Archive for the ‘Nicole’ Category


So Many Helpful People!

September 18, 2009

Some of you may know that I have had trouble with breastfeeding in the last two weeks. Penny’s upper front teeth have finally broken through, and well… they’re rubbing me raw. She’s not biting me, and she doesn’t mean to hurt me. But over the last 8 months we’ve both become lazy with breastfeeding and her latch has suffered. When her latch suffers, I suffer!

I am not pain-free yet, but I’m making a great recovery, thanks to many people. All of the following ladies helped me with advice and suggestions on Twitter: @PeppermintPam, @zealandsmom, @BrookleenJ, @dsandbrand, @ckpwong, @bfmom, @DagmarBleasdale, @devaskyla, @AVeryGoodYear, and @fentonslee.

I also spoke to Melissa, aka Birth_Lactation by email. That lady is an utter fount of knowledge! She wished she had more suggestions for me, but didn’t have her books with her. But her list of suggestions was amazing! So many different positions to try that I had never heard of and never in my life would have thought of. Melissa and Melodie from Breastfeeding Moms Unite have an Ask an LC column they started recently. I definitely recommend reading the questions! Even better, subscribe to Breastfeeding Moms Unite and you’ll never miss a question.

This Wednesday, I got to be a Breastfeeding Demonstrator for a class of future maternity nurses. Well, what an opportunity that was! 2 other mothers and I got to speak to the class about our labour and delivery experiences, and how breastfeeding has been for us. We got to talk about problems we faced, the lack of support for breastfeeding, and so many other things. The message I wanted to pass to the class is that new moms in the maternity ward aren’t exactly in the best state of mind. Yes, sometimes you need to be forceful with them. But there is never a need to be a bully. I guarantee if you bully a new mom, that is one aspect of her experience that she will always remember – even if she doesn’t remember your name or what you bullied her about. Well, not only did I pass that on, I got to show the class exactly what it’s like to feed a newborn – with a few added pounds. With my painful nipple, and Penny’s poor latch, it was just like we were in the hospital when Penny was born. I needed to swaddle her nice and tight, like a little burrito. And I needed to put her up on top of a nursing pillow again. I haven’t used a nursing pillow since Penny was 6 weeks old.

And how did I go about getting the gig of demonstrating breastfeeding? My La Leche League leader (who facilitated my class to quit smoking last summer) asked for volunteers! She teaches the nursing class as well as everything else she does – quite the amazing woman really. Of course, being a LLL leader, she also gave me a few suggestions to help out with the bad latch thing.

All of these ladies were so helpful. For Fanfare Friday, I want to thank all of them! They encouraged and sympathized, cheered me on and calmed me down. I came so close to weaning Penny because a) the pain was so bad b) the pain wouldn’t stop even after a week. All of these ladies were tremendous in helping Penny and I continue our breastfeeding relationship. Thank you!


Thinking About Working

September 8, 2009

I’m not even going to touch on American moms returning to work. We know the situation is pretty bad for most of them – ranging from 6 weeks government-covered leave, up to maybe a year. But more likely about 12 weeks for most moms.

Here in Canada, we get a year. Yep, that’s right. 52 weeks. That’s 12 weeks of maternity leave that the mother gets pretty much no matter what. And 38 weeks of parental leave, which can be split between mom and dad to whatever degree they’d like. And 2 weeks is just an unpaid waiting period to start getting your EI payments. The pay is a maximum of 55% of your earnings (we won’t get into the nitty gritty details of working out how much you get). Unless you were self-employed. In that case you get squat.

I’m one of the lucky ones. I have a full year entitled to me, and since I was working a pretty decent job for the year before I got pregnant, it works out that I get about $1400 a month (no I’m not scared to say what I get – the government can’t fire me for breaching their confidence). That’s not a huge hardship to us, and I actually find I spend less money now than when I was working. OK, that’s not completely true – you darn Etsy shop owners and your cute diapers! Now I can go for days without even leaving the house, where before I ate out usually at least once a day.

So if I have it so good and I enjoy my time at home with Penny, why on earth am I job hunting?

Nevermind the idea of leaving her – we’re moving to the other end of the city at the end of November. How would childcare work if I found a job now? Would I look for something close to where we are now that I could use for 2 or 3 months? Or do I look for something permanent close to our new home and have to drive there EVERY morning until we move?

Returning to work is an issue that I haven’t wanted to touch with a 50 foot pole AND a hazmat suit. I don’t know what I want to do. First of all, I don’t have a job to go back to. I left my secure job when I was 5 months pregnant, and worked a temporary contract job for 4 months. I could go back to the same industry, but when we’re talking about an industry like newspapers, there’s only so many places you can go in any given city. I thought about starting my own business doing marketing products, mostly for real estate agents to advertise their listings and services. But I don’t have any money saved for that (and have I mentioned we’re building a new house?) and I don’t know how to go about getting funding. I thought about just doing my graphics work (see the links in my right hand bar for that), but I can’t see myself doing $1400 worth of graphics work every month, and we need AT LEAST that to be able to survive in our new house. So that leaves a job. Like a leave-the-house, someone-else-takes-care-of-Penny kind of job. So, do I look for a ‘real’ job where I make the kind of money I was before I got pregnant, generally a 9 to 5 kind of office-y job? Or I thought about a part time job where I’d have some flexibility in my scheduling. But if I go that route, chances are I’d be making like $10 an hour. I even considered childcare or house cleaning. But honestly, if I can’t be bothered to keep my own house clean, who in their right mind would pay me to clean theirs? As for childcare, it’s a possibility, but not a very strong one. I could see myself looking after one other child. But I don’t have any sort of accreditation or training. In this day and age, people just don’t willy-nilly hand over their kid to someone with no experience.

Well, out of all of that, I found a job posting last night. It’s the best of all worlds – partly the graphics I want to do, partly dealing with real estate. So I applied. I redid my resume, I wrote a whole new cover letter. I’m enthusiastic about the job and what it entails. I’m thrilled that the employer will consider somewhat of a flexible schedule – after all, real estate is not a 9 to 5 industry. I got advice from you, my friends. And I applied. It sounds like the money would be good. I think the employer would be great – as befitting a top realtor in the city.

I’m not going to think about the childcare issue until I get an interview and get offered the job. Same thing – I’m not going to think about the breastfeeding thing until I know either. I would feel comfortable weaning Penny during the day and still nursing in the morning, evening and overnight. But does she need to be given formula with her meals during the day then? I don’t want to give her formula, so then I’d need to look at renting a pump again. Then I’d have to deal with the pumping at work thing. So I’m just not sure about some things.

But in the end, I am really hopeful about this job. It would be a wonderful opportunity for me, and I can totally do everything they’re asking. So cross your fingers, wish me luck, and of course – leave me any childcare or pumping at work advice!



August 2, 2009

I’m feeling very sentimental tonight, and I can only attribute the feeling to a story my Nana told Court tonight.

In the aftermath of a divorce, as a child I lived with my dad. My mom learned fairly early that even though she wanted children, she just didn’t have that mothering instinct. I went to my Nana’s house every Sunday and got to see my mom then. Then when I was 9, my mom was supposed to pick me up from Nana’s house one Sunday so my dad could go on a week-long business trip. By dinner time she hadn’t showed up. By bedtime, she wasn’t there. My Nana and Grampy were getting worried. No one had heard from her. My two uncles and step-dad drove around looking for her. I could feel everyone’s anxiety, and coupled with being up past my bedtime, I started panicking. My Grampy slapped me. It’s the only time it ever happened, and I know it was in his own fear the he lost control in that way.

Finally, I was sent to bed. But my mom never came. She was found the next day, at the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary. Her car was locked and they had to smash the window to get in. It was too late though. She had overdosed.

My family told me it was accidental, that she was probably crying when she took her medication and couldn’t see how many she took. She had broken her foot the week before, so she had painkillers for that. She has sleeping pills. She had anti-depressants. She had medication for a heart condition. And she had taken too many of all of them. I may have been 9 years old, but I wasn’t stupid. My mom committed suicide on May 22, 1990.

I was in pain. When I got older, I could look back and see the signs. I thankfully got to spend Mother’s Day with her the week before. I was in Girl Guides, and they had organized a Mother’s Day Picnic in Fish Creek Park. I remember giving Mommy a mug and a tape we had made at school with Mr. Sebastien. And she had “the talk” with me. And a week later, she was gone.

I spent a week at home from school. When I went back, I remember Mrs. Sebastien (I had a husband/wife teacher team in grade 3) hugging me in front of the whole class and telling them… I’m not sure what. I think she told them my mom had died, but I don’t recall now. I remember just leaning against her in a sort of daze. I think I cried a bit.

As much pain as I was in, I was only 9. I didn’t completely understand yet. As I aged and started really comprehending that she was gone, I just passed it off that it had happened so long ago. Even as a teenager, I sloughed it off. It wasn’t until I met Court that I started really missing her. Then Court proposed, and I really started realizing that my Mommy wouldn’t be there at my wedding. We took her photo to the reception with us and set it up on the head table so she could be there too. Then I got pregnant, and my heart wrenched that my Mommy wouldn’t be there to tell me about pregnancy woes and blessings, and wouldn’t be at the hospital when I was in labour. She wouldn’t get to see the little girl who has become the center of my life.

It has been 19 years since my mom died. I don’t think of her very often, but when I do, it hurts when I think of how much she has missed.

Tonight we went to my Nana’s house to play yahtzee with her. My mom used to play yahtzee with her. They used to play all the time, for a penny a point. I don’t remember playing with them very often because I’m pretty sure I slowed them down. I do know that since my mom died, I’ve been playing yahtzee in her place. My Nana told us tonight that I started playing yahtzee with her the week after my mom died. We were coming home from the cemetery. No one was talking. We were all still deeply hurting. She said she heard this little voice speak up and say “Nana, do you want to play yahtzee with me?” She said she could have stopped the car and hugged me.

So we come home from visiting tonight, and I sit here feeling quite maudlin and remembering bits and pieces of my life. I wish I had wine, because wine and memories go together very well. Instead I will hold my husband a little closer, and when Penny wakes up for her mid-night feeding I’ll snuggle her a little closer and enjoy the smell of her hair. I will be less annoyed at being awake in the middle of the night. I will just enjoy my time with my little family.

And every once in a while I will think about Mommy Marsha and wish that she were here to enjoy my little family too.


Me Time – It’s All The Rage

July 29, 2009

I don’t get any Me Time. Why is that?

I am not overly controlling when it comes to Penny. I’ve accepted that Court puts her diapers on differently than I do. I know when he changes her clothes, chances are they won’t be a matching outfit. I know his version of “getting up with Penny on the weekend” entails Penny falling back asleep in her bouncer chair while Daddy plays Wii. And I know that when he feeds her, not one drop hits her bib, and the dishes are empty when they’re done. I’m ok with all of that, because I know to stress out about any of it will just drain me more than I already am drained. I do admit though, I let him swaddle her to go to sleep, and I let him do it his way. But after 3 or 4 attempts where she just won’t go to sleep, I’ll go and swaddle her my way. It works – most of the time.

I don’t have too much of an issue leaving Penny with babysitters either (babysitters being Nana and Grampa or her other Grandpa or Grandma). I don’t feel the need to leave them with 600 instructions, although I might leave a few. I’ll point out if she has a diaper rash, or let them know where the food is. I don’t try to tell them how to feed her. I don’t panic when we come home while she’s eating and – heaven forbid – doesn’t have a bib on. They’ve all done this before. Court and I both survived, so that has to stand for something.

So if Court can handle being alone with Penny, why don’t I get any Me Time. And if we can handle leaving Penny with grandparents, why don’t we get any Us Time?

I know why I don’t get any Me Time. But I don’t understand why. Why is it that I feel like I need to be SuperMom? I have this obsession with proving to everyone (who everyone is, I’m not sure) that I can do it. I can hack being a parent. I can take Penny and do groceries without any help. I can do all the running around that needs to get done. I can do the housework… oh who am I kidding? I don’t do housework. I do some laundry – when it gets hard to climb Mount Laundrynus to get into the bedroom, or when the lack of clean underthings becomes an issue. But why do I need to prove this to everyone? No one has ever said anything to me to the contrary. I’ve never felt awash by someone’s doubt that I can be a good mom.

Because I need to be SuperMom – I need to carry Penny in my mei tai, and have 16 grocery bags on my arm, and the dog on the leash, and that 20-foot high ball of laundry from the commercial is chasing me down – I don’t get Me Time.

I want to go swimming, just for something to do. Actually it’s one of very few things that I can envision myself doing sans baby or husband. I honestly don’t know what else I would do without them. Maybe I’d consider taking some classes at the University and start on a degree in HR. It’s hard to justify that though when the classes are in the $400 range EACH and you need like 30 of them for the degree. We’re building a house right now, people! $400 is 1/3 of a mortgage payment! The only other thing I could see myself doing alone is shopping. Ah, Retail Therapy. Nothing can beat spending money, especially on wants, not needs. Although if it’s needs we need, then by all means therapy away! But then again, we’re building a house here, people! Hmm, not so much retail therapy then.

Going for a walk by myself is not a Me Time option. I feel bad because the dog could be walking with me. If I take the dog, Court feels guilty for not taking her for a walk, and then he has to come too. And if the dog and Court come with me, well… Penny has to come too. Strange how that works.

I know I need Me Time. And after 6 months of not having any Me Time, I sort of need it desperately. I just don’t know how to get it or what to do with it when I do have it.


Body After Baby – Week #2

July 20, 2009

Week #1 Review

Oh crap. I suck in the motivation department. Last week, I made goals of:

  • Eating breakfast every day
  • Walking the dog every day
  • Doing a 10-minute workout
  • Doing a Wii cardio workout 3 times

And I can happily say that I got tons of footrubs last week! Meaning… not so much of what was on my goal list. I ate breakfast most days, usually a bowl of Cheerios. I missed a couple of days though. I think the problem I have with breakfast right now is that I don’t get up until about 10am, and by the time I feed Penny and pour coffee into me, and decide I’m actually hungry – it’s lunch time.

We – as in Court, Penny, Hershey and myself – went for a walk around the block the other night. But that was it in the walking department. In my defense, 30 degrees Celsius is NOT conducive to walking outside until the sun goes down. And by then I’m so tired I can’t be bothered to move. I also blame this partly on Court. Of course, none of it has to do with me! (Yes, I’m not stupid. I know it’s all me. Stop making excuses.) But Court has plantar fasciitis (sp?). He was supposed to see the PT on Thursday, but they were sick, and he’s rescheduled in for tomorrow. His feet have been absolutely killing him. It’s really hard to get all of us up for a walk, when I know walking hurts him. But last night he soaked his feet in a big tub of hot water, and said it helped a bit. And he goes to the PT tomorrow. So hopefully we’ll get our family walks in here pretty quick.

I tried the workout. Once. And I couldn’t do 8 burpees. But I did the rest! And wasn’t gasping for breath like Court does (give him a break, he’s asthmatic). It seemed simple enough to do. But I think I need to do it when Court’s not around. He’s ok doing it (and did do it almost every night), but I feel like an idiot flopping around trying to do things like burpees. Don’t know what a burpee is? Click here. If a 10-minute workout sounds good, hope over to’s YouTube Videos for his many 10-minute workouts.

And did I do my cardio workouts on the Wii? Well, yes. Once. It’s Gold Gym’s Cardio Workout for anyone who was wondering. Mostly you shape box. While rocking back and forth from one foot to the other. It’s actually the rocking that keeps your heart rate up, and boy is it hard to do! Especially with the speed they have it at.

So for Week #1’s review, no I didn’t meet my goals. I didn’t even come close. BUT…it is definitely better than I was doing before we started.

Week #2 Goals

I’m going to continue with last week’s goals, mostly. But I’m going to work on getting up earlier so I can make eating breakfast at breakfast-time my goal. So this week, I want to get up by 9:00 every day (weekends don’t count), and eat breakfast within a half hour of getting up. I still want to walk the dog every day, but I’m going to try to do it in the morning. I’m still going to try to do my 10-minute workout every day, but I’m going to check some of’s other videos because he has some aimed at abs. And this baby-tummy needs work. And… I’m still going to do the cardio 3 times.

I am off to a good start for this week. I bought breakfast (a bagel from Tim Hortons… it’s still breakfast!), but didn’t get a chance to eat it until about 12:30. And I took Penny and Hershey for an almost hour long walk at the off leash park. Hershey got to run off leash for the first time, which let me focus on walking and making it count. And I learned that 10-11am during the week is a great time to go to the off leash park! I’m going to finish posting this, and do my 10-minute thing, and I think I’ll even turn the cardio workout on until Penny wakes up (which should be anytime now).

For the record, I didn’t lose any weight, and I didn’t gain any weight. But this afternoon, I feel good!


Help with starting solids

July 14, 2009

Penny has been (almost) exclusively breastfed for the last 6 months. I started dabbling with solids (ie. purées) about a month ago. And we’re still dabbling.

Breastfeeding is the easiest way to feed her! I don’t want to give that up – not the breastfeeding part, the easy part. Now I have to mix pablum, and heat puréed foods. It was so much simpler just to lay down with her on the bed and let her glug away for 20 minutes or so. Plus, it was time for us together. I can’t even read while she nurses – she knows and does nasty things like biting me.

I love breastfeeding her and I’m not going to give that up yet. But mostly, I just don’t know how to feed her solids. It’s one of those things that I don’t just instinctively know, and I haven’t been able to find much information on.

Mmmmm sweet potato!

Mmmmm sweet potato!

Yes, at 6 months you should start solids. You should start pablum (rice cereal). You move on to puréed foods like single vegetables (sweet potatoes come to mind). You should progress to lumpy foods next, and small cut up food after that (once they master the pincer). And all of this assumes you’re not going to foray into baby-led solids.

But I don’t know how to integrate solids into our routine. I would really love to find a guide that says for the first week, do this, then add this for the next week. I know everything is going to be guidelines, and you don’t have to follow what doesn’t work for you. But SOME direction would be nice.

Currently, I’m trying to make it part of our routine to feed Penny a breakfast of 1 tbsp of pablum mixed with about a third of a jar of sweet potato purée, plus a few spoonfuls of apples and raspberries for dessert. But on days when she slept through most of the night, she wakes up STARVING. I grab her and latch her on for a quick, easy breakfast. Then we all got sick and I went back to just breastfeeding for ease and hydration. I’m trying to get back to our breakfast routine, but every day is different. One day she gets breakfast and no other solids. One day she doesn’t get breakfast but eats solids 2 other times.

So, ignoring the fact that I am interested in baby-led solids and incorporate that to some degree, does anyone have any information to help me establish a solid food routine for a 6 month old?

Penny eating cucumber - theoretically good for teething with its coolness and anti-puffiness when used on eyes

Penny eating cucumber - theoretically good for teething with its coolness and anti-puffiness when used on eyes


Never Good Enough

July 14, 2009

Have you ever had one of those days? One of those days called Mon-day? Or how about Mon-day the 13th? AKA a bad day… (for the record, I don’t believe 13 is an unlucky number, and I don’t think black cats are bad luck – I had 2… at the same time…)

I’m having one of those days. Nothing happened that was particularly bad, or should make me grumpy, but there it is – I am. The phone woke me up, but it was 10:30 so I can’t complain. The optician’s office – where I was going to take Penny to get her glasses adjusted this morning anyway, so I didn’t answer it. Ended up not taking her, but that’s life.

About 10.2 seconds after I got back into bed, the phone rang again. My dad, with information about step-by-step instructions for feeding Penny solid foods. I’ll get into that in another post, since it’s something I want more information on.

The cable/TV/phone provider was scheduled to come between 12 and 5 because my internet connection keeps going up and down. When they checked from their end, they said yup, my modem is shot. Tech came last Friday, replaced some amplifier part and left. It didn’t fix the problem, so we rescheduled for this afternoon. This tech came and basically said he couldn’t do anything because of the thunderstorm we had. They’re going to run a brand new line from the pole out in the alley, separate from our neighbours because we’re in a duplex, but a different department needs to call and schedule that with me.

A couple of times in the last few days I’ve seen people reacting rather quickly and to be honest, a little rudely. Happened again this afternoon. It hasn’t affected me directly, but just watching the exchanges between other people riles me up sometimes. I want to remind people about the immediacy and permanency of everything you say on social networking sites. The old adage comes to mind “Think before you speak.”

But more than all of this, I repeatedly find myself wondering if I’m good enough. Am I a good enough mom and parent, a good enough wife? I recently applied for a job and asked for a certain amount for compensation. And I’ve spent the last 2 days wondering if I’m good enough to make that amount of money. I’m constantly wondering “Am I good enough”, and in my mind, I’m not. Last week I said “You know when you were a JR in HS and think the SRs are so smart and cool? That’s how I feel about some of the moms on here.” I read what these moms have to say, and I feel like I can’t even begin to approach the league they are in. They use language that is well beyond the average grade 6 level. So even when I am interested in something they have to say, I read it and I feel like I understand maybe every 3rd word. I feel like I am playing pretend at being a parent when you put me beside one of them. They just know everything, and I can’t hope to have the knowledge even after 50 years of being a mother.

There’s more too. I realize my family thinks they know everything, and I of course, know nothing. So they give me “advice” and I’m expected to follow it. Like being told months ago that my siblings were only breastfed till they were 9 months because babies shouldn’t be breastfed any longer than that. Well, Penny’s 6 months old. So I’m pretty sure in another 2 or 3 months I’ll start getting pressured to wean. And I don’t want to. I want to be strong enough to stand up to what they say to me, but for some damn reason I feel like I’m not good enough for them if I don’t do what they say. I don’t know why what they think means so much to me, and why I’m always seeking approval from them. But it’s approval I never get, and has left me in tears on many, many occasions. Things like being told I shouldn’t work from home because Penny needs to be socialized so she doesn’t end up anti-social like her parents. Then I go to a play date, and get asked well why would I do that? I’ll be honest. I would really like to spend time with my family, but when we do I feel like I never live up to any of their expectations, and that they have to go out of their way to accommodate us visiting. So rather than willingly spending time with them, I force us to visit so that they can have time with Penny. I put up with the criticism and snide remarks, then go home either fuming or crying.

What else? Right, I’m not a good enough blogger. One of the magazines I read is looking for mommy bloggers to blog for them. I’d love to do that! But seriously? What do I have to say that’s interesting to anyone else? I’m a new mom, but I’m doing the same thing every other mom is right now. I don’t have any particular bits of wisdom to impart (refer to the pretend-mom paragraph above). I’m not a reviewer (I thought was the greatest blog ever, and then I found out there’s about 672 other review/giveaway blogs out there). But I SO wish that I had something to say that people wanted to listen to. Something that brought people to my blog regularly, and could start discussions, and could make people think.

Oh, and one last thing? Why do I feel like being a breastfeeding mom has to go hand-in-hand with co-sleeping and babywearing and attachment parenting and cloth diapering and eco-consciousness? Can’t you do one without being expected to do all the others?

So yeah, that’s how my day is going. How about yours?