Tuesday, February 19, 2013


Little Buddha is a really distracted nurser. It's funny to me now, thinking back to nursing days with Zen Master, that I thought he was unique of this trait. But Little Buddha is now so much more sensitive (obviously! my house was much quieter with only one baby back then). As it turns out, it's very common and my boys seem to just be super sensitive to their surroundings. It's nothing that I can't work with and we can usually adapt easily.

This evening Little Buddha wanted to nurse but was distracted. By everything. Zen Master was doing a puzzle on the floor of a rocket ship and was loudly telling me everything he knew about rocket ships. I had the TV on in the background. The dog was walking around. You know, normal everyday distractions. Little Buddha doesn't nurse well with distractions so he kept pulling off, looking around and eventually pulled away. He didn't drink much and certainly didn't enjoy a quiet moment of calmness. Had it not been dinner time with a number of things to prepare for the meal ahead of me, I would have taken him upstairs to his quiet room to nurse (a routine we have gotten used to when the surroundings are a bit much for him to focus on the task at hand). But I didn't and I justified his whininess to that if he was really hungry and cranky he would just nurse already. Bad Mama.

I'm thankful for breastfeeding and the ability to comfort and nurture my children and provide a safe haven for them when they need it. What I failed to do tonight was stop and realize what he really needed from me was just that. He was looking for his safe haven. He needed some comfort, quiet and some warm milk would have been nice too. He needed to chill out after practicing his backwards crawling and playing with his toys and watching all of his surroundings. Duh. It wasn't until I took him upstairs to change him and feed him that he had a bit of a meltdown and I realized that he was past his breaking point. He had tried to communicate with me countless times and I was DISTRACTED. The oven, the stove, the vegetables waiting to be sliced, the table waiting to be set, the TV, the dog, the preschooler chatting and playing away. I allowed myself to get so distracted that I completely ignored what Little Buddha really needed at that moment. Mindful much?

As I write this out I've had to stop twice to an unsettled baby who needed comforting/nursing/rocking to help him fall back asleep. Clearly his evening has upset his bedtime. I will not dwell on today and my inattentiveness but it helps me to reflect on my mindfulness, put my best foot forward and be more thankful for tomorrow's. Sweet milky dreams, Little Buddha.

Saturday, February 16, 2013


On any give day you can find Zen Master involved in a make-believe world. These scenes may look like couch cushions, pillows, blankets and toys thrown together in a disastrous heap on the floor but what they really are to him are rocket ships, submarines, pirate ships and camp sites. If you ask him what he is doing he will almost always ask you to join him and if you agree to join him he will almost always reply, Well I'd be glad to take you there! Hop aboard my...

Bedtime has been especially trying lately. Little Buddha's routine hasn't been very predictable and it's hard to stick to one with Zen Master because of it. When both boys are tired and ready for bed at the same time it can get a little wild around here. Sometimes I get lucky and can get Little Buddha down and then focus on Zen Master rather than juggling both. These nights are much easier when I can give each child my utmost attention.

Unlike his brother who I can calmly nurse to sleep, Zen Master isn't very zen-like at bedtime. He is usually wound up like the infamous monkey's jumping on the bed. It has taken me months to figure out what works to settle him down. I've tried extra books, puzzles and other quiet games on the iPad and even some children's guided meditations on my iPhone but he always seemed to bounce right back in to monkey-mode.

One night while I was growing impatient and lying in bed while he bounced around me I stopped thinking about the dishes that were piled up waiting for me downstairs and the laundry that needed to be thrown in and I suddenly started my own make-believe story.

Once upon a time...

It worked. He's hooked. When I tell my stories his body is still and he is fully engrossed in the moment. He calms right down and can easily fall asleep afterwards. It is awesome.

Instead of demanding him to calm down, go to sleep in his own bed, and fighting with him (which I'm sure would result in many tears), I have chosen to put his needs ahead of my expectations and schedule. In turn, we have found what works best for him and have struck a pretty great balance. I get some extra hugs and cuddles from my perfect little boy. I enjoy making up stories and watching his eyes light up with every little twist and turn the story brings (the smile that my happily-ever-after-endings bring to his face is to die for). He gets that extra comfort he needs at this time, one-on-one focus from me and he gets to enjoy it all in his element of make-believe.

Tonight's story was about the North Pole, Zen Master, his pet penguin, Mumble, and some lost mittens (I'm getting kind of awesome at this). When the story was over he happily turned over and fell asleep. As I lay here beside him under our freshly washed sheets in our big comfy bed, I am so happy and proud. There is no place I'd rather be. There is no other way I'd want to parent my child, no matter how any other parent or a sleep expert may react to how our bedtime routine goes down. This is what works for our family NOW and for that reason I will follow my gut, embrace every single moment and live happily ever after.

Thursday, February 14, 2013


That's how Zen Master pronounces LOVE.

Lah you, Mama. Lah you, Daddy.

It's one of both Biggest Fan and I's most favourite things in the world. I know this because we both say it, write it, text it and email it to each other and we can't help but selfishly fish it out of Zen Master sometimes. How can we NOT smile when he says it? It warms my heart so and I want to cherish it until he learns the proper pronunciation.

The boys and I spent the last few days visiting family and friends out of town and so Biggest Fan was happy to have us back all snug in bed this morning.  He told Zen Master he missed him to which he replied, Lah you, Daddy as he snuggled in close.

These are precious moments I like to soak up in the moment and never want to forget. As a good friend once told me at a time that I needed a reminder the most - look at what your love has created. It's amazing and perfect isn't it?

So today on Love Day we are celebrating this special thing our little family shares called Lah.

Friday, February 8, 2013


There are very few things during the day that I find myself fully engrossed in. So many of my daily tasks are clouded with thoughts of what was or what will be.

While Zen Master and Little Buddha were quietly playing with their toys this morning I took the opportunity to sneak away to the kitchen to do the dishes. I put some music on to help me power through this task and my genre of choice was a mixture of dance hits.

Soon enough, Zen Master peeked around the corner. Mama, can we have a dance party?

I made the choice not to brush his request off because I was busy or didn't have the energy. I made the choice to say yes, of course we can.

Dancing is something that I can fully engage in with my children. Without even thinking about it, I can fully appreciate and tune in to my senses and just BE in the moment.

I can see the smiles on their faces and watch Zen Master explore his movements. His creativity and confidence when he is with me makes me so proud. Watch this move, Mama!

Sounds of the gasps, laughter and squeals of excitement from both boys as I spin them around in circles fill the room.

Intoxicating is the smell of Little Buddha's breath while I hold him close in my arms and he turns side to side, always keeping an excited eye on his older brother.

And I can feel. Chubby little fingers gripping tightly on to my arm. The breeze as Zen Master spins by. My hair sweep across my face as I swing around. My body; warm, happy, full of love.

Thursday, February 7, 2013


Every day I work on living in the moment and returning to my present self. It is no easy task. When I started to practice this daily, is was astounding how out of touch I found I really was. Just the fact that we need to practice this is wild, isn't it?

In reading, Buddhism for Mothers: A Calm Approach to Caring for Yourself and Your Children by Sarah Napthali, I learned a really neat trick to anchor myself back to the present. The author suggests you pick a common place or task and each time you walk by or perform this task it reminds you to stop, breathe and return your thoughts to the present. Anchor examples are a doorway or hallway that you walk through several times a day.

We live directly under a flight path so planes power by at all hours of the day. When we first moved here it was slightly distracting, but we soon embraced it after seeing Zen Masters delight with each jet passing by. Now these flights, just like many things in our day-to-day routine, seem to well, just fly by, unnoticed. So I picked these flights as my anchor.

Tonight's dinner was normal. Loud, distracting, messy. I was on my own, expecting Biggest Fan home later in the evening. Zen Master was talkative. He wanted pepper on his plate and ended up shaking too much, leaving him upset. I had to remind him more than once to sit down on his bum. Little Buddha was smacking both hands on his high chair tray, delighted with the new tastes he was experiencing. Zen Master knocked over his water and it came pouring on to my side of the table. Little Buddha dropped some food and I dove to grab it before the dog pounced on it first. I had to tell the dog to stop begging. Little Buddha was squealing for more food. In an effort to stay two steps ahead of Zen Master I was thinking about what I was going to serve for dessert. Then I started thinking about the laundry I needed to get done. Diapers, I had to wash the diapers. And I was scarfing down bites in between it all.

Then I heard the plane.

I couldn't help but laugh. Seriously? Are you kidding me? How the hell do I practice mindfulness right now among this freaking craziness?

I watched the plane through the window to our back yard. It sounds much louder in the quiet winter evenings. I saw the blinking lights zoom by and vanish overhead with the sound.

Okay, here goes.

Deep breaths. Slow down. Eat mindfully. Taste. Savour. I looked at Little Buddha's messy face. He smiled, his two little teeth poking out through a mess of food. I looked across the table and Zen Master was gobbling up his meal, perfectly content in his own little world. I noticed he was wobbling a lot on the chair and asked him if he felt uncomfortable and explained to him the importance of going pee as soon as we feel like we have to (holding it til he's about to explode is a habit of his that I'm trying to gently guide him away from). He scurried off to the bathroom and I enjoyed a brief minute of silence. When he returns he picks up his cup and asks, "Mama, wanna cheers?" So we clinked cups. Cheers.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


I haven't actively written for months. In the last year I have welcomed many new changes and so I've been toiling over what I wanted to do with my old writing space. Before this decision to start something new, I referred to my lack of writing to a really messy house. You know when your house gets to a point where you just feel so damn overwhelmed with where to start? I felt like that every day that I didn't write. Every new day didn't make sense unless I went back in time and filled in the gaps and there were just too many gaps. There were also some big family decisions that were made and I wasn't comfortable sharing them. But in not sharing them, everything else just seemed so damn trivial and beat-around-the-bush-like. I could have just written what I want to write here and there were many times that I drafted posts and tried but it just didn't feel right. I think it's the fact that I feel like my old writing doesn't sound like me anymore. I found my feet almost four years ago in my motherhood journey but somewhere along that journey I lost them and found them again and now these blessed feet have grown.

So ya.

New writing space. New beginnings. New focus. New journey.

Welcome, change.