Life in April

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Rose was six months at the very end of March and so we have started introducing solid foods. This was her face when she first tasted apple sauce.

(Pearl was thrilled for Rose to start eating real food and really wanted to hold the spoon for her little sister. Later she told me that this now means she’s one of Rose’s parents.)

Rose is very excited to sit up at the table with us and eagerly grabs at any spoon or bowl within reach. Her enthusiasm doesn’t always extend to the food that goes into her mouth but she continues to be happy to try. So far carrots and bananas seem to be the favourites. No teeth yet.

We had a lovely Easter at home, including our annual Easter hunt in our backyard. Pearl remembered this tradition from last year and was very excited. And she didn’t mind finding Rose’s treats for her too.

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We celebrated Rose’s dedication to the Lord at our church. All of her grandparents, cousins, and aunts and uncles joined us for the occasion which was extra special. As parents, this is an opportunity for Peter and I to publicly state our hope that Rose grows to know Jesus, as well as for our church community to state their support for our family. It was a really lovely service and I even got to share a little about our family’s journey to meeting Rose.

After Rose was born and named, I looked for any Biblical references to roses. While we never sought to name our girls “Bible names” I do like that there are Biblical references to pearls (such as the pearl of great price). There are two references to roses in the Bible, depending on the translation. Here is my favourite, found in the King James Version,

 The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose.

Isaiah 35:1

Both times roses are mentioned, it is as a flower that blooms after a drought. The first bloom springing forth in a desert place. It is the perfect reference for our sweet Rose Constance.

And seriously, Rose is the sweetest, happiest baby. I know ever parent thinks so but I really think you couldn’t get a cuter baby than this:

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She sleeps well, she nurses well, she is full of smiles. She loves to be around people and she loves it when people look at her. She loves singing and bouncing, loves to “stand” and to look at herself in the mirror. She is a proficient roller and can scootch around very inefficiently. She desperately wants to keep up with her big sister but isn’t quite there yet. She is bald and toothless and we love her so much.

I am enjoying their sister relationship so much. It’s not without its difficult moments and I know we’ll face new challenges as they grow but they are already learning to love each other so much.

The last couple of weeks have had some gorgeous weather and the girls and I have taken full advantage of it. Anyone else’s toddler’s behaviour improve drastically when you spend time outside?

You can tell I wasn’t ready for sunshine because I had to cut open last year’s sunscreen in order to slather it on my pale, pale children.

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The vacant lot next to our little neighbourhood “forest” was recently cleared and new houses will soon be built there. I’m sad to see our special spot get a little more exposed but Pearl enjoys watching the diggers work.

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(She rode her bike there. I don’t make her wear a helmet everywhere.)

We spend many hours in our backyard on these sunny days. Pearl rides her bike and plays in the dirt while Rose hangs out on a blanket (or naps inside). We eat lunch, colour, hang laundry, draw with chalk, pick flowers. It’s the best.

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Pearl gets fantastically dirty and takes great joy in “sink baths” to wash her feet before coming inside the house. It makes me happy to see her play so hard.

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Big sisters provide endless entertainment.

April has been a pretty great month.

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Unsolicited Advice

I’ve been the mother of one child for six months now so I am obviously an expert. And everyone loves receiving unsolicited baby advice, right?

  1. Three weeks post-partum is too soon to try on your pre-pregnancy pants. Just don’t do it. You’ll feel sad. You have lost a lot of weight. But not that much.
  2. Breastfeeding may or may not “melt the baby weight away” (thanks, every female celebrity who has had a baby, ever) but it doesn’t restore muscle definition. It also doesn’t make my bellybutton look the way it used to.
  3. Speaking of breastfeeding – it’s okay not be starry-eyed about breastfeeding. I’m thankful for it and I do feel proud over the fact that somehow my body can single-handedly nourish a person, but sometimes I also want to sleep in on weekends or have a second beer or not plan my outfits by their ability to undo in the front.
  4. Oh, and another breastfeeding fact: The parenting classes lied. Breastfeeding does hurt at the beginning but for some reason no one tells you until you already have your baby and are gritting your teeth and trying to figure out why your baby’s latch looks just like the baby’s in the video but causes so much pain. Don’t worry, it does get better.
  5. The amount you brag about your baby’s sleep is exactly inverse to the amount of hours your baby will sleep that night. Babies can hear you and they want to keep you humble.
  6. You can’t spoil a newborn. You just can’t. And you will never look back and wish you had cuddled your baby less. (Well, maybe you will. I guess I’m not that far along and my baby is still a baby so I haven’t hit that point yet. It seems unlikely though.)
  7. Do whatever the heck you want while the baby sleeps. “Sleep when the baby sleeps” is so drummed into parents but you need awake time without baby too. I’m a big fan of “read when the baby sleeps”. Or eat ice cream while the baby sleeps. Or paint your toenails or just sit and stare into space while not being responsible for keeping a person alive. (I also lean towards, “Check if the baby is still breathing while the baby sleeps.”)
  8. If someone tells you your baby’s name is “an interesting choice” (which we all know is a polite way of saying “what a weird name”), you can respond by telling them their baby has “an interesting face”.
  9. People will judge you on the length of your baby’s fingernails. Baby fingernails grow fast; it is a battle you will never win.
  10. You can live on less sleep than you think you need. There will come a time when you pray for just four uninterrupted hours. Please, baby, just give me four hours! (Related: Sometimes you might join in with your baby’s crying. Especially when it’s three in the morning and you just fell asleep after spending an hour getting the baby to sleep and she think thirty minutes of sleep is enough.) (Also related: This scenario actually hasn’t happened to me in a couple of months. It does get better! Or, at least, it got better for me and my super baby who sleeps so well! I’m such a good mom!) (See #5)
  11. Your life, much like this list, will revolve around feeding your child and trying to get more sleep. This may go on for the next ten years. Twenty years? I don’t know. I have no idea what I’m doing.
  12. The correct response to any and all unsolicited baby advice is, “Hmm, I’ll think about that.” This includes responding to this blog. (What you think may be, “That is insane advice. What a craze-o!”)

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Life Lately

The past weeks have brought big changes around here. With September, a new schedule sets in for our family. With summer over and Peter back to work, Pearl and I had to get used to hanging out just the two of us again from Monday to Friday. We have lots of fun together. Pearl loves her dad and is always super excited to see him when he gets home. A big smile spreads over her face and she’ll reach her arms out to him. Quite often now, if Peter’s around, she prefers to be held by him rather than me. It’s pretty freaking adorable to watch those two together.

At least I have someone else to cuddle with…

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We also have Bella the Dog staying with us for a couple of weeks. So I have two girls who love attention from me and want to be at the door when Peter walks in. It gets a little chaotic.

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I took this picture the other day at the park and felt very mom-ish with my baby in her stroller and a dog impatiently waiting for me to throw the ball. Also, very fall-ish with a scarf on and a mug of tea. (Contrary to what seems like every blogger in North America, I do not love fall and refuse to acknowledge it until September 21st.)

Pearl remains a committed fan of Bella. Sadly, her love is unrequited. It might have something to do with the fact that her method of petting involves grabbing handfuls of fur. Or her current fascination with eyes. Bella is very patient

The other morning, I had them both on our bed with me and they lay holding hands for a few minutes:

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Since Pearl hit six months, we’ve slowly been introducing solid foods. She’s very interested in putting things in her mouth and she loves her little spoon. As far as the food goes, she doesn’t seem too impressed. She does love sitting in her little high chair with us at the table though and I enjoy my tiniest lunch date every day.

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The biggest thing that’s changing my life though? We have a crawler! Pearl’s been pretty close for a while now – able to inch worm around and, more recently, getting up on all fours and rocking back and forth. Then, a week ago, it just clicked and now she’s non-stop. She can now chase the dog more efficiently. And I can’t hide from her. (Jokes! I never hide from my baby!)

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It’s pretty amazing to watch her development. She’s into all corners and tries to get her mouth on absolutely everything. Strap and buckles of all kinds are a favourite. I caught her trying to climb into her car seat so she could get her mouth around the buckle.

A crawling baby is also a great way to realize that your floors are filthy. Even if you just finished sweeping them.

Her latest skill is pulling herself up to stand. I wasn’t prepared for that one but a week of crawling and she’s suddenly trying to climb up next to me on the couch. (Pearl doesn’t really seem prepared for standing either because it generally ends in a tumble.)

And in the neighbourhood…bears!

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(There was also a cub to the right.) The forest fire in July and the drought conditions of the summer have combined to result in a lot of bears around here recently. This picture was actually taken on our way home from walking Bella on some trails. Our neighbourhood bear is smaller than this one and has three paws. I’ve seen him twice and Peter came across him early one morning at the bottom of our driveway. Apparently, he’s a regular in the neighbourhood for the past few years. Despite living in a more rural area for the past three years, this is the first time I’ve seen a bear close to home. Win for the suburbs!

So that’s us lately. The skies are grey but the smiles are big!