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When Niko was a baby I dressed him for Halloween in my Build-a-Bear’s karate outfit. He was just over a month old, and this inspired a series of photos. Each month I took his photo beside the bear to document his baby growth. So in total a series of twelve photos were taken.

Well lo and behold a month of little Stella’s life had passed and I realized I had not yet started this for our newest little darling. Not wanting her to feel the “you-have-less-photos-of-me-than-the-first-born” drama, I nipped it in the bud and seized the closest item I could find to start documenting. I mean…after much thought and care I settled on Suzy to be the chosen the doll to document our precious girl’s growth. (Of course, her size growth portfolio wouldn’t be so haphazard as me just nabbing the closest item…).

Suzy, by the way, is my beloved Cabbage Patch doll from when I was a child. And charting her first month, here’s Stella and Suzy!

Note 1: These pics were taken around January 26th, even though they are just being posted now. So they do accurately reflect one month of growth. My tardiness at posting them is more a commentary on the time restraints of my current lifestyle. Two young kids and finding it hard to find time to blog. Who would have thunk?

Note 2: Niko is in daycare today.

Note 3: At Stella’s one month check up, her stats were as follows: weight – 10 lb 8 oz, height – 22 inches. (90th percentile for both).

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It’s date night! First time out since the arrival of our little Stella. Well first time without any kids. As we get into the car I realize this is also the first time we’ve been alone in the car since I was seizing in pain from contractions just a little over a month ago. What a romantic revelation to start the evening with.

Anyway, Gramma’s on duty and Borys and I have a night off! We head to Starbucks/Chapters where my hubby treats me to my fav: grande latte, non-fat, extra hot and a slice of banana chocolate chip cake. Yum! This date’s off to a good start. Post Starbucks purchases we head out into the aisles of Chapters wondering how to spend our date time. We end up looking at blankets and I get sidetracked by the Robeez selection while Borys slips off to the geek-tech section.

Time passes. Not sure how much. But my coffee and cake are long gone.

I start looking for my hubby only to spot him across the store doing a scan for me. Does this date spell romance or what? We reunite and I proceed to show him mine while he shows me his: our loot that is! We may not have been alone together in a while, but we are at Chapters afterall! Our loot consists of Robeez and a WWII book. Our romantic show and tell is suddenly cut short when a clerk comes up to us to let us know the store will be closing in 5 minutes. What?!

What can we do but pay for our stuff and head out. But out where? It’s 9:30 and freezing rain has started. We decide to head home.

Upon our arrival we are greeted by a smiling Gramma and a wailing Stella, in mid diaper change.

Hello reality. We’re back.


I have an hour to myself. Yes, to M-Y-S-E-L-F!

I head to the mall (namely Toys R Us) armed with a dual item shopping list. And what two items is my heart after? Drum roll please. Baby bottle brushes and bibs! Oh wow, the excitement.

Post Toys R Us success I’ve still got ten minutes to burn. I pop into the Gap? Nope. Town Shoes? Uh-uh. Starbucks? Heck no! Gymboree? Bingo! Seeing so many good buys, I can’t pass up the deals, and end up getting four new shirts for Niko.

You know you’re a mom when…

all you buy at the mall is stuff for your kids.

And you’re excited about your purchases.



Borys wants to go snowboarding. No prob. Daddy deserves a night off…

My mom (aka my personal assistant these past few weeks) wants to go out for dinner with a friend. Yes, Gramma deserves a night off too…

Ok. But both of the aforementioned events fall on the same night?! What!? Me. Alone. With my two kids?! Can this really be happening? Can I do this? I felt the anxiety building. I’ll be outnumbered! I’ve heard parents lament over this “outnumbering” in the past and just sort of shrugged it off. But now that I’m the one in the situation, I get it. Two of them. One of me! Yikes!

Yes, I am aware this is not something new. In fact – and in case you were wondering – since the dawn of time, parents have been raising kids. And not just two. But three, four, five… Well you get the point. But here I am, a 2012 mommy and just not sure how I feel about the prospect of doing this on my own (*ahem* for an evening…). Yes, the rational side of me sees the melodrama here – parents do this all the time. But for me, this one lone evening looming in the very near future was daunting. This is how it all went down…

My mom completely prepared dinner AND set the table, then took off to meet her buddy for supper. (No suffering yet…). Thank you Mom! Borys, Niko and I ate supper together and upon completion Borys’ friend showed up to pick him up for an evening of outdoor winter fun. And now it was officially time for – drum roll please – my debut as a single parent. On my to-do list? Get Niko to bed. (Not too extensive a list, but hey, I don’t want to overdo it my first time…) OK. I can do this.

And you know what? I did! Even got the dishes done to boot. Pre-bedtime, Niko pulled his stool up to the sink and made a habit of dipping his hands in the bubbles, walking over to the tea towel to dry them off, and then coming back to collect more bubbles. So while he entertained his little self this way, I scrubbed at the grime of the evening’s dinner plates and got them all sparkly.

And all the while, little Stella continued to saw logs. Good baby. Good little baby!

Then it was upstairs, brushing teeth, two stories, and off to bed. Phewf! I did it. Mission accomplished. I was outnumbered and handled myself wonderfully. Thank you very much. Yah me! And little Stella? Well she just continued to sleep while I got myself a celebratory mug of ice cream and awaited the guiltiest of guilty pleasures – for The Bachelor to start.

Success!


A while back I wrote about Niko’s fridge escapades. (Interested? You can read about them here and here.)

And now, another one to add to the list…

***

This is what I heard yesterday:

Niko: Cool Dude! Cool Dude, Mama! Coooooooooool Duuuuuude!

And upon further investigation, what did I discover but this…

The irony of this self-declared title of coolness, being proclaimed from within the fridge was probably lost on the little guy. But maybe not. On second thought, maybe he’s a budding genius.

Yes! In true proud parent fashion – a budding genius I say! At least that’s what he looks like in these pictures, right?


How many times have you sat and looked at your baby? Perhaps a look of confusion, intermingled with exhaustion crosses your face, while your baby cries or contorts her body in some way that just doesn’t seem to make sense. You do what you can to help, to cease the crying, but after all has failed you are left with this crying babe in your arms, or in her bassinet and you continue to wonder what the heck is going on.

Yesterday my friend Heather sent me a link to a YouTube clip with an Australian lady talking about her findings on Baby Speak. And really, who doesn’t like a good dose of retro-Oprah? If you’ve got 16 minutes check it out! Or if you’re curious what these 5 baby speak words are check it out. According to Dunstan these words cross gender and ethnicity. They are universal words/reflexes that all babies say/do, in order to communicate feelings of hunger and discomfort.

At first I balked at a 16 minute YouTube clip, but once I started watching I was hooked. It could have been that no-fail Oprah-esqueness that lured me in, or the fact that the clip was highly relatable to me and my 2.5 week old baby, but I actually watched and enjoyed the whole thing and it gave me some food for thought and apparently enough fodder for a blog post.

Anyway, Dunstan claims these words are spoken by all babies from 0 – 3 months and she’s even videoed a variety of babies “speaking” the language. Which you can see in the clip. Want to see the clip? Check it out here: 5 Words Babies Use. So post video, I spent the wee hours of last night and a good portion of today listening for these baby words – apparently it gets easier to decipher them with practice, but I think I did hear a few “eh, eh, eh”s. So, yes Mom, I guess she did need to burp…

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Hand-me-downs. A smaller room. Fewer photos. Waa. Waa. Waa.

All these things plus many more are the oft heard laments of the second born. And will little Stella suffer these injustices? Let’s see… Hand-me-downs? Not even a month old and she’s already in them! A smaller room? A little bigger than half the size of Niko’s… (But to be fair, lovingly and freshly decorated though!) Fewer photos? Yet to be determined.

When Niko was born I toyed with the idea of arranging for professional newborn pics. Borys convinced me my amateur photography skills were adequate, and with my ego suitably stroked I believed him. Little Niko was then left to my own devices and the best I could do with the camera I had. And what did we end up with? A Newborn-Hugh-Heffner of sorts: yes, little Niko became memorialized as a newborn splayed out on lambskin. Lucky little guy!

Anyway, when I was pregnant with Stella I firmly decided that she would be the recipient of real professional pictures. After some internet research I settled on a photographer (Baby and Belly Photography) and upon her birth scheduled an appointment. Yesterday I got the first set of proofs via email and am now happy to share the end the results here.

So yes, while she can lament some things about being the second born. There are other things that only the second born can enjoy: love from a big brother AND in this case, a professional photo shoot!


The baby’s fed? Check!

The baby’s clean? Check!

The baby’s asleep? Check!

And what’s this I see? A 20 minute window of time where I don’t have anyone monopolizing me? A 20 minute window solely to myself? Is this possible? Is this really happening? What to do? What to do? Doesn’t take me long to figure out I’d love a bubble bath – extra bubbles please! When I think back on this day, I can’t recall what was happening in 20 minutes that left me with such a concise window, but a 20 minute time block was what I had, and I was going to use it maxin’ and relaxin’ with some bubbles and a book in the tub! Yah!

So I start running the water pretty hot, squeeze in ample amounts of bubbles and get myself in the tub. As the water fills higher and higher I sink into full relaxation mode, letting the worries and stresses of the day melt away. I may have even closed my eyes for a minute before I cracked open my book club’s pick: Left Neglected. So the tub’s almost full, when I hear little footsteps raucously approaching, followed by a happy toddler bursting into the bathroom huge grin and all. Huger grin now that he sees the massive mountains of bubbles that are floating in the water. (This is why bathrooms have locks right? Mental note to self: must remember to lock the door.)

So I’m about 4 or 5 minutes into relaxation mode, and now have toddler speak and giggles as a constant soundtrack. Not that I minded really, but when you’ve got plans for some “me time” this isn’t usually what’s on the menu. Despite my little visitor I remained focused and tried to convince myself that I could still follow through with my original plan for relaxation. So I just let Niko go about his business, which now included sticking his hands in the bubbles, walking back to the door, all the while gleefully saying “Niko painting the entire door!”. This round trip, from bubbles to door with the phrase “Niko painting the entire door!” on repeat, continued for what seemed to be about 5 minutes. At this point, reading was no longer an option due to the painting distraction, but putting a stop to his behaviour would have just carved out too much of my “me time”, so I chose to pretty much ignore his actions. Allowing him to “paint the entire door” with bubbles, while I continued to focus on relaxing, sans book.

After a few minutes, Borys poked his head in – now this is what I call relaxing at full tilt! Just me and my two guys hanging out in the bathroom. He wondered what was going on, and asked me some questions about who knows what, but pressing ones I am sure… Anyway, it was at this point that little Stella started to stir and her grumblings like an alarm clock halted my activities and beckoned me to her. My 20 minutes were up. It was out of the tub, and back to the baby, with a brand new “coat of paint” on the bathroom door.

And the lesson here? Because there’s always one, right?

Must remember to lock the bathroom door!


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!


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