Saturday, February 23, 2013

Shoveling Metaphors

You know it's been a rough afternoon with the kids when you volunteer to shovel the driveway in a snowstorm just to get a break.

This was me during the last big snowstorm we had in Ottawa.

Speaking of shoveling, many parents of young kids like to quote this famous Phyllis Diller line:

“Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing is like shoveling the sidewalk before it stops snowing.” 

I beg to differ, however. If you shovel while it's still snowing, you've still made headway. You still have less to do later. In fact, we often do shovel mid-storm for that reason.

I tend to see cleaning with a toddler in the house as shoveling before the snowplow comes by and pushes all the #@&$ snow back in your driveway. In this case, your 35"-tall plow circles the block alllll day long.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Broken Nights

Ayoye, I'm not used to these broken nights anymore.

I've been spoiled by full nights of sleep since Big Bro was very young. I think we encouraged this by 'giving him a minute' when he'd wake up fussing... as in, "Let's give him a minute to see if he can learn to connect sleep cycles." Develop good sleep habits and whatnot.

Yes. That was it. It had nothing to do with our not wanting to get out of bed.

Unfortunately, this time when Little Bro wakes up fussing at 2 a.m., there's the problem of possibly waking up Big Bro if we 'give him a minute', so I scoop him up a lot faster. Because of this, he's not quite 'doing his nights' as well as I'd like yet. Hmm, I never thought of this.

What to do, then? Do they sell noise-cancelling headphones for toddler siblings... maybe with bulldozers or trains or something on them?

In the meantime, I guess there are a few more broken nights to be had. Urgh. Oh well, I guess I can look at it as a sort of mom-baby quality time...


Friday, February 08, 2013

Reflections of a New Parent of Two, Part 5

6. A family of four feels way bigger than a family of three.

To me it does, anyway. Four is not a big family, but the addition of one makes us feel like an official  "crew" now.

When we had just one child, it felt more like 'us'-- the couple-- as always, plus our son. Now we have kids. KIDS. It feels way different to say "I have kids"; it's a whole new category for me as a parent.

A baby, sure, but am I adult enough to be one of those people who have 'KIDS'?

We can use phrases like "I'm gonna teach THE KIDS to play Settlers" or "That'd be a good place to take THE KIDS" or "c'mon, not in front of the KIDS" and actually be referring to real humans right now, not hypothetical-one-day people as when we'd reference them in bygone days. They're here, ready for raising and big adventures.

Plus, there are now as many of THEM as there are of US. 

Our boys, and their humungous car seats, take up the entire back seat (gone are the days when my own family of five all fit in a K-car). In fact, it now takes some strategy when we run an errand or eventually attempt a road trip as toute la gang, because once you have both parents in the car, it is assumed you have both kids, and then you only have room for either the stroller OR what you want to get/bring.

It is is reminiscent of that riddle about the farmer who has to cross the river with the chicken, the chicken feed and the fox, but he can only carry one at a time. Except the farmer is a suburbanite trying to get en EXPEDIT shelving unit at IKEA.

So it's not a huge deal-- we put the kids in a shopping cart or just don't do certain errands together -- but having to consider it can sure make you feel like you have a big entourage. Even the rare times when I'm in the car alone, I can't give more than one friend a ride because of the car seats. Partymobile it ain't.

But we won't be going for the minivan or SUV anytime soon. We just got our car less than three years ago...when we were still DINKs... when our family was half the size it is now... when our townhouse still had unused bedrooms... and 'the kids' were still just hypothetical-one-day people.

And now here they are. And here WE are. Me and my three guys. Crazy how going from 3 to 4 can seem like a big difference (especially when trying to get out the door!);  A carful, a housefull, sometimes a handful, but most certainly... (wait for it)...wonderful.

Monday, February 04, 2013

Reflections of a New Parent of Two, Part 4

5. At 3 a.m., your kids' diapers all look the same.

I hope I'm not the only one who has done this.

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Reflections of a New Parent of Two, Part 3

4. Your baby and toddler will urgently need your attention at the exact same time.

Whenever the baby is fussy and needing to be fed, changed or held, toddler siblings suddenly have an incredible urge to also be picked up, have a ride in the laundry basket or get help retrieving a car from behind the couch. It's especially urgent if you were also in the middle of that one important task you've been trying to get done all week.

Note: this 'ambush' rule doesn't apply when you have company over who could possibly help you out. No. In those instances, the kids tag-team their demands, crises etc. so they are spread out over the visit. I think they plan this in advance. No socializing for you!

(PS: "Bucket Hat" is a game my son invented where he brings me a bucket that I have to put on my head, he runs off and hides, and I come find him, all the while wearing the bucket. For a toddler, he has an incredibly long attention span for playing Bucket Hat.)