Let’s recap: I have 3 babies. A boy and 2 girls.
My first 2 babies were chunky little babies with rolls and fat dimples and both were major weight gainers. I remembering gleefully finding a new chin that had sprouted overnight and fake eating their giant thigh rolls. We ALL love a chubby baby!!! My first baby was born at 8 pound baby and within the first few weeks he chubbed out to 12 pounds and kept on going. Weight gain was never an issue with baby #1 or #2 and so it was never on my radar.
Then sweet Elisabeth came along and she wasn’t at all like her big brother and sister. She was tiny. She was tiny through out my pregnancy and was my smallest baby when she was born. Instead of clocking in on the top percentiles our wee girl would sit at 1-3 percentile mark and continue to hang out there till she was 6 months old. Being 1 percentile meant that 99% of babies her age were bigger than her. I hated it. I felt like I was doing something wrong. Until one day I just got over it and accepted it was what it was. She was a tiny baby.
Each week we measured and weighed her and she would still be tiny. I would set my clock and wake her up over night to try and get more and more milk into her. I pumped and tried my darnest to get my wee babe to get fat and chubby like my other 2 babies did so easily, but it never happened.
We had extra doctor visits to make sure she was healthy and she was! She was just tiny. We knew through all my testing during pregnancy that we could rule out genetic issues and other factors for her being so small. I had nursed babies before so I knew what to look for in the milk department. Her tininess plagued me and as the months went by she stayed itsy bitty.
Elisabeth has been weighed more than any of the other two babies combined. Now that she is older we’ve stopped with the weekly weights and are just letting her grow. Today Elisabeth is 7 months old and she weighs in at a solid 14 pounds, putting her in the 10th percentile and still my tiniest baby of the 3.
Top 5 reasons why having a tiny baby is actually kind of great!
- You can rock that post partum tummy even longer without feeling ‘society pressure’. Everyone will think your 3 month old baby is a newborn! Instead of feeling upset when they coo over your 3 month old baby and ask if you had them yesterday, just agree with them! So put on those leggings lady and go outside!
- Instead of finding clothes packed away in drawers that your baby never actually got to wear, because they grew so fast before you got around to putting them in it, you will actually use all of your baby’s clothing! This will save you money as they rock their newborn clothes past the first few weeks. We just packed away the 3-6 month old clothes for Elisabeth. This never happened with the others who had gorgeous outfits they never got to wear.
- Carrying a tiny baby is a lot easier on your shoulders and back. I remember how sore I was when I’d carry our big rolly polly babies around or even just holding them sitting on the couch. A tiny baby is so much easier to hold forever and ever and ever. When I wear her in our carrier for hours, I literally do not ache. Win win!
- You don’t have to do the ‘I wish time would slow down and they would stay tiny forever’…cause they are literally tiny bundles of baby joy. You get to soak up all the sweetness of a little baby for even longer. No overnight upset when a giant baby wakes up in place of your newborn.
- There is no problem with getting through that huge pile of diapers that you bulk ordered from Amazon Prime. Your baby is tiny and those size 2 diapers will fit until you are down to the last one.
Tell me dear readers, did you have chunky monkey babies like my first two or did you experience the benefits of having a slow growing tiny baby too?
**Photos by Vancouver photographer Alana Couch Photography**
I always feel a sense of freshness right at the cusp of the start to a new season and the upcoming Christmas season is kind of a big one in our home. This year I’m feeling even more rejuvenated and excited to celebrate Christmas with my family of five. There is something about ‘baby’s 1st Christmas’ that makes me feel all kinds of happiness.
Last weekend I went to a birthday dinner and the ladies were all sitting around chatting about how they wanted to boost the Christmas spirit in their kids by having them give back to their community. I really feel that community shines through during the Christmas season and what better way to help your kids grow than by getting them involved.
“I really just want to feel the connection and sparkle with my family by doing simple things together”
This year I am going to make a point of having my big kids participate in the spirit of giving. While they are still somewhat young, 7 and 3, participating in a local toy drive is something they can get excited about. We’ve already had some great conversations around the topic of helping and giving to other kids and families who might not have much of anything this Christmas. I love having these conversations with my kids and seeing what they have to say and the questions they come up with.
This year we will not be going over board with heaps of toys for the kids. Besides the practicality of avoiding adding more ‘stuff’ to our condo toy count, I really just want to feel the connection and sparkle with my family by doing simple things together throughout the whole Christmas season. I really believe that it is those simple things that create those amazing memories of childhood.
On a recent neighbourhood afternoon walk we went by one of my favourite local shops, The Cross, and picked out some special Christmas ornaments to bring home. One for each of us. The kids felt so lucky being able to pick out a special ornament just for them. Right now they sit inside a serving tray on the mantle waiting for the time when we get to hang them on the tree.
We are not in full blown Christmas mode over here but we are on the verge of busting out all of the decor and scented candles in the next few weeks. Currently I’m flipping through this months copy of Style at Home for little bits of festive inspiration and day dreaming.
If you like the insider scoop than look no further! Wheat Canada has opened a pop up shop right here in Vancouver. If you are familiar with the Wheat Canada brand than you know how exciting it is that this pop up shop is open.
Wheat Canada is a Danish design brand of children’s clothing that offers a classic sense of style for kids. The fashions are like a perfectly curated closet for your kids and it will make you wish that this brand also came in adult sizes.
When one of the owners of Wheat Canada contacted me and offered my three kids a mystery bundle of clothing I couldn’t help but giggle as I had literally just been eyeing up their on line retail store for clothes for the baby. The timing was impeccable, much like the fashion choices they have for babies, boys and girls.
Five Reasons We Love Wheat Canada
1. The boys denim trouser is lined with soft material so it’s perfect for lots of playtime. So many of their trouser styles can go right from the school yard to dinner at the grandparents.
2. The colour palette the Danish designers chose is so classy and not over the top with lots of soft lush colours like gorgeous purples and deep pinks.
3. Elastic waist bands. Need I say more mamas? Even though the trousers have a proper zipper there is also an adjustable elastic waistband. Perfection.
4. They offer a great mix of casual everyday pieces alongside more dressier options. Outerwear included. You will definitely feel inspired for perusing through their shop.
5. They have the sweetest little harem styled trousers for girls. I love leggings for kids but I don’t always love how casual they can look. Wheat Canada’s harem style soft trouser is similar to a legging but adds a little bit of extra coverage and style at the same time.
I have $100 for a lucky Mama in the City reader to use at Wheat Canada’s current pop up shop on Main Street. The pop up shop is already open and will be open every day until November 28th, 2015.
I can’t help myself but do this constant comparison of this year to last year; I find myself doing it so often whenever we have an event or an annual occasion. Since it was Halloween yesterday I totally did the, ‘last year I was curled up in bed crying from the crazy ass nausea and vomiting while my kids went out trick or treating without me’ AND ‘this year I am pushing my tiny penguin baby through the fallen leaves and my big kids are jumping up and down with candy happiness’.
A year may be measured in 365 days but it is still amazing what happens from one year to the next. I find that children are good markers of time because they never stay stagnant and are always growing and changing. They are constant reminders that life moves forward. Watching the difference a year makes in a child’s life is amazing.
I write these blog posts for my readers but I also write them for myself. So, when the next 365 days has passed I can come back and look at what our lives were like a year ago. To see how much we’ve changed and grown and remind myself where we’ve been. Right now we are taking it easy with a pyjama filled day and lots of low key cuddles and, of course, a pile of tasty candy.
Over the last few weeks I have slowly started to feel like my old self. I don’t know exactly what shifted but I can feel the change and I am welcoming it. Over the last year the Andrea that existed before was silently being squashed down in order to navigate the current state of things, being a mum to 3 people.
I have my ‘mother self’ that is currently in hyperdrive given that I have a tiny baby that requires all of me. That mother part of me evolved with each baby but there is also another part to me, the ME part. That person likes to drink coffee, laugh really loudly and tell animated stories with hands waving all around. I am finding my way back and it feels so good to be able to mesh these two parts of ME into a finely tuned woman.
After having a high risk pregnancy there was a part of ME that was temporarily put on hold. Then came the post partum period and ME kept being put on hold. It seemed that finding myself this time around took forever.
For the last 6 months I’ve constantly felt like I was one step behind and was unusually timid about moving ahead. You would think that a third baby would make you feel like a total pro but, for me, general life just often felt overwhelming. Having to think about things like getting groceries for dinner and making that dinner left me feeling like it was all just too much. I just couldn’t possibly do it.
I’m not sure why this time post birth was different than my other two post partum times. Maybe there was a bit of PTSD from all the scary things we were told from the high risk docs while I was pregnant. Elisabeth is a delightful baby but we’ve had our share of baby health issues that have stressed me out more than they should of.
I enjoyed this newborn period immensely and I allowed myself to be slow in those initial weeks but then I wasn’t able to burst out of the fog. I just continued to get by and soon getting by was the only way I existed.
I felt my safest and my strongest while I was at home mothering my new baby. I felt so competent taking care of her needs and I felt connected to her on a special level that I didn’t experience with my other 2 newborns. I felt like we had battled something together, our scary pregnancy, and now we were this duo making it work.
As time went on and the baby grew older I was still stuck in a fog. I had glimmers of my old self but it was always fleeting. One day I just started to pick back up rituals that I used to always do. Something as simple as waking up and doing my make up started to trigger my ability to reconnect to my old self.
It seems so silly that the process of applying foundation, mascara and lip gloss would make a person feel on top of things, but for me it represented so much more. It was an act that I had done hundreds and hundreds of times in the past and it felt comforting and positive.
That simple process of putting on make up gave way to picking up other positive acts and one day I caught myself in the mirror and I saw it. I totally saw ME. A bit plumper than my pre baby days but there I was. It was ME.
Once upon a time I used to be a really really good friend. I was the kind of friend who was notorious for being thoughtful and was always good at planning get togethers and parties. I was often the glue that kept friend groups together and I knew it. I enjoyed remembering a friend’s birthday and other special occasions in their life. I also relished the sweet friendships I was given back in return.
Then I had kids and not only did my free time to bathe myself regularly disappear but so did my friends. I’m not saying these two things are totally connected but there may be some kind of correlation between my lack of time for self care and my lack of time to devote to people that don’t call me mum.
” If I have a free 15 minutes when my kids are awake you better believe it is filled with doing something related to them. Usually wiping off jam fingerprints from the furniture or disguising a walk to the coffee shop as a fun adventure walk. “
The thing that sucks is that I miss my friends, I really do. I miss the contact and the keeping in touch and knowing what is happening in their daily life. Not their Facebook life or the 2 texts they’ve sent me since I had the baby this last Spring, but their actual life. It kind of hurts knowing all the effort I poured into keeping up meaningful contact over the years hits the wall when I have to stop to catch my breath.
Now don’t get me wrong, there are friends who are totally like glittery gold beacons of love that shine through the trenches of parenting and different seasons in our lives. There will always be a handful of peeps that exist for the longterm and when the shit hits the fan you can text them 411 and they have your back. When you need someone to go out for dinner with cause you need to eat at a restaurant with no kids menu over an adult dining hour, they make the reservation for you.
Times have changed and obviously friendships have to change and I know that. If I have a free 15 minutes when my kids are awake you better believe it is filled with doing something related to them. Usually wiping off jam fingerprints from the furniture or disguising a walk to the coffee shop as a fun adventure walk. However, I still hold a glimmer of hope that I can get back on the friendship train eventually.
Our days are filled with the usual antics that parents of young children have and over time I have slowly become less available. The old amazing friend ME has had to take a back seat so that I can be a good (enough) mum right now. I don’t always remember birthdays and I’m not always able to know what important thing is happening in a friends life. I know this is just the circumstance to being a parent but I still find the struggle hard.
One day I will catch my breath and get back to being able to make my friendships thrive. In the meantime, I take what I can get in and if it isn’t a two way effort it is best left to fizzle out.
How have your friendships changed with motherhood? Do you still get out to meet up with friends like you did before kids?
My current addiction is watching back to back episodes of Scandal on Netflix while cuddle up in my bed with a nursing baby next to me. Either that or in the bath tub with my lap top resting precariously atop the closed toilet. The first two seasons I couldn’t get over the funny faces that Olivia Pope makes through out each episode. I’m sure I can’t be the only one that semi cringes over her facial expressions because by season 3 the funny faces were paired way down to near extinction.
In my perfect world I’d be a morning person that gleefully rises out of bed, pulls the lid off my slow cooker apple oatmeal and starts the day nice and early. However, usually I’ve usually spent too many late night hours laying in bed watching ‘just one more’ episode of Scandal. That and I’ve got a baby who still eats at night. Some mornings I feel kind of like doing a lot of nothing productive with a side of coffee and more baby snuggles. I’m reading about this bloggers quest to become a morning person and wondering if I’ll ever get there.
Everywhere I look downtown I see the half top knot and the truth is, I am not hating it. I like this casual hairdo and it’s a nice change from the usual top knots that graces half of the city’s mamas, my own included. Fellow blogger Whoorl isn’t a fan of the half top knot but it is seriously a thing in Vancouver. Are you yeah or neigh for the half top knot?
The other day I went to the new Nordstrom that just opened up downtown and was kind of intrigued by all the fancy fashionista people walking around. I was kind of struck by the amount of older ladies with silver locks who rocked accessories and the latest fall shoes. Where were these glam older ladies before this department store opened up shop? The amount of fancy that I saw on this afternoon put my own top knot and jersey pants to shame.
This coming Friday I have the exciting opportunity to attend my very first Leading Moms event in Vancouver. Even my constant sidekick baby Elisabeth will be tagging along. I’m looking forward to getting inspired and hearing from some top leading ladies about what makes them tick.
Leading Moms is a morning featuring inspiring talks from extraordinary moms. The speaker line-up includes key influencers in media, arts, health, social change and more. You can expect a mix of performance, video and live talks and the line up of moms will deliver personal talks straight from their heart. Personally, I am looking forward to sitting back and listening Vancouver’s award-winning CTV investigative, reporter, anchor and breast cancer survivor Mi-Jung Lee.
I’ve got a very quick giveaway for two tickets to this event happening this Friday September 25th starting at 830 AM. If you don’t want to miss out, leave me a comment on this blog post. I’ll randomly draw two different winners! Each winner receives a free ticket to this event valued at $65 and includes a light breakfast and a chance to win a variety of prizes. Winner will be announced tomorrow morning.
The other week the original Apartment Baby, the whole inspiration behind the start to this blog, turned 7. Not only did he have a birthday but he also went back to school the very same day and for him that made it one very awesome day.
I have a tradition of baking a birthday cake for my kids each year. I always let them pick out what kind of cake they want and the week before we go over flavours and icing colours and sprinkles versus no sprinkles. I make sure it is totally fun with no stress during the planning process. The anticipation of me baking the cake is ridiculously adorable and the night before the excitement is awesome. Growing up I’d often request my mum’s English sponge cake with jam in the middle and pink icing and it’s fun to see what my own kids pick.
This year my boy asked for a chocolate cake with chocolate icing that was decorated with strawberries. He had a very definitive idea about how the strawberries would be placed on the top and I went with it baking him exactly what he wanted. It wasn’t overly fancy or ridiculously perfect but he thought it was ah-mazing. Two thumbs up.
I couldn’t help but be sentimental and compare this year to last year because they were so different. Last year I was so pathetically ill with nausea and vomiting from pregnancy that I couldn’t bake a cake. Actually, I couldn’t barely stand up to have a shower. Instead a friend had to come by with a cupcake delivery for my boy. Which was fine and I am so not against store bought baked goods, we do our part to support that industry, but I still felt somewhat left down that I couldn’t do our usual family tradition.
A year later and the woman I was the year before feels almost like a distant memory. I felt so much better this year with the baby on the outside and so I stayed up the night before putting up decorations and wrapping presents.
Celebrating this birthday really reminded me just how tough my pregnancy with Elisabeth was on me. This time last year I was so ill and had no clue what other stressors were to come with this pregnancy. Now here we are with our new sweet girl and I couldn’t help but feel sentimental. Having all 3 of my babes sitting around our kitchen table while we sang Happy Birthday as a family just felt so right.
It seems that with the return of the school year and the end of summer we’ve been spending more time inside each evening. Those earlier sunsets means less time for after dinner park romps or bicycle rides. We’ve traded in our later BBQ dinners with earlier ones at the table. With that being said, I’m really loving these cozy darker evenings at home and that flicker of the vanilla scented candle that sits next to me as I write.
We’ve swapped out our beloved flip flops for sneakers and flats and all of our sleeveless tops are now layered with sweaters. I’ve always appreciated the change of seasons and the home body in me is starting to get excited.
With school mornings in our game plan I prefer an early bedtime for the big kids and so with the close of our summer days I’ve pushed up bedtime. All of a sudden we have quiet in those later evening hours. I’m finding these quieter evenings are filled with baby cuddles, packing up lunches for the day ahead and making sure the dinner dishes are actually, you know, done before breakfast the next day.
Our sweet little Elisabeth is currently the celebrity of the family and is doted on by her big siblings in the most enamoured way. The big kids literally fight over who can play with her and who can hold her. It’s ‘almost’ adorable until they start shouting about who gets the next turn and wake her up.
She’s doing all the things that babies her age do, like having that infamous sleep regression that occurs around this age. Which also means she is hitting lots of fun baby milestones. Like constant hand sandwhiches and blowing raspberries (side note: Josie got confused with the term blowing raspberries and refers to it as ‘blowing bananas’ and I HAVE NOT CORRECTED HER‘).
The nice thing about the third baby is knowing that all of these sleep things are normal. Unlike with the first baby, the third time around I don’t need to buy a book or go stalk google with search terms like ‘why does my baby keep waking up at night?’ or ‘is it normal for my baby to only nap for 20 minutes?’.
True story: when we had baby #1 and he did the 4 month sleep regression, both my husband and myself gifted each other different ‘How To Get Your Baby To Sleep’ books at Christmastime without knowing the other spouse had been book hunting too.
New baby milestones equals changes in sleep and that is normal and it will eventually pass. However, there is no way around the fact that sleep issues blow and makes a mama tired. Which means a late morning walk to the coffee shop was an absolute must. So, we put on our sweaters and went to get a latte.