Saturday, May 23, 2015

The days are long, but the years are short.

We just got home from the girls' fourth birthday party. 4TH BIRTHDAY. What?! We are less than a week away from their actual birthday and every year at this time, I become nostalgic. I remember May 2011 vividly. I was as big as a house. A hundred times per day I wondered whether I was going to go into labour at that moment, knowing in my gut that my babies were staying in until they were forced out. This is the last photo that I have of myself…2 1/2 weeks before their eviction. I really wish I had one from the 38 week mark.

36 weeks pregnant

The years fly by. 

The days are long. These days they're damn long. For the first time in four years, I finish many days thinking that I would rather go back to work. I don't want to sound ungrateful. I'm glad that I'm able to spend these years with the girls. But lately, our days are brutal. And hey, everyone can say they dislike their job at some point, right? The days are long and exhausting, filled with tears, fights, tantrums and more tears, from all of us. 

They say that as kids approach their birthday, the shift from one developmental stage to another can cause behavioural issues. "They" are certainly right. Easy-going Teagan has taken a backseat to Tantrum Teagan. Tantrum Teagan, or TT for short, has been throwing fits like we've never seen. Whenever we head into a store, any store, TT zeros in on an item (or two) that she MUST. HAVE. NOW. She starts with a "Mommy, can I have ___?" When I tell her that we aren't going to buy ___ today, she starts. She yells and demands that I buy it for her immediately. She starts crying and screaming and has even hit me. This is all new. She's testing limits like I've never seen. 

The back talk. Oh man. The talking back is horrendous. "Quinny, please pick up the napkins that you threw on the floor." "NO! YOU pick them up, Mommy. YOU threw them." Right. And if I become frustrated after asking them to put on their shoes for the 5th time, I'm lectured by Teagan about how I'm being rude.

The fighting. Q is a sh*t disturber. She knows how to push T's buttons and does it quite subtly and cleverly. She pushes until T loses it. T's current way of handling Q is awful -- biting, hitting, pushing. So, T bites and Q screams bloody murder. A massive fight ensues. Sometimes I step in, but sometimes I sit back and let them go at it.

The tantrums, hitting, back talk. It's hard not to take it personally. I'm with them all the time. Am I doing something wrong?

I know it's a phase. I'm hoping that this phase magically ends on Friday at 7:28am. Teagan's birth day and time.

The years are oh so short. I cannot believe that four years have passed since those two little monkeys came into our lives. I cannot believe the little people that they've become. Yes, challenging at times. But, incredibly sweet, loving and hilarious little people who stop in mid-play to run over and whisper in my ear, I love you. I must not be messing up that badly, right?!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Quinoa Jam Cakes!

For quite a while now, I suspected that Teagan might have a mild intolerance to one or more foods that she eats regularly. Occasionally, she would get a rash around her mouth (classic food intolerance/allergy sign). Her poop was also not always as formed as it should be (sorry, TMI). She also seemed to be congested quite often, without having a cold. While these reactions might not seem like a big deal now, when food sensitivities aren't dealt with, they can have bigger implications later in life.

If the body is sensitive to a particular food that is eaten on a regular basis, it causes inflammation. Eczema, sinus issues, chronic colds, asthma, digestive disorders and autoimmune diseases are all linked to inflammation and food intolerances/allergies. It's interesting because most people probably wouldn't link their consumption of eggs with their asthma symptoms, for example. I think that many people become so used to living with certain symptoms (ie. headaches, stuffy noses, joint aches, fatigue) that they simply become part of life. I know that I did! In recent years, I've become much more aware of how certain foods make me feel after I've eaten them. Eliminating or reducing those foods has definitely helped me reduce congestion and increase energy levels.

Surprisingly, Teagan's top intolerances were egg yolks, oats and beans (including black and kidney beans). Not surprisingly, wheat and cow's dairy were in the top ten too. I had already noticed a direct correlation between Teagan's dairy and wheat consumption and the mouth rash/poop issues. Since cutting out eggs though, the rash has completely disappeared, her congestion has drastically reduced and her pooping habits are perfect. She has embraced her "new diet" and frequently asks people if they know what a food intolerance is.

Receiving a report stating your sensitivity level to over 200 different foods can feel incredibly overwhelming (typically 3/4 of the foods come back with minimal to no sensitivity). Once it has been interpreted by a nutritionist or naturopath, it can be easier to manage. With Teagan's top food list, I am doing my best to avoid those foods for a couple of months. She does eat them on occasion, usually when we are out. I'm not going to go totally nuts or deprive the kid when all of her friends are eating ice cream cones on a summer day.

Breakfasts have been a little more challenging because we loooove eggs in this house. Poached, scrambled, omelettes, frittatas, french toast… eggs were frequently a part of our breakfast. The nutritionist in me has embraced the challenge of creating protein-rich, yummy, egg-free breakfasts for the girls.

Since we started getting more creative with breakfast, the girls have taken a more active role in helping me in the kitchen. Quinn's breakfast creation, this week was particularly delicious and blog-worthy. We made up a batch of quinoa pancakes (egg free using chia eggs) and created sandwiches with strawberry jam and goat cheese.

Here they are…delicious Quinoa Jam Cakes!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015


A few days ago, I was complemented on my patience. I laughed.

I arrived at the rink for skating lessons with two little girls in summer dresses and sandals. I asked them to change into leggings, a long-sleeved shirt and socks. I’ll just wear my dress on the ice, Mommy, was the response. Right. I eventually got them into their other clothes. Then I was met with resistance about tying up their skates. They wanted to do it themselves. Ok.  Then came the request to go to a toy store after skating to buy them a new toy. Uh huh. The demands requests and battles continued, only pausing briefly for the 30-minute skating lesson. After battling for about 20 minutes, another parent said, you’ve got a lot of patience, Mom! on his way out.

As anyone with toddlers knows, negotiating with them is like trying to negotiate with an extremely drunk person. There is sometimes no amount of reasoning or clever wording that can get through to them.

I get the term threenager now. Terrible twos had nothin’ on my threenagers. We are just weeks away from the girls’ forth birthday, and things are more challenging than ever. Intense tantrums seem to last forever. Fights happen over every little thing, even when I do pick my battles. 

Patience has never been my strong suit. Admittedly, I move fast and like everything to move at my pace. It was a good lesson for me to slow down and let my babies, and then toddlers, do things for themselves. I understand the importance of teaching children autonomy.  So, my patience was developed with a lot of self-talk – It doesn’t matter, You aren’t in a rush, Take a deep breath. You get the gist. This wasn’t even the hard part, I realize. Patience in dealing with two three, almost four year olds and their volatile behaviour is a completely different ball game. My girls know how to push each other’s buttons and do so often. There are days when the fighting seems endless. I’ve worked hard to stay calm and still encourage them to be independent and fight their own battles. It doesn’t always work, but sometimes it does. I’ve worked hard to step back from the situation and take a breath first before I react. I’m never going to be a naturally patient person, but the occasional complement on my patience is a nice reminder that I’m trying hard.