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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5 months old

I’m 5 months old now.

I smile at mommy when she changes my diaper. I love my lion on the wall!

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I can grab things easily now. Can I drive your car now mommy?

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We had lots of fun at my aunt Vicky’s birthday party. I wore a birthday hat to be in party mood!

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We celebrate Halloween at the beginning of the month. Lots of kids came knocking on our doors with crazy costumes! It was a lot of fun! Next year, I hope mommy let me eat some candies.

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I’ve started to laugh out loud at all the funny things mommy and daddy do. It makes them laugh out loud with me too!IMG_5464

My hair is very curly and getting very long now! Mommy said she wants to cut it because she has a hard time combing it at bath time.IMG_5536

I’m a very good sleeper now! I can fall asleep by myself for naps and even during the night. Sometimes at night, I sleep for 5 or 6 hours straight without asking for my mommy!

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Later in the month, we decorated our Christmas tree! Mommy put on a Christmas movie and she put ornaments in the tree. I looked at it all and thought it was very pretty!

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I saw snow for the first time, but I think it is too bright!

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I walked with mommy in this new thing called Baby Bjorn. When I was a little baby, I didn’t like being in it, but now that I can face the other way, I think it is very cool!

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Woo! A lot of snow felt that day and mommy and I went outside to see it all.

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I like touching my feet all the time and I can turn on the side.

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I saw Santa Claus! I didn’t cry and even touched his beard! He gave me a seal as a gift! He’s such a nice man. He told me I was on the nice list and will get another gift on Christmas. I can’t wait!

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Happy Halloween!

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Breakfast by the lake

I woke up with the desire to go OUTSIDE yesterday morning. After 2 days of following the Sleep Sense program and much more crying than usual, we were both in need of a change of scenery.

After nursing the baby, I packed a breakfast of yogurt and oatmeal for me, we put our winter coats on (28F outside!) and hopped in the car.
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With the sun shining – so nice after 2 days of rain and cloudy skies, I drove to the lake we have here in town. It’s actually the city fresh water reserve, but we all call it a lake, it’s huge!

Waiting for us was hundred of gooses getting ready for their winter migration.
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They gather at this spot every year, it’s quite the show.
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I ate my breakfast while baby looked at all that LIGHT around him. What a cutepie in his vintage winter coat. Props to mommy for matching the hat with the blanket. Clignement d'œil
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What a glorious way to start our day.
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When I was pregnant, I imagined what my days with my baby will be like. A big vacation I thought. Well, reality is sometimes a little tougher, but today, it really felt like a vacation. Perfect morning.

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