29 September 2010

Drew’s first haircut

This past weekend hubby and I got to witness another of Drew’s firsts. It was another dreary day in Ottawa so we decided to head to the mall for a little window shopping, lunch and a haircut at Melonheads. For those of you that are not familiar with Melonheads, it is a place that specializes in cutting children’s’ hair. Rather than sitting in barber chairs, kiddies can sit in an array of fun little trucks and vehicles. Being a “busy” little boy, we knew that Drew (and the hairdresser) would greatly benefit from the distraction of a steering wheel and so, exorbitant fees aside, we found ourselves laughing to the point of tears as Andrew happily sat in a propeller plane while a very patient hairdresser attempted to tidy up his bangs.

I still can’t believe we paid $25 for a mere trim but I guess the novelty and the photos were worth it. They included a few little keepsakes - a lock of his hair in a bag, a “my first haircut” certificate and photo. The hairdresser through it would be funny to spike Drew’s hair into a Mohawk, which we promptly combed back down the second we were out of the store. Baby or not, that will hopefully be the first and last time I’ll ever see him with a Mohawk…I cringe to think about future style choices as a teenager.

Lesson learned – it’s alright to pay for “firsts” but either Mom’s scissors or a regular barber will have to do for the next cut.

22 September 2010

We survived

Day two of daycare and I am happy to report that Andrew did fairly well yesterday. His daycare provider, Jackie, told me that he cried for a bit in the morning but he was a happy boy when I picked him up. He seems very comfortable with Jackie and was even reluctant to let her go to come back home with me…little bugger ; )

I thought I’d feel jealous seeing him snuggle another woman but it actually made me very happy and reassured that I made a good choice. In the end, as long as Drew is happy, healthy and well-loved, that’s all that matters. There is nothing wrong with having an additional mother-figure in his life; it’s just one extra person to love him and care for him. It’s also nice to know that I have another person (aside from hubby), to help figure things out as Drew grows.

I’m also pleased to report that I ended up keeping myself so busy yesterday, that I didn’t have any more time to cry or dwell on the fact that Drew wasn’t home. I took advantage of an empty house and made a good dent in my fall baking – four massive deep-dish apple pies to put in the freezer. Today I’ll be making some freezer meals and a big batch of low-fat banana muffins. I’ll be very happy for all the pre-made food once I return to work. I also have several girlfriends expecting little ones in the coming months, so I plan to give them some meals to take home and enjoy during those hectic first few days back from the hospital. It’s hard to believe that, this time last year, I was preparing a plethora of freezer meals in preparation for the arrival of my own little one – time flies.

Other plans for the day – cleaning the house and shopping for an anniversary gift for hubby. Tomorrow marks our 4
th year of married life…crazy! We will be heading for a small romantic getaway in Wakefield. I feel poorly about leaving Drew again, especially after his first few days at daycare, but Mom and Dad watch him often and he’s usually pretty happy with them; this will, however, be their first evening doing an overnight with him.

I best be off now to make the most of my time. Fingers crossed that Drew does well again today, I’m certainly feeling a bit better now that we survive day one.

21 September 2010

Good luck little one!

Today is Andrew’s first day with his daycare provider. Only an hour has passed since dropping him off and I’m feeling his absence in the house. Being a mother is like living with a piece of your heart outside of your body, when that piece is apart from you, you feel it all the more. I thought I’d be happy to have time to myself, I thought I was strong enough not to cry…man was I wrong.

I never knew how attached I was to my little boy until it came time to entrust his care to a stranger. To know that I will see my office walls more than my own child is a horrible thought. To think that he will be running to another woman for comfort on a daily basis is almost heartbreaking. It’s inevitable; we need my salary and I know, deep down, that I’m a working woman. However, I didn’t foresee myself feeling this emotional about returning to work. It’s difficult to loosen the cord after devoting an entire year of my life to one little individual. I guess it’s the unknown that scares me – the thought that I’m not sure how to be the same person I was before. I’m so used to being “Mom” now that I’m not sure how I’d reintegrate into “Jenn.”

As difficult as the transition seems, I’m sure I’ll find my own rhythm eventually. I have changed almost beyond recognition over the past year and, fact is, I’m not the same person I was before. I will now need to find a way to balance out my dual roles as both mother and career woman. I will have to strike a balance and learn not to exist solely as Mom. In a way, it is good that I will be among adults again; I need to regain a sense of self.

As for Andrew, he will have to learn that he cannot always be the centre of attention; he needs to learn social skills and gain confidence through interacting with others. It still pains me to know that we’ll be apart so much but I imagine it will make our moments together more precious. For all I ever laughed at my mother’s sadness or reluctance to see me grow up, I completely understand now. The old adage is true, children do change and grow up in the blink of an eye. That’s life - we’re always in a state of transition. What I failed to recognize, however, is that this evolution doesn’t just happen to the child, it also happens to the parent.

19 September 2010

Pumpkin Fun

This afternoon Drew, hubby and I decided to celebrate the impending arrival of Fall by visiting the Proulx Berry Farm for their annual Pumpkin Festival. It was too perfect a day to simply sit at home; days like this are for living!

Keeping in line with my own upbringing, every weekend we try to head out and do something special as a family. Some of my fondest memories of growing up involved day-trips with the family around Ottawa and the valley; it didn’t have to be anything expensive – a hike in the Gatineau hills, a picnic in Perth, a visit to the Rideau canal locks to watch the boats, etc. While Drew is a bit young yet to appreciate all our outings, he certainly seems to perk up anytime we head out and see something new.

Yesterday was Andrew’s first time in a petting barn and we were pleasantly surprised by how fascinated he was with the animals. In particular, he seemed to enjoy two over-friendly (over-hungry?) pigs; he kept giggling at them and was brave enough to reach his hands through the fence to try grabbing their snouts. Those piggy teeth looked a little too anxious for me, so we opted to let him pet a gentle old donkey instead. This is where parenting starts to become fun – being able to the see the world through his eyes and watching him react to new experiences. We really want to expose him to as much as we can and hopefully he will develop a sense for adventure and travel one day. There is no better way to learn about the world than being in it.

I look forward to many family outings in the future. With Andrew starting his transition into daycare tomorrow (sigh), we will savour these little moments together all the more.

18 September 2010

La famille ensemble

This evening was one for the family scrapbook! We attended a small family reunion of sorts in Gatineau where Andrew was fortunate enough to meet several third and fourth cousins, as well as two of his great-great-aunties (sisters of my maternal grandmother). Being that my own immediate family is so small, I treasure any opportunity to connect with relatives. It was fun to look at my son being passed around from person to person, thinking all the while that there is a little of piece of each person in him somewhere. Watching him with family feels amazing, like life comes full circle and I have played my role in continuing the line. It’s nice to know that long after we’re gone, there is piece of us that lives on in our children and, God willing, their own children. That is the wonderful thing about family, we owe a debt of gratitude and respect for those that came before us, otherwise we would not exist ourselves.

All seriousness aside, I also have to admit that I would never miss a family reunion based-solely on the fact that we eat very, very well at such events.
Nothing beats French-Canadian cuisine …all very low-fat, of course. I don’t think I’ve had baked beans since the since the last gathering about nine years ago. I am happy to report that Drew had a very successful indoctrination into some of the family recipes last evening; I’m not so happy to report, however, that his diaper change went as well this morning…

A toute ma famille, je t’aime tout simplement.

Fall greetings

Okay, so technically it’s still summer, but I’m finding myself in the autumn mood with our recent bout of chilly weather here in Ottawa. I also happen to be a huge fan of “all things Fall” and would readily sell my soul to have this type of climate and colour year round. There is something so cozy and comforting about Fall – apple picking, pumpkin patches, regional fairs, spooky wagon rides, thanksgiving, etc. It’s a time of year that simply makes me want to hold my family close and celebrate life. Heck, even the décor of my home is centered around fall colours…I’m a veritable addict.

The only damper on my spirit this season, is the looming fact that I only have one month left until I return to work. Four months ago I was eager to get back to the grind; now the thought of being away from Drew brings tears to my eyes and leaves me with a very heavy heart. It seems so unfair that I have to go back just as I’m starting to settle into motherhood and truly enjoy my time with Drew. I often feel like I wasted the first six months of his life because I spent them sad, frazzled or worried. It seems like time started flying the moment we moved into our new home, I got into my groove as a mother and Drew grew into a much happier (albeit still difficult) baby. Nothing could have prepared me for the onslaught of emotional and physical highs and lows that I experienced over the past 11 months; the key is to try to find the good in each step along the way and to savor those moments because children grow remarkably fast and soon, those little things you fretted over, merely become a small blip in time. I wish that I had the same wisdom or perspective eleven months ago that I now have, but I guess learning and growing is par for course in motherhood…babies aren’t the only ones that grow up.

All thoughts of daycare and growing up aside, we had a wonderful summer and I feel quite horrible for not posting more updates along the way. I have sat down to write at least a dozen times but couldn’t seem finish a single post. At this point, I’m hoping I still have readers out there!

I am happy to report that our first family vacation to the Thousand Islands was a complete success. I think even Drew enjoyed the distraction from his usual day-to-day routine; he was very well behaved and didn’t hold us back from seeing anything or eating relaxed dinners in restaurants. We were able to visit a winery, Boldt Castle and the village of Alexandria Bay – very cute little place but two nights is more than enough. The hotel, despite being a little rundown, worked out perfectly because it had two bedrooms; while Drew napped, hubby and I could sit of with a drink and watch the boats go by. On the way home, we stopped by Fort Wellington to indoctrinate Drew in early Canadian military history (we are fort junkies) and to take a few photos of our wee man riding atop cannons. All in all, it was a wonderful little getaway that we will look back on fondly and hopefully the first of many family vacations.

The rest of the summer was spent around town, visiting with friends and family, lots of BBQs, a wedding and generally just keeping busy. This fall we look forward to celebrating our 4-year wedding anniversary in Wakefield, Québec. It’s pretty much non-stop activities until I return to work, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.