Saturday, 23 June 2012

Is this really all we talk about anymore?

My husband and I are pretty gaga over our 16-month old son. I think that’s pretty obvious to anyone who reads this blog on a regular basis. But we really try hard not to be those overbearing people who will talk about their children non-stop with others, especially at the office. We each have a few colleagues with children the same age as ours that we can secretly engage in toddler chat with, but aside from that we make a concerted effort not to be “those people”.

So when he calls me on his lunch break or while stuck in traffic on the way home, the first thing we start talking about is our son. “How was he today?” “My mom said he napped for an hour and a half this afternoon!” “He really needs a new pair of shoes; we should go pick them up tonight.” “He threw his food all over the floor today at lunch.”

Or better yet, when we’re really feeling mushy, it’s “remember how cute it was when he laughed this morning?” or “He’s so funny when he imitates trucks.”

Last week, as I was finishing some story about how our son had banged on the window and waved at some strangers walking down the street, my husband interrupted me and said “Is this really all we talk about anymore?” I paused, thought for a moment and replied “Yup.”

And it’s true; we really don’t talk about much of anything else anymore. Come to think of it, what did we talk about before he was born? I really don’t remember…

If I think about where we were and what we were talking about a year ago at this time, I very clearly remember being obsessed with my lack of sleep. Since I was on maternity leave and my son was still young and relatively quiet (i.e. not the rambunctious toddler he is today), I would spend hours reading books and blogs about baby sleep habits, baby development milestones, learning about introducing solids, taking pictures of everything and scrutinizing his diapers.

Today, being the busy working mom that I am, when I’m at work, I’m thinking about work. When I’m not at work, I’m mentally running through to-do lists, schedules, and meal plans. But who wants to talk about any of that stuff? It stresses me enough just thinking about it, I don’t need to verbalize it all too.

Plus my son is at a really fun age, where he does funny things, is trying out new skills and slowly working on learning to speak. He can be really frustrating sometimes, but he’s also really amazing to observe as he becomes a little person. He’s not a baby anymore and it’s amazing to watch the transition. Since most days, we’re not home all day with him to enjoy it all it stands to reason that we want to talk about it, right?

Or at least that’s how I justify it to myself…

But just the same, we now try to inject our conversations with at least some non-work-related, non-child-related items. Sometimes it’s just about the weather, but at least we can tell ourselves that we’re not “those people” at home either.

PS – I fully enjoy being one of those people, by the way, so if you’re not annoyed by it, let me know and I’ll keep talking!

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Learning to stop and smell the roses…

Summer is here! Hurray! Now that my son is 16 months old, I feel like we can really enjoy being outdoors and enjoying all the fun things that being a parent in the summer has to offer. Last year, he was still young – we couldn’t really enjoy much time outdoors with him without worrying about him being too hot, too exposed to the harsh sun, afraid of bug bites, etc, etc, etc… Now my little toddler is obsessed with being outside, running around our backyard, playing at the park, splashing around his kiddie pool and his all-time favourite, riding his tricycle (well, being pushed around on his tricycle).

All this activity has got me thinking about how we used to spend our summers, BC (before child). I love the grown-up activities associated with summertime like drinking cocktails on a shady terrace, vacationing in more exotic destinations, attending all the amazing summer festivals in Montreal, etc… Problem is… I wasn’t really doing those things! I had grown bored of the usual summer activities. I used to see parents walking to the pool or the park with their kids and I’ll admit that I was kind of jealous of them.

This summer, we feel less pressure to have the kind of summer we used to have – being out all the time, trying to make sure we enjoyed ourselves, trying to take advantage of this short but sweet time of year. Now we’re just doing it, without the pressure – without trying so hard. We’re doing it by sitting in our backyard in our lounge chairs, splashing our feet in our son’s baby pool, watching him run in circles and play with his toys. Taking evening walks in the neighbourhood, going for ice cream, planting flowers in our yard.

Now on Monday mornings, when people ask me how my weekend was, I can honestly say with a smile “It was great.” And when they ask what I did, I can say “Absolutely nothing interesting,” with an even bigger smile. Because this year I have finally learned to stop and smell the roses. And I love the way these roses smell.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Mama's Boy

I don’t want to brag but my 15-month-old son is pretty darned smart. Every day, he astounds me with some new knowledge, skill or connection that he has mastered. He can give kisses on command, which he does in a totally cute way with a loud “aaaahhh-wahhhh!” noise to accompany the kiss. He will shake his finger every time the doctor in the book says “No more monkeys jumping on the bed!” He emulates us cooking by stirring the imaginary contents of his beloved pots and pans with a wooden spoon. He walks and even runs like a champ. Heck, he can (sometimes) dribble a soccer ball. The list goes on and on, but there’s one thing that I must admit to finding rather frustrating. At 15 months, he still does not say “Mama.”

After many hours of painful labour, scores of sleepless nights and two solid months of colic at the beginning of his life, I must say that I thought he’d be slightly more demonstrative of his appreciation for my role as his mother. I mean, really, as fun as his “Dada” is (yes, he says Dada) it’s not like he was breastfeeding his son for almost a year! You would think “Mama” would be the first word he would use.

To be fair, while he is an extensive babbler who can have long, rambling incoherent conversations with himself, he doesn’t really speak at all yet. His only word is Dada, which he uses for pretty much everything. He communicates well through the use of pointing, exclaiming with little noises and of course, whining. But he hasn’t exactly mastered the art of the spoken word yet. I’m being extremely patient on this point, given the fact that he’s growing up with three languages (English, French and Greek) and that I’ve read that boys tend to master speech slightly later than girls. I know he understands everything because he can follow simple instructions. And every so often, he’ll bust out something that sounds an awful lot like a real word but then never says it again.

I’m sure that I can expect him to become a real little chatterbox any day now, and some might even argue that I should enjoy this pre-speech period while it lasts. Because once it starts, it’ll probably never stop (until he becomes a sullen teenager). But is it asking too much for him to just say “Mama”?

What were your children’s first words?