Thursday, November 11, 2010

Pavel Turns ONE!!!

Cool mom thing or not so cool mom thing... I am very sentimental. VERY.

I think I may have written a script for Walmart's next commercial yesterday.  I was there with Pavel on my way home from work last night, grabbing some things for his birthday gift. I was in a random aisle full of bins to store things in and along comes this really big guy - 6'3ish, muscular, bald, early thirties.. looked really tough.
He was holding a teeny tiny little baby in his hands, out in front of him, away from his body. He had his head down beaming at this little girl.

'Pavel, look! A brand new baby!!' I say as he is about to walk by. So of course I ask him how old.

He says ' Two and a half weeks, but you know, it feels like she's been in our lives for ever.'

We both got teary and I said, I know exactly how you feel.. my little guy turns one tomorrow.

And then we went on our way.

This is brand new Pavel.. his first picture!

My little baby is one today. I can't believe it.

I've said it before.. the last 12 months have been the best of my entire life. They have also been some of the most challenging.. but of course the reward is much greater than anything I've ever been given before.

I am going to share some of my survival tips from the last year.. and please do share if you have some you'd like to add!

I can not express how grateful I have been to have my family near me and so involved in our lives since Pavel has been born. My mom has been so helpful, I can't even explain it. It has brought us closer than ever and even has taught us a new sense of patience when dealing with each other. I love that my mom (and his other grand parents too!!) loves Pavel pretty much as much as I do.
My son is so lucky to get to know all of his grandparents and you can see it in the way his eyes light up when he sees them walk through our door.

It is so, so, so important to lean on your family when you have a new one.. and a dear friend (who you'll meet a little later in the blog) often reminds us of the mentality that it takes a 'village to raise a child'. A mentality that we don't practise in North America, like other cultures do. Don't be afraid to ask for help.. people WANT to help you! (sometimes a little too much.. hey strangers full of advice, I'm talking to you!)
On the other hand, I have a lot of friends without children who don't know how they can help a new mom (I was the same before Pav).. If that's you here's a few ideas:
- Bring over food!
- Offer to come hold the baby so mom and dad can shower/nap/clean/getgroceries/sit in the car and enjoy SILENCE for even 20 minutes.
- Oh and don't worry if you're holding the baby and it fusses.. I'm not stressed, I'm not judging you for doing something 'wrong', he/she would most likely be fussing with me too and I could totally use the break, so enjoy!!

Extended Family
Sheldon convinced me that we should move out to the burbs closer to our friends before Pavel came. I was reluctant, but I give him total credit. This was such a great move on our part. It's so hard to get out of the house sometimes with a fussy baby that has a strict nap schedule and if I had to commute 25-45 mins either way to get to see my friends, you can bet I would stay home more often than not. Having our close friends within 10 minutes has been amazing. Now that Pavel is older, watching him play with all the other kids his age is the cutest thing ever.

At the very beginning, it was so easy for me to be a hermit if I chose too, but it didn't make me feel very good about myself. Having a good circle of friends who you can lean on was key. Even though we live so close, sometimes we would go for a week or two without a visit, but just knowing I could pop over whenever I needed too was just what I needed. Find some other moms, find some people without kids, find a new hobby and meet people there.. just make sure you see people! This brings me to my next point..

Get a coffee
Get the car washed
Get groceries.. every single day.

Adult interaction is so important.. I would find myself saving up conversation ideas to share with my hubby when he got home from work and getting out of the house was a good start on how to find things to say. Not to mention, it helped me feel like I was achieving something each day. Don't get me wrong, raising a baby is more work than some full time jobs, but it's hard to get out of the mentality that I should be doing the things I used to.
'Honey, I washed the car today!!'
'Oh honey, have you tried the new Crem Brule latte at Starbucks?'
'Honey.. I made a new recipe AGAIN! Surprise!'

(Sidebar, make sure to have a little pep talk with your Honey and let them know how important it is for them to jump up and down with excitement and gratitude when you share your daily happenings)

Don't Rush It.
At the beginning I had a case of the baby blues. I found myself crying, like most women who just have babies, all the time for random reasons. I was sad my labor happened so fast.. it was so special, I didn't want it to be over. I was sad that Pavel was already one day old, three days old.. a WEEK OLD!! Time was going by too fast. I was sad Sheldon had to go back to work, that meant that life was going on and it wasn't supposed to. It was supposed to stop when Pavel arrived and freeze.

Later on, I couldn't imagine not nursing him. It physically hurt me to think of the last day that we would share that special time together. In the end, I didn't rush it, I let it happen naturally. He was distracted easily as he got older so I let him self wean.. by the time ten months rolled around, I was actually okay with letting go. I wouldn't have been okay any sooner.

Work. There was no way I was going back to work. It made me sick. And even though I felt this way, I still kept my options open. I was passed up for 3 or 4 positions over the year and I am now so thankful for it. I was not ready. When he was about 9 months old.. it hit me. I could do it. I wanted to do it. I knew it would be hard, but the thought of going back to work got me excited.

It still amazes me that life goes on after you have your first baby.. and it's perfectly okay to do it at whatever pace you would like.

Do Something for Yourself!!
You have a year off! Come on.. there has to be something in it for you, right? This was mine. I have always wanted to be good at doing my hair. I am so not good at doing anything more than a ponytail. It's a shame really. So I challenged myself to practice (apparently, my man Sasa who is my hair wizard informs me you have to actually work at being able to do hair good.. Bah!) curling my hair to look like I had Victoria Secret hair. It worked! I'm getting better at it! I can wear it in public too!
I'm very proud of myself.. What will yours be?

My Secret Weapon.
I share this 'secret' with every mom or mom-to-be I know, so maybe it's just my weapon.
Every mom wants to get back in shape after the baby pops out. It took me about three months to finally kick myself in the butt and get started.
I randomly found a program called FitMom Fitness. They have them all throughout Canada, but the founder Andrea Page lives here in Edmonton. Her classes made my maternity leave. You bring your baby along and they participate with you in yoga, bootcamps, swimming..

I'm not one to work out religiously, but once I signed up for FitMom, I committed! I can't explain to you how much these classes have meant to me over the last year. They gave me a reason to get out of the house, they gave Pavel and I an activity to do together - one that helped us get to know each other better, they helped me get in shape, they introduced me and Pavel to other moms and babies.. It was much more than just going to a workout class.

Andrea is fantastic. She's real. She has three gorgeous sons herself and knows what each of us in those classes is going through. She is supportive. She is funny. She has too much energy and at the same time she generously spreads it so thin. How someone who has so much to juggle in her own personal life (mom, business owner, wife, new city..) can find the strength to share herself with other moms and honestly care about each and every one of us, boggles my mind. She is special. I can't thank her enough being exactly what I needed in my life this year.

Oh, and Pavel can't thank her enough for wearing a big shiny necklace and a fancy watch that he was allowed to play with.. and eat from time to time.

Make sure you check her out! Be warned.. I've never sweat so much in my life!

Pavel. Today you are one year old. You amaze me every day with how much you learn, how smart you are. The list of words that you know is getting longer by hour it seems! (Mama, Dada, Bubu - bottle, Ball, Brady Brady (his fav books), Puppy, Nummy Nummy......
It melts my heart when you blow me kisses and when you show off your dance moves. I find myself laughing with you non stop - you are hilarious when you play peekaboo with yourself in the fireplace reflection, I love hearing you bark like a dog and say baaaa when you play with your baby sheep.

I hope that you read these posts when you are older.. it's why I started this blog in the first place. Don't be embarrassed! Be proud.. and thankful that you have a mommy and daddy that love you so very, very much. Happy Birthday little one!!

xoxo Mommy.

Pavel's First Birthday Cake!

Not really loving this cake thing.. 
Oh.. this is how you do it Mom

I LOVE Birthdays!!!!