Monthly Archives: January 2017

Time Away for Time Together

I had two big fears about having two kids. The first was that C and I would grow apart. The second was that the child who insists on being the focus of everyone’s attention would make putting her sister down for a nap impossible. 

I couldn’t have been more wrong. In fact putting Maddy down for naps has made C and I closer. 

  1. Being a naturally inquisitive sort, she likes to walk past the bedroom door where I am rocking her baby sister. She always stops to give me a smile. So I blow her a kiss. She blows one back. I make my hands into the shape of a heart. She tries the same. In the early weeks, this was the only form of affection that I got from her (since the baby sister was my fault), but it was a special moment between us at least once a day. 
  2. I get to hear her play. While I was working it broke my heart to be away from her and always felt like I was only a “part-time” parent. While that is categorically untrue (the fact I was heart broken proves I can’t turn off the parent), I was missing out on a lot of her playtime. Now, I can listen to what she is doing, since she narrates everything, and plan activities based on her interests. If I hear her playing restaurant with her bear during morning nap, and she serves pancakes, we will make pancakes for lunch and let her bear sit at the table with us. It’s not always big, and she doesn’t always get the connection, but she’s much more cooperative and fun when lunch is a “game.” 
  3. While this is one that only worked before we had giant casts to contend with, I am hoping we’ll be able to resume it again, the three of us would climb into the rocking chair in the nursery, and read books. Snuggled up tight, C got the attention she needed so much in those first few tumultuous weeks, and the gentle rocking would put Madeline to sleep. Fortunately, while this one doesn’t happen any more, the next one has made up for it. 
  4. After I’ve put Madeline down for one of her naps just after lunch, the two of us snuggle up on a chair in a sunbeam that streams through our living room window and read “so many” books until it is her time for nap (where she gets MORE books as part of naptime routine. Because this girl loves her books). Usually lunch dishes are still on the table and more than once the milk, the cheese or the peanut butter is still sitting out too, but it’s “our time”. 

Not every nap goes so smoothly. There are times C insists on playing in her sister’s rom. There are time she insists on running and jumping right outside the door. And there are times where it’s just easier to turn on Dinosaur Train (thank goodness for the remote app that lets me control the Apple TV from my iPhone). But  at no point has naptime been the disaster I feared it would be on a daily basis. 

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Eating Like my Grandma

When you hear stories of Ukrainians babas, you probably get a vision of babushkas and pleasantly plump grey haired women, spooning more varenyky (perogies) and holubtsi (cabbage rolls) onto your plate with a generous dollop of sour cream. 

My grandmother, Ukrainian though she might be, with her love of the foods from her youth and her penchant for donning the occasional babushka, can be described nothing but svelte. 

Now I’m not talking about the fragile thinness that many other women her age have. No, my grandmother had always maintained a trim, healthy figure. Of course, at 91, sometimes “health” is a relative term, but considering she had open heart surgery 19 years ago, she is doing remarkably well. And I attribute it to what she eats. 

And my goodness, that woman can eat!

I spent a school year living in their basement, so while I was accustomed to the massive spread associated with the gluttony of the holiday seasons, I also got to see what the day-to-day meal looked like in her house. While maybe not as decadent as holidays, plates were no less full. 



Steamed veggies

And a heaping bowl of salad. 

We struggle in my house to eat one vegetable serving at every supper, but you know that my grandma knocks out a good 3 servings in just one meal. And come to think of it, every breakfast at her house started with fruit before anything else, as well. 

I imagine even now, as she and my grandfather get most of their suppers delivered to their house, she will likely still make at least one vegetable dish to round out the meal. 

Keeping my New Years resolution to make half my plate fruits or vegetables hasn’t always been easy. Sometimes it means chomping on carrots as I make my grilled cheese. Sometimes it means picking through the dishevelled grapes my daughter rejected when our produce drawers are empty. Sometimes it means rallying the motivation to make a salad when it would be easier to say “but there’s tomato sauce on the pizza”. But every time it’s than much easier to just remind myself to eat like my grandmother. 

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The Numbers Lie

I am one of those terrible women who try on their regular jeans far too early after having a baby. It’s just bad news bears, people. And I know it. So this time, I told a friend that I wasn’t allowed to try them until I had my 6 week follow up appointment and got weighed. 

Since I had an uncomplicated delivery, my follow up was with my GP, who, if you have heard me talk about before, is a fabulous doctor but clueless about all things obstetrics. I texted a friend from her office in shock “what?!?! A 6 week follow up and I got to keep my pants on?!??”

And that’s when I realized that she never weighed me either. And it was a couple days until I was finally at my parents and had access to a scale. 

I stepped on trepidatiously and was pleasantly surprised with the number. I was feeling pretty smug about going home and trying on those jeans until moments later when I walked out to pick up my daughter and the waistband of my tights rolled down, finally losing its battle with the postpartum squish that is my belly.

Don’t get me wrong: the shame I felt was not related to the jiggly bits. I know I’m just weeks out and it was a long 9 months of huge body changes. It’s not going back overnight. No, that shame you are sensing is at myself for subconsciously believing that the number on the scale had anything to do with how my jeans would fit. 

I’m at an awkward phase that I don’t remember being at the first time around where my maternity clothes are too big, my regular jeans are too small and the inbetween stuff? Its both too big and too small all at once. And so I will live in tights (that occasionally roll down but at least stretch to fit my ever-changing body), pretend my tops are all long enough and keep away from my parents’ scale for another few months.

And those jeans? They’ll stay safe from the spit up and blow out stains for another 6 weeks or so until I have my next moment of insanity. 

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Active Recovery

I can remember jumping on the treadmill after getting the “all clear” from my doctor to get exercising again after having C. I’d been running up until pelvic pain left me couch-ridden after a run around 30 weeks. I was so happy to be back on the treadmill that while I have no doubt my speed was pretty slow, I don’t remember feeling particularly out of shape. 

This pregnancy came with a toddler so I knew better than to run because any additional time on the couch was additional time away from her. I also was wary of any sort of full-body or ab specific exercise, since it felt like my abs had just finally recovered from diastasis recti. I spent most of my pregnancy walking. While not the most aerobic activity, it paid off with a quick ab recovery and a first major workout that didn’t knock me on my butt. 

That day. 

Since a treadmill has many moving parts, and toddlers have very curious fingers that fit into the smallest of spaces, i didn’t quite feel comfortable jumping back onto the treadmill without additional adult supervision. Instead, I did a quick tabata style workout that targeted the whole body using minimal equipment. Maddy got in on the action by providing additional weight to my squats when she got fussy, and C took part in any exercise that involved jumping. It was a good experience for a first workout back. 

But at 2 am the next morning, I rolled out of bed to get a crying baby and thought “well great. My entire body aches. I must be getting sick”. It turns out it had been so long since I actually worked my muscles that I forgot the feeling of the ache of a good workout. 

Categories: The new identity | 1 Comment

Currently In: January 2017

Thanks to Jessica and Anne for the first Currently for 2017! This month, I am…

gathering all the clothes that don’t work for me any more. I’m getting rid of all my maternity clothes, which was an easy decision, but I’m also using this “in between” time to go through all the clothes that I don’t fit back into, yet. I’m pulling out the dishevelled sweaters, the faded t-shirts and the out-of-style skirts. I know it will mean having to buy a bunch of new clothes once I get back to work, I’ve decided it’s been almost 10 years since my last major closet overhaul, so it’s probably time.

making art work for Charlotte’s room. Since she moved into her new room earlier than I wanted her to (little miss independent!), I lost momentum pulling it all together, since it became a battle to keep it clean! But we finally put up the decal I bought months ago (as part of a “if you stop kicking your wall…” negotiations), and that gave me the motivation I needed to put together some pictures for another wall. I didn’t so much “make” them, as buy some clipart from Etsy, and add some watercolour backgrounds before printing, but it’s about as talented as I get!

sipping so much Earl Grey tea. I got mad at my pantry and decided to throw out all the boxes of tea that had 3-4 tea bags left in them, from various tea fads I’ve weathered over the years. I love Earl Grey tea, so I’ve been sticking with it the longest, so it’s the only thing allowed to stay.

following absolutely nothing. No news for me. No new blogs. Very few people on Twitter. While I feel more “Me” at this point in the “new baby” phase than I did the first time around, I still feel rather purposeless and meandering (and now I finally understand what I meant by resolution last year, to “act” rather than “react”… wish I would have remembered it more through the year!). But it will come. Lots of nights up late nursing a baby will help me find a new little niche. Hmm… think I should take advantage of this link up to find new friends?

resolving to be healthy. I’m trying to find that balance between the voice in my head saying: “LOSE THE BABY WEIGHT” and voice in my mouth that is saying: “I LOVE CHOCOLATE AND SOFT DRINKS!” Considering my current weight is within the “healthy” range for my age/height, and the chocolate/soft drinks are more a symptom of the holidays, it’s probably best to walk the line between them. I’m hoping to drink 64 ounces of liquids (mostly milk and water) each day, fill half my plate with vegetables, and aim for 3 work outs per week (which feels like cheating since I’m counting mommy & me fitness, with Mad, and Mommy & Me swimming with C, so I really only have to motivate myself once a week). If that means losing the baby weight, or justifying a (giant) chocolate snack, so be it!

January 2017.jpg

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