A Letter to My Post-partum Body

Dear Body,

Thank you.  Thank you from the depths of our heart.  How could I say anything else to you?

How could I say to you that your stretch marks are ugly?  They showed up fierce, angry and violet; fresh and itchy from the stretching and strain of pregnancy.  Now they're soft silver feathers that ripple across your skin; proud markers of everything you did for our baby.  You kept her safe for nine months.

How could I say to you that I'm ashamed of your breasts now that they're flatter and sagging?  They swelled and fed our baby with the sweetest milk that made her plump and healthy.  Now they're gentle pillows for her tiny head to rest on.

How could I say that you are no longer beautiful now that the firmness is gone?  You went through hell and back growing the most precious gift of my life inside of you.  And you laboured and endured tremendous pain to deliver her safely into this world.  You are more beautiful now than you've ever been, because I know your power despite your softness.

You're no longer firm, round, tight, curvy or any of those other sexy words used to describe the perfect female form.  But you're beautiful in a completely different way.  You are so beautiful because your features tell a story of your strength.

I'm so sorry if I ever forget that.  I'm sorry if I ever call you ugly, or compare you to how you once were with envy or disappointment.  I'm sorry if I shed a single tear over your new appearance.

Thank you.   Thank you from the depths of our heart.

Should babies be trick or treating?

To all the sneaky parents of infants and toddlers out there, we've been found out.  The jig is up.  Apparently we're not fooling ANYONE.  The Internet knows why we're really trick-or-treating with our little person.

"...don't use your baby as a poor excuse to score candy because everyone will see right through you. Babies can't trick-or-treat."source

Umm excuse me, bitch, but how else am I supposed to get candy??  I'm an opportunist at heart, and not even a smart one.  Taking candy from my baby only happens once a year.   The only way I know how to get candy is to spend $50 on a costume (or better yet, spend hours making one), wrestle my screaming spawn into it, and parade them around the neighbourhood.

"honestly, the baby isn't going to eat that candy, it just feels like the parents looking for free candy and some ego stroking."source

LOOK AT MY ADORABLE BABY!!!!!  Now pay me for the spectacle with sugar.
Seriously, have you seen my child?  I don't need to put her in a costume to get my ego stroked.  She gets coo'd at the other 364 days of the year without needing to play dress up.

"I think it's ridiculous when parents bring around babies who are obviously not going to be eating that candy.  I'm fairly certain those parents just want the candy for themselves.  
Our son will be nearly one this Halloween and we are going to dress him up but only to take to his grandparents' and our neighbours that we're close to. NOT to get candy." source 

I hope if your grandparents accidentally try to give your little one a Hallowe'en treat, you smugly throw it back in their wrinkled old faces and say, "I'm an ADULT, I don't need your CANDY" (because I'm fairly certain they know the candy is actually for you).

"They [the babies] were just standing there drooling on themselves. What is up with that? These babies don't give a crap about Halloween! They won't even remember!" source 
Balderdash.  My one month old was the perfect 'prey' in our 'Spider and Fly' costume for her first Hallowe'en.  SHE came up with the idea to be a fly.  She made this clear to us when she started regurgitating her food on every surface of our home.  Sure, she couldn't say "Trick or Treat" yet, but she drooled and gurgled right in character.

Now please let me relate to you the real reasons we took our one month old--and a year later, our 13 month old--Trick-or-Treating.

Husband and I have always loved Hallowe'en.  Even before Little Poppet was born, we'd walk around the neighbourhood just to witness the fun and excitement of kids racing from door to door, gawk at the spectacle of Hallowe'en decorations, and laugh at the costumes.  I remember that October 2013 was cold, rainy and miserable.  Another couple in our apartment complex had just had their first baby--also a little girl--just a few weeks prior.  Since there was no trick-or-treating in our building, we'd agreed to go out with them to a local cafe on Hallowe'en night, walk around the neighbourhood, and try our best to give ourselves a little break the exhaustion of new parenthood.

It was one of the first times I'd even been out of the house with her since she was born.   With just 20 minutes to spare before we had to leave to meet our friends, I decided that Little Poppet and I would dress up.  I grabbed three pairs of black tights, stuffed them with garbage bags, wrapped some cheese cloth and wool around the Ergo carrier, and put some tinfoil bug eyes on Little Poppets hat.  She was my prey, and I was her hungry spider mum.  Sure, I could have made it look a lot better, but it was fun to throw together.  I remember that my feet were so swollen still from giving birth that I had to wear slippers with my costume.

We were excited new parents, and we had a lot to celebrate.  Little Poppet had just learned how to breastfeed, and we were finally allowed to sleep for 4 hour stretches between feedings.  More than anything, I wanted to shout it from the rooftops that my little girl was finally gaining weight.  And this was her first Hallowe'en!  Even though I knew she'd never remember it, I wanted very badly to be able to say to her that she has never missed a year of dressing up and parading around the neighbourhood.  She got plenty of giggles from other little trick-or-treaters, and we were greeted with warm smiles from every parent we encountered.  They'd all been there, and easily looked past my slippered feet and our dreary sleep-deprived faces.  They saw only our excitement and our joy.

Even though we didn't go door-to-door, Little Poppet inevitably got her very first Hallowe'en treat from the local baker (who was very creepily dressed with a flour sack mask and glowing red eyes).  I nearly cried when he handed me a confection for her.  I can't explain why it was so special, but it was.  I suppose because I knew it was the first treat of many many Hallowe'ens to come.

And yes, Husband and I split it at the coffee shop.  And it tasted sweet.

Finally, I'll share a quote from a wonderful young man (then 13 years old) that I think embodies the true spirit of All Hallow's Eve.

"I'm 13 and I went Trick Or Treating last night. I know a 28 year old who went (just him and his friends, not because he is a parent). Trick Or Treating is for anyone who wants to, you don't have to be a certain age. If you're 6 months old your parents can take you if they want to. If you're 60 years old it's not against the law to say "Trick Or Treat" and get candy. It's about having fun." source

Happy Hallowe'en, EVERYONE!

30 Old Person Names for your New Person

Names trends tend to be cyclic in nature.  Names that were popular 80+ years ago are getting dug back up (pun intended).  Some are a little too fresh from the old folks' home for my taste, but at the same time there's something adorable about picturing a toddling child with a name like Lilian or Fletcher.

But there are certain older names that remain in the grave and haven't really yet shown up in the baby name trends.  

So without further adieu, here is my list of not so popular Old Lady and Old Man names.  

Old Lady Names
  1. Agnes
  2. Alma
  3. Beatrice
  4. Beulah
  5. Constance
  6. Edith
  7. Edna
  8. Enid
  9. Ester
  10. Ethel
  11. Eugenia
  12. Fanny
  13. Florence
  14. Geraldine
  15. Gertrude
  16. Gladys
  17. Hortense
  18. Mabel
  19. Maude
  20. Meriwether
  21. Mildred
  22. Muriel
  23. Myrna
  24. Norma
  25. Pearl
  26. Prudence
  27. Rhoda
  28. Thelma
  29. Vera
  30. Winifred
Old Man Names
  1. Abe (Abraham)
  2. Albert
  3. Amos
  4. Archie (Archibald)
  5. Arnold
  6. Arthur
  7. Burt
  8. Cecil
  9. Clarence
  10. Claude
  11. Clifford
  12. Earl
  13. Ernest
  14. Eugene
  15. Eustace
  16. Fletcher
  17. Gus 
  18. Harold
  19. Harvey
  20. Herbert
  21. Horace
  22. Hubert
  23. Humphrey
  24. Leroy
  25. Milton
  26. Myrl
  27. Norman
  28. Oscar
  29. Walter
  30. Wilbur
Would you (or have you) name your baby anything from this list?  Is your name on this list (do you have Internet in your retirement home?)

Am I missing any?  What are your grandparents' or great grandparents' names? 

P.S. Please don't name your baby Dorkus.  

Matryoshka First Birthday Party!

Little Poppet turned 1 year old today.  We had planned to have it outdoors in a lovely courtyard garden behind our apartment complex, but unfortunately we were rained out.  Booo!

So we decorated indoors!  We tried to focus on the colours navy blue and coral to keep things tied together.  Here are some highlights.

Victoria sponge cake with her name (omitted)
Cupcake favours and 12 Little Poppets from newborn to 11 months old

Little Poppets grandma made some simply adorable sugar cookies!
We had a varied menu, but made sure to offer some gluten free options.  These were gluten free chicken salad "sandwiches"with apple and warm brie.  We held them together using toothpicks with funny cards of Little Poppet

I made her a little felt hair clip
We were lucky to find this gorgeous coral, purple and violet bouquet in the grocery store!

And the dress I made her using folksy floral material.  I also had her in little red satin shoes, but our crawling baby prefers to be barefoot!

And I cried my eyes out when we watched her first birthday video.  Thankfully everyone had their eyes glued to the TV screen.  But I nearly lost it in front of everyone when we sang her Happy Birthday. 

30 X 30 Nature Challenge -- Days 21-30

This is the last week of the #30x30challenge.  We've been really lucky that we've had such fair weather for the past two weeks.  It's been amazing to watch the environment almost explode into summer.  Some days have reached into the 30s already.  It's hard to even call this spring, and we've got over a month yet before it's officially summer.  There are lots of blooming trees and bushes right now, though.

Day 21
You didn't venture far today.  Just to the lot behind our apartment building.  But the weather was so nice.  When I was pregnant with Little Poppet, I used to imagine her learning to crawl in this open field.  Now that I actually walk through it, I realise there's just a little bit too much Canada goose poo for my liking. haha
Amid all this greenery and life, there's still evidence of what a harsh winter it was.  The rabbits and deer were hungry.

Day 22
Speaking of geese, we walked along the canal today, that leads to the lake.  Saw some geese, and lots of people fishing.

Day 23
We walked around our neighbourhood today and looked at some of the gorgeous houses that we wish we lived in.  We can afford to, but there's no reason to buy, since we could end up moving when Husband lands his dream job.  In the meantime, we just walk around, and dream of mortgages and gardens.  
Found some Star-of-Bethlehem growing by the side of the road amongst some clover
Oh, and we saw an old telephone pole completely overtaken by... carpenter ants?
Day 24
More geese... and goslings too!  And ducks and ducklings!  You guessed it--we walked to the lake again today!  It was much too cold for a swim, but I bet it will be nice in a few days!

Day 25
We took a quick stroll along the waterway again today.  The birds were so loud, Little Poppet kept straining her head this way and that to see who was chirping at her.
I spotted wild strawberries in bloom. (must remember where I saw them, so I can eat them before the bunnies find them.  mwahahahaha)

Day 26
We went back to the community garden today to see the progress! There was a big bumblebee digging in the dirt (I've never seen that before).

Day 27
Today was such a blast!  We decided to walk to the beach, and let Little Poppet experience her first time "swimming" in a lake, and playing in sand.  Being a typical mother, I spent a concerted effort slathering her in sunscreen and neglected to show myself such attention.  I ended up with a bit of a burn on my back.  Ooops.  

Husband refused to get into the lake past his knees--he decided it was too cold--but Little Poppet and I (the true Finnish Canadians) went for it.  She splashed excitedly whenever I'd dunk her in, and erupt into fits of giggles when I'd lift her back out, as if to say, "Cold water!  What a rush!!  OK... AGAIN!" 

Day 28:  Finally an ugly day!  Haha!  Thankfully it only started to rain after we got home.  Little Poppet and took a stroll somewhere we'd never been before today--under the bridge.  I've always known there was a park under there, but we'd never ventured there before.  We spent some time picking some lilacs for the apartment, and watched a policeman and his K9 play fetch.  

Day 29:  The second last day of our 30X30 Nature Challenge! Today we strolled around the neighbourhood, went to the park, ate a swing, went on a fast mosquito-infested walk through the woods, saw a cardinal, and came back home!  When we left, it was threatening to rain.  But then the sun came out in full force!