Stay At Home Dad (Surprise!)

As I mentioned briefly on Monday, Matt has been laid off from work, something that came as quite the surprise to us last week. With very little notice, we quickly scrambled to come up with a plan for childcare, finances, and all of the other things that take a hit when you have one person on leave.

Luckily for us, we are kind of used to this particular scenario — I just went back to work a month ago, so we are basically trading places for now. There is a bit of financial confusion to slog through during the beginning of this leave, though, thanks to waiting periods and records and payouts that still need to materialize and so on. It isn’t ideal, but we will make it work.

In the interest of looking on the bright side, there are some things that are actually awesome about the situation. For one, Matt and M get some one-on-one time! We can’t afford childcare with one person off of work, so he is now a stay at home dad until if/when he finds new work or training. Not only does she get that quality time with her dad, I think we will all have a better understanding of one another’s roles, because we’ll each have a turn being the working-out-of-home parent and the primary care-giving parent.

M is pretty psyched. 

Bright Side #2 — the government is all about re-educating people for new careers, if they qualify. It’s something we are looking into, and if it works out, Matt may be able to switch into an all-new field, something he has been eager to explore.

While the timing is not stellar, I think the end results of this change could actually prove to be just what we needed. There were some aspects of the last year that were very clouded by home/work/life balance, and I have faith that we will come out this with brighter days in place.

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M at One Year

A whole year old! I can’t believe that she’s not an infant anymore. And I can’t believe how quickly this past year flew by. This will be her last monthly update.

Stats:

As of her one-year appointment (which happened about a week ago) she was basically the average baby — around the 5oth percentile for both weight and height. She must have long legs, though, because her pants are always too short! She grew a lot more teeth in the last month, enough that I have lost track because I don’t want my fingers bitten off so I can’t check. ;)

Nicknames:

As usual, mostly just her real name. We seem to have avoided nicknames!

Temperament:

Our cheerful, social girl. We took her to a kids’ concert a few days ago and she wandered around all of the kids, patting them on their heads and trying to snuggle with everyone! She can be quite insistent if she wants something and I’m starting to see a few glimmers of toddler tantrums but mostly she’s quite agreeable and smiley.

Skills:

The big one this month is climbing. She can now climb up and down off of our living room chairs and couch, and get onto her rocking moose and pony on wheels. I’m sure if we had stairs she could access she would be up and down all the time! She is walking very steadily and starting to take a run at things here and there. She like to sort out toys and pick things up and even cleaned up all of the paper and tissue after her birthday party on the weekend.

Sleep:

Generally disastrous, hah. She has been waking up frequently at night and getting up early. Of course, today she slept in, so maybe she will go back to her decent sleeping habits. Her daily routine will be changing (more on that soon) so it might help with her messed up sleep. We’ll see!

Eating:

This girl loves food! A lot of the time if she’s cranky it’s because she’s hungry for a snack and we haven’t realized it yet. I’m used to feeding her three meals a day but it looks like she needs to graze, too! She is starting to develop some stronger preferences for and against food, turning down things she used to like. We don’t really worry about it — as long as she is eating, and eating relatively well, I don’t want to get into any kind of power struggles about it.

She is nursing but has dialed it down a lot over the last month. There was one day last weekend when she didn’t ask to nurse until after dinner! I am appreciating the bit of extra freedom but have no solid plans for weaning — so far I’m fine with letting things play out in an unstructured, casual way.

Clothing:

She has been in 12-18 month/toddler size 1 clothes for awhile now, thanks to her height, so we don’t have much wardrobe changeover this time around. I have been dressing her in comfy things rather than cutesy outfits mostly because I want her to be warm and able to move freely — and this is the age where her clothes attract stains like crazy so we keep the nice stuff for special occasions!

Loves:

Books, her rocking moose, balloons, other kids and people in general, music, taking laundry from the baskets around the house and putting on her head, grabbing shoes from the hall, and playing outside.

Doesn’t Love:

Getting dressed, especially in her outdoor gear, getting in and out of the car seat, not being able to stand up in her high chair, being put down if she really wants to snuggle.

Mom & Dad:

Going through a transition of our own. Matt had a change in employment which is leaving him as a (likely temporary) stay at home dad for the time being. Today is their first day and there are definitely good and bad things about the situation! We are working on a plan that will probably have her back into daycare at least temporarily — Matt is looking at casual work or re-education, both of which would call for childcare. I am a bit bummed out about pulling her out of care and kinda feel like we’re taking her away from her friends, but Matt is able to bring her to the playgroup where the daycare goes, so she will still see everyone occasionally.

Other than that, things are carrying on as usual, and we are definitely looking forward to a fun holiday season as a family.

Things to Remember:

Her first birthday party, of course (and I’ll share more on that later this week!). Her first sleigh ride, her first Halloween, her excitement and intensity while watching a drum show last week. All of the little baby sniffles and squeaks and hugs and changes over the last 12 months. It’s all memorable and it’s a year I will never forget.

Dear M,

For weeks before your birthday I spent a lot of time thinking about how we would mark the day. Would we read you a special story? Would we sing you a song? Your party was the day after your actual birthday but it seemed wrong to not do anything for the day you turned one. In the end, your Daddy quietly sang to you, holding you by the fire in the middle of a busy dinner party, and we shared story time before bed.

Your birthday was much like your birth — after all of my thoughts about what it would be like, about the fanfare and gravity with which it would arrive… it just happened. One day you were 11 months, 364 days old. The next, you were one. One day you were not here, but the next, you were. It’s hard to remember life before you. I don’t miss it at all.

Thank you for making me a mom, M. Thank you for every moment, challenging, heart wrenching, beautiful, joyous. You go through life with such happiness and zest and it is lovely to watch. I hope you keep that light and sparkle forever.

I love you, always.

Mama

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Silk Creamy Cashew Milk

With a little kid in the house, we stock whole milk in the fridge. It’s a far cry from the milk I used to pick up — I prefer something a little less heavy on the calories! While I have been enjoying the extra dose of creaminess our higher-fat milk gives to my morning cereal, coffee, cooking and baking, I’ve been thinking about alternatives I could keep in the fridge.

Enter Silk Creamy Cashew Milk! This beverage just came out in Canada and while I have not been able to find it locally, yet, I have my eyes peeled. I’m a big fan of other Silk products and I just know that the cashew milk is going to be worth the hunt.

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Happy First Birthday, M!

I’m going to share M’s last monthly update (sob) on Monday — I want to focus on how special today is! One year ago, just after midnight, our little girl finally made her entrance into the world.

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The last twelve months have flown by and crawled by. There are probably still voice recordings on our monitor app of me crying while she cried, every two hours overnight, feeling like I would never get to sleep again. Those nights felt very, very long. The pain and frustration of figuring out breastfeeding is a distant but still retrievable memory. Those moments felt like an excruciating eternity. But today I see my one-year-old daughter and I think I must have blinked and missed an entire year.

She says words now, clearly heard and understood. Foot. Hat. Kitty. That? Daddy. Mama. Eye. Boobie. (Really.)

She walks. She walks everywhere. In fact, she thinks that crawling is funny now and does it in this hugely exaggerated way, just to get laughs. Like, “haha, look at me crawling like a baby, isn’t that hilarious?”

She climbs on her rocking moose, picks out books, helps pick up the floor and has figured out how to use her toy piano as a step stool to get up onto the living room chairs. She feeds herself with a spoon (albeit messily) and has recently decided that she no longer likes hummus.

She’s a tiny little person. Not a tiny little baby anymore. Simultaneously ridiculously goofy and incredibly serious. And as the days roll by, the remaining babyhood is melting away and we are left with a mischievous, beautiful toddler.

Happy birthday to you, sweet girl. Today and every day, you are our joy.

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Winter Baby

Last winter M was always in her car seat when we left the house. We kept her in an infant carrier with a warm fleece and down cover. If it was really cold we’d put her in a furry bear suit before strapping her in (because it was an all-in-one layer that wasn’t too puffy for the car seat straps). This year? This year is insane.

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This is her one-piece Columbia suit (consignment!) and it’s only going to fit for another month or so. It’s actually not hard to put on — built in hand covers make it easy! But her jacket and ski pants (which are actually a teeny bit too big), those are another story. There are those two layers plus her boots and her mitts and her hat. We still need a baby balaclava for her. Her pants always ride up and expose her legs. It takes twenty minutes to get all her stuff on to go outside, and that’s just for the walk to daycare!

I miss the days of slipping a dress on her and putting her down in the sun, that’s for sure. And I don’t think next winter will be much better — in fact it could be worse. Anyone familiar with Robert Munsch and I Have to Go!?

Of course, part of surviving winter here is getting outside, bundled up and warm, so we go through the routine of seventeen million layers (half of which she takes off as we put another layer on). Here’s to winter, which hasn’t even officially started, yet…

Posted in Life, Parenting & Baby, The North | Tagged , | 4 Comments