Friday, 20 July 2012

A quiet moment

A few years ago, I used to travel for business fairly regularly. These days I don’t have the opportunity to travel as often, which is appealing to me as the mother of a 17-month-old child. Life is less complicated when you don’t have to leave the house at 7 am to catch an early flight from Montreal to Toronto. Today, I took my first business trip since returning to work from maternity leave. Until last night, I wasn’t too stressed about it. After all, it’s just a day trip for some meetings in Toronto, something I’ve done millions of times.
My own preparation for the trip involved absolutely nothing.  In fact, less than for a normal day at work, since I had no lunch or gym bag to pack, no errands to plan for on the way into the office. I simply needed my purse, my laptop and my boarding pass. At the last minute I threw a 3 month old issue of Today’s Parent into my bag in case I found myself with time to read on the plane.
But suddenly last night I remembered my son. Oops. My trip meant that my mother would have to come over early to babysit, I couldn’t prepare his lunch and snacks for the day in the morning like I normally do – and since I would be arriving home later than usual, what the heck was the plan for tonight’s dinner? So I scrambled to get it all done last night after coming home from doing groceries after dinner while my husband looked after putting my son to bed.  
But I’m not complaining. It’s par for the course. Business travel when you have kids requires a little extra planning. No biggie.
What I found disorienting today was the fact that I had forgotten how much time you spend waiting around when you travel. As the mom of a toddler, I just don’t spend time waiting around anymore. I have to-do lists and I am always trying to accomplish something, whether I’m working or I’m home. Idle time is normally planned and scheduled. In other words, if I sit down to watch TV for two hours at night, it’s on purpose.
Even with my blackberry and laptop on me and meetings planned for the day, I still underestimated how much time I found myself with at the airport and on the plane. The kind of time that in the past did not seem to go by as slowly. These days, I am amazed at what I can accomplish in an hour. I can zip through items on a to-do list and multitask like nobody’s business. So once I had accomplished whatever work I could possibly complete, read an entire magazine while chatting about vacation plans with the colleague who was travelling with me, I thought, what the heck am I going to do on the flight home? Especially when I found myself seated next to an empty seat (yes!).
I briefly contemplated taking a nap, which would have been so gratifying. But I’m not a pretty sleeper. I am the person whose head rolls around the seat, mouth open with a trail of drool running down my chin. Since I would like my professional integrity to remain intact for a little longer, I opted against the nap.
There was no in-flight entertainment, since I was travelling aboard a small regional jet on a short flight.
I suppose I could have sat alone with my thoughts for the hour and stared peacefully out the window at the view below, but that would have inevitably led to the abovementioned nap, so that wouldn’t have been a good idea.
So I’m blogging. And as I write this I’m truly amazed by the speed at which I now operate. How many things do I cram into my time now? How hard is it for me to disconnect, really? My mind is constantly racing, thinking, planning, plotting, working. Thinking about projects, assignments, the office, my job, my son, my home, my husband, our plans, our upcoming vacation, what we have do at home, what’s for dinner, what’s planned for the weekend,  finding time to go to the gym, what I’m going to write about in my blog, when I’m going to find the time to write my blog, what’s happening on Facebook, when will I read this month’s book club selection, and oh, I have to remember to fill in my son’s forms for daycare before August 6th.
Whew. I’m exhausted. Maybe I will take that nap after all.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Talk that talk

The words are starting to emerge from my son’s mouth, usually garbled through the ever-present pacifier that he is refusing to relinquish (but that’s a post for another day!) I’m finally starting to feel like my son and I are communicating, sort of. There’s still a lot of whining and pointing when he wants something specific, but now he’s starting to use what sound like real words to communicate.

Like many other children, his first word was Dada (or Daddy, which he uses a lot as well). Naturally, Dada was thrilled with that one, but from what I hear it’s pretty common, because it’s one of the easiest things to say. No offense, Dada!

Next up was “l’eau,” the French word for water. My little guy is growing up trilingual, and spends most of his time with his Grandmaman who speaks to him exclusively in French, so it’s natural that many of the first words are coming out in French. Speaking of his grandmother, he’s now starting to occasionally pop out the odd “G’mama” when he sees her or when our car pulls up to her house.

Source: via Aubrey on Pinterest

He loves The Cat in the Hat and the book “Go Dog Go” where he learned one of his new favourite expressions “Go go go!” And when the Euro soccer tournament was in full swing, he learned to associate kicking a soccer ball with the word “Goal.” In keeping with the evolution of using words that start with a “go” sound, he’s now saying “good,” especially when he likes a particular food.

Most of these words are pretty simple, but he does have a few more sophisticated words in his lexicon as well. Whenever a plane flies overhead (and it happens often since we live somewhat close to the airport) he points to the sky and makes a sound that could be interpreted as “avion” (the French word for airplane). Finally, once or twice he has said the word “dangereux” (French for dangerous) which his grandmother says to him fairly often when he comes close to touching or doing something he shouldn’t. That word required some creative interpretation to understand, but we believe that he was trying to say it.

What amazes me more than the words though is that he understands almost everything we say to him now, and he responds to our questions and instructions like “give me your hand” or “show me your nose”. He also has sounds that he makes for certain things, like “broom broom” for cars, trucks, and basically anything motorized or on wheels. He barks in a high-pitched voice when he sees dogs, and makes a similar sound for birds.

With the newfound ability to communicate comes a newfound level of frustration, though, and for all the fun he’s having learning words, he gets upset sometimes when we don’t understand him. I guess it’s only normal that he has so much he wants to say but his language doesn’t always correspond with ours. Especially when it’s a mash-up of three languages. I’m never sure if the word he’s trying to say is English, French or Greek!

Lately, we have been watching videos that we took over the past year and it is absolutely astounding to see what a difference a year makes. A year ago, my son was a chubby baby who couldn’t even sit up on his own. Today he’s a toddler who runs (a lot), has an almost full set of teeth and babbles incessantly. He loves other children and is always trying to hug them (usually taking them down in the process but that is also a post for another day). He’s truly becoming his own person every day.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

I survived our first night apart

It's 8:30 am on a Sunday morning and I'm sitting in my eerily quiet kitchen drinking a still-hot cup of coffee. I'm acutely aware of the emptiness of the high chair next to me and the lack of mushed bananas on the floor. I can actually hear the sound of my husband sleeping down the hall.

Why so quiet, you ask? My son had his first sleepover at grandma's last night while we went to a wedding. And I still haven't called to check in. I want to savor this moment just a little longer. And not seem like an overbearing mother who can't be apart from her child. The latter is by far closer to the truth than the former.

I just know that my poor mom, bless her, had to wrench herself out of bed at 5:30 this morning (at the latest). And I slept blissfully and unawarely through it. But I must say that even thought I woke at 7:30 am after a late night and a few drinks I feel more rested than I have in 17 months. Which goes to show that 6 hours of uninterrupted sleep is more beneficial than 8 hours of broken sleep. Also taking Advil before bed really does prevent hangovers but I digress.

But I really miss that little guy and I especially missed our morning cuddling so I think it's time to wrap up this blog post, wake my hubby up and go get our little monster.

Have a great day friends!

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

One little monkey getting on my nerves!

At almost 17 months, my son is officially driving me crazy. On one hand, he’s at that fun, amazing stage where he’s learning new things, slowly starting to talk, and performs non-verbal party tricks on command (“show me your belly” “where’s your nose?” “Cut the pickle! Tickle tickle!”) He’s a constant source of amusement and entertainment to those around him and is learning to work a room like a stand-up comedian on amateur night (you can see the spark in his eyes when people laugh at his antics “They’re responding! This works! I’ll do it again!”)

But he just. Never. Stops. This kid could teach the Energizer Bunny a thing or two about going and going and going and going. And he wants to touch EVERYTHING. Especially if it lights up, makes noise, or involves buttons and switches. Unfortunately he can tell the difference between real “grown-up” gadgets like (iPads, blackberries, cameras and stereos) and his many, many toys that do the exact same things without consequences (like long-distance phone calls, erased photos or electrocution).

The thing that really gets me is that while he has demonstrated on numerous occasions that he understands everything we tell him, he pretends not to understand when we tell him “no”. He actually finds it funny to hear us say no, and laughs while he repeats the offending action.

Are all kids like this at this age, or is mine particularly mischievous? This past weekend, he gave me that mischievous smile so many times I actually began to understand why people used to spank their children so often. Fortunately, I can’t bring myself to raise a hand to him.

This weekend, he had an encounter with a Pomeranian. For those of you who don’t know what that is, picture a tiny, fluffy, yappy dog. Smaller than a toddler and light enough to be lifted by its tail with one hand by my son. I know this because it happened. Twice.

Seriously?! Can I just get an effing break?!

The thing is, for all his antics and energy, my son is truly a sweetheart. He is ultra affectionate and very liberal with hugs and kisses. When he sees other children, he runs over and gives them hugs. He scares the bejeesus out of the kids he hugs, but he truly has good intentions. The thing is, he’s big and strong for his age, and sometimes he takes them down with his hugs, but he’s just so happy and excited that his enthusiasm gets the best of him.

I never thought I would have such an exuberant and ebullient yet exasperating child. I’m a pretty calm and patient person, or so my coworkers think, but this kid just tries my patience these days. Keeping up with him is a herculean task.

When I got to work this morning after a (very) long weekend, I was actually happy to be in the office where I could sit in relative quiet and not have to chase anyone or peel a child away from potential electrocution or pissed-off lap dogs. Up until this past weekend, I was really looking forward to my upcoming two-week vacation. Now I’m not so sure…

Somebody please reassure me!