The Sweetest Year

My son makes every day sweeter! (poop explosions excluded)

Lunchbox ideas for the working mom

My son usually wakes up around 4h30 to eat. Some say I should let him cry, but believe me, he will cry for over an hour and get up for the day. So, I still go and feed him around 4h30. Since I’ve been asleep for around 7.5 hours by then, I pretty much ready to start my day after the feeding is done.

Yes everybody. I start my day at 4h30.

In full discloser, sometimes I ‘m too beat and try my best to go back to sleep for an extra hour or two, but most of the time, by the time my son is done eating around 4h45-5h, I get up and start doing my magic!

Yesterday, I wanted to get a head start on the weekend by cooking a big pot of rice and a batch of lentils. And I did a load of laundry.  You know you’re a mom when you’re chopping veggies at 5h15.

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I like to cook a starch and a protein on the weekends to build my lunches around. Since I’ve been back at work, Sunday mornings was the assigned cooking time, but I found myself exhausted came 10ham. I wanted to be able to appreciate my day off, so I thought, why not switch things around and cook on Thursday and/or Friday mornings, then assemble lunches and maybe cook one extra thing on Sunday. Like roasting different veggies on cookie sheet.

On Sunday morning, I put my 5 lunch containers on the counter and mix and match when I have in the fridge. My lunches are ready for the week, I just have to grab a container and go. It’s such a timesaver for me.

I find it amazing to be able to create 5 different lunches (similar, but with different tastes) with a simple base. What my lunches will look like next week:

Monday: Scrambled eggs with rice and veggie #1.
Tuesday: Lentils, veggie #2, rice and a coconut sauce I had in the fridge.
Wednesday: Veggie #1, rice and shrimps from the freezer (already cooked).
Thursday: Lentils, veggies #1 and #2, cheeze and a piece of bread.
Friday: Rice, peas (can from the pantry) and lentils with a thai/peanut sauce from the fridge.

Last week I had a batch of barley, a bag of frozen stir-fry veggies and different proteins: cast-iron tofu, scrambled eggs, tilapia; all cooked on Sunday morning. I had very good lunches all week. I wasn’t tired of eating what seemed like the same thing day after day because the sauces and the different proteins made it different.

Also, very good option that I didn’t think of so far: Soup! I could easily have two lunches during the week from the batch and then use some as a sauce on others. Win-win!

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5 things to consider before your kid’s first day at daycare

My son has been in daycare for 2 months now. But back in August, I was clueless as to when and how I’d send my son to daycare.

Should I stay with him the first day?

Should I send him full days? Consecutive days?

Should I let him nap there? If not in the first week, when?

I had a lot of questions and searched the web for answers. I came across a few helpful tidbits. They helped me put together my integration calendar and gave me some sort of guidance as to how I should act around my baby when the time would come to leave him with his new caregiver.

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1- It is better to send your kids consecutive days as opposed to sending him Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays for example. At least, at first. Kids tend to have very a very short memoy span and if you send him one day, then not the next one, he’ll think it was just a fluke and mommy will keep me at home after all. It is easy for the child to know that this daycare think is here to stay and I should get used to it.

2- Mommy will come to pick you up at the end of the day. Always. Before dropping your child, explain to him how the day will go. Even if you think he doesn’t understand. They understand much more than we think. In the next leading to the first day at daycare, I explained to my son that he’d go to daycare, play with friends, and then mommy will come pick him up. I also repeat it to him in the car on the way to the daycare and then again when taking his jacket off at daycare.

A week in, I would explain the day to my son in the car and after saying: “mommy will come to pick you up” he would say: “Dah!” (Yes for him) Like, I get it mom, I know that’s how it’s gonna be! We’re still doing it today.

3- Always say goodbye to your child before leaving him. If you sneak out because you don’t want him to cry, he’ll think that sometimes mommy can disappear! Out of thin air! It’ll make him more anxious and we don’t want that. Make sure you make eye contact with your child, say Bye Bye, and then leave. Resist the urge to come back in if you hear him cry. If you do, he’ll think you’re just outside the door and he can cry to make you come back in. If you want, you can call the caregiver to make sure everything is ok, but don’t go back in.  I called mine this week after dropping off my son because he started crying when I left, which never happens anymore. She said he stopped 2-3 minutes after I left. Relief! So yeah, always say goodbye.

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4- Talk to the caregiver in the presence of your child. If he sees you talking to this person with ease, he’ll know that he can trust her. Try going with your child to the daycare to visit or sign papers before the first day, stay for 15-20 minutes if possible just so your child has already seen the caregiver once. He’ll see you talk to them, he’ll see is new environment, even maybe started playing with some toys. If your child stays very close to you the whole time, consider having a slow integration because he might have separation anxiety.

5- Sleeping in a new place is hard for us adults, it’s also hard for our children. If possible, try not to make your child nap at his new daycare the first day. If that’s not an option, bring with you an object he sleeps with or something he really loves. He’ll have something to hug and reminds him of home comes nap time. My son sleeps with a blanket I carry with him everyday to the daycare. It’s huge, but my son has great naps because of it. If you can, make your child sleep with a smaller blanket.. Haha.

How was your daycare integration like? What worked, what didn’t? Did you have to switch daycare after a while? How that worked out? I’ll have to change daycare at the end of March and it’s a bit scary to think about!

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Integration to daycare – my calendar

I wanted to start daycare integration very slowly. I was very fortunate to have a place available two full months before my first day back at work. This slow integration was I think the key to ease my boy into his new environment. Be aware that not all daycares accept slow integration like this. Some ask for children to be put full time right away. Some asks for at least a full four hours a day. Ask your caregiver what they allow and work around that. If you think it’s too harsh or you’re not comfortable with it, ask to maybe go eat with them during the first day. Or if possible, maybe change daycare. I think a parent needs to be 100% confident they leave their child with a person they fully trust.

With that, here’s what the first weeks of daycare looked like for my son:

FIRST WEEK:  *2 short visits + 1 half day with lunch*
Mon: Off
Tue: 9h30-11h30   *He cried the first hour*
Wed: 9h30-11h30 *He cried 30 mins*
Thu: 9h30-12h30 *He cried 5 mins and had his first meal with them*
Fri: Off

SECOND WEEK:  3 half days with lunch.
Mon: Off
Tue: 9h30-12h30
Wed: 9h30-12h30
Thu: 9h30-12h30
Fri: Off

THIRD WEEK: *3 days with lunch and nap*
Mon: Off
Tue: 9h30-15h30 *Cried for 5-10 mins before nap*
Wed: 9h30-15h30 *No crying before nap!*
Thu: 9h30-15h30
Fri: Off

FOURTH WEEK: *2 days with naps + 1 full day*
Mon: Off
Tue: 9h30-15h30
Wed: 9h30-15h30
Thu: 9h30-16h30
Fri: Off

FIFTH WEEK *3 full days starting earlier*
Mon: Off
Tue: 8h-15h30
Wed: 8h-15h30
Thu: 8h-16h30
Fri: Off

SIXTH WEEK: *I ended up going back to work part time that week – 3 full days*
Mon: Off
Tue: 7h30-17h30
Wed: 7h30-17h30
Thu: 7h30-17h30
Fri: Off

SEVENTH WEEK: *3 full days – working part time*
Mon: Off
Tue: 7h30-17h30
Wed: 7h30-17h30
Thu: 7h30-17h30
Fri: Off

EIGHTH WEEK: *Back to work full time*
Mon: 7h30-17h30
Tue: 7h30-17h30
Wed: 7h30-17h30
Thu: 7h30-17h30
Fri: 7h30-17h30

On week six and seven, he was supposed to go from 8h-16h30 for 3-4 days because I knew I was going back to work on week 8. But work called and asked if I could come back part time two weeks prior. I jumped on the occasion because I wanted to gradually ease back into work. After a year at home, I want the shock of going back to work to be a bit less intense. It ended up being such a blessing because I gave me a 4 day weekend after my first 3 days and a 3 day weekend right before my first full week.

I’d say child and mother had their perfect integration.

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Mommy is back at work

My son is 16 months old now and I’ve been back at work for a month. It’s very hard at times, but the routine is slowly settling in.

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Damien loves his daycare and it’s such a relief. After a year at home with mom, I didn’t know how he’d react. It’d say it took him 3 weeks to adjust to the new place and new caregiver. He cried the first two days after I left, but after that it was pretty much smooth sailing. We’re very lucky as I know a friend who’s child cried the first two MONTHS and had a very hard time separating from her mother.

The place in daycare I have for Damien is only available until the end of March. I took it anyway because it was a very rare $7/day spot for a 18mo and younger. Until they’re 18 mo old, daycares in Quebec can accommodate only one baby per caregiver. That’s why the spots are so rare. When the time will come to find him a new caregiver in March, Damien will be 21 months old (gulp!) and it should be easier to find then.

Yesterday, the Quebec government announced the creation of 28 000 new $7 spots in daycares. To be created until 2016.  13 000 spots to be open immediately. That’s such a blessing because I believe this will help other families to find affordable day care for their children and maybe will help me find a $7 spot for my baby comes March. (Link)

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I did a whole calendar for Damien’s integration to daycare that I’d like to share with you. I remember trying to read onlines about daycare integration and couldn’t find anything with much details.  It’ll have to wait until tomorrow because mommy’s computer time is over now. I have to get myself ready for work, eat breakfast, wake Damien up, change his diaper, dress him up, try to get him to eat something, run after him to put his boots and jacket on, then rush out of the door for the day. Here’s to all of you hard working mamas! (SATM and ‘working’ mothers alike!)

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Post-illness energy boost!

After he woke up from his nap, oh boy, he had TONS of energy! He rolled around, screamed, ‘talked’, sang, played by himself a lot! Long enough that I went from time to time to play with him and tell him how good of a boy he was.

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I had this disaster area in my room with boxes from the move (that’s 8 months ago..), still full of stuff that needed to be sort through. I tackle half of the pile yesterday afternoon (as evidenced by the pile of boxes to be recycled by the door) and found this paper tube. I gave it to the baby and oh boy! What fun he had!

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I had to make sure he didn’t put it in his mouth because with teeth now, I feared some bits could end up in his throat. It was light enough so he could swirl it around. It was fun to watch him be a little ninja! Ninja

He also reached a new milestone yesterday! He walked straight to me using his walker! You could tell how proud he was at the end of the video, it’s so cute!

Damien walking straight forward for the first time!

It’s such a joy to see him do new things everyday. The little baby is not so little anymore!

Last night for dinner, I couldn’t resist McDonald’s drive through since it’s a new month and I just got pocket money again. Clignement d'œil 

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Apple juice with the new McBistro sandwich. The sandwich was alright, it’s McDo after all, but dinner was a breeze to clean!

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Forget the gift, give me the box!

We have a very demanding baby on our hands this morning. He can’t play by himself at all. He still cough and has a running nose. But I can tell it’s getting better (*crossed fingers*).

Breakfast this morning was a repeat from yesterday; Corn Flakes bowls with raspberries, maple syrup and Notea spoonful of sugarNote peanut butter! We have a swim lesson at 11 today. I’ll wait and see how we feel then to see if we go or not. But if I decide we go, I’ll make sure to keep him warm all the time, don’t worry!

My sweet sister dropped a gift for us on our doorstep yesterday while we were at the library. A bin of all kind of baby stuff (including the awesome Vicks ointment for babies) to help our little sick baby fell better. Thank you! I’ve got such a kind and thoughtful family! Coeur rouge

What Damien likes the most is the lid of the bin that contained the gifts… Kids!

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Calm mommy = calm baby

We woke up after a very good night of sleep! Damien slept from 6PM until 4AM! Then again until 7AM! His nose was cleared and he didn’t have a fever! He was still coughing though but his health really improved from all the symptoms he had in the last few days.

He even ate a big breakfast of baby cereal. Mommy ate this quick Corn Flakes bowl (hiding raspberries under there + spoon of peanut butter + drizzle of maple syrup).

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We played a bit, he seemed fine, but then around 9AM he started crying. I went to play with him, he still cried. I picked him up, tried to breastfeed him, he refused and cried even more. I paced around the room with him for a few minutes but I could tell that didn’t work either. He was moving a lot in my arms, I could tell he was in pain. I tried putting him in a bath, bath always works. But it didn’t work this time, he still cried.

My baby rarely cries like that. I was very scared. What was even more scary was that his crying made him cough and his coughing made his choked on mucus. After choking he cried because it hurt.. and so on. I was like, he’s been sick for almost a week now, this is it we’re going to the clinic! I was trying to talk calmly to him but I was so scared I was shacking! I quickly put a bag together and we were out of the door.

On the way to the clinic, he calmed down and felt asleep in his car seat.  That’s when I realized maybe it was just because he was ready for a nap, but having been sick for a week took a toll, and his way of telling me ‘nap time now mommy’ was different than usual. We went to the clinic anyway because I was afraid something was wrong with his ears or his breathing.

Once at the clinic, we realized that at 9:30, all spots for patients with no-appointments had been filled already. I almost choked up right there. There’s nothing worst than not being able to give proper care to your baby. We went back home and he went straight back to sleep.

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A friend of mine that is a nurse saw my plead on facebook and gave me things to check on the baby to make sure he didn’t have problems breathing. She reassured me and it helped me calm down and breathe a little better.

- Check for Indrawing of chest : depending on the severity of the breathing problem, I’d be able to see little holes between the ribs and under the sternum when the baby is not crying. If the problem is even more severe, I’d be able to see movement in the nostrils with each breath. I remember seeing it between his last two ribs on both sides last night, but that morning he didn’t have any. Good.

- A lot of coughing in an infant will caused vomiting / choking. She says this is normal and as long as the infant can cough it out, not to worry. Ok good to know it might happened.

- When mom panics, the baby can feel it and he’s even more scared. Try to stay calm and reassure him.  Breathe, breathe.

- Even if he doesn’t have a fever, but you feel like he’s not himself and cries more than usual, you can give him Tylenol/Tempra for babies. It’ll help with his discomfort. I stopped giving him when his temp was normal but it’s true that his throat might hurt and he might need help with that.

She really reassured me and I felt so much before. I think mommy was as scared as baby. He woke up an hour later and he was in a good mood. Around noon, he started crying again and doing the same thing. This time, I laid in my bed with him and was able to breastfeed. He calmed down and smiled after eating. A calm mommy is the key.

We went to the library in the afternoon to take a break from all the scary sickness and he loved it. A change of scenery is something we both needed! We came back home and had a nice play time before dinner. He ate all his carrots and some applesauce, then we took a fun bath, played in font of the mirror and went to bed without any fuss.

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Having a sick baby is the worst thing for a mommy. I feel for all the parents with children in hospitals right now. I’m very thankful for my healthy baby! What a day!

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We’re sick

We’ve been sick for the last few days. It started last week for me and Thursday for the baby. Despite all my efforts, I probably passed it to him. Triste

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He started coughing Thursday, it continued Friday. Saturday, we were at my parent’s and his nose started running. He actually coughed mucus few times in the afternoon. His airways were blocked by all the mucus for 2-3 seconds and then he vomited it. Awful.

I thought it was just a flu since he didn’t have a fever. It continued Sunday with more coughing and vomiting. Monday morning, I checked his temp and sadly, he had developed a fever. A light fever, 100F. This morning the fever was gone (Yeah!). I checked his temp every hour or so and at 1PM, the fever was back (101F).

What bothers me the most is the fever and whistle sound I can hear when he breathes. I’m afraid this flu turned into something more serious. If he still has a fever tomorrow morning, we’ll go to the clinic.

Trying to clean his nose is really really horrible. He hates every minute of it. I used HydraSense drops (they’re great!) and then a nose cleaner. He fights with me and cries. It breaks my heart.

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Beige and blue

Breakfast this morning was a milk+peaches smoothie topped with a Shredded Wheat biscuit. It was fun to sink the big chucks of biscuit in the smoothie.Sourire

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I also cooked and pureed some peaches for the baby, but he only ate half a spoon. I’ll freeze the rest I guess!

Baby ventured near the windows for the first time this morning. Little hands went straight for the stores, trying to grab them and the dangerous cords. My stores need to be open at all time from now on!  Safety comes first! IMG_6504

Baby gave me a huge 2 hour nap this morning and I had time to tackle many projects!

I hung the three (tree!) canvases I’ve been painting for the last few days. I think it looks pretty good! I’m not much of a crafty/artistic person, but I’m very proud of my little painting attempt! I changed the photo in the frame on the right from a pink flower to a memorabilia from a NYC trip. I like that it has the same blue as the painting!

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AND I reupholstered the lamp! I have gorgeous fabric a friend of mine brought back from a trip to Egypt and I thought the colors matched perfectly. So I cut a strip and covered the lamp shade, going crazy with my glue gun. Clignement d'œil

The rocks in the small bowl are from a beach in Toronto! The duvet cover is from Walmart.  I’d still like to spray paint the lamp, but that’s for another nap time!

I really like the change. I think it looks pretty cool, what do you think?

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Fries to the rescue

Baby napped right until the last minute before our swim lesson, so I had to rush to get there on time. We left the house 15 minutes before class and arrived at the pool with only 5 minutes to spare! I already had my swimsuit on under my clothes (tip for you mamas out there!) so I just undressed the baby, put his swimsuit on, undressed myself right there next to him since I already had my swimsuit on and we were ready to go. Ready for the class right on time!

Stressful!

We had a great time in the water, he loves every minute of it. The 30 minute session is just long enough.

Updated: By the way, I used one of his Genius cloth diaper at the pool. I don’t put any inserts in it, just snap the diaper a bit tighter than usual. That way, I don’t have to buy expensive disposables swim diapers! It works like a charm.

We arrived at home at noon with a very hungry baby on our hands. I was feeling nauseous and dizzy from being too thirsty I think. I had about 15 seconds to get something from the fridge because baby was screa-a-ming.

I pop a leftover in the microwave and poured myself a glass of spritzer + lemon juice + water.

Those fries are VERY good. They are Cavendish Sweet Potatoes fries. I recommended them!IMG_6496

I ate them while breastfeeding the baby and they tided me over until lunch.

An hour later, I sat down to eat this refreshing lunch. It took me about 5 minutes to put this together (carrots were ready to eat in the fridge).

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Toast + Laughing Cow low fat cheese + lettuce. Sides of carrots and orange.

In the afternoon, we joined my sister and her kids at the mall and came across a super awesome winter liquidation deal. 90% off! Here’s my loot:

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- Balaclava – $0.59
- Hat – $0.79
- 2 x Neck warmer – $0.19
- Gloves – $0.99

For a total of $3.44 with taxes! This would have cost $35 at regular price. The little guy will be very cute next year! Sourire

For people from Quebec, this deal was found at CPC stores.

I think the baby is starting to get sick like I’ve been for the past few days. He started coughing this afternoon. I hope he’ll be better after a night of sleep! Poor baby.

Off to find something quick for dinner and I’ll go back to paint the canvas for my bedroom. Have a nice evening!

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