Book Banter: The 5 Love Languages of Children

Welcome to a new section I’m incorporating into my blog: Book Banter. In this semi-regular (translation: when I have something to write about) series, I’m going to discuss books related to parenting. No formal reviews, nothing stuffy… just me, chatting about a book I recently read that relates to parenting (and, inadvertently, my life). Hope you like it!

5 love languages children

Photo source here (Indigo)

This “week” (month?) we’re talking about the book The 5 Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell. I casually mentioned the book over coffee with one of my girlfriends and her first response was “What’s a love language?” (Glad you weren’t the only one thinking that? ūüėõ ) Basically, the authors explain the different ways we understand love, stating that “Every child has a primary language of love, a way in which he or she understands a parent’s love best.” (Chapman, 9) By loving your child through their primary love language, we ensure that they know they are loved, which, in turn, helps them to “grow into a giving, loving, responsible adult.” (9)¬†Of course, the authors also recommend loving your child through all 5 love languages (even as you focus on their primary one), which will subsequently help them to speak all 5 love languages themselves later in life (109-10).

So what are the 5 languages? Physical touch (ex. hugs & kisses); Words of Affirmation (words expressing your love for them, either spoken or written); Quality Time (spending time with them); Gifts (can¬†be “made, found, or purchased” (86), includes gifts that are both needs and wants); and Acts of Service (doing something for them (ex. making them a special breakfast (105)), or helping them to do something (ex. study for a test (106)).

The authors advise that “With an infant, you must express love in all five languages” (111) and that even “Young children are just beginning to learn how to receive and express love in the various languages. This means that they will experiment with actions and responses that are satisfying to them” and may change their dominant love language from one month to the next (111). They also warn that as they grow, a child’s love language may change; particularly as a teenager. (112)

I can confirm the changing love language of young ‘uns…. A month ago I would have proclaimed that Bean was definitely NOT a physical touch love language kid. (Her version of “snuggling” was to lie down close together without touching.) However, this past week she’s started experimenting with that love language. Over the weekend, she offered to brush my hair (heavenly!) and then just this morning, mid-breakfast she announced “Snuggle time!” and curled up into me for a little snuggle (a real one!)¬†in between bites of toast. I’m only too happy to oblige, but considering the only time in the past few years that she’s been snuggly is when she’s either sick or has had a bad dream, you can understand my surprise.

Back to the book: I like that the authors offer suggestions on how to express your love for your children in each of the 5 languages (conveniently organized in a section at the back of each love-language-specific chapter). They also offer advice on how to discipline with the 5 love languages, which might just have some surprising insight for you. There’s even a chapter at the end of the book dealing with the challenges posed by single-parent families. There are other books in the collection if you’re interested (one is¬†specifically about teenagers, if you happen to have one, … and no, I don’t think threenagers count, haha.).

The bottom line for me? Since the book is geared towards parents of children 5 and older, I think that I will get a LOT more out of the book if I re-read¬†it again in a few years. Until then, it’s given me a great overview of the 5 love languages, along with some food for thought.

 

References from:

Chapman, Gary, and Ross Campbell. The 5 Love Languages of Children. 1997. Northfield Publishing, Chicago, 2016.

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Happy World Baking Day!

Colorful Baking Cupcakes Celebration Cupcake Cases

I love to bake and was surprised to find out that there’s a day to celebrate it! Who knew?! What a great excuse to spend the day creating yummy tasties… except that it’s supposed to be 30-something-degrees today¬†and the thought of the oven on all day is rather unappealing. (Author’s note: World Baking Day was actually on May 17th, but things have been so chaotic this past week, I haven’t been able to get around to editing this post until today…. Oops. Enjoy it anyways!)

So if not a whole day of baking, at least an hour. Bean’s request for banana bread will have to wait for another day, because I have plans for that thing vegetable?¬†growing in my backyard. You know, the perfect plant for me: one that grows no matter how much I neglect it, haha. (Confession: Sadly, I¬†did not inherit the green thumb that runs in my family. It has taken me a lot of dead house plants to figure that one out.) Actually, the thing in question is rhubarb. I have fond memories of eating delicious strawberry-rhubarb-crumble and other such desserts while growing up. When my parents downsized to a smaller house, I jumped at the chance to transplant some of my mum’s rhubarb into my garden. (My mum did the transplanting… see my earlier comment about dead house plants.) That was three years ago. I decided it was finally time I do something with it. I might not have a green thumb, but I am rather gifted at baking, and so why not use the skills I have to make a tasty treat?

I found a great recipe online (orange-rhubarb muffins) and decided to try it. I wanted to get started while El was sleeping, so I chose to forgo the shower for the moment and bake in my pyjamas. Of course, this also meant that I was out in the backyard picking rhubarb in my pyjamas, but I doubt any of the neighbours noticed… and if they did, oh well.

The results are delicious! I will definitely be making these orange-rhubarb muffins again. Whatever you decide to bake today, I hope that it turns out perfectly too. And if you’re not the baking type, then stop by a local bakery later today and pick up a treat for you and your family. Happy World Baking Day everyone!

 

Orange-rhubarb-muffins-mai2017

I had to taste one to make sure they were good before recommending the recipe. ūüėČ

 

Mothers Day “surprises”

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Bean loves surprises. She loves giving them just as much as she loves receiving them (for which I am thankful). While playing, she’ll often come up to me with her arms behind her back. “Mummy, I have a present for you. Surprise!” (And then produces one of her toys). Other times, the “present” is something imaginary that she’ll throw to me across the room (this can be anything from an ice cream cone to magic powers), which I catch and then exclaim my thanks over. Sometimes she doesn’t tell me what it is before I catch it… once I popped the imaginary surprise in my mouth to eat it (as the previous few had all been edible), only to see Bean’s shocked look. “Mummy, you can’t eat that. It’s a plate.” Hahaha… oops. Right.¬†I “spat out” the plate, to a look of relief from Bean.

She also loves the idea of making surprises for other people, but doesn’t get that in order for it to be a surprise, she has to keep it a secret. However, luckily for the receiver, her hints are often slightly cryptic. All week Bean has been talking to me about the surprise she was making for me for Mothers Day.

Monday: “Mummy, when you come for the Mothers Day picnic, you have to drive fast, ok? Don’t drive slow. If you drive slow, I won’t give you a teabag.”

Tuesday: “For the Mothers Day Party someone is going to put big chairs outside for the mummies to sit on. I don’t know who, but someone is going to do that.”

Wednesday: “Mummy, today I glued flowers on your teabag. It’s a surprise.”

Thursday: “Mummy, I made you a surprise. It has Elsa and Anna on it.”

Friday: The day of the Mothers’ Day picnic at Bean’s preschool. Hubby has graciously taken the afternoon off of work in order to look after El so that I can have some much-needed one-on-one time with Bean.

I arrive to be greeted with one of the biggest, best hugs Bean can give — the kind that is usually reserved for the rare days that Daddy picks her up from preschool. (Since I pick her up almost daily, I usually just get a normal hug.) That hug alone makes my day. The preschool has various games and stations set up around the yard, so Bean and I play bean-bag-toss (she’s actually pretty good), make a necklace for her (think coloured bits of pasta on string), and visit the face-paint station (she decides to paint her own face, which just cracks me up). Afterwards, she looks in the hand mirror at the streaks of blue and green paint that appear to be haphazardly strewn across her face and declares that she is beautiful. I can’t help but smile.

Then it’s time for the picnic — guacamole and tortilla chips, wraps (3 flavours!), followed by fruit and cake for dessert. The wraps look surprisingly good. Bean tells me that she helped to make the egg wraps, so we make sure to take one of those (actually, we take one of each flavour). Listening to her tell me about making the egg salad wraps is wonderful. I take a bite… it is delicious! I make sure to let her know how good it tastes, meanwhile thinking that the next time we make egg salad, I’ll have her help make it. Just before leaving, she goes to get her present for me: a cute little jar (decorated with paper flowers), inside of which are 2 loose-leaf teabags. Ah… NOW I understand the hints. Lots of thanks and lots of hugs. It was such a special day and a big thank-you to the preschool for organizing it.

(Of course, Hubby spoiled me too. I will, however, spare you the details… I’m sure that your husbands were just as wonderful!) Whether it was your spouse or your kids, on the actual Mothers Day or on another day that worked better for you and your family, I hope that you were all showered with love. For you ALL deserve it. Happy Mothers Day everyone!

 

Mothers day craft 2017

Bean’s Mother’s Day gift to me. And in case you were wondering how Elsa & Anna figure in, they were on the card that Hubby helped her to make.

 

 

Happy May Day!

In many countries around the world, May 1st is a day to celebrate the arrival of spring (source). To me, May Day conjures up images of children dancing around the Maypole with ribbons in their hands (one end of which is attached to the top of the Maypole) and flowers in their hair. I’m picturing sunshine, warmth, good food and drink,¬†and fun times with family and friends.

The reality? I look out my window at the grey day, the rain hitting the windowpane. My husband is out of the country at a conference, Bean is at school, and El is napping. I don’t mind a little quiet time, but I would have loved to have spent it in the garden, possibly even in sandals! Sigh. That is not-to-be this May Day. Yesterday was cold enough to need a winter coat, and although today is indeed warmer, it’s not exactly sandal weather.

So I’m on the hunt for a creative way to celebrate May Day that doesn’t involve spring-cleaning the garden, or going for a walk to appreciate nature, or even simply having a cup of tea on the deck. On a cold, rainy day this momma needs to find another way to celebrate.

One idea is to buy some fresh flowers for inside the house. On the weekend, Bean picked some flowers (with permission) from my in-laws’ garden. When she brought them home, I let her do the flower-arranging herself. She loved it!!! (And for those of you who are perfectionists, find a way to resist the urge to fix it. The pride they feel every time they see their flower arrangement on the table is worth it.) So I’ve already got that covered. Check!

 

Bean's May Day flowers

Bean’s May Day flower arrangement

 

Another idea is to do a random act of kindness. Traditionally, this involves making a May-day basket of flowers and leaving it on a neighbour’s doorknob/doorstep to surprise them. Again, in this weather, I don’t really want to leave anything sitting on someone’s doorstep or it’s sure to be soaked in minutes (if it’s not blown away by the wind). Bean and I have already planned a random act of kindness to do after school. Check! Yesterday she unexpectedly got a smurf toy from a random stranger while we were out for lunch. (Bean’s not into smurfs — she initially thought it was one of the trolls from Frozen, haha.)
– Mummy, I don’t need this.
– Ok, that’s fine. You don’t need to keep the toy. Can you think of someone you’d like to give it to?
– E. (a friend at school)
– Ok, that’s a nice idea. I’ll bring it when I pick you up after school and you can give it to her as a surprise.
(Bean saw the toy on the counter this morning and made sure to remind me to bring it after school.)

BS AL FLOWER BASKETS

May Day in Annapolis, 2009” Photo by Susan Reimer

There are a ton of May-day crafts and activities suitable for preschoolers on the internet (check out the good ideas over at Preschool Express), one of which is a paper-May-day-crown. Bean loves crowns and I think she would love this idea too! It’ll have to wait until she gets home from school, but that’s ok. There is enough spring-cleaning (or, if I’m being honest, regular cleaning) to do inside the house in the meantime. And maybe,¬†if I’m feeling up for it, I’ll make a little May day basket to put her afterschool snack in. Just a little something special to mark the day.

So as it turns out, I am celebrating May Day; just not in the traditional sense. Flowers and a random act of kindness (plus a craft or two) seem like a great way to brighten up this rainy May Day. However you choose to celebrate (or even if you don’t), Happy May Day everyone!

There’s a what in your bed???

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As I mentioned in my last post (here), something was up with Bean — my normally great eater was barely touching her food. By the time dinner was done, the poor kid was burning up. A quick check with the thermometer confirmed what I already knew: a big fever. A dose of meds and into bed!

The only time Bean wants to snuggle in the true sense of the word is when she’s sick. (Normally her version of “snuggling” is to lie close together without touching.) So I’m trying not to breathe in her germs while she snuggles right up to me and (eventually) falls asleep. I extract myself from beneath her head and slip out of the bedroom to come downstairs in time to hear late-night-dinner-praises from Hubby. As we’re discussing the finer art of trying to cook dinner when 2 little ones want my attention, we’re interrupted by calls of “Mummy!” from upstairs. It’s Bean.

I go into her room and she starts recounting (at full volume) how she woke up and was calling for me. I gently interrupt her (in a quiet voice, hoping she’ll follow suit and not wake up her sister) to ask her why she’s awake. “I want you to lie down with me Mummy.” Right.¬†20 questions it is.
– Did you have a bad dream?
– No.
– Do you have to pee?
– Yes!
Yessss! Got it on the second try!

After the bathroom, she snuggles up to me once again and falls back asleep (relatively quickly, phew!). A bit more chatting with Hubby, and then I go upstairs to get ready for bed. Just before I fall asleep there’s more calls of “Mummy!” coming from Bean’s room. Sigh. This is going to be a long night.

lion baby-1085667_1280

Bean’s sitting up in her bed, a sure sign of a bad dream. I climb in beside her as she’s telling me there was a lion in her room. “It was just a bad dream sweetie. You’re safe now. Here, snuggle with Koala (a present from the Easter bunny and one of her new favourite bedtime buddies) and we’ll lie down and go back to sleep.” She starts scooting away from the stuffed animal, moaning about how there’s a lion climbing on Koala. A quick check revealed that Bean’s eyes were indeed open.
Umm… a lion? “I don’t see a lion.”
“Yes mummy, right there!”
I feel Bean’s forehead, and she’s burning up again. “Ok, I’m going to get some more m√©dicaments for you.”
“I’m coming too!”
I start to protest but the fearful looks she keeps shooting at Koala persuade me otherwise. “Ok, come on then.”

As we’re heading down the stairs, Bean is walking funny. Like she has spent way too many hours riding a horse.
– Bean, what’s up? Why are you walking funny?
– Mummy, there’s a lion.
I must not have heard that right. It looks like she’s avoiding a crack in the sidewalk, except that it’s our carpeted stairs with no crack in sight.
– A line? Like a long straight line?
– No Mummy. A squiggly one with ears and a mouth that goes ROAR!
At this point, I have to press my lips together to keep from laughing at her. Part of me thinks this is hilarious. The other part of me thinks that she must be hallucinating from the fever and maybe¬†I should actually do something about it. The practical part wins (although not, I admit, until after I’ve had a good (silent) laugh with my face turned away so that she can’t see…). I give her some more meds, a sip of water, and climb into bed with her and a cold, damp washcloth in an effort to reduce the fever. The poor kid curls up with me and falls asleep (as do I — waking up around 4am when El wants to feed).

My sleep-addled brain knows enough to think that tomorrow (or is it now today?)¬†I’ll keep her home from school and it will be a slow day… a pyjama-wearing, movie-watching, snuggling-the-sick-kid-while-trying-not-to-catch-it kind of day. Here’s hoping it’s only a 24-hr bug.

Edited to add: It was indeed only a 24-hr fever, and by dinner-time the next day she was back to her usual self.

 

Pan fried or roasted? The art of trying to make dinner while minding the kids

via Daily Prompt: Fry

food-vegetables-wood-knife

I tried a new recipe last night for a tasty pasta primavera from one of my favourite cookbooks: Looneyspoons. I had to modify it a bit to suit the dietary restrictions of my family, but all-in-all it was great! Hubby came home late from work to find the kitchen rather a mess, but a tasty meal awaiting him. This is delicious! He said. But wouldn’t it have been easier to just fry up the veggies? Was it really worth the extra work of roasting them?

My husband is a great cook, so dinner compliments from him are always nice to hear. I also appreciate the advice to streamline the cooking process, however, with two small ones flitting about, that’s not always easy. Here’s how my dinner prep went yesterday:

While El was having her afternoon nap I decided to chop up all of the veggies in preparation for dinner. Point for me! However, while happily chopping veggies I suddenly noticed that it was almost time to go and pick up Bean from preschool. Right. The dishes will just have to wait. I covered the veggies and off we went for pick-up, meanwhile congratulating myself (albeit prematurely) on the advance dinner prep.

Once home, I instructed Bean, “Just let mummy put these veggies in the oven and then you can have a video while I breastfeed El.” I’m thinking 2 minutes, tops. All I had to do was chop some basil and garlic, toss them with the veggies and a little olive oil, and then voil√†, time with the girls. Then I looked at the recipe. Oh dear, I’d forgotten to chop the tomatoes. And of course, the garlic and basil took a little longer than I would have liked. Points for the other team. (What other team??? Umm… maybe those mums who are a little more with it than me, haha.)

So I finally finish prepping the veggies, pop them in the oven and then sit down to feed El and watch Paw Patrol with Bean. Ok, this is why I wanted to roast the veggies — time with the girls while it was cooking. Except that I’m supposed to be cooking the pasta and washing up the prep dishes… Right. So after the veggies come out, the pasta goes on and Bean gets to watch more¬†Paw Patrol while I finish organizing everything dinner-related; the dishes are going to have to wait.

Dinner’s finally ready, yes! It tastes great. Or at least, I think it does. I spend half the meal spoon-feeding El, the other half trying to coax food and fluids¬†into Bean (something is up; this kid normally loves to eat), shoving a fork-full of my own dinner into my mouth every now and then. By the time dinner’s over, Bean’s really not doing so great, and it’s bedtime for El, so I corral the girls upstairs and leave the dishes be.

So yes, it might have been faster to fry the veggies, but then the dishes would most definitely NOT have been done. At least with roasting I had half a chance to do them… maybe next time I’ll plan it all out a little better. This momma might just yet be able to serve a nice home-cooked meal without the kitchen being a mess by the time I’m done. ūüėČ Here’s to all of you mommas who can cook dinner while managing kids and cleaning up the dishes as you go. You are my hero; please send advice!

Blindly we raise thee

via Daily Prompt: Blindly

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Parenting is a lot of things. Everything from a cup overflowing with love to an overly frequent¬†test of your patience;¬†from moments that just melt your heart to moments that make you want to scream and pull your hair out; from tears of joy to tears of frustration. It is one of those things in life that no matter how much you practice for it (if you can even practice), nothing will prepare you for the real thing. It’s not a job that has standardized tests (although maybe it should come with a required course in child-rearing), and it’s quite hard to get any pre-service training, even if you are willing to pay. (Yes, babysitting is great training for some aspects of parenting, such as changing a diaper or entertaining kids inside on a rainy day, but it doesn’t prepare you for the harder stuff, like what to do when your kid hits you.) Parenting is something that we enter into blindly, although hopefully willingly, and that crazy love we have for our kids is what keeps us going through the rough spots.

I doubt there are many (if any)¬†parents out there who would claim to be a perfect parent. We all make mistakes. Heck, my parents even joke about all of¬†the mistakes they made on me… but I still turned out OK, so they couldn’t have made that many mistakes. Parenting is less about trying to be perfect and more about loving your kids in the best way you know how;¬†learning from your mistakes instead of trying to avoid them.

In my family (as in many others — including elephant herds!), it takes a village to raise a child. When my extended family gets together, we don’t hesitate to¬†parent each other’s kids.¬†It’s a nice break for me (and the other mommas) and means that I don’t have to have eyes on my kids ALL. OF. THE. TIME. which means I actually get to eat my breakfast while it’s still hot (Ah, livin’ the dream!).

This village style of parenting helps in much the same way as a GPS system might help you to drive. It offers you suggestions (“she has gas” instead of “turn left here”), but doesn’t get mad at you if you refuse to follow its advice. If you don’t turn left, the GPS will recalculate your route (although sometimes it does tell you to turn around… haha). My family also just rolls with it and will still love you no matter what you decide.

If you don’t have a village-family, you are welcome to join mine virtually. We’re in this together momma! Ask and I will try and answer. And if I don’t know the answer, chances are one of the other mommas in my village does. They are a wealth of resources and help to take away the blindness of what to do when X, Y, or Z happens with your kid. Sending you all lots of hugs and support today and every day!

We like to move it, move it

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I don’t need any excuses to bust out into a dance party, but I can tell you that it’s a great way for kids (and you!) to burn off some energy on a rainy day. I¬†have¬†been dancing as long as I can remember, and since Bean is a typical super-full-of-energy-preschooler, dancing around the living room is a regular occurrence at our house. Most of the time we’re just being silly, but¬†we’re having so fun much, who cares what we look like!

Bean started doing zumba this year at preschool, and she absolutely loves it! Our dance parties at home started to incorporate zumba every now and then. Thanks to our¬†“Smart TV”, we can put YouTube videos up on the big screen and then dance along with them. Some of our favourites are:
Gangnam style¬† (that kid!!! ‚̧ ),¬†and
Gummy Bears — the teacher in this video is just awesome!

I recently came across a great post by Amanda over at Dirt & Boogers entitled¬†“5 Reasons to Have a Dance Party With Your Kids“. Bean and I love to dance, and do so frequently, so of course I was intrigued by the title of the post. In it, Amanda mentions GoNoodle, a free collection of dance videos for kids. I was curious and wanted to try them. So yesterday after school Bean and I pushed the coffee table out of the way, sat El on the play mat surrounded by pillows and put on some GoNoodle videos. Most of them were a little hard for Bean, but I think that’s because they’re geared towards elementary-aged kids, not 3-year olds. However, we really enjoyed one song & dance: “Banana, banana, meatball.” A silly song about patterns, but the dance is easy enough for Bean to follow along with, and the music is something that I’m ok listening to (ie. not¬†your typical annoying only-kids-can-stand-it¬†stuff).

So the next time the weather’s not cooperating for outdoor play and your little ones need to burn off some energy, try having a dance party of your own! You don’t need to look great, you just need to have fun. (And if you need any more reasons to dance with your kids, check out Amanda’s post (here) for all the benefits of bustin’ a move!)

The road trip from…. well, let’s just say it was bad.

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Hubby is away at a conference and I thought that it would be a good idea to take the girls on a road trip to visit my parents. Bean was super excited and for a week before the trip, asked me every morning if today we were going to visit her grandparents. Then travel day came… along with a snowstorm. So we pushed the trip back a day. I get a phone call the next morning from Papa: “The storm’s here now. I’ll come to get you.”

So Papa drives a few hours to pick us up, only to turn around (after lunch) and drive back again. The girls were tired and I was hoping they would nap (at least for a bit) in the car. El cried. And cried and cried and cried… I would reach over into her carseat (Papa was driving) and shake a rattle for her, show her one of Bean’s toys, let her chew on my thumb, anything to try and distract the crying but nothing worked for longer than 5 minutes. She’s probably had a poo. Let’s pull over and I’ll change her. Except that the weather was atrocious and the thought of changing her in the car, with the door open and the strong winds gusting around her cute little naked bum, was¬†not a pleasant one. I decided that maybe an indoor change table was a better idea. Tim Hortons it is!

Bean was asleep by this point, so Papa stayed in the car with her, while I ran into the Timmies with El wrapped up in a blanket in my arms. I get into the bathroom, put her down on the change table and realize that it was a blow-out! No wonder you were so upset little one! I clean her up, wrap up a now happy baby and head back out to the car. As soon as I put her into her carseat she starts screaming again. I climb into the backseat in case the sight of me will calm her down. Sadly it does not. Instead, her screams wake up Bean.¬†“Mummy, El’s crying.” Right. I bite back a sarcastic comment and manage a thank you for telling me.

Another half hour of screaming and I decide that maybe the boob will calm her down.¬†We pull off the highway to a rest stop and Papa takes Bean inside to buy me a coffee while I try to soothe El with the boob (aka breastfeeding). She only eats a little but happily stops screaming and entertains herself with looking around the car and out the window at the people walking by. Papa and Bean return with coffee for me (and Papa) and an apple juice for Bean. “I hope that was OK” says Papa.

I try to space out the consumption of the apple juice but every 5 minutes a little voice from the backseat says “Mummy, I want some of my apple juice now.” 10 minutes after the rest stop El FINALLY succumbs to sleep. Ah…. The sweet sound of silence (punctuated, of course, by requests for more apple juice). We’re half an hour from my parents’ house when a little voice from the back seat announces “Mummy, I need to pee!” Oh dear. We’ve just passed a major exit and are in the country where there’s a long stretch until the next exit.
Papa: There’s another rest stop in 10 minutes.
Me: We won’t make it that far.
Bean: Mummy, I need to pee!
Me: I know Bean, but you have to wait until we can get off the highway. Hold it for now please.
Papa: There’s an exit with a gas station in about 7 minutes.
Me: We need something sooner. Just take the next exit and I’ll figure it out.
Bean: Mummy, I can’t hold it! I feel the pee pee coming!
Me: I’m not opposed to the side of the road, but I would prefer if it wasn’t the side of the highway. (towards the backseat) Bean, look out the window. Count how many trees you see!
Bean: 1, 2, 3…
Me: We’ve got about a minute. Tell me there’s something coming up.

Then we both see the sign for the next exit.
Bean: 20, 21, 22…
Me: Just exit and then pull over. I’ll help her pee in the snow.
Bean: 30 trees mummy. I have to peeeeeeeee!!!!!
Me: Ok Bean, Papa’s going to exit up here, let’s get ready to jump out of the car. Put your hat and mitts on please. (I offer up a silent prayer: Please let us make it out of the car before the pee comes.)

The exit ramp ends at a carpool lot, so Papa drives into the lot and tries to position the car to block the wind. I throw open the door and am frantically undoing carseat buckles to get Bean out. I whisk her out of the car and into the snow. Did we make it? Has the pee come yet? Thankfully she’s dry, so I¬†pull down her pants and help her to hang her bum out over the snow. The pee comes almost instantly and I’m keeping a watchful eye to make sure it doesn’t get on her pants, her boots, or on me. I can’t believe how much pee comes out of this kid! (Probably 300mL worth, since that’s how much apple juice she drank!) As I’m cleaning her up with a tissue she becomes all interested in the deep yellow hole her pee has made in the snowbank. “Mummy, look! My pee made a hole in the snow. That’s so crazy!”

I send a silent thanks heavenwards that I don’t have to clean up a pee-soiled carseat as I buckle Bean back into it. Thankfully the last half hour of the drive is event-free, even if the roads are now snow-covered. We arrive in one piece with Bean happily telling Grandma all about how her pee made a hole in the snow — definitely a highlight of the trip for her.¬†I am now looking forward to some time relaxing with the girls at my parents’ house!

Shower woes

 

Shower Schizophrenia:The constant belief that you hear a child crying while you're trying to take a shower.

Image from someecards.com (this card can be found here)

 

As a first-time mum, this happened to me ALL. THE. TIME. I always made a point of showering when the baby was asleep and I always thought that I heard her crying — not to the point of running down the hall stark naked and dripping wet mind you, but enough to make me stick my head out of the shower and listen. I sometimes even turned off the water just to be sure. I stopped using the fan in case it was preventing me from hearing her cry. It was getting ridiculous.

So then I got smart and started using the baby monitor when I showered¬†(which we¬†rarely use¬†at home; her lungs are strong enough that I can hear the baby cry from anywhere inside the house! It also helps that we have an open-concept layout, haha.). Even with the baby monitor on, I still thought that I could hear Bean crying, so I would stick my head out of the shower and take a quick glance at the monitor… no lights indicating any sound, so she was still asleep. At least I was a bit saner this way and could shower without turning off the water partway through.

Still, it was best when Bean got a bit older and didn’t spend all day sleeping & eating. I would put her in the bouncy chair in the bathroom with me while I showered and had what my mum calls a “mummy shower”. You know you’ve done it. Singing refrains of Old McDonald (or some other kid song) while suds-ing up your hair, peeking out of the shower periodically to make googly eyes at the baby and let her know that even though you’ve visually disappeared, you’re still right there, and managing to clean your entire body in 5 minutes, lest the baby need you. Let me tell you: it was a luxury when hubby was home on the weekend to keep an eye on the baby and I could take a glorious, relaxing, peaceful 10-minute shower with the fan on… ahhhh. Once I was back to work, I would get up and shower before Bean got up, and somehow, even though she was sleeping in a crib, I never once worried about hearing her cry while in the shower.

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Jump to present-day and somehow I am right back to that meme. I’ve been¬†sick with a bad cold for the past few days (that I caught from the rest of my family…. I mentioned it here), and although I am feeling much better, it’s still with me. I have a cough and am congested. (I’ll spare you the details, but trust me when I say that¬†this is much better than how it was.) El was fast asleep and I decide to have a quick shower (because, let’s be honest, I need one!). I could have sworn I heard her crying almost my entire shower (even with the fan off!); not enough to turn the water off, but¬†I sure as heck sped up my sudsing! As a second-time mum I am more realistic and realize that drying off and throwing on a bathrobe before going to pick up the baby is smarter than just booking it down the hall dripping wet. I quickly dry off and get as far as the bedroom door when I realize that there is no baby crying. Oh. Right. Good! So I go back to the bathroom and turn on the fan (since the water isn’t running, I can handle the extra noise), and the whole time I’m combing out my hair, I think I hear the¬† baby crying. Only she isn’t. I get dressed and go and check on a rather peacefully sleeping little heffalump. Haha, joke’s on me!

So why has this phantom crying baby returned to my shower? I might need to break out the baby monitor again until this cold disappears.

What do you mommas do with the kids while you shower? (Respond in the comments.) Apparently I’ve still got some learning to do about showering with kids underfoot (or rather, quietly asleep in a bed somewhere, haha!).