** Curious George is a new, and constant, member of our family these days **
Ollie this morning:
So, I haven’t been doing a great deal of actual blogging lately because, well, I have a toddler and a baby. I have been doing a lot of mental blogging, hoping to get back at the physical blog soon, and I’ve been the recording the beautiful, crazy and funny moments with my two little guys as well as formulating more content heavy, opinion/experience/discussion type posts as well. The little moments aren’t making it to the blog because of the aforementioned busyness. The other types of posts aren’t making it for the same reason, as well as a few others.
I love to write and I have a lot of ideas and opinions, some of them good and interesting, many of them not so great and pretty conventional, and a few that are maybe a little controversial. That anyone reads my blog at all is such a lovely surprise to me, and I appreciate every single person who does, because it feels really really good to have people interested in me and my amazing sons, but in a small way it can also feel a little stifling.
When I want to say something less cute/less positive/less conventional, I stall, because I can usually think of a few people who might be offended, and usually I can think of those people by name and relationship to me, and I don’t want to hurt any feelings or damage any relationships. (This makes it sound like the stuff I’m not saying is really heavy - it probably really isn’t.. somewhere more in the range of like “people who litter are assholes”, when I might know a litterer or two).
So I’d been thinking maybe I needed a side project, or just to be more bold, or maybe to stop blogging all together, and then this morning the answer was forced on me anyway.
I used to work in a place where I encountered many different people, with many different backgrounds, many who had different struggles they were dealing with while trying to participate in the community. Mostly I was privileged to get to work with people who wanted to help and offered their skills with enthusiasm and positivity. On the other hand from time to time, as all supervisory jobs do, my job included “disciplining” some of the same people.
A few months before I left for my maternity leave from that job, I had to ask an individual not to return to the building. The incident was handled professionally, the individual was quiet and not particularly difficult to deal with, and the whole thing pretty much faded into the background of my day to day working life.
Until one day, after my mat leave was over and I had decided not to go back to work, I was contacted by my former supervisor to let me know that the organization had started receiving disturbing emails about me from that same individual. Emails with lots of ugly words and ideas, and allusions to my family and accusations about my behavior (wild accusations, like, laughably wild). The police were informed and the individual was warned and the whole thing was weird, a little scary, and then in the past. That was about a year and a half ago.
On Saturday evening my Dad, through his business website contact form, received the same email, from the same individual. For whatever reason after all this time, this person was angry with me again, and had gone to the trouble of seeking me out, I can only assume, through social media.
These emails aren’t threatening, and I have no actual reason to believe that this person is dangerous, but I certainly have reason to be cautious about what I’m putting out into the world right now. This person lives in my neighbourhood, he knows I have kids and he knows what I look like, and he’s an angry guy.
My gut tells me that actually he is just an angry troll. The type who wouldn’t step out from behind a keyboard even if I confronted him directly, but I can’t go on my gut alone, and I have two really good little reasons to be cautious.
So for the time being, my blog is going to be protected so that only people I know can read it. I can’t begin to describe how frustrating this is for me. Because while I’m not that scared of this guy, and I’m not convinced he’s a real danger, I know I need to be careful and that makes me so angry at him. Something I really enjoy has to stop because of a stupid, angry, crazy email.
I know that this step alone doesn’t really hide my internet presence (I know that the internet never forgets and anyway, I’m still going to exist on other social media spaces) but it preserves the privacy of my posts going forward and allows me to continue to document my life with my two little guys as I chose, without worrying about who is reading. I know that this is going to mean fewer of my friends and family reading - having to log in to view my blog will probably be one step too many for almost everyone except grandparents, but I guess that’s what’s got to happen for now.
When I started my blog I did it because I was fascinated by the whole world of blogging that was going on with mums, a whole new community to me, and I wanted to experiment with getting involved. I did it because I wanted a space to vent and brag and share. I did it because I wanted a space to get my thoughts out of my head and onto the computer. For the past two and a bit years, it has done that for me. At the same time I’ve realized that I’m probably never going to be much of a participant in the mommy blogging community and that, as I mentioned earlier, it can actually stop me from getting my thoughts out into the world sometimes, and maybe I want a little something different.
So, as they say.. when God sends an insane, vaguely threatening email, he opens a window (is that it?). So yes, this guy and his anger is taking away my ability to participate as a “mommy blogger” right now, but it’s also giving me an opportunity to create a new space on the web that’s more about me, and less about this one incredible role I play. I haven’t exactly decided what shape that new space will take, but it’s coming, and soon I hope. Because it feels good to write, and because I like sharing with people this way, and because, fuck him, you know?
Whatever it is, I’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, consider yourself among the Meagan approved non-crazies, and if you’d like, keep reading along as Oliver and Emmett keep growing like beautiful, hilarious little weeds. And thanks for having read this long winded post, and every other long winded thing I’ve spewed out over the past two years. It’s meant a lot.
This picture is actually a few weeks old, but I’m just slightly behind on my photo uploading (and to be honest, taking.. I hate to say it, but I know why there are fewer photos of second children, and it has nothing to do with how much you love them). But anyway, Emmett looks just like this, and it pretty accurately represents things he’s into - laughing, sticking his tongue out and hanging out outside.
Stats: 14 lbs, and 23 and a half inches long. Emmett is chunky, chunky, chunky, with adorable rolls at every turn and a barrel chest that he’s really into sticking out like a proud little peacock.
Skills: Rolling to his side (left side preferred), thumb and/or finger sucking, full fledged giggling and sweet, insistent babbling conversation.
Likes/Dislikes: Happily for me, Emmett likes nighttime sleep - he only wakes up once a night most nights and that’s for a quick snack, then right back to sleep. Less happily, he isn’t so crazy about daytime sleep - rarely napping longer than 15 minutes and usually needing to be worn to get even that much. But I’ll take it. I know what all night sleep deprivation feels like, and it’s bad news… so stay up all day little Emmett, because I’m loving what you’re doing at night!
Oliver: Mummy, I feel sick
Me: Oh no, what feels sick Oliver? What part?
Oliver: Here (indicates chest)
Me: Your heart?
Me: What does it feel like?
Oliver: Like a burp
Me: Like a burp?
Oliver: (nods) And like goo
Me: …. ?
Wishing for just a little bit of “me” time. I know, I know.. I’m a mum of two, this is the job - it is 24/7 and everyone does it and our mums did it better than us. But the last week or two Emmett has been sleeping less, Oliver has been teething and feverish and Chris has had a lot of out-of-the-house activities. I’m just a little desperate for a solid hour to myself. For yoga or running or showering alone, or to just sit silently and stare at the wall.
Reading tiny tiny portions of many many things. I have two library books on my Kobo and one actual, physical book (a parenting book, gag). But I also bought a copy of InStyle for our cottage trip this week and managed to get through almost one article and three ads. Basically if I get any of that alone time I’m wishing for, I’ll have a pretty substantial reading list.
Eating like crap and trying to do better. Much like my reading list, my food wish list includes removing sugar and chips. But honestly I need to eat like a bear right now and although I’d love to prepare and enjoy beautiful, healthy snacks, it is much easier to grab garbage from wherever we happen to be and mindlessly devour it.
Missing my thick, full pregnancy hair. I mean, I still have hair to spare.. but just this week I started losing clumps in the shower. So long, dreams of growing my hair out.
Oliver and Emmett are…
Wishing I think for food. Emmett, that is. He’s already started jealously eyeing the junk food I scarf while nursing him, and he often stops drinking and stares at every bite, gums grinding and eyes wide.
Reading the newspaper. We have a trial of the Toronto Star (because I’m a sucker at the door), and Ollie is the first to grab the sports section and search for pictures of hockey guys.
Eating not very much.. Oliver is on and off on food, like all toddlers. This week is an off week.
Missing the snow. Seriously. Around the dinner table the other day, Chris said to Oliver “So what was your favorite memory this summer?” and Oliver cheerfully responded “Playing in the snow!” Since then, winter, snow, skating, skiing and tobogganing is all he talks about. Let’s hope we’re in for a white winter.
I’ve tried to make up for my delinquent blogging with some Instagram documentation (username: downtowntrayn) of just what it is that’s keeping me away from the computer these days.. So here’s a day, from start to (almost) finish.
First row, from left:
- Ollie’s been joining us in our bed around 1 a.m. every night, and Emmett’s already bunking in full time, so when I open my eyes in the morning, these two are there to say hello.
- Chris leaves for work at 7 a.m., so I pretty much get out of bed as he heads out the door. Accordingly, this is my view when I head to the bathroom first thing.
- I’m bribing Oliver to stop nursing with chocolate milk. He enjoys it naked, first thing in the morning. This is just good parenting.
- Every day I rediscover the wonder that is coffee. Seriously.. do you KNOW how good it can make you feel? Echinachea on the side because I constantly feel like I am getting a cold.
- Ollie gets one show a day, during breakfast. Lately it is Bob the Builder. I hate that little dude.
- While Oliver watches his show, Emmett and I get dressed. I hate that I have to shower at night, but there’s no way in hell I’m getting up earlier than I have to to shower without my boys awake. Whoever came up with putting cute animals on baby bums is a genius.
- Oliver comes upstairs to get dressed. Somehow he remains naked for an hour, but dons rubber boots for a horse ride.
- Puzzle! .. .It’s a rainy day, usually we’d be heading out somewhere good.
- Instead, we go for a walk in the rain. It is pretty hard to stay under one roof all day long with a high energy guy like Oliver. He’s pretty pumped about carrying an umbrella and the torrential downfall that hits halfway through. Emmett could take it or leave it.
- Our walk included a wet accident, so we come in and head straight to the tub. I take that as my chance to clean the bathroom - my chore for the day (yeah, I have a schedule and clean one room a day).
- Emmett does a bit of the dreaded tummy time.
- Lunch! In our underwear, of course.
- We’re pretty into mega blocks right now. We build cranes.
- Naptime is a challenge. We all bed down in my room, and lately Ollie passes out in my bed, while Emmett fusses and fights till I take him downstairs. In this photo, I’m actually just using my camera to check whether or not he is asleep yet.
- Swaddled in his bouncy chair! Coffee time for me.
- And then a phone meeting. A risky gamble….
- That doesn’t pay off. Emmett’s awake the minute others join me on the conference call line. He stays quiet though, good little guy.
- Ollie wakes up and we’re back to cranes.
- And rolling practice!
- Afternoon snack (air popped popcorn) and stories. Lately it is The Cat in the Hat. So often that Oliver has the first four pages memorized.
- 5pm and Daddy is home! He and the boys head out for a walk and I get in twenty minutes of yoga.
- Lazy dinner tonight - squash soup with soprassata and goat cheese sandwiches. On homemade bread though!
- Chris is in charge of Ollie’s bedtime while I put Emmett down. I have the better deal, this guy goes to bed like a dream - snoozing by 8 and down til 4!
- With everyone tucked in, I’m back in front of the computer to finish up a little work before bed, where I’ll hope to get a few hours of sleep before I get a toddler toe in the face.
Context: Oliver is heading to bed with Chris.
Oliver: Daddy, I miss you at work.
Chris: I miss you too.
Oliver: I miss you because I love you.
Chris: I love you too.
Oliver: Can I watch a movie?
Meredith at Boss Report used to do this and I loved it. Her hilarious son is three now, so I am stealing the idea to record my two year old’s wisdom and wisecracks like so. For my first edition I have chosen a precious moment from this morning…
Context: standing on the dock, in my bathing suit, I fret quietly to Chris about how my body looks following two children.
Chris “You look fantastic! Ollie, doesn’t mum look beautiful?”
Ollie “You look terrible. I am going to flush you down the toilet, in the pee and in the poop!”
Somehow this makes me feel better.
Currently I am…
Happy about summer. Which probably seems obvious except that I am usually not a fan of summer at. all. But this year has been great - getting to know Emmett, Chris being home, watching Ollie run wild learning to swim and bike.. I’m actually going to savor these last couple of weeks, instead of wishing them away (although I am still looking forward to a nice chill in the air!)
Searching for a daycare for Oliver. Being home on mat leave I obviously don’t need daycare for him, but to ensure social time with kids his age and my sanity, as well as to get some alone time with little Emmett, I think it is a good idea.
When I needed daycare when Ollie was considered a “toddler”everything around us had a seven year waiting list. Now that Oliver is a “preschooler”, thanks to all day kindergarten literally every daycare I have called has wide open availability.. meaning I can pick the number of days and the days of the week I want for him. So now I’m faced with too many options - we’ve been to four daycares this week and we’ve got two more tours lined up. By the end of the week I’m hoping that we’ve found a good “school” that Ollie’s excited to go to and I’m excited to send him to.
Making green smoothies. Me and everyone else on the internet. They’re for Oliver. I suddenly got freaked out that maybe he isn’t getting enough green vitamins (technical name), and started inserting one smoothie a day. We say they’re made out of dragon juice.
Feeling less stressed about being home alone with both boys in September. Chris has gone to his cottage a few times for 24 hour trips without me and they haven’t been disasters. Even bed time. Even the all night wakings. Even mornings at 5 a.m.
Going to my in laws’ cottage for all of next week with just our little family (and some friends for a few days). Just me and the boys by the lake for a whole week! I’ve got a lot of plans for reading, yoga and swimming. I’m also planning to test out wearing a bikini again - while the only people who will see me are those who created the mess I’m usually hiding with a one piece.
Oliver is happy about being allowed to skip the dreaded n-a-p. Oliver is so hard to put down to sleep at night and wakes up CRAZY early (quarter to five anyone?). Less than eight hours of sleep isn’t ideal for a toddler and is definitely a nightmare for mama, but nothing has worked to get him to sleep better. Nothing except letting him skip his naps. He’s a little crankier in the evenings this way, and I sure miss the afternoon break.. but having some time to ourselves at night is awfully nice for Chris and I.
Emmett is searching for his hands. This guy is totally focused on putting his fingers together, putting them in front of his face and putting them in his mouth.
Emmett is making so many sounds. He’s really into talking back and forth, cooing and squealing and just generally being adorably chatty. I’m trying to remember to take video as much as I can, but you know how it is with second children ;)
Oliver is feeling a little conflicted about potty training. One week he’s got it down, the next he’s like, afraid of the toilet. Like all the other insane seeming stuff that kids do, I understand that this fits into the “normal” behavior category.
Oliver is going crazy, like Kale. Kids are bananas, truly.
That’s us this week… What are you up to?
Once again, I’m participating in Harvesting Kale & This Amazing Day’s “Currently” link up. Check out others who are joining in (after you read what I’ve been up to, obvs)
Currently I am…
Wishing we were totally done with potty training. My blog’s name perfectly sums up how this has been going, as we’ve been working towards potty training for about six months now. We’re basically there at this point, with Ollie in underwear 90% of the time, and asking to use the toilet with few accidents.
Now, I know that I am supposed to call it potty “learning”, because you train a dog but teach a child, but I’m not going to lie.. I’m training Oliver, and the method I’m using is straight up bribery. He’s known what to do for a long time, but the motivation just wasn’t there, so now when he uses the potty, he gets a Smartie. Call CAS. But really, if the worst case scenario is that he needs a Smartie every time he goes to the bathroom for the rest of his life is that such a big deal?
Reading a lot of unread emails. I haven’t really even glanced at my work email account since Emmett was born, but I’m starting to think about all the ends I left untied and digging into my inbox. Yikes!
Cooking less and less meat. I am the worst on and off vegetarian, and I tend to be “off” when I’m pregnant and ruled by cravings. But once I’ve got a tiny little baby in my arms I start thinking about animal mamas and babies, and chemicals and blah blah.. long story short, Chris is starting to get suspicious about my menu planning these days.
Anticipating the coming of fall. I seriously, seriously hate summer and this summer has been especially brutal. But a few days ago I woke up not to the stifling heat I’ve been cursing for months, but to a very slight breeze that whispered “fall”… and now that I’ve had a taste, it can’t come fast enough.
Missing the way my body felt this time last year. Before I got pregnant with Emmett, and for the first couple of months of my pregnancy I was probably in the best shape I’ve ever been in - training for a half marathon and practicing yoga reasonably regularly. Flash forward to today and my body is aching from the rigors of a 2 km slow jog, the contortions of sleeping with a newborn while nursing and the demands of carrying around a squirming 2.5 year old. I just can’t wait to feel good in my body again, but I think I’ve got a long way to go.
Oliver is.. Wishing that we were swimming all the time. This boy is a real water baby, and I am so glad.. swimming is my favorite too!
Emmett is.. Reading some of Ollie’s board books. Well, OK, I’m reading them to him, but he’s responding with gurgles and coos and flailing arms, so I’m thinking he’ll be a bookworm, like his brother and mother before him.
Oliver is.. still cooking in his play kitchen all the time. He’s always bringing guests eggs and coffee, sincerely offering up cream and pepper to compliment his creations.
Emmett is.. Anticipating a move to his own room. Maybe. Well I don’t know. His room isn’t decorated or even organized, but he sleeps so well it seems silly to keep him in with us. But I also can’t really stand the idea of him being on another floor (he’s one level up), and part of me thinks I might just keep him in with us til he’s big enough to go in with his brother. Is that crazy?
Oliver is .. Missing having my undivided attention. He’s pretty loving and wonderful with his baby brother (see: yesterday’s picture), but he also gets pouty, clingy and grouchy about having to share his mum and dad. I’m trying to make sure that I do at least a few outings with just he and I each week, and in some ways I think I might be able to give him more attention once summer is over and Chris is back at work, because instead of letting Chris take him out alone, I’ll be heading everywhere with both boys. That makes sense, right?
I can’t believe that this little guy is two months old already. And at the same time, I can’t believe that he’s only two months because it seems like he was born years ago. His rough start isn’t holding him back one bit, he’s growing like a weed and settling right in around here.
Weight: 11lbs12 ozs. You’ll recall that he was 6lb7oz at birth.. so he’s on track to double his weight by three months. Monster!
Skills: Smiles that light up his whole face, dodging his brother’s intensely loving kisses, sleeping most of the night - eight hours at a time.. but I am still paying my karmic dues for that with Oliver’s sleep.
Likes/Dislikes: Like his brother, he’s not so crazy about my love of cheese.. but so far that is the only thing he doesn’t seem to like. He LOVES his brother, smiles every time he hears his voice or sees his face (usually in extreme close up as is Oliver’s preference), and he weirdly really loves the old Super Mario Brothers theme song as sung by me. I don’t know how we found that out.
There are a lot of things you can’t prepare for as a parent, and the feeling that you get when someone else’s kid is anything but kind to your own is one of them. If someone had told me three years ago that a kid on the playground would provoke me to want to grab him by his grubby little polo collar and call him every curse word I know I would have hoped that they were joking.
Truthfully I’m actually not a real big fan of other people’s kids (like strangers kids.. your kids are delightful) but I can put up with yelling, whining, screaming, crying and the whole range of obnoxious behavior that all kids are prone to (even my own).
However, when some little brats on the playground start calling my son names, it is pretty hard to resist the urge to return fire. Especially when Oliver heartbreakingly recounts in the car “My friends were mean. My friend called me chicken.”
I sought more level headed council from my husband, who deals with other people’s little sh*ts for a living. He said, and I agree, that the best we can do is teach Oliver first that that isn’t how we treat people, no matter how they treat us. And that what they are saying isn’t true and we know that in our hearts. And that we can just walk away when someone is mean.
Then he added “And then when Ollie walks away, I’ll go back and tell them that there is no Santa. They deserve it.”