why I don’t want Magnus to sleep through the night

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Almost every mom or dad I know has one goal, to get their baby to sleep through the night.  And at one time I did too.  When Johannes was little, this was my goal.  I couldn’t wait for him to sleep through the night so I could rest.

But things are different now.  Being a mom of a four year old taught me just how fast time passes.

With Magnus I’m not in a hurry to have him sleep without interruptions.  At night he wakes up and wants to nurse.  I hear him cry, I rub my eyes awake, pull up my hair, and tiptoe down the hall to his room.  I pick him up and sit down in the old chair in his room.  He nurses quietly but quickly.  When he’s done, he pulls off, lays his head down on the nursing pillow and snuggles into me.  I let him stay like this a few minutes before giving his little cheeks kisses and putting him back in his crib.  They are fleeting moments these night nursings.

Tonight when Magnus cried out for me earlier than usual I thought about him sleeping through the night, and though the sleep would be nice after all, I have a choice to make.  And I choose to get up every night, sleepy and only half awake.  Make my way down the hall to his tiny room and cuddle him like he needs to be cuddled.  There are worst things in life than being wanted by your kids.

Asking For Help

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Early Thursday morning I woke up feeling different.  The pain in my stomach quickly turned into nausea, and the slight chill I had been feeling evolved into a full blown fever.  I had the stomach flu.  At 32 years old, I experienced my first ever stomach flu, and it was awful.

At 4:30am Magnus woke up to eat and it took everything in me to get through that nursing session without vomiting.  I was ill.  Brutally ill.  I quickly told Michael that I suspected I had food poisoning and asked him to stay home to help me.  I made a half attempt to message my coworkers and let them know I wouldn’t be available that day, and proceeded to get through the next 10 hours in a state of constant sleep interrupted only by trips to the toilet.

Did I mention it was bad?

Somehow I managed to nurse Magnus during the day but I don’t remember it much.  By 1pm I was feeling well enough to call my mom and ask her to come over and help me pack Johannes’ clothes for his trip, and also to have him sleep at my parents’ house on the chance that the next day I wouldn’t be fit to drive him.

I asked for help. I reached out.  It was the best decision I made.

Mom’s often don’t ask for help enough.  As thought its a badge of honour to trudge through life battling the impossible and making it out with battle scars to prove just how worthy we are at motherhood.  I fell into the same traps when I had Johannes, but I’ve learned.  Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness, its a sign of having an amazing support system around me. Its a sign that I care enough to take care of myself so that I can be the best mother I can be to my children.  Its also a way to show these boys that its ok to be vulnerable, to ask for help and to receive it when the time comes.

I thought of all this last week, as I lay in bed, wishing I hadn’t eaten that leftover piece of salmon from the fridge.  We are not alone, us moms, and we don’t have to do it ALL on our own.

**the photos are completely unrelated to my experience, just some bits and pieces of my life this week that I want to remember just so.**

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S E V E N

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on him: Hux baby X tee and Alphabet leggings found here

Magnus turned seven months the other day.  He’s becoming such a big boy and really trying to keep up with his big brother.  Everyone tells you that time goes by even faster with a second, or third baby, but its hard to imagine until it happens to you.  I feel as though he’s changing in the blink of an eye.  Unlike when Johannes got older though, this time I’m prepared, and genuinely excited.  I love what’s to come, and can’t wait to see how Magnus changes, the funny things he will do and say, and getting to see him take his very first steps.

Sweet Magnus is big but gentle.  You wouldn’t know that he’s overtired, EVER, because when he is tired he simply gets a little quieter and gigglier.  He loves to nurse, especially at night, and I’m completely ok with waking up to do this, I almost cherish those moments.  Magnus now gets up on all fours, and has discovered that if he wants to get somewhere he can.  Be it through wiggles, or lunges, or rolls, he is mobile, and crawling is just around the corner.

There are no signs of teeth yet, but that doesn’t stop him from eating or chewing.  What started off as a reluctant love affair with food, has now evolved into a true love.  There is no food that he has tasted yet which he doesn’t love, and unlike how I was when Johannes was a baby, I am much less cautious this time around.  If Magnus wants to try it I let him, be it chunks of bread or strawberries or bites of banana, I’m kind of all for it.

My car rides are a bit noisier now.  Johannes has found an audience in his little brother and so the silliness is at an all-time-high.  Magnus in turn finds his big brother hilarious, so no more quiet peaceful drives for me. I am almost certain that Magnus’ first word will be “farts”, because he hears it over and over and over again.

S E V E N – its treating us pretty well so far.

Spring Weekend

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For the first time in months we had a gorgeous weekend full of sunshine and warmth.  It was so wonderful to spend hours and hours outside.  To do our groceries on the main street full of little shops.  To take the kids to the park and watch them play.  To run outside again on the lakeshore and BBQ outside in our back yard.  We had a taste of what’s to come and all of us including the kids couldn’t be happier.

In Toronto it gets pretty cold in the winters, and for what feels like eternity, we hardly get to enjoy the outdoors.  So at the slightest glimpse of warm sunshine every family heads outdoors. We greet our neighbours again, marvel at how much the kids have grown and start to clean up our gardens.  Its sort of a tradition almost.

One thing I realized I desperately need, is a new running stroller.  A double one so I can run with both boys.  Its much too hard to let Johannes ride his bike along side us.  Constantly watching to make sure he doesn’t fall, and being limited by the distance we can travel.  So this week I’m starting that journey to find a stroller I can use with both kids, so that I can start to truly get back into shape.

What did you guys do this weekend?

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Easter

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(photos taken with iPhone | mocks, slippers and leggings available here)

After a long week of being away, Michael and Johannes came home on Saturday.  To say that I missed them would be an understatement.  We are a family of four now and it just didn’t feel right having them away.  The house felt empty, the night time was scary and breakfasts were lonely.

Johannes had a wonderful time out West with our family though, and I’m so glad he got to have one on one time with Michael. As much as I missed them, I also enjoyed getting to know Magnus on his own as well.  He’s always such an easy going baby, super happy and mostly calm and quiet.  But during the week he came out of his shell a little bit.  He became more vocal and a little more snuggly, all things that make my heart happy.

In the end the boys came home just in time for Easter Sunday!

5 Lies We Tell New Moms

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One of my best friends (who shall remain nameless here), recently had her baby boy.  She endured months and months of anticipation, excitement and planning.  After her little boy was born we went several weeks before connecting again, and we had the most interesting conversation about new mommy-hood.  My friend was genuinely a little bit angry, with the pre-natal nursing staff, with me, with moms in general for having lied to her all along about what was to come or how things may go.

So after giving it a great deal of thought, I think I have to agree.  We lie to moms all the time, we all do it, me included.  Sometimes we lie on purpose, other times we lie by omission.  Regardless, we lie lie lie.  So I’m here to set the record straight with a few “truths”, for my friend, for myself and anyone else who may be reading this while pregnant thinking all will be roses and unicorns come that little one’s arrival.

(1) The  “I’m so in love” lie:  We often tell moms that the first time they meet their baby it will be the best day of their lives.  This part is true….HOWEVER it will likely be a few months or maybe years before you will look back at your little one’s birth day with fondness and longing.  Likely you will be so drugged up from an epidural, or so drained from a natural labour, that you won’t remember much…never mind actually bond with that little baby.  Now this may not the case for all, some moms may instantly fall in love, I don’t know know for sure but I’ll give everyone the benefit of the doubt here.  I can say for me I felt relieved mainly.  Relieve that the baby was alive, and myself also for that matter.

I like to think we tell other mom’s this from a bout of temporary amnesia.

(2) The “breastfeeding is amazing” lie:  Breastfeeding can be amazing, and likely will be at some point but not immediately.  At first it sucks.  It hurts horribly, there may be blood, and this is if you’re lucky enough to have a baby who latches.  If you don’t, you’ll likely go through hours of torturous thoughts and worries.  You will spend a lot of time researching lactation consultants and frequenting chat rooms for any shred of help and advice someone may give you.

(3)  The “it gets better just as soon as…” lie:  Oh I think I’m the queen of this lie.  I say it all the time, to myself also.  “Its ok that he’s not sleeping right now, it gets better as soon as he hits 11lbs”.  “Don’t worry that your baby screams every single night starting at 4pm, it gets better as soon as he turns 3mos”…. I could go on.  The truth is whatever horrible phase is happening at that exact moment it will pass and it will get better, but likely it will be replaced by an equally horrible phase or maybe even worse…insert teething here.

(4)  The “breastfeeding helps you lose weight” lie (see also #2):  Breastfeeding DOES NOT HELP YOU LOSE WEIGHT.  Actually breastfeeding will make you hungrier than you’ve ever been before, including during pregnancy.  You will be starving all day long and shovelling food in wherever you can get it.  Do yourself a favour and don’t expect a miraculous transformation, because its just not going to happen.

(5)  The “don’t worry about what you look like you just had a baby” lie:  This is a big one, and its so big that I even say it to myself and believe it.  Except that at some point we didn’t JUST have a baby.  No.  We had a baby 6 months ago, a year ago.  Often this lie is then replaced by “it took 9 months to gain the weight it will take that long to lose it”.  Its really all just BS at the end of the day.  I think we say it not knowing what else to say and not wanting the new or soon to be new mom, to lose all faith and maybe have a nervous breakdown.  In truth losing any baby weight is hard, very hard, especially if you’re breastfeeding (see point #4).  It can come off BUT it comes off with major diet changes and restrictions, working out and dedication.

So there you have it.  If its any consolation we lie because we care.  We want to make sure moms are happy first and foremost, so we fib a little to keep those rainbows alive.  And if we are level-setting here, your love for your child will far out weight the crap I wrote above, that I can promise is the truth.