Parenting 2.0

Posts Tagged ‘parenting advice


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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What to Expect When You’re Expecting, The Baby Whisperer, Healthy Sleep Habits, and this list of parenting books could go on and on. Most of the new parents I know are familiar with a least a couple of the above mentioned titles. New parents do a lot of preparing, reading, wondering and thinking about how to do right by their babies. Although, truth be told there’s a tonne of different ways to be a great parent, and all the answers can’t be found in one particular book. There is, after all, something to be said for parental instinct, right?

Anyway, I was no different; I planned and read about how to be a good mommy and when Niko was born I felt ready. I had a plan for feeding, for sleeping, and for parenting in general. It’s just that the length of what I’d planned for (babyhood) seems to be coming to an end. Yes, (not so little) Niko has entered a new realm of being, and is verging on crawling, walking and toddlerhood. He can’t crawl just yet, but if he’s got his eye on something and it’s within a few feet, he can certainly maneuver over to it, and will inevitably put whatever it is he’s after in his mouth. I guess that’s how they discover and learn though, right?

So,what about life after the baby stage? No one told me to prepare for this. All the focus was on preparing for the “baby”, but what about preparing for parenting a toddler? Niko’s  started a lovely new routine of screaming when something’s taken away from him. You may be wondering why I would take anything from a baby, but when he’s got his hands (and mouth) on the TV remote he always ends up changing the channel or messing with the volume. Or if it’s the cordless phone, he usually ends up turning it on between mouthfuls and dialing random numbers (I guess only my phone bill will reveal the success [or not] of his dialing). So yes, I take things from him and he starts  in full force with the drama. But my point is, that I don’t particularly feel ready for this stage of parenthood. This stage where he can wiggle around and move. This stage where he’s discovering everything and subsequently chewing on everything as well. (Hello, weird little alive blue bug! Yes, that’s what I found in his mouth the other day, but that’s another story.)

This stage certainly takes a lot more effort – not that parenting a baby doesn’t take effort, because it does. It’s just that when Niko was smaller I could pretty much plan around him. Now that he’s teetering on the edge of toddlerdom, anything and nothing is possible all at the same time. They always say to prepare yourself for parenthood, and I did. But what about life after the first nine months? I’m not feeling a huge push from the general public, as I did when preparing for the “baby”, to plan for parenting beyond the baby days. But maybe I should be. Or maybe I should just start hitting the books again…


Let me just preface this post by saying that this is a topic I usually try to avoid in my blog. Actually there are two topics that I purposely avoid: puke and poop (although I and the rest of the parent blogging population could probably dedicate daily posts to either one of  them – I mean there certainly is enough ammo, literally). Anyway, this post definitely doesn’t touch on the first of the two and merely circumnavigates the second, so I couldn’t resist. But, I’ll keep it short and sweet.

If prunes is that answer, you may be wondering, what is the question?

The question is: How do you ail a baby who clenches his fists, keeps his elbows locked, and grunts up a storm, all the while turning progressively more red in the face, (not to mention looking to be on the verge of tears, at times)? Those innocent little eyes, just looking up at me, querying: “Why Mommy? What’s going on here? Why is the happening to me?”

The solution: A twice a day serving of prunes seems to have done the trick quite nicely – just mixed in with his barley or oat cereal. Actually, evidence tells me that the trick may have been done just a little too nicely; so I think I’ll cut him back to just a single daily serving. 🙂


Balance is the key, right? It’s the key to maintaining harmony at home and work, and between home and work, but sometimes finding that key can be challenging! I mean I’ve got a car key, a house key, a bike key, a second set of keys, a key to my father-in-law’s, plus there’s the key to my heart… However, if I keep my sense of humour, and enjoy the everyday moments, finding balance becomes easier!

Currently I am enjoying being a first-time mom and getting to know my son, Niko. I try to maintain balance in my life, although inevitably the scales tip more heavily on one side from time to time. Finding time for myself is one key: I do cardio-kickboxing twice a week, while my hubbie Borys stands by on Daddy duty. Spending time with Borys, is another key: although we don’t have much time for dating (truth be told, we’ve only had one real date since Niko’s arrival), just hanging around together and talking and laughing about our day, provides quality connection time. Another key is getting out and about with baby Niko: I have some friends who are also on mat. leave, and getting our babes together offers entertainment, for everybody. Then there’s our spunky puppy Frasier, who provides lots of fun and laughs, and a good excuse to get us all outside enjoying the fresh air!

Is there a magic key to balance? Not really. Balance is a ring filled with keys, and each person’s key ring is different: what works for me, may be bunk for another and vice versa. But one thing’s for sure, life’s more enjoyable when we try (yes, we have to try, balance doesn’t just spontaneously happen) to maintain balance each and every day! So, what’s one of your keys?

Note: This post is an entry into “Mabel’s Labels BlogHer ‘10 Contest“.


“It’s a real process.” These are the words I often find myself saying (or thinking) when I am getting the Niko Man out and about. For example…

1) When Niko and I were in the Halifax airport I was feeling sort of like a packhorse. Envision one mom, two large gym bags (one crisscrossed over each shoulder), and a diaper bag to boot, while one hand pushes the stroller ahead and the other one pulls along my suitcase behind us (thank goodness it had wheels). At one point I stopped to get ready for the flight: took off my scarf and winter coat and squished it into the wheelie suitcase, and unbundled Niko squishing his excess stuff into our two carry ons. A woman and her daughter were curiously looking over at me and smiling, and all I could think to say was: “It’s a real process, that’s for sure”! They smiled and reassured me saying that I made it look easy. I am not sure what looks so easy about being laden down with so many items, but this is just what they said, and it was a small moment of glory for me!

2) The other day when we went skating on the Rideau Canal with Lena and Heather, I ran into another mom in the parking lot who was bringing her daughter skating. Our cars were parked beside each other and it took us a good ten or fifteen minutes to go from simply parking the car to start wheeling toward the canal. As we both bustled about, taking care of baby business, I caught her eye and said, “It’s a real process getting out like this, hey”? And mid parking lot, snowsuit change of her daughter, she looked up at me smiled, laughed and agreed!

So, having a baby and getting him from point A to B can be a challenge and is definitely a process with all the cumbersome extras that come along with our delightful winter outings. But beyond winter, whether it’s bathing him, getting him into the car seat, strapping him into the Baby Bjorn, preparing him for the stroller, readying him for swimming lessons, whatever it is, it seems to take a lot of time, preparation and patience!

On the brighter side of things, I have noticed recently that this process is getting easier! Yippee! And this must be a reflection of my adept parenting skills, right?! 🙂 A few of the shortcuts I have discovered for making the process a bit more smooth are as follows:

1) Get the diaper bag ready while Niko is sleeping: zip it shut and put it by the door.

2) Put my scarf and winter coat on before I bundle him. Niko usually puts up a fuss when I get him ready, so the quicker I can bundle him and get him out the door the better.

3) If Frasier, our dog, is staying in, get him kenneled up (with water and tunes) before I start bundling the baby. (Again a testament to the fact that once the process of bundling the baby begins, it is best to hurry it along as much as possible, in order to avoid the impending fuss.)

4) If going out in the Baby Bjorn, secure it on me before I begin to bundle Baby N.

5) Take a deep breath. Give myself enough time. See the humour in things, and try to enjoy ALL the moments, even the crying ones (that’s the baby crying, not me 🙂 ), because before I know it, I’ll be back at work and he’ll be getting bundled by the babysitter.

Note: The pics are of Niko is his first swimsuit on his way to his second swimming lesson. Also, they illustrate my attempt at smoothing out the process by getting him into his suit before we leave the house (despite the fact that it’s winter). 🙂


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”.


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?!


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