Parenting 2.0

Archive for the ‘Family and Friends’ Category


So…at little late with this post, but such is life-melding-with -blog these days….

In January, my sister and her whole fam (4 kiddos and hubby) came up to meet baby Stella and see Gramma (who had been shacking up with us while helping us get adjusted to life with a new baby).

It was a full house and an amazing and much appreciated visit!

The only cousin missing? Little Ramona. But she lives in Asia, so I suppose she has a good excuse…


A few weeks back – when snow still covered the ground, Niko, Stella and I ventured out for the first time as a group of three. That’s right. Just me and the two kiddos. Might not sound like much, but it was a feat. Getting amply bundled and carrying wee Stella in the Bjorn while Niko bounced underfoot we headed out into the sun and onward to the park.

Blue skies and smiles all around!

Success.


Their grandparents are friends.

Their parents are friends.

And yes, this third generation are also friends.

Cool!

Pic: Kenzie, Lena, Stella and Niko.


Who doesn’t need help with a new baby? Yes, it’s true, all mamas of newborns can use an extra pair of hands. When it’s your first baby, it’s just all so overwhelming and new, and it really seems impossible. And when it’s your second those extra hands help oh so much with the the first little babe who is now at least two or so – not to mention the laundry, the cooking and the cleaning (that is if you’ve got really good help, like the kind that took residence at my place this past January!) Thank you Mom (AKA Gramma)!

Yes my mom swooped in from Singapore to help out while we adjusted to life as a family of four. She was pretty much my personal assistant for almost a month taking on even the most menial of tasks, say for example when new baby Stella projectile pooped on my bedsheets at close to 1 in the morning. Why was I changing her on my bed? Convenience of course. She sleeps in a bassinet only about a foot away! Why was I changing her without a change pad? Who knows…

Anyway, once I saw what had projected onto my white sheets, I gently rapped on the neigbouring door…just to relay the situation. But out of bed pops Superwoman, alert and ready to take charge: “Oh dear! Well, I’ll go do the laundry then.” In my head I was both surprised and delighted – afterall I hadn’t knocked on her door to ask her to do the laundry, but that leads me to wonder why had I knocked at such an early hour? In my head it was merely to tell a sympathetic listener what had happened. And the result, sheets without permanent stains. Thank you Mom. Thank you.

Note: Below is a series of photos taken when Niko was learning to bake cookies, but mostly just reaping the rewards of doughy beaters and bowls, and the final product of course.


When I was a kid I spent many a New Year’s Eve with my friends Graeme and Sarah. Forced together in a way, seeing as our parents were close friends and could be found celebrating together at one of their houses. But enjoying each others company nonetheless, and celebrating with takeout and board games. Woot! Woot!

During my teen years I spent my New Year’s Eves with my buddies. Desperately trying to hide my escapades from my parents, only succeeding about 50% of the time, and then probably ending up grounded by January 1. What a way to start off the year…

My 20s were much the same: spent ringing it in with close friends, usually at a bar. Sans the hiding from my parents part, and the only punishment to be received on the 1st (and maybe even the 2nd) was the lingering hangover as a telltale sign of the previous night’s adventures.

Now in my 30s, I’ve sort of come full circle. This year I was back to having plans with my friend Graeme: after 30 years our parents are still close friends and so are we, and we’ve randomly ended up in the same city. The one major difference being that 30 years later we’ve both gotten married and had two kids and are now forging the bonds of friendship between our offspring.

Anyway, the plan was a great one. One that appealed much to the side of me that had just popped out a baby a week ago. A plan that involved enjoying dinner at Graeme’s house (he’s a certified chef!) with board games to follow. If you can’t call that full circle, I’m not sure what is! Anyway, despite our best laid plans, Heather unfortunately came down with the flu and the whole plan was kiboshed.

So now Borys and I were left to our own devices and a toddler who was sadly going to miss the “par-tee”! Yes, Niko lamented the loss of our plans and couldn’t stop himself from crying and whining about not going to the “par-tee”. So, what else could we do, but convince him that the party at our place was going to be just as rockin’? I went ahead and made the hot artichoke dip I had planned to bring to Graeme and Heather‘s and assembled the cheese and fruit platter as well. Borys went out and bought party hats and blowers and we partied it up in our own way from around 4 – 8pm.

Niko had a great time (and truth be told, so did we) pigging out on the appetizers, bopping around in our party hats and ringing in the New Year with just the four of us – and Frasier of course. And Niko didn’t even seem to notice that the party hats said Happy Birthday instead of Happy New Year. Afterall, it was the best we could find on such short notice!

Happy New Year every0ne! Wishing you all the best for a happy and healthy 2012!


Niko loves his little sis. Within moments of first meeting her, he was smiling broadly and hugging her on my hospital bed, and a few minutes later, doting on her in one of the chairs. He seems so proud and happy to have her around (phewf…!). And I am so happy to see the two of them together.

The first night we brought her home, was reminiscent of that famous movie scene from Streetcar Named Desire, where Marlon Brando bellows “Stella!” up the stairs. And here’s the reason why…

Niko had managed to stay up past his bedtime, which is essentially a no-fail recipe for tears and exaggerated displays of emotion. As I sat on the couch with baby Stella and he was hauled off up the stairs, despite his bouts of adamant protest, he reached for the railing and yelled “Stelllll-aaa!!!” through his tears. “Niko hold STELLLLLLLL-AAA!”…”Stellllll-aaa!”

Both heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time.

Ah well, there will be plenty of time for displaying his affections in the days weeks years to come lifetime ahead.

But for that moment, it was off to bed!


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Well, I think it’s safe to say Operation Incubation can now be considered a success. Even though there have been a few bumps along the road, at 38 weeks and 5 days pregnant, I am now full term and just awaiting the arrival of our little bambino. Having had a membrane sweep on Tuesday I’ve had a few false alarms due to the cramping incurred from the sweep, but so far no little babe. Just time on my hands to do a few self-portraits…


As mentioned before, I’ve been trying to figure out how best to introduce our little lady to her big brother. Since my previous post, I’ve been given a few more pointers:

  • the first time Niko meets the baby, she should be in her carseat, or some other neutral area (not cradled in Mommy’s or Daddy’s arms)
  • he should be allowed to go up to her, touch her and check her out
  • get him involved in an artsy way

I’m planning on doing all three. To elaborate on the third point, my friend Heather suggested getting Niko involved in making some sort of artwork to hang in his little sister’s room – a welcome-to-our-family gift of sorts.

The idea is simple really: using leftover paint from the baby’s walls create a toddler-made painting. We happened to have some blank canvasses and acrylic paints in the basement so away we went. In total it took about 10 minutes a day for a period of 4 days.

Day 1 Purple: using the purple paint from his sister’s room, Niko finger-painted the background

Day 2 Green: using a 2″ brush, Niko painted on the second layer (I’d envisioned lime green, but as an amateur self-mixer this was the closest I could get, using the blue, yellow and white paints we had on hand)

Day 3 Yellow: using a small paintbrush, I encouraged Niko to make circles on his masterpiece

Day 4 White: using leftover trim paint, I had planned to glob it on and then have Niko blow through a straw to create a special effect – turns out the globs were too thick, and at times Niko sucked in instead of the reverse. And there was that one time he turned the straw around and put the painted end in his mouth. Ah well…live and learn. In the end, we dipped a small paint brush in the paint and sort of shook it onto the canvas. I also tried to get his hand print in the bottom right corner. A toddler-style signature, similar to the greasy ones that grace the walls of my house…

And presto, c’est fini! Overall an artistic success and I love the way it looks hanging in the baby’s room. Great work Little Man!

All we need now? The baby!

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The following are sentiments sent via email, by my sister, to my family in regards to my late Nana, who passed away in 2006.

We miss you, we love you and we remember…

***

I wanted to write to first say to Dad, because it is his mom, and we all know how important a mom is … that I was thinking about you and also Nana many times today.  I am sure we all were.

But secondly, to all, if I was a poet or a songwriter, I would have a page ready to be made public with all the thoughts running through my head – it felt like I should write them down … Anyway here is the synopsis, not the published work or pop tune!

Ever since I told Nana on the phone back in December 2006 that I was having a third baby, and then 2 days later was told she was in hospital, the memories of that month are so crystal clear.  Not sure why.  But each night as I walked Reuban [our dog] to the end of our street, to the little park to go the bathroom, I would gaze at the Nativity outside St. Joseph’s church and pray for Nana. I would think about the cool wind on my face, think about the black sky with gray foggy clouds … wondering back in 2006 if she would ever feel or see those very things again.  Things we all take for granted … wind, outside air, cold, stars, clouds.

I started out on my walk tonight again, gazed at the Nativity and felt a lump in my throat and felt my eyes well up — it then started raining – first spitting and then when I left the Nativity it was absolutely pouring. Thankfully, I know it wasn’t ‘tears from heaven’ as I do know she is happy and content now with Grandad by her side.  The two of them bring to my mind holiness, peace, grace, love, respect … they were so in love with each other and their family.  I have always loved the picture that circulated yesterday – as if they were on a date, just the two of them, the ‘rainbow’ bestowing some magic toward them in their own world ….

Anyway, if I was a poet this would be a beautiful verse but it’s just me and my thoughts … year and year again around this date.  Crystal clear.

I love you Dad, love you Mom, love you siblings.

xoxoo

***

And some thoughts from me…

I miss her too.

One connection I always make when I think about her, is her hands. They were so small and soft and I loved to hold hands with her…even when I was in my 20s. I secretly hoped we would have a chance to hold hands on her couch, and usually it happened every time. She’d be sitting in her pencil skirt, ankles crossed and feet perched on her footstool, while I sat by her side, literally, touching her side, and she would take my hand and tell me a story or something that was going on, or just ask me how I was doing and what was new. Anyway, I cherished those moments and still do and can clearly remember how her tiny hand felt in mine, fingers interlocked and all.

Love you Nana!


When’s the best time to get a Christmas tree? I had been wondering, and was told about 2 weeks before Christmas.

So this weekend we set out for the Christmas tree corner not far from our house and selected the greenery that would grace our home for the Christmas season. When I was a kid we used to traipse through the forest, cut down our own tree, haul it over the snow in a sled, strap it onto our car, and then hoist it up in our living room.

Eventually, like maybe next year, I would like to do this with my little family as well. But for now, it’s the trees behind bars that get parole in our house for the duration of the holiday season.

PS – Despite the pics, I’m still Dreaming of a White Christmas…




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