07 Sep 2018, 22:27

The last time

I was reading a comic I like recently and it made me burst into tears. How Baby Comic talked about an ask reddit thread where people talked about the saddest sentence they could think of, and the author quoted:

 "one day, your parents put you down and never picked you back up again."

We are in that zone now, things are shifting away slowly to a different stage, he’s ready to be more independent, and I am working on let go. For the first 2 years, he wouldn’t hold his bottle by himself, and I was happy to snuggle him anyway. A few months  ago, he started holding it entirely by himself.

Where a few weeks ago, he would still fall asleep on me for his afternoon nap, now he’s getting to the point where he wont need us to snuggle him anymore. Sometimes he falls asleep in his own bed, all by himself. These things are bittersweet. I am excited for his journey towards independence, but it’s that clear sign that he is growing up and out, and part of me just wants to hold him close as long as I can.

It’s been important to us to let him go at his own pace, if he was feeling more independent, we would encourage him, if he was needing more help, I was happy to support him. We play every day by ear, because everyday is different.

25 Apr 2018, 16:28

Fostering Tiny Humans - Step One

A couple of weeks ago I filled out the form on the Children’s Aid Society website indicating an interest to become a foster home. They sent back a message checking in with me, asking whether I was aware of the different religious and cultural based foster agencies in the city, and confirmed whether we wanted to proceed with them (we do).

So now we wait. Our next step is arranging a mutually amicable phone conversation - which I’m already nervous about, but also ready to do anytime. I’m not sure what the questions will be, but we’ll see! I am excited. I am nervous. I am curious.

Even before I had our son I knew that one day I wanted to foster or adopt. I feel like our little family is perfect just the way it is, but I think that feeling would apply no matter what. But I would like to be part of helping kids have a safe supportive home while their parents or families are working through some stuff. So hopefully we get approved to proceed, or realize early on (before being placed with a child) that it’s really not for us - either through talking with more foster parents, or as we go through the training.

I feel like I’m in that strange middle space where I’m filled with what ifs and too much information and simultaneously not enough information. I’m reading people’s experiences, and reading people’s opinions, and blogs and all of that, but I still don’t know what it will be like. Before becoming a parent, I read a bunch of people’s experiences, I played with the idea in my head, I consumed all the information I could handle, and while that helped prepare me, everything changed the moment we actually met our son. That said, I realize previous experience should remind me to remain flexible and curious.

The thing I’m finding surprisingly difficult is finding secular support communities for fostering, even locally. Perhaps we’ll find it while we’re actually doing things, but perhaps we will have to build our own. (though I am already getting ahead of myself.)

I’m hoping to post something regularly about the process and what we’re learning.

10 Mar 2018, 17:51

Sick Mama, Sick Baby

We’re feeling a lot better now, but we’ve been sick for about a week - before us it was my partner that was sick, then the rest of us caught it eventually. My goal was to take it as easy as possible - and to encourage my son to do the same. The weather was pretty mediocre as well, so it lent it self well to staying indoors for the most part.

Who knew how lovely it could be to feel crummy and to snuggle on the couch with a tiny human - I had no idea how cuddly and precious it could be. We spent a lot of time with books - both individually and separately, but also, eventually a lot of screen time in the form of puffin rock, a puffin documentary with the Nature of Things, and then more books.

I’m feeling a lot better today - and I think the tiny human is too, so we’ve already done more activity than we did on most days during the past week. It was an interesting experiment in screen time self-regulation as well, as there were times when my son asked me to turn off the television. But I am hoping we can get back to our previous level of not-so-much tv and lots of outdoor fun and I’m hoping we can have a nice adventure this weekend and make the most of it.

11 Jan 2018, 18:45

The way people treat children

I’m not alone in how I see children, there are people that inspire me to be better and more thoughtful and more patient - folks like Robin Enzig of Visible Child and Teacher Tom.  Having expectations are developmentally appropriate and fair make things a lot easier.  Boundaries are created and kept and gently supported. Feelings are allowed. Children are supported and set up for success instead of pushed towards one thing or another. Children are spoken to as people, not play things or cute puppies.

We tried a class today that ended up being vaguely stressful for me, and I don’t think we’ll do it again for a while. I’ve been curious about circus school with jumping and climbing and bouncing and stretching. But we went to a program for the under 4 set, and it was so structured and was full of false praise and expectations, and it seemed so out of step with reality. They were pretty flexible though, so they still seemed reasonable about it, but the words they used, the tone of their voice, their actions, and developmentally inappropriate expectations didn’t work very well for me. Or my son.

I’m not sure what the solution to this is - I can’t change the world, and I cannot change how I feel about disrespectful behaviour towards children, so we’re likely just not going to go back there - because for now, while I can’t change the world, I can change the world my son is exposed to and hope for the best.

I think of it as developing a framework of respect at home - you scaffold a positive sense of self - encourage empathy with others - and build on that. Once he’s a bit older, I hope our efforts leave him with a positive foundation to build up from as he interacts with more and more people. Together we make a good team, we interact, he seems to know that my rules and boundaries are not arbitrary, and have some kind of reasoning behind them. I find that I can remember how I felt as a child, and that has greatly influenced how I see things - maybe people have forgotten what it was like and are doing the best they can with what they’ve got, but so am I.

03 Jan 2018, 03:01

new year, same great us

Yesterday morning we bundled up and got ready for the YMCA. It’s become a regular thing, this guaranteed Tuesday morning visit to the Y - why? Because we have a regular cleaner now, and it’s nice to get out of the house and get out of their way. I’d rather spend time with the TinyHuman than spend anymore time organizing, cleaning, scrubbing, over and over and over again, Instead, we leave, and come back to a nicely organized, clean house - then it’s nap time, and I get to take care of dinner things or read books or watch movies or some combination of those. They’ve been coming for approximately 1 month, and It has been really really nice.

The Tinyhuman seems to like his visits to the YMCA - I take him over to the childminding folks (that don’t particularly like me - but they do like him, which is all that matters) and I get some time to run or weight lift or aquafit. Then I scoop up the kiddo and we go swimming together - something he really seems to love too.

A few things I’ve started to encourage in the house are random spontaneous dance parties. I’ll turn on a song on our Sonos, and declare a dance party, and go to the centre of the living room and dance. This will invariably (so far) encourage other members of the family to join me. It’s a fun break to occasionally sedentary time at home, while also encouraging silliness, laughter, and getting our heart rates up a bit.