mat leave adventures…

Well, I tried. After reading umpteen books on sleep training*, I’m throwing in the towel on staying home and trying to make this kid nap in his crib sixteen times a day. We’re both going bananas and so, enough.

I have seven glorious months left of getting paid to take care of my munchkin all day long and it’s time to make the most of it. Ry and I are going exploring!

We’ll be touring new neighbourhoods and wandering new streets.
We’ll resume the hunt for the city’s best baked treats.
We’ll head to the zoo, the island and a yoga class or two.
When it’s raining outside, we’ll join fellow mommies at a matinee,
and if we can’t think if anything else to do, we’ll head to the mall for the day.

Let’s do this!
mxo

* More on how bat sh*t crazy this can make a person later!

Where will this wandering whale end up?
Where will this wandering whale end up?

no expectations…

There’s a lesson I keep having to learn with Ryan. It’s this:

No expectations, no disappointments.

I was told that babies peak in their fussiness at 6-8 weeks. For Ryan, it lasted far longer than that. Depending on the day, it’s still going on.

Then there was the promise that after three months, everything would magically be better. For us, it got worse. My pro sleeper decided he wanted to get up every couple of hours to eat. Growth spurt? Maybe. Who knows?!

I struggled through all of this more so than I had to simply because I was expecting it to better. But here’s the thing: babies don’t operate on schedules. They aren’t predictable. Frankly, nothing in life is.

So my baby boy, my greatest spiritual teacher, has yet another lesson for me: let go of the expectations. Live in the moment as it is, not wishing for it to be something else, because you might just miss its magic.

mxo

P.S. The 108-day challenge is going well! I skipped yesterday due to a shoulder injury and a profound lack of sleep, but I made up for it to by doubling everything today. Wee! 🙂

surviving colic

Colic is a poltergeist.
It’s like waking up in a zombie infestation.” Yup.
It’s hard, really hard.
It challenges every fiber of your being,
Makes you feel like a rotten failure,
And drives you bat-sh*t crazy.

Sometimes shhhing helps. Usually it doesn’t.
Sometimes the swaddle is a blessing. Mostly it’s the devil.
Gripe water works one out of ten times.
And when you’ve finally found the magic cure – baby in carrier with Bob Marley in the background, probiotics, fancy body treatments – it stops working.

At times (ok, often) you can’t help but wonder what you did wrong during your pregnancy, or in the first few weeks, or what you’re doing wrong now.
And then you turn to Dr. Google to figure out what’s wrong with your kid.
NOTHING.

He is perfect. He is exactly who he needs to be and maybe his little soul chose you because he knew you could handle it.

So here’s to my peanut and all of the peanuts struggling with the colic monster. And mostly, here’s to the parents who are doing the best they can.

 

Hugs,
mxo

 
P.S. I actually wanted to post “Welcome to this World” by Renee & Jeremy but couldn’t find a video. It makes me cry every time. So beautiful.

accepting help…

When I was 18, I left home. With fiery abruptness, I started my independent life. Work, school, survival… somehow I managed on my own.

In hindsight, that time in my life makes perfect sense. I was always fiercely independent. I’ve had some sort of income since I was ten. I walked myself to school in Greece when I was four. At six or seven, I decided to leave our seventh storey apartment, walk a few major blocks across big intersections to Kmart to buy my mom a gift – a fancy mug. Needless to say, my resourcefulness was often the cause of much worry and drama.

Age 3. I made myself lunch. Note the back-up spoon in my right hand.
Age 3. I made myself lunch. Note the back-up spoon in my right hand.

This unyielding independence has made it extremely difficult for me to ever accept help and I’d certainly never ask for it. It always seemed like a sign of weakness… until now.

We have survived the last few weeks with Ryan thanks to the grandmas who held him until the wee hours of the morning, the aunties who dropped everything when Matt was sick to provide an extra set of hands, the grandpas who bought groceries and fixed pipes, the friends who dropped meals on our porch like sneaky little mice… We needed help and we got it.

It’s been hard for me to accept this help without feeling like a failure – ‘I should be able to do this on my own’. But two light bulbs went off this week:

One – My doctor told me to stop squandering the help I’m being offered and try being grateful instead. Ouch.

Two – I stumbled upon these wise words:

“I’ve always thought that asking for help was a sign of weakness, but when my mother died, I learned that it takes greater strength to lean on others than to stand alone. In order to heal, I asked, ‘What help do I need in this moment?'”

mxo

point of arrival…

6:40am. I’m actually starting to enjoy these early mornings.

The arctic freeze hit Toronto again and yesterday was just far too cold to take my munchkin out. So we put on our comfy pants and started the countdown to when daddy got home.

A few hours in, I had a thought – just how much of my life has been a countdown to something…

… to finishing high school
… to exams being over
… to graduating university
… to my wedding day
… to babies
… to my due date
… to when this horrid winter finally lifts
… and to the next phase of Ryan’s life

And in counting down, how many precious moments did I wish away?

If we’re always looking ahead, when do we ever arrive?

Right now, I don’t want to be anywhere else but here and now, with a beautiful baby boy who will never again be five weeks, three days and one hour old.

mxo

time…

Yesterday Ryan celebrated one month of being on this planet. While the days were long, very long at times, the month somehow flew by.

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A couple of weeks ago, when I was in the depths of new momma baby blues, a sage friend sent me these words:

The ancient Greeks had two concepts of time: chronos and kairos. Chronos is the inexorable grinding on of time without a foreseeable end—like when 5pm can’t come soon enough or that meeting just won’t end, or your kid won’t stop crying. Most of the time we find ourselves in chronos, wishing we could be on to the next thing. In contrast, kairos describes those rare and precious moments in which time seems to stand still—when we fall in love, when we are blissed out to our favourite song, or playing a sport, or generally doing anything we love. Importantly, it is the moments of kairos that make all that chronos worthwhile.

This is a metaphor for parenthood. Most of our days are spent in a state of fatigue or overwhelm or anxiety, and if we focus on that we miss the moments of kairos—like when your baby smiles at you and he is so perfect that it makes all those sleepless nights worthwhile, and you would do it again in a heartbeat. Look for the moments of kairos, because in this twilight time of new parenthood they will be your guiding light to the end of the tunnel.

I hope you find them as profoundly healing as I did. Thanks A! Major love.

Hugs.
mxo

early mornings…

It’s 7:00 in the morning. Munchkin is fast asleep in my arms… again. I foresee a lot of early morning posts in my future.

We had a great night going into yesterday. Ryan slept for a good portion of the night between feeds which meant I could attempt some shut eye (though he’s such a loud little bugger when he sleeps, it’s hard to actual doze off). This last night was a different story. He slept just fine as long as he was being held… constantly. The second I put him down, all hell broke loose.

So I’m catching up on my email, online shopping, and contemplating life.

It seems my biggest challenge right now is the lack of control. I’ve been such a control freak my entire life and now, I’ve lost control over the most basic things (eating, sleeping, etc). Things that seem to work with Ryan one day make him scream bloody murder the next. Not being able to control the situation has turned me into a ball of nerves.

But I suppose that’s what parenting is about and there’s a life lesson in there somewhere. Parenting might just be the greatest teacher for staying present in the moment.

Looking backwards can be frustrating (like when you look at your bed wondering how you took those glorious nights of slumber for granted) and it’s pointless – those moments are gone.

Looking forward is a crap shoot. In an hour, Ryan and I might be napping peacefully together (fingers crossed!) or we might be back in the emergency room. Flip a coin.

So all that’s left is the here and now. It’s now 7:27am and he’s still slumbering. Rather than worry about what being held might mean for his future sleeps, I’m just going to enjoy this peaceful moment. If only the tea delivery service would wake up. 🙂

mxo

earlymornings
I made tea!