Musings of a Slightly Crazy Mom

Emma Grace

Lilypie Fourth Birthday tickers

Evan Hendrik

Lilypie Second Birthday tickers

Lil Stinker

Lilypie Maternity tickers

Friday, 23 December 2011


So, the lack of sleep must have been influencing my thinking today.  Not only did I turn DOWN my mom's offer to watch the kids a little bit longer so I could sleep after work (what was I thinking!!??), I thought it was a great idea to take the kids to get a haircut.  By myself.  Solo, with two kids who hate being constrained in any manner.

So, in true parenting style, I bribed Emma with a "floaty" balloon and a Popsicle if she sat without fussing.  She got to decide who went first: Evan or Emma.  Surprise, surprise, she "let" Evan go first.

So Evan sat, with the cape on.  He sat still for about 30 seconds, until she started spraying his head with water.  He didn't like that.  Then she tried cutting.  "All done.  All done.. ALL DONE!!!"  Evan kept saying.  With all the head-wiggling I'm surprised we came home with both ears intact.  And, surprisingly, he liked the buzzer.  So, the hair cut isn't as neat as I would like, but to be expected.

Then the drama begins.  It was Emma's turn.  She's had a couple of hair cuts in the past, both professionally and at home, and none have gone well.  She didn't want to sit on the bench.  She didn't want to look down.  She didn't like the water spritzer.  She didn't like all of these.  Loudly.

But to make matters worse, the hairdresser, and her loud, out-spoken (RUDE) co-worker, were very abrupt with her.  Very rude tone of voice, angry words, pushy manner.  Emma was crying at this point, but the hair dresser kept pushing her head down.  So I said we were finished, not going to do it today, and the hair dresser ripped (as in jerked Emma's body around) the apron off, and hurried us out to the front.  In her defence, she was busy, and it was the last Friday before Christmas, but there is no need for two hairdressers to yell at a 3-year old, while I'm trying calmly to talk her through the process.

And after it all, Evan's little hair cut cost me $20!!!  For less than half an inch off the bottom?  I don't think we will be going back to that place again.  I would rather spend more money on a nicer, less abrupt hair dresser in a kid-friendly spot. 

And to top it off, I can't post pictures right now, as my camera has been Evan'ed (ie: broken), and my phone isn't uploading.  So, pictures will follow.  Right now, I think it's nap time.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Take a Deep Breath . . .

Deep breaths.  Deep breaths. 

No, I'm not doing yoga.  That brief spurt of regular exercise from my last post has fallen by the wayside.  Although, writing those words down is guilting me into a workout.  Maybe later.

It's Christmas time.  And I'm barely holding on.  I'm trying to remember to enjoy the season, to not stress out about chores, cleaning, shopping, baking, meal planning, laundry.  DEEP BREATHS.  DEEP BREATHS.

Right.  Working fulltime nights with two kids and one on the way is so much harder than I expected or anticipated.  Not only am I unable to sleep for more than 3 hours at a time, my brain is going a mile a minute from the time I wake up, and even when I sleep, trying to remember all the things I "need" to do.  I have spreadsheets of chores, lists of menus, shopping lists, lists of lists.  And I don't know if it's adding to the stress or not.  All I know, both of us are looking forward to May.  Or the end of April, if I get enough hours in. 

I know I need to let some things go.  But what?  Laundry still needs to be done.  Meals need to be made.  The house needs to be a little bit tidied, for all our sanity.  One day at a time.  One day at a time. 
I find that I've been praying more often, desperately searching for the soul-ful peace that does so much more than sleep.  The 30 minute commute to work is a great time to just re-connect with Him, and find the strength to get through another day.

On the bright side, it's Christmas time!  And EG is soo excited this year!  We've been debating back and forth (AM and I) how to handle the whole Santa Situation.  Neither of us grew up with Santa being a part of Christmas (or a very minor part), so we had planned that for our children as well.  But I wanted to handle it in a way that doesn't ruin Christmas for others (like I did when I was a child.  Sorry Krystle!)  We decided on explaining the original story of St. Nicolas, and how people remember him by pretending to be Santa, and just not making a big deal of it.  So, EG comes home from daycare, and tells me excitedly, "Mommy!  Santa IS real!  And he drives a car!  But don't worry, Mommy, he was just pretending."  Apparently, they had seen a man dressed up as Santa driving along, as the kids walked to the park.  Very cute.

December has been filled with family parties and work parties.  Hectic, but fun.  We went to AM's work party at Copps, and were both really excited to take Emma skating for the first time.  My mom had bought bobsled skates that fit over her boots, and we were going to try them out.  But we should have tried them on at home first, with the boots on.  They just didn't fit.  So, no skating.  But she went in the bouncy castle, on a mechanical bull, and got a balloon flower.  IT was a blast.  Last weekend, we had one extended family party at the retirement home that Alan's grandma lives in.  I think Emma had enough of the family/not-at-home/too many people she didn't know, because about an hour into it, she had a melt down of extreme proportions.  As in it took 4 adults taking turns to calm her down.  Needless to say, we packed it in pretty quickly after that, and she fell asleep on the way home, after about 5 minutes in the car.  We explained to her (later that day-can't do anything when she's crying so hard she's having trouble breathing) that if she's tired, or grumpy, or just wants to go home, she just needs to let us know.  We will go home.  I think she got it, because the following day, we had something at my mom's, and she was golden.  She told us when she was tired, there was no fussing when we packed up, and she even cleaned up.  Dekker Family Rule:  EVERYONE needs to be having fun.  Because if one person is grumpy, no one is having fun. 
Playing with Aunty Esther's camera

Anyways, just wanted a space to vent, to catch up.  And I'll leave you with some pictures, for you to enjoy (and to remind myself to find the JOY in the season, the PEACE in the chaos, and the LOVE in the madness.

Cheesy messy grin
work party bouncy castle

someone's having fun!

Mom.  This is serious.  There's a dino missing.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

A Shaky New Routine

So, the last three weeks have been a major learning curve for all of us.  My maternity leave finished, and I headed back to working nights full time.  The kids went off to day care.  AM was now "on" daddy duty full-time, all night and all morning (and he's not a morning person).  We started this new routine with a lot of nerves, our fair share of tears, and a whole lot of prayers.  Were we making the right decision?  Was it fair to push our kids into something they didn't like, knowing full well that they would enjoy it if they gave it a chance?  How were we going to make time for each other, when my bed time co-incided with the kids bedtimes, and I was up at 11pm to head out to work?  But we got through it, one day at a time.  Sometimes, it felt like one minute at a time, to be honest.

But, even though it's only been 3 weeks, the changes have been enormous.  EH is way less clingy to mama, reaching for daddy now, or even Jen, our daycare provider.  EG, who shocked us all by being the one who was having the most issues away from me, is learning so much - like the days of the week (and believe you me: does she ever know when it's Saturday and she doesn't have to go!)  She's learning to share and to lead play in equal amounts, due to the dynamics of the other children.  AM is experiencing the joys of kids in the morning (at least ours, who are super happy and snuggly and generally the best kids ever in the morning).  He also get a lot of one on one time with the kids, which due to his hours and the nature of kids at night, didn't really happen, or didn't contain the same joy.  and me?  Well, let's just say, the adult conversation was sorely missed.  I love being back at work doing something I'm good at.  I love having a little bit of time to myself every single day, and having to decide whether or not to go for a run or to clean (and strange as that sounds, I do enjoy both).  Although, too often, I end  up cleaning and not running. 

One of the hardest things about the new routine is the shift in parenting power.  Gender stereotypes aside, when I was home all day every day with the kids, I was the one who lead the conflict resolution, who disciplined, who played.  How can you not, when you are there with them 10 hours a day, and your spouse is there for 2 at night?  It's just the way it goes.  But now, I need to remind myself to step back and let AM take the lead.  He's got a new routine too, and that includes different tactics that I would use.  It's not fair to anyone that I should assume that things would remain similar when I'm not doing the majority of the childcare right now.

The other thing that I really really dislike about this routine is the lack of interaction between AM and myself.  Because I split my sleep (4-5 hours during the day, and then another 2-3 at night), we don't see each other much.  And during dinner doesn't count, because if you have kids - or even if you have just eaten with my family - conversation goes something like this:
H: so, how was your day?  Emma, use your fork/
A: good.  busy.  Evan, don't shove so much food in your mouth.
H: how did that meeting go?  Hank!  Get off the counter!
A:  It was good.  Some good ideas coming out.  Emma!  we said, use your fork!
and on and on it goes, interjected with EG and EH screeching, wailing, jumping off their chairs, etc.

And then it's shower/bath time.  One kid at a time in the shower, haul them out, dry them off, apply Vicks and lotion (darn colds!) pjs, down to watch a show and have a snack, back up to brush teeth, use potty, read stories, say prayer, go to sleep.  Listen to EH cry/sing himself to sleep.  Listen to EG read herself to sleep.  Yell at EG to get back into bed.  And before you know it, it's 11pm and my alarm is going off.

But . . . soon that will all change!  Come May, I am getting another year off! (cue drum rolll) because Baby#3 is due May 20!  Yes, it was a shock.  No, we didn't plan it.  Yes, we are ecstatic - and even though we didn't plan it, Someone sure did!  We (read: me) are way less stressed about this one.  I mean, it doesn't matter if it's a boy or girl - I don't have any baby clothes left anyways!  And this time around, we have both a girl and a boy name.  And now that the nausea is passed, I am much more excited.  It's hard to be excited when you can't think about food without your stomach twisting in a knot, not when your whole life revolves around what goes in your kids mouths and what comes out the other end.  But now that is passed - and it's just fun!

Side note:  we told EG that we were having a new baby, sometime after her birthday.  Her response?  "That means we get to get THREE pumpkins!"  So, three pumpkins it is!

This is what the last three weeks have been like"

Evan's Birthday cupcakes

The Birthday Boy! (Did I mention that he's scared of the Happy Birthday song!)

Dressed in his All-Blacks jersey.  I swear, his cuteness is the reason they won.


Alan's convocation!!

Convocation!  That would be AMD, CMA!!

playing in the leaves.  EH, not so sure.

Friday, 7 October 2011

The Calm Before the Storm (?)

 So, I apologize for not writing more.  Well, more to myself, as this is supposed to be a written chronicle the early years.  But life has been insanely busy the last couple weeks.  And, as per usual, it's mostly self-inflicted.

We made the decision that I would go back to work after my mat leave was up (has it been a year already?!).  And with that decision came a host of tasks and jobs and arrangements to finish and complete.  I wanted to switch the computer room and the baby room around.  So, A and I lugged the computer and stuff downstairs, lugged the books (so many books!) upstairs, moved bookcases, crib, change table, etc.  I'm not really sure why I wanted the switch.  I think, in my crazed thinking, I wanted the kids to have the same sized rooms, and the old baby room (new computer room) was way bigger - which meant that both EG and A could have their computers there.  And hopefully cut down on clutter.

Clutter has been a huge factor in the drive to insanity.  I am getting rid of clothes as soon as the kids outgrow them.  I am going through toys, tossing or donating anything that isn't used, I don't like, or is missing pieces (I'm a little OCD when it comes to keeping toys and all their parts together).  We made several trips to Ikea to get new Trofast bins and storage units, DVD and CD storage, general storage.  I have a pile of stuff in the basement that is going to a garage sale that my mom is (hopefully) having in the spring.  Lots of purging and cleaning here!

So, in addition to all that, we needed a second car (check), daycare (check - gulp), and getting used to a new morning routine.  I had taken the kids for a meet-and-greet type of thing with the daycare provider, and it all went well.  So when it came time to do the actual test run, I was shocked and surprised (and lets, face it, racked with guilt), when she told me that EG - my brave, independent, headstrong, "I'll see you later, Mom, don't worry about me" EG - cried the whole time.  And not just little tears.  Hysterics.  Wouldn't go for a walk.  Wouldn't play at the park.  Wouldn't snuggle.  (That sound you hear?  That's the mommy guilt coming through hard and fast).  EH, on the other hand, who is normally clingy and doesn't like to leave my side,, only cried when it was nap time or when he bumped his head.  You think you know your children. . . .

Thankfully, the second time went better, but still there were a lot of tears and drama the night before and the morning of.  EG still doesn't like the thought of going - I think (hope and pray) that the reality is going to be much better.  But we told her that if she's still not happy by the time she's 4 (which is in 6 or 7 months), she doesn't have to go anymore.  That's fair right?  At least she gave it a good go.  (Guilt again).

Oh, and I started running.  Well, I ran two days, but we have been doing some crazy long walks.  Usually around 4 or 5 kms, which is awesome.  The thing about going back to work when you work nights, is that the weight usually flies back on.  And I'm kinda proud that right now, after two kids, I'm in better shape than before I had my first.  So, some preventative steps.  But factor that in to the rest of the craziness.

And (if that isn't enough) we are going away for the weekend.  My whole family.  About 14 of us.  And I'm torn.  It should be great and fun and everything good, but also has the potential for some disaster.  We have the only children.  And although I'm probably making a bigger deal of it than needs to be, I worry about how my siblings and parents will deal with the reality of children.  Which is kinda dumb, because my mom had 6 kids in 7 years.  But everyone is in a different life stage right now.  A thinks I'm addicted to worrying, which may be true.
EG and I making salt dough ornaments

Somebody wasn't too happy with being left out

Note:  while these sounded like fun to make, I should have read the instructions all the way through.  6 hours to bake!!!

So, we are trying to enjoy the last couple of days of stay-at-home mommy-hood.  Trying to take it easy before the craziness of a double income family.  But all the planning and preparation for when I do go back to work is making me tired.  I'm really looking forward to this weekend, where (hopefully) I can put my list-making and my schedules and my MustDos aside and just enjoy. 

EG found the camera and started taking pictures.  Kinda artistic, eh?

Someone has no problem sitting and reading!

Did I mention that someone likes to climb?

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Trains, Trains, Trains!

So, on Saturday, Emma, Evan, my sister Nadia, and myself set off for an adventure a year in the planning - well, almost.  We were going to ride the steam train from Waterloo to St. Jacobs!

Since we wanted to start the day off early, and Alan had planned to start putting up the new fence (yay!), the kids and I slept over at my parents house, our starting off point.  Emma was going to go camping (ie: sleeping in the tent with Auntie Esther and Hannah-Banana, her dog).  After a campfire and a smore, we attempted to camp.  Yeah, I think Emma got my camping gene.  Too noisy, too crinkly, too . . .  outsidey (her words, not mine!).  So she moved inside, where it was warmer, and less noisy.  However, she still didn't fall asleep till at least 10 pm.  Gulp!  This was also the first weekend that I was weaning Evan.  So, bottom line: in typical Heather fashion, I bit off way more than I can chew.

our campfire for the evening
roasting the marshmellow (take 2)
Probably wasn't a good idea having this much sugar before bed . . .
Evan slept half decently, woke up at 530, that horrible hour where it's really too early to get up, but if Emma wakes up, she's had enough sleep that she won't fall back asleep.  Grrr.  So I quickly got him up, brought him to my futon, and tried to sleep for another half hour.  Gave up, and went downstairs, trying to keep him as quiet as possible so we won't wake everyone else up.

Given the late night and the excitement of the morning, I guess I should have expected a meltdown or two.  But MAN!  The temper tantrum that Emma had!  We haven't had one of those in a while.  But all in all, we managed to get out the door with a couple of minutes to spare.  (Of course, I left a lot of stuff at my  moms.  Does anyone actually remember everything?  I like to blame my  kids, but reality is, I often forgot stuff, pre-mom days).

And finally, we were off.  After about an hour, we arrived in Waterloo, 5 minutes to spare (just enough time to change Evan who had managed to leak the entire contents of his sippy cup onto the back of his shirt).  And here are the photos of the day!  We rode the train from Waterloo to St Jacob's, the town, then back again to the market.  We got off and explored a bit, got the required apple fritters, and rode home!

The Train!  Emma was so excited!

Waiting not so patiently in line to get tickets
The Ticket! (And it even got punched by the conductor!)
That is excitement, I swear!
The view from the "really really tall bridge"

Sitting with Nene
Looking out the "observation windows"

The way home: one very tired boy

But he also loved being able to stick his head out the window

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Paint and Pudding

So lately we have been dealing with the "terrible threes."  Or, to be more accurate, defiant, maniac, jumping on and off everything in sight, tormenting the cat, refusing to eat dinner, threes.  We have tried calm interventions, time outs, threats (like that ever works!), quiet time in room, book readings - but nothing seems to work.  I thought perhaps Em was feeling a little put out with Ev, feeling left out.  We have tried one on one time, going to the grocery store or the library.  But it seems so long that we have had a good day, all the way through.  We start out great, but come 2pm, we start losing it.

So it was a very happy turn of events that this weekend turned out to be so nice!  You have to understand, I'm not a good long weekender.  At least by Alan's standards.  I tend to see the long weekends as super long work project opportunities.  Alan tends to see them as relaxing times.  Not a good combo.  But this weekend?  Fantastic.  Saturday Alan fixed the dishwasher (or mostly fixed it) while the kids and I played/moved dirt in the back yard.  Then while Evan was sleeping (yay for consistent naps!) Emma and I went on a hunt for a remote probe thermometer.  No luck, but a good couple hours with my big girl.  I then dropped Em off at Nana's for a "playdate" and I got to go shopping by myself!  Came home, played with Evan for a good long while and then had a nice dinner at the in-laws.   Sunday, after church, we introduced Emma to Rummykub.  It went a little long for her, but she enjoyed it, and it's really helping her with the double digit numbers.  But sure enough, 2pm rolled around and Emma started to get crazy!  Since it was raining outside, I didn't want to send her out.  So we decided to paint.

And what an adventure that was!  My little girl has become quite the artist - and the story teller!  She had a story for every picture she painted.

The little artist

Emma Surfing (with Belle, her stuffed dog)

Family Portrait

And of course, Mr. Bubba needed to get in on the action.  I wasn't too keen on him actually painting inside (we have tried it outside), so he got to paint with pudding.

Mr. Cheesy Grin

Emma decided she needed an artist hat.  This was the closest we could find.

And the resulting much-needed sink bath.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

I Spy!

So, I'm outside, hauling the recycling and the garbage to the curb.  We have had several talks with Emma, about going outside without asking, or going in the front yard with out supervision.  So after repeated requests that Emma go in the back yard while I'm in the back, I'm getting frustrated.  I go to the front stoop, ask her why she's not listening.  She looks at me, turning her head very, very slowly, and whispers, "Mommy, sshhh!  I'm camouflaging!"  So hard not to laugh. 

In other news, I think we are going to start a new family tradition.  I think we are going to have a semi-structured play at the end of the day.  Both kids are just a little too crazy, grumpy, shrieky to let them do self-directed play.  And we got this really cool I Spy puzzle play mat.  Alan and Emma played for a good 20 minutes tonight - and for any mom of an active 3 year old, that is 20 minutes of bliss!