Friday, May 28, 2010

the most asked question....

Whether I teach prenatal classes or I have been walking about the world with a new baby, the question I always get asked is either "Is she sleeping through the night?" or "when will she sleep through the night?"

I'm sure I've said this before, but because it is so important, I'll say it again. Babies don't know, neither do they care that it is 2010. For all they know it could be 340 BC. Their needs are basic and they have not changed. They want to be close to their mother or father, they want to be breastfed, they want to be comforted and they are not developmentally equipped to sleep through the night. Because of all of these factors, it is not only normal for them to wake frequently, it is essential to their health and survival.

What has changed is not the needs or behaviors of babies, it is our needs as adults. Most of us no longer live in a tribal culture where we have aunties, sisters, mothers and friends to help us when we have a child. Heck, most of us don't even live in the same city as our families. Not only are we responsible for caring for the child, the home, the cooking, the cleaning, the banking, the car repairs... the list goes on, many of us are also returning to work. It is no wonder that sleep deprivation and naps during the day are not conducive to this lifestyle.

I had a very brave mum call me a couple of weeks ago who was at her wits end. Her baby slept well for the first 3 months and then it all changed. Now her baby was waking every hour and a half and making her crazy. My daughter did the same thing and I used to say that it was like being in Gitmo. That's what they do to torture their prisoners, let them fall asleep and then wake them up. I used to physically hurt from the sleep deprivation. So this mum feeling like she was going to loose it, was also torn about what to do an not a little desperate. She didn't want to let her baby cry it out, which I applauded, but full Continuum Concept wasn't working for her either.

This is one of the biggest lessons in the parenting journey. First, learning to be gentle with yourself and ask for help. Second, find something that works for you and that feels right for your baby. There are so many books out there on how to be a good parent, because there is no one right way. Some will tell you how to be BabyWise (actually not so wise, babies have died) or that The Baby Whisperer will solve all your problems or that you can have The Happiest Baby on the Block. These author's don't understand infant neuroscience. They just want you to buy their book. You had to listen to your instinct in labour to birth your baby, the same goes for being a parent. It can be helpful to know that you are not alone, it can also be helpful to know that just as it has changed, your baby's sleep pattern will change again, and then again.

There is no right answer, no quick fix, there are some good books , but at the end of the day you can remind yourself, this is just a moment in time and it will pass. My daughter sleeps through the night now ( except for the last few nights when she has been crawling into our bed at 4 in the morning), in her own bed, in her own room. I never thought I would see the day, but I did and so will you. Now, go take a nap with your baby.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

You got time to lean...

I came home Sunday night from a really amazing weekend of teaching. This group was open, brave, full of laughter and even taught me a thing or two. It was one of those really special groups that you wish you could have every time.

Then on Monday morning I woke up sick, really sick. I haven't been that sick since I was pregnant with my daughter 3 years ago. I spent the day either clinging to the couch or the toilet, not good times. As I crawled upstairs to bed at dinner time I started thinking about all I have been trying to keep together over the past few weeks. It's not uncommon for me to get sick, just as it is all over, as though my body has given me permission to fall apart.

It's a reminder that I really need to let myself slow down on a regular basis so that I don't fall apart all at once. I was speaking with a very wise woman yesterday who suggested that I start taking some time during the day to sit outside and drink a cup of tea. Sounds simple doesn't it? I came up with lots of excuses why I couldn't. Then she reminded me why I needed to do it. I realized that for many years now I have been living into that old saying "You got time to lean? You got time to clean" It's not that I don't ever have a minute to myself, it's that I don't use that minute for myself.

So today instead of cleaning the kitchen, I took my beat up body back to bed to read a book while my daughter watched a show (horror of horrors!). Well, actually she loved it and so did I. So if you have a minute today, I recommend that you don't use that time to clean, use it for yourself. If you don't you might end up like me. Your body so tired of running that it gets sick so badly that you have no other choice to stop.

You are worth the gift of a cup of tea. Go put the kettle on....

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

quantity vs. quality

My summer wardrobe is seriously lacking. This is not a time of year that I tend to invest in and halfway through the season I always regret it. T-shirts with spit up stains, shorts with paint stains, dresses that don't fit anymore (even though I keep hoping they will), it's a bit of a motley crew, that wardrobe of mine. This is the first year in 4 years that I have not been pregnant or nursing and I feel that it is time to put myself back together again.

So my mom, God bless her, sent me a bit of money to go and buy myself some nice things for the summer. And then here came the I take that money and go and buy myself 6 or 7 things at a discount store or do I take that money and purchase a 2 or 3 really nice, good quality pieces? It is the eternal question of quality vs. quantity. So yesterday I perused the stores, looking for sales and places I could spend my money. There were some cute things that would be fine for the season, but one close look and I knew that's all they would make it through. By September they would either be donation material or headed into the landfill. There is nothing that bugs me more right now than things that are designed to last for a short period of time so that we will go and buy more, it just isn't right.

So today I went to my most favourite store in the world (I really do mean that) It is called Lil' Sweet Nancy's and they have two locations in Victoria BC. What makes this place so special you ask? Well beyond their wonderful, relaxed atmosphere that my daughter is also welcome to be in and their superior, honest service, the clothes are just lovely. I have been buying one of these brands for the past 10 years and not only do the clothes last and last, they are always designed with the next season in mind. So today I bought a few really lovely things, some will be just for summer and others I will definitely wear into the fall. The best thing is that by next year at this time, I know they will look just as good as they do today and won't be heading for the landfill at all.

If you live on Vancouver Island it is worth your time and your money to go and visit. And if you don't live on Vancouver Island, but close by, I would highly recommend a day trip over here. Lil' Sweet Nancy's and Sweet Nancy's is one of those rare places that really cares about their customers and offers amazing service whether you are buying one nice dress or a whole wardrobe. This is also a place where you don't have to be a size 2 to fit into the clothes, which for this curvy mama is a godsend. Not to mention, the store owner is also a mum, so she totally understands what I need when I'm buying clothes.

We talk a lot about self-care as mothers and for me, how I get dressed in the morning is part of that. So for this girl, quality will always trump quantity. And now I can be part of the summer without a map of spit up stains on my shirts.


I normally don't do reviews on products or stores and was not paid to write this. I just really love this place and wanted to share. You can find them here. Happy shopping!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

mother's day

Ah, Mother's day. I love it. We went to Victoria for the day on Saturday and visited some of my favorite places. Murchie's for lunch, tea and treats, a tradition since I was a kid. Then to Munroe's for an amazing book that I am already devouring. And after that? Husband takes the kids for an hour so I can go and shop on my own, bliss. It was also a day where a courageous woman walked all the way down the island to bring awareness to our threatened Wild Salmon stocks. We took the kids to the very peaceful protest and while they didn't understand why we were there, it felt right to be there as a family.

On Sunday, actual mother's day, a long walk by the river with the family, more time on my own while husband took care of everything, some much needed bras (I'll write more about that later) and a carpet picnic.

Life after kids can really change things and we can either fight it or adapt. It's not always easy for my husband and I to get out on a date together, alone. So on Mother's Day he made a super yummy dinner, that was not for the kids (they ate earlier and went to bed) and we had a date on a blanket upstairs in our room. We had music, candles, wine and most importantly, peace. There was no one to complain that the dinner was "too yucky, to big, didn't like it, too smelly...." Where my perfect eaters went to, I have no idea. Anyways, it was bliss.

It was a really lovely weekend and a really lovely day. I hope you had a wonderful day too!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Since I don't have anything riveting to write about (before and after pics of the kitchen are coming soon), I thought I'd share some recent photos of our life. Hanging out at home, a trip to Fisgard Lighthouse, May fest, and crab hunting at Transfer beach.

I received a touching phone call today from a mum who is so sleep deprived with her newborn, she's not sure what to do next. That post is on it's way soon....