The Best Big Sister Ever

It’s Monday morning. Okay –  well I at least know it’s Monday, because your Dad just returned to work after a nice quiet weekend, but I’m not entirely sure it’s morning anymore.

Emilia has been fussing for going on 30 minutes because she is tired, but she is refusing to nap. She’s drooling up a storm and flat out miserable because that tooth on the bottom left just won’t break through. I sing her lullabies, and walk a slow pace around the house with her in the carrier pressed against my chest. The only place she is somewhat calm.

I see you, McKenna, sitting on the living room floor, on your fourth episode of Paw Patrol, and notice the bag of goldfish crackers at your feet. “McKenna!” I say, “where did you get those? You know you are supposed to ask Mama.” You look at me with your big blue eyes and shrug your shoulders. “Sorry Mama”, and hand them to me. I then look at the clock on the oven and realize it’s not morning time at all, it’s 12:45 PM. It’s been hours since breakfast, and I haven’t even started preparing your lunch. I immediately hand back the crackers and give you a hug, that familiar feeling of mama guilt washing over me. I start preparing you your favorite – tomato soup and grilled cheese. You go back to your puppies, unphased by the whole thing.

These days are in the minority, McKenna, but they definitely exist. And I need you to know, that on these days… I see you. I see you sitting quietly on the floor while I nurse your sister, preoccuping yourself with whatever knick knack you can find because mama left the playroom (basement) door shut. I see you, sneaking in the pantry for snacks because your sister is crying and mama hasn’t made you breakfast just yet. I see you, playing quietly with your blocks while your sister is sleeping, even though we both know how much you hate being quiet.

You, my girl, have made me so proud these past 5.5 months. When I think about how much your life has changed and just how well you are adjusting to all of these changes, my mama heart swells to three times its size. Not only have you risen to the occasion of being an excellent big sister, providing endless cuddles and kisses, retrieving diapers and soothers when needed, and sharing your toys with E when she is crying, you have also managed to potty train, self wean, almost dress yourself, and navigate your way through Netflix. And even though you of course have your difficult days (and a span of about 10 days where you were just plain rotten), they too are in the minority.

I promise you, my wild haired, beautiful little girl, that I see you. I see you and I love you and am thankful and in awe of you every single day, even though I may not have the time to say it. Thank you for being the best big sister ever and a pretty damn great daughter as well.

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xo,

Mama

Travelling with a Baby

Our trip to Banff was nearly two weeks ago. It was an amazing time and holds so many dear memories for us.

Travelling with a baby is very different than travelling without one. Whereas before, Matt and I would simply decide to take off last minute, pack the morning of and leave at whatever time we were ready, travelling with a baby involves planning, very careful packing, and time management. I am not very talented at any of those 3 things by nature, but since I have become a Mum I do find I am improving considerably.

There were some things that really worked well, and there were a couple things that really didn’t. Now that some time has passed, and Thanksgiving is behind us, I have really had some time to reflect on what we did well and what we can improve upon. We are heading to Jamaica in February for a wedding and although I know flying with a baby and staying at a resort in a different country is entirely different from driving 5 hours across our province to stay in a hotel with a car at our disposal, but I still think valuable lessons can be learned. And regardless, Matt and I both love a good roadtrip so reflecting on our experience from this trip and applying it to the next one will be invaluable!

Some things I found that really contributed to the success of our trip included:

1. We planned to travel while she was napping – I think for all parents, this is pretty much a given. On the way to our destination, she slept about half of the time. On the way back, she slept nearly the whole time.

2. We were sure to return to the hotel for all naps – McKenna can fall asleep in her stroller/carrier/car seat no problem, but at the same time, I think that really sacrifices the quality of her sleep. Matt and I made an effort everyday to return to the hotel for her naps, and I think it really paid off. She was always rested and relaxed, and happy with whatever we were doing, so we didn’t deal with any meltdowns.

3. We stuck to her bedtime routine – give or take half an hour.

4. We bought her a new toy – for the drive home. When she did wake, I removed it from the packaging and gave it to her, and it kept her entertained for the entire hour that she was awake. Unfortunately, she ended up losing said toy as soon as we were home and took it out of the house. Oh well… it served its primary purpose.

5. We always had lots of snacks on hand – I always had a pouch in the diaper bag, for the times we went out to eat and there weren’t many kid-friendly options. Puffs are always good for keeping little hands busy, in the stroller or at the dinner table. Mum mums work wonders to keep her busy during car rides, as well as cut up fruit and cheese.

There were also some things we did that did not work so well. We learned from our mistakes and will be sure to not repeat them again. Some things NOT to do include:

1. Don’t flip the script – Our first night there, we asked the hotel to loan us a playpen and put McKenna to sleep in there. McKenna still sleeps with me at home, on a floor bed, so when she woke in the middle of the night in a strange dark place in a playpen no less, she lost it. And rightfully so – totally my fault. It took us nearly 2 hours to calm and relax her enough to fall asleep again – in bed next to us.

2. Be sure to plan ahead – When we headed to the Banff Gondola, we were not prepared. Although we had a packed to the max diaper bag, we did NOT bring a carrier with us. When we arrived at the top of the mountain we realized it was a 2 km hike to a tourist attraction that we both would have loved to see, but there were stairs involved and we decided it wasn’t worth the risk to have us taking turns carrying her in our arms. So unfortunately, we missed out on that little excursion.

I’m happy to say that the list of things we did well doubles the list of things we did not do so well. McKenna is a really easy going baby, and was such a content little traveller, that we really didn’t have many issues. But there is always something to be learned from every experience, and I definitely intend to take some lessons from this one, as I do every other adventure in motherhood.

To any parents reading this blog who have experience travelling with a little one on a PLANE, I would love to hear from you. I would be lying if I said the whole thing doesn’t stress me out a little bit, so I would LOVE any advice that you have to offer!