The Paradox of Parenting

The Paradox of Parenting

Hurry up, but slow down –

the ultimate paradox of parenting.
Time, racing along but passing ever
so slowly.
Counting down the hours until bedtime
to fold laundry in silence,
only to splatter tiny onesies 
and fleece sleepers with tears.
I miss them already.
How many hours until they wake?

Time, at 3am, sluggishly moving forward.
The agony watching the clock as the baby cries.
How could it be that only 2 minutes have passed?
Yet the days slip by. 
Looking down at the babe in your arms,
then watching as he zooms by on his bike.
A blur of colour.
How could this be?
Where does the time go?

Into the vortex of cooking, laundry,
diapers and cleaning
I suppose
Stay present. Time will pass you by, they warn.
Do not wish away the sleepless nights, they advise.
Acknowledge the special moments, they say.
But the pages of the baby book remain empty
and the Mommy Guilt rises.
Yet the moments that matter 
can’t be put to paper.
Hearing a smile through the darkness,
content at my breast
and strawberry blond curls
smelling of lavender after the bath.
How I try to engrain these gifts
into my brain,
to recall the sweet kisses
and goobery smiles
when it’s all just too much. 

The month of May has flown by and I can hardly believe that we are well into June. The days have lengthened, the lake has warmed and the seedlings have poked their heads above the dark earth of our new raised vegetable gardens. There have been many days over the past few weeks that have made me wish I could fall into a blackhole and sleep for an eternity, but of course, I have so loved being at home with my darlings. No matter how horrendous the day or nights is, I feel incredibly fortunate to be able to present to enjoy Alice and Henry as they grow and change every day.

I opened the door to drop off Henry at daycare and he had helped himself to his book and was casually reading

All dressed up to go out for lunch with Auntie Cat

May 5th – finally a warm day! 

Alice and I making dinner 

Thanks Nana for my cute outfit!

2 months old!

Snack time 

Henry’s preferred posture while being pushed in his car 🙂 
Happy Mother’s Day Mom!
Hahha – she looks so confused!

Not sure if this picture is any better lol! Look at that double chin!

Our first boat ride of the season to mark Mother’s Day was our official start of summer. Henry, of course loved it, helping Blake drive, while Alice slept, lulled by the sound of the motor and the rocking of the waves.

My cute babies!

Unfortunately, shortly after Mother’s Day, Blake was called away to Thunder Bay for work. He had been away for an entire seven days the week previous, but had had some trouble with one of his houses and had to return, leaving me alone again with the two kiddos. Worse still, when he finally returned home after four days away, Blake came down with the flu and literally was in bed for an entire week.

So for essentially three weeks, I was a single parent. It was a challenge with many, MANY tears shed (at any given point, there was on average two people crying and one of them was usually me), but thankfully Meghan and John, as well as our awesome babysitter, Blythe all pitched in to give me a hand. I seriously have a new appreciation for single parents. I really don’t know how people do it!

Alice is getting so big! 2 months old!

Henry reading to himself

I caught Henry playing with “Dad-Dad’s juice”

Toddlers. Ugh. They are so so busy!
The hardest part by FAR of single parenting a 2-month old and an 18-month old
is trying to keep your toddler happy, safe and occupied while you nurse, change, soothe the baby.
There were SO many times when Blake was away that I would sit down to nurse Alice
and in the span of 5 minutes, Henry would dump out the dog food, pull the dishwasher apart,
put his hands in the toilet bowl… etc. etc. ! 

Alice and Henry’s relationship is so sweet to watch as it grows. Henry will often say,
“I love you Baby” and coo to Alice saying, “a-goo baby!” and “smile Baby!”.
Unfortunately, his love also is expressed as very aggressive hits and ‘bonks’ where he touches his forehead to Alice’s.
Honestly, it’s a full time job just from trying to keep Henry from killing her sometimes!

Henry and That Guy!
So, Henry received this superman figurine as a gift and ever since, he has carried him around all day.
Henry doesn’t have a clue who Superman is so, appropriately, he named the figurine, That Guy.
Henry takes That Guy into the bath, onto his highchair for meals, in his hand as he runs around the house…
He’s never too far away!
Lately, he has even been giving That Guy kisses, tucking him in for naps and singing him songs
So sweet 🙂

Henry’s choice expression for a selfie! 

Out for a walk!

The best view in the world. Sleeping baby and the lake. 

Oh hello there Alice!

Henry playing with That Guy in his room

Playing with his cars

Bathtime!

Babies, babies, babies!

This is what bedtime looks like when you’re parenting alone 🙂
Alice spent a lot of time in the swing when Blake was away!

Henry ‘helping me’ with Alice – putting her soother back into her mouth

At the community baby shower

Sometimes, when I was at my wits end when Blake was away, I’d strap them both into the Chariot.
give Henry a bunch of Cheeiros and just walk, ignoring the crying as best I could.
Sometimes, all you can do is try your best. 

One afternoon, I was loading Alice up in the stroller and I turned around and Henry had
got himself into Blake’s utility cart!

5am sunrises – After nursing Alice at 5am, I would often get up and pump to ensure that I had a good stock of breastmilk
for my return to work. I wasn’t ecstatic to be awake that early, but I was rewarded with gorgeous sunrises over the lake. 

Auntie Megan hanging out with Alice

Mealtime without another pair of adult hands looks like this!

After Blake got back onto his feet, Alice and I left the boys for a week of visiting in Toronto. Neither of our families had met Alice yet and I was pretty excited to show her off 🙂 Alice was a dream on the five-hour car ride to the Thunder Bay airport and slept pretty much the entire way to Toronto. She was so good while we were in the City, despite the 30degree, humid weather. We had lovely visits with our family before coming home to the boys. Surprisingly, the house was still standing and Henry was all in one piece 😉

Playing with Mom at her condo in Toronto

Visiting Nana in Dundas

Meeting Grandpa for the first time!

Four generations!

I love this photo so much – my Nana and Alice, 96 years apart by one day!

Alice meeting her Nana

Alice’s first time on the subway 🙂

Out for Sri Lankan food in Cabbagetown

Sunday brunch with the whole family!

Meeting Auntie Leah and her cousins Rosie and Luc

In Guelph with Leah’s kids

Luc expertly holding Alice 🙂

Rosie and Alice out for dinner at a local pub

My mom took Alice for a few hours so that I could go out with my girlfriend Emily!
So, we treated ourselves with frozen yoghurt 🙂

Mom and Alice

Alice snoozing away on the flight home 

What a happy girl! She was SO SO good all day and pretty much slept for the entire car
journey from Thunder Bay back to Sioux Lookout. 

Since being home, our days have passed lazily. It is so much fun to be home with Blake, Henry and Alice. We have fallen into the pattern of rising slowly, then heading outside with Henry to spend the morning biking, playing on the beach or on the yard. After lunch, the babies nap while I cook, clean or sometimes relax in the sun. Then it’s more playing outside before dinner, then bed for both Alice and Henry at 7pm. We have been sticking close to home since everything we need is right here. Chatting with our neighbours today, we wondered how parents cope in the city. It’s just so easy to open the door and Henry is endlessly entertained within the 100m perimeter of our home.

Morning time at the Van Winckle residence. 

Ada – endlessly watching and waiting for squirrels 

Blake taking Henry for a ride in the cart

Alice and I enjoying a quiet afternoon 

On of Henry’s favourite pass-times – riding on Thomas!

Henry at the first market of the year! I took this picture because Blake
was making fun of me for dressing him in this outfit! 

Morning playtime

Alice and I on the deck in the afternoon while Henry naps

Loving being outside!!!
Sailor coming over for a visit while Karla and I have coffee on the deck

Neighbourly BBQ at Keith and Karlas! Look at all of these sweet kiddos 🙂

Outdoor BBQ’s are the best
Reading to Ada

Getting so big!! (2.5months old)

Aw kisses!

Kisses are almost always followed by a ‘bonk’ 🙂

When you’re trying to nurse the baby and the toddler is trying to ‘help’…!

Just taking a break from biking 

Despite what you think from this photo, Alice really DOES like having her picture taken! haha

These cheeks! These arm rolls! That smile!

A typical afternoon activity for Henry, pretending to drive the boat, and of course, while wearing his helmet. 

Henry loves to flip his bike over and inspect his wheels

Yup. This is what happens at bedtime when I’m on my own and trying to bathe two babies.
Henry is usually trying to escape, or ‘help’ me bathe Alice which involves pouring water on her, splashing her or trying to roll her off of her bath sling! Eghad! It’s a nightmare but also so so fun and thankfully, Alice is super tolerant of
Henry’s shenanigans!

Playing at the beach

I love this photo. It truly captures our everyday – Henry playing, Blake always doing something with the boat and Alice, very patiently sitting in her chair being constantly relocated as we follow Henry around!

Beach baby!

I know, I know – my fashion sense is non-existent! Look at this outfit!
Hahah, he’s going to kill me when he’s older 🙂

I put Alice to bed around 7pm, but then she woke up shortly thereafter so we sat on the beach and had some quiet time, watching the sun go down. I then put her to bed again and she slept until 6am! I was ecstatic!

Mom! I didn’t want to sleep! I wanted to hang out with you!

Playing in the yard as usual

Henry fishing with Dad, in his PJs of course

Henry, after he fell off his bike into a ditch-full of water! No tears, just Henry exclaiming, “Uh, oh water!”

Good morning!

I was buckling Alice up in her carseat, when I looked up and saw Henry sporting ear muffs and heading for the door with a tank of propane!? Uh…what?! How do toddlers do this!?

Hanging out on the deck while Mom and Karla have a glass of well-deserved wine!

Our neighbour had a huge digger come by to help put his dock into the water.
Henry thought that he had died and gone to heaven!
He was so excited!

Attempting a picture with my babies. It’s not easy to get them to both sit still!!!

Also note Blake on Henry’s bike 🙂

Sitting pretty!

Also looking very confused and concerned

Watching biking before bed

Henry contemplating the hill in front of him

Happy birthday Meghan!

Morning…

Henry trying to wear Dad’s ear muffs ahhahaah

First time for Alice in the Jolly Jumper

Henry! Hahah

Alice and Lianne at Lianne’s baby shower. So excited to meet her new little one 🙂

My chubby baby in the bath – her favourite!
Reading on the potty…

Henry was insistent that I “hop-on Mama blue bike!”

Bike obsessed much?!

Henry reverting back to his baby days?! 

3 months old already!

Henry taking over Alice’s bassinet 🙂

First time having chocolate milk! 

After many, many attempts, Alice now finally will take a bottle. Hurray!
Now I am feeling much more at ease about leaving Alice with Blake when I go back to work. 

Henry cuddling up with his favourite babysitter, Blythe

Last week, I hosted a Mom’s playgroup end-of-the-year party at our beach.
It was a lovely morning. 

Henry and Simon splashing around

Always with his helmet on!

My cuties

Boys playing in the woods
Auntie Meghan and Alice

Good morning!

Heading out on the boat for a morning cruise

Happy baby!
Naked beach time is the best!

Reading!

Henry and Alice spending quality time together 🙂

Alice looking pretty interested in my lunch

Happy summer afternoons
Our babysitter took this one after our first date night since Alice was born – a historic occasion!

This week both kids have slept for three hours in the afternoon AT THE SAME TIME!
So this is what I got to do 🙂
Happy summer!

As these warm days pass, the weight of the realization that this time in my life will never happen again has begun to hang heavily, especially since I will be back to work part-time next month. As I write this, sitting on the deck, watching the late evening sun over the late, I cannot be more thankful for everything in my life. My kids, my husband, my friends, my family, my home.

Here’s to happy summer days!

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