Sunday, August 18, 2013

Breast Milk v/s Formula...The Real Truth

Dear Claire,

Lately, and by lately, I mean the last fifty years, the debate of breast milk v/s formula has raged on.

Lots of pressure being put onto mothers regarding their choice (or not!) of how their baby will be fed.  Studies showing that it doesn't matter, studies showing that one is better than the other, studies showing that one will make your baby smarter, study after study after study.

I wonder, will this pressure still exist when you (maybe) have children????

I just want you to know, all the studies are wrong.

I had an epiphany last night while you were in the bath and I realized the liquid that actually makes kids smarter.

It's the bath water sucked out of the face cloth.

That's right. You heard me, the bath water sucked out of the face cloth.

Both your Auntie Andrea and I did this obsessively and between the two of us we have five university degrees, so clearly, it's the bath water that really makes kids smart.

It all came to me in a flash of dirty-water brilliance when I saw you lapping it up in the bathtub yesterday.

So don't worry about what you feed your baby, breast milk or formula, they'll turn out just fine.  Well, just mediocre.  If you really want a smart kid, better get them chugging that bath water a.s.a.p.

There, now you can relax and just enjoy your baby, whatever she/he is drinking.

Love Mom

Monday, April 22, 2013

Claire's Forensic Portrait

Dear Claire,

Lately this video has been circulating the internet in a big way:

After watching this (and tearing up like every other woman!) I immediately thought of you, my little beauty.

Right now, I'm sitting with an imaginary forensic artist.  This is what I have told her so that she can draw you perfectly.

1. Claire is three-feet tall, this is the perfect height for reaching counter tops, peeking out windows, and riding a tricyle.

2. Claire has dark brown hair that flows to-and-fro when she runs outside, goes down slides, and goes way up high on a swing.

3. Claire has happy-shiny eyes that have a beautiful sparkle radiating from them.  They especially shine everytime she sees someone she loves, small animals, and jumps on her bed.

4. Claire has a cute nose that seems to be very good at smelling any kind of baked goods.

5. Claire has a perfectly shaped mouth and lips and she often turns her tongue into a taco.  She is extremly skilled at making her mouth do strange things like opening super-duper wide, making click-clack sounds, and getting chocolate and candies to disappear in it.

6. Claire has two very nice strong arms.  She can carry almost anything she tries, she can pull herself up on to the play equipment, and she can give great, big, long, wonderful hugs.

7. Claire has a great tummy and back, she can roll around on them, bend to do summersaults, and enjoys being tickled on either. Most importantly, Claire's beautiful heart is safely nestled between them, ready to give kisses at any request.

8. Claire has two strong legs that make her run fast, jump high, and dance happily wherever she goes.

9. Claire has ten perfect toes that she likes to be counted and tickeled every now and then.

10. I almost forgot!  Claire has the most wonderfully shaped head in the world!  It is perfect at containing the best part of her - her brain!  Her brain is fantastic, too amazing to be drawn accurately!  It holds all of her great ideas (dressing dolls, playing house, going on adventures), it is home to her talents (making people laugh, doing puzzles, colouring,) and displays all of her feelings (happy, excited, grumpy when she gets her hair brushed).

This is how I see you...I hope you see yourself the same way :)

Love Mom

Monday, April 15, 2013

Risk It Baby!

Dear Claire,

When it comes to work, your mom, is a mini-risk-taker.  That's right, for the most part, I've followed pretty safe and traditional paths. I've always done what i've enjoyed, but never in a crazy, over-the-top, wild and throw all caution to the wind kind of way.

But here's the really weird thing.  When I have taken risks at work, they've always worked out in my favor.

Oddly enough, out of my four teaching positions, I only knew what one of them really was, when I accepted the job!

Being willing to dive into the unknown is what has kept me feeling challenged, what has stretched my learning, and was has forced me to rise to the occasion again and again.

In only nine years of teaching I have been willing, excited, and able to change.  Able to go with the flow.  Able to embrace newness.  Able to learn as I go.  Able to invent and create.  Able to fail and then learn from those experiences.

So DIVE IN!!!!    It will all work out in the end because it's your instinct to swim.

Love you when you're brave,

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Let Me Count the Ways

Dear Claire,

I think all mothers would agree that having children changes your life in so many ways.  You go from seeing movies, hanging out at Starbucks, and having room in your back seat to spending most evenings at home, having to make plans ahead of time and having the back seat of your car filled with car seats, toys, and random crumbs.

But you, my sweet and lovely girl, have changed me in the most wonderful ways, let me explain.

#1. Before you, I thought work was simply what you did during the day.  I thought it was something you got paid for and that you got days off.  Now I know that having kids is real work.  That you don't get a coffee break, that you're on-call 24/7, and that all the motivation is intrinsic.

#2.  Before you, I used to call my students' parents and talk to them like I really knew their kid!  Crazy!  Now I completely recognize that I know a little speck of their child, I know only how they are in my class and it doesn't reflect their whole child at all.  I am, thanks to you, a much gentler teacher now.

#3.  Before you, I used to feel sorry for kids when they were being bullied; now I feel worse for their mothers.  Now that I have you, I can't imagine you being bullied, or picked on, or made to feel small.  I feel like it would break my heart and my heart breaks for all the moms (and dads) who's kids are made to feel this way.

#4. I used to think in a much more 'black and white' way when it came to parenting.  Things used to be either right or wrong, this way or that.  Now I feel like there are grey areas everywhere, and parenting is just a guessing game.

#5. I used to be hard on people.  I used to be more judgemental.  I used to dislike more people.  Now I just feel more love and see the child in everyone and how they came to be the way they are.  You have made me more accepting.

#6.  I used to think mothers were crazy.  Why are you so worried about where your kid goes to daycare?  You're spending how much on your kids activities?  What do you mean your kid won't sleep in past 7am?  Who cares what you kid will or won't eat?  Turns out, they're not so crazy after all.

Love you Claire...I'm sure you've got a lot more Mommy-Makeovering to do, especially in those teen years!
Love Mom

Monday, February 25, 2013

Claire, Our Little Player

Dear Claire,

This weekend you had this conversation with Daddy in the car:

Daddy: "I love you Claire."

Dead Silence

Daddy: "I love you, I love you, I love you Claire."

Dead Silence

Daddy: "Claire?"

Claire: "I heard you Daddy."


That's right girl, you're young, keep 'em guessing!

Love Mom

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Wired for Struggle

Dear Claire,

Life is not always easy.  Things, crazy things, hard things, sad things, and really odd things, are going to be thrown at you.  As your mother it is my natural instinct to want to protect you from all of these things.

It's my instinct to want to jump in, rescue you, and save the day!

I will. And I won't.

If you're in immediate danger - I'm there for you kiddo.  If you've fallen way down the rabbit hole - I'm there for you kiddo.  If you ask for help - I'm there for you kiddo.

But...all humans are wired for struggle.  You are meant to fall down, you are meant to have your heart broken, you are meant to get picked last for the team.  You are meant to fail a test, come fourth place, and lose friends along the way.

Your brain wants you to get back up, it will help you find love again, and it will encourage you to try again, and it will lead you to new friendships.

Your brain will stop doing all these amazing and wonderful things for you, if I am always there to do them for you.  Your brain likes practice.  Your brain needs to learn from each of your little struggles so that it is there to help you when the big ones come along.

And the truth is, I can't always be there for you.  That's why you have you.  And you, are the strongest, most capable, most brave, most "cry for a bit and then pick yourself back up" person ever.  I know you're this way because it's genetic.  It's in your DNA.  You were born strong and everything you'll ever need can be found inside of you. 

So I encourage you to embrace the struggles!  Meet them at the front door, welcome them in and learn from them.  This is the best way to live and the only way to learn.  Triumph is not in the easy wins, it lies in the struggle.

Can't wait to watch you overcome,
Love Mom.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Timeless Tuesday - The Last Hollywood Star

Dear Claire,

Once upon a time (I think it was the 90's) people loved movie starts and rock stars and we loved hearing about them from time to time in the newspaper and seeing them at award shows. 

But things have changed and now they're everywhere and we're right there with them.  We're watching them brush their teeth, argue with their families, give birth, go shopping, and do a million other mindless activities.  It's called reality-TV.  It's called US Weekly.  It's called TMZ.

As much as I love it, I hate it.  It leaves no mystery to celebrities and when you see them in a movie all you can think about is "I wonder if she brings her tiny dog to the set everyday in that little Louis Vuitton carry all?"  Or.."I wonder if he filmed this before or after re-hab".  It really kills a movie.

There are a few exceptions to this rule and one of them is my favourite...Leonardo Dicaprio.  Man this guy is good at staying out of the tabloids.  Sure we all know that he only dates models and that he loves his Prius...but that's about it.  I haven't seen his house on MTV, he clearly doesn't shop at 'The Grove' or eat at 'Nobu' because he's never on TMZ and he only does interviews when promoting his work.  Love it.

The best part is, when he's acting in a film, you belive he's the character.  You're not wondering about his personal life, you're solely focused on the film.

Love it.  Love you Leo.  Love you Claire.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Bye Bye Two

Dear Claire,

Today is your very, very, very last day of ever being two years old!  When I told you that this morning you just laughed hysterically and than said "I happy Mommy"!  I think you're happy because you know we're going out for supper tomorrow night with Grammy and Grampy and you will get a few gifts.

So far, two has been your best year yet.  You learned your letters, you took dance lessons, you went ice skating, you went to the zoo and swam at the beach.  You made snow angels, went sledding, and can even print some letters!  You even got a baby brother - what a busy year you had...i'm tired just thinking about it!

Here are my predictions for 'Claire Age 3'

1. You will be an absolute showstopper in your spring dance recital
2. You will stop crying when we shampoo your hair (please)
3. You will learn to print your name (you've already got the 'C' and 'A' and 'I')
4. You will become even more hilarious with your wild jokes and funny facial expressions
5. You will race down the sidewalk on your tricycle
6. You will swim all by yourself
7. You will continue making Daddy have a time-out on the stairs when he is bad...usually once a day.
8. You will cuddle more with Mommy and not just when you're tired or not feeling well (please)
9. You will help Jack learn to walk, blow a kiss, and sit next to him on the swing set
10. You will keep being my very big, very special, very kind, very funny, and very smart most favourite girl.

Gosh - time flies...look how little you used to be!
Happy Almost Birthday!
Love Mom

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Be Nice to Jack...He's Your Only Sibling

Dear Claire,

It has been a long time since I've written to you...I don't know where the past month has gone! I guess with Christmas, New Years and planning your Birthday Party I haven't had time to write.  Eeek!

Anyway, on Friday you will turn three years old! Can you believe it?  You have been such a great big sister lately and are really starting to play with Jack more and more.  You always bring him "his" toys to play with and you're getting better and sharing "your" toys with him too.  Lately, you think it's hilarious to let him chase you, but you're way too fast because he can only crawl.  Poor Jack!

Mommy thinks that a sibling is one of the best people in the world.  You are so lucky to have a brother, I always wanted to have a brother when I was little, but having Aunty Andrea was still pretty good.  A sibling will know you better than anyone.  Jack will know your good, bad, and your ugly.  He will know how to push all of your buttons and will definitely do this throughout your childhood, and probably still sometimes when you're both grown up!

You and Jack may not grow up to be best friends.  You may only get together on the holidays or other special events.  You may not see eye-to-eye on many topics. 

You don't have to, he's still your brother. 

You will know his favourite things and all the things he hates.  You will know what he does when he's mad and what his different laughs mean when he's happy.  You will know all the "bad" things he did as a teenager that mommy and daddy don't even know about.  You will know all the things he's great at and you will also know his greatest struggles.

You will share more history, more memories, more experiences, and more DNA with him than almost anyone else you ever spend time with.

So be nice to Jack.  Love him, take care of him, laugh with him, tell on him, keep his secrets for him, and be there for him when he needs you.  And if you do this, something tells me, he'll do the same for you.

Love you Claire Bear!