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My daughter and I try to attend at least one program a week. Ontario has province-wide programs that cater to families with children up to 6 years of age. We first found out about Ontario Early Years centres in January. My daughter was 8 months old then and the house was getting much too small for both of us.  Add to that the fact that it was wintertime, so strolling outdoors was out of the question. The only place we were able to go for a walk was the mall or a store that’s big enough, such as Costco. Not only did doing the latter cost money (it’s hard to not buy when you’re already there!), it also did not satisfy our need for socialization. We both needed to meet people outside our little circle – people who were experiencing the same ordeal we were.

When a fellow mommy from church told us about the OEYC program called ‘Love My Baby’ (for babies 0-12 months old), I felt it was just what we needed. The first time we went, there were three other mommies with their children (ranging in age from 3 to 10 months). My daughter benefited from the singing while i benefited from the discussions regarding issues each of us mommies have encountered, and how we dealt with them. It was a relief to know that there were other moms like myself, who wasn’t getting much sleep at night, or whose baby cried a lot, or who found it hard to get dinner going because little one doesn’t like Da-da all that much. As a first time mommy, I often second guessed myself when it came to caring for my daughter. At times I felt my daughter was the way she was because I was doing things wrong.  If there is one thing I’ve learned from attending this program, it’s that I am the one who knows my child best and should therefore, trust my instincts.

The spring program that replaced Love My Baby is called Living and Learning With Baby and is still ongoing. This is where a Public Health Nurse talks to mommies about issues encountered at various stages of development. Unfortunately, we were only able to attend three sessions because my daughter is now more than 12 months old. The nurse was unavailable for one of the sessions so we sang songs and discussed current issues. The topics discussed in the other two sessions were sleep and nutrition, which I would love to share with you in future posts.

Since the beginning of the month, we’ve been to three different centres looking for another program (also OEYC) we can frequent. The first one being Family Time, which is available to families with more than one children under age 6. This program is structured to encourage play for an hour and enjoy circle time for half an hour. The first centre we went to was alright, but felt the space was too big and did not foster socialization with other mommies and children. The next one was more of an attempt because the centre was already FULL by the time we got there (about 5 minutess late). I imagine it’s due to the fact that many of the families that go there live in the same (condo) building. Third location is a charm because we enjoyed Open Door/Family Time last Thursday and will now be going there every week. The format is exactly the same as the first centre but the space is much smaller which makes socialization possible. The facilitator also made circle time lots of fun. My daughter enjoyed the choice of songs and story-telling.

Moms, if you haven’t already done so, I would encourage you to take advantage of free programs offered by your community. They are great for both parent and child. Not only will it keep boredom at bay, you will also get tips (both from professionals and fellow moms)  on how to guide your child through various stages of development.

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Reflecting on Mothers Day

Today (actually more like yesterday since I’m posting past midnight), I was overcome with memories of my very first mothers day (last year). My daughter was then exactly a month old. I was still struggling with breastfeeding, running on a maximum 4hrs of sleep a night, and the three of us were home with what we later learned was bronchitis. It could have been worse – if not for my family (mom, dad, 3 sisters, and brother-in-law) who insisted on coming over to celebrate that evening. My mom brought over plenty of home-cooked food, and my older sister and BIL took care of the cake for my daughter’s first “monthday.” It lifted my spirits to have all the people that mean so much to me, in our home on what I now consider a memorable day.

I credit my mother for my family’s closeness. When I moved out after my wedding almost 3yrs ago, she made sure that we would spend quality time as a family every Sunday via family dinners. I can count the number of times we’ve been absent at Sunday dinner.  If for some reason we couldn’t make it, I would always make up for it by visiting them during the week. Even when they went away on vacation, my sisters and I stuck to what we would now consider a much loved family tradition.

I have to admit, I used to find my mother annoying (didn’t we all during our youth?). Since becoming a mother myself, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s sometimes necessary to nag. I understand her better now, and realize I’ve treated her unfairly at times.

I would like to thank her now for loving me even when I was at my most unlovable, and for being a mother worth emulating.

I would of course, like to also thank my daughter, without whom I wouldn’t be on this journey called motherhood. It feels so great to be needed. Your hugs and smiles more than make up for physical pains and lost sleep. I love you sooooo much.

“Being a full time mother is one of the highest salaried jobs, since the payment is pure love.” ~Mildred B. Vermont

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Baby Steps

May is proving to be a big month for us. My daughter is now walking! After months of anticipation (I thought she was going to start walking at 8mos), she finally took her first steps on May 1st just a few days before her 13th month. Unfortunately, I can’t take credit for it. It was a friend of ours who actually got her walking. You see, she was already standing without help for over a month prior. She just needed a little boost to get her on her way. It seems my technique – squatting or kneeling and extending both arms – isn’t the best there is. What did the trick was holding out an object of interest (in my daughter’s case, a set of keys) while STANDING! After the first few steps, she gained enough confidence to keep walking. When the sun is out, we enjoy short walks up and down our driveway – keeps her motivated and gives us both a bit of a workout while getting Vitamin D the natural way.

Moms, please share how you got your little ones to take their first steps. 

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