Wednesday, March 30, 2011

preparing a toddler for the new baby

dad and the boy

If you type 'prepare toddler for baby' into Google, you'll get close to a million hits and although I definitely haven't read them all, I have read a number of articles in my parenting magazines and email newsletters on the topic and they all pretty much say the same thing.  Expect some regression in your older child, make time especially for them, make sure that you prepare them and talk to them before the baby arrives, etc etc.

What the articles don't tell you, or at least haven't told me, is that behavioural changes in your child can start to occur long before the baby arrives.  Despite all my reading, in no way was I prepared for my 2 year old to suddenly start becoming mommy-obsessed and clingy.

I so did not expect him to...
  • Start crying and screaming each night before bed; he's been sleeping on his own since 5 months and suddenly mommy's presence is required for at least 10 minutes after books are finished.
  • Start waking in the night and screaming every time I left his room, until I figured out that sitting in the rocking chair for 10-15 minutes was enough to for him to settle back into a slumber. 
  • Start dragging his 'bear' and 'blankie' everywhere.  Usually they don't even leave the bedroom, this week he's taken them with him to his grandma's every day and she tells me he's even taking them in the stroller.
Combined with the tiredness that comes from being 34.5 weeks pregnant, raising a toddler and working full-time outside the home, I have to admit I've been feeling a little bit overwhelmed.  Fortunately, after a visit to my midwife, I felt both relieved and up to the challenge.

She assured me that the boy's behaviour was perfectly normal, that toddlers hear much more than they can understand and thus find themselves very confused about what exactly is happening.  They hear things like 'where's the boy going to go when you're at the hospital?' or even 'where's the baby going to sleep' and they start to feel displaced because as far as they know, they're not going anywhere.  And so, its just natural that they become clingy; they are such observant little creatures, we really need to give toddler's more credit.

My midwife also mentioned that often in these situations 'Daddy just won't do' which greatly relieved the hubs who was starting to take the boys actions a little personally (despite his best efforts not to).

The best news of all?  The midwife also mentioned that in most cases toddler behaviour returns to normal shortly after the arrival of the baby, once they realize that although things are different, neither mommy nor the toddler is going anywhere or being left behind, a new normal emerges.

Some twitter chatter has indicated that this final point may be optomistic, regardless I'm going to hold onto the hope that once the baby arrives, the boy will find his balance and the clinginess will start to dissipate.  Did it work that way for you?

Don't forget to check out our current giveaway 
A Degraaf Designs Washable Diaper Bag

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Diaper Bag Giveaway | Degraaf Designs

degraaf designs
Back in February I posted about handmade diaper bags by Degraaf Designs and in celebration of my Ddrop sponsorship to Blissdom Canada, which is thanks to all of my amazing friends, family and readers I am excited to offer you an opportunity to win one of Leanne's fabulous diaper bags.
degraaf designsdegraaf designs
This lovely bag is made of super soft, navy corduroy and lined with uber cute batman cotton.  It has 4 elasticized pockets, in addition to the main compartment on the inside, two bottle pockets at either end as well as a pocket on the back to hold the matching changing pad.

degraaf designsThese completely washable diaper bags are handmade by Leanne Kindt who began sewing at the age of 10 and never lost her passion for the craft.  Degraaf Designs emerged when her gorgeous daughter was born and Leanne couldn't find a diaper bag that she liked that wasn't $200.  Instead of settling for something that wasn't what she wanted, Leanne used her passion for sewing to create a diaper bag and quickly started getting requests from friends and family.  Hence, Degraaf Designs began.

Enter to Win
Blue Corduroy/Batman handmade diaper bag as pictured
Open to Canada/US only
First Entry:
Visit Degraaf Designs on Etsy and share which of the bags currently available is your favourite
Please make sure you include your email address if its not in your profile otherwise I won't be able to contact you if you win!
Additional Entries:
Please leave a comment for EACH additional entry

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I entered to #win a handmade, totally washable diaperbag from #Degraafdesigns | @mommastuffblog

Giveaway closes Sunday April 10th, 2011 at 8pm (PST). Winner will be determined by a random number generator. Winner will be notified via email and the winner will have 48 hours to respond or a new name will be drawn and contacted.

Contest now closed - congratulations to our winner, comment # 39 Miss Emmy Lou

Monday, March 21, 2011

thank you

Just a quick note to say Thank You to everyone that voted for the Momma Stuff Blog in the Ddrops contest to win tickets to Blissdom Canada.
There were 20 fabulous blog entries on the topic of how Mom bloggers can have a positive impact on the health of Canadians and I am so flattered and thankful to report that with all of your help, the Momma Stuff Blog won one of the four sponsorships from Ddrops to attend Blissdom Canada!
YAY - we won!!
please excuse my giddiness
Many thanks to Ddrops for this amazing opportunity and congratulations to all of the winners!
In celebration of this amazing news, I have a great giveaway coming your way this week, so make sure you stop by and check it out!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Agoo 70% Off Sale

I don't generally post sales on the Momma Stuff Blog, but   I've written about Agoo Kids Activewear before and they are absolutley, without question, one of my favourite clothing brands.  I first bought their products for traveling with the boy to China as they are stretchy, wick-away, quick-drying and offered UPF protection for his sensitive skin, but once the first article of clothing made its way onto his body, I was sold.

Agoo periodically has great sales (which is when I usually shop, I can't help it I'm a little on the cheap side) but I have never seen a 70% off sale before and I just had to share.  And for those of you that are Canadian, Agoo is based out of North Vancouver and personally, I love supporting fellow Vancouverites.

Happy Shopping Mommas!!

PS. Agoo offers flat rate shipping in Canada and the Continental US
Tiered Shipping Fees

Our shipping fees are based on an Order's Total. The more you buy the less you pay in shipping - think of it as our reward to you for being a loyal member.  We currently are able to offer the following tiered shipping fees.

In Canada* and the Continental United States**
  • $8.00 Flat Fee shipping charging on orders up to a $4.99 in total.
  • $3.00 Flat Fee Shipping charge on orders between $5.00 and $14.99 in total.
  • $6.00 Flat Fee Shipping charge on orders between $15.00 and $34.99  in total.
  • $8.00 Flat Fee Shipping charge on orders between $35.00 and $49.99 in total.
  • $10.00 Flat Fee Shipping charge on orders totaling $50.00 or more.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy 2nd Birthday

While everyone is off celebrating St. Patrick's Day, I find myself sitting in utter disbelief that two years ago, I met the boy for the first time.  It's hard to believe my independent little man used to be so small and delicate and even harder to believe that two whole years have passed since his birth.  I know in time, his current size will seem minuscule, but I have to admit, looking at this picture, he looks huge right about now.
Welcoming the Boy - March 17, 2009
Happy Birthday my boy - Momma loves you so very much!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Second Pregnancy Syndrome

31.5 weeksAt 32 weeks, its hard to believe that I'm already into the 8th month of pregnancy and that our newest little family member will be joining us very, very soon. I've noticed some distinct differences  with this pregnancy that are perhaps obvious, but I still wish someone would have given me the heads-up.

Are you thinking of getting pregnant again?  Here's some food for thought on second pregnancy syndrome (as I'm calling it) based entirely on my own experience as a pregnant, working momma.
  • Exhausted is a way of life.
  • Good luck trying to nap, there's chores to do and meals to prep.
  • Weekend sleep-ins are negotiable at best.
  • The floor is a long way down and your toddler and his toys are constantly down there.
  • Your belly may now also function as a chair, pillow or other form of toddler furniture.
 On the other hand, there are some incredibly rewarding aspects to pregnancy with a toddler in tow.
  • Toddler belly kisses make it impossible not to smile.
  • The boy pulling up my shirt, tapping my belly and saying 'baby' makes my heart melt.
  • Reading 'big brother' books with the boy and watching him take it all in is an incredible source of pride. 
  • Imagining my children playing together, learning and supporting each other and ultimately looking out for one another in every step of their life journey is truly what makes it all worthwhile.
To use the words of my seven year old nephew, 'I think having two babies is going to be very challenging' at least for a while, but the truth is I'm giddy with excitement.  I know it will be an adjustment for us all but I also know its going to be worth every single trial and tribulation along the way.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Toddler Property Laws

My friend who recently got married is in the midst of some serious spring cleaning and came across some information sheets from when her two teenage daughters were toddlers and she passed them on to me.  Although I'm sure I've seen this before, I don't remember where or when, but the truth of it made me smile.
Toddler Property Laws:
If I like it, it's mine.
It it's in my hand, it's mine.
If I can take it from you, it's mine.
If I had it a little while ago, it's mine.
It it's mine, it must never appear to be yours in any way.
If it looks just like mine, it is mine.
If I saw it first, it's mine.
If you are playing with something and you put it down, it automatically becomes mine.
If it's broken, it's yours.
I think these sorts of anecdotes are supposed to make us feel better when our toddler's act possessive with their toys and belongings.  I suppose that ownership in and of itself is a fairly new concept for a 2 year old, its part of their realization of self.

Sometimes I worry that I take for granted the understanding that we are individual entities, with our own thoughts, feelings and opinions?  As a parent, I try to keep things in perspective; to the boy the world must feel so big and overwhelming sometimes.  But with his ever increasing vocabulary, and sometimes boldly defiant behaviour, it can become so easy to forget.

Is there a way for parents to effectively keep our expectations in check with our children's development, at least most of the time?    Last week the boy said 'I'm hungry' for the first time and in the moment I didn't even realize the magnitude of growth and understanding associated with saying 'I'm hungry' rather than just 'hungry'.  Granted he hasn't said it again, but when I realized that he had made a connection between what he was feeling with himself as an individual, my heart swelled with pride.   

I know I'll never realistically be able to consider the boys mental and emotional development in every moment and every action, but I try and relish in the little accomplishments because I already see that with children in tow, time flies by in the blink of an eye.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Friendship & Loss

When I was young, my Mom always told me that a friend worth having was one that you could not see for a long time, but when you reconnected, you could chat like you'd seen each other yesterday.  I've always taken this advice to heart and I've counted my friends based on quality not quantity.

Due to Facebook, I find myself connected with many friends of my past, but I can only think of one that fits the definition above and I absolutley love him.  He lives a province away and I only see him a couple times of year at best, but its never strained and its always amazing.

The hubs is even luckier, he still hangs out with a number of people that he's known since high school, or at least since college and they're all still close; incredibly close.  Sadly, this week has been filled with many tears for us both, one of his very best friends passed away unexpectedly. 

Colin Jack, co-founder of Just Here For the Beer, teacher and friend touched many people in many ways and I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to call him a friend.

During his celebration of life, one of the speakers shared a profound conversation she'd had with Colin after his Mom had passed away; they discussed what he had learned from the experience.  Her comments made me think about my own opportunities to learn and grow from the passing of our friend and although these statements may sound cliche, in this moment of loss, they seem so true.

  • Life is short; enjoy every moment.
  • We all lead busy lives, but our true friends are worth the effort.
  • Follow your heart and follow your passion; successes will follow.
  • Stay true to yourself and your roots.
  • Don't be afraid to love and give of yourself for others.

Thank you Colin, just for being you. 
You will be missed, by so many people, in so many ways.

Have you found wisdom in the passing of someone close? 
Please share.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Quinoa Pancakes | Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Soy-Free & Delicious

Back in August I shared my recipe for gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free Buckwheat Pancakes that were both delicious and fluffy.  I never would have thought I'd be the type of girl to have more than one type of pancakes on her blog, but I've found another fabulous pancake recipe that needed only a little tweaking to suit our families' dietary needs.

This recipe comes from the amazing, and ever-popular Quinoa 365: The Everyday Superfood book.  I bought this book in late 2010 and its already full of wrinkled pages, hand written notes and food splatters, all signs of affection in my kitchen.  

These pancakes are thin, but still fluffy in the middle and they get a lovely crispiness along the edges if you fry them in a little bit of oil (which I do).  These pancakes have a slightly nutty quinoa flavour, but they have the hubs seal of approval, so I urge you to try these with your picky eaters.  I often make a half batch, which makes enough pancakes for the three of us on a Sunday morning with a couple leftover for the boy to eat during the week.  Alternately, if I make a whole batch, I freeze the leftovers and we can easily have breakfast for dinner another day!

I've made only a few changes to the original recipe, first I've replaced cow or soy's milk with rice milk, second I decreased the quinoa flour to ensure a mild flavour and finally I added a little bit of flax seed for a nutritional boost (as if pancakes made from Quinoa isn't nutritious enough).
quinoa pancakes
Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free & Soy-free Quinoa Pancakes
Adapated from Quinoa 365: The Everyday Superfood
by Patricia Green & Carolyn Hemming

Dry Ingredients:
  •  2 cups Quinoa Flour
  • 2/3 cup Brown Rice Flour
  • 2-3 Tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
Wet Ingredients:
  • 2.5 cups rice milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  1. In a medium bowl whisk together the dry ingredients.
  2. In a seperate bowl, mix together the liquid ingredients.  (A shaker cup intended for protein shakes works great).
  3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well.
  4. Drop batter by 1/4 cup onto a lightly oiled non-stick pan warmed over medium-high heat.
  5. When bubbles form on the pancake, flip and continue cooking and 30sec - 1 minute.
  6. Enjoy the deliciousness!