loquacious family

The ramblings of a wordy woman on life, love, and the Lord

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Transitions

So... we are moving.

And I don't mean from one part of downtown to another. I mean, from the bustling heart of the city to a quaint and quiet little suburb 45 minutes away.

And I don't mean from one high-rise to another, either. I'm talking about going from concierge services and multi-floor dwellings to a multi-floor, single-family townhouse with a double garage and carpeting (!!!).


I haven't lived in a single family home in two decades. So, like, more than half of my life has been in some sort of high-rise. I also haven't lived in a 'burb in almost as many years.

I feel a little disoriented.

Now, some would say that this is a good thing, that we are moving for Little L to be closer to school, and that we are going into a larger, less costly, and more upscale space in a close-knit community that really is lovely. Our new home is also very close to water, and to playgrounds, and to amenities and Starbucks (3 blocks). Really, it's everything that we could ask for, and more.

But I fear that I am becoming an old person, the kind that is almost afraid of change. I'm not quite at that stage where I am openly refusing to adapt, but I realize that I have developed quite the comfort zone in terms of living in an urban, busy, walking-culture environment, and to transition to a slightly more driving-oriented lifestyle is a huge change for me. I didn't even know just how big a change it would be until we found this new home and accepted the rental offer.

Up until now, my biggest worry was Little L: would she be willing to move? Would she like her new home? I know that kids are quite resilient little creatures, but my girl won't even accept having her left shoe taken off before her right. Her little Type A personality was definitely cause for worry. And yet, the moment she stepped into the new townhouse, she was enamoured with it. She kept climbing the stairs up and down, referring to the place as "my new home." She even claimed a bedroom before our tour was over! So yeah, I think she will be fine.

But here I am, a grown woman who has lived in three Canadian provinces and two continents, and who used to move every 1.5 years, worrying about my transition from the downtown core to the little village that is in fact only 10 minutes away from densely-populated, high-rise-infested, commercialized Richmond. What gives?!

So now, as I prepare for the move and all the ugliness that relocating entails, I find myself intentionally trying to savour "last moments" in the neighborhood. At the risk of sounding melodramatic, I think I'm grieving. And because I did not expect to mourn our move, I feel ill-prepared to deal with it emotionally.


Good-bye, beautiful parks and playgrounds where Little L spent many hours of the first three years of her life. Good-bye, tasty Italian cafe where our little family often goes on our lunch dates.
Good-bye, seawall walks to the beach and to Science World.
Good-bye, hundreds of tasty restaurants that we have been intending to try, but haven't had time for.
Good-bye, community centre with that cool shaded area and the red benches and colourful lights for Little L to play.
Good-bye, walking-distance-train station and all of your convenient stops.
Good-bye, gorgeous sunsets of False Creek.
Good-bye, delicious Sweet macaron Bake Shop and decadent Ganache cakes
Good-bye, VPL Central Library and your giant, welcoming children's section
Good-bye, Chapters and the American Girl section that entertains Little L for hours
Good-bye, quick and easy drive to the aquarium.
Good-bye, well-lit moonlight walks around the neighborhood
Good-bye Yaletown. 


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Sunday, March 15, 2015

Strange Bedfellows, or You Ate What?


Watching Little L eat is highly entertaining, for those with strong stomachs. While she isn't a super picky eater, she is not keen on meat or certain mushy textures. Her current favourite foods include noodles, fries, fruit, and many kinds of "dip." She usually shies away from new foods, preferring instead to eat the same few things over and over again. However, she is still fairly adventurous within those parameters, and keeps things interesting by trying innovative, and at times disgusting, new food combinations.


Trust me when I say that some of these, when witnessed live, are a bit tummy-turning:

- bananas and ranch dip
- chow mein noodles and ranch dip
- spaghetti and tomato sauce and ranch dip
- Chex cereal and guacamole (this one is actually pretty tasty)
- sliced strawberries and guacamole
- bacon and vanilla yogurt
- sliced pepperoni "chips" and vanilla yogurt
- tortilla chips and vanilla yogurt
- "veggie sticks" chips and vanilla yogurt (yes, we eat a lot of vanilla yogurt around here!)
- French fries and vanilla yogurt
- apple slices and butternut squash soup
- tortillas and butternut squash soup
- croutons and cream of mushroom soup (also a tasty combination)
- Chex and garlic hummus
- fruit and garlic hummus
- spinach pakoras and whole milk
- cucumbers and gravy
- waffles and honey
- cucumbers and honey
- fries with plum sauce *and* ketchup

These are the ones that she likes, too. I haven't even named the ones that she tried that repulsed her. So yeah, eating at our dinner table can be an interesting, and sometimes nauseating, experience!

What kind of weird random food combinations do your kids like to eat?
 
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Thursday, March 12, 2015

Aligned and Supported - He's Got My Back

Still kid-free, at Sparkling Hill Resort

Hubbs and I had dated for 2.5 years before we got married, and our marriage was 6.5 years old when Little L was born. This meant that we had 9 glorious, kid-free years to talk theoretically about having children, and what our dreams and goals and aspirations were for said kids and ourselves. In nearly a decade of talking, however, we had not ever discussed the big decision-points of parenting. Sure, we had long agreed that we were not the type to spank our kids, and I would probably stay at home to raise them until they were in school, but what about sleep training? The introduction of solids? Sleep arrangements? Breastfeeding? Other disciplinary methods? Vaccinations? Schooling choices? We discussed none of these things. In fact, we had no idea that we would ever need to talk about them, and quite frankly, I had approximately 0% understanding that these were even topics.

And then Little L entered our lives, and suddenly it was like a new world opened up. New parenting vocabulary and acronyms, conflicting theories and approaches to raising babies, and a bazillion products and books and articles offering every kind of advice and suggestion and warning for us to raise her this way, or that way, or to avoid this, or to most definitely do that, and get this and that but not this or that.

There was a lot to muddle through, but I think we have found our groove.


However, I couldn't have done it without Hubbs' support and trust, and his aligned parenting philosophies. Hubbs, who literally held Little L to my breast so that she could nurse during those early days when my wrists were utterly incapacitated by De Quervain's tenosynovitis. He allowed himself to be woken up every 1.5 hours when I needed someone to retrieve my newborn from her crib, and he then welcomed a very active toddler to share our bed and kick him in the back for the next several years. He stood up for me when others questioned or criticized our parenting choices, and patiently stayed up some nights with my little night owl to let me get some shut-eye. He took time off work to go to vaccination appointments with me because he knew I didn't have the heart to hold my baby down while they pricked her, and he continues to patiently wait for the day when my breasts are not shared with my not-so-little nursling. He supports my desire to be gentle in my parenting, and he respects the value that is placed on cultivating Little L's attachment to us.

Because he has got my back when it comes to parenting, we can work effectively as a team, for our girl's best interests. We don't have to bicker and fight about her nursing (though we are definitely working towards weaning), her presence in our bed, or how to deal with her out-of-control threenager tantrum. We don't face the tensions of having to battle every decision we make for her, and we get to see each other as an ally rather than an enemy. When parenting is already a hard task, the last thing anyone needs is another obstacle. Our shared perspective means that we make our parenting journey just a little easier to navigate.

I'm so appreciative of my Hubbs. He is truly a great dad, and I'm proud to be raising Little L with him. :)






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Monday, March 9, 2015

Mid-March Monday Round-Up

I sometimes forget that not everyone who reads this blog is my FB friend. I see a lot of interesting, thought-provoking links on there, and usually share them with my social network. Since you may not have been privy to those links, allow me to share some of these with you here! Little L happened to hit the sack early (8:30!) on Saturday night, so I had a few spare minutes before my bedtime. Of course, it then took me two days to put pictures on this post, but whatevs. Here ya go.

Not sitting at breakfast. I chose to pick my battles, and this wasn't one.

10 Things I Thought Were Caused by Bad Parenting... Before I Had My Own Kids
This totally made me feel better about the "threenager" in our household

Why You Should Stop Giving Your Kid a Bath Every Night
Good news for Little L!

To The Losers Who Haven't Sleep Trained Their Babies
I feel you, Renegade Mommy who wrote this. And I also laughed.

Separation Anxiety: When Saying Good-Bye is Hard
Helpful and enlightening, with some great tips at the end on how to help.

Many Van Kindergarten Parents Scrambling for Space
This is why it was such a big deal that Little L got into her preschool; it means that she will have priority entry into kindergarten. Sadly, many parents in my neighborhood are in panic because we lack enough kindie space for all of the 5 year-olds in our area of the city to attend the nearest schools.

Body Shaming Victim Gets Unbelievable Support
This really made me feel good.

The Drop Box Film
Pastor Lee reminds me a little bit of my dad, and has a very inspirational story to share. 

Love this bundled little girl! Did you know she protects others? Through vaccination.
And now, for the controversial links. I know I'm not going to convince you if you think otherwise, but I like to disseminate factual information, even when it might potentially contribute to "mommy wars."

Jimmy Kimmel's Message to the Anti-Vaxxers (Video)

Mad Mom Tells Off Anti-Vaxxers

RANT: Yes, I know I'll be stepping on some toes with these links, but I kinda don't care, because the health and lives of innocent young children are at stake, and we currently lack the herd immunity to offer sufficient protection to society's most vulnerable populations. The onus and the blame rests with those who have healthy kids and refuse to have them vaccinated, thereby allowing formerly-eradicated diseases to launch a comeback. While other controversial parenting issues like discipline, CIO, full-term breastfeeding, co-sleeping, etc etc affect nobody but a parent's own children in the end, vaccinations (or a lack thereof) have a direct impact on other people, particularly other young kids and the elderly. Therefore, it's not ultimately a matter of subjective "personal choice" but of social responsibility. There is no gray area, and no place for "it's right for you, but not for me" thinking.  There is no room to play fast and loose with proven, scientific facts. If a parent won't vaccinate their healthy, non-immuno-compromised children, they suscept others to contract dangerous and deadly diseases, and what they are doing is wrong. There, I said it. There is a "right" and a "wrong" in this particular case, and the anti-vaxxers are wrong. They should absolutely feel shamed for their choice, because this ignorant and selfish decision harms others. And that is simply not okay.

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Friday, March 6, 2015

6 Hours, Or My Body Hates Me

Little L sleeps through the night. She usually goes for a solid 9-11 hours before she wakes up, usually talking and laughing and using her outside voice right beside my ear (good thing it's my right ear, which happens to be the deaf one).

I, however, do not sleep through the night. I wake up after six consecutive hours of slumber, like clockwork. It matters not that I went to bed at 10:00 pm (a normal bedtime), or 2:30 am (a vampire bedtime). Add six hours, and I'm up. It's not like one of those half-alert kinds of wake-ups, too. I'm talking about a full-blown, brain-engaged, time-to-get-up alertness that prevents me from returning to blissful rest for at least a few hours. Trust me, I've tried everything to get back to sleep (well, not medication, but just about everything else). You can't turn off a brain that wants to be awake.


(As an aside, this is why I don't force Little L to sleep when she isn't ready. Have you tried sleeping when you weren't tired? It's torture, and the very thought of trying to relax and go to sleep can sometimes work you up even more. Sometimes it is just better to let nature take its course, and spend those hours productively instead of tossing and turning on a bed that you know you won't be sleeping on, anyway.)

I think I've always been like this, and while the 6-hour-rest has worked to my advantage in high school (I used to wake up at the crack of dawn to shower and get made up to go to class, LOL) and in university, and even when I was teaching, it doesn't really have the same awesomeness now that I'm a mommy. Why? Because I'm older than I used to be, and whereas before I could function well for an entire 18-hour period on those brief 6 hours, I can't seem to fare so easily now. Plus, back then I could take naps after class, or after school, or even after work. Now I have a munchkin I have to keep up with all day long, which means that while I want to take that mid-afternoon nap, or at least have a bit of quiet time in the middle of the day, I can't, at least not when she's up and at 'em. And truth be told, usually I can't sleep even when I do get the opportunity to rest mid-day. So what do I do? I have a second latte. It's a horrible habit, but then again, so is a 6-hour sleep. And my body hates me.

Anyway, I write this so that you're not surprised when I drop dead at age 47, or tomorrow. I'm pretty sure I am supposed to sleep longer than this, but since my entire being is on strike from all that is healthy and good (read: 9-hour sleeps), then I have no confidence that my organs won't just randomly quit one day.

I think it's time for another latte.




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Moving On? The Dreaded 3-Year Mark

My pregnant self in front of our fridge in our "executive" condo
Hubbs and I average a home rental duration of approximately 3.5 years. Usually out of necessity, sometime during this time frame we will need to move from our residence. When we lived in E-town, it was our relocation to Van that required us to move. When Little L was two months old, it was the lack of space for all of our newly-acquired baby gear that necessitated a new home.

We are reluctant movers. There are those out there who love discovering new neighborhoods and decorating new spaces. We are not those people. In our current home, we have absolutely everything we need except for extra space and our favorite school to be nearby. We have dentists, optometrists, pharmacists, banks, Starbucks, a florist, and a prime proximity to the train line and aquabus system. We have an abundance of playgrounds and parks, not to mention the seawall and easy access to downtown attractions like Science World and the aquarium. Whole Foods is a short drive away, and other organic grocers are literally a 3-minute walk from home.
Literally our backyard
So why move? Well, aside from the fact that we are now reaching that 3-year mark on our rental, we also have Little L to consider. She was recently accepted into the preschool of my school (the one I was teaching at), and its location is about 40 minutes away from where we currently reside. While that's probably a normal commute for some, it is not the kind of commute I really want my 3-year old to have to deal with twice a week. I also recognize that as she forms friendships and wants to go on play dates with classmates, that it may alienate her to be so far away from the school's community. 

Selfishly, I really do not want to move. Sure, I could really use the extra space, I would not mind paying less money in rent, and I definitely would love an open concept kitchen and not having to deal with the structural problems of our current abode. However, moving does not come without a cost. In this case, it could be quite significant. Aside from the typical cost of hiring movers and purchasing some new furnishings, we may also need to buy a new vehicle. We may be looking at landscaping costs, since neither Hubbs nor I have any lawn care or landscaping experience. And we would need to have our mail forwarded and our address changed on absolutely everything, which is no small feat.

Can you hear the dread in my voice?

Part of me is trying to justify staying one more year and and enduring that long commute. The other part of me is already cleaning and culling my stuff in preparation for our seemingly inevitable move.

Ugh. I don't like being a grown-up.









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Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Dangerously Impressionable

As you may already know, we have chosen not to spank Little L. While we do believe in the importance of discipline, we have oft maintained that corporal punishment is simply not the best and most effective way for us to "train up a child in the way that (s)he should go."

That naughty penguin

Anyway, while watching Pingu (a claymation penguin) on Netflix, we (Little L, Hubbs and I) came across an episode where Pingu refuses to eat dinner, launches food at his mom, and rocks in his chair, which results in the family dinner being splattered all over the floor. His mom gets justifiably angry with him and spanks him. Then, when he turns to his dad for comfort in the form of a hug, his dad denies it because Pingu had misbehaved. The little penguin is so distraught that he runs away from home. What eventually happens is that he is gone a long time, and his parents get worried and go out looking for him. When they find him (hiding inside a little hole in the ice), they are so relieved and feel so badly that they cuddle him up, bring him home, and prepare all sorts of warm goodies for him to eat.

Little L watched the episode with us, so we felt the need to explain the spanking that she had witnessed. We told her that Pingu's mommy was angry because he had misbehaved, and that she spanked him (or hit him on the bottom) to help him learn that it was not okay to behave like that. We also reassured her that while she would definitely face consequences if she behaved like Pingu, we would not spank her for such undesired behavior. We discussed how Pingu might have felt, and how his mommy and daddy possibly felt.

It has been a few weeks since we have watched that particular episode. However, much to my dismay, guess who has recently started reenacting those scenes with her stuffies? Including the spanking. Especially the spanking.

Not a disciplinary moment
I am so, so bothered by this. We are not a violent family, and Little L is not an aggressive, physical child. We don't watch this kind of stuff on TV (we really don't even watch TV unless it's something with Little L, on Netflix Kids). With the exception of this Pingu episode, Little L has also never been exposed to any kind of violent behaviour on any of her media (unless you include the "bad bunny habits" in the book Nobunny's Perfect). So why, of all the behaviours and plots and story examples that she has been exposed to, would she select this particular one to act out? And on multiple occasions, no less.

This definitely reminds me of just how impressionable our children are. Things that they witness, things that they hear, things that they read - you never know which parts will "stick" and what they might pick up on. This reinforces the importance for us to model what we want Little L to emulate, and to be extremely judicious with what we expose her to. It is also absolutely essential that we are aware of the kind of content she is consuming, and that we can discuss these things with her, even at the tender age of 3. The way that she forms her worldview depends largely on how we frame her experiences and understandings at this early point in her learning and development, and I would hate for her to get the message that certain behaviours were "okay" simply because she saw it on a cartoon once.

I realize that maybe she is working through her understanding of discipline and sin. Maybe she is working through her own "big feelings" or frustration or anger. Hopefully this is just a phase and will pass. Hopefully she doesn't generalize the spanking behaviour and start hitting other kids or adults.

But let our lesson be yours as well! Our babies are very impressionable, and it's up to us to help form positive lasting impressions. Let's be watchful gate-keepers and above reproach in our own lives, lest the worst of our behaviours becomes the norm for our littles.

Copying Mommy "baking" things in the oven


 

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