Parenting 2.0

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Little monkey is in to everything these days.  And by “in”, I literally mean it. One of his new favourite things to do is play hide and seek. Mostly these bouts begin when he realizes I am putting him to bed and he playfully, albeit not that quietly, goes and hides behind his rocking chair, leaving me to see just one little shining and mischievous eye peeking in and out from the behind the chair.

A clear sign that he’s hiding (besides me actually seeing him scurry to his hiding place) is when things go quiet. You know quiet – that sound of silence that used to grace us quite frequently in the time before kids? But in this case quiet doesn’t actually mean silent, just quieter than usual, because if you listen carefully you can hear the accelerated and whispered breathing of an excited Niko, whose feet are sticking out from under the moving curtain, or whatever the “secret” spot of the minute might be.

The other day Borys was put into a mild state of panic (having a toddler around can just do that!) when Niko seemed to be playing underfoot one minute, but had quietly disappeared the next. Now seeing as they were in our house, and our house has baby security gates at all the major “danger” spots, the little guy couldn’t have travelled too far. But Borys was left wondering where the heck he was when a quick search of the living room, dining room and kitchen revealed nothing. So Daddy’s left searching, and by searching I mean mostly just standing around in one spot wondering “What the heck?!”, when he hears the telltale signs of quiet toddler giggles. Just muffled ones, seeing as Niko was trying to contain himself but falling short of being completely quiet. It was then that Borys opened the cupboard door only to find one year old N bomb happily squished in amongst the Tupperware and smiling all the while.

As seen in the pics below, this cupboard has become a favourite “go-to” place for our tiny rebel. He especially loves putting one Nalgene bottle over each hand and then banging them together – a makeshift musical instrument of sorts. What fun.

As a gift, Niko was given a set of spoons: the theory being that while the parent is feeding the baby, the baby can also hold onto a spoon and practice feeding himself. In Niko’s case however, he just likes to get a hold of both spoons. I think he realizes that the one that he’s holding doesn’t actually have food on it, so eventually he tries to grab the food spoon and then drops (usually on the floor) the other one. And this cycle continues throughout the whole feeding.

It starts off like this: I will put the spoon to his mouth and within the first few bites two slippery little hands will reach up to mine and hijack the spoon. Slippery because they inevitably get covered in cereal or whatever the delicacy of the moment is. But he’s learning, right? His hand eye coordination is improving and that’s a good thing. Usually by the end of the meal, my hands equal Niko’s in slipperiness due to his little ones rubbing the cereal over mine when he reaches for the spoon(s). Fun.

If you’re wondering what that dark stuff is that he’s eating, well let’s just saw we are still strong supporters of the benefits of prunes! Which leads me to wonder: Why do prunes have such a bad reputation? Is it because of the job they do? I mean all they’re doing is benefiting mankind in a natural way, and yet they take the brunt of many food jokes. Poor little prunes. And come on, if you’ve ever tasted them, they’re actually good. Admit it.

Update: Just last week Little Niko Man was testing my patience by chewing the lip of his bib every time he sat down to eat. Now. that habit seems to have completely disappeared. It’s crazy how you can be all consumed by one thing one week and the next week it’s not even an issue.

In the last couple of weeks Borys and I have noticed big changes in our little guy. I mean he’s growing all the time, and we really noticed and both made comments specifically about how his face is changing. He just looks more mature or something.

Then yesterday our thoughts were confirmed when I brought him to my friend Natalie’s baby shower. There were about five babies there in total. The woman sitting next to me (who also had six babies of her own once upon a time, and now countless grandkids) took a good look at Niko and said something like, “Wow, he looks like a little boy. That baby look just isn’t there anymore.” I had to agree, but to hear someone else qualify our thoughts made it more real. Our little guy is growing up: I just keep in mind that so far his worldly experience totals less than seven months. So regardless of his “mature” look he’s still our little babe – or as I like to call him, my Sweet Little Angel Boy.

As an aside, Niko has started sitting up on his own. I usually put a pillow behind him just in case he loses his balance – even though when he does, it’s pretty much a slow motion fall, as if his abs are saying “Wait! Maybe we can stay up. M-a-y-b-e we can keep him up…” That is until the final slo mo *kerplunk*.

Note: Click here to see how much Niko’s hair has changed in the last few weeks!

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Yesterday the paparazzi was in town (a.k.a. – two snap happy sets of parents and two grammas) shooting pics like crazy of the adorable little pair: Lena and Niko, or as the tabloids call them, Nikolena (akin to Brangelina, TomKat etc., but without all the surrounding drama). Last night was the grammas’ final night (at least for this trip) in O-town, so we headed over to Graeme and Heather’s for one last hurrah, and dinner. It was a great time and seeing as the two little ones were both awake and happy we decided to seize the opportunity to blind them with our flashes.

Note: As you can see in the gallery below, Lena is progressively slipping off the couch – picture by picture, until in the last one she actually grabs onto Niko’s ear and tries to pull him down with her… (Click on the pictures to enlarge them.)

We’re having a what? A date! A what? A date night!

Oh yeah, I think I remember what those are, but it’s a been a while. It’s all coming back to me now. Yes, a date. One of those things where Borys and I go out together, just the two of us, where we do something fun, like eating out or going to the movies, where we have some time together, alone, sans baby, sans poodle. Yes a date. I remember what those are, and they’re a good thing! It’s all about balance, right?

Gramma’s in town and that means Borys and I can head out on the town. Well, if you count eating out at a nearby restaurant and then going to Chapters, as “going out on the town”, then yes, going out on the town is what we are doing. Borys and I have only had one date since the birth of our lovely little baby boy (and that was also courtesy of Gramma’s babysitting service), so this night has been a long time coming. Just think about how many dates we could go on if she actually lived in Ottawa… But then again, maybe that’s why she doesn’t. 🙂

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“.

Niko has been looking forward to his friend Talia’s first birthday party all week! She turned one a few days ago, but her big bash was today.  Although Niko was looking forward to partying with her, his “on demand” schedule had other plans.  The party started at 12:30pm, and just as we were getting ready to leave his crying started: translated into proper English this crying meant “Mommy, feed me!”.  So, an hour, a full tummy and a fresh diaper later we were on our way.

Now, seeing as we were going to a baby’s birthday party there were lots of kids and parents there.  We apologized for being late, and they all understood.  My only worry was: what if Niko gets hungry at the party? Where will I feed him? (We brought a bottle just in case.) In talking with two other moms at the party, I realized we all have this similar sense of being uncomfortable just breastfeeding openly at parties, and it was a relief to know that I was not the only mom feeling this way.  Inevitably, as time passed, the “Mommy, feed me!” cries started again.  But there was no need to break out the bottle; we just went upstairs to the computer room, took our time in the peace and quiet and listened to Happy Birthday being sung from downstairs.  The only minor interruption came from some older kids who were playing hide-and-seek and barged in looking for a place to hide – of course what they found was something entirely different!

Note: In the picture below you can see Talia – the birthday girl -poised to give Niko what I can only assume is a birthday love tap.

Talia 2

Talia 1

There has been so much hype in the news/media about H1N1: some may say too much.  Yesterday was the first day that the vaccine was available in Ottawa and Borys strongly encouraged me to go get vaccinated.  It is not available to babies under six months of age, but their caregivers (such as me) are encouraged to get it.  The vaccination clinic closest to me, opened at 2:30pm and I aimed to be there early, and despite having to get creative with my parking spot and traveling with Niko I arrived at the already overcrowded community centre clinic and took a number by 2:20pm.  At that time (even ten minutes early) I was already number 220! So, wait and wait and wait I did.

After about an hour of waiting some woman asked me if I was alone with my baby.  I said yes and she gave me ticket number 100.  I have no idea where she got it from, but to jump over a 100 spots with a baby on the verge of hunger was a wonderful surprise.  Despite all the crowds, most people seemed to be in a patient mood.  Another woman gave me a travel hand sanitizer that she was passing out, and another lady further moved me (and herself and her baby) up the line by explaining to the nurses that we had newborns and needed to get vaccinated as soon as possible so we could get home to feed them.

All in all I was there for about two hours.  When I was leaving they were well into handing numbers out in the high 300s or maybe even the 400s.  That said, I am now vaccinated against H1N1.  I am curious to see whether most people want to get the vaccine or not.

Are you going for the vaccine? Let me know by posting a comment, and/or take part in the poll below!

Things I accomplished today:

  • walked dog AND baby in the park (for the first time)- check
  • went to a “well baby” drop-in clinic to get Niko weighed – check (but it was closed due to nurses being reassigned to H1N1 vaccinations…)
  • received my Olympic Torchbearers uniform – check (Tell me, why did I order an xl???)

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