expatmamaintoronto

Archive for March 2011

Our first family picture!


I have an incredibly beautiful baby girl, Tikka, who is 3 months old right now. Yesterday while chatting with a friend, who is also a new mom, we were both overwhelmed with worry over their futures and protecting them from the things that plagued us while we were young children and growing up. My friend was paralyzed by the idea of her son being painfully shy as a child, like she was. She recounted a story of being at a birthday party and wanting another slice of pizza but being too shy to ask. She said “I hope he never is too shy to ask for what he wants. I hope he doesn’t get that gene from me.”

This really spoke to me. There are so many things that I hope my daughter doesn’t have to experience, though I know that when she does, she will grow stronger from them. The playground at recess can be a scary place. So can lunch break in high school.

My parents did everything possible to raise me in a healthy, loving, empowering environment and I owe who I am today to their parenting skills. Because I know what amazing parenting can look like, I feel a strong need to raise my child, and future children in a house that has the same value system.

Something that I am missing in life due to decisions we made as a family is a life long best friend. Someone who has been through it all with me. Someone that I met at kindgergarten and stayed close with until now. Some of this is due to the fact that I switched schools when I went into middle school, and then again when I was in 10th grade. But this is something I feel I am lacking. Througout childhood I did have many close friends in my various experiences. Most of them dwindled as time passed and we had less in common because or day-to-day experiences were so different.

The most painful friendship that fell apart was that of two girls who I was incredibly close with from 6-9 grade. These years were formative and scary as a girl. Having them as my friends gave me confidence and security. Unforutnately, they kept me on my toes too.

I was in middle school during the time that 3-way calling was invented. I wish it weren’t true. Girls would call people and get them to speak poorly about someone, or spill secrets, only to later ambush them by admiting that there were other people on the phone listening. It was a painful trap to fall into. I hope one day, no one 3-way call ambushes my daughter. I also, in very weak moments, encouraged other girls to do this as well. I was both being ambushed and then ambushing back. I wish I knew why I made such a horrible choice when I knew how much it hurt me. Thankfully I have learned and tend to live by the motto of doing unto others as I want done until myself. It was a hard lesson.

The friendships with these middle school girls unraveled quickly when I moved to California during the summer after 9th grade. They decided that I wasn’t worth the effort because I no longer could impact their social status at school. Yep, they actually said that. At the time it was one of the most devestating losses. I still to this day have the friendship bracelets that I got envgraved for them but never had the chance to give them due to our “break-up.” Obviously, looking back it is clear. These girls were trouble and not worth having in my life. But during the move when I felt so alone, I needed people that knew me.

I hope that my daughter has friends that are a good influence on her and encourage her to explore whatever life throws at her. Even if she has to switch schools.

I will warn my daughter that she will get her heart broken, but she will survive. And be stronger for it. But I won’t be able to stop it from happening.

I will warn my daughter that girls can be nasty and encourage her to treat others with kindness and respect, even if she isn’t recieving the same from them. She will need to lead by example. But, I won’t be able to stop her from being socially bullied.

I will warn my daughter that there will be times that she won’t want anything to do with me. But, I will let her know that I will always be here to love her, listen to her, and be her ally.

Being a mom of a young girl is something I take very seriously and I hope I am even half as good at is as my mom was. Then I know my daughter will flourish.

Since moving to Canada there are a few things that I realize I had
been taking for granted while living in the states. Most of them are
mundane but when they aren’t in your life anymore you miss them!
These are the things that keep reminding me that I miss the US!

  • No affordable cell phone plans- whys it so freaking expensive to call long distance in this country?
  • Streaming TV…what do I do when my PVR is screwed up and fails to tape Grey’s?
  • Inability to listen to Pandora…yes grooveshark is good but it isn’t Pandora
  • No Target… The best store on earth
  • No affordable diapers and diapers.com won’t deliver here
  • Amazon.com… Amazon.ca only sells books and shipping from the US on Amazon.com is stupid expensive
  • Lack of variety of peanut butter… I miss my
  • No JCrew
  • The corn pops here taste different

I suppose my year of mat-leave more than makes up for it though.

What are some of the things you miss from “home” wherever “home” might be?

I started to make a Life List and quickly realized that I need to start in baby steps. I think that 2011 will be a successful year if I can accomplish this list of tasks that has been nagging at me. Of course I need other things in my life to have a successful year, but if I get these things done, I will feel so good and a weight will be lifted. I decided 50 tasks seemed reasonable, especially since a few are multi-step or repeat items. In the next few weeks I will focus on my life list, the items I know I can’t get to this year and I will share that. Hopefully some of my items for the year are also on the Life List 🙂

Some of these items are new, others have been put off for years. Some will take just a few minutes, others will
take months. Some you might think are silly to have on the list- how hard could it possibly be to read 5 books this year? Well… for me, kinda hard. Every time I start to read a book, I fall asleep. That is how tired and sleep deprived I am. 🙂

I will blog about many of these as I accomplish them. Wish me luck!

  1. Order wedding pictures and albums from the photographer
  2. Get wedding video made
  3. Learn how to cook 25 new recipes
  4. Consistently make dinner 3 nights per week
  5. Host a dinner party for friends
  6. Learn how to use my Canon Rebel camera
  7. Compile photo books of Tikka at 3 months, 6 months, 9 months and one year
  8. Give great gifts to my hubby for his birthday, Father’s day, and Chanukah
  9. Send snail mail to my grandma once a month
  10. Get into shape and lose the baby weight
  11. Learn how to knit and complete one project… Even if it is just a scarf
  12. Do a massive clothing purge of stuff that I will never wear again, even if i am super skinny
  13. Book a long weekend at a B&B with the hubby at the end of 2011 (when I am done breast feeding.)
  14. Hang pictures up in every room that needs them
  15. Buy a new couch
  16. Finish decorating the nursery
  17. Buy a headboard for my bed
  18. Stop wearing my hair in a pony tail EVERYDAY
  19. Get the dent in my car fixed
  20. Take vitamins
  21. Read to my daughter every single day
  22. Attend Blissdom Canada
  23. Take at least one Zumba class
  24. Try to bake 10 new treats
  25. Book a cruise for 2012
  26. Finish reading 5 books
  27. Learn how to parallel park my car
  28. Do 10 product reviews
  29. Listen to 10 new musicians
  30. Organize a scrapbooking/craft space in the basement
  31. Clean out the spice cabinet
  32. Unpack the china 4/1/2011
  33. Run/Jog a 5k

What is on your long term to do list? Do you have a life list? Please share it! What will motivate you to get it done? Any advice for me on my list? Where should I start?

Do you think this old adage applies to eating all of the cookies left in my house after my baby’s naming ceremony? I technically need to “use them up…” otherwise it would be wasteful right?

I have spent the last week eating mediocre cookies with my daughters name beautifully writen on each one in purple frosting. These cookies, while stunning to look at, are just your basic sugar cookies. They also are not so tasty after sitting in the freezer. Yet every single day, without fail, I have eaten one. Why am I eating crap food I don’t even like?

It is silly that I pretend to wonder why the “baby weight” isn’t coming off. I am starving. I eat everything in front of me. Even McDonald’s (no need to judge me, I am being open.) The girls in my mommy group that fit in their pre-prego jeans are clearly not frequenting the zip-lock bag of personalized cookies like I am.

Obviously something is going to have to change to get me back to a reasonable size. This is getting increasingly important because I refuse to buy bigger pants, yet I only have three pairs that fit. Two pairs of yoga pants that I can squeeze into, and a pair of really really fat jeans that I had stashed in the back of the closet in case of emergency. I guess this is my emergency.

So, what do I change? I have signed up for some mommy and baby workout classes – three a week. One that uses weights, one that includes dancing around while wearing your baby, and one semi-private yoga class so that I can embarass myself one on one with my friends right next to me! Yeehaw. Also, my mom just bough an eliptical. I am off to visit them for a week in April… a week of working out – that should drop the pounds right?

If I do all of that… can I still eat McDonald’s?

What have you done to kick the pregnancy pounds while staying full after breastfeeding all day long? And how do you find enough hands to eat it?

Ever since I was a young child, I knew that I would love being a mom. I love to care for every detail of Tikka’s existance. I love to get her dressed and take her out with me. I love attending classes with her and singing silly songs over and over while she stares at me with a big smile on her face and eyes that say “I have no clue what you are doing.”

What I did not know about being a mom in the city is… it no longer matters how nice your house is, or how big your diamond ring is… now it is all about the diaper bag.

I was invited to join a mommy group that held a weekly “class” for our babies where the do tummy time, look a bubbles and play with a parachute. I was thrilled to be included and because I was new to Toronto, relished the chance to meet other new moms and create some friendships. I was feeling all happy-go-lucky, at least until I spoke to another friend who knew some of the moms in this group. She asked me if I was getting a blow-dry before the class. A blow-dry? I don’t even know where my blow-drier is, nor have I figured out how to get Tikka to sit still without crying for long enough to shave my legs, let alone blow dry my hair. This is when the panic set in.

At class the next day the girls were incredibly nice. They did all have impeccable hair… but what I wasn’t planning on was the diaper bag envy that took place within 10 minutes of arrival. They all had this one beautiful, clean, sparkling diaper bag. I left thinking to myself… “Self, you have a great diaper bag. Don’t be a poser.”

So, of course I get home and turn on my iPad and immediately Google this bag. This bag costs more than my monthly mortgage payment. For a bag that carries poopy diapers and crushed up Cheerios.

This was the end of diaper bag envy.

I am incredibly excited to start writing this blog about my experiences as a new mom living in Toronto. I don’t intend to comment regularly on my child’s poop or the inane details of what she did each day, but rather use this space to share my insights on this new adventure. I hope you all will keep me in line.

I moved to Toronto almost 5 years ago, got married to my incredible hubby and recently gave birth to my beautiful baby girl Tikka.  I spent the years before baby working my ass off in a job that I loved, and I literally couldn’t imagine life without the 60 hour work weeks and constant feeling of stress that made me check my e mail with one eye open, first thing in the morning, before I even went pee. That all changed when I left one Friday afternoon at 32 weeks pregnant and never went back to the office to work again! I was placed on bedrest and it only took about 2 weeks for me to stop obsessviely checking my work e mail to make sure the world hadn’t fallen apart in my absense. Much to my amazement, things at work continued on pretty status quo without me… I am still not sure if I should be happy I trained my team so well, or shocked that I wasn’t important as I thought I was… more on this later.

The amazing thing about having a hubby that is from Toronto… I live in a country that gives me ONE YEAR of maternity leave! ONE WHOLE YEAR! I realize, I am a lucky woman. Before having Tikka I thought this time off from work would give me the chance to be wonder-wife. Dinner on the table, laundry washed, folded AND put away (I am notorious for skipping the last step…) and keeping the scrap book up to date with all of Tikka’s amazing milestones. Well… I am almost three months in and I have yet to make a real dinner – unless you count unwrapping a nutri-grain bar – the laundry gets done but rarely put away and I have not even printed any of the hundreds of pictures I have taken of T.

That is where this blog can come in to play. While you might be thinking… “How is spending time writing a blog going to get dinner on the table?” But let me tell you… if I have people that are counting on me, I can get anything done. So I need you to count on me to learn how to cook… HEALTHY FOOD, I need you to count on me to explore the city with T, and I need you to count on me to share what I learn throughout the next year. I also might turn to you for motivation to get my ass back into shape so I can wear my pre-pregnancy clothes. At some point I am sure I will be invited to a gathering where Lulu’s are not appropriate attire, and then… I will be screwed.

Looking forward to getting to know you all!


About Me:

I am a first time mom of a beautiful baby girl. I live in Toronto and eat way too many cookies.

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March 2011
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