Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Sara is So Cinnamon-Sweet (a word from our sponsors)

Hi friendly friends! I want to take a moment to introduce you to Sara, awesome-sauce sponsor of The Bird's Nest. Her blog, Cinnamon Bubbles, is full of personality and vibrancy - go check it out!

Hiya The Bird's Nest readers! I'm Sara and I'm the Evil Mastermind...I mean writer behind Cinnamon Bubbles. I'm 24 and I live in New Jersey with M & D & my giant furbaby, an Akita called The Intimidator (or Dator for short.) Trust me, he lives up to his name but he is a big sweetie. I am the other half of Sarah. (Sara & Sarah, imagine that. YES it does get confusing after a while.) and we've been together for a little over a month now. I'm a nerdy, geeky girl and I'm not afraid to show it. What about the blog, you ask? Cinnamon Bubbles is a lifestyle blog, that has been running for about ten years now. Of course, it went though a lot of transformations to get to where it is now and I really enjoy sharing a window into my life with the world. You meet so many fabulous people! (and some not-so-fabulous, just like anything else!) I'd love for you to come along and join me too! I don't bite....hard!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Manic Monday - Piercing bumps and Babies and Puppies

I call Mondays "Manic Mondays" because I plan to be ALL OVER THE MAP and bounce from tidbit to tidbit.

  • I got my nose pierced a few months ago, and now I totally have "the bump" beside the piercing. I accidentally yanked it about half out when wiping a runny nose a few weeks ago. After picking up some tea tree oil (which I was secretly just wanting a reason to buy for years), it seems to be improving. There will be no photo of the bump, and for that, you're welcome.
  • Baby Bird loves laying on a blanket outdoors and feeling the breeze. He smiles up a storm out there. 
How adorable is this piggy blanket! It was a hand-me-down which I fell in love with. 
  • Hubby and I were supposed to see the new Batman movie yesterday, but due to some illness we were out babysitting. So, K went with a friend (which I'm happy about - he totally deserves to go out without me and Bird but never does) while I went shopping with Bird.  I only half wanted to see the movie anyway, since such movies aren't really my thing.
  • Baby Bird got some new toys today! He didn't have much that is age-appropriate before 6 months. Does anyone listen to those age thingies on the boxes? I totally do, but I can't always understand the difference between why something is appropriate for 3+ months or 6+ months.
This little guy is Jacques the Peacock.
I have been obsessed with getting Jacques for Baby Bird for about a month now. Don't ask me why I NEEDED to buy him this toy, but I did.

A cute piano-thinger for Baby Bird
I wanted to get Baby Bird something for tummy time, because he is just so bored of everything else.
  • Funny story about Jacques the Peacock - I bought him, along with a Pepsi - at a department store yesterday. When the cashier rang it up, I wasn't really paying attention, but it sounded like she said $2.09. Jacques was a solid $22 toy, so I had no idea what happened and I wasn't thinking fast - like I said, wasn't paying attention. So I paid, left (thinking if it really didn't ring up, it would set off the theft sensors at the door, which is didn't), and looked at the receipt only to find that the peacock didn't scan. Why she didn't catch her error, I have no idea. I pondered for a few minutes - I got out free and clear with a free toy, through no fault of my own. Do we keep it and say nothing? So I texted my sister-in-law with a "What would you do?". As soon as I hit send, it struck me that if I even had to ask what I should do, then I should clearly take it back and pay. So I did - otherwise I'd have felt terrible.
  • K and I took Baby Bird to church yesterday - an Anglican parish in our neighbourhood. We aren't really church-going folks, but Baby Bird needs to be baptized, and I also believe he should be raised going to church so that he learns about the faith he will be raised in, and later on in life he can decide for himself whether church is for him (or synagogue, or temple, or whatever he chooses). We went to the 8:30am service, and apparently that is the "sedate" service (otherwise known as the senior's service, judging by the other parishioners in attendance). We were welcomed warmly and I plan to return.
  • Baby Bird met a puppy on Friday! The puppy is a Golden Retriever - Nova Scotia Duck Toller mix, and he belongs to my friend Erin.
Baby Bird with Brooks

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Sunday Social Link-Up

Sunday Social

I'm participating in Ashley's and Neely's Sunday Social link-up, and guess what? It's my first EVER link-up! How exciting!

1. What is your dream job?

I want to be a career counselor, and my ultimate goal is to have my own business doing just that. I start my post-graduate college program in September (Squeeeeee....so nervous/excited!)

2. If you had just won the lottery and didn't need to work for money, what would you do with your time?

I'd spend oodles of time with my family, volunteer as a career counsellor part-time, travel, decorate and re-decorate, and generally be completely fabulous all of the time.
Trip to London 2009. If I won the lottery, I'd spend lots of time here.
3. When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

The first thing I remember actually really wanting to be was a pilot, and I didn't get that idea until Grade Six. It's the reason I joined Air Cadets, and actually, I did end up getting a private pilot's license. Ultimately, I decided that flying for a career would not be a wise choice because I was always just a little too nervous.

4. What piece career advice would you give to someone just starting out in your field?

Could this link-up BE any more perfect for me? I work in Human Resources, and I would tell anyone to be sure you are prepared to do your company's bidding when you get into this line of work. It's definitely difficult sometimes to tow the company line when it's against your personal values or opinion to take certain actions. This can include dismissing employees, giving or withholding bonuses/raises, and more.

5. Biggest Pet Peeves either in life or in blogging or at work

My biggest pet peeve in the entire world is one-sided friendship. These are the people who make sure that every interaction is all about them.

More typical pet peeves include people who can't figure out how three- and four-way stop intersections work (the one at the end of my street is particularly bad), and women with under groomed, over groomed, or poorly shaped eyebrows.

6. Biggest Fears

Since becoming a mother, my biggest fear is anything that could tear my family apart. Illness, death, or any other event. And of course the pinnacle of this is if anything were to happen to my Baby Bird.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Liebster Award

Tiffanie over at Life with the Little Man bestowed a blog award upon me! Hop on over and show her blog some love, folks; she is great.

What is the Liebster Award you might ask? Liebster means "dearest, beloved, or favorite" in German.  This award is awarded from one blogger to another as a way to give a shout-out, of sorts, to up and coming blogs of 200 or fewer followers.

When accepting the award, I am asked to:
  • Post 11 random facts about myself
  • Choose 11 deserving bloggers and tag them in my post.
  • Tell the chosen bloggers that I’ve tagged them.
  • Answer 11 questions the tagger has asked me, and give 11 questions to the people I’ve tagged. I'm not allowed to tag back the blogger who chose me

11 Random Facts about Moi:
My Baby Bird Tattoo

(1) I'm from a fishing village outside of Halifax, Nova Scotia, and I really didn't enjoy growing up there. I moved out as soon as I could.

(2)  I have two tattoos (one is memorial, another is for Baby Bird) and my nose pierced. 

(3)  I absolutely love McDonald's cheeseburgers, but I hate all other types of burgers, including homemade. Gross, I know, but I really enjoy the delicious grease. 

(4)  I started taking ballet lessons in January 2011, stopped in June, and will be returning in September. 

(5)  I used to play the piano and the clarinet. I say "used to" because I never make the time to do so anymore. 

(6)  I got my private pilot's license in 2003, but didn't continue flying due to the cost of renting planes. 

(7)  I was in Air Cadets as a teenager, and was terribly shy before I joined the program. Now I love public speaking (weird, right?).

(8)   I'm an only child - as a child, it didn't bother me at all, but as an adult, I wish I had a sibling. 

(9)  I love swimming and water sports. 

(10)  I have travelled to the United States, England, the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, and France. So far, London, England is my favourite city. 

(11)  I am absolutely terrified of death - funeral homes and all things funeral-related creep me out.

The 11 Questions that Tiffanie at Life with the Little Man has asked of her recipients:

(1.) Why did you start blogging? 
I'm always drafting written words in my mind, so blogging seemed like the perfect outlet for all that. I find blogging instead of keeping a personal journal helps me to frame everything in a more positive and constructive way, and if I just happen to help out someone else going through similar struggles, all the better.

(2.) Pop or Coke.... or just soda? 

(3.) Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 
I'd like to be a business owner and have two children in five years.
(4.) What state are you from? Do you like living there? 
I'm Canadian, and from Nova Scotia. I love Nova Scotia for so many reasons, but I'm starting to feel like I could use a change. K. is in the Royal Canadian Air Force, so forced change in surroundings is never too far in the future. If only I could transplant all my family and friends when the time comes to move.

(5.) Favorite song your digging right now?
 I really like Loveless by Said The Whale

(6.) What was your favorite vacation?
 So far, our whirlwind 48 hour trip to London, England to see U2 is my favourite. It was a surprise trip for me (K. is the best hubby ever. Believe that.), an incredible city, and the whole experience was amazing.

(7.) Are you a crafty person? 
No. I try from time to time, but something almost always goes poorly and looks sloppy.

(8.) What type of things do you blog about?
 I blog about my little boy and family, life as a mama, and do the occassional product review when the urge strikes.

(9.) Do you have any social media spots for your blog? 
I can be found on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest - all the links are over the right-hand side.

(10.) Do you prefer to read the book or wait for the movie? 
It depends. If I knew about the movie first, I like to watch it and then read the book (because the book is ALWAYS better, except in the case of Nicholas Sparks books). 

(11.) Favorite snack? 
I like all of the snacks. Nom nom nom.

11 Fabulous blogger to whom I'm passing along the Liebster award:

Ang @ Juggling Act
Lacey @ ...And They Call Me Mommy
Jennifer @ Grits and Moxie
Nadette @ Eat, Read, Rant!
Natasha @ Bridges Freeze First
Sarah @ A Cat-Like Curiosity 
Sinead @ Sinead in the Sun
Kendra @ Loose Leaf Dreams
Jess @ Jess and the Boys
Sami @ The Lotus Thrives Away
Caitlin @ The Little Mama

And finally, the 11 Questions you need to answer if you're receiving the Liebster Blog Award from me:

  1. What is your favourite blog post that you've written so far? Link it here.
  2. If you could re-live your high school years, would you?
  3. Sweet or salty foods?
  4. Did your family have pets when you were growing up?
  5. What is your number one can't-live-without item while travelling?
  6. Do you prefer to fly or drive when taking trips?
  7. What is the square root of 81? (Haha..the real question is do you like math?)
  8. When did you write your first blog post ever (even if it was a blog before this one)?
  9. Do you enjoy working out, or is it something you have to make yourself do?
  10. What is your favourite meal?
  11. Have you ever visited my home turf, Nova Scotia?

What Having a Baby Taught Me About Risk Taking

I was adamant that I would be a terrible mother. I had no experience with babies, no motherly instinct or inclination, and considered myself to be terribly selfish. I spent my pregnancy grieving the life I was leaving behind, and terrified of the role I was about to take on. I felt that bringing a child into this world was a huge risk, and one I was terrified to be taking.

When the baby came one glorious day in March, my entire world lit up. Motherhood is nothing if not demanding, but pays dividends. The risk I took to bring Baby Bird into the world was more than worth it. Even if it hadn't quite worked out perfectly (if Baby Bird had been born with an illness or disability), I certainly could never have regretted bringing him into the world.

The best risk-reward scenario I ever took
It seems that I get ideas of what I might want to do in life from time to time, and that when they don't happen, it's almost certainly because I am too scared to take the risk. This ranges from the simple:

"I would like to get my nose pierced, but no, I can't (can I?)"

..to the difficult:

"I would like to start my own business" (This is terrifying on so many levels).

So what is it, exactly, that being a mother has taught me about taking risks?

  • Taking risks is hard. Once you take the plunge, it can take a lot of time, loving care, and hard work.
  • If you put all of yourself into an endeavour, and you listen to that inner voice, you will not be disappointed in yourself.
  • The outcome can be wonderful and fulfilling beyond your wildest hopes and dreams
I still have to remind myself nearly constantly that, without risk, there can be little reward.

  • I'm taking a risk and returning to ballet classes. This is a low risk, but I'm afraid that I'll be the most out of shape and the largest person in the class. The plus is that I've been in the class before, I know how much I love it, and I know how little it matters what size/shape I am. Added bonus: I get to play the "I recently had a baby" card.
  • I'm taking a risk and starting a full-time college program in September. The risks are that it will take some financial finagling to make it work (already done), and that once graduated, I'll have trouble finding work in this field to gain experience. The payoff is that I will one step closer to doing something I am passionate about for a living, and one step closer to being able to own my own business.
  • I'm taking a risk by planning to be a business owner in the not-so-distant future. This is a high-risk endeavour, financially and personally. The payoff will be autonomy, doing something I am passionate about, and having a flexible working arrangement. 

Why not adapt this thinking to other situations to which we don't often attribute any degree of "risk"?

  • Living a healthy lifestyle - I put this on hold so often that I've recently come to understand I must interpret some kind of risk, or else why would I let myself down so often? Risk - failing, or even scarier, SUCCEEDING. Sometimes we fear success simply because it means the unknown. This was the case with motherhood for me. I was terrified of losing my old status quo.
  • Living more generously - this is risky because there is a tendency to believe that I will give, give, give and never reap any reward. However, I have only to look at the wonderful people in my life - who are generous, kind, and always there for me - to know that I am already receiving the payback. 

Tell me about the biggest risk you've taken and how it worked out for you. What did you learn from taking risks in your life?

Thursday, July 26, 2012

It's Ok Thursday

Today is Neely and Amber's one-year-anniversary of It's Ok Thursdays! They have a fantastic giveaway going on for those who link up. I'm excited to participate for the first time in this link-up. Congrats, Amber and Neely!
Its Ok Thursdays

It's OK..

..to lay around in the bed with the baby most of the morning.

..to never make my bed

..to have eaten convenience foods every day for the last three weeks. I'm so looking forward to a good home-cooked meal.

..to wear my hair in a pony tail every day because if I don't, the baby will pull it. Side note: every morning I scoop up Baby Bird, completely forgetting my hair is not tied back, and spend the next two minutes trying to untangle hair from baby fingers while wincing.

..to go window shopping a few times a week but never actually buy anything, despite wanting all of the things.

..to drink decaf at night simply because you're dying for a cup of coffee just for the taste. K. would disagree - he thinks drinking the juice from burnt beans is a nasty habit.

..to have my pedicure half grown out but be too lazy to remove the rest of it properly

..to hand the baby to the husband as soon as his boots are off after work

..to have an unhealthy addiction to Goldfish honey grahams.

..to have baby fever again, even though that's virtually insane and SO NOT HAPPENING until Baby Bird is about three. So glad I know a few preggos so there will be new babes around in not too long.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

On Online Friendships

The internet is very much like the real world - a huge global network in which there are many tight-knit communities. Over the years, I've been fortunate enough to develop some amazing friendship online. These are the kind of friendships that let you be honest - wonderfully, terribly honest. It must be the initial anonymity that fosters this kind of frankness. You know you don't have to see the look in people's eyes if you shock, anger, or disappoint them with your honesty, and that eliminates the risk. Plus, online friends often don't know any of your family or friends, which keeps them objective (or totally biased because they have only your side....either way, it works). There is no pressure to meet for coffee regularly, and nobody gets offended if you don't buy a gift for their birthday.

One such group for me is from the message boards at Just Mommies. I joined in my pregnancy upon the insistence of a real-life friend, and soon I was posting each day in my Due Date Club, which is a group of women who were due to give birth in the same month as me. We spent nine months talking about our pregnancies and getting to know one another. Then, after the births of our babies, we turned into a "Playroom". We now have a Facebook group because it's just so much easier to update from a smartphone, and most of us have a baby in one hand and smartphone in the other. As a group, we have experienced a stillbirth, the untimely death of one of our own members, and family, personal and baby illnesses - but also shared our entire pregnancies, the joy of our births and now we are raising our children "together". There have been arguments and internet hugs alike. One thing is for sure, they are true friends. As a group, they likely know more about me than most of my real-life friends do. When I need to celebrate a triumph or cry on someone's shoulder, they are my first go-tos.

Do you participate in any particular communities online? Have you made hard and fast friendships online? How long have you been friends? I have one online friendship that is in its twelfth year already.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Sock Monkey Shenanigans

One of the things I really wanted to do for Baby Bird was make him something. Since I'm not in the least bit crafty, I thought one of these sew your own sock monkey kits from local company The Monkey Show would be perfect. The pieces are all pre-cut and sewn, and it comes with stuffing, button eyes, and needle and thread. After the monkey is brought to life by needle and thread, one can visit The Monkey Show website to register the monkey and create its profile.
The kit before I tackled the project
Unfortunately, I'm not the world's best seamstress, and the stretchy knit of the socks combined with my uneven stitching created a pretty sad looking monkey. I'm torn on whether I can even give this to Baby Bird without feeling completely ashamed. Oh well, I tried! I haven't registered this little forlorn fellow just yet.

Tell me about your last failed DIY in the comments below. 

And, after much consideration, I decided to go ahead and give it to Baby Bird. Every toy deserves the love of a little girl or boy.

Manic Monday Round-Up

In an effort to keep ourselves busy through K.'s hectic working month, Baby Bird and I have been traipsing all over the place.

  • Mondays, we attend a breastfeeding support group hosted by my birth doula, Amy (Embrace Doula). Baby Bird and I have been attending this group weekly since he was 5 weeks old. Spending time with likeminded mamas and their babies has been a great way to start my week.
  • Last Tuesday, we spent the day at my friend Michelle's home with her and her two beautiful children. Surprisingly, Baby Bird actually napped easily and was happy to have two toddlers up close and personal throughout the day. Michelle and I were pleased as punch to have each other as company for the day.
  • Wednesday, my father came to help out for the afternoon. He adores Baby Bird and was the nap-time salvation that day, as I could not get Baby Bird to sleep.
  • Thursday, I had a sushi lunch with long-time friend Jen. We had not gotten together since about 5 years ago - far too long if you ask me. I should have taken a photo of my spicy shrimp rolls, as they were mouth-wateringly delicious and the presentation was gorgeous.
  • Friday, (wracking my brain here. Totally have no idea what I did).
  • Saturday, I spent the day with a different longtime friend named Jenn. Baby Bird decided to grace us each with his very first and second sets of Angry Bird Eyes. I have to admit, those Angry Bird Eyes were just plain adorable.
  • Sunday, K., Baby Bird, and I went to get a professional family shoot done. Needless to say, I'm eager to get the sneak peak and final product.
Using all of his appendages to play with the toys.

On Thursday the 19th, Baby Bird turned 4 months old. I swear he was a helpless newborn just yesterday.  In the past month, he has:

  • Started giggling (this is by far the most adorable noise on the planet)
  • Starting screeching "just because".
  • Started the teething process with lots of drool and chewing
  • Given real hugs.
  • Making efforts to get his feet to his mouth (no success yet, but he is always holding those toes now)
  • Shown signs of perhaps being a lefty
  • Sprouted a bit more blonde fuzz on his noggin
We have a doctor's appointment coming up, so I'll publish his stats at that point. I suspect he's nearing 14lbs now - not bad for a baby who was 6 lbs 5 oz. at birth.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Impromtu Date Night

K. and I ended up having an impromptu date night at home last night.  Things have been wiggly-whack lately, so quality time alone together has been minimal. Baby Bird goes to bed early enough that we can claim a few hours almost every night, but due to crankiness and lack of effort, we haven't been doing anything but sit in front of our devices all night.

Last night we were in decent moods, and feeling a bit silly, so we baked a cake, watched some shows from last week's recorded goods (Have you seen Rookie Blue? It's Canadian, so not sure if my American friends have it on your networks, but it's a great cop show), and then watched Super 8 on Netflix.  All in all, a very successful, unplanned, date night.

Photo Credit: Liam @ Applehead Studio
From our wedding in June 2010. We're nothing if not goofballs and soul mates.

Favourite Baby Products - First Edition

Babies require an absolute TONNE of stuff. They're sneaky that way - all tiny and precious, invading your heart and your home, whether you like it or not. There are oodles of things that I passed on, such as bottle sterilizers, and still more things that I bought used because the value was much better. Regardless, here's a list of my favourite baby things right now.

The Infantino Music & Motion Activity Gym

Picture from infantino.com
I bought this used for $15 when Baby Bird was a month old, and he absolutely loves it. The monkey at the top spins and plays music when wound up. I've watched him have so many "firsts" on this play-gym. Then, when the spinning monkey broke, my husband called Infantino's customer service to request a new spinning monkey, which they promptly shipped. One day, a huge unexplained package delivery showed up, and it was a whole entire new play gym. I loves me some good customer service, and Infantino has it.

The Graco Lovin' Hug Swing

Photo from toysrus.ca

Baby Bird did not like the swing in the beginning, but now it is a trusted friend in our home. But the real win for this product was the customer service we received from Graco when the motor broke (it was probably my fault, I did something dumb). They shipped a new motor, free of charge, and we received it within a week of calling.  The swing can operate both on batteries and by plug (I highly recommend spending extra on a swing that can be plugged in), had 6 speeds, white noise, and a loop of classical songs and lullabies.

The Lulujo Ring Sling

Photo from lulujo.com

The ring sling is a new addition to my favourite products list. I bought it only about a week ago. Baby Bird LOVES sitting in the sling, facing out. It's perfect for shopping, as I can push a cart and carry bags without the extra burden of the infant car seat. We have several different baby carriers, but this is by far my favourite for ease of use and for being able to carry baby without sweating up a storm. Added bonuses: they are made in Atlantic Canada, and come in a variety of gorgeous colours and prints. Lulujo ships internationally.

The Bravado Nursing Bra

Photo from bravadodesigns.com

Nursing bras are often less than flattering, and the ones I bought before Baby Bird was born were no exception.  I had heard fantastic things about Bravado's line of nursing bras, and once I finally tracked them down locally, I was not disappointed. My Body Silk Seamless Nursing Bra is very comfortable, actually holds my substantial bust up where it's supposed to be, and comes in colours other than simply black, white, and beige. They have some prettier styles than this one, as well, but this one worked for my big milky boobs. It also came with rings to replace the nursing clips once Baby Bird weans, and I happen to think it will make a great comfortable bra when that day comes.

Tell me about the products that got you through the early days with your baby, or baby product companies that went above and beyond to replace a defective product.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A Gushy Moment

In the thick of the challenging times that have wrought chaos on my household this past week, Baby Bird will surprise me with one of these epic smiles.

And in that moment, all the crabbiness and chaos and horridness in the world can't keep my heart from melting instantly. Baby Bird's smile is my reboot button and the cure for anything that ails me. If by chance a giggle accompanies the smile, then I'm high on life for a while.

What does your little one do that makes it all worthwhile?

Monday, July 16, 2012

How to Cope with Bad Days as a Mama

When you are a parent, bad days are inevitable. I'm not very far into this parenting gig, but I've already learned a thing or two about how to cope with a bad day.

What do you mean by "bad day"?

Any day that you or your child feel off your game. Maybe you have a fussy baby, or baby is going through a growth spurt, or an ill child. Maybe you just woke up feeling short-tempered or sad. Maybe there are other things going on in your life that are affecting your ability to cope.

How can I get through the day?

The first thing to remember is that we all have bad days. Seriously. No parent on earth is immune to those difficult times, especially (I feel) in the first year of life when the child cannot tell you what the problem is.

By extension, this means that if you're close to someone who is a parent (whether it's your own mom, your best friend, or a neighbour), you can (and should) talk to them and they will understand what you are going through. Heck, that includes me. Shoot me an email if you ever need to vent. Your support network is one of the biggest strengths you can rely upon in hard time. Accept offers of help - even if you just need another adult in the house to distract you from how miserable a day you're really having. But of course, someone to watch the baby while you shower, or cook you some supper (because you probably didn't find time for either if it's a truly bad day) is welcome, too. Don't be afraid to ask for help, either. Often, help is available but not offered only because your friends and family may not know what you need.

Get out of the house. If you can pack up Cranky Kid and get out for a while, do it. I understand this gets exponentially harder as the child ages, but small babies tend to sleep in cars and magically feel better when they are out in public. You'll feel better for it, too.

Remember the golden maxim of parenting a baby: This too shall pass. No doubt you've learned by now that nothing stays static for long in the world of babies. They are constantly growing, changing, and passing through phases. Tomorrow will be better. Even if it's not, I promise the kid will not still be crying in a year.

Be kind to yourself. You are not a bad parent, nor are you weak for having a bad day. If you cry, it's okay. If everyone is alive and in one piece at the end of the day, you've done well. Have a glass of wine, or a piece of chocolate. Heck, have both. You've earned it.

Lately, I've been going through hard times with my Baby Bird and I've employed every single one of these tips. There has been daily crying, emails to friends and family, calls to friends and family, daily attempts to get out of the house, requests for help, acceptance of offered help. I have had to cut myself a whole lot of lea way. My house isn't getting cleaned until this phase is over, and I'm eating foods of convenience. I'll probably have a drink tonight.

Mamas, what are your tips for dealing with bad days?

...and I'm serious about emailing me if you're having a bad day and just need a sympathetic, non-judgemental day. I don't care if you're a stranger. I'll listen, promise.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Hey Real World, I No Like You

I saw way too much of the sad face this week
Since having Baby Bird, I have been living in this super-duper dream world where families spend all their time together and nobody has to work for a living and magically we just have everything we need. At six weeks postpartum, I got a dose of the real world when K. returned to work during one of Baby Bird's growth spurts. Coincidentally, a baby's crying peaks at six weeks. Those first few days at home alone with a crying, constantly nursing baby after having 24/7 help for six weeks was a huge shock to the system. But, of course as most mothers inevitably do, I persevered and came out the other side a fair amount stronger and more confident.

When Avery turned 3 months old, I felt like I was hitting my stride. I was a yummy-mommy, capable of being a nurturing mama and putting on my make-up on all in one graceful pirouette. But, as all mothers know, nothing in Baby Land ever remains a constant for long.

A few weeks ago, K. came home from work and announced that he would be working 10 hours a day, 6 days a week for most of July. I felt fairly grumpy about it because it meant I'd be on Baby Bird Bedtime Duty. I do not enjoy Baby Bird Bedtime Duty one little bit. Bedtime is mostly Daddy's job in the house, and this Mama tends to get a half-hour of "me-time" while Daddy settles Baby Bird to sleep. None the less, it wasn't the end of the world.

The Saturday prior to this new work schedule, Baby Bird was quite fussy. Sunday, he was even more fussy. On Monday, panic set in for this Mama as Baby Bird spend a full hour crying screaming inconsolably. Now, to this point in his life, there had been maybe one or two short crying jags that weren't easily sootheable, but generally Baby Bird is an easy-going, happy kid whose woes are easy to solve. This screaming jag was new to me. Nothing I did work. Even comfort nursing wasn't working. Pick up, put down, cuddle, shoosh, sing, swing, bounce, rock, and carry - none of it worked. To the doctor we went, where Baby Bird was prescribed some medication for acid reflux.

Tuesday - another screaming fit. Thank goodness for my sister-in-law who kept me company all afternoon.

Wednesday - another screaming fit. A call to the public health advisory line where I desperately asked if I should be taking Bird to the hospital. I was told that my family doctor would be sufficient, as long as he could be seen within 24 hours. We attend the walk-in where I am reassured that there is absolutely nothing wrong with Baby Bird aside from a nasty case of acid reflux. Further research tells me that teething can exacerbate reflux symptoms (he is drooling and chewing like crazy), and that reflux symptoms in infants tend to peak around 4 months of age. Bird will be 4 months old this week.

Thursday - a better day - no screaming until bedtime. The poor child cries himself to sleep on my lap as I feel completely helpless and terrible.

Friday - Another fussy day, but it does seem to be improving day by day.

Saturday - my poor husband has to work, and saddened by having no real weekend, I keep Bird and I very busy. He was a very happy Bird until bedtime, when inconsolability set in. It's about a million degrees in our house, so we decided that being able to sleep all night trumped the usual bedtime routine. We set out in search of air conditioner, but they were all sold out. We returned home with no way to cool the house and a screamy baby.

Sunday (Today) - K. is off. For whatever reason, I am a mental health mess today. Bird is fussier today than he had been the last few days, and I'm left wondering if the upcoming week of 12-hour days by myself will be a repeat of last week, where I cried each and every day. We are 1/3 of the way through Hell Month.

The Real World can really bite sometimes. I don't know how mothers whose spouses are away or single mamas do this? At least not in the infant stage. It takes a village to raise a child, but in North America we tend to try and fend for ourselves, and we expect others to do the same.


Anyone who has ever had a baby knows it sends shockwaves through your well-manicured life. You have this adorable little life set up for yourself - perhaps with a spouse and a little homestead (such as my self), and then along comes Baby changing everything (for the better).

I knew the shockwaves were coming. I knew nothing of babies before having my own, but I'd gleaned that (a) it ain't easy (b) they cry (c) your body will be forever changed and (d) you'll never sleep again.

The First Set of Shockwaves

I was a ridiculous bucket of nerves the whole way through my pregnancy. First off, we both decided to try and conceived Baby Bird in the same weekend. I did not expect that. In my well-intentioned mind, I *knew* it would take us at least three months to get pregnant. HA! So I spent the summer pregnant after having convinced myself that I'd have the summer to do all these cool last-summer-as-a-couple things (white-water rafting, anyone?).  Second, I had myself convinced that I'd have no maternal instinct, that I would definitely not be able to stand breastfeeding thereby disappointing my husband and in-laws. and that I'd definitely get postpartum depression. I thought there was no way I was going to bond with my child as soon as he was born and that any possible motherly deficiency would plaque me. I was convinced I'd struggle constantly.

The Second Set of Shockwaves

Life, changed forever by new life.
As soon as that Baby Bird was born, and as soon as I heard him cry, my heart grew infinite sizes. I love him so much I find myself tearing up on the regular. All the maternal instinct I'd considered myself devoid of came rushing in. All of my pre-conceived notions were crushed.

I surprise myself every day with how much of a grassroots Mama I am. I have become something of an advocate for breastfeeding, after spending my pregnancy convinced I wouldn't want to do it. I wear my baby in a ring-sling. I want nothing less than the best for Baby Bird.

There's another side to this shockwave business, too, though. My life has been upended - inostenibly for the better - but things don't feel normal just yet. I'm still acclimating to life with a tiny interloper, and it's not always rainbows and lollipops. As selfish as I spent the majority of my life being, it takes some time not to learn to put my son's needs before mine (that's automatic), but to learn how to put his needs before mine without mourning the loss of selfishness and still treating myself like I count. And where does K. fit into all of this? Well, I'm still learning how to be more than just Mama. I probably haven't been an excellent wife, and I'm going to have to take stock and make this a priority.

But, then, it's all going to be a learning curve, isn't it? I have a sneaking suspicious there is no 'normal' from here on out - just 'normal for now'.

I said I'd never mommy-blog

In my life, I've sworn up and down I'd never do many things, namely:

  • Get married
  • Have children
  • Breastfeed
  • Write a mommy blog
But as it turns out (to use a cliche not even a full post into this blog), life is what happens when you're busy making other plans.

My son, Baby Bird, was born to husband, K., and I in March 2012. My heart blossomed with love unimaginable to me. My life changed for the better. My mind gallops off into the sunset regularly, and I just need a place for all the prose I write in my head. Equally, I need a place to offload all of my doubts, misgivings, and fears about motherhood. 

So, welcome to my beautiful life here at the Bird's Nest, the mommy-blog I never imagined I'd want need to write.

A little about my family and I:

I'm a twenty-something Mama and Wife living in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. You can call me Kim. I work in human resources and am going back to school in September 2012 to specialize in Career Development. I can see myself owning my own business as a career counsellor in five years or so. My husband, K., is a twenty-something family man whose love, patience, and devotion to his family never fails to make me fall further in love. My baby son, who I call Baby Bird, is nearly four months old now, and he is the light of my life. We have two family cats, Marvin (the scrawny troublemaker) and Gretchen (the fat but stealthy black cat).