Daily Life

Winter is Coming

Some people say it’s here already, in fact. All of a sudden, we woke up to snow falling yesterday and today, the temperature dropped significantly. Liam was too wee to play in the snow last year, so he had his first real snow encounter yesterday. It was awesome.

Yeah, he was in love. We were frozen to the bone when we finally dragged him inside. He could have easily stayed out there longer. It may be time for me to pick up some snow pants so that I can stay as toasty as possible while little man explores :D Hope you all had a fantastic weekend!

Crafting

Crafting on the Mind

Sorry for the silence again. I had a hard time trying to find my words after my last post. Thank you to everyone you sent me their support and comments. I appreciate it <3thanks

As usual, we’ve been puttering along here. Life continues to be busy and I continue to add little projects to the mix.

With the seasons changing, the weather getting cool and christmas music playing on the radio at work (Ah, the joys of working in retail during the holiday season), I’ve been thinking about getting my decorations out. The christmas season is a hard one for me because it was SUCH a big deal for my parents and my Dad’s kids. I’ve been trying to reclaim the season by starting our own traditions and by encouraging some cheer. I’ve never done the Christmas With a Toddler thing before, so I’m a little concerned about Liam attempting to climb the damn tree or smashing ornaments. As a result, I’ve been thinking about using mostly hand crafted decorations. Depending on whether I can find the time, I’d like to try to make the following (patterns, pin, etc… are available on my facebook page for those who want to make them too!):

The other big crafty thing on my mind lately as been waldorf crafts, specifically Waldorf Dolls. Don’t know what I mean? Well, one of the most popular waldorf doll out there, at least in the Mommy circles I travel in, are these beautiful creations by Bamboletta.bambolettaAren’t they lovely? I would love to have one for Liam, however I find the price just too steep for us. (They range from 130-270, depending on the type of doll). Plus, I’d love to learn how to make such beautiful little things. I think it would make the doll that much more special for our family, you know? Hopefully a local waldorf school will be doing a course soon. I’m already scoping out suppliers for fabrics and hair :D

The other waldorf critters that I want to make are these kind of peg dolls:gnomeAnd needle felted creatures:

feltfaerieAren’t they lovely? I so desperately want to learn! Wish me luck :) I always get so excited when a new craft crosses my path. Can’t wait to give it a try.

Uncategorized

It could happen to anyone

I’m going to write something that is not easy to read. I’m going to talk about things that may trigger you. I’ve written about this before, but it’s important enough that I write about it again. Today, I’m going to write about assault and safety.

My own history with sexual assault is a relatively short one. I was 15 before I had my first experience. I had never been kissed, and had never had a boyfriend. I was painfully shy and awkward. An attractive older boy showed an interest in me and I let him lead me away from my group of friends. Alone and cornered, I was confused about what was happening. I was scared. By the time I whispered “No, stop”, he had already had his hand in my pants. Eventually someone walked by and he stopped. He thought what had happened had been consensual. He thought I was his girlfriend. When I avoided him afterwards, he told everyone that I was a tease and a slut. We crossed paths again in University. He was best friends with a 4th year and was at a lot of the program events. Luckily, I had fantastic friends who had my back and helped me avoid him.

The next time it happened, I was 17. I was asleep on a train, wedged between my nephew, my sister and my nephew’s friend. I woke to my nephew’s friend touching me with his foot. I rolled away, I pushed his foot and I silently cried but he didn’t stop. I didn’t want to bring attention to what was happening because I felt a deep shame. What had I done to make him think it was ok? I didn’t want my sister to see. Afterwards, when I talked about it, I was told  by my nephew and his friends that I should just get over it. I confronted the boy and when he spoke to my nephew next, my nephew assured him that he would remain his friend. On several occasions this guy was invited to group events  and I was told to deal or leave (This was out of province, while I visited family. This boy was invited into my hotel by my nephew).

The next time, I was 18. I was walking from my work ( a hotel downtown) to the nearby shopping center to meet my friends. It was the middle of the day, through a busy public park. A man grabbed me and forced me to sit with him. For half an hour, he kept me there. I froze, once again. I tried to be polite and end the confrontation without injury. He was in his 50s, I think. He was mentally unwell and was physically much bigger than me. He had decided I was his new girlfriend and that I had to come home with him to meet his mother. He talked about what he would do to me, what our children would look like, how I wouldn’t have to work another day. I managed to call my friends for help, but they didn’t come. They felt the situation was too awkward and I didn’t seem to be in distress. They stood on a nearby bridge and watched. Eventually I was able to walk away and join my friends with the promise of meeting this man the following day. My friends asked me why I didn’t cry for help. I told them I didn’t know.

The next time it happened, I was 23 and with a co-worker. He was a much older native man, who had invited me over to talk about his faith and practices. Our co-workers knew I was with him, and I didn’t know I was going to his house – I thought we were going somewhere public. He knew that I had been assaulted in the past – It had come up during a discussion in a Kumik ritual. He showed me the weapons he had, and then touched me under the guise of being part of a ritual. He told me that i had caused all of my assaults, that I needed to be punished for being too beautiful and too desirable. It was my fault and would keep happening. Eventually I was able to talk my way out of the situation and went home. I lied to my boyfriend (now husband) about what had happened and I never reported this. The man told me he would kill my boyfriend if he ever showed up at his door. I fell into a deep depression, stopped showing up for work and lost my job. I lost a few friendships as a result of my depressive state.

The next time it happened, I was 26. I was riding the bus to work. An older man sat beside me and invaded my personal space. He rubbed against me and touched me. I told him loudly to stop. He ignored me. I got louder. He got off at the next stop. I have since seen him again and reported him to the bus driver. I reported this incident to the police.

The next time it happened, I was 28 and pregnant. I was waiting at the bus stop across from the college where I worked. A man approached me and asked me questions about the college, after asking me for the time. He turned the conversation to me, asking where I worked, where I lived, what I did for fun. Because I was still on school property, I was polite but firm. I refused to tell him what department I worked in, what exactly I did or where I lived. He tried to follow me on to a bus, but I tricked him and caught a different one instead. The next day he showed up in my office. I reported this to my supervisor, manager and security.

The next time it happened, I was 29 and a new mom. I was running out to get groceries and to Shoppers to get some Advil for my teething baby. I saw a man in the Metro parking lot. I registered it, but couldn’t tell why it was bugging me. I drove to Shoppers and checked the parking lot before getting out. Upon returning to my car, I found him sitting in his car watching me. He followed me for 10 minutes. I went into a blind panic. I had forgotten my cellphone at home. I didn’t know what to do. Eventually I lost him and returned home sobbing and shaking.

Statistics Canada has found that one in four girls and one in eight boys have been sexually abused by the time they are eighteen. My experiences aren’t rare. This sort of thing happens all the time. These experiences have shaped the relationships I have. It shapes the way I interact with the people around me, both known and strangers.

What can we do about this? We need to raise our sons better. We need to raise them not rape and assault. We need to teach them to respect women. We need to raise our daughters to use their voices and to have no shame in setting limits. We need to stop blaming the victims. It is NEVER the victim’s fault. It doesn’t matter what they were wearing or where they were wearing it.

I was raised to be quiet and accommodating. I don’t blame my parents, but I know that it had an impact on my reactions. My parents outright refused to talk to me about sex. Ever. It’s important to talk to your kids – to start the conversation about healthy sexuality, about respecting your own limits and not being ashamed of them. They never knew about what happened to me because I didn’t feel like it was an appropriate conversation to have with them.

My sister in law, Beth, just wrote and posted this amazing poem about sexual assault to her blog. Read it, and see the message there. My sister in law, Rachel, wrote this great piece on female strength which is also worth a read. I keep meaning to take a self defense course, but have had a hard time finding the time or the money. It is such a great idea for everyone to do. I can’t recommend it enough. You can teach your body to react instinctively to protect yourself.

I’m not sure what’s going on in Ottawa, but I have definitely noticed an increase in assaults in the news. It may be that they are getting reported more often now, or perhaps it is just something that the news is focusing on. Whatever it is, these things keep happening. We need to start talking about it. We need to raise awareness.

Today, two volunteer female police officers are coming to my home as part if a project here in my part of Ottawa. A few weeks ago Pat and I noticed that someone had broken into our garage. A month or two before that, I had foiled an attempt at a break in when I caught a guy in our backyard, looking at our windows and back door. We reported both incidents and as a result we were approached by this program to discuss making our home as secure as possible. This is the first time in my life that i have felt unsafe in my neighbourhood. Feeling insecure in my home is a trigger for me, as you can imagine, so I look forward to this appointment. It’s a step for me – a step in my journey to healing. I will not be a victim again.

Baby, Daily Life

I was that Mom

It started innocently enough. My little guy had a good nap and I had some jogging pants to return, so I figured we’d have an afternoon out at the Kanata Target. I got us ready, loaded into the car and off we went. Liam seemed in a good mood. I strapped him into my Tula at the store, but quickly transferred him to the cart at his request. We did some shopping and found some great deals (All Btoys are on sale for incredibly low prices). I picked up a couple groceries and then Liam started to get bored.

I stayed calm and I kept him engaged for the most part. We tried walking, we tried babywearing, we tried the cart. Eventually, I became that Mom. I had a screaming toddler who was lashing out at me physically. By the end of the trip, I was exhausted. My hair, so recently cut and made beautiful, was frizzy and all over my face. I was sweaty, and my clothes were disheveled from toddler wrangling.

photo

I remember a time before I became a mother where I wouldn’t leave the house without make up. I was horrified at the idea of looking less than my best in the public eye. I couldn’t imagine being the mom with the tantruming child. I would have better control of my kids, oh yeah.

My kid is not a robot. I don’t bark commands that he blindly follows. He’s a learning and growing child, who is just beginning to deal with his emotions. I am fine with that. I mean, it’s exhausting and annoying, especially when it happens in public, but it doesn’t defeat or shame me. (I also accept that my child is a child and will be a child in public) I could give two craps about my hair or my clothes after an incident like that. I’m primarily concerned with Liam being ok, calm and safe. I was surprised by some of the looks though. That I clearly came out to this mall simply with the plan of annoying these people with my unruly child. Then there were the looks at my carrier. I heard one woman say to her friend that it was no wonder my child was unhappy, as I was forcing him to stay attached to me. How selfish I must be. How would he ever learn to walk?

Luckily, there were some amazing people who made up for it. One man helped me with my groceries and the doors. One man made my son laugh and was kind to me. Another man smiled and complimented me on my carrier.

The point of this rambling is that I realize how much I’ve changed and that I am going to do my best to be supportive when next I come across that Mom or Dad who is in that spot. Today, I was that mom. I was harried, tired and doing the best I could. A smile and a kind word made all the difference for me.

I now have some tea, a hearty cheesy pasta dinner and a great article to read before I break out the knitting. Liam is curled up on the floor playing “Vet” for some stuffies. It’s been a long day, but a good one.

Baby, family

One and A Half

I’m very behind on this post. In fact, I completely forgot about it until I came across my one year post the other day and remembered that I used to do these. Oops! No time like the present, right?

Stats for One and a Half Year/18 Months

27.5lbs, 33.35″ tall.

  • Diaper Size: Pampers Swaddlers 5, CD Large/Extra Large. Most of our CDs don’t fit well anymore. It makes me sad :(
  • Clothing Size: 2T for the most part. Starting to fit in some 3T.
  • Nicknames: Monkey, Baby, Little Man, Stinker, Turd.
  • Teeth: All of them, with the exception of his 2 year molars. Two of his incisors are only halfway through though (top)
  • Became huge fans of the experimental farm
  • Loves to dance, jump, run and spin
  • Doesn’t have too many words. Mostly copy-cats. Loves to say “nooooo”, “Bye” and “Uh-Oh”
  • Still loves antagonizing the animals.
  • We hang out with his pals Gus, Isla and Wesley as much as we can
  • Very picky about his food! Only loves things out of a box with as little colour as possible.
  • Went as Chewbaca for Halloween
  • Loves making art. Painting and playing with markers are his favourite
  • Being outside is his favourite thing.
  • Discovered he may have a fish allergy – Fish and Chips resulted in Exorcist style puking. All. Over. Me.
  • Loves to Help. Putting away dishes, doing laundry and carrying boxes, and sweeping are his favourite chores.
  • Hates sleep. We are lucky to get 3 hours at a time
  • Sleeping in his own room, in a big boy bed!
  • Loves giving kisses and hugs.
  • Can sign “Thank you”, “please”, “More”.
  • Obsessed with Elmo and Barney
  • Bubbles make him happier than anything else in the world
  • Had his first concussion. Sigh.
  • Tantrums ahoy! Thus begins the wrongly named “Terrible Twos”.
  • Momma discovers Waldorf style parenting
  • First bad stomach flu (for the whole family)

I have to say, having a toddler is the most amazing and horrible experience in the world. They are such little individuals, so full of love and emotion. I desperately wish he could communicate with me more clearly. The tantrums and sleep avoidance is hard. Very very hard. I have a hard time keeping my cool when our strong little boy is punching me in the face. I’m doing my best to stay calm, but it’s tough. Time-outs have begun, with mixed results. I love seeing his personality develop, and watching him have real and true interests and interactions with the world around him. Stranger Danger is pretty much gone, though he definitely turns into a shy boy for a few minutes before he gets comfortable with his surroundings.

Baby, House

Fall Back

Oh, Daylight Savings Time. So many people are so well rested, thanks to you. Parents, not so much. Luckily, our little dude didn’t get me up too early (6:30 new time, which is totally tolerable for me. Thanks little man). He’s already up there napping, so I’m taking advantage of the quiet by sharing a few things while I have the chance.

Firstly, here is our Halloween costumes that I mentioned the other day:

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Definitely not my best picture, but we are so awesome that it doesn’t even matter

We went as Mama and Baby Wookies. It was a blast. Liam absolutely loved being able to run with abandon through stores and hallways of the mall. I loved seeing all of the adorable halloween babies. Definitely my favourite day of the year.

We didn’t do much after hanging out at the mall, sadly. Little man was completely exhausted after having such a great time that he passed out from 4-7, and then again at 9 for the night. I ordered in Chinese food and set a plate out for the dead passing through. Before bed, I put out a small bowl of honey and milk and called it a night.

The other thing I wanted to share should probably fall into its own post, but I’m feeling lazy (thanks left over halloween candy!), so you get to enjoy it here. We recently moved Liam over to his own room, and as a result, I have another UFYH chapter!

UFYH – Liam’s Room

This space has gone through many makeovers since we moved into the house. Originally, it was used as a craft room/catch all/cat’s space by the previous owners.

cr1This is from their house listing. As you can see, it had teal carpeting, and a hand made cat ledge at the window. This room was my space, but I didn’t have much of a budget to work with. First, we replaced the carpet with a plush beige carpet and painted the walls a vibrant leafy green. Pat helped me install floating IKEA shelves on the inner wall to accomodate my large collection of comic books and knitting patterns.

This was my refuge. All of my books, crafts and music went into this room. I loved it!

When we found out we were expecting, despite having a larger guest room as an option, we both knew that the craft room was a better space for a kid. Firstly, it doesn’t share a wall with our loud neighbours. Secondly, while small, it was the perfect size for a wee one. It would force us to keep it tidy and to keep the number of toys in the space limited. I loved the colour for a nursery, so it was great that I didn’t need to repaint!

cr6While Liam slept in our room (either co-sleeping with us in the bed, or in his larger crib), the nursery was the place that I took him to have some wiggle time on the floor, or to read a story in my lap. We brought in an old dresser that had been my sister’s dresser when she was a child. We purchased a cheap small bookshelf to hold on to our small children’s literature collection. Tracy and I put up the few insect decals that she had gifted us from Toys R Us around the room. The cradle was a gift from Jan and Cathy. It’s a family heirloom. All of the Heffernan girls slept in it <3 While the space acted more like storage, Maddie’s Crate was moved back in, making it more of a baby’s playroom and the Dog’s Bedroom.

Last week, Pat and I tackled the space. It was time to get little man out of our room and into his own space. I was waking him with my tossing and turning. It hurt my heart, but I knew it was time.

First we moved Maddie’s crate into the guest room. We then gave the carpet a very deep cleaning. We removed the blinds and hung some black out curtains (darkness is very important to baby nap time!). We hung some art and set up his new and wonderful Montessori bed (a birthday gift from Jan, Cathy and the girls!). We went with sort of an eclectic fairy tale themed space. Natural mixed woods, vintage pieces, woodland animals and bugs, dragons, child-like without being too cartoony. The art is hung low to compliment the Montessori aspect of the space. I want him to be able to see the art and enjoy it.

What we have in the room:

  • Bunting by A Fete Beckons
  • Liam’s Name Letters – Created by our friends S & K. Letters were painted white and decorated with Star Wars characters
  • Strange heirloom embroidery that I found in my mother’s trunk.
  • Decals by Carter’s, at Toys R Us
  • Owl Night Light from Belly Laughs
  • Bedding from Zara Kids.
  • Nursing chair by La-Z-Boy
  • Curtains from Bed, Bath and Beyond
  • Wall Mirrors & Floating Shelves by IKEA
  • Elephant & Animals textile, gift from Pat’s co-worker.
  • Vintage Fox Art – from Pat’s nursery as a kid
  • Word Art, from grassgreendesigns

I’ll try to post some better pictures of these details later. The room is mostly done,  but I still have plans for it. We have a beautiful owl fram that Tracy had given us for the room when Liam was born. I’d like to print a picture of her with him for it. I also have some art from my own nursery as a child that I need to get framed. I’m also thinking about getting something like this for the space:

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There’s also some art I was considering:

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So many things!  Anyway, I hope you liked this little look into Liam’s room. Please feel free to ask any questions you may have. <3