Difference in parenting baby #1 and #2

Scarlett will be four months old soon!! Where did time go? It seemed to have gone by so much faster than time with my first born Blake.

People ask me if there is any difference in the way I parent for baby #2, and if I feel different the second time around. The answer is a definite YES. Take a look at the list below and for my brilliant mommy friends, do you feel the same way?

1). “You are a pro now!” How often do we hear that as a second time mom? Most of the time this comment comes from first time moms still trying to find their groove. The truth is: you will never be a pro!

Motherhood is the most humbling experience I’ve ever had in life. Just when you think you know what to do, you find out that you don’t. Each kid is different and there are a whole new set of challenges even though you are really good at recognizing signs of overstimulation this time around. Some old challenges do not become easier just because you have been through them. I literally feel my brain cells dying a little bit every time I have to get up in the middle of night!

2). “It must be easier the second time!” My answer to this is yes and no. Yes in the sense that you definitely are more experienced. Scarlett has the same colicky conditions caused by acid reflux as Blake, but I do know how to deal with it better hence there is a lot less crying in my house this time around. No is because she has her personality which presents new difficulties, such as how she decides to scream her head off EVERYTIME we travel by car. Car rides used to be peaceful with Blake, and it is the opposite with Scarlett. There is also the challenge that you still need to tend to your first, so when Scarlett wakes up crying the middle of the night, I may need to sooth TWO kids back to sleep after.

I’d like to think that although I may be equally clumsy, I am wiser as a mom the second time around. Here is the list of how I, parent differently, consciously and well, sometimes out of necessity.

I am definitely more relaxed.  With Blake, every little cry triggered a sprint action from me so fast you’d think his life was in danger. Over time, I learned that it is ok to leave them fuss a bit, give them a chance to self sooth, and for myself to rinse out the soap in my hair. Acid reflux, she will soon outgrow it and it is not a deadly disease. For that odd time I didn’t have enough water for her formula, using the water from Starbucks will not mess up her digestive system.

There is less adjustment to motherhood.  In a nutshell, this time around, I already accepted the fact that my own life is over for a long period of time, so I stopped waiting for the next phase to happen so I could get my life back. Motherhood IS my life now and I learned to enjoy it. Oh yeah, I also stopped wasting money on embellished fashion items that “I’ll wear when they are older”. Everything has to be machine washable, period!

I stopped researching and trying to problem solve. Childhood behaviour is not a  problem that needs a solution, so I learned. I don’t need to have a dozen doctors appointment and do the formula roulette to solve her ‘spit up’ problem, she will soon stop on her own. I will not sleep train Scarlett this time (I understand the necessity to do so for other moms though) because ‘not sleeping through the night’ is not a problem, but simply a character of babyhood. She will soon resent the fact that I am waking her up to go to daycare in the morning. Her love of napping in my wrap/carrier is her way of being close to me for this limited time, and not a ‘bad habit brewing’. She will soon become too big to be comfortable doing so. This time around, I am just letting everything BE. Strangely enough, I actually recognize how wonderful these ‘probems’ are at times and how little I am bothered by them.

Last and not the least, I am stopping to smell the roses this time! Maybe watching my first grow up makes me realize how precious, short these moments are. I am less concerned with her reaching milestones, training her to be independent and I am that much more confident that everything will be ok, naturally.

Every time I look down to see her sound-asleep-face resting on my chest in the carrier, my heart melts. I make a point to revel in her littleness and savour it when time allows, because I know all of this will quickly become fond memories of past. I just kinda wish I’d done the same with Blake!

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Why we stopped buying the lottery

My 2014 new year resolution: stop buying the lottery.

As we are coming to the end of the year again (so fast! I feel like I blinked and the year is over), I am doing some thinking and soul searching as usual. My first conclusion of what I learned in 2013 is that I am going to stop buying the lottery and I will tell you why.

#1. The Obvious: the statistical chance of winning is extremely small, 1 in 13,983, 816 to be exact (for 6 49).

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When I was getting epidural during birth, the doctors ran all the stats with me in terms of risk. I felt pretty good choosing when the chance of something bad happen was less than 1 in 1000. The chance of winning the lotto is less than 1 in 13 million, in English, that means you will almost NEVER win. But believe it or not, this is actually not the main reason I stop buying. Keep reading.

#2. The main reason: What would winning the lottery give you? Have you thought about that? No, I don’t mean the million dollar house, fancy stuff, travel that you are going to do, or the choice of quitting your job. I mean thinking REALLY HARD what more it would give you in life besides the material stuff, how it will make you happier.

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To answer this question, you need to answer another question first: what do you truly want in life?

  • If your answer is health, family, love etc, then winning the lottery is not going to help you.
  • If your answer is along the lines of achievement in career, then winning the lottery may even make it more difficult because you may be less motivated.
  • If your answer is time with family, working less, then I personally think everyone has a better chance budgeting or finding other work options to achieve this than waiting for the lottery. ANY other option you explore to work towards this goal will have higher chance of happening than the lottery.
  • If your answer is small material stuff such as bigger house, fancy car, great trips or designer clothes, here is the news, you can still budget or work to obtain these, with much higher likelihood of success.

For some people, if they really want a celebrity lifestyle they cannot earn, then buying the lottery is probably necessary. But if I were them, I’d re-examine the wants in life. Happiness does not come from living in a dream!

Maybe I am getting older, and thank God not crustier. I feel wiser than my younger days. When I look at my life, I feel blessed that I have most of the important things I want already: health (for now, really need to get on a work out regimen though), love, kids I adore, good friends, and the financial means to enjoy life to a modest extent. Sure, I want more, the shallow stuff too, like a well renovated house and a pair of killer Louboutins, and I will continue to work towards those, but I just don’t see how obtaining all those ALL AT ONCE will make my life happier and more fulfilled.

I’ve always been a dreamer and still am, but I feel like my life is speeding up, at least psychologically (kids will do that to you), and it is that much more important to enjoy it and live it NOW! So here is the ultimate reason why I won’t buy it anymore, at least not regularly (I won’t exclude the odd time that I get a crazy cosmic intuition :)):

I am going to save that $2.00 which gives me a ridiculously low chance to achieve the false hope that my life will somehow be better, to actually enjoy a good quality latte, and savour it while reflecting on how wonderful my life is at the present and watch the world go by – which is what I’d do if I were multi millionaire anyway! So by not wasting it on the lottery, I AM living the dream.

I will be too busy to hope for a lottery win, because I will be busy LIVING my life, working toward my bucket list, and becoming 10 million richer all of sudden is NOT on that list!

Happy new year!

Tree Decorating Party

My favourite time of year is here! After Santa Clause parade, I can officially let my Christmas obsessions out in the open. I love everything about Christmas! I know, I know, it has become very commercial these days, but there is something about picking out gifts for others that just make me happy. Of course, the hot chocolate, the pastries, the decorations and family, friends get together are all what I look forward to every year; not to mention the expressions on kids’ faces when they open their gifts – priceless!

Inspired by a dear friend, I decided last minute to host a tree decorating party 2 weeks ago and here are some details of the fun we had.

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A wintry centre piece for the holiday season. I got this 3 years ago and it still looks pretty good. To make something like this, all you need is a pretty vase base, some Styrofoam in the centre to stick things into, some pretty balls/cinnamon sticks or whatever you like, some glue and sticks. You simply glue the sticks onto the balls and stick them into the Styrofoam the way you like it and it lasts for many years to come.

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For food, we bought some sandwiches from Bonjour Brioche and made red velvet pancakes with cream cheese butter. I also made a small goodie tin for the kids to take away.

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Inside the tin:

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All sorts of gourmet goodies from The Nutty Chocolatier.

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Blake waiting for his friends to come.

Now the tree decorating:

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Need dads’ help to reach the higher part of the tree.

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The boys are satisfied and then we saw our first snow of the winter, how timely!

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Snow on our deck…and finally,

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The finished tree bathing in the wintry afternoon sun. Notice how bottom heavy this tree is? I have a feeling that will change over the years along with the increase in their heights. I did hide one ornament from the kids…

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There is no way I was going to risk breaking this newly purchased cutie :).