Sunday, July 31, 2005

This is more like what I had in mind

This is more along the lines of what a weekend morning should be. What they normally are, around here. Chad is frying up some eggs (wish it were pancakes). Liam is wearing a little bathrobe that Dana and Bruce gave him. If he could, he'd be eating some toast and reading the New York Times.

Having a super busy weekend but will have lots to post this coming week as a result. Stay tuned...

Saturday, July 30, 2005

There's nothing relaxing about a morning like this

1:30 a.m. til 3:00 a.m. - up with the little man, who woke up to eat and decided to stay up to party. He finally falls back asleep after exhausting all possibilities of engaging his parents in play.
5:00 a.m. - Chad gets up for breakfast.
5:45 a.m. - Chad leaves for his run.
6:20 a.m. - Liam is up for the day. Which means I am too. I run around closing the windows because while I think his happy screams are a cute wakeup call, I don't expect our neighbours to think the same. Feed him, change his diaper, play with him even though I feel like a zombie.
7:15 a.m. - Chad comes home. I get dressed and have some juice.
7:45 a.m. - I leave for my run.
9:45 a.m. - I get home, have a bowl of cereal and feed Liam again.
10:20 a.m. - I leave for my yoga class.
11:30 a.m. - I come home. Ten minutes of peace while Liam is sleeping, then he's up again.
Currently - Chad is cutting the grass. I think Liam is hungry, again. Had hoped to shower before he was up. Still need to do that and get to grocery store. The dessert I made last night for a party today didn't turn out - need to hit the bakery for a replacement, stock up for my parents' visit tomorrow and find something to take to the cottage on Monday. Party starts at 2. Think I would almost rather have a nap...

Friday, July 29, 2005

Hitting milestones

It seems like sometimes we make no progress for days, and at other times Liam is going crazy doing new things. The really notable activities this week have been using his hands to pick things up and play with them - clumsily, just using the palms or backs of his hands pinched together, not his fingers - but still able to use them now. And we of course are going crazy cheering him on. Go Liam!! He's also rolled over a couple of times, although both times it was on our bed and the softness of it may have given him an extra push - so we're not considering that an 'official' happening just yet...

Thursday, July 28, 2005

The absentee mom

Sometimes, being the family photographer stinks. I love taking pictures, love learning about my camera and getting that perfect shot (it doesn't happen often but when it's a keeper - it's a thrill.) And I'm picky about my pictures, so I would often rather do it myself than leave it to someone who sometimes doesn't think about things such as, a thumb covering half the lens does not make for a good picture, and neither does the camera strap dangling in the way (Chad!!!!!!!!) There are, however, a couple of downsides to this. Number one is that, whenever I see a picture of myself these days, which is relatively rare, I am shocked at how old I look. Where did those lines around my eyes come from? How did I get so freckly? (So much for the daily sunscreen...) The other downside is that, to flip through Liam's photo album, you would sometimes think he lives in a single parent family with that parent being Chad. When you're always behind the camera, you're never in front of it. We just don't have that many pictures of Liam and I together. Occasionally I get to thinking about this and decide to take matters into my own hands. So when we set out to the post office for a walk yesterday, I brought along the tripod:

Of course there's only so much you can do with a tripod. It's difficult to focus, you're guessing at the composition and without someone to wave and holler at Liam, he is looking off the other way into space.

Sometimes, though, luck is on my side. As it was yesterday. I still had the camera set up and, by coincidence, sitting on the dresser when Chad came home from work. Liam and I were sprawled on the bed reading a story called Everywhere Babies. I love this book. It's silly and sweet and has a wonderful cadence to read out loud. Chad came home early and I spotted the camera still sitting where I had left it earlier in the day - so I asked him to take a couple of shots of us. When he gets it right, sometimes he really gets it right. Love these.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Those hickeys are worse in real life, I swear.

I just saw the photo pop up and realized they're barely visible. Well, they're there in real life, and they hurt. Liam keeps trying to latch back onto my shoulder whenever I hold him and it's enough to curl my toes. I will admit though, that's a pretty lame excuse for the Photo Of The Day. So here's another one - one of my favourite photos ever, which I don't think I've posted yet (how can that be?) This one is from our camping trip. Love my little dude. :)


Somehow I am never able to get things back on track when they start going wrong. (Obviously – why else would I still be paying for Liam’s late Friday bedtime four days later?) In this case I think it’s less a matter of not taking corrective action until there’s too much negative momentum, and more a case of bad luck and living with a monster disguised as a baby.

So yesterday afternoon we did skip our playgroup, which normally runs from 2-3:30 which generally coincides with Liam’s afternoon nap. Miraculously, he fell asleep - on his own - at 1:58. Yes, I checked the clock because I was just that happy. However, it seems that even Mother Nature is against me – most of southern Ontario had a massive storm yesterday afternoon and I think a thundercloud parked itself right on my street. One big clap of thunder and Liam was up again 15 minutes later, and didn’t go back to sleep. I could almost have cried at that point because I was really starting to feel like the waking dead and had been trying to nap with him – I was blissfully able to sleep through the thunder, but not the cries of a wailing baby. So, up we got. The thunder continued to boom for at least another hour. Liam was OK for a while but then turned into a major crab (big surprise there). After every trick in my book was exhausted and he still wasn’t happy, I figured I would get him in the tub. A bath, a feeding and he fell asleep and I had him down for the night, ahead of schedule, right before 6 p.m. Or so I thought.

Sure enough, as I was out the door on my way to yoga at 6:45, he woke up. Chad was home by then and took over but Liam was still wailing when I came back home just after 8. Chad was sure that there was something wrong with him because he wasn’t crying his cranky cry, he was crying his someone-is-poking-me-with-a-big-stick cry. Not that we could find anything wrong with him. Again, it may just be the start of teething (yegads if this is what we have to look forward to on a regular basis!) He didn’t go to bed til 9:30.

This may be the part of the story where my fortunes turn – he was only up once overnight to eat. Once! And then wasn’t up for the day til 7 a.m. 7 a.m.! So maybe four days is enough penance and we are now back on track. He fell asleep easily for his first nap of the day at 8:45 today and is still sleeping now. Oh, joy.

If you've made it this far, congratulations, and thanks for all the sleepy vibes. I leave you with a nasty photo of one of the battle scars of motherhood: my Liam hickeys. (No, I was not going to show you any post-delivery crotch shots, is that what you were thinking??) Man, those gums have some suction.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Why I will never take my baby to a bar again

…because I am convinced that I am still paying for it now, four days later.

It’s one of those days. Which is following one of those nights. Liam went to bed late and angry. Was up again at 11. And 3. And 4. And 4:30. And 5. At which point I thought to heck with disturbing Chad, Liam is coming to sleep with us to put an end to this. So I brought Liam into our bed and then woke up a short time later when I smelled something funny. Yes indeed, diaper blowout. It seems that we have perfected keeping the bed dry, but are somehow not doing a good job at keeping it, ahem, clean. Our sheets are in the wash even as I write this. He was up and pleasant enough for a short time this morning, but then when I tried to put him down for his first nap, he fought it all over again. This time he even managed to give me two shoulder hickeys in the process, one quite large and embarrassing. I guess sucking his own thumb wasn’t enough for him – he wanted an entire adult collarbone in his mouth…

It’s too bad this all happened today, because I was quite excited at the prospect of watching the space shuttle launch on TV this morning, and wanted Liam to watch it with me. Maybe he’s a little young, but it’s fun to have someone to do these things with even if he is completely clueless, and in a couple of years I think he will quite enjoy all manner of rocket ships. Well, he went down for a nap so late that he was promising to sleep right through the 10:39 a.m. launch time. And as much as I was disappointed at the prospect of him missing it - I was even more disappointed when he woke up early from his nap and actually got to see it. Because I knew he was still not well rested enough to be a pleasant little dude, and that there are still some battles in store for me later today.

We’re going to skip our playgroup this afternoon. Playgroup coincides with naptime, and I have had it up to here with this guy being overtired – he is getting back on schedule, pronto. Was it just last week that he was only up once at night for a quick feeding? Seems like another lifetime ago.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Voyeurs, the whole lot of you!

So the other day, I had a reader request to add a ticker to my site.

Which made me stop and think.

Sure, I have, from time to time, wondered how much traffic this site has. It's not in the public WWW domain and doesn't come up on search engines. The only traffic I would expect are the people to whom I've given the URL and those are pretty few - it started out as only my immediate family and has grown to some of Chad's family and a few friends as well. You can also scroll through all the blogs on Blogger one by one, so some readers may come across it that way, but I wouldn't think too many would take the time to stop. And it's not my intent to entertain the masses. Yes, I admire Dooce and her ability to attract 55,000 readers per day, but I am not about to criticize my coworkers and company and get myself fired along the way... :)

Mostly I find it interesting that not only do you nutjobs reading this want to keep track of what we do on a daily basis, but now you want to keep tabs on each other as well. Who's been here today? How long did they spend reading? Did they access the archives or just hit the last week's worth of posts? Yes indeed, these are all statistics I can now track thanks to the addition of my ticker. I feel like an insider at the CIA or something. I don't know who you are but I know how long you have spent reading and what the last web page you looked at was. (This is a family site - please make it something clean.)

In other news...

  • Yes, being topless is Chad's natural state around the house. At least in the summer. What, you think I ask him to strip down and pose every time I get the camera out?
  • Liam is being a bear today. Didn't go to bed til 9 p.m. again last night despite attempts hours earlier than that. It's the influence of that damn bar, I tell you. He wants to go back to the Barking Frog...
  • Liam got mail today - a postcard from Grandpa Cook, complete with a log of wildlife sightings up at Algonquin. He comes home next week. I laugh every time I picture him writing that postcard.
  • Chad is taking off for Calgary for a few days during the second week of August (a course and some customer contacts for his new job). I'm going to try to fit some socializing in while he's away. Don't be surprised if I call you up asking for a visit.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Just one more thing...

... on my computer, some of my most recent photos look like the resolution isn't high enough to make them sharp. And it's happening almost exclusively with colour photos, not B&W. Not sure why this is happening, as I'm not doing anything differently these days in terms of uploading or hosting. Please help me out and tell me - do the photos show up clearly for you, or is there some grain to them? I don't know if it's just me or if we're all having trouble viewing them.

Damn you, OLN

So after running endless promotions during the last 3 weeks of the Tour, promising the first season of Survivor (commercial free no less!), the Canadian subsidiary of OLN instead switched to a feed of - get this - Reel Fishing. Oh, the disappointment. (I am having to live vicariously instead through some of the nutcases over at Survivor Sucks.) So instead, having had lots of time to resize some of my photos, I present to you a photo diary of Friday's events.

The Summer Night 5km is one of the 2005 Honda Series races
that Chad's uncle Paul directs as owner of Runner's Choice. Every year there is a big showdown between Chad, Cory, Darin and Jeff at this event. This year several other members of the Roberts clan decided to run/walk as well, making it a bigger event than ever. Chad wound up working all Friday afternoon - so much for taking half the day off. So we didn't get to London til about 6:30 and race time was 7:10. Given that Liam has been on this eating-all-day growth spurt I figured I ought to feed him again pre-race so that he didn't pitch a fit right as the runners were finishing. So that was my first experience breastfeeding a baby in a car in a parking lot. Didn't think of this at the time we bought the Pilot but, hooray for tinted windows!...

Got to the starting line right as the runners were lining up. Didn't get to see much of the start. Ah well. Imagine a throng of skinny people wearing skimpy clothes all taking off...

So the dutiful wives/children remained behind to spectate - here is Liam hanging out with Evelyn and Audrey:

And Karen (among others) was kind enough to help Liam watch the race finish as I snapped a few photos:

I only wish I had gotten a picture of the second place finisher. He finished in under sixteen minutes - barefoot. Never seen something like that before. Chad is always hard on himself and wishes he could have done better, but I will tell you he did well to finish in 23:30:

Now, the best part of attending this race is that it is sponsored by Dairy Queen and there are all-you-can-eat post-race Dilly Bars! Even for the spectators! (No wonder there was such a large crowd this year...)

And no, we didn't let Liam have any, but I'm sure it will be all over his face next year. Well, all of this excitement, which was occurring long past Liam's bedtime, plus the fact that we were waving ice cream in his face and not letting him have any made for one cranky baby. Jeff wanted his picture taken with Liam and wouldn't you know it - that's when he chose to blow a gasket.

Here are some of the group - this shot is still missing Kathy, Janna, Deb and Matthew to be a complete representation:

And then, of course, the post race awards were at the Barking Frog - not a pub so much as a full out bar. Yes, I took Liam to a bar, and we were there til almost 10 p.m. Complete with loud Duran Duran music and strobe lights. (And all I could think of was Sweet Home Alabama: "You have a baby! In a bar!") Never mind that I myself cannot even think of the last time I was in a bar without him. But hey, we wanted to see the awards and get something to eat, what choice did I have?

(If there's anything more inappropriate than a baby in a bar, it's got to be a completely angelic thumb-sucking trying-to-go-to-sleep-but-this-Duran-Duran-is-way-too-damn-loud baby in a bar...)

And to put the perfect finishing touch on the night, Liam got hungry on the way home, we had to pull over so I could feed him again, which we did in a strip mall parking lot, and wouldn't you know it, but some of the local shop owners thought we were lost or needed help or something, and came out to ask if they could help us, and without thinking Chad opened the car door, turning on the interior light and exposing all. So I wound up flashing a few more people. I don't even know why I bother trying to be modest anymore. And no, my friends, I don't have a picture of that to share with you.

Thanks for the memories

So this is what I get for spending some me time away from home yesterday. I come home and this is what I find. Chad has dressed Liam like a gangster and they are watching the Tour de France. Chad is educating Liam on the finer points of the race - what the peloton is (main pack), how it's a gentleman's race so nobody will challenge Lance Armstrong en route to the finish line today, etc. And he has loaded the camera with a memory card and taken about twenty pictures of Liam. Which he never does. Because he thinks I already take too many. :)

So yes, indeed, we are currently watching the 21st and final stage of the Tour - why I don't know, since we already know the outcome. The first couple of hours is fairly boring as they leisurely pedal along, sipping Champagne, but I am looking forward to the laps they do around the Champs Elysees at the end. We must have walked the entire length of the Champs about six times when we there last fall (when Liam was just a wee speck!) We shuffled back and forth from the Arc to the obelisk and Tuileries several times, ate many lemon tarts at bakeries along the Champs when I couldn't stomach something more nutritious, and on our last night there we had dinner at the brasserie Bistro Roman. I'm looking forward to seeing those sights again.

And then... the OLN is rerunning the very first season of Survivor immediately following the Tour. And I'm looking forward to that, too. I think it will be interesting to look back and see what the game was like before people were chanting alliance before they even hit the beach.

Good thing it's a rainy day today. Lots o' television in our futures.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

What a difference a day makes

I have no idea how Chad is teaching him this stuff when I have been at it day in and day out with no success. The difference between how high he can hold himself up between just today and yesterday is astounding. Thank goodness he won't be a slug on the floor for the rest of his life after all!

Will post some photos from the race yesterday soon. I'm taking it easy today with some me time. I had a great 10 mile run today, made it to my yoga class and then had a pedicure (finally used the gift certificate from work that they gave me when I started my maternity leave - that only took 3 months!!) Liam has just gone to bed. He was up quite late last night and it seems that now that he's gotten a taste of the nightlife, he's loathe to give it up...

Friday, July 22, 2005

Making progress

Chad deserves the credit for discovering this one - Liam actually enjoys tummy time if he's on his change mat. I had tried it on the floor, his rug, our bed... all with no luck... but the change mat works. Incidentally, so do the mats at our playgroup. Must be a mat thing. Anyhow, he's gained a couple of inches of clearance, thank goodness.

Tonight we're off to the Summer Night 5km showdown. The field has widened this year so it will be fun to watch. This is Liam's first race and with the running genes in this family - I'm sure it won't be the last.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Pointing It Down

...seems to have done the trick for us. We had a dry crib this morning! It seems that Chad did not know the importance of this little tidbit o' info. Now that he's fallen into line I'm hoping not to have any more wetting through. We'll still use the disposable diapers til the growth spurt is over. Liam was up to eat 4 times last night (and then decided to get up for the day at 5:45 a.m. - how does this guy function???)

Another recent development around here is the discovery of two little baby teeth sitting under the gum on Liam's lower jaw. I know they could still be months and months away from breaking through, but man, did this shock me. Teeth already? He's still just a little baby! (Well, little here is being used in a relative sense.) I refuse to believe that he's teething yet, but it could explain some strange stuff that goes on around here. Such as the copious drool. The wild attempts to stuff BOTH fists into his mouth at the same time. And, here's what a normal child looks like when playing in an exersaucer:

But here's what mine looks like:

Yes, that's my child trying to fit an exersaucer in his mouth. Most kids use the exersaucer to strengthen their legs and perfect their balance, but mine uses his to munch on. Note that it's an old fashioned exersaucer, the kind with nary a toy on the tray. This exersaucer has been through three kids already. Not that I don't think it came from a clean home, but yikes - I guess this is the start of the obsession with Lysoling the house, since everything Liam finds will be going into his mouth from now on. The other moms at our playgroup were talking about exersaucers and seemed to think this old fashioned type was the best one to have, since the parts on the new ones don't come off for cleaning. I, however, have visions of Liam throwing whatever toys we put on the tray repeatedly, and me spending hours upon hours returning them to him in a game of master and servant...

When he's done playing with (chewing) the exersaucer, the satisfaction is evident on his drooly, foam-covered face:

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Family resemblance

So whose side of the family did Liam get the cottage cheese from?

I am afraid to ask...

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

The end (to some extent) of green

I decided long before Liam came along to be a cloth diapering mama. I would say the decision was about 60% environmental, 25% because I think it's better for the baby, and the 15% that lines our wallet a little more certainly doesn't hurt. I've been buying supplies from The Baby Marketplace since day one and have been really happy with how it's going. Anyone who dismisses cloth diapering as being too much work, in my opinion, has no clue what they're talking about.


This week I have reluctantly come to the conclusion that for now, disposables are a better choice for us for overnight use. Lately Liam has been up multiple times at night again - sometimes up to 3 times. I think it's just a growth spurt thing. But because he's feeding so much at night, he is also wetting a lot. I don't do nighttime diaper changes anymore because they wake him up too much. And despite putting him in a prefold, terry liner, and using a wool soaker, he's still been wetting through. Not only that, he's also been wetting through size 2 disposables despite having several pounds to go until he hits the upper age limit. So I sent Chad out today to pick up some size 3's. Until the growth spurt ends, and he's down to one feeding or less on a consistent basis, we're using disposables overnight. Enough with the bed wetting. I'm hoping this phase doesn't last long (good grief, I hope the size 3's are enough to do the trick!!) And then we'll be back on our merry cloth diapering way.

(Photo is from May - Liam's first day in the size large prefolds. They're much more trim fitting now.)

Monday, July 18, 2005

Blogger absenteeism

I know, I know, I've been away for a while. Sorry to anyone who's genuinely upset by it. :) I know there are some blogs that I check almost daily and when there's no update it's like good grief - how can the universe be so out of whack? My whole day is thrown off now!

Here's part of my excuse - a visit from Katrina... must run now and entertain her...

Thursday, July 14, 2005

The return of routine & the perfect scenario

We finally seem to have settled on a routine. It used to be awake all day OR sleeping all day, and unpredictable moods. (This was up until about six weeks.) Then it was either five short naps a day or two long naps a day. And still some crying. Still some overtiredness. Now we have figured things out and when Liam naps - almost like clockwork - at 9 a.m., 1 p.m. and 4 p.m., I know exactly what to expect out of him. And those are the days when I can plan our activities perfectly. He wakes up, I feed him and change him, play with him for a while, then take him out to run several errands. And when I time it perfectly, he loves every minute of every outing, and then falls asleep in the car on the three minute drive home (hey, this is small town living). This is what I see just as I am unlocking the back door at home. These are good days.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Three months

(Today's entry is from Liam's baby book - a summary of the last month - might be repetitive if you check in here often - you've been warned.)

Little man, you are three months old now, and I can hardly believe we’ve known you for that long. At the same time, I can’t remember what life was like before you. I have an album full of photographs of you and every one looks like it could be a different person, you change so quickly. I try to picture you on your first birthday and I find it impossible. I started writing this about a week ago, trying to decide what to tell you about this month, and I have had to rewrite it several times in just one week to take into account all of the changes that happen from one day to the next.

This month your father and I tried to resume (somewhat) our former lives. Our BL (Before Liam) lives. We spent a day shopping in London, and went out to a restaurant to eat. We spent a few days camping at the Cook family trailer. We went swimming at Cory and Megan’s house… all with you in tow. And for the most part, all of these activities went smoothly. We move at a slower pace these days, but there’s something to be said for slowing down – it lets us appreciate all the little things along the way. Seeing things, even everyday things, from your perspective makes them interesting for us all over again.

You still hate anything having to do with tummy time, and now I’m starting to get a little worried about it. You should be propping yourself up on your elbows and soon rolling over, but you refuse to even try. You lie in a puddle on the floor and sob at the indignity of it all. You have been holding your head up when you’re upright for a while now, so I know you have the neck and shoulder strength to be able to do this… are you just being stubborn? And which side of the family did that trait come from? Your hands are your favourite playthings these days. You are always either fingering one hand with the other, or stuffing both into your mouth. You have also discovered your feet, and they come in especially handy in the bathtub, where they are excellent tidal wave-creators. I have to remember to change my clothes prior to bathing you since I know I am going to get soaked. You drool like a fiend and constantly suck on the shoulder of whoever is holding you. We are used to it now, but our guests are not… And now you are putting that drool to good use and blowing raspberries at whoever walks by, hoping to engage them. Chad is loving this first real interactive game with you.

This month we found you watching the TV for the first time. Wimbledon, in particular, caught your attention (and Chad was thrilled at the prospect of having a tennis prodigy on his hands!) We tried to hook you on Baby Einstein videos instead, with no luck. I caught your dad watching “Be Cool” with you one night, and you seemed to be enjoying it – aren’t you still a little young for John Travolta movies?? Along the same TV vein, once we saw that you were focusing on that screen, we started to turn on your crib attachment. You love the lights and music, but rather than soothing you to sleep, it just seems to rev you up. And when the show ends boy, are you upset. Seeing how much you like it, I ran out and bought you a mobile for your crib, so that when you wake up from naps there is something there for you to look at. You smile at that thing like crazy. About the only thing you like better these days is the ceiling fan in our bedroom – you get more entertainment value out of that than from the crib attachment and mobile combined. We should have saved our money and just swapped bedrooms with you.

I love the way you sleep in your crib with your arms flung up over your head in a gesture of surrender. And how, by contrast, when we bring you into bed with us, you sleep with your arms pinned to your sides, ramrod straight, as if you’re afraid of taking up too much space. You have whittled your night waking down to just one or two 20-minute sessions, and you entertain yourself in your crib when you wake up so that I can sleep in til 7 a.m. You’ve come a long way! You nap pretty consistently three times a day at 9 a.m., 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. When we structure our days around these naps, you are a happy little guy. When we don’t… we often pay for it the following day. It seems that you like routine… I think you get that from me. I can see more of myself in you every day. Yes, you are still the spitting image of your father, most of the time. But when you smile, it’s a curvy little grin… the Grinch smile, as Chad would put it… and that’s all mine.

At three months old, you weigh 14 pounds 12 ounces and are 25 inches long. You are truly a little person now, one who is aware of the world around him and who has definite likes and dislikes. Your personality is emerging. We can’t wait to see what comes next.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Reasons to smile

- Chad and Liam blowing raspberries at each other at lunchtime today - Liam's very newest thing - the minute Chad is within his sight now he starts this up, as Chad is a very willing participant. (Now if only I could figure out how to Photoshop that pop can out of the background.)

- A successful trip to the playgroup. Despite missing his midday nap Liam seemed really curious about the other kids there. Only about five today, all between nine months and a year. Lots of socialization and fun toys to use once he's a little older. Plus some new mommy friends for me. We definitely plan to go back.

- A new magazine to read - a free copy of last month's Today's Parent from the OEYC. I just started a subscription but haven't received my first issue yet. This is tiding me over.

- A package in the mail from the Baby Marketplace this morning. I just ordered Liam some more diaper covers in the next size up. Bummis Super Whisper Wraps are awesome. Who'da thunk I'd enjoy diapering this much...

- Several emails and phone calls today. Feeling social and loved. Thanks everyone!

- A new Bodyflow release to look forward to tonight. I always love the new moves & music. Makes it very easy to want to go to the gym.

- Trailers for the new Charlie & the Chocolate Factory movie - I need to get out to see this!!

A miscellaney

Why Chad is a great role model for Liam - I'm so happy to be able to share that Chad was offered a great promotion last week. Didn't even have to apply for it - the role was offered to him out of the blue. He is the company's new derivatives specialist. There's only one such role and it's a coveted one among the business types. We're so proud of you Chad!

What makes it extra funny - the night before this was made public at the office, we ran into a colleague who is a manager at the company. And for no reason at all he started talking about the derivatives role and how great it is and how he thinks it's the best job at the company (and this is coming from someone who is in a better position, seniority-wise, than the derivatives role). I made Chad hunt him down after the announcement was made public to see if he knew ahead of time that Chad had been offered it and he swears he didn't.

The death of Pork Chop - at the baby weigh in clinic yesterday, I was pretty shocked to find that Liam only weighed 14 lbs 12 oz. So he's really levelled off (having gone from gaining a pound a week as a newborn, to a pound a month right now.) At least we won't need to buy him a whole new summer wardrobe (which at one time was a serious concern...)

What's on tap for today - we had an early morning visit from Darin and Jen on their way up to Algonquin Park. This afternoon I am taking Liam out to our first playgroup. It's aimed at babies up to 12 months old. Not sure how much he'll get out of it/like it - but it's worth a shot and *I* for one am looking forward to it!

Making waves - Liam's favourite new activity is making tidal waves in the bathtub with his left foot/leg. Always the left, never the right. It's hilarious that he has figured out that he can move his feet but I just hope he figures out that he can use the other one sometime soon, too. I don't want him walking around in circles his entire life.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Winners. You should go.

I have a huge love/hate relationship with Winners. I could drop in there every day and always find something new. Sometimes I do really well, like a couple of weeks ago when I picked up a gorgeous Calvin Klein spring jacket - regular $200, on for $35. Unfortunately, most of the time I find things I love that are available only in a size 2 and a size 14, and nothing in a 6-8-10 which I normally wear. Or I find something in a 6-8-10 but it's sized more appropriately for elves or elephants. Which I guess is why it winds up at a place like Winners.

This past weekend, I stopped in to look for some running shorts. Which was a mistake. These days it is all about the workout pant/capri, and nobody wants shorts anymore so they have stopped selling them. Since I was there, I picked up and tried on 8 other items of which I bought 2. None of the others fit. And of course the things that didn't fit were the things I really really liked.

So to brighten my trip, after the dressing room grief, I checked out the back corner which is Toy Land. Ah yes, it's not just me I'm shopping for any more - there's the little guy to consider, too. And I hit the jackpot this time. I bought Liam a Sort n Soar Rocket. This thing is so cool. It's one of those contraptions where you fit the different shaped blocks into the appropriate hole (there's a round one, a square, a triangle...) I had something similar as a kid; I think every kid in the country does. But this is not just a shape sorter - it's also a rocket. So every time you get the right shaped block into the correct hole, there's fitting lights and music, and when all five or six blocks are fitted correctly into the rocket it actually takes off before the bottom opens up and all the blocks fall out. It is quite a step up from the shape sorter of my & my friends' youths, and I thought $16 was a pretty reasonable price (even if I will spend a fortune on batteries and Tylenol once Liam starts using it...)

I would love to post a picture, but it's still in the box. And it may stay there, since it's labelled as a 9 month toy which coincidentally puts us into the Christmas season. How cool that we get to play Santa this year, and maybe this will be the start of it! For now, here is Liam enjoying some more age appropriate lights & sounds - the ones on the piano attachment for his bouncy seat.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

The best of everything

So a week or two ago we caught Liam watching television. There's usually a TV on somewhere in our house, even if it's just tuned to CNN or MuchMoreMusic for some background noise, but I didn't think Liam would actually pay attention to it. Wrong. Chad was happy to find him watching Wimbledon but I have also seen him watching worse things (most recently, "Be Cool" - he's a little young for John Travolta movies, no??) So when I saw that he had that much visual depth perception I decided to turn on the crib attachment we have, which hasn't been used up til now. It's the kind that has music and lights and moving parts on the front, and projects a movie onto the ceiling when it's dark.

Of course, Liam loved it. (The TV addiction grows.)

But when we turn it on it seems to rev him up rather than settle him down. Using it for naptimes etc. really isn't working out. And when he wakes up from his nap and spends some quiet time in his crib before he cries for me to come get him, he can't very well turn it on himself.

So the same day that we did this initial test run with the crib attachment, and saw how much he liked it, and I ran out and bought him a mobile. We didn't think we needed both an attachment and a mobile, initially, but now I can see them serving two different purposes. Suddenly, money is no object, clutter doesn't bother me, the gaudy primary colours couldn't be better... I want Liam to have it all. Everything he wants or that would give him a bit of joy or education or fun.

Sheesh, this could get expensive. And if we keep it up for too long he could turn into a brat. But for now he's just a little baby... and it's a lot of fun.

Friday, July 08, 2005

He finally said it

I came home from my class at the gym last night and Chad was holding Liam, who was understandably getting a bit cranky, seeing as that bedtime was fast approaching and he hadn’t napped in almost 3 hours. (He’s getting to an age now where he is settling in for one longer morning & afternoon nap, and a more solid night’s sleep, rather than catnapping all day every couple of hours.) I had told Chad that I would put him to bed once I got home.

Chad handed Liam to me, and as he did so Liam perked up and gave me a cute little grin. And that’s when Chad said it.

He likes you more than he likes me.

I don’t know when I started thinking this way, but it’s been several weeks at least – I’ve been waiting for those words to come out of Chad’s mouth. And I don’t mean that in an I’m-better-than-you kind of way.

When Liam was six or eight weeks old, I feel like I really hit a turning point with him. I started to get him. I might not always agree with what he wanted but at least I knew what he wanted, and that was getting somewhere. When someone would come over and hold him, and he would cry, I could suggest holding him a different way instead, and the tears would, more often than not, stop. I could predict when would be a good time to take him out to run errands and when that was just asking for it. I didn’t always enjoy pacing the floor with him at 3 a.m., but I knew it was the most surefire way to get him to sleep. This ‘getting him’, no doubt, makes him a happier kid – and therefore makes him happy to see me.

What Chad was forgetting was that this had come after spending a solid two months with Liam. I mean, round the clock, including many more wee-hours-of-the-morning than I think he realized. Of course I was going to figure Liam out sooner – I had had that much more opportunity to get to know him. Once Chad had logged that same number of hours/feedings/diaper changes/whatever, I fully expected him to know those things, too. Silly me, I tried to help Chad get there faster – making suggestions about things – saying “I think Liam likes it better when…” – and I don’t think doing that helped with Chad’s confidence and in fact, I’m pretty sure it was annoying. I try more now to let him figure things out on his own. Who knows, maybe he’ll discover something I still don’t know. Whatever the case, I figured there would probably come a time when Chad would get frustrated and feel left behind and blurt something like that out. I figure it probably happens to most families when the mom is home on mat leave and the dad is still working 9 to 5. And it really won’t end at least until I’m back at work and we’re logging a more equal number of hours with him.

What I don’t think I will ever be able to get across to Chad is how much it means to me and to please let me enjoy it while it lasts. I am going to revel in the fact that Liam loves me and that although he loves Chad too, yes, maybe I am his ‘special person’ right now. Because it won’t always be this way. I have watched enough Dr. Phil and heard enough radio talk show psycho-babble to know that the biggest influence in a boy’s life is his father. The older he gets, the less we’ll have in common and the more he will turn to Chad to get what he needs. And of course, that just kills me. To know that I’m the one who’s going to be left behind in the end. I know people say that boys hold a special place in their hearts for their moms, but I don’t think that plays out on a day-to-day basis the same way their interactions with their fathers do. And I know that it happens to one parent or the other, inevitably, and it’s just luck of the draw whether it was going to be me or Chad. And yes, long before we had that ultrasound, I did really wish for a boy. So I knew what I was setting myself up for.

I figure I have a couple of years, tops, before Chad usurps my position as Liam’s #1 Hero. That time will be here before I know it. So for now I am going to take great pleasure in Liam’s attachment to me (while trying not to be too smug about it) – because I know it will end long before I want it to.

Thursday, July 07, 2005


Big = the bathtub
Bigger = Cory & Megan's pool
Biggest = Lake Erie

And if it weren't for the cold temperature, rough water conditions and bad fish smell, Liam might have even gotten into the lake. Ah well, maybe next time.

Monday, July 04, 2005

God has a sense of humour

Why else, after talking about doing it every week for the last two months but never quite making it, did we finally get ourselves cleaned up and dressed and fed early and out the door to the evening church service last night, only to get there and find the place locked up? Seems they cancelled it this weekend. Maybe it's a sign?

Took another swim today (again, thank you Megan!):

(I'm playing with filters on the photos - hence the 70s-ish halo on them.)

We're headed out to the park for a couple of days tomorrow. It should be fun, once the insane amount of preparation and packing is all taken care of...

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Breakfast with Wimbledon

As a young family, we don't have many traditions around here (though with the arrival of Little Bird that will have to change - he is the perfect excuse to go nuts decorating for the holidays, make pancakes on the weekends, start attending the company children's Christmas party, etc.) One staunch tradition that we do follow is an insane amount of TV watching during the four grand slam tournaments each year and in particular, Wimbledon, and in particular, Breakfast with Wimbledon on men's final Sunday.

Given the whole marathon/half marathon thing we're shooting for, we had to make a few changes this year. Normally we do up a big breakfast and lounge in bed watching the final all morning. This year Chad was out for his run and back again right as the match started at 9 a.m. Liam was up early, around 5:30, and then back to sleep by 7, dozing beside me until Chad came back home. Then I got up and had some toast while Chad ran over to McDonald's for some takeout breakfast - he's got a gross addiction to some sort of pancake and egg sandwich there (though he only indulges very occasionally - I'll give him that). When he came back, I was out the door for my run, although by this time it was about 10:30. I cranked out five miles outside in the heat, but when I swung back into our neighbourhood to refuel before heading out again, I thought better of it and finished my last few miles on the treadmill in our freezing cold basement (ahhhh!) while watching the awards ceremony. Coming upstairs to see what was going on after I finished running, this is what I found - Cookie and Little Bird napping again after enjoying Breakfast at Wimbledon together. I hope this continues for many years to come.

When Liam woke up, he went through his normal routine which consists of a good ten minutes of yawning and stretching contortions, as if he is still way too tired to even contemplate getting up. I could watch this guy for hours:

We are those people

Yesterday we got out of town. Literally. We made our first sojourn to London as a family to do a little shopping. Chad needed to get some new running gear, as he is pounding the life out of the stuff he currently has. He has also just found a regular running partner who has more gadgets than he has, and I think he feels the need to keep up. As for me, well, I needed a new bathing suit. I bought the one I wear most often prior to our honeymoon – so that’s four years ago – and it is doing a woeful job, I discovered during our swim the other day, of keeping up with my breastfeeding boobs. Not to mention that a little more coverage in other areas never hurts the postpartum figure.

So off we went to London, with Little Bird (as we’ve taken to calling Liam) in tow. He snoozed the whole way in the car and for the first half hour or so in his stroller at Masonville. And when he woke up, he quite enjoyed looking around. Masonville has some great stores and nice skylights and a grand food court – it’s a definite step up from the paltry Downtown Chatham Centre to which he has grown accustomed. Shopping locally will never quite have the same cachet again.

Eventually, of course, Liam started up the whole let’s-try-to-fit-both-fists-into-my-mouth-at-once routine. He goes from being perfectly happy to perfectly ravenous at a speed of about zero to sixty. And once he signals that he’s hungry, it’s not long before he completely melts down. (Because as we all know, he is just on the brink of starvation. Look at his gaunt little cheeks, can’t you see it?) Luckily, it was Sears to the rescue. Among the bits of wisdom I’ve accumulated this year: all Sears stores have nursing rooms, resplendent with rocking chairs and change tables and diaper genies, for your comfort. Of course, there is something in it for them – the walls are solidly papered with nursing bra posters. It was like sitting through a twenty minute commercial in there.

After some more shopping, during which I discovered that it’s a mistake to look for a swimsuit on the first weekend in July because the retail world has already moved onto the fall and winter season, Chad and I were ravenous ourselves. And this led to a big discussion about whether or not we were ready to go out to eat as a family. (I had gone out to lunch once with Liam, when he was about two weeks old, but at that time he was sleeping 20 hours a day and in hindsight I really had very little to worry about.) We circled the mall a couple of times having this discussion and even postponed the inevitable for a while by sampling the Happy Canada Day cake being served by a sour looking woman at The Bay. But eventually we decided to make a break for it (the lure of the Jack Astor’s Vanilla Coke was too strong) and headed to the restaurant right across the street.

By this time it was about 2:30 and the place was largely deserted, but of course for staffing purposes they squished us and the other five patrons all into the same corner of the restaurant. The staff brought Liam a hammock-type thing that holds an infant carrier at table height so we could keep an eye on Little Bird. We were unbelievably nervous and tried to speed through the ordering process as quickly as possible. For his part, Liam really did do a good job – it’s got to be boring as hell sitting in that same car seat day in and day out, completely at your parents’ mercy. He hung in there until we were halfway through our meals and then the pent-up rage exploded and he started to shriek.

This, of course, elicited lots of disapproving looks from the other five diners in the place, and we fumbled with the straps to get him out of the car seat post-haste to shush him. He was fine once he was on my lap and kept quiet for the rest of the meal (which then dragged on much longer than it had to – you try eating a club sandwich with one hand.) When Chad finished eating I passed Liam over to him so I could finish faster. Liam has never purposefully reached for anything in his life, but he was quite taken with Chad’s lemonade and with a couple of clumsy, possibly-intentional swipes, nearly dumped it a few times.

Now wouldn’t that have been a sight – to not only have a loud child, but to have one who is just wrecking the place. I’ve spent the last thirty years of my life being the one shooting the disapproving looks at people with unruly kids in tow. Now I’m the mom frantically giving out apologetic smiles to all the other customers. From thinking little ones are better left at home, to an indignant stance that Liam is a person too, and how else is he supposed to learn about the world but by experiencing it first hand, for better or for worse? We are those people now, the ones who take their kids out and just learn to grin and bear the humiliation. Ahh, Little Bird, be kind.