Parenting 2.0

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*Breastfeeding Survey* It’s anonymous and takes only a second. (See survey at the bottom of this post.) Thanks!

“Breast is Best”! This message is in your face as a new mother, and there’s a lot of pressure to breastfeed. I was actually surprised to find out that my grandmother who had five kids didn’t breastfeed a single one of them. She told me this when we visited her this winter. I just sort of assumed that most people breastfed back in those days. But she went on to say that it just wasn’t popular, and actually it was the poorer people who breastfed because they couldn’t afford formula. Wow. Times certainly have changed. I mean it’s just so trendy now! Maybe too trendy?

I know there are lots of benefits to breastfeeding and I am breastfeeding, but I have seen friends who for whatever reason formula fed their babies and some of them were made to feel guilty – be it by nurses, or self-inflicted or societal pressures. But you know what? All those babies from back in the day when breastfeeding was on the outs, are OK! I mean look at my mom and her brothers and sisters – none of them were breastfed and they all lived to tell the tale.

What I’m wondering is, how long will I continue to breastfeed? I mean the Little N Man has two teeth now, and thankfully as of yet they haven’t inflicted any damage. But how much longer will we go on like this? Ontario Public Health nurses recommend breastfeeding for six months, and he’s almost seven. But still there seems to be this societal pressure to keep going – to forge forward until pre-school. OK that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but I do here of it. And to be honest I’m sort of torn. I like breastfeeding him – it’s convenient, it’s bonding and it’s free. But, that means he also relies on my physical presence to eat. Maybe that’s not such a bad thing. I’m just curious about other mothers. Did you breastfeed or not? And if you did, for how long?


Niko literally puts his foot in his mouth on a daily basis, and it’s making changing his diaper a real challenge. He just bends those baby knees and grabs on tight to both feet, usually putting one then the other to his mouth. What a flexible little munchkin!

And he gets such a firm hold on those tiny toes! I’ve tried to pull them out of his hands so I can get on with the show, but his grip is strong and tough to break. Even when he does let go, he keeps his knees bent up – sort of like he’s recalling life as a fetus.


How many times have I gone to the doctors’ office and waited patiently (pun not intended, but HA! I’m entitled to laugh at my own jokes today…), past my scheduled appointment time to see the physician? Forced beyond my control to be a patient patient. I couldn’t tell you an exact number, but I can say with 100% almost 100% certainty that it has been every time: that I have never gone to see any doctor anywhere that wasn’t running behind – be it the dentist, the orthodontist or my family doctor. But what other choice do I have, as a patient? I am obviously there for a reason, and leaving because I am made to wait won’t solve what ails me. So I am left there, waiting. Waiting in the waiting room, with countless others, just waiting, waiting waiting.

Despite the waiting I usually get there at least ten (OK maybe five) minutes early. Yesterday, Niko had a scheduled doctor’s appointment for his six month check up. It was supposed to have been a week and a half ago but the doctors’ office called to reschedule without giving me a reason – although was it a coincidence that his canceled appointment happened to fall during March Break. Were the peeks at Mont Tremblant calling the doctor’s and her family’s names? Hmm, well I’m just saying…

When we got up, everything was running smoothly on the baby front and it looked like we would be able to make the appointment on time. No problemo. Niko went for a nap around 9:15 am, leaving him enough time to rest and me plenty of time to get him there on time (or five minutes early even!). But lo and behold I got distracted: taking care of mortgage emails, sweeping my floor, posting my sister’s apartment on Kijiji and Craig’s list, checking into a few things online, doing dishes, (OK…blogging), and then all of sudden it was 11 am, and I had completely forgotten to get Niko up and go the appointment. His appointment was at 11.

I called the doctors’ office and apologized and told them I could be there in fifteen minutes, to which I receieved the snarky reply that the doctor had a really full schedule and that she would be unable to see us! What?! How many times had I waited for that doctor?! And now because of fifteen minutes Niko’s whole appointment was canceled?! Oh I was peeved and feeling like a really awful mother for forgetting about her son’s appointment.

And the receptionist – what a nasty lady! Seriously, have a little common courtesy. Have some manners! Be sympathetic. But no, none of that just a cold hard, “Too bad and you can’t rebook for a month a half!” What kind of system is this!? Unimpressed: with her, with me, with the whole situation! But then she noticed a cancellation and got me in for next Thursday – another week a half but better than a month and a half! Maybe it was the rainy day we were having, but after I got off the phone I indulged in a little pity party and shed a couple of tears. I just felt really sick about the whole situation.

Note to self: Multi-tasking doesn’t always pay off.

Note to others: I really do appreciate doctors. Just not this particular situation…



Niko: Look Mum, I can feed myself.

Mum: Yes Niko, and look how well you hold your spoon.

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Think back to the Fall of 2009: you couldn’t turn on the TV or have a conversation without hearing or partaking in some sort of H1N1 discussion. The media built up so much hype around the virus, that the general public was in a frenzy about the vaccine. Would there be enough? Can you believe the lineups? Eventually enough vaccine became available for everyone and the hubbub faded, which probably also coincided with the passing of flu season.

Since the Fall, I really haven’t thought about H1N1 that much – or for that matter at all. Borys and I both got vaccinated, and then put it behind us, just as the media did. But now that Niko is six months old, the wheels are turning again. Should he get vaccinated? Is H1N1 still a concern? Are people still getting vaccinated? Has there been a rise in cases? Is the virus still lurking? So many questions, that I guess I will ask next week when I bring Niko for his six month check-up. After all, six months was the designated youngest age to get the vaccine.

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Niko has been getting really close to rolling over, and the past couple of days have been the closest. He has a play mat with dangling toys and he likes to lie on it and swing at the toys or pull them or bite them or whatever it is he feels like doing in the moment. Anyway, last night, he was having a great time just rolling from side to side, while babbling and shrieking out in glee, while swinging/pulling/biting on the dangling toys.

Actually he became quite mobile in his antics and ended up completely off the mat just lying on the hardwood floor. Not to worry, we didn’t let him lie there for too long, just long enough to get a few pics of his gymnastics.  Then we moved him back on the mat and the mat further onto the rug. We just wonder when these side turns will turn into complete rollovers? Looks like it could be sooner than later.

Note: Check out a short video of Niko babbling away while doing his exercises, by clicking here.


Parenting is sort of like a live and learn experience, with (sorry Niko, but it’s true) Niko as my guinea pig. Lucky for Niko (and me), the more time that passes, the more I learn and the more confident I become.

Changing diapers? No sweat!

Feeding the baby? Piece of cake.

Keeping him clean? We do our best… 🙂

Clipping his fingernails? The bane of my existence!

OK, a slight exaggeration, but seriously it’s a challenge! And at least a once a week challenge at that – his little nails just seem to grow so quickly. The challenge comes from the fact that his nails are so tiny, and his hand is so wiggly. It can make for a dangerous combo. and unfortunately has on a few occasions. But now that he’s hit the six month mark I’ve actually noticed a change in the size of his fingers and nails, (the slightly bigger size) making it easier to complete the baby manicure.

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They say you should just let your baby cry it out. They say you should comfort your crying baby. They say get him on a schedule. They say get him on a routine. They say so many darn things it’s hard to decipher what’s going to work for you and your baby!

Like I’ve mentioned before, there is a flurry of dizzying information out there about how to be a parent in the right way.  And I have noticed over the last few months that sometimes what one source says conflicts with another.  My friend Traci and I have this joke about what they say. Neither one of us is big on reading about parenting, but as a new parent you sort of do get caught up in at least a book or article or something for guidance every once in a while. Anyway, whenever we get talking about parenting we’ll phrase what we’ve read or heard by saying, “You know, they say…”. And by they we mean any one of a million different sources: it’s just what they say, and they always seem to think that what they say will work for you!

They say that babies over 11lbs should be able to sleep through the night??? They say that you can start feeding your child solids at four months. They say solids should only be introduced at six months. They say that you should only bathe your child every other day. They say … blah blah blah! I mean we all want to be good parents, but if we listen to everything they say we’ll end up going in a million different directions and that can’t be good for anyone, right?!


You often see those little yellow signs on cars, suctioned to the inside of the back window and reading Baby or Board!. My question is: do these signs really work? When a driver sees them, are they more cautious? Do they actually process the sign and think about the little babe that may be traveling in the car in front of them? In talking with friends and family, most of them seem to think that the whole Baby on Board! thing is bunk.  But I suppose the scientific jury is still out, and a proper study would need to be done to know if these signs help make the roads safer or only serve as a distraction to other drivers.

One thing’s for certain: I have become a safer driver since the birth of little Niko, and not because I have a Baby on Board! sign, because I don’t have one. I suppose the increase in safety measures is mainly due to the fact that I am carting around precious cargo, but I also chalk it up to the calming effects driving seems to have on my little guy. Quite often when we are getting ready to go somewhere Niko becomes overly dramatic and starts in with the tears.  This could partially be a result of the fact that it is winter, and by the time I get him adequately bundled for the frigid temperatures and buckled into his car seat, he is probably a touch overheated! But, regardless of his temperature once I get the crying babe into the car, the car turned on, and we hit the streets, it doesn’t take long for him to calm down.  And it’s not like he goes to sleep (although sometimes he does), it just seems that the movement of the car has a calming effect.

This is where the me becoming a safer driver part comes in.  While the movement of the car calms him, coming to a complete stop has the reverse effect. So now, whenever I come up to a stop light I brake from a further (and safer) distance, just so I can extend the length of time that the car remains in motion, in an attempt to maintain that calm state. My ultimate goal being that once I get to lights it will have changed to green and I can just roll on through never actually having to cease movement (although that seems to be a rare occurrence). So while my baby is chilling in the backseat, I have to say the roads have become just a little bit safer.


“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. 🙂


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