just need to remember what is at the end of the flights (yes flights – the joy of seat sales, remember?!): keep my eye on the prize, you know?  There will be lots of hugs, loving arms, and smiles waiting for us in the city of Halifax – it’s just the getting there that’s getting to me. But all in all (just like child birth 😉 ), it is just one day and we will make it through some way or another. Now, Halifax or bust!

So today Andrew headed off to start his month long stay with Ola and Bruce in Florida, and Niko and I happily volunteered to be his chauffeur to the airport.  Happily volunteered to drive him, but not so happy to be navigating the streets at 8:30 am and trying to get through the morning rush of cars. I had sort of forgotten about (or maybe blocked out?) morning rush hour seeing as I have been enjoying slow starts to my mornings for the past four months. I mean my mornings usually go something like this: hear Niko cry, feed him, change his diaper, drink coffee, check email, hang out with Niko, drink more coffee, blog, lie Niko down for a nap, check email, blog, etc. This morning our morning went more like this: hear Niko cry, feed him, change his diaper, hear alarm go off, get up for good, drink coffee, deck Niko out in winter gear and strap him in the car seat, hit the roads, pass cars, signal left, signal right, brake for the yellow?, YES! etc.

As I was making my way through the morning rush, I couldn’t help but think that this is what it will be like next September when I go back to work, except for instead of returning home after being out the streets I will be dropping my one year old off at someone’s house (whose? I still don’t know, but that is another story) and heading off to make some moula. Then to turn around and do the exact same thing the following day, and so on…geesh. As I think about this, I still wonder where my “million dollar idea” is and just hope I think of it before September comes… 🙂

Borys and I usually make it to Scotiabank Place for at least a couple of NHL games a year. However, so far this season we’ve only been couch supporters seeing as the little guy isn’t ready to hold his own in the hockey stadium just yet. I take a lot of slack from my Toronto area friends over being a Sens fan, and while I don’t know all the Sens stats and really too much more than a few players names and the colours of their jerseys, a fan I remain (despite this not being one of their better seasons).

Over coffee yesterday morning Borys said: Ottawa won again yesterday! That’s six in a row; pretty good you know? Yes, Niko’s daddy is a true hockey fan (at least true in my eyes: he’s in a pool and follows stats and reads the papers), so this year for Christmas I bought him an official Senators hockey jersey. The other night Borys tried the jersey on Niko and as you can see from the pic it looks like we’ve got a mini fan in the making! Let’s just hope the Sens can keep up their winning streak! GO SENS GO 🙂

Note: As Borys peeked in on me writing this blog, with Niko balancing on my lap he said quite poetically: This litte fan is barely bigger than the puck.

Yesterday Niko, Borys, Frasier and I headed off to the first annual Simps-Olympics, organized by Graeme, Heather and Lena at their cottage. Basically it involved a winter flurry of outdoor activities (brainteasers, ice fishing, crazy carpeting, bowling for Conservatives, etc.) – sort of like a summer regatta but winter style. Anyway, perhaps because the Olympics will be in Vancouver next month the theme of the winter activity day was the Olympics, and seeing as I was an official torchbearer this past December, yours truly was asked to light the bonfire to start off the festivities.

Now seeing as I had little Niko in tow, not everything could run exactly according to a timed schedule. For example, when the time came for us to get the games started and for me to run in with the tiki torch (a.k.a. Olympic Torch a la cottage style) and light the bonfire, Niko also decided it would be a perfect time to proclaim his hunger. A good half hour (full stomach, clean diaper and dressed for the weather) later we were good to go. But different than in December when I ran with the official torch, this time I had baby Niko Baby Bjorned onto my chest and he was a part of the whole ceremony!

Note: As you can see (and if you can’t, just click on the picture to enlarge it) in the gallery of pictures below, the bonfire needed a little coaxing for the lighting, so Niko and I decided to go chill with Lena and Heather.

It seems that Frasier has taken a liking (at least that’s the light I’m going to shine on it – after all it couldn’t be jealousy, no not jealousy) to his little pal Niko. Upon bringing Niko home we were a little concerned about how Frasier would respond. I mean up until then Frasier had been the numero uno, the head honcho, the guy running the show and the one that we devoted all our time and love toward. But then Niko came along and Frasier was forced to take second place.

Even though he’d been bumped to second rank we still wanted him to feel loved and a part of the family – we figured we had to allow him at least to be near the baby as Niko had become a permanent member of our family and how could Frasier not be a part of that?  This took a bit of trust on our part, but really Frasier has never given us any (major) reason not to trust him. So, we allowed him to sniff Niko and give him the occasional kiss – under supervision of course! Yesterday I caught Frasier in his loving actions on camera, and while the look on Niko’s face may not be one of utter love, in dog speak that pink tongue stuck to Niko’s head says: “I love you little friend!”.

“Slurp, slurp, slurp, slurp…”, is the sound of one happy little man who recently discovered his fingers and has taken to using them as a pacifier.

It’s amazing what constitutes as a “milestone”. Well, actually I don’t really know what the “typical” milestones are, seeing as my professional reading on parenting has been limited to date, but when Niko does something new I put it into this category. So, the fact that his fingers have found their way to his mouth and he is constantly sucking on them and his fists, fits in nicely, according to me! Sometimes when I go see him in his crib after a nap or in the morning, and after I’ve heard the first inklings of his cry, I will find him happily lying there on his back with his eyes closed and just sucking away, and it’s really cute to see!

Note: The two pictures below are titled, 1) The Happy Little Sucker 2) Rock on, Sucka!

We often wait until something has gone awry in our lives before we decide to make a change. Just to illustrate, you might think: I’ve put on a few extra pounds, so I’m going to start working out, or my lungs are suffering so I’m going to quit smoking, or I’ve lost touch with some great friends, so I’m going to make more of an effort. And this list could go on and on.  Or sometimes waiting until January 1st is more our style: I will resolve to a better person this year by __________ (fill in the blank with a resolution of your choice – whatever that may be).

But why do we wait for something to go wrong or God forbid for some tragedy to happen before we decide to make positive changes in our lives? Is it because we are lazy? No, I don’t think so. I think it has something to do with the fact that at times clarity comes more easily once we come face to face with our downfalls, or have dealt with something life altering. Then I wonder, if we know there’s something that can improve our lifestyle or the world in general, then why not make a change now?! After all you don’t have to wait for the New Year, or a special occasion to make a change! Just like Anne of Green Gables said: “Marilla, isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?”. That’s right; tomorrow is mistake free! So why not aim to keep it that way by making some changes for the better?

You may have guessed by the images around this entry, that what I am really getting at here is cellphone use while driving.  I think we (at least most of us) are all guilty of using our cellphones while at the wheel. I know I am. I mean how many times have I put off a phone call, until I got into the car, because that seemed like the only time I could fit it in? But after watching an episode of Oprah this week, I am now rethinking this habit.  According to statistics, people who chat on a cellphone while driving are four times more likely to end up in an accident (the same stats are also true for drunk driving), and people who text while driving are eight times more likely: so texting while driving, is statistically more dangerous than driving while impaired! Anyway, people are dying from these bad habits. Apparently talking on the phone – even if you are using a headset – causes some sort of peripheral blindness and blinds the driver from seeing all that is going on out on the streets.

Blind while driving?! This is a serious danger! Maybe it’s time to rethink cellphone use in the car: at least this is something I am going to rethink. I mean it’s not like I use my cell phone a lot, but all it takes is one time to get into an accident and the consequences could be deadly! Do I want to put my baby or my family or strangers into this kind of jeopardy? No! Is it convenient to use a cell phone in the car? Yes. But is it worth the risks? No! Let’s stop this nasty habit before more lives are put in danger by something that is so preventable!

Although the images I’ve chosen for this blog entry are serious but on the humourous side,  I did have my pick from a barrage of really graphic ones, and if you want to see some, just Google them yourself, and perhaps that will help to further drive this message home. But my point is: Let’s “hear the call” and stop cellphone use while driving! Keep your families safe on the roads and make a change now. It’s simple to do, and although yes, it could be a bit of an inconvenience, isn’t it worth if for the safety of you, your family and all the other innocent drivers out there?

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