Helpful Parenting Tips, Uncategorized
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So, my wee little baby is going to be the big first digit next month! I can’t believe how fast this year has gone by, everyone said that (time will fly) and at first it seemed to be moving slower than molasses but, now everything is so blended together and I can’t believe how many “firsts” I’ve already forgotten. There are some that have ingrained their memories into my mind, perfect pictures left etched there forever, like: the first time he rolled over, sat up or took his first steps. Every day I smell his perfect scent, bury my nose in his little neck and tell him how much I love him. Some days I just want the world to stop, for the hands on the clock to slow right down, so I can remember these moments forever. Every night when I put him to sleep, I think about all the perfect minutes that happened that day, I want to save them all in a big jar and replay them forever in my mind. That sweet, little giggle, those big eyes, that curious look and that precious finger always pointing at everything.

Becoming a parent changes you in ways you didn’t even fathom beforehand. It changes the way you look at your own parents. They always said you can’t be selfish if you want children but you can’t really understand a statement like that until it’s 3am in the morning, you haven’t slept in 4 days and you’re literally pulling your hair out because all you want to is to make that tiny, precious bundle be content, safe and happy. Being a parent has made me think about how easy it is to become a parent, really all it takes is one moment, one (quick for some of us) moment. You could roll out of bed one day and decide let’s make another human being (and if you’re lucky it’s that easy). I think about all the people out there who try and try and to no avail. I think about the women you see on the streets with a beer bottle and bloated belly and I wonder how the world works. I wonder how some women with no future and no desire for a baby can get pregnant at a drop of a hat and the women who would be an amazing mother remains barren. Why is it that we need a license to drive, we need to be a certain age to vote but to a be a parent, well just knock someone up and 40 weeks later ta da you now have the keys to someone else’s life? Why aren’t we mandated to take parenting courses the second we walk into a dr’s office? Being a parent has changed the way I think.

Every day, I am grateful for Ollie and all his wonderfulness. I am grateful that he is healthy and happy. I don’t have answers to how the world works but, maybe by the time Ollie starts asking those questions I will have come up with something clever. In the mean time I will learn from him every day and be grateful for what I have in life. Family, health and happiness.

Here’s a letter I wrote to Ollie when he was about 1 week old. I feel like now is a good time to share it, reminds me of just how crazy those first few weeks are, such a blur.

My dearest Oliver,

You certainly didn’t want to come out, you were content and happy as ever to stay dancing around in Mama’s tummy but, boy were you getting big and the clock was ticking and Mama just couldn’t wait to meet you! So we forced you out, gave Mama fancy medicine and then we eagerly awaited for you to give us a sign. 12 hours, we waited patiently (Mama not so much, Daddy though, did a fabulous job). Then low and behold around 8pm on Saturday August 18th, you gave us the first sign that you were perhaps interested in what was going on beyond Mama’s womb. We were out on a walk and the pain started so quickly, the walk that was meant to be short to begin with ended with Mama turning around and limping home. We waited it out at home, tried different positions, moved around and then at 11:30pm on the dot we returned to the hospital.

The pain was growing and growing in my belly. Once at the hospital the nurse said to me: “Would you like an epidural?” Would I like some sort of miracle drug that will take away this strong desire I have to cut the bottom half of my body off? Sure, I’ll take ten of that!! The epidural is magic, for those women that go au natural I salute you, I praise you, you amaze me beyond all. 17 hours, Mama tried to get you out, and you were trying too, pushing your little head but you were just too big! Which is sort of ironic given the size of Mama to begin with! At 5cm, and a new team of Dr’s and nurses on call we were presented with the option of a c-section since it seemed we weren’t progressing. At first the tears flowed and flowed and even more so when the Dr explained all the risks involved. Everyone was tired though and anxious and there were too many “what if” factors involved. So we said yes and thankfully we did as you came out weighting 9.6 lbs, the Dr’s said there was no way you would have ever come out naturally! Daddy was the first to hold you, Mama was pretty drugged up and truthfully isn’t entirely clear on all the details (the down side of drugs). I was desperate for water, my jaw felt very strange and I was awfully tired.

You on the other hand though were beautiful. You latched on immediately and you were ferociously hungry. We stayed in the hospital for 2 days, you were bathed and fed and slept and were just content as long as there was something for you to vigorously suck on.

Coming home was surreal; adjusting to our new life is definitely taking time. There are days when I’m over the moon with joy and others where I’m lying far beneath it. I can spend hours upon hours just starring at you, wondering about what sports you’ll like (if any) will you look like me or Daddy, will you be tall like your grandpa or tiny like your Mama?

I think about how wonderful your father has been through all this and decide that if you grow up to be half the man your Daddy is I’ll be happy! When your little eyes are darting around trying to focus I like to pretend we’re having conversations. I want to hold you forever (but I know, all the books say I shouldn’t). I want to protect you from all the dangers in the world, teach you about right and wrong. Everyone says “enjoy these moments” and I’m definitely trying but there are moments when I’m too tired, when I feel like my breasts are no longer part of my body, when I feel like a cow with the breast pump attached to me. There are moments when I’m crying and I can’t tell whether they are tears of joy or sadness (which sort of makes for an interesting cry). I think about all the things I want for you in life and wonder what you’ll want for yourself. There are days I feel like superwoman, leaping over laundry piles in a single bound and other days I want to melt into the floor, not leave the bed. It’s all part of the course we’ve been told over and over again. The adventure thus far has been truly extraordinary! I have a son (that is the strangest four words I’ve ever written). A son I love with every inch of my being, every inch of my heart, right down to every freckle.

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Nikki is the owner/director of Seasons Family Centre. She completed a diploma in photography at Fanshawe College, followed by a degree in psychology at the University of Western Ontario. Shortly after she finished a post-graduate diploma at the Toronto Art Therapy Institute. She is a Registered Canadian Art Therapist. Over the next few years she extended her education through various courses in psychology, counselling and play therapy at George Brown College, Hincks Delcrest and Cross Country Education. For the past several years Nikki has been running art programs all across the city of Toronto at various schools, community centres, libraries and private homes. She also runs play therapy groups at Thorncliffe Neighbourhood Offices as well as private art therapy sessions. Nikki has taken several courses in baking and cake decorating through the Wilton certification program.

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