A few of my favourite Avery-isms right now

The way she exclaims, “woooow!” at things that impress her. Example, our new neighbours put up a fence dividing our back yards over a weekend we were away, and when Avery walked into the back yard to see it for the first time, she said, “wooow!” with such a sense of awe and wonder. Seeing me cleaned up and dressed up also gets a “wooow”, which says something about how I usually look…

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How she kisses my “ouchies” so lovingly. Since we started “kissing it better,” she finds any little red mark on our skin, says “ouchie,” and kisses it better. This started in earnest with hand-foot-and-mouth disease when we all had a lot of ouchies 😣

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Just started saying “love you” in response to us saying “I love you.” But she’s also in a repeat-after-me phase where she repeats pretty much everything we say, so she might not know the meaning of it yet.

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Although she knows the word “outside,” she still usually asks to go outside by saying “boot, mit, hat?” Even though we’re in sandal (and definitely not mitten) season right now… She does the gestures of putting on boots and mits and a hat, too. It’s cute.

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She tickles us. She wiggles her fingers all over our bellies and laughs and laughs at the hilarity. I hate being tickled – I freak out and instinctively will punch or kick someone who is tickling me. But when Avery does it, somehow it’s cute.

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Naming her toys. I’ve been waiting for the day when Avery would be into playing with animal figurines. That was always my fave as a kid. Not only is she super into her animal figurines now, but she named one of them, ALL BY HERSELF! She has been really into horses lately (her grandma has horses), so I surprised her at daycare pickup one day with a plastic horse figurine (Tractor Supply Store has great ones), and as she accepted it she said “wow, horsie! Umm, Apple!” Apple is the name of one of the horse’s at her grandma’s place. The toy didn’t really look like the real Apple, but she decided that her toy horse needed the name. When you ask what her horse’s name is, she says Apple.

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A totally life changing thing happened

Life has been pretty stagnant lately, which I’m totally ok with; but, it does mean I’ve had a lack of blogging material. Today I’m going to update you on a couple of less-than-exciting things in my life, and if you can get through that, I’ll tell you something that happened recently to totally change my life.

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We have a basement apartment in our house (separate entrance, pretty high-end space), and our quiet, never-there tenant just moved out. My wife and I spent a couple of evenings after Avery went to bed scrubbing the place down from ceiling to floor, and I filled up an entire week of almost back-to-back showings. The second showing, 9:30am Monday morning, submitted a great application for tenancy and gave us a cheque for first and last month’s rent just an hour after seeing it. She SEEMS perfect. How could it be this easy?? Hopefully not too good to be true. She moves in next week. I’m thankful it went so smoothly, but still, it’s a change. It’s a big deal to have a stranger moving into your basement, even if you don’t really ever have to see them.

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The day after I recovered from hand-foot-and-mouth disease, I came down with a cold. It’s just a cold, but the frustration level is sky high. I haven’t slept for more than an hour or two at a time for weeks, most recently due to not being able to breathe through my nose. Today I soaked in the bath while Avery was at daycare and just cried. I’m tired, and so frustrated with being sick. Yes, I’m a whiney sick person. But also, I think I’ve earned a good frustrated cry. And a soak in the bath.

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Ok, ready for the life changing news?

When my grandmother passed away, she left me and my one cousin on that side of the family an inheritance. I had no idea how much it was. The cheque finally arrived last week, and it was life-changing. It entirely and absolutely covers my student loan amount, with an extra grand to put back into the savings I depleted trying to make loan payments. I can’t even describe the sense of relief (and awareness of priviliege) that washed over me when I opened that cheque. We can now move forward in life debt-free (until we get a mortgage, which we can now do sooner thanks to not having to pay off my student loan). Thank you grandma, you changed my life even after your death.

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And here are two pics of the child who makes my eyes well up daily from the sense of overwhelming love I feel for her.

Mom chat on the beach

I met up with some summer cottage friends this weekend who both became moms recently – one has a 6 month old, the other a 2 month old. We chatted about birth stories, life, and our babies while Avery played in the sand and the other babies slept or cuddled on their moms. It was nice to be surrounded by other fresh moms. I felt like I was among kindred spirits, in a tight group who shared a common understanding of just how hard motherhood can be.

But then our differences in experience started to make itself known. One of the new moms (with the 6 month old) talked about how there’s so much free time with a baby – she had just been reading a good book while her baby laid next to her on the beach. She had been able to take up baking and had been making all kinds of bread. She takes care of herself, and has leisurely showers in the afternoon. The other mom, with the 2 month old, said her baby sleeps a lot, in his own room since birth, sometimes all night without even a single feeding.

I started to feel alienated. I tried to nod and pretend like I knew what they were talking about, but I’m not good at keeping feelings bottled up. I declared that I was so happy for them, but that wasn’t my experience at all. I told them I felt like the first 6 months almost killed me, that I sometimes went 5 days without showering. They were great about it and said that every baby is different, but I still felt like shit.

Was it me? Was it my baby? What was wrong with us to make our experience so hard (on both of us)?

The next day I saw the newest mother on the beach while Avery and I built sandcastles and dipped our toes in the water, thoroughly enjoying everything toddlerhood has to offer. She tried to tell me about her night and she broke down crying. Before I could offer her support, she left in a hurry, apologizing that she was just really emotional right now.

I felt for her – SO HARD. And I also felt better. Even if your baby sleeps well or will happily bounce in a bouncer for hours on end, motherhood is still hard. The emotions are always going to be intense. The responsibility crushing.

I suppose I feel fortunate that (I believe) the hardest is behind me. Sure, the tantrums in public places sometimes give me a run for my money now, but since those first 6 (maybe 12) months were so hard for me, it just keeps getting better and better and better. And I’m also fortunate that I have that group of moms who really get my experiences here in the blog world. With that, I can’t feel alone. 😉

Signs of Avery

The tiny sock swimming around under my bed covers.

The puzzle piece wedged between the couch cushions.

The red tricycle that lives on the verandah.

The baskets of toys that sit where our boring old grown-up books used to sit.

The tiny forks and spoons in the cutlery drawer.

I observe these signs of Avery’s existence throughout the day when she’s at daycare and they make me so happy. So thankful that we were lucky enough to become parents to this amazing little person. She has fully infiltrated every fiber of our lives, and I love it.

This post is a response to a daily prompt.

5 Random Facts About Me

I was inspired by my blogging friend My Perfect Breakdown to do a random facts about me post. Here are 5 things about me that have nothing to do with my progeny or my parenting.

1. I grew up always owning horses, was obsessed with horses, used to show horses, but haven’t been on a horse since I was probably 19 years old (so, 12 years ago). I have absolutely no reason for giving it up besides just not getting a new horse when my last horse died. This memory inspired me to look through old pictures and share some here.

2. I used to breed tropical fish for spending-money in high school. I had over 10 aquariums set up in my house. My mom was so tolerant!!

3. I’m a whiney sick person. I’m not proud of it, and spent a lot of years denying it, but I hate being sick and I make sure the world knows.

4. I was raised mostly by my mom. My parents separated when I was 3, but they remained friends and my dad visited almost every weekend and every holiday. I’m still more of a daddy’s girl than a mama’s girl, maybe because my mom had to do most of the discipline and my dad just had to show up for the fun things.

5. My favourite animal is not the cat, despite being a self-declared cat person and always having at least one cat in my care. My favourites are a tie between the blue whale and the common loon. It’s on my bucket list to see a blue whale, and part of why I love them so much is that I know it’s actually very unlikely I’ll ever be fortunate enough to see one.

Whale and loon photos from Pixabay.com

Want to share some random facts about you?

5 awesome little things

I’m having a good day. Here are just 5 of the little things that I’m loving right at this moment.

  1. Avery was so happy when I picked her up from daycare. She and her daycare best friend were caught in an adorable loop of “bye”s and hugs when we were about to leave, and she sang to herself all the way home.
  2. After nursing her to sleep for her nap, I took about 20 minutes to just stare at her and kiss her forehead.
  3. I played with fresh playdough before it got sticky, snotty, slobbery toddler hands all over it.
  4. I baked a successful loaf of white sourdough bread – the white flour has been giving me trouble with rising lately, but this time I nailed it.
  5. It feels like spring outside. The air is warming, it’s rainy and dreary, and the earth smells fecund. My favourite kind of weather.

Reflections on Night Weaning (at it again…)

*Photo from Pixabay.com

Night weaning is hard, even when it’s easy. Avery’s only nursing twice a day now, to sleep at nap and bedtime. It’s a big change from nursing all night long, snuggled beside me. We’re doing this to give her a gentle nudge toward sleep independence, but it’s just as much about me breaking my dependency on nursing away her every tear, every cough, every nightly stir. That has been such a wondrous gift, and although I’m theoretically ready to make the separation, my heart never will be.

I miss her as I lay in my bed and listen to her snore through the monitor. I feel jilted that I can’t lay with her all night anymore (part of our night weaning plan). I feel anxious waiting for her next wake up, wondering how difficult it’ll be to get her back to sleep, how many tears she’ll shed, how long the protest will last.

We have officially been one week without night nursing. I’m going to give it another couple of weeks before claiming that the transition period is over, but so far Avery’s doing a really good job learning to get back to sleep without nursing. Last time what broke us was her 3-5am insomnia, and her being sick. Both of those things are happening again, but we’re powering through this time. With every month older she gets, she can also understand better what’s expected of her at night, and that makes me feel better about it.

With the huge decrease in nursing comes a change in hormones. I’m getting some signs that I might be ovulating for the first time in almost 2 and a half years. Yes, you read that right – I haven’t had my period since we conceived Avery. It has been a wonderful, crampless, dry, and clean part of my life. I’m not eager for it to return.

One final reflection on night weaning: choosing to night wean was a decision I made for my marriage over my child. That alone has a lot of complex emotions associated with it. And while my wife is purely excited, I have to keep reminding myself that my marriage deserves to get priority over the child this once. It will all trickle down to benefit Avery in the long run. If my wife and I are a satisfied, happily married team, Avery will have a good relationship role model to look up to in her parents.