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Yesterday marked the last Monday of my maternity leave.   My internal dialogue went something like this  {AHHHHH!!!  Holy Sh*t!!!   WTF!!!  When did that happen!!!!}  Next week I will rejoin the work force and spend my days in the office, and not rolling around on the floor with my kids.

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Always on the floor playing.

It’s hard to believe that we’ve gone from this….

079

Big Mac minutes old

To this….

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Big Mac 4.5 y; Little Mac 2.5 y, Small Fry 11 mos.

Agh.  {goes to find some tissues}

I remember a conversation I had with my husband when I was on my first mat leave about the misconception that mat leave is a “vacation” and that I don’t in fact have loads of time in the day to do all the extra little things.  Like get dressed.  Or eat.  At the beginning, you are basically in survival mode – keep this new little creature alive and hopefully thriving.  Even when you are dead on your feet from not sleeping, and frustrated because it won’t eat, and your arms are about to give out from rocking it all. the. time.

Oh, but then they smile.  And actually make eye contact.  Or stretch out after waking up and give a little toot.

And then you’re like “Oh my gawd it was so worth it”

Each day is a challenge.  Some days are more challenging than others.  Some days can even be classified as shit, and literally be full of shit when it feels like you’ve changed a gazilion diapers.  You have to laugh, otherwise you will most definitely go cah-ray-zee.    Just make sure if you are crazy laughing no one can hear you; tends to raise some eyebrows.

But then seemingly all of a sudden… they aren’t so helpless anymore.  You realize that this tiny human being can stand to be without you for a minute while you pee, or just stare at them from the other room, on edge, waiting for the crying to start.  You can just give the kid some puffs and a sippy cup and he’s content to sit there and eat.  Feed himself.  By himself.  Play in the sand.  By himself.  Push cars across the floor.  By himself.  Smile and giggle and pull all the tupperware out of the drawer.  BY HIMSELF.  No need for mommy to intervene.

And let’s not forget that with 3 kids, they are all up in each other’s business.  Everyone has a major case of FOMO [fear of missing out].  So basically we can now sit back and relax and let them go at it.  Until the yelling, crying, scratching, grabbing starts.

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It is not lost on me how lucky I am that I got to spend 3 years of my life with my kids.  And it is doubly apparent how lucky we are to have such a supportive family who is always willing to come and rescue us from the chaos that is THREE f-ing kids.  We would surely be lost without them.   Which is also making it easier for me to even think about going back to work.  Which is why it will actually be a seamless transition as my dear, kind, lovely, too generous mother will be taking care of the kids.  Those with kids know what a relief it is to have reliable day care, and we are so blessed to have someone who loves the kids as much, and probably sometimes even more, than we do.

So really, I’m only really worried about two things when going back to work:

  1. What will I wear?  (seriously, what do ‘adults’ wear these days???)
  2. Crying in the conference room because I miss my kids

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It’s been awhile… this blog has definitely gone by the wayside.  Life is just too much right now.  With 3 boys under the age of 5… my free time (read: after bedtime) is spent with Wine and TV and Instagram.  Or sleeping.  But mostly wine.  I do not have the capacity to form coherent thoughts and put them down in a coherent way, as much as I wish I did.

EasterBoys

Look at these guys.  Trouble.  But goodness me do I love them.

Today though I am breaking my blog silence.  My dear, lovely, kind, too-generous mother has taken the 2 younger ones to kinder korner and the oldest is in school.  Peace.  Hot coffee.  Quiet.  I can think.

And boy have I been doing a lot of thinking lately.  My 3rd and final mat leave is coming to an end.  Just 2 weeks left before I go back to work – for good. So a lot of thinking, and a lot of emotions.  As parents we crave those “firsts” – first time the baby smiles, rolls over, sits up, crawls, walks… etc.  But lately all I’ve been doing is dwelling on the “lasts”.  This is the last time that I’ll have the freedom and opportunity to spend ALL day EVERY day with my kids.  And that makes me sad that I didn’t do enough with them.  And we did a lot (thanks again mostly because of my dear, lovely, kind, too-generous mother).

One of the things that I have done consistently over the years of pregnancy and maternity leaves is attend FITMOM classes – all the Fitmom classes: Prenatal, Baby, Stroller Strength and Bootcamp.  The owner of Fitmom Ottawa is Sue.  Who I have now had the pleasure of knowing for 5 years.  Sue.  Sue. Sue. What can I say about Sue.  What can I say about Sue without getting too emotional.

Sue&Kip

Sue is… she is the one that is always in your corner, and you don’t even realize when it happens, when you don’t even know you need someone in your corner.  She is the NICEST person ever (she even said nice things about me {https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FFITMOMOttawa%2Fposts%2F1203354873009132%3A0&width=500” target=”_blank”>here}, so you know she has to be THE nicest).  Sue has been there from the beginning and has helped me in more ways than just the physical.  Although she will kick your butt big time at class.  90 second wall sits, while 38 weeks pregnant, oh ya, she makes you do those, no excuses.  Burpees.  Ugh.  I think Sue secretly enjoys watching our faces after she says “And now burpees!”.

Sue has created something special with Fitmom Ottawa.  A wonderful, safe, fun, challenging space that is disguised as a fitness class.  While you work out, you get the added benefit of being surrounded by amazing ladies, and before you know it you are sucked in to this community of support.  And usually with the added benefit of feeling stronger, faster, more fit, more beautiful.  Sue has done what few can do, she has provided somewhere for women to go and feel completely at ease, while working out!  I have met some incredible women through Fitmom, some whom I am privileged to now call my friends.  Who can see by the look on someone’s face that they need some extra support, or to vent, or have questions.  Sue is judgement free.  Her classes are judgement free.   No topic is off limits, no question too silly, no conversation too repetitive.

The success of Fitmom Ottawa, why we all keep coming back for more, is 100% Sue.  It is ALL her.  You can tell by how she leads the classes that she LOVES doing it, and truly cares about you, as an individual.

So while I am sad that my days of prenatal, and baby-wearing, and strollercizing classes are over, I look forward to continuing with the Fitwoman bootcamp classes.  And spending at least one evening a week, and maybe the odd full pint, with the magical Sue.  Who I am so lucky to call a friend.

This is such a bullshit saying.  “Expect the Unexpected”  Gah.  I feel like people bust it out when something doesn’t go as planned.  Because if you had expected the unexpected then you would have known it would have gone to shit.   Like, it means something happened that you Did. Not. Expect.

Now that my sour puss is out of the way, here is something that I didn’t expect – a nice family photo!  We recently had a photo shoot with the uber talented Natalie Spencer Photography, and one thing I did expect was uncooperative behaviour from Big Mac.   And yup, he was quite uncooperative.  But it goes to show you how talented Nat is that she got this great family shot out of it!

FaMiLy

FaMiLy

Don’t we look like a happy family?  Nat is pure magic.

She is also a great planner and decorator and coordinator – and many more wonderful things, but imma gonna stop being a creepy stalker super fan now.  I had asked Nat to help us with a project, and she definitely delivered and produced these amazingly awesome pics:

Guess what!

 

Guess what?!?!?!

And here it comes:  EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED!

We are going to be a…

Party of Five

 

Holy.  Shit.

Which is basically the reaction we have been getting from people.  A shocked look, followed by “What?!?!?!”.  And then a hesitant “Congrats!…?”    I can say for sure that the reactions to hearing the news of your first vs. second vs. subsequent impending children are vastly different.  Yes.  We are happy about this!  We are!  I swear.  Right?

Not going to lie.  This was unexpected.  But now that we have had time to let it marinate, pretty sure we are super pumped.  We are in for a real treat.  A couple/few/many hard-ish years, but hopefully as they get older, and more independent, it will get easier.  Right?  PLEASE TELL ME THERE IS LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL!!!!!  As I would imagine others go through, hubby and I have had mild bouts of stress (bringing back all the baby stuff we sent off to store, realizing we’re going to need a bigger house, maybe a bigger car etc.), which have led to brief moments of panic (I have to birth ANOTHER one!!!!).   But we usually end up circling back to being happy about this.

And for those of you who feel compelled to ask, I am feeling very shitty.  Meds are helping significantly, except they make me drowsy, add that to  chasing after a 3 yo and an almost 1 yo, and it is starting to take a toll on me.  My first trimester is just about over, so hopefully things will improve and I won’t be such a nightmare to live with.  Thank gawd for my hubby.  Not to wax poetic about him, but… well… #blessed (used unironically).

And I just realized we are going to have to come up with another nick name. Big and Little Mac are already taken.  Any suggestions???

3 kids.  Fuuuck.

(excuse the profanity, just in one of those moods)

[Disclaimer:  I have been going through a lot of pictures the past couple of days – so this post is heavy on the pics and nostalgia]

One thing that I wish I was better at is taking photographs.  I have got a good grasp on a selfie… but I am talking about good photos… ones with the proper lighting, and framing, and aperture… (??? is that a thing???).   Hubby and I bought a “fancy” Canon  before Big Mac was born, and lord did we ever take a lot of pictures.  Probably not all of them are amazing.

Case in Point:

Big Mac ready for his close up

Big Mac ready for his close up

But I want family pics of all of us in it.  And it is kind of hard to take a family pic that doesn’t look super awkward when using the self timer option.  You set it, then run over, then it doesn’t go, and then just as you move it takes the pic.  So I am all about getting a professional to take GOOD pictures of us.

Case in point:

Big Mac's first Christmas December 2011 (super awkward self timer)

Big Mac’s first Christmas December 2011 (super awkward self timer)

Our first experience with a professional was when we got maternity shots when I was preggers with Big Mac.  We had them done by Shona Reid – definitely check her out!   She was super fun and managed to make us not look too awkward. We had her come and take pictures for Big Mac as a newborn, and then again when he was ~10 months.

 

"Big Mac"

“Big Mac”

Big Mac maternity session on the beach - Aug 2011

Big Mac maternity session on the beach – Aug 2011

Big Mac 10 days old

Big Mac 10 days old

Big Mac 10 days old

Big Mac 10 days old

Big Mac 10 days old

Big Mac 10 days old

Big Mac 10 months - Petrie Island August 2012

Big Mac 10 months – Petrie Island August 2012

Big Mac 10 months - Petrie Island August 2012

Big Mac 10 months – Petrie Island August 2012

Love that these are fun pictures, that are good – i.e. frameworthy.

Then Shona moved to Alberta.

So then when I was preggers again, a good friend recommended the lovely, talented Natalie Spencer.  Nat took my maternity shots, and newborn pics of Little Mac, and then another great shoot when Little Mac was 4 months.

"Little Mac" August 2013

“Little Mac” August 2013

Little Mac

Little Mac

Little Mac

Little Mac

Little Mac getting some early love

Little Mac getting some early love

Little Mac newborn (so small)

Little Mac newborn (so small)

Little Mac newborn sesh

Little Mac newborn sesh

Little Mac newborn sesh

Little Mac newborn sesh

Big & Little Mac's - March 2014

Big & Little Mac’s – March 2014

March 2014

March 2014

the Mac's - March 2014

the Mac’s – March 2014

Little Mac - March 2014

Little Mac – March 2014

I cannot say enough wonderful things about Nat.   She is such a creative person… super nice too.  And super easy going.  I felt kind of like we had been friends for a loooong time.

I am so happy that we have these professional photos.  We look gooood.  Mostly thanks to the professional and their editing skills.  Now I just need to get some of these printed out to frame…

Sunrise over Paris. A little more impressive than my view this morning. One can wish, right…

It’s so funny.  Just when you think that you have turned a corner and things are going to be on the up and up… you find yourself doing laps around your house at 4 am with a screaming baby.  The sunrise was beautiful this morning.  Little Mac has slept through until 6 am the past 4-5 nights.  SIX AM.  Now, this may seem early to some, and it is, but when you are sleeping from 10:30 ish – 6… that is a full SEVEN (ish) hours!!!  To parents, this is more sleep than we deserve sometimes.  I was starting to feel real good about things again.  Then bam.  Little Mac was awake at 3:30, breastfed for approximately long enough to give me hope that he would just peacefully fall back to sleep, then instead decided to perform some opera and intricate back bends.

Ugh.

What do you do in these situations?   He was fed, fresh diaper.  I guess just overtired?  Couldn’t get back to sleep?

Babies cry.  That is what they do best.  Well, besides filling their pants right after they have a fresh pair on :S  A baby doesn’t know any other way to communicate with us except by crying.  What really sucks though is when they are crying and you have done absolutely everything you can think of to make them stop but they KEEP. ON. CRYING.

The crying has really been getting to me lately.  And I am not sure how many more laps around the house my arms can take.  Little Mac is not a little baby anymore (really, was he ever?).  I see some major physio in my future.

I just keep telling myself “this too shall pass”.  And have another cup of coffee.

Finally asleep in his car seat post-daycare walk (on the floor by the front door)

Finally asleep in his car seat post-daycare walk (on the floor by the front door)

Discipline is a hard thing to do.  There is a fine line between “good” discipline – that which is effective without the trauma – and “bad” discipline – that which is not effective but traumatic.  Now, I just came up with those two definitions myself based solely on my own  experience.  I am in no way going to tell anyone how to discipline their kids.  You do what you gotta do.

Let’s be honest, kids can be little shits.  Well, mine can.

Up to no good...

Up to no good…

We are a family that uses the dreaded TIME OUT.  A typical meal time goes like this:

Hubby/me (to 2 yo):  Sit properly please

2 yo slowly slides down the side of the chair

Hubby/me (sternly): Sit properly or you go to time out

2 yo gives his little bratty grin and keeps sliding down the chair (the bratty grin makes it so much worse)

Hubby/me (very sternly): That’s it, you’re going to time out.  [picks up 2 yo who is now frantically trying to climb back in to his chair to sit properly]

2 yo (yelling): No time out!

He goes to time out (which is the landing on our third floor with all the doors closed, lights off and the gate shut).   After about a minute his angry crying gets quieter and starts sounding pitiful, so we go up to get him.  We remind him why he is in time out and ask him if he is ready to come back to the table and sit properly.  It usually works as he does come back and sit properly for the remainder for the meal.  So… win?

Discipline is easier at home, when you don’t have other people watching you.  No one wants to be “that parent” that is yelling at their kid at the playground.  We all want little angels for kids, but that is not going to happen.  The hardest thing is what to do when other people’s kids are being little shits to your kid.  Do you step in and yell at that kid?  Thereby bringing on the wrath of that kid’s parent/caregiver/whoever brought them to the park.  How dare you yell at my kid.  Well, how bout your kid stops pushing my kid.  If my kid is being a shit, I will take ownership of that and we will get the heck out of there.  BUT.  But what if said shitty kid’s parents/caregiver is not around?  Or is around but is blissfully unaware of how shitty their kid is being?  What do you do?  I believe that you have to stand up for your kid – WHEN THE SITUATION CALLS FOR IT.   I do not condone retaliation.  That is the worst.  And just breeds more shitty kid behaviour.  I think it is a good thing for kids to figure things out for themselves.  Which makes not stepping in harder.

The other day at the playground, Big Mac was doing his thing, climbing up one side and sliding down the other, while Little Mac (in the stroller) and I looked on.  As with most playgrounds, there was a base of sand.  Now in walks (or rather twirls) a shitty kid – probably 7 or 8 yrs old.  You know those kids, you can tell they are going to be shitty kids from the get go.  This kid did not disappoint.  He starts to kick and throw sand.  It wasn’t close to Big Mac or us, so I just let him do him.  And kept a close eye on what Big Mac would do.  He looked at the kid warily, but kept playing.  Then the shitty kid threw sand AT Big Mac.  In his face.  His FACE.  Ok, now sand in the face is not the end of the world, but he did start to cry.  I happen to believe that throwing sand in people’s faces is not proper playground etiquette.  And this happened about 2 feet from me.  Close enough for me to step in.  “Hey.  It is not nice to throw sand in people’s face.  Please don’t throw sand.”  I said it sternly, but not yelling.   Making sure I got my point across.  I looked for the shitty kid’s parent/caregiver/responsible adult.  No one ran over, so I just gave him another “look”.  We brushed the sand off of Big Mac and he continued playing.  And the kid didn’t thrown any more sand in our direction.  So… win?

On the way home from the playground I tried to talk to Big Mac about how throwing sand is not a good thing to do.  That it is not nice.  He seemed to get it… he did say “That was not nice”.  So maybe that kid throwing sand in my kid’s face was a good thing as now my kid will not throw sand…?

Who really knows the right way to discipline.  There are so many little nuances to it.  It’s hard to stay consistent, when it happens in the privacy of your own home vs. in the grocery store vs. at a friend’s house.  I guess the important thing is to ensure that the kid understands why what they did was wrong, and to make sure that the “discipline” fits the crime.  And of course that the bad behaviour is not repeated.

Happy moment.

Happy moment.

I get it. Babies are cute.

Case in point:

Cutie

Cutie

BUT!  But, if you are a stranger, please don’t stick your face in to my baby’s face in the grocery store/mall/bagel shop/waiting at a cross walk.  I don’t know where you’ve been. I don’t know your dental hygiene routine.  You could have come from an H1N1 infestation for all I know.

I was at Loblaws the other day and Little Mac was sleeping in the stroller, so I had him pretty covered up with the car seat cover thing and a blanket.  I could barely see his face without bending down to look in.  I was perusing some Joe Fresh items and felt that weirdness when people are standing just a bit tooclose.  Like, invading personal space close.  I turn and these two people were leaning over the stroller peering in at the baby.  I had to literally lean back to face them.  So I moved the stroller a bit and then they gave me the “Such a cute baby”. Thanks. Now can you back the f* up.

Am I being too mean about this?  On one hand, it is great to get the reassurance that you have a cute baby (its not just you that thinks that and your family who feel obligated to say your baby is cute – however would people tell you if your baby was ugly?); a sense of pride that you created such a beautiful baby.   Everyone loves babies, they do tend to pick your mood up – particularly really cute babies.  On the other hand, do you really want some stranger cooing their stranger breath in your baby’s face.

Another time at the Superstore (so what, I go there a lot – it is on the daycare route and we tend to need milk every other day) and this man peers in and is all “cute baby”.  Little Mac was sleeping, so I gave my witty “yes, for now while he’s sleeping” response.  Then this man walks beside me staring in the stroller at my baby the length of the store – from the milk section (haha, I really was buying milk this day) all the way to the bread! I had to pretend to get bread just to veer off path from him.  Yikes.

And another time at the bagel shop these two old ladies were obsessed with the baby, so much so that they basically cut me off from the stroller.  I felt bad, but I had to kind of physically move them aside so I could leave.

I am used to it now.  I have my standard responses and have perfected the tone that does not invite any additional conversation.  And I keep moving.  Yeah yeah, that is a bit mean.  I know.  Maybe I should be nicer, or just less mean.  But just beware that I will turn in to dragon lady mom if you get too close.