Parenting 2.0

Posts Tagged ‘mom


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.



Despite all my qualms about breastfeeding, after 10 months it seems to have come to a natural end for me and Niko. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy I nursed him and it worked out really well for us, but our time is over. I had planned to breastfeed for one year, but over the past few weeks it seems to have just naturally tapered off. I didn’t really feel like I was producing enough milk and little Niko was often frustrated during and after feeding, so I introduced more bottle feedings and he seemed more content and satisfied.

Another sign that it was the end for this little guy? Even though we’ve been tapering off, sometimes I still try nursing him when he seems fussy and I don’t have a bottle on hand. (And let’s face it, breastfeeding is more convenient than preparing a bottle.) When we gave it whirl yesterday he went for it, for all of about 10 seconds, then stopped, looked up at me and started giggling, showing off his six white and ever growing teeth. (And trust me, the fact that those chompers are in there doesn’t make it any easier either. Let’s just say I’ve bared the brunt of a few bites.)  Anyway after the bout of giggles, he pulled himself away and focused his attention elsewhere. Yah, I think that’s pretty much a sign that he’s done. I’m done. It’s over, but also the beginning of a new era as well. After all aren’t all endings just the beginning of something else anyway?

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Thanks goodness for friends who get married and then request my presence at their showers, bachelorettes and weddings! Otherwise, I’m not sure I would ever get a day off.

Jamie, one of my besties from S-town is getting hitched at the end of May and her shower/bachelorette is happening this Saturday. So, Borys and I worked out a schedule where he’ll be taking care of the little guy all day Saturday and until I get back on Sunday. He’s done it before, and Daddy Daycare was successful, but this time the party’s a little further away, so there’ll be some overtime involved.

Borys: So, before you go, can you write out a detailed schedule about feeding and sleeping and everything else?

Me: Of course, sweetie pie!

Borys: I’ll need a detailed list of everything I’m supposed to do.

Me: No problem, Lovebug.

Borys: So you’ll write everything down right?

Me: You betcha!

It’ll be so nice to reconnect with my pals from home. The last time that most of us got together (at least when I was there) was at my shower in November. So it’s been a while! Burlington, can you handle us? I’m not sure!

Now, which friend can I convince to get married next!?


Yesterday I headed to the grocery store, armed with a list and a mindset to buy the particular ingredients needed to create some new flavours for my Little Man. The world of internet blogging has introduced me to a site called Carrots are Orange where you can basically find a different baby food recipe each day. This lovely blogger (creator of Carrots are Orange) has a knack for kitchen creativity and I, or should I say Baby Niko, is reaping the benefits.

Luckily for Niko, I’m expanding and improving my culinary skill set since the Campfire Squash incident. Yes, I’ve stepped up my domestic game a notch and my repertoire now includes: skinning tomatoes (easier than it sounds), poaching sole (although my poaching technique is questionable) and thus creating “Sole” Mate Puree, all in the name of making baby food for my Little Man. Now wouldn’t Borys like it if I put so much effort into making adult food for my Big Man. Actually to be fair, here’s a conversation that transpired the other day:

Borys: I’ve noticed you’ve been cooking more lately. I like it!

Me (with an air of contentment and pride): Yah, I guess I have been cooking a lot.

Borys: Whoa there. I didn’t say “a lot”, just “more” than before. But I still like it.

Me (somewhat dejected): Oh…

B and Me: har har har 🙂

Yes I’ll admit it, for quite some time PC frozen lasagnas and countless other PC varieties made daily appearances at Chez Alli & Borys. But now, and maybe in part due to the years (yes, years!) of eating them, those frozen entrees just don’t have the same appeal. Thank goodness…

So today I will continue on my baby making, nix that, on my baby food making adventure. And what lies ahead, you may wonder: Chicken Pot Pie and an Avocodo, Banana, Blueberry puree (ingredients, at least at this stage in the game, I would never have dreamed of combining!) So, thank you Marnie, from Carrots are Orange – Niko’s taste buds are happy and all the while I’m honing my cooking skills.


Now that  I have been a mommy for close to five months, I have honed quite a few taking-care-of-baby skills: changing diapers, getting up in the wee hours of the night, entertaining a newborn, and (drum roll, please…) breastfeeding in public! Although I can’t say for certain I’ve honed this skill to perfection, I have done it and met with success and am sure I will do it again in the future.

Is the public arena my place of choice to feed little Niko? No.

Have I developed a comfort and skill level that allow me to feed my baby when he’s hungry out in public? Yes.

And, truth be told, most of this comfort developed on the recent trip Niko and I took to Halifax, where airports and airplanes became ground for free-range feeding! Being discreet helped a lot with building up my level of comfort: I mean a lot of times I don’t think that anyone was even aware of what I was doing, that is unless they took note of the big pink, Babe au Lait nursing canopy draped over my front. But seeing as most people are so wrapped up in their own business, I find they for the most part don’t even look at others, as I will explain later…

Interestingly enough, in the March 2010 issue of Today’s Parent there is an article (p. 107-108) about Breastfeeding in Public. The writers are all for it, despite the qualms that nursing mothers may have about this task. The most important thing is to get that hungry baby fed, right? And I agree with the article – hungry babes do need to eat, and when the time comes, they pretty much need to eat pronto! The article goes on to give tips to mothers who breastfeed in public, and one of them is as follows: “Smile at people. Make eye contact. Look confident.” OK, looking confident is one thing, but smiling and making eye contact?! Come on! It’s not like I am looking to make new friends while I am nursing my baby. I mean people out and about in the general public barely even look each other in the eye – so yes I would feel a bit awkward sitting on a bench in the mall, breastfeeding my baby, while giving the old wink and smile to passersby! Confidence – YES! Smiling and eye contact – WEIRD!

Note: Like Greg mentioned in his comment, I’ll just “have to take what ‘they’ say with a large grain of sea salt”.


Who wants to be the person on the plane with the crying baby? Not me, not me! Who was the person on the plane with a crying baby? I was, I was! Oh, joy!

Yes, I was that person who is one of the last ones to get on the plane – seeing as I was tending to Niko’s diaper – and walks on with a baby, all eyes wondering in paralyzed fear: is this mother and her babe going to be sitting by me? Well, halfway down the plane I plunked us into our window seat – a row of three, where thankfully the middle seat was empty, and the aisle seat was taken by a pleasant traveler in his 50s who reminisced with me about traveling to Acapulco with his daughter when she was only three months old. So at least he was somewhat understanding of the crying, but nonetheless it does not make for a mommy-comfortable situation when your baby is testing out his lung capacity before the plane has even left the ground.  All in all, the intense crying – because there is a difference between intense crying and the stifled cries that followed- probably only lasted for about five minutes, but time ticks along slowly when you are trying to calm your baby in a cramped space. And what seemed to calm him? The bounce’n’jiggle jig of course! You know that move where you bounce your baby on your knee, facing you, facing away from you, hold him up and jiggle him a little – whatever works!

I did find temporary relief when the stewardess came over the intercom and said, “We will be together for 2 hours and 14 minutes…blah blah blah”, I tuned out once I heard the time. Ok, just over two hours, WE CAN DO THIS! But then, five minutes later, when we still hadn”t left the ground, she pretty much repeated the same thing! What?! So I guess she must be referring to flying time, because even 15 minutes later, when we were finally in the air the countdown had not moved anywhere: still 2 hours and 14 min (of fun, I might add!). When Niko continued to cry, despite my best efforts at the bounce’n’jiggle jig, my friendly seatmate suggested he might be thirsty and also went on to say: “When the air pressure gets to be too much for your baby’s ears you better have cotton to put in them”. Hmm…I think I will just file that information under Usefulness Pending.

But, once we were in the air Niko pretty much calmed down, other than a few baby squeaks here and there. Phewf!


“A mother bringing up a child must feel that she’s plunging into the Dark Night.” (Brida, Coelho)

Oh help me, for I am plunging, plunging, plunging, deeper and deeper into this dark night… Ok, so maybe my life is not as dramatic as this, and it’s not like you need to bust out the smelling salts to wake me from this plunge, but yesterday this quote gave me something interesting to think about. I am currently reading Paulo Coelho’s book, Brida, and loving it.  You know when you have a book that makes you stay up past your bedtime just to see what’s going to happen? Well, it’s been a long time since I read a book that made me feel this way, but then Brida came along – a selection from my book club.

Last night, this quote about the dark night really struck a chord with me.  I couldn’t help but wonder: is it because we are forced to get up with these little babes in the dark of night, semi-blindly tending to their needs, that he wrote it? Ha, I don’t think so. I’m sure he’s writing about something a little more deep, something like choosing a path for your child, or at least for your parenting style: I guess only the child can choose the right path for them self, and parents are left merely to guide, encourage and perhaps coax. As I have learned from my own experiences as a teen, it’s pretty tough to force one to follow your will, even when you have the best intentions. But what is this dark night that Coelho writes about? At first glimpse it sounds like something terrible: mothers going blindly into parenting. On second thought, nighttime can be beautiful: depending on where you are, it’s so quiet, still and serene, and can even be a comfort (as long as you don’t let your mind play too many tricks on you!).

This dark night has definitely provided some food for thought. Yes, at times, being a new parent is sort of like fumbling around in the dark, but I find solace in the fact that after just a little while in darkness our eyes adjust allowing us to see more clearly. Furthermore, when I do make parenting mistakes, can’t I just blame it on the darkness, and the fact that my vision was impaired? Anyway, even though day by day I am plunging further and further into this previously unknown realm of parenting, I am trying to do so with eyes wide open, in hopes that I can lead the way to a bright future for little Niko – and any other little munchkins that may come along. 🙂


111: this is the number of times and days that I nominated myself to carry the Olympic torch, and all that persistence paid off. Today has been a long time coming, since I first saw the Coke ad on TV last February asking if I wanted to carry the Olympic flame. Carry the flame?! It didn’t take long for me to realize with an emphatic YES, that this was definitely something I wanted to do! So I went online, looked into the details and started nominating myself.  After a few months I got randomly selected to go to the next round and write a brief essay -around 200 words – about how I live an active lifestyle (see Active Living essay below).

The beginning of my Olympic Torch Relay dream pretty much coincided with Borys and me happily discovering I was pregnant with Niko, but seeing as he was due in October and the torch would be coming through Ottawa in December, I figured I would be good to go for the Torch Relay! And good to go I was! What an amazing, amazing experience: one that will be etched clearly in my memory (and in the hundreds of pictures that friends and family took!) for the rest of my life!

Niko was an amazing baby too! Even though I was fretting about the “baby logistics”, I really didn’t need to worry seeing as he happily slept through most of the morning and we were back home by noon.

Active Living: A Lifelong Commitment

I have always lived an active lifestyle.  I have trained for half-marathons, triathlons and also a marathon.   I participated in these events with long-distance friends; we updated each other on our training and would finally meet up on race day to run together.  One friend told me that she ran a half-marathon because of something I said to her.  I told her if she could run a 10km race, then she could do a half-marathon.  She took it to heart, started training, and eventually we both ran the Ottawa half-marathon in 2006.

Teaching has given me the opportunity to share my passion for an active lifestyle.  I have participated in student vs. teacher sports, and have coached cross-country and football.  In 2005 I was inspired by my Director of Education to start karate.  A friend and I started together and progressed through all the belts, which culminated in our black belt exam in June 2008.  I have since continued with karate, and now have my mind set on earning my second degree black belt.  My husband and I are expecting our first baby this October! Throughout my pregnancy I have remained an active participant in karate and aim to maintain this as a lifelong form of exercise.


Being a mom is sort of like working full time. I did the math and each time I feed the baby – from changing his clothes to changing his diaper – it takes a good hour. I have been encouraged by my doctor, lactation consultant and public health nurse to feed Niko eight times a day. I stick diligently to this schedule and have even created a chart to ensure I get the eight feeds in; so that, right there, is eight hours! Take into consideration that at least one of those happens between 3 and 5 am and that must count for at least double (well maybe not), but the lack of sleep has to count for something.

I think Niko wants to blog with me. Every time I start typing (like right now), he starts crying. So now I cradle him in my arm at my desk as I type: which is making for overuse of the backspace key, but at least he seems content for the moment. Uh oh, here he goes again…


Bringing Niko HomeSo…now that I am on maternity leave I have decided to start a blog and post my daily thoughts and experiences. I have officially been a mom since September 15th 2009, when my son Niko was born just after 8 am. That day was a total surprise because he was born exactly four weeks before his due date and we weren’t exactly ready.

I mean we had intended to be ready, but only by the due date which was October 13th. Some people say the 13th is an unlucky day, so maybe it’s better off this way anyway. Regardless, we were having all new hardwood floors put in, in hopes that they would be installed before the birth of our son! Surprise surprise, you can’t always plan the birthday of your child! Needless to say we are so happy to have him, despite the early challenges of him being in intensive care for two weeks.

In a glimpse the last five weeks have gone like this:

1) I had planned to take a month off before the birth of Niko. My last day of scheduled work (regardless of the premature delivery – which of course we did not know about) was September 14th. He was born on September 15th just after 8am – at least I had a few hours off. 🙂

2) My mom – aka. superwoman extraordinaire – came up to stay with Borys (my hubby) and I for two weeks. She cooked, cleaned and supported me like a champ. Because I had a c-section I was super limited to what I could actually do, and she was there for all my needs and more! I seriously appreciate all she has done. I think she felt bad that Niko was in intensive care, or maybe she just didn’t get enough “Grandma time” in, but she also came back for another whole week, and is here with me right now: cleaning and cooking as I type – what a multi-tasker!

3) After my mom’s first two week stay, Borys took two weeks off and cooked, cleaned and supported me like a champ as well! And, of course, it was great to have some quality time together as a family!

4) Oh no…the baby is squirming, or grunting which is what he actually does more of than real crying. I better go see what the fuss is, but I think it means he’s HUNGRY!

5) Feeding him, sure does take a lot of time! But, man have I caught up on my TV! Rogers on Demand, has really introduced me to some new shows. Since the birth of Niko, I have caught up on and started watching: Glee, Mad Men, Melrose Place, 90210, Grey’s Anatomy, The Good Wife and of course the wonderful – My Super Sweet 16 – I wish I could have a party like that!


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