Parenting 2.0

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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.



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

I have a short list of things I need at the mall and it’s easier to grab my diaper bag than my purse, because it already has my wallet and keys in it.

You know you’re a mom when…

your diaper bag doubles as your purse.


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!


In the wee hours of the morning, when it’s still dark out and Borys and I would rather be catching some Zzzs, than propping our eyelids open with toothpicks and accompanying our two year old to breakfast, we will do almost anything to remain wrapped in the comfort of our warm sheets. On a regular day, Niko will wake anywhere from 5:15 to 7am. 7am? That’s actually OK, and I would even consider that sleeping in, in I’m-a-parent-of-a-toddler land. But anything that starts with 5 or even early in the 6s is just way too early!

Here are some strategies we use to keep our little soldier quiet for just a bit longer, while we try to prolong our slumber. After we hear the first quiet beckoning that ultimately gets progressively louder and more insistent as time passes,

“Daddy! Daddy! Daaa-deeee….” etc.,

our strategic planning ensues.

1) Change his diaper.

2) Bring him into our bed.

3) Turn on the TV – quietly.

4) Give him a drink.

5) Give him Cheerios.

And then this weekend a new strategy to add to the list.

6) Supply him with about 100 stickers for dozens of minutes of extended shut-eye for mama and daaa-deee.

This is how it all went down. After duly beckoning and then receiving steps 1 through 5, Niko was uncharacteristically quiet on Sunday morning. I just drowsed the minutes away, enjoying this quiet reprieve, occasionally and only half-consciously taking a piece of broken sticker-surround from his passing hand. The happy chirps of his chatter a far off sound in my sleepy state. When I finally did fully awaken at 7:20 (hip hip!), it was to the site of one happy toddler with a left hand completely covered in stickers.

To be honest, the site of it was a touch disturbing and before I fully clued into what covered his hand alarm bells sounded in my head, but those minutes of extra sleep were all worth it!

Video Clip (36 sec.): Sticker Hand

Note the tell-tale signs of sleepy-daddy-hair in the top left corner of the first picture below.


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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After Niko was born I was in a double hospital room with another mom. Even though we were separated by a curtain, she was only about four feet away and I could hear everything that was going on on her side. So while she had friends and family coming in for visits to meet her little baby, I had my Baby in a Camera.

Niko was in the NICU and unable to leave, and the only way I could physically see him was if I trekked on down to the Intensive Care Unit (which I did many times). But while this neighbour mom cooed and gooed over her newborn, I was quietly looking at my little babe in the digital camera. (And, truth be told, shedding a few tears over the whole situation. I mean it wasn’t ideal, and right after you give birth there are just all those hormones and emotions racing through your body). Anyway, that situation didn’t last long because the next day I was moved to a private room, and found it much easier to have my Baby in a Camera in the privacy of my own room.

When I went away last weekend, I snapped some pics of Niko before leaving so that I could bring my Baby in a Camera on the road with me. The difference this time was that these images only invoked feelings of joy when I looked at them. Plus it gave me a chance to show him off to my pals.

Note: These pics are the now and then versions of my Baby in a Camera.


They say absence makes the heart grow fonder, and leaving town for the last day and a half showed me the truth in these words. As I drove closer and closer to Ottawa today, I became increasingly excited about reuniting with the Little Niko Man. When I finally got home he was finishing up his lunch, and greeted me with huge smiles that kept showing off his two front teeth, (and warming my heart)! Can you say adorable?! Because it was! It was so great to see him, and of course Borys too.

Before arriving I called Borys and our convo went something like this:

Borys: Daddy Daycare, how can I help you? (Note: We have call display.)

Me: Hahaha. So, how’s it going?

B: Well I have a new found appreciation for what you do all day.

Me: What do you mean?

B: Well, it’s busy. There’s always stuff to do, and it’s a lot of work to take care of this little misfit. (Note: He didn’t actually say misfit, but I’m entitled to creative liberties. This is my blog, after all)

Me (with a smile, and an appreciative air of vindication): Yes it does. It certainly does.

I know I was only away a short time, but Niko looks different somehow: older or bigger or something. Maybe it has to do with the coif he received at Daddy Daycare: Borys sort of parted his hair and combed it over to the side. But whether it’s the hair or something else, there is something different. Even Borys had to agree and said, “Yeah, he looks like he’s about twenty-one now.”

Milestone today: Niko rolled over for the first time from back to front. He’s been rolling from his stomach to back for quite some time, but this particular maneuver took a little longer.

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