Category Archives: Mommy Moments

Mother Mondays

Standard

I often think of my childhood and all the things my parents did and the memories that I will keep for the rest of my life. I want to create memories for my children so when they are older, they will look back and have fond memories of growing up too.
When I was young, my dad always took me fencing. Not the fencing with the sword and the white suits and face masks, the ‘build a fence’ fencing. It would always be on a summer weekend, hot and sticky from the humidity. I would have to wear jeans with closed toe shoes for protection from sticks, wire and logs. The entire time I would be helping him, he would quiz me on which pickets go where, what their names were and in what order they go in. I would sort logs based on size, lug full gas containers from the truck to the fence, and pass him the chainsaw, wire and axes whenever he needed them. I was working and being quizzed the entire time but I can say that it was one of my favourite things to do with my Dad. Last summer when I went home to visit for a few weeks, I eagerly volunteered to help him build fence. The Princess even helped. Dad said he’s never been asked so many questions in his life!
I may not build fence with the Princess and the Rainbow, but Hubby and I try to make special memories with them, things that they will remember forever. Last year the Princess discovered money. She hasn’t mastered the full concept of it but she knew enough that it was something you needed. So I made her a deal, any spare change she found around our home, she could have and put in her piggy bank. I was going to wait until Hubby got home to tell him but the Princess beat me to the punch.
“Daddy, Mama said I could keep the money I find on the floor,” she squealed.
“Didn’t you know that leprechauns come at midnight and leave that money around the house for you to find?” The Princess’ eyes lit up.
“Oh Daddy, we are waking up tonight to find them,” and she starting jumping with utter excitement.
“Yea we will do that,” he said.
Now I am all for telling children about Santa, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth-fairy to add some whimsy to children’s lives but Hubby makes up fantastical stories and it makes me think ‘why did you say that?’ Once he told her we found her in a box and she told everyone!
Later on in the evening, the Princess would not stop reminding Hubby that come midnight, they were hunting for gold coins and leprechauns. He nodded but you could tell that he didn’t think she was serious.
“You know you are going to have to get up with her and find these coins right,” I said.
“What? She’ll be asleep and forget all about it,” he shrugged.
“You cannot tell her that little green men from a magical place come in the middle of the night and deposit money throughout our home and you will hunt for them with her and then not do it,” I argued.
“Ah crap. I don’t want to get up in the middle of the night.”
“Well perhaps you should have thought of that before you told her.”
After she went to bed, I went to local Bulk Barn and purchased chocolate coins for him to lay around the house for them to find. Sure enough at midnight, the Princess was up and ready to search for money. Hubby did this with her 2 nights in a row. Despite the late night, the Princess was so happy and excited that she had leprechauns that visited her home and left her coins.
Hubby is always doing something ‘magical’ for the Princess. If it isn’t buying ‘magical’ rocks from eBay or pulling Kinderegg’s from her ears, he’s always been able to add a little magic to her world and I am quite grateful for that.
It’s my turn for a little magic. Last week the Princess got an intestinal tract infection from a class trip to a farm and was the sickest I have ever seen her. As a result, she is still isn’t her usual self. So to lift her spirits, I have written a letter from Tinkerbell and I will be mailing it tomorrow. I know she will get a huge kick out of receiving mail for one and that it is from one of her favourite characters will be the cherry on top. I am hoping it will turn into a regular thing and I will keep all the letters as a keepsake so I can show her when she’s older.
My biggest wish for the Princess and eventually the Rainbow is that they will look back and now that Hubby and I really tried to make their worlds brighter and happier and how truly loved they really are. I know that even as my Dad worked and quizzed me, that those memories of working on the fences are memories I look back on with fondness. And while I may not be able to build a fence myself, I still know the names of the rails.

Advertisements

Epically Failing, Pinterest Style

Standard

In an attempt to save money on groceries, I have been baking snacks for my daughter’s school lunches.  And what better place to find delicious, healthy and equally cool looking snack ideas than Pinterest, the social media site where 12 million visitors spend on average 1 hour and 17 minutes of their life pinning, liking and creating boards of stuff1.  Oh Pinterest, you seductive mistress you.  By simply seeing the “pin it” button, you gave me the ill-fated notion that I, torontomama, could be a Domestic Goddess.  For shame!

I consider myself to be a capable cook.  That said I lack the necessary skill when it comes to baking.  Only the pull of Pinterest could have brought this idea of baking school snacks to fruition.  My first 3 recipes went off without a hitch.  With those recipes under my belt, it came time to make Strawberry Cupcakes with Fresh Strawberry Icing, courtesy of Spendwithpennies.com.  Doesn’t the name alone make you salivate?  Well if the name doesn’t, the picture will.  I wanted to surprise my daughter with these delicious gems after school and have a tea party in her room.  What fun.

First came the icing.  It needed to be chilled overnight and it turned out perfect.  I would make the cupcakes themselves the next day so they would be fresh for the party.  The original recipe called for boxed cake mix, but being the Domestic Goddess I thought myself to be, I made the cake from scratch.  I purchased cake flour instead of using all-purpose flour like the recipe called for and did no research on its differences.  According to Pinterest, this is what they were supposed to look like.

And this is how it turned out.  EPIC FAIL.

photo (3)

I pulled my cupcakes out of the oven, dry and sunken in the middle.  Upon further research online, I came to find out that my cupcakes were both overcooked and over leavened and nasty as hell.  My daughter eats with her eyes and seeing that they were bright pink, in her mind they were just fine and the tea party would have to go on as planned.  I told her outright that I had made a mistake and I didn’t think they were that tasty.  She was having none of it.  We sat down at her Lego table, disguised as a banquet table at a ball and ate my Pinterest Fail cupcakes while sipping hot chocolate.  Despite her saying they were ‘ok’; she ate less than half of one.

Hubby came home after work and bluntly asked “What happened?” Pinterest happened.  With their pretty pictures and step by step instructions, I was lulled into the assumption that I could be magically transformed into a baking aficionado.  They lied.  Out of 15 cupcakes, 1 was eaten and I have approximately 8 cups of delicious strawberry icing sitting in my fridge with no cupcakes to ice with it.  Cue the spoon and kiss the diet goodbye.

Finding the Balance

Standard

In the last 9 months since my son was born I have had difficulty finding the balance between being a Mom and all the other things I have to do. I will admit that writing frequently on this blog has taken somewhat of a backseat and so has my laundry, eating regularly, showering, my mental sanity, the list could go on forever. In my quest to be the ultimate Stepford Wife/Mommy/Maid/Chef Extraordinaire, life has served me a heaping slice of humble pie. I guess that’s a good thing since I haven’t eaten breakfast in 3 months.

The Princess gave me a false idea that I was some sort of parenting aficionado. She nursed on a schedule, slept through the night, had 3-2 hour naps a day, and was content doing her own thing. I could clean my house, do laundry, shower, eat, have dinner on the table by the time Hubby got home, I could do it all. Back then I thought myself as the parenting superhero, full cape and costume. Oh why I yes I will gladly accept that parent of the year award. Turns out, that had NOTHING, NADA, ZIP to do with me. It was her personality as a baby. Granted it has changed now, but back then, she was an EASY baby.

Now my son, whom my family doctor asserts has been ‘touched by fire’, is NOTHING like my daughter. Complete opposite in fact. At 9 months, he is still not sleeping through the night and must be carried at all times when he is not climbing onto, under and into whatever his surprisingly nimble little body will allow. He is also insanely attached to me. It’s not all bad. I mean who doesn’t love snuggles by their very own cuddle monster? But when I am attempting to make dinner and I have a fiery ginger screaming himself apoplectic to the point in which he begins to gag and vomit, it becomes stressful. Hubby will often hold him and stand in the kitchen just so he can see me and have his needs of being held fulfilled.

In the beginning of my maternity leave, Hubby would often come home and ask ‘What did you do today?’ Cue the hand waving, heading bobbing ‘oh no you did not just ask me what I did today!’ Sleepless nights, up-all-days, 2 children needing every ounce of attention I could muster had set me on the precarious edge of sensitivity and insanity. And poor Hubby was catching it in all directions. A few months later I sat him down and made a very frank confession. That Mom that had the spotless house and dinner on the table with baby #1 is gone and likely will not return for a few more years. Not until my baby boy is sleeping regularly, more independent and I have caught up on some sleep. I couldn’t be that Mom without something, such as my children being left behind. I love a spotless house, but never at the expense of my children’s happiness and well-being. He would just have to settle for a tidy house that gets cleaned thoroughly on the weekend, dinner an hour after he gets home and a slightly crazier wife.

Life isn’t so bad though. I am still searching for that elusive thing called balance, but I get done what I can in a day and stop trying to beat myself up for what didn’t. I may be a raggedy mess of a Mom, but I am doing my very best that I can and I am ok with that. As I lay here, typing this post on my phone, laying next to my baby boy who is getting some cursed molars, I know that this too shall pass.

Holiday Photos

Standard

Other than the staple holiday photos with Santa, I had never done professional portraiture’s specifically for the holiday season.  But when my good friend, Amanda Lazarski, let me know that she would be in my hometown early last month, I knew I had to jump on the chance to book her to take my little one’s photos.  I purchased matching outfits, practiced poses with the Princess and tried to do some hairstyles all in preparation for these pictures.

Then life happened.  Of course, it was dark and grey and windy and cold and neither of my children were interested in posing.  Being only 3 days after Halloween, the Princess was still in Vampire mode.  Amanda asked her to pose a certain way only to have the Princess respond “but I thought you said I could be a model?”  Nonetheless, the photos turned out perfect!  True to her talent and craft, Amanda delivered despite craptastic weather, fussy children and most of all, suffered a sleep deprived, stressed and anxious Mama (aka ME!)

Formerly Amanda Lazarski Photography, her business is now called Inspired By The Tree Photography based out of Trenton, Ontario.  I definitely recommend her services for capturing those perfect family moments.  She was wonderful despite the elements, the turnaround time for my photos was super quick and I can say the pictures I got for the price I paid was simply a steal! You can find her on Facebook.  Below are just a few of the amazing photos she took.

This Is Scarlett & Isaiah

Standard

For any of you who have children and watch Treehouse Television, you know who Daniel Cook and Emily Yeung are.  You have heard them shout “We Are Here” and wear the bright orange shirts while learning about something new.  In the latest installment, Treehouse Television, Sinking Ship Entertainment and Marble Media present “This is Scarlett & Isaiah.”  I was graciously invited for a sneak peek into this live-action pre-school show and to speak with its newest hosts.

daniel cookThe “This is” series started in 2004 with Daniel Cook, a 6-year-old who welcomed people to view the world through the eyes of a child.  He met with dog trainers, firefighters and musicians, learning and exploring in a way that only a child can.  Quickly “This Is Daniel Cook” became very popular and winning awards such as 3 Alliance for Children & Television Awards, Prix Jeunesse International Web Prize as well as many Gemini Award nominations.  During the Q & A in the atrium at the launch event, Cook said that out of all the episodes he had no favourite, however his least favourite was undoubtedly the ballet episode.  It was then that young Isaiah exclaimed “Boys do ballet too Daniel!” The producers said that when Cook auditioned it was his intelligence that caught their eye.  He spoke at length about dinosaurs and how he preferred the Decepticons to the Autobots.  this-is-emily-yeung

Next followed “This Is Emily Yeung“, a “fearless” little girl who gave a female perspective to the show.  In her audition, she told producers that she had dared her friend to cut a hole in his pants and it was that fearlessness that won her the spot on the show.  Now 14, the episode where she swam with the sharks and parrot fish pointed her in the direction of her future career as a marine biologist.  Fearless.

I have watched numerous episodes of “This Is Daniel Cook” and “This Is Emily Yeung” with my daughter and it was shocking to find out that they are now teenagers.  Almost as if “Hey, I watched you yesterday, and you were 6!”

Starting September 21st, we will now get the pleasure of watching Scarlett & Isaiah leave their distinct mark on the “This Is” series.  Scarlett is an Oakville native who has been in the business since she was 3.  This little girl is going to melt your hearts.  With her bright red hair and unique tutu, her girly girl attitude will have you breaking out the tiara making kits.  When I spoke to her, she was very involved in making t-shirt art.  I didn’t want to keep her too long as she was thoroughly enjoying herself, but here is a little insight into one of the latest hosts.

Me: Hi Scarlett, my name is Carley.  Can I talk to you for a little bit?

Scarlett: Yes.

Me: Do you like being on television?

Scarlett: Yea.

Me: What was your favourite part of the show?

Scarlett: When we made the tiaras.

Me: Why do you like tiaras?

Scarlett: I like Princess’ a lot and they wear them.

Me: Who is your favourite Princess?

Scarlett: All of them.

Me: Is there any one in particular? Jasmine? Belle?

Scarlett: Ariel.

Me: Why do you like Ariel? Is it because she has red hair like you?

Scarlett: No because she can transform into a mermaid.

Me: Is that your favourite Disney movie?

Scarlett: Yes.  And my second favourite movie is Rapunzel.

Me: I love Rapunzel. What grade are you going into?

Scarlett: Two.

Me: Do you like going to school?

Scarlett: Yes, especially going on field trips.

Me: What was your favourite field trip?

Scarlett: Going to the gardens.

Me: That sounds nice.  Well thank you very much for speaking with me. I cannot wait to see your show, I have a little girl who loves these shows.  Thank you very much.

Scarlett Spaghetti

I was then able to speak with Isaiah.  Isaiah is from Montreal and is a vivacious young man.  His future plan is to become an astronaut and he really enjoys dinosaurs.  His energy ignites the entire room and he is able to make everyone laugh.  He wasn’t shy when speaking with me, in fact he was very enthusiastic, I can only imagine what his episodes will be like.  He was finishing up with Jungle Jack when I was able to snag him for a few questions.

Me: Hi Isaiah.  My name is Carley and I’m going to ask you a few questions, is that ok?

Isaiah: Ok.

Me: What do you like about being on this television show?

Isaiah: I like everything about it.  Especially that I am going to be on TV.

Me: Why do you want to be on television?

Isaiah: Because I wanted to see myself there where all the other people are.  They are all on TV and what am I doing? Sitting at home watching them.  Now I’m going to be on TV.

Me: And then all the little kids can watch you.

Isaiah: Yup. All me! *Laughs*

Me: What is your favourite dinosaur?

Isaiah: Hmm, that will have to be the T-Rex.

Me: Why do you like the T-Rex?

Isaiah: Because it’s the best dinosaur in the world!

Me: Do you like going to school?

Isaiah: No.

Me: Why not?

Isaiah: It’s too hard.  I’m good at it, I just don’t like homework.

Me: Nobody likes homework.

Isaiah: My friend Emma loves school, she loves homework. I’m like how do you love that? Like all my friends, every single one of my friends, including, well Wyatt doesn’t say that but every other one of my friends say homework sucks. And then Emma is like “Yay I love homework!”

Me: Do you not have a favourite class like gym or science?

Isaiah: Gym is my favourite.

Me: Do you like science because you get to learn about being an astronaut?

Isaiah: Yea.

Me: Why do you want to be an astronaut?

Isaiah: Because I want to see what’s inside a black hole.

Me: Ooh that’s a good one.

Isaiah: But I don’t want to go in one, but look outside of it looking in.

Me: What is your favourite episode from the show?

Isaiah: That’s hard, there were so many.  The balloon making is definitely in the top 5.

Me: Is it because you got to wear the balloon dinosaur costume?

Isaiah: Yes.

Me: Thank you very much for talking to me Isaiah.  I can’t wait to see your show. *He gives me a high-five*  Thank you.

Isaiah: Don’t leave me hanging.

Me: I won’t.

Isiah Trex

I had a wonderful time at this event.  There was balloon making, a bubble show and lots of arts for children of all ages, all perfect for this type of show. After speaking with Scarlett & Isaiah, I understand why they were picked as the hosts.  Both bring their own distinct personality to their segments, providing an insiders look into a child’s world and all the wonder and excitement that comes with it.  Premiering Saturday, September 21st at 7 pm, ‘This Is Scarlett & Isaiah’ can be seen on Treehouse television.

 

 

 

 

Ankyloglossia, Now There’s a Tongue Tie For You

Standard
Image from newborns.stanford.edu

Image from newborns.stanford.edu

Trust me, when I first said Ankyloglossia, it was a slow drawn-out process, with me stumbling through the sounds until I finally got it.  Before Rainbow was born, I hadn’t a clue what it was, because I knew it by another term; Tongue-Tied.  And Rainbow was born with it.  Ankyloglossia, or tongue-tied, is a congenital oral anomaly where the lingual frenulum connects the underside of the tongue to the bottom of the mouth.  Cases of tongue tie can range from mild to complete.  Rainbow had the latter.

Prior to his birth, we had no inkling that he would be born with it, I mean how could we, they don’t do scans of inside the mouth.  And it wasn’t until our discharge day that we even found out.  Now a bit of a back story, Hubby was born with a partial tongue, a mild case which he had cut when he was little over a year.  Neither of us thought that it would be present in our children as no other family members had it.  It was just one of those things.

When the Rainbow was first born, the pediatricians examined him and then placed him in Hubby’s arm while I was being stitched up.  It wasn’t until we got to the recovery room and him and I did the skin to skin and began to nurse that I knew something wasn’t ‘right’.  I breastfed the Princess for 6 months with absolutely NO problems.  She latched immediately, was a scheduled nurser and weaned very easily.  It was my favourite part of being a mother to a baby.  I loved that closeness and I couldn’t wait to have that again with Rainbow.  He suckled for a very long time his first time and it felt awkward and uncomfortable.  I adjusted his position numerous times and still it didn’t feel how it felt with the Princess.  I didn’t say anything to the nurse because I thought, “Hey, every baby is different.”

But then I began to feel flicking when he nursed and then after he was done, I was covered in deep purple bruises.  Then after a few more feeds came the blood and scabs.  It was then that I asked the nurse for help.

“Listen, I breastfed my daughter, but this just isn’t feeling right.  Can you help me?” I asked.

The nurses did just that, helped set him up and gave me extra pillows.  Still the Rainbow wouldn’t latch properly and it began to hurt more and more.  I asked the nurse if there was a lactation consultant available on the ward that would be able to come talk with us.  I began to second guess myself.  Had I not done this 4 years ago?  I didn’t have any problems then, why can’t I do it now?

On our discharge day, the lactation consultant came in, took Rainbow to examine his mouth.

“Yes, I know the problem,” she said.  “He’s tongue-tied.”

I was baffled and Hubby and I exchanged looks.  Well, at least we know who he got it from.  She then opened his mouth to show us.  She informed us that it was a complete tie that would require a cut as the tip of his tongue was completely attached to the bottom of his mouth.  Rainbow wasn’t able to stick his tongue out and draw my breast into his mouth therefore not getting the proper latch.  She then told us that most hospitals and doctors like to wait until the child is older and have a full procedure involving anaesthesia and for the children to be completely under.  However, a hospital in the East end of Toronto could do a similiar procedure, a simple in and out, without any drugs.  We had asked if it was such a simple procedure then why would certain doctors want it to be a drawn out process.  She informed us that some doctors think that the tongue will stretch out on its own and if you can bottle feed then there are other feeding options besides breastfeeding.  She also let us know that children with tongue tie are more likely to be delayed in speaking, some can’t speak at all until it’s cut and speech impediments are very common.  Frankly, it kind of seemed to me that if they made them have the surgery, it was more of a money-making thing than anything else.  In the meantime, she showed us the football hold that would be easier on him and me.

The lactation consultant called the breastfeeding clinic in the east end and set up our appointment.  We were discharged on a Tuesday and the day procedure would be done that Thursday.  And in those few days, it was a challenge.  Now the picture below shows what breastfeeding is supposed to look and feel like.

Now this is what it felt like for me breastfeeding a boy with a complete tongue-tie.

It was hands down the most painful experience beside giving birth of course.  I would be nursing my baby boy and wailing the entire time.  He would come unlatched and his mouth would be red with blood from me and pieces of skin on his lips.  Hubby got up and brought me a bottle of formula to give him.  Then I started to cry even harder.  I wanted to breastfeed my son, no questions asked, but I knew that I was in pain and I was concerned he wasn’t getting enough food because he couldn’t latch properly.  I was getting the “breast is best” guilt from all sides.  The lactation consultants, friends, family, doctors, nurses, you name it, I was getting it.  Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all for breastfeeding, but I was also put in a situation where I had to supplement.  Hubby and I were tracking his pees and poops, his feeds and how long and would offer 1 ounce of formula a day to ensure he was getting enough to eat and to give my poor mangled lady bits a break.  I was crying to my friend about the guilt I was feeling and she said this gem to me;

“Just imagine how much guilt people would give you if you starved him to death?”

That was enough to make me relax and be comfortable in my decision to supplement.

Finally Thursday rolled around and we arrived at Toronto East General Hospital and registered.  We were whisked into the breastfeeding clinic and were consulted with a lactation consultant and RN.  They witnessed our feedings and noticed the poor latch and my pain.  They then paged the pediatric surgeon.  We made the journey upstairs to the pediatric floor and answered the necessary questions.  The surgeon asked me if I wanted to stay in the room with Hubby while they did it.  I held Hubby’s hand but looked towards the wall.  They hadn’t even began the procedure and Rainbow began to cry and so did I.  The surgeon said it was probably best if I left the room.  So out I went and cried in the hall.  I could hear my little man wailing and all I wanted to do was run in and say “Stop hurting my baby.”  They brought him out, his mouth red with blood and we were sent back down to the clinic to breastfeed as it stops the bleeding.  The surgeon did advise us that he had a very thick tie and he may likely need to have further surgery as he gets older by an ENT specialist.  She showed us some exercises to do with him to get him to stretch out his tongue.

Hubby waited outside the clinic and the poor RN acted as my therapist as I cried and breastfed my son.  I was glad that I could finally feed him but felt so bad he had been in pain.  But now that him and I are able to enjoy feedings now, I knew I made the right decision.  The procedure was done without medication however, back in the days where women gave birth at home, Midwives would keep their pinky fingernail longer than the rest so she could simply cut the tie when the baby was born.  Eeek!

Sometimes feeds are painful and it takes some time for proper latches, it is much much better than before.  I know that if we didn’t have the procedure done, I would have ultimately given up on breastfeeding.