4th Time in 4 Years…No Guilt

I seem to be publishing more videos on Youtube recently than writing here on my blog so, if you want to keep current with what I’m up to, check out my Youtube channel here: I’m A Mom Too.

I’m writing today because I’m enjoying something and wanted to share it with you. Ii’m currently enjoying…

a chai latte…

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caesar salad…and sweet potato fries.

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This may not be a big deal to some and normally, it’s just a little treat to be able to go out and enjoy these foods at a cafe, on a weekend when the kids are at their dad’s, and where I didn’t have to cook.

Today however, it’s a bigger deal. See, my ex-husband (the kids’ father) asked last week if he could pick the kids up from school tonight. Random request, even though our Court Order states that he is supposed to pick the kids up from school every other Friday for the weekends they are with him AND also every Wednesday night for an overnight. He doesn’t. I drop the kids off at their dad’s at 7pm every other Friday and he doesn’t do the mid-week visit because he works out of town.

An added thorn in my side is that, despite being in Court twice and mentioning that he has never talked to me about whether it’s ok if he doesn’t do the mid-week visits (which frankly, it doesn’t matter to me…but I’m sure the kids would love to see him every Wednesday). He even emailed me months ago asking if the kids can come back to me mid-week when they are at his place over the summer for “four non-consecutive weeks”, stating how “important it is” for the kids to see each parent throughout the week…umm, I know. I’m the one cleaning up the pieces every time they tell me they want to see him more often than for four days per month. He’s also never taken me up each time in Court when I suggest we “switch” some of that mid-week time to one-on-one time for each of us, with each of our twins, on one of the weekends they are supposed to be with me in a month. His response is always “we’ll see”…which I’ve learned to translate as “no, but I don’t want to outright say that”.

So, here I enjoy the FOURTH time in four years where I haven’t had to rush to pick the kids up from school, IBI therapy or meet my son’s bus…three of those four times were when I had to arrange for the kids’ dad to pick them up from school because I had an out-of-town event (the 4th time, my boyfriend picked them up).

This is the FOURTH time in four years where I’ve had the time flexibility to chit chat with my colleagues after my shift is done because I’m currently at placement related to my return to school in Fall 2013.

This is the FOURTH time in four years that I haven’t had to make the kids’ after school snack because they are “starving” and haven’t “eaten in forever” as soon as they walk in the door.

This the FOURTH time in four years that I have been able to enjoy a leisurely way to get home. To stop at a cafe, enjoy some youtube videos, people watch, see the mom and little girl in the booth next to mine on a “mother-daughter date”, and write just because I enjoy writing. Not write an essay or assignment for school (although I should be because I have logs I have to submit for my placement, but I don’t feel like it).

I’m just spending some time doing NOTHING. I don’t have to be anywhere for another three hours. I may go for a walk along the waterfront after I’m done in the cafe. Who knows? I have three more hours to waste…and I’m not going to feel guilty about it. I’m going to enjoy my chai. Enjoy the sun shining outside. Enjoy this fourth time in four years.

Cheers!

Pay It Forward (#InspireMe2014Challenge)

Today’s Inspire Me 2014 Writing Prompt is: It’s no secret we all ‘Paid it Forward” in 2013, what are some Random Acts of Kindness you’d like to accomplish this year? Heck! Make it into another challenge for yourself.

 

I do what I can for anyone I know, whether it’s volunteering for local moms groups, Parent Council (well, not this year anyway as it’s at the same time as my class was first semester), Facebook group administering, etc). Giving is such a “norm” for my kids, that although my daughter gets disappointed when she outgrows clothing, it makes her happy that everything we don’t need anymore, I post on local Facebook groups that are similar to Freecycle. We help out whomever we can, in whatever way we can…it’s part of our family values so we will continue to do as we always do.

The biggest Random Act of Kindness I did in 2013 was helping coordinate 47 baskets for donation from a mom’s group to the local Salvation Army for their Adopt A Family program. My kids were involved in helping pick up donated items and putting together the baskets.

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My daughter even asked who was going to receive the baskets. I told her that they were going to single moms, then tentatively asked her if she knew what “single moms” are. Surprisingly, she said “you are mommy”. Smart girl!

Sex Ed From a 6 Year Old

My 6 year old daughter is a natural mama.  If a bunch of kids come to play at the park, she will end up with the baby and the mom, gently pushing the baby on the swing, and talking the mom’s ear off.  She will hover over any stroller, just waiting with great anticipation for the baby to wake up and, when he/she does, my daughter is ready to entertain.

She talks a lot about me having more babies, and the number ranges from her having another brother and sister to 10 babies…I “belt them out” in pairs (she has a twin brother), but still…another 5 pregnancies?  Ummm…I’ll get back to you on that.

Wanted to share a conversation between my 6 year old daughter and I earlier this week.

Mommy?

Yes honey.”

When I’m big, I’m going to be pregnant.”

When you’re big like mommy, yes you probably will.” – need to start the brainwashing early 😉

I’m going to have twins in my tummy like you did.”

You may honey.  You may also have one baby instead of two in your tummy at a time, and that’s just as special.  How many babies do you want to have?

Lots.  They are cute.”

Yes, they are, and lots of work too so you have to be a grown up first.” – more brainwashing. 😉

Silence for a few minutes…

Mommy?

Yes honey.”

You were pregnant in your tummy.

Yes honey.”

How did we get in your tummy?”  C ~ R ~ A ~ P  Umm…thought she would be a bit older than 6 before this question was asked, and NOT while I was driving back from camp.

Daddy and I loved each other very much and he helped me.”  Please don’t ask how…please don’t ask how…crap…did she notice the past tense…I don’t want to have the divorce discussion now too…

How did he help you?” Double C ~ R ~ A ~ P 

Honey, that’s a conversation we can have when you are older, and when mommy’s not driving.  It’s a really big girl conversation and I want to be able to answer any questions you have.”

OK mommy. I love you, and I want babies just like you did.”

And then she started singing along with the music, while I silently prayed for that “really big girl conversation” to be many years from now.

I never know what to say

Moving to a new town means a new home, new surroundings, new experiences, new schedules and meeting new people (or reconnecting with childhood friends like I am since we moved back to my hometown).  I’m not a shy person (by far!) so I have no problem striking up a conversation with someone.  Eventually though, the dreaded question is asked… “So, what do you do for a living?”. 

 

As a former career-girl, I’m still quite tongue-tied by this question.  I proudly use to say that I had to find a man who was willing and able to be the stay at home dad because I was going back to work as soon as I could after giving birth.  My career was my focus, and I was proud of it.  Having children changed everything!  When I HAD to go back to work when my twins were 3 months old because I didn’t have benefits (in Canada, we can take up to a year) so my (now ex-) husband stayed home for 7 months as his work had top-up.  Since then, I have regretted having to go back to work and I’m glad I get the opportunity to be with them now.

 

A year and a half ago, I unexpectedly became a SAHM, partly because I couldn’t find childcare and partly (mostly) because of my marriage breaking up.  Last fall, I had secured a full time contract back in my former career, at a level where it was as if I hadn’t been away from that career track for 4 years.  Unfortunately, 6 weeks into the position, my childcare fell through.  Finding care for my daughter is easy because she’s “neurotypical” but finding care for my son is a bit more complicated because he has Autism

 

When I say that my job is looking after my kids, I’m still not at the point of saying it with pride, even though I am very proud of it!  Friends have looked after my kids for the odd commitment I’ve had where their father couldn’t take them, and they usually tell me that they don’t know how I do it, they didn’t realize how much my son needed to be watched like a hawk, and that I make it look so easy. ~Blush~

 

So, when I’m asked what I do for a living, I tend to use the past tense: “I used to be a fundraiser, and an organizer, now I’m a SAHM.”  Logically, I know that if anyone else has a “problem” with it or looks down on me for “wasting” my university education and 2 college diplomas on being a SAHM, that’s their problem.  The question is, how do I change my own thinking so I can stop being “apologetic” to myself about being a SAHM? 

 

Perhaps I should switch out the words “Stay-At-Home-Mom” with the 2nd definition of the acronym “SAHM” on this online dictionary … “Sexy And Hot Momma”…tee hee… 😉 

 

Speak Up For Special Needs!

 

 

 

Was at the Early Years Centre this morning with my soon-to-be (next Wednesday!) 6 year old DS for its “Something Special” program offered every Thursday morning.  It’s a program where parents of kids with special needs and their children can come and play.  The toys put out are more sensory-based than when we regularly go there.

 

I was speaking with another mom whom I met last week.  Her son is entering Kindergarten this September and we have been chatting about how to advocate for your child.  She’s having an issue with her son playing soccer.  The coach’s son is bullying her child a bit, and instigating bad behaviour in her child.  I was offering suggestions of the type of language she can use with the assistant coach as she’s pretty sure the assistant coach is aware of the issue, based on comments he’s made in the past. 

 

She’s a very calm and quiet woman so I was trying to encourage her that this situation she’s encountered with soccer will be great practice for her in advocating for her son in Kindergarten in the fall.  The big difference she and I had walking into Kindergarten was that my son has an official diagnosis (of Autism) whereas her son doesn’t yet have a diagnosis. 

 

My kids had been in daycare prior to Kindergarten so we didn’t have to work on transitioning to school at all…especially since their former daycare centre was located in a school.  That made it a bit easier for my son.  In Grade 1 this September however, he will be attending a special needs class at school AND (hopefully) IBI will have started/be starting. 

 

My biggest advice to parents of children with special needs, diagnosed or not, is learn how to be assertive with the school system.  If your child can/may/will benefit from something, ask for it to be implemented.  If you work with the school, they will usually try to do as much to accommodate HOWEVER, also empower yourself with your school board’s policies related to special needs and special needs accommodation in the classroom.  Request a meeting with your principal (and teacher and Educational Assistant) prior to school starting, and continue to follow up until you get that meeting.  Be the “squeaky wheel” but please be nice about it. 

 

Arm yourself with information and knowledge because YOU are your child’s best

and sometimes ONLY advocate!

Proof of “Never Say Never”

 

I left my small hometown of 2,000+ people when I was 18 to venture across the country for post-secondary education.  My parents “ruthlessly” sold my childhood home (How dare they?!) in the summer before I left and moved to a farm before I visited for Christmas break of first year university.  So, I packed for university and packed everything else I had for their move.  I left my hometown saying I would “never move back until I owned my childhood home again”.  Well, never say never.

 

Fast forward 16 years.  I moved back across the country, got married, have amazing almost 6 year old twins, am now getting divorced, and the kids and I have moved to the family farm; back to my hometown.  In the past 16 years, I have lived in 2 provinces and 3 metropolitan areas, and am now getting reacclimatized to small-town living. 

 

I was pleasantly surprised to find out that library is open every day of the week, but not the number of hours in the day as it is in a city.  I was shocked to see the sign on the front door of one of the satellite library locations has Wi-fi!  Having said that, the family farm also has Wi-fi…but I digress…

 

There’s only one Early Years Centre BUT, it has OFF-SITE playgroups at various parks in the area, with staff and one volunteer from the centre to help the parents in attendance with their kids, and set up different activities.  It also has a special needs-specific program offered every Thursday morning, which was nice to attend this week to start meeting other parents of children with special needs in the area.  Staff at the Centre are so excited because “there’s a new family in town”.  DD is even attending one of the French programs, that is run by a family friend whom I babysat for as a teenager.

 

I forgot that people here tend to get married and have children earlier than I did.  I remember some friends were surprised that I was going to university to get an education (gasp!) rather than a husband (double gasp!).  It seems that many of my childhood friends got married by 21 or 22, had their first child within a year so now that we are all in our mid- to late-30s, they have pre-teen and teenagers while I’m chasing after almost 6 year old twins.  It’s a very strange realization to find out that I’m an “older mom” here.  I talked with my best friend from highschool tonight, only to find that her son is now 12 years old – he’s still 5 in my mind; my almost 6 year olds are still babies in her mind.

 

I’m having a hard time getting used to the slower pace for everything here.  Everyone works REALLY hard (my dad has cut, turned, bailed and stored more than 100 bales of hay this week, on his own…and it’s “just” a hobby farm – my parents still run their own business full time!) but the panic and stress inherent in city life just don’t seem to be here.  People actually drive the speed limit or under (you mean it’s not just a “guideline”?) here, which feels very foreign to me.  Having said that, you can get everywhere within a 15 mins drive so really, what’s the rush?

 

In the end, I think I will have to change my original “never move back until I own my childhood home again” to:

“I WILL own my childhood home again…someday”.

Losing His First Tooth

 

 

 

 

 

I posted a blog called “Losing Her First Tooth” on Mom Nation today, and right after hitting “publish”, I checked my DS’s teeth to see if he had any loose, only to find that he had lost the exact same tooth as DD!

 

DS was eating rice cakes (sundried tomato and basil – they are great with melted cheese too…just saying!) and, when I went to check if any teeth were loose, I was surprised to find one missing, then my mini-panic started. Did he swallow the tooth? Is it on/in the couch somewhere? Rice cakes can be messy and there were rice cake “droppings” everywhere. I called DD over from the neighbour’s to help me look for it. DS walked over, picked up a white fleck and handed it to me. It was his tooth! Pretty amazing connection for him! (He has Autism).

 

He’s been touching the area on his gums a bit, but still continues to eat his rice cakes. I’ve talked with him about how it’s even more important that we brush his teeth every single day (it used to be a huge fight – now, there’s resistance, but he does it) because a grown-up tooth will grow into that hole where the baby tooth was.

 

My “little man” is growing up!