Growing So Fast

Where did time go?

This morning, my daughter held her own bottle during the entire feeding.  She started showing interested into holding very early but never really did it. I was very proud of her.

After lunch, Sixtine and I went to the living room to play. Now, that she is mobile and can go anywhere she pleases, she loves to be on the go and gets into everything. She especially enjoys going under tables or pulling out DVDs out of the TV stand.

And then, with my help, she stood up while holding onto the coffee table. She tried to move her little feet, so she could grab something she really wanted (the remote – I don’t know about your baby but Sixtine loves everything black, and high-tech/ remotes, cell phones, cables, cameras…you name it).

And then it hit me.I took her in my arms, held her and said: “you are growing so fast little lady.”

It is funny how you are so looking forward to your baby reaching the next milestones and then wonder where your newborn has gone the next day !

10 Little Things That Made My Heart Sang This Week

Because it is important to keep track.

  1. The big smile on my daughter’s face when she wakes up in the morning.  But that is not it, she also does a little Elvis-like dance that is absolutely adorable. It is everyday of the week, every week but you can’t beat that.
  2. Becoming a Permanent Resident Of Canada. Duh !
  3. Laughing as there was no tomorrow with my husband on Skype.
  4. Winning the book “French Kids Eat Everything” by Karen Le Billon on Sweet Potatoe Chronicle (blog giveaway).
  5. Sending two packages (US and Singapore / Worldwide Cultural Exchange) to children I don’t know and think that it will make them happy.
  6. Getting an almost unexpected little present in the mail for Sixtine.
  7. Finding out that formula is 50% cheaper in France than in Canada.
  8. Sixtine’s first tooth. Yes, my tiny little baby has a tooth.
  9. Learning that my best friend’s first date went great.
  10. Being a week away from my girlie shopping-clubbing weekend in London.
  11. (I know I said ten but oh well…) I am making new friends.

Did your heart sing this week? 

Breaking news: one of my “followers” had a baby this week ! Congratulations Sabina ! Hope you and the baby are well.

It Takes A Whole Village To Raise A Child (Does It?)

This Igbo and Yoruba (Nigeria) proverb exists in different forms in many African languages. The basic meaning is that child upbringing is a communal effort. The responsibility for raising a child is shared with the larger family (sometimes called the extended family). Everyone in the family participates especially the older children, aunts and uncles, grandparents, and even cousins. It is not unusual for African children to stay for long periods with their grandparents or aunts or uncles. Even the wider community gets involved such as neighbors and friends. Children are considered a blessing from God for the whole community. This communal responsibility in raising children is also seen in the Sukuma (Tanzania) proverb “One knee does not bring up a child” and in the Swahili (East and Central Africa) proverb “One hand does not nurse a child.” Read more here

I have been wanting to write about this for a while now. More than wanting to share my own perspective, I am rather looking to hearing from you parents. It takes a whole village to raise a child. Does that mean that raising a child is difficult and you need all the help you can? Or does that mean that your child will benefit from being raised by many people? And what if they don’t see eye to eye with you? What if they don’t share your parenting convictions? Will it affect your child? Or will your child benefit from different “parenting styles”?

I always try to do what I think is right for my child. It may not be the best in the eyes of others, but it is what is best in my heart. I find it very draining to have to justify my choices. Whether it is family or friends and don’t know better, or just people in general, I still don’t understand why some people seem to think that they have better parenting skills than you do, and that they should share their opinions with you. Just like people who always ask if I am cold when I am wearing a skirt. If I was cold, I would probably not wear one.  And even if  I was, it is my body, my choice. Would you let me borrow your jeans? Probably not. So just keep it to yourself. Thank you. (Sorry for the lousy comparison.)

On the other hand, I have found sharing parenting rewards and challenges with some parents very resourceful. Being a first-time mum away from home, I felt pretty clueless sometimes (look at me using the past tense…Sixtine is only 6 months and I think I know it all already…haha. No. I actually need some help in the feeding solid department. Struggling with what I read, what I know, what I was told, and what I am told…). Feeling connected to other mums in real life, but also virtually has been a life saver. So in that perspective, I totally get the “it takes a village” part.

Now tell me. How do you deal with all that? How does this proverb apply to you? How do you just tell someone that they don’t know what they are saying and to just leave you alone? How did you grow your confidence in the mum/dad department? How do you do it? Please help a first time mum in need who’s refraining herself from telling some people to politely take a hike? I am all ears.

The Emotional Journey Of Being A New Mum

I don’t know what it is but I have butterflies in my stomach today. Not the fun butterflies, the nervous ones. I feel somehow overwhelmed. Being a new mum has been a very emotional journey so far. I wrote about being “the perfect mum” a little while ago and really, I am not trying to be  perfect. But I want to be the best I can be for my daughter.  I feel that I didn’t give the best start to my daughter for these two particular reasons and it saddens me a lot.

  • Sixtine was born with her umbilical cord wrapped around her neck. They had to quickly care for her, which didn’t allow us to have one on one time. She wasn’t put on my chest, still covered in blood and whatever it is called. They gave her to me all clean and wrapped in a blanket. Although I know it was what was best for her, it makes me sad that we didn’t experience that moment.
  • I didn’t breastfeed as long as I wish would have. It simply didn’t work for us. I was in extreme pain and had to pump for a couple days while my breasts would “recover”. In that short amount of time, the baby didn’t want to take the breasts again when it was offered to her. I felt somehow relieved because it was a very painful situation. I still remember crying a little before she was due to eat as I knew how excruciating the experience would be. I feel really bad about the fact that my baby didn’t get breast milk as long as she deserved. It took me a while to be at peace with the fact that she was now formula-fed and I am still not completely over it today. Some people’s comments have made it worse.

As for parenting style, I feel somewhat lost between what is generally done, generally told to do, and what I want to do. Between breastfeeding vs formula feeding, spoon-feeding vs baby-led weaning, cloth diapering vs disposables attachment parenting vs Montessori (although they share some values, they have differences ie. babywearing), pacifier, thumb sucking vs none, green baby vs regular products and so on, I find it hard to find my place. I take bits and pieces of whatever I feel comfortable doing but I sometime feel guilty for doing something because I read/hear it is not a good thing to do or no one I know does it this way. When really, I don’t see where’s the harm in doing it.

Let’s try to sum this up: I formula-feed my baby with love, she uses a pacifier but only at bed time and naps, I want to start baby-led weaning but I don’t see where is the harm in baby cereal, she has been sleeping in her own room since she was two months of age, but I enjoy a little morning sleep-in nap with my baby, we cloth diaper but I don’t mind using disposables on the go, we mainly use green products for her but I am a big L’oreal make-up fan…so what does that make me?

There is something strikely different between French parenting and English-speaking countries parenting. I can feel the difference, and I think this is where I am confused. I was raised in a French environment, stern but fair. Whatever this lady talked about in her Bringing Up Bebe is probably true to life, although I have yet to read it but the excerpts I read were pretty convincing. I am not saying that raising baby the French way is best but this is the only way I know. I am well-aware of the differences ( I was a nanny in London, UK, and I have been living in Canada for about 18 months), I find that English-speaking parents are more focused on their children, everything seems to revolve around them, whereas French parents aren’t as children-focused and the list is long but in the end, we just raise our kids with a main ingredient: love.

If you are a second, third-time (or more) mum, you probably must be thinking that I am going to have to learn to not care about what people think, and that I will get more confident with time. It is probably true – I just know that right this second, I am a very emotional first-timer trying to do the right thing.

Thank you for taking the time to read my ramble for I don’t have the butterflies anymore…

“It gets better.”

I was going to write a long venting post about how tired I was, how I couldn’t get anything done, and how I needed a vacation. Instead, I googled “it gets better first time mum” and read an article about how things will, indeed, get better.

So dear Mamas and Papas, share your it gets betters under this post and cheer up a tired first-time mum !