Tag Archives: advice

Dinnertime Battles

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I told you the Princess hates eggs.

I told you the Princess hates eggs.

It wasn’t too long ago when the Princess and I did battle in the ring with Five Rounds at Dinner Time!  I wish I could say that things have improved but alas they haven’t.  Hubby and I have tried almost everything.  From time-out to negotiating “one more bite”, Princess has a certain will power to dominate meal times.

I definitely don’t make her eat foods I know she hates but the rule is, if there is something new served, you have to try at least one bite.  The Princess is rather particular with her menu.  She hates eggs, and I am not even sure hate is even strong enough to describe her disgust for eggs.  She likes her cereal without milk, don’t even bother giving her oatmeal ( and who can blame her, blech, that stuff is gross), she doesn’t like roast beef deli meat and don’t even bother putting mustard on her sandwiches, mayonnaise only.  She dislikes mushrooms and green beans, but pretty much everything else she’ll try.  It seems like her battle with dinner isn’t about the food, but to see how much she can get away with.

“How many more bites?” is a pretty common question at dinner time but Hubby and I have had enough.  We have tried time-out, leaving the table if she does not eat within a reasonable time, negotiate, and tell her “there are people who go without don’t you know.”  Nothing seemed to work.  If we fought her on dinner, she’d put herself to bed 2 hours before her actual bedtime in defiance.  If we negotiated bites, she still asked for dessert and if we refused, a full on temper tantrum ensued.

Frustrated with mealtimes, I found some very helpful mealtime tips that have really helped.   The Canadian Medical Association Baby & Child Health suggests taking the battle out of dinnertime.  They suggest only giving 1 tablespoon of food per year of your child’s age and always recommend giving less and letting your child ask for more.  If your child refuses, don’t make them eat, but state that they are not allowed to leave the table until everyone at the table is finished.  No more fighting, arguing or negotiating, make dinnertime less of a battle.  If after the meal they state they are hungry, snacks and desserts are not an option, but instead offer them the food they refused.  Remove any snacks in between meals if finishing their larger meals becomes an issue.    So far this has worked and meals haven’t been as bad.  Hubby and I aren’t frustrated and the Princess is definitely missing out on desserts and snacks.  I have removed sugary treats from her lunch and replaced them with healthier options so she only has an all healthy lunch.  Meals are becoming more of a family time and less of Battleground Zero.

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How to Beat a Cold While Pregnant

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Hey everyone!  I have been posting pretty sparsely lately and it is because since Christmas, I have been battling a nasty chest and sinus cold and it seems to be lingering like an old boyfriend.  Apparently while visiting family and friends, Christmas joy wasn’t the only thing I caught.  I’ve been to the doctor and he basically confirmed what I already knew; I’m pregnant and there isn’t much in the way of medication that I can take to ease your symptoms.  So not only can I not take anything, but my immune system is on hiatus as well.  Pregnant women are more susceptible to colds and viruses as their immune system has taken a back seat as not to identify the baby as a foreign body.  I’ve been treating this cold naturally and here are a few things that you can do while pregnant to ease your symptoms.

  1. Ginger Root.  Not only will this help ease upset stomach (and morning sickness) but chewing on ginger root will release enzymes that will help suppress your cough.
  2. Halls.  My doctor told me these are ok as long as they are the menthol ones and do not contain medication.  Try to limit your intake, but the menthol will open nasal passages and help you breathe as well as soothe your sore throat.
  3. Hot Steam.  Boil water and pour it in a bowl.  Then place a towel over your head and breathe it in.  The heat will help break up any congestion you may have.
  4. Rest.  Nothing can help you feel better than catching some Zz’s.  Your body is already exhausted from growing a baby and battling a cold will only make you more tired.  So feel free to sleep when you can.
  5. See your doctor.  Seems pretty obvious but when pregnant and sick, it’s always best to see your doctor.  They’ll know what’s the next best move.

 

Image c/o clevelandleader.com

Image c/o clevelandleader.com

I’m not a doctor, so before following these tips, always check with your healthcare provider first!

Faces of Loss

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As many of you know, I lost my angel baby Emery on March 25th, 2011.  It has been 16 months since I lost her, but I still cry myself to sleep.  I was never prepared for what came after.  The doctors never gave me any pamphlets on bereavement and I didn’t have much of a support group.  Most people didn’t know what to say, or never mentioned it again.  For a long time, it seemed like everyone else had moved on, but I was stuck.  The doctors had sent me home to pass her despite my requests for a D&C and on the 25th, I held my lifeless little girl in the palm of my hand.  I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy.  That was one of the most devastating moments of my life.  But it seemed that only I was really affected.  No one else was grieving like I was.  I didn’t know anyone who had suffered a miscarriage and I kept getting told “just get over it, move on.”

Now most people know that if you mix baking soda and vinegar in a bottle then put the cap on, eventually the pressure would cause the top to blow.  I was that bottle for quite some time.  Everyone kept giving me the “stop being negative, it was only a miscarriage, at least you have a child.”  And for a long time I kept how I was feeling to myself.  Everyone else was over it, maybe so should I.  But I had this nagging feeling that I wasn’t crazy, that maybe I was supposed to be this upset.  That was my daughter, I had carried her throughout her entire life.  From the moment of the positive pregnancy test, everything was about her.  My body was her safe vessel and I was the captain.  She breathed through me, was fed through me, lived in me.  Every thought I had, was in regards to her safety and well-being just as I did with my Princess.  And when she left us, I mourned her like I would anyone I loved.  But despite the short time we had together, I loved her whole-heartedly.  So every time someone would tell me how I was to feel, I would blow my top like my insides were baking soda and their comments were the vinegar and have a full on meltdown.  And then I was told I was the crazy one.  Had I lost a living child, would my grief been justified?  Was Emery a second-class citizen because she died before she left my womb?  And because of that, did she deserve a second-class mourning?  I grieved alone because no one else would mourn her.

It wasn’t until her angelversary that I knew I had to do something about this.  I was growing more and more angry with people.  Why didn’t they understand?  Who were they to tell me to let go of my daughter?  You let go of someone who love and tell me how it feels when someone says to get over it.  I knew I needed to find something or someone who understood.  I began searching the internet for groups and people telling their stories and I found Faces of Loss.  I was looking through its Groups page and I was able to find one in Toronto.   I messaged the group leader and last night I went to my very first meeting.  I have never felt more accepted.  These women understand my heartache and my grief and all those crazy thoughts that went through my mind.  They gave me ideas as to how to communicate with Hubby, how to grieve and ways that I could commemorate Emery’s life.  I am so grateful for this group and wanted to write about it so that if there are any other women out there looking for support, it IS out there.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugliness of Daycare

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My Princess has been in daycare since she was 18 months old.  I went back to work on weekend and nights when she was about 10 months old but didn’t go back fulltime until she was 16 months.  I moved from Ottawa to Toronto when I was 7 months pregnant and decided that when I went back to work, I wasn’t getting a transfer.  I knew I needed a job that paid the bills, left a little in the bank and would still cover the cost of daycare.  I searched all over Toronto but most were either inflexible hours, too little pay or ridiculously far away from where we lived.  So I found a job where I worked nights on the weekend.  Despite hating it, it put money in the bank and I didn’t need a sitter.  But eventually it just wasn’t enough, I really didn’t want it to be my career, let alone my job.  So I started looking again for another job.

Finally I found the job where I work now.  I am a food writer for a catering company in Toronto and I’m also the Head Catering Coordinator.  The hours are great, so are my coworkers and it is only a 35 – 45 minute commute each way.  Not bad for Toronto.  I began my search for childcare.  We found one woman who ran her own daycare out of her home who lived near us.  She was relatively priced, had children of her own, so it seemed like a great fit.  We went away the weekend before I was supposed to start and when we came home that Sunday I had a message on my machine.

“I’m really sorry to do this to you so last-minute, but I’ve changed my mind.  I’m closing down my home daycare.”

Are you serious?!  Thank goodness for my in-laws who helped us out extraordinarily with our search for childcare.  They watched her until we found someone else.  While I was searching for the first place, I had come across a Nanny (or so she called herself) that was fresh out of college.  She was currently working at a daycare, but wished to go into business herself.  She was willing to come to our home and watch her.  She was all up to date with her CPR and First Aid.  She graduated from the Early Childhood Education program at a Toronto College.  She had references from daycare, families and other related jobs and all the references came back stellar.  I even had a police background check done and it was clean.  I did my research and was thorough, she was the person.  It wasn’t long until we learned our lesson.

It started off fairly early that she was not showing up to work, or calling in sick.  Once she told me she couldn’t work on Monday because she “thought” her cousin was getting married.  Then we started to hear from our neighbours that there were people waiting outside for her throughout the day.  We had a discussion with her and told her that under NO circumstances was she to have anyone in our home.  She said she understood.  Next thing we noticed, food from our fridge was missing.  Not a little bit at a time, like cans of soup, tube of cookie dough, you name it, it started to go missing.  We started looking for daycare, because it was getting to be too much.  Then this (insert expletive) did something so atrocious that she will rot in a special place for what she did.  Hubby and I keep all our twoonies to put in the Princess’ piggy bank.  It goes towards her college fund and the Wednesday prior to this day, we had counted it and there was $100 in it.  Hubby suggested that we roll it and put it in the bank.  The next Monday, I came home from work and found numerous Tim Horton cups in our trash.  I remember she brought one when she arrived that morning, but there were three in the garbage and Hubby said he didn’t have any.  Then I went to the sink and found three bowls of Alphaghetti in there.  And none were of my daughter’s special children’s bowls.  Hubby said when he got home, there was someone waiting outside.  Hmm.  My spider senses were beginning to tingle.  I was going to call her that night to ask if she had anyone over.  But first, I had twoonies in my purse that I was going to put in her piggy bank.  Now I kept our laundry money, spare change jar and the Princess’ piggy bank in our bedroom with the door closed.  She was aware that our bedroom was off-limits and she was never to go in there.  So that night, when I went to put the change in the piggy bank, I lifted it up and much to my surprise, it was EMPTY!!!!  Oh I have never been so angry in my life!  I began frantically searching around my home for 50 twoonies.  Asked Hubby if he had taken them to the bank and he said ‘no’.  So I called her.  And this is how the conversation went.

“Hi (insert name).  Did you have someone over today?” I asked calmly.

“No.”

“Well Hubby said he saw your friend outside.”

“Yeah, they were waiting for me.”

“Well I found coffee cups in the garbage.”

“Oh, well they came up to use the bathroom.”

“Did they eat my food too?  I found bowls in the sink.” Rule number one for criminals, get rid of the evidence.

“Ummm.”

“Listen, the Princess’ piggy bank is empty.”

“I never went into your bedroom.”  Caught you!

“That’s funny, because I never told you that’s where the money was.”

Dead silence.

“Listen, you are fired and I’m calling the cops.  You stole money from a baby!  You are low.”

I called the cops and they came and took our statement.  I was assigned a detective and they tried numerous times to call her and go to her place of residence, however, because she lived in an apartment building, and she didn’t answer the buzzer, they couldn’t go in the building.  Robbed a baby and got away with it.  But I was offered this little tidbit of information.  Apparently, in Canada, if you have been arrested but never charged formally, these offenses never show up on your record and our dear sweet thief had been arrested TWICE for shoplifting and theft and ONCE for domestic abuse, but all charges were dropped.  So my background check did absolutely nothing to protect my child.  I did however, call her references and informed them of what she did and they were absolutely wrong to give such stellar ones when she was nothing but a thief.  I felt so guilty after that.  I left my child in the care of someone who robbed her.  Stole money that was to be for her education.  I felt like I made the worst decision of my life.

Soon after that, we found the daycare where we are at now.  It was close to home, reasonably priced and was professionally run.  That is not to say we were not without bumps in the road.  Three days after going into daycare, our Princess contracted Norwalk Virus, and had vicious diarrhea for 3 weeks.  She lost so much weight and her poor bum was so blistered that we had to put a steroid cream just to keep them from bleeding.   She was so miserable it was devastating.  The daycare fortunately refunded us 2 weeks of the cost, however, Hubby and I had to alternatively take days off work just to care for her.  I had literally just started a new job and was missing days out of the week.  I thought for sure I was going to be fired.  But I had no one else.  The daycare wouldn’t take her.  After she finally got over that, it was maybe a week before she got an ear infection that spread to her eyes, throat, sinus and lymph nodes and sent her into a fever that was so high I had to put her in bath of cold water.  She screamed bloody murder.  I put her on the couch naked to try to cool her down when she started to have a seizure.  Her eyes rolled back in her head, she started to shake uncontrollably and was gasping for breath.  I was frantic.  I have epilepsy, but to see it happening to your child is frightening.  She had 12 seizures that day.  She was rushed to the local Children’s Hospital where she spent days in and out of it for close to six months.  Any virus or germ or bacteria that was going around her daycare, she got it.  I never believed it when people told me that once you put them in daycare they get sick all the time, but they were right.  Her drastic change in health put a lot of strain on us emotionally, physically and financially.  I was starting to wonder if going back to work was the right thing to do.

She had lost so much weight and became so weak that she had troubling walking.  She would collapse for no reason, continued to have seizures any time she had a fever and we went for countless tests.  Seeing her hooked up to an EEG machine, with wires running off of her head was so heart breaking.  She went to visit a pediatric neurologist who gave us good news.  She wasn’t epileptic, although her chances of developing it later in life are increased.  He gave us pills that were to crush in her cheek if she had another one and to monitor all her fever’s closely.  Thank GOD she hasn’t had another one after that.  It took about a year in daycare before she was able to ward off any viruses.  But despite her not getting them, she brought them home to us.  Hubby never got tonsilitis until we put her in daycare.  But as soon as she went in, he was getting it every 2 months.  He could even tell before it hit that he was getting it.  Finally in January, after going to the doctors, he had his tonsils removed because the doctor said that his tonsils were basically working against him.   The surgeon said they were the size of meatballs they were so infected.

Now despite a tumultuous year and a half, there were great things about the daycare.  My Princess is a social butterfly and has so many friends.  We would have parents come up to us and say how much their children talk about her.  Kids would fight just to sit next to her.  Her daycare also had fashion shows, plays, puppet shows and field trips that has greatly enriched her life.  Just this week she was able to go to the African Lion Safari which is where you drive through a park of African animals and get to see them close up.  She got to see monkey’s and lions and loved how the monkey’s climbed on the car.  They provided her with life experiences and friends that she may not have gotten if I had stayed home.  I am not worried about her going to Kindergarten now because of how well she flourished in daycare.  I also know now that her immune system is stronger, she won’t be missing that much time at school.  I would recommend our daycare to anyone and if we have another child and I go back to work, we will definitely be using that one again.

What I Would Tell My Younger Self

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I was asked today, if I could go back in time, what would I tell my younger self.  I sat for a moment and thought to myself, what would I say?  Study harder in school? Save more money?  Don’t date douchebag because he was one?  I didn’t want to be too flippant with my answer and disingenuous, so I told them I would think about it and get back to them.  The question weighed on my mind for quite some time.  It wasn’t one of those philosophical questions that leaves you pondering the great “what if’s” of life but I could not shake the question from my mind.  And after a few hours I have finally come up with my answer.  Nothing.

Most people are probably like “yea right, who wouldn’t tell their younger self to take out stocks in Facebook?”  But I genuinely, whole-heartedly would say nothing.  I would give her a squeeze and go back to my time.  And my reasoning being is I have absolutely no regrets.  Again, I’m sure some people are rolling their eyes, but I have no regrets.  Please don’t confuse this with I haven’t done anything in my life that has caused regrets, because I assure you there is PLENTY.  I swear to the great ever-knowing being in the universe that I have screwed up royally many times in my life, some of which still make me cringe in either embarrassment or give me “What the hell were you thinking?” thoughts.  However I don’t regret those choices, decisions, actions, or accidents for the simple fact that I learned something from them.  It could be as simple as learning that it is not a good idea to drink an entire bottle of Tequila or trying to scream at the boat driver to slow down while you are slowly going underneath the water while tubing (both true stories).  I have dated boys that looking back now were the biggest wastes of time, but back then, oh my, were they “like the hottest thing ever!”  If I had not dated my fair share of jerks, I wouldn’t have learned what I will tolerate and what I won’t, that I am perfectly fine in my own imperfections and I was just fine without them.  And I wouldn’t have met Hubby, and without sounding pukishly sweet, is literally my other half.

My parents both enforced a strong urge to want to learn.  My mother was always quizzing us on trivial facts, history, geography and she read to us even as we became teens.  She was a key person in my life that helped develop my love of reading, writing and the English language.  Her and I would play rounds of Scrabble, and I’ll never forget the day that “the student passed the teacher” and I beat her for the first time.   My Dad also taught me a lot.  He wasn’t that great at school stuff, although he did do  my grade 8 science project on hydraulics that won me the science award.  But he was more about life.  He taught me how to drive, catch a fish, skin a deer (no joke, I was allowed to take time off school to go hunting.  I would be passed out in the truck while he hunted, but I didn’t have to go to school, so that was the upside), and it was actually him that told me “If you have learned something from it, don’t regret it.”  I have lived by that motto for my entire life.  And to my parents credit, I tested their every nerve and patience.  I was that kind of ‘teen’ that if you told them not to do it, I would go do it just out of spite.  Like when my Mom told me not to tell my Dad about my first tattoo, I went directly outside and showed him.  Or like when I went away to University and decided I was going to get a “Marilyn” piercing on Thursday and post in on MSN.  My sister called me the Wednesday before, and told me that Dad told her if I get my lip pierced, I’m not to come home.  So what did I do?  Got it done that afternoon and went home on Friday.  But I brought a friend because you can’t kill me if there are witnesses.

The Marilyn piercing has now grown over but I still have a scar from it, which my mom reminds me “I’ll have for life!” Oh well!

Point of the story is, I have lived a great life.  I have had some lulls, valleys, peaks and fiery pits of HELL, but it is my life.  So I guess I wouldn’t say anything to my younger self because every misstep, stumble, trip, wrong turn and flat-out fall on my face moments I experienced while growing up, led me to who I am today.  And I know this may sound a little bit conceited, but I like me, actually I think I’m pretty damn awesome.  I have people who love me, adore me, like me, dislike me, hate me and loathe me with the passion of a burning sun, but the only thing that really matters, is that I like me, and I do.  And for those haters out there, keep hating because you know I’m fabulous! LOL 😉

To the Future Generations, I’m Sorry

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I’m sorry to say, but when it comes to education, the future generations are screwed.  At least if it continues the way its going now.  If it’s not from tuition costs going through the roof, it is cut backs to teachers and programs.  In 2012, we are seeing an increase in tuition hikes, teachers bullying students, student protests, less and fewer jobs for university and college graduates, and a mounting debt load that most if not all cannot handle.  When I was growing up, my parents would always tell me that if I worked hard, studied and went to school, everything would be okay.  I don’t know if I can tell my daughter that.

In a Globe and Mail article, Rob Carrick wrote that compared to 1984, the young people today do have it harder financially.  In 1984, a year of tuition cost approximately $1000.  Now, we’re looking at $5,300 +.  Now had tuition had increased with the rate of inflation, it would only cost $2,028.  That is a $3,272 increase.  That doesn’t sound too bad, but once you factor in books, school fees, and cost of living, you would have to budget for $20,000 a year.  Now if that hasn’t taken your breath away, they are predicting that in 18 years, it will cost $43,000 a year in tuition.  A YEAR!  How in the world can any parent and child work and earn enough to pay that a year for education?  Looks like I’m going to start selling off organs on the black market.  I may not be able to see her walk up on stage holding her diploma because I’ve sold off my eyes, but my daughter will graduate debt free.

If the views of the future for young people in Canada isn’t dismal enough, the United States isn’t looking any better.  In a study done by Pew Research Centre,  41% of the public believe that compared to any other age group, the group of 18 – 34 are having the hardest times during the current recession.  Only 54% of young people aged 18 – 24 are employed, this being the lowest rate its been since 1948.  Most are now putting off getting married, having children and are taking jobs they didn’t want just to make ends meet.  More and more now, adult children are moving back in with their parents.  And their parents are in agreement with their predicament.  Before the recession, most parents believed that by age 22, their children should be financially independent.  Now, the common age is 25+.  Another side effect of the recession, no jobs for graduates.  So many, unable to save enough to pay for tuition, are taking student loans to pay for school, to secure their futures.  What a cruel joke.  Young people are trying to make a future for themselves, furthering their education, taking out loans thinking they would pay them off once they secured that dream job, only to have no jobs available to them.  So with no jobs to make ends meet, they go back to school for another profession, accumulating more debt and still no jobs available.  And student debt is the only debt that is not covered under bankruptcy.  Nick Keith, a 36-year-old culinary graduate, now has a $142, 000 debt and is living out of a van, living off of food banks and sleeping at truck stops.  Is this to be our children’s fate?

Some of you may have heard of the protests in Montreal.  There are students protesting tuition hikes and the government is trying to put laws through to stop the protests.  Now correct me if I am wrong, but right to assembly is a constitutional right.  Were universities not once a place of free thinking, a place where people could gather and discuss openly without judgement.  Now they are nothing more than a money grabbing corporation.  I sincerely hope that one day that the government will take the necessary steps so that knowledge doesn’t carry a price tag.

The Importance of Date Nights

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We always hear how couples divorce or split up after their children have left the proverbial nest and everyone is left wondering what happened.  How after 25 years could they not make it work?  Why did they wait until the kids left home?  Many of these divorced couples will say that after the kids are gone, they felt like they were living with strangers.

When I was about 6 months pregnant, I have to say I wondered how we would adjust to being parents after having a wonderful dating life.  We dated long distance for 2 years before we moved in together and our daughter was born 2 months after that.  We had 60 days to adjust to being a live-in couple.  I thought for sure that we would struggle to give up all that we had to be parents.  After all, we led rather carefree lives.  We did what we wanted, when we wanted, how we wanted and with whom.  How would a baby fit into the mix.  Clearly these thoughts at 6 months came a little late as there was no way of turning back but the anxiety was mounting.  Call it pre-baby jitters.  I told Hubby that I thought that we would struggle with being a couple with a child.  However, when the Princess arrived, the complete opposite happened.  We adjusted fantastically to being parents, but we also began to disconnect as a couple.  He worked full-time bringing home the bacon and I was up all day and night with a newborn.  Neither of us had the energy for each other.  We spent whatever free time, money and energy on Princess and doing “family” things, but never “couple” things.  There were the typical arguments “Do you know what happened in this house today?!?”  and “I have been working for the last 5 days, I’m too tired for this.”   Hey, arguments happen, we’ve all been frustrated, tired and at our very wits end, but we didn’t like what was happening between us.

We came up with a weekly “date night.”  We arranged that every Thursday, after Princess was snuggled into bed, we would do something nice for each other and alternate each we.  So one week I would do something nice for him and the next week, he’d do something for me.  It didn’t have to involve money.  We didn’t even have to go out.  But to take the time, to show some appreciation, care, and intimacy to one another helped lessen the tensions.  For example, he would run me a bubble bath and light a million candles.  The next week, if there was a hockey game on, I would make munchie foods like bruschetta, nachos and buy some beer and we would watch the game together and I even wore his favourite team’s hockey jersey.  He knows I love romance and I know he loves hockey.  We took what we knew of each other and used that to make each other feel special.  Eventually, these once a week date nights turned into more than once a week.  We both love to cook, so we would find recipes we liked and made them.  We still found time to be a family and a couple and it has spared the tension.

Now that our daughter is older and we feel more comfortable leaving her with friends a family, we have decided to go out once a month, alternating each month like each week to get more out of date night.  Last Saturday it was my turn to do something nice, so I took Hubby for an authentic seafood dinner.  I’m not partial to it myself, but he loves it.  I took him to Diana’s Oyster Bar & Grill.  I was even blown away by the freshness and deliciousness of the food.  It was so good that Hubby wants to go back.  I know that I am young and have only been in a relationship for 6 years, but I take it very seriously.  I truly want to us to grow old together and that requires work everyday.  While there is a lot more to being in a relationship than dates, but I think setting time for one another and keeping that connection will help more than hinder.