Category Archives: Mummyhood

Boo Boo’s Halloween Costume

Halloween has come and gone. And though Boo Boo doesn’t eat candy – at all – I still somehow ate too many Halloween goodies…cause, you know. I couldn’t let them go to waste.

Because he doesn’t partake in candy or really care about dressing up, I was originally going to skip the fuss, and make it easy on myself. Until I remembered Boo is in daycare now. Of course he needed to get dressed up, because all of the other kids would be dressing up. And there was no way my little guy was going to be left out.

So I devised a plan for a super simple costume. A duck. Though my guy doesn’t talk yet, he does like to quack, so it seemed the obvious choice. I was going to sew a felt beak and eyes to a hoodie and that’d be that…Until I got carried away and decided that the hoodie needed feathers. Lots of feathers. Like, feathers covering the ENTIRE THING so that it really looked like a duck, and not just a hoodie with a beak. So I ended up cutting out hundreds of felt feathers and stitching each one on individually (I’d originally planned on using fabric glue but my test didn’t turn out).

Duck costume

Duck costume face

In doing so, I found myself in a mad dash to complete Boo’s costume in time. I worked on it every spare second I had, and stayed up late every night. All other chores and activities were ignored (the house became an absolute disaster)….but I managed to finish in time.

Duck face

Boo Boo in his duck costume

But Boo’s costume isn’t really the point of this post (though it turned out awesome).

The point is that I got to craft something. And it felt GREAT.

It made me realize that even though my free time is extremely rare these days, I still need to try and carve out a little time to make. And by “make” I mean to actually produce something tangible – editing pictures or writing a blog post just isn’t enough. I need to work with my hands. I need to use my creative imagination which tunes out all of the random noise and garbage that can creep into my head.

When I’m making something, I have a goal. I feel like I have a purpose (I mean, other than keeping my children alive of course). I think about how I can improve upon my initial idea, and strategize how I’m going to execute it. During the actual “making” I’m focused and calm. And when I finish whatever it is I’m making…I feel a great sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. Just for me.

And I need a little more of that these days.

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Boo and Hiccup

Throughout most of my pregnancy Boo seemed pretty much oblivious to my growing belly. Sure, I’d talk to him about the baby, and tell him all about how he was going to be a big brother. I’d point to my belly and tell him how his little sister was in there…

But it was only at the very end that he started poking my belly, and looking at it with some degree of curiosity. I can’t imagine he didn’t know there was something in there, poking and prodding him when he cuddled up to me.

So to be honest, we weren’t really sure how Boo was going to react to the baby.

And at the very start….well….he didn’t react much. When his Daddy brought him to the hospital to see Mama and meet the baby for the very first time, he barely looked at her long enough to poke her once or twice. He was far more interested in the hospital room, its cupboards, drawers, the bed, the chairs, everything but the baby.

Boo meeting Hiccup for the first time

Once we brought Hiccup home, I don’t think Hiccup’s presence really registered with him. Though he did, admittedly, give me space to nurse and care for her. But it was like he was completely oblivious of her, while still understanding that I had to sit and be still…for whatever reason. So he’d wander around me while I was nursing, and bring me books to read to him. He’d place them on the pillow behind Hiccup, or directly in my hand. Sometimes he’d listen and lean on the pillow, but never seemed to want to displace Hiccup in any way. It continued like this for the first few weeks.

Then suddenly things began to change. Boo began to notice Hiccup a little more. Initially he’d get down close to her while she was in her (formerly his) bouncer and pinch her hands and feet. We told him he was welcome to be curious and touch her, but that he had to do so gently. And you know what? After a few days the pinching stopped and gave way to his patting Hiccup on the back, on her head, her limbs. Gently. Very very gently.

Boo kissing Hiccup

Boo looking at Hiccup

So we told him (and keep telling him) that his gentle pats are very nice, and that he’s being a good big brother. And he keeps getting in close and patting Hiccup gently…he also seems to be developing an actual interest in her. When Hiccup cries he runs to her, often beating me to her side. Once there he wants to pat her (to soothe her?) or at least look at her if he can’t reach.

Boo watching Hiccup in the play yard

When Hiccup is fast asleep he’ll wander into her room to peer over the side of the play yard, or climb onto the bed to sit next to her (because of course she sleeps best EVERYWHERE but her designated sleeping space). Sure, he gets a mischievous little look on his face as he does so…but Boo almost ALWAYS has a mischievous look on his face.

Boo and Hiccup on the bed

…So proud of my little man, and the good big brother he’s being!

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Hiccup’s birth story

It’s been a few weeks now since the new baby arrived. We’re getting into the groove of things with her, adjusting to being a family of four, and (as of this week) introducing our little man to daycare (sniff, sniff). Which all means I’ve had a little time to reflect on Hiccup’s arrival.

Hiccup right after she was borm

To be completely honest I was pretty apprehensive about going into labour…even though it was my second child, I didn’t really know what to expect.

With Boo, my water broke long before I felt any contractions. At the hospital they determined I hadn’t dilated at all and put me on oxytocin to move things along. I responded a little too well to the drugs, and went from about 0-7cm dilation in less than 2 hours. I went from feeling virtually nothing to super can’t-even-talk-can-only-grunt painful. Once I received my epidural, labour slowed down dramatically. It was a long ordeal lasting about 18 hours from start to finish.

So on July 30, when I started feeling a bit crampy at about 4pm…I didn’t think much of it. In fact, I just thought I needed to use the toilet. And I eventually did. I called my husband (from the bathroom no less) and asked him to head home to help out with Boo. I told him I wasn’t feeling well. By then it was 4:45.

I finished up with my bathroom buddy making as much mischief as he could, but the cramping didn’t go away. I purposely stopped myself from being distracted by Boo and started thinking “Oh shit…this could be it!”. I timed my cramps, and quickly realized they were, in fact, contractions. And they were coming fast. Four or five minutes apart.

Last minute items were thrown into my hospital bag. I called my mom so she could start the 2+ hour drive to Montreal. I called my sister-in-law so she could come to care for Boo. I called my husband to find out where the hell he was, and to let him know it was time.

Once he got home, we didn’t wait around. My contractions were now coming 3-4 minutes apart, and we were painfully aware that it was rush hour. We threw Boo into the car and headed to the hospital, calling my sister-in-law en route to come meet us there.

I remember walking through the hospital hallways and elevator, pausing whenever I had a contraction, and seeing the look on peoples’ faces as they realized I was in labour. Priceless.

Standard procedure before being admitted required that I be put under observation for twenty minutes to measure my contractions, the baby’s heartbeat, and to check how dilated I was. I was already over 6cm dilated, and was immediately admitted. It was now going on 6:30pm.

From here on in, things started moving fast(er).

My contractions got worse. My mom arrived. I crushed my husband’s hands as I breathed through the pain. I got an epidural (because drugs….). Unfortunately the epidural didn’t do much – my contractions were increasing too quickly – and it only ever managed to kinda take the edge off the pain at the very end. I started to push and was miraculously in a good mood while doing so. I JOKED with my husband, mom, nurses and doctor. There was laughter in the delivery room. I was anxious and eager to push push push as my contractions seemed to come one after the other, breaking only to catch my breath. My little girl was born without complications (but with an extra push or two) at 8:39pm. I got to hold her immediately. I was tired, but happy to have my little girl stay with me, rather than being whisked off to the ICU as her brother had been. I offered her my breast, and she latched on like a pro.

Mama and Hiccup in the delivery room

It was a completely different – and better – labour than I’d experienced the first time around.

Sure, there was pain.

Sure, I was bruised, stitched up and sore afterward.

Sure, I bled. And bled. And bled (and continue to bleed 4 weeks later).

But none of that matters.

I have a beautiful and healthy baby girl.

Welcome little Hiccup!

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What I want to remember: Snuggling with both of my babies

Okay, so technically, I’m not really snuggling with both of my babies…but whatever. Let’s not be technical here and focus on what’s important:

Those amazing peaceful moments when Boo Boo falls asleep in my arms, or snuggles in real close, and I get to sit there and enjoy holding him…and at the same time feel the baby moving in my belly. It’s kinda sorta wonderful to think I’ve got both of my little ones so close to me – and to each other, for that matter.

Snuggling with Boo on the couch

Sometimes I’ll delay putting Boo into his crib far longer than I really need to, just to soak up and enjoy the feeling. To try and (very imperfectly) memorize it. Because who knows how the little man will react to his little sister? Who knows when I’ll get to snuggle my two babies at once after she’s born?

And since I can’t answer those questions I’m allowing myself to linger a little longer than necessary. To just be and enjoy.

Boo snoozing on Mama on the couch

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Sleep Training (Part 3)

It’s been a long time since I’ve talked about Boo’s sleep training…probably because it’s been going so well, that it’s no longer top of mind. You read that right: it’s been SUPER DUPER and I’m so proud of my little man.

Boo sleeping peacefully in his crib

Not long after moving breastfeeding to the beginning of our bedtime routine, Boo became pretty disinterested in it, and we soon cut it out entirely. Instead of breastfeeding I began offering a sippy cup of milk, and eventually we settled on Yop….the kid loves his yogourt. We moved this portion of the routine to the living room where we can sit with Daddy.

Once Boo finishes his Yop (well, it’s actually only half a Yop), we head to his room and resume the diaper/pyjamas/hygiene/kiss daddy goodnight/stories routine exactly as we’ve been doing it for months and months and months. The remainder of the routine, however, began to be adjusted just as soon as I discovered I was pregnant, and knew that rocking the little man to sleep would get increasingly uncomfortable. So after singing while Boo was still in my arms, I started putting him directly into his crib and….leaving him there. I’d kiss him goodnight, and leave the room.

The only change since has been sometimes putting Boo into his crib while I sing – eliminating the cuddle time – since he’s pretty squirmy, my lap has become virtually non-existent, and I can sometimes feel his little sisters’ protests as she bunches up to the opposite side of my belly.

Miraculously he goes to sleep. Eventually.

Sometimes I hear him talking, laughing, and moving about in his crib for an hour or more before he falls asleep. But he does fall asleep, and without any kind of protest or crying.

And then he sleeps through the night.

I consider it a win.

Boo napping comfortably

As for naps….Boo resisted letting go of his suck-to-sleep association at naptime for quite a while. Eventually, however, it became obvious that he’d stopped nursing entirely, and was just using me as a soother to fall asleep with. So one day as he was doing so, and almost sawing at my breast with his increasing number of teeth, I popped it out and said, “OK, that’s it!” and that was that.

Boo didn’t seem too concerned, as he’d basically weaned himself by reducing his breastmilk intake so slowly and gradually to pretty much nothing. From that moment, I took to rocking the little man to sleep, as I’d previously done at bedtime.

The rocking lasted a long, long, long time.

I think I was partly to blame as I feared that, like bedtime, he’d take up to an hour to fall asleep on his own and “lose out” on precious nap time. At least in my arms I knew I could rock him to sleep in 10-20 minutes.

Until, of course, my pregnancy (literally) got in the way and I couldn’t keep rocking the little man to sleep. As my lap got smaller, he also began to protest more and more, becoming increasingly squirmy and difficult to hold. So now I sing him a nap song (adapted from a Sesame Street song by Bert and Ernie), and then dump him in his crib.

I usually give him about 30-40 minutes to fall asleep on his own before I go in and intervene – which means I (very uncomfortably) hold him on my lap and let him scream at me for 2-5 minutes until he falls asleep (then I dump him back in his crib…there’s no other way to put him in there, now that my belly is completely in the way…luckily he stays asleep). I’d say that, on average, he now falls asleep in about 25-30 minutes, and only requires an intervention a few times a week. This is progress. Just a few weeks ago, he needed me to intervene most days.

So positive steps and progress on all fronts, just in time for the baby’s arrival to throw everything off!

Here’s hoping that, after all of our hard work, he doesn’t regress too much (fingers crossed…he’s already started poking my belly some nights…and on those nights only, he’s not going to sleep quietly).

More on Boo’s sleep training: Part 1 and Part 2

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