Monday, 29 October 2012

Kicked in the Teeth

When the minions hit 6 months our nurse practitioner suggested that I get into the habit of taking a wash cloth with water and rub it along their gums daily during their bath, especially since they were about to begin eating solid food.  Fast forward over 8 months later and it's still the only thing I've done for their dental care - aside from having them avoid sugary juices and food, especially right before bed time and I don't give them soothers dipped in chocolate or honey.   

Last weekend, another mom, with a 6 month baby boy who had just started solid foods, asked me what I did about dental care for the minions.  I shrugged, told her about the cloth on the teeth and may as well have said, "Nuthin, be a bad mom".  As someone with problem teeth herself, I don`t know why I haven`t been more vigilant.  I have a tooth brush that is often used as a toy for the bathtub that Molly loves to rub on her gums*.  Babies get 20 first teeth, often called milk teeth, but habits begin early, so I guess it`s time to get started.  I feel a little better knowing that children under 3 have a very low risk for tooth decay.

toothbrush by mmfenno
Image courtesy of mmfeno on Creative Commons.

What do the experts recommend surrounding baby/ toddler teeth cleaning:
  • Use a cloth or clean gauze to clean their gums....recommended 2 times a day
  • Health Canada recommends just using water until your children are 3, if your doctor/dentist thinks your child is at high risk for decay use a small amount of toothpaste, the size of a grain of rice
  • Brush with small circular movements with a small headed toothbrush

Why don't you let children swallow toothpaste?
Because too much fluoride can cause vomiting or diarrhea.**

How do I get them to stay still?
All of the on line recommendations I found mentioned cradling their heads, or laying them down and wrapping your arm around their head.  Basically no one will admit it, but it sounds like if they won't sit still you should put them in a headlock and go to town on their teeth - don't worry odds are they'll be screaming so their mouths will be open.  Others suggested turning it into a game.  Bath time seems to be a prime spot to do this because they're trapped.  Another suggestion is pretending to brush toys teeth first and then insisting that it`s your child`s turn, or brushing your own teeth and then theirs.  Theme tooth brushes may work or pretending to tickle their teeth, while chanting, "I'm going to get you!" 

When Should I take them to the dentist?
The Canadian Dentist Association recommends taking them at around a year or 6 months after they first get teeth.  I think most of this is to avoid the dreaded fear of the dentist, ensuring that their first experiences are not for fillings.  When my brother was 6 or 7, maybe older, he had a complete meltdown at the dentist. It ended in biting and kicking. He later had to go to the "baby dentist", where he was held down by two assistants like a serial killer, and my parents had to pay exorbitant non-insurable premiums while he watched Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on the ceiling and sat in a waiting room with children half his age. It was not one of his finer moments.  My mother was furious every time she had to take my brother to the "baby dentist". My children have been to the dentist with me once already, but just to hang out and visit while I got my teeth cleaned.  They loved it there.  I`d recommend talking to your dentist about their policies and recommendations surrounding your children, especially since they know your family teeth health history and will keep that in mind. 

When can they start brushing their own teeth?
On line I found recommendations that you brush your children's teeth for them until they are at least 7.  Here is an interesting link about success rates on brushing based on age:  Like anything it depends on the kid.***  How old will they be when you teach them to lie to their hygienist about whether or not they floss?

*And smack her brother with, sometimes simultaneously.
**The next time I feel nauseous or have an upset stomach I'm going to tell people it was because I ate a tube of toothpaste.
***So Jack will be 35.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Stepping Stone

I have added a new cuss word to my vocabulary.  It's called Sleep Transgression and it is a dirty #$%*, albeit a necessary evil in child development.  One of the worst things about the "blessing" of twins is that they wake each other up and often teeth and sleep transgress in tandem rather than at the same time.

Sleep regression is changes in a child's pattern of sleep to accommodate changes as they grow (physically) and reach important cognitive and developmental milestones. In theory this is great. In reality it means that we're in for some rough nights, especially when you add in teething, ACBBM (awakening caused by bowel movement) or the wild card of daycare related illness.*  Other side effects for sleep transgression include poor napping and general crankiness and clinginess.

The other day as I left for a baby shower, thankfully during the hours when the minions nap - so I didn't have to bring them with me, Chris called out, "I won't blame you if you never come back!"  It's hard to be a cheerleader for parenting when your team is getting their butts handed to them.**

The night time crying has gotten so bad that my super mom spider senses are failing me  and I'm sleeping through baby crying, only awakening to Chris's nudge and instructions of "It's your turn", every other time someone is screaming.

Generally this type of issue goes away on its own within a few weeks, however we're about to hit daylight savings time in just over 2 weeks and this seems like the recipe for the perfect storm.

When I hit the Googles I found that sleep transgression can happen any time, but most commonly, month 1, 3, 6, 12, 18 and basically it comes in threes.***  Which doesn't explain the 14 month transgression, but I'm holding onto it tight hoping to get to witness some toddler power-walking or Shakespearean sonnets spoken any day now.

What me cause trouble?  I'm just hanging with my homeys." Miss Molly

The key difference between sleep transgression and bad baby habits is timing.  Sleep transgression lasts from 1-3 weeks and can be caused by: teething, growth spurts, development and illness.

Here are some other suggestions:

Go and pour yourself some whiskey or red wine. Drink it.****  Give your screaming munchkin some baby pain reliever and a teething ring from the freezer.  Insert ear plugs.

Growth Spurts
Stuff your baby senseless in the evening with heavy items such as meats, Greek yogurt and copious amounts of apple sauce.  Be prepared for them to awaken you in the middle of the night with a load full.  Change them, turn on sound machine.

Unfortunately the only real solutions I found on line were time, patience, and a little love and tenderness, so unless you have a time machine, you may be in for some rough evenings.  Cheers!

*Molly still has this terrible old man cough, residual from her "slapped cheek" disease that I like to refer to as her kennel cough. 
**Insert name of Toronto based sports team here.
***Like curses and wishes on that monkey paw you bought at that yard sale.
****I bet you thought I was going to tell you to rub it on their gums.  Why are you going share your booze with them?  They're the jerks who are keeping you up at night.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

If you want to destroy my sweater...pull this thread as I walk away

My childhood friend KM has always had a really unique sense of style.  As a young child (5 or 6 years old), when she first began dressing herself in the morning to go to school she would come up with all of these wacky clothing combinations that she would insist on wearing, much to her mother's chagrin.  Her mother thought that she had come up with the ultimate solution to her daughter's strange combinations and purchased her a wardrobe of only red, white and blue clothing - figuring that no matter what it would sort of go together.  Unfortunately KM's new wardrobe often looked like a failed tribute to American patriotism or like New Pepsi had acquired a young girl as their new mascot.

This unique sense of style has continued through out KM's life.  She is a self proclaimed nerd with a penchant for reading* who has the letters spelling out, "BOOK WORM" tattooed across her knuckles, a look that rivals a prison librarian, yet she still loves over-sized knit sweaters and parkas.  KM is no hipster, she's been this way since we were 6.  She is a boho chic tattoo artist and many would argue that she was born that way.  A male friend of ours, who had a bit of a crush on KM, once tried to explain to her that he thought she dressed like the world's hottest grandmother.  Sadly this line didn't win KM's affection.

A few months ago a friend of ours told me how every day she needs to give her 2 year old daughter at least 2 clothing choices or there will be a massive freak out.  I didn't think that toddler girls cared about clothing, beyond the love of pretty twirly dresses.  I was wrong.

Last week Chris and I went out shopping at Once Upon a Child for trousers and long sleeved shirts for the minions.**  While we perused the 12 month old girl section we would hold up items we were particularly interested in or things we wanted to mock.  Chris held up a particularly offensive piece: a ridiculously bright fuchsia sweater with a tacky kitty cat on the front of it.  When Chris went to return it to the rack he found that it was stuck.  Two little hands reached up from her stroller and wouldn't let go of the awful sweater.  When Chris finally gave in and let go, Molly hugged the sweater tightly against her chest while we walked around the store, admiring it often.  Four dollars later we were the proud owners of the first piece of clothing our daughter ever fell in love with.   She giggles when you ask her if she wants to wear it.  The My Little Pony tattoos will have to wait until she's at least 7.

Note that the shoulders are sewn so the sleeves puff out.

*Including an obscene amount of Archie Comics.
**There is a black hole of hand me down clothing for 12-18 months and I don't know why...I think this is because this is prime crawling age and the children destroy, wear through or get dirt on everything.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Witchy Woman

A little while ago I found out about significant trickery surrounding my childhood Halloweens.  Each and every year my mother would feed us a good, hot stick to your bones meal (think beef stew or chili) to make sure we'd  have a solid meal before our journey into Candy Land.*  We would go off, get a crap load of candy, eat a ton of candy on Halloween night and then surrender our goods to the giant bowls of candy that would sit in the centre of our family dining room table.  As we ran lower on candy, bowls would shrink until we were out of treats. 

What I didn't know, until very recently, was that my mother was secretly, gradually throwing a significant portion of our candy into the garbage to make sure that we weren't indulging too much for too long.  Generally all Halloween goods were gone well before Christmas season.  As a trusting** and obedient child I never suspected a thing.  When we got older my mother began to throw out candy in front of my brother insisting that it had "gone bad".

This isn't an issue that we have to deal with this year, as my children will be visiting a total of 5 houses (2 sets of grandparents and 3 neighbours mainly to show off their costumes), but it's something to consider for the future.   When I complained to Chris about my mother's confection deception he shrugged and told me that growing up he ate a lot of candy that he didn't even like after Halloween simply because it was there.

 Jack - as Batman - Halloween 2011

The Original Minion - Molly as "Minion" from Despicable Me - Halloween 2011
So what can you do to limit the amount of candy your child*** consumes following Halloween?  Here are some solutions I found/worked out which will lead to a healthier November for kids and mom and dad beyond my mom's tough love method to healthy eating.

The Halloween Witch
I received a press release a couple of weeks ago about this and here's the pitch direct from the mouth of  Founder & President Jennifer Carlson Broe, Baby Gourmet: The Halloween Witch is a household tradition for Jen's children Eamon and Findlay. Trick-or-treating is an experience that children love and Jen knew it would be very difficult (and disappointing for the kids!) to convince them not to participate - yet she was concerned about them eating big bags of candy. So...she told them about the Halloween Witch.

Eamon and Findlay have fun picking out their 10-15 favourite treats to keep and then they leave the rest of their candy next to the fireplace. The Halloween Witch visits their home each year and takes away the candy in exchange for a new present. Jen's children enjoy the whole of experience of Halloween without the lingering damage to their nutritional plan.

The Cons:
  • You're lying to your kid.
  • Your kid is ridiculed for talking about a mythical creature that no one else has ever heard of. Other kids throw their excess of candy corns at them and they are shunned from their social circle.
  • You need to go out and purchase replacement treats and create yet another hallmark holiday.

The Switch Witch
This is an on line version I found that is a bit different then the one above.  The Switch-Witch is coined as an eco fairy who comes once a year, on November 1st and takes away the most-offensive candy**** and replaces them with healthier surprises.

The Cons:
  • You're still lying to your kid.
  • Your kid continues to get ridiculed for talking about a mythical creature that no one else has ever heard of that has brought them things that they can't trade at lunch time.  Other kids (in greater numbers) throw their excess of candy corns at them and they are shunned from their social circle.
  • You need to go out and purchase replacement treats.

Candy Creations
Encourage your children to play with their food!  Let them do experiments to turn their candy into experiments, art work or jewellery.  Here are two great sites: (there is also a book you can say, purchase on November 1st) or

The Cons:
  • Some candy will get consumed in the making of the crafts.
  • It encourages wasting and playing with food.
  • Your kids could burn down your house creating a candy experiment or try to eat a varnish covered candy off of their bracelet.

Sharing is Caring
Why not encourage your kids to select some treats for mom and dad to bring into work and share with coworkers, give a goodie bag to the bus driver, postal worker, hair dresser, barber and the grandparents.  Check and see if your local food bank will accept donations of wrapped candies.

The Cons:
  • You have to negotiate with a child caught midst a CANDY CANDY CANDY state of mind with no pay off but kindness.  Think negotiating with Cookie Monster at the Christie factory outlet. 
I'm open for other suggestions and comments and will probably entertain a combination of a few of the above methods.  At least I have another few years to prepare for Candygeddon.

*There is truly nothing more scary than 3 flatulent children running around the streets, thanks mom.
**See stupid and unobservant.
***And ultimately the parents - cause come on - I know how much candy I eat on Halloween night when I give out treats and can only imagine the candicopia headed our way.
****So like those stupid caramels wrapped in Halloween paper, raisins and toothbrushes?

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

And We'll Have Halloween On Christmas

Halloween has always been a huge deal for us.  Recently when we were re-organising the ocean of baby supplies/clothes in our garage (incoming and outgoing) we realized that we have a significantly more Halloween decorations than we do for Christmas and Easter combined.*

As we started to go through the supplies and plan our Halloween display we realized that some things that we've always done in the past won't pass the toddler-proof test.  Wine rack full of skulls (most weighted over 5lbs) might be a little unsafe around Jack and his game, "Jackie Smash!!!"  The pumpkin headed scarecrow that Chris has created for 8 years is going on sabbatical until after the minions decide that they don't need scale every vertical surface in their daily tribute to King Kong.**

So what are toddler friendly Halloween decorations?  Essentially anything they can't destroy, can't hurt them and that won't scare the bejesus out of them.***  Since many of our decorations don't meet the above criteria, we now have a fairly modest supply of Halloween decorations that we can use, so I decided to get creative and crafty. This is highly unusual because I am to crafting what Martha Stewart is to ethical investing, what Andy Dick is to funny, what Ashton Kutcher is to likable**** and what Charlie Sheen is to sanity/ moderation - you get the picture.  Here's what I've come up with so far and on a budget thanks to some on line searching (Pinterest, on line parenting magazines, my fellow Halloween enthusiast AS) and browsing at Halloween stores for some inspiration for crafts for the uncrafty.

Halloween Tree - Because they can't destroy what they cannot reach.
Bristol board 50 cents dollar store, ornaments $1.25 dollar cost  $1.97 (including tax).

The Wicked Witch of the East
Created using old socks from an Alice in Wonderland costume, newspaper stuffing and red shoes.  Cost to me $0 - cost to build this using thrift store shoes and discount store socks ($10) 

Witch themed signs
Stencil $2.49, silver paint pens, $3.98, frames - I already had these from IKEA - but you can get some at the dollar store or IKEA for about $1 each. Total cost: $9.57 including frames.*****

*5 boxes of Halloween supplies is normal, right?  And even if that doesn't include the dress-up boxes of costumes and random Halloween supplies that are general decor around our place 365 days a year.
**Shows exclusively held when a parent is outnumbered by babies, trying to change the other twin's diaper or cook dinner.
***In the continuation of Molly's extreme fear/hatred of moustaches she has begun to aggressively point and glare at passerbys with moustaches from the seat of her stroller.   Movember is going to be hell on earth for that child. 
****I strongly dislike Ashton Kutcher and not just because of the movie Valentine's Day.
****This actually cost me an additional $5.98 if you include the silver paint pen that I broke and threw a fit about one evening while Chris tried to watch baseball in peace.

Monday, 15 October 2012

We are the Lucky Ones

In my first trimester of pregnancy I never lied to anyone about being pregnant.  If asked by anyone close to me I answered honestly, not that many people asked, but when I suddenly stopped drinking and was sporting sea sickness bands people were a little bit suspicious.  The rule that I made in my head was that I would tell anyone (who asked) who I would be okay with talking to about a miscarriage.

Today is Infant Loss Remembrance Day. (  I am very blessed that I have never had to experience miscarriage or lost a baby I can only imagine the sense of loss felt, especially now that I know what having children is like.

Chris and I found out that I was expecting a few days before Christmas in 2010.  We had barely begun trying, but I was a few days late and all of a sudden was unable to stomach my weekly Friday lunch treat of spicy tuna sushi.  Being the control freak that I am, I immediately threw out my half eaten lunch and marched down to the drug store in the underground below my office, purchased a home pregnancy test and took it in the washroom of my office building.*  I called Chris from the lobby of my building announcing my big news, that I was 1-2 weeks pregnant.  My husband didn't believe me and came home that night with 3 other pregnancy tests for me to take.  We sat together in the bathroom, me on the toilet, him on the edge of the bathtub in one of those stereotypical 1980's movie scenes as we examined the urine covered sticks of plastic.

We were thrilled and secretly spent the holidays with me drinking "vodka" and cranberry**, offering to be designated driver and smiling constantly about our secret.  On New Year's Eve I started to spot a little bit.  Two days later it hadn't stopped.  I called my nurse practitioner.  There was nothing we could do but have me rest and wait.  I was put on modified bed rest and told to be patient.  The spotting continued.  I was terrified.

One evening after days of waiting I sat on the edge of the bed crying.  I looked down at my belly and talked to my baby for the first time.  I told my baby, "You need to make up your mind little one.  You need to stay or go, I can't take the waiting any more."

A few days later the bleeding stopped.  We were still nervous as we waited for our first ultrasound, where we found out that I was having twins.  It turns out that some of the symptoms of having fraternal twins (the implantation of the second egg) can mimic early stages of a miscarriage.     

Jack and Molly 1 month old at a Spirit of the West show for the Dragon Boat Festival 2011

Every once in a while I think back to my conversation, the one that I had with the wrong baby, when  I thought I was talking to little Molly, unaware of the existence of Jack - my bonus baby and how lucky we are.  I thought I was going to lose everything and ended up with twice as much.  We also thought we were going to have an only child and ended up with the double coupon deal.

Today I am going to hug my babies and my husband extra hard.  In the constant chaos of life with 14 month old toddlers it's too easy to forget how lucky we really are.       

*On another floor than my office.  I didn't want to run into anyone I knew.  Although purchasing the test directly below my office building wasn't exactly my most stealth move. 
**In name only, skillfully mixed by Chris...soda and cranberry juice.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

I Know What You Did Last Summer

So it's official.  Everyone is pregnant!  Over 30% of my friends and acquaintances are expecting right now (closer to 40-50% if you're only counting those who are married or common law - and that's just that I know of).  I know what you're thinking -  Chris and I are trend setters, because we make it look so easy, right?*  I am absolutely thrilled for everyone**, but don't get offended if I don't ask you what you did for your summer vacation because I now know what you were "doing" on your summer vacation.

Be warned now that I can drink again and you can't I am going to be such a terrible influence on your significant other over the next several months (absinthe - don't mind if we do).

Seriously, in honour of all of my pregnant or soon to be pregnant friends***, and the multitude of baby showers that I will be partaking in come this winter I've provided a list of the gifts that I received a ton of while expecting the minions and why these potential gifts/shopping list items are must haves as gifts for other expecting moms.

Why did I get so many wash cloths?
Because you will never have time to do laundry again (I'm not joking) and they aren't just used for bathing your baby, they're used for bathing yourself and cleaning up the fountains of baby spit up and snot that you are about to experience over the next 2 years.

What's with all of the bibs?
Have you ever seen a baby try to eat?  Besides you can use them as wash cloths when you run out and still haven't done laundry.

This is just what is clean(ish) right now.  But think about it, 3 meals x 2 babies...and this is maybe 2.5 days worth of bibs.

How many receiving blankets does one baby need?
I honestly don't know, I was gifted a lot of blankets, but I used all of them, especially in the first 3 months when we swaddled Molly and Jack like jumbo origami pigs in blankets.  The more giant receiving blankets you receive (think a meter by a meter - or just over 3 feet by 3 feet ) the better.  These blankets still get used by the minions nightly and are great lap blankets in the car and the stroller. 

Why did I get so many socks?
The answer is, you didn't get enough socks. There are never enough baby socks. Think about the number of socks that you, an adult, lose because one of them fell into some sort of laundry black hole and how annoying that is.  Now imagine if you spent all of your time trying to pull off your socks and throw them, onto the road or shove them down the throat of your cat.  Imagine how rare and valuable a pair of matching socks would be.

What are Robeez?
The only slipper/shoes that have any chance of staying on Jack's feet.  Try as we might to move him into running shoes, daycare has had to literally tape his shoes to his feet to keep him in proper attire.  They are pricey, but amazing.  You can get them for $4-$10 used at Once Upon a Child or $20-$30 at most children department stores or in the baby section of Chapters/Indigo book stores.  Multiple pairs are a necessity because you'll lose some or need more than one pair on hand at a time, just in case.  Jack often ends up in pink dragon fly Robeez because we can't find his brown monster ones.

Notice I didn't say anything about Molly's pink dragon fly Robeez, these are both Jack's.  Molly's current sized pair are much smaller and have walrus playing hockey on them.

Happy shopping, nesting and/or gestating.

Want Multiple Momstrosity updates on Facebook click here?

*That's right.  I invented being pregnant.  Deal with it.
**Please expect the truck load of baby and maternity items to arrive at your house within 48 hours of notifying me of your impending due date.  Momma wants to see the floor of her garage.
***Don't drink the Kool Aid...It's laced with something...that produces babies.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Thank You

This weekend we got to experience our first major holiday with the minions where they were mobile destructive forces.  It was fun, albeit exhausting, and Chris and I may have woken up this morning significantly more tired than we were when we entered the weekend.  All the same there are many things that I am thankful for.

I am thankful that both children slept through the entire night yesterday, for the first time in two weeks.

This Thanksgiving I experienced life at the kiddie table, for the second time in my life.  This time however, I was armed with a pair of mischievous toddlers. I got to witness a deju vu scenario where our children and their cousins played in the front hallway, with everyone's shoes and the door stopper because it was the only place where parents weren't watching and they could stay out of site and out of trouble.  It reminded me so much of Thanksgiving at my grandparent's house that I couldn't help but smile.

I am thankful that I was able to watch a tradition repeat itself - one generation later.

Thanksgiving often marks the beginning of tradition season for me and we followed suit by taking the minions to Downey's Farm for the second year in a row.  For the adults there's Downey's Estate Winery*, a gift shop and a corn maze - that you can book to do in the dark if you so desire.  For children, there is a cornucopia of activities including: the corn maze, a pirate ship, sandboxes, mini golf, a petting zoo, games and a skeleton rock band.

Skeleton Band at Downey's Farm

Baby Goat Eating a Corn Cob
Molly and Chris Navigating the Corn Ma(i)ze

Pumpkin Patch Kids
We had a blast at Downey's, don't get me wrong, however I think this is the last time we're going to be going with the kids for a number of years.  Next year our family admission cost will sky rocket from $27 to $54 because the minions will be over 2 and will have to pay to get in. That doesn't include the cost of buying pumpkins**  The impending cost of admission next year had me contemplating Fall traditions in my family and actually had us making the decision to purchase our pumpkins elsewhere this year.
On our way home from the farm I chatted with Chris about how every October my mom would drive us to Plant World where we would get to play inside a giant pumpkin for a while and then get to pick out our Halloween pumpkins.  Even if said pumpkins cost Chris and I $5 a piece, this is significantly cheaper, closer and will likely make a similar impact.  Heck we can even swing by High Park, go to the Animal Paddocks, donate $10 and then hang out in the playground for an hour before we head home. 
I guess my main point is holiday tradition doesn't need to be expensive, it doesn't have to be super stressful, but it's easy to lose sight of that.  It also gives us a destination for next weekend - Plant World here we come!
I am thankful for affordable family traditions!
Shoes and socks cannot contain Jack at the farm.  Thankfully I had my trusty hoodie to shove his feet into when it got cold!

*The raspberry dessert wine is amazing...even just as a few drops into a dry white.
**Although I am not above pretending that Molly and Jack have a November birthday next year should we decide we need our fix of good old farm fun.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Even the Losers (Get Lucky Sometimes)

A couple of days ago Chris pulled a clip for me from a news article about daycare subsidy (or lack thereof) in the City of Toronto because he knew I'd be very interested and spirited about the content.*  Essentially this report from July 2012 says that, More than 21,000 children are on the waiting list for subsidy with a system that only serves 20% of Toronto children under age 10 and subsidies are only available for just 28% of families in low income families.**

What does this mean?  Well a lot of things, for one a lot more families are having to rely on smaller home run day cares, as well as the help of family, nannies, nanny sharing or are forced to remain at home.  In worst case scenarios families are arm wrestled into placing their children into illegally run day cares where they will receive no tax credit for what they pay, with no regulation surrounding the care for their children and possibly little retribution should anything go awry.  Do you really want your child to end up in Fight Club, Toddler Edition, this time it's personal?***
Even the Giving Tree or The Hollow Tree in this case can't help boy find suitable daycare.

Financial restrictions aside the wait lists on accredited daycare in Toronto are brutal, I have had many friends and acquaintances go on waiting lists before they even announce their pregnancies or conceive, only to not get in and scramble for alternative resources, or make the cut by the skin of their teeth.  Serendipitously we lucked into our coveted two daycare spots by fluke, just 6 weeks before I returned to work because two families in the infant room moved and the facility had to whip through the waiting list to find a family who could accept on such short notice.  We went from 32 and 33 on the list down to 1 and 2 in a matter of days.   We won the child care lottery.****

Subsidy aside the sheer panic I felt surrounding care for our kids this summer was unreal.  Having a daycare that engages, nurtures and facilitates Molly and Jack's growth was paramount to relieving some of my highly anticipated working mom guilt.

The amount of research, waiting and frustration that a parent has to do to get care for their children is ridiculous, so I've put together a list that I hope many parents and prospective parents find helpful in facilitating appropriate child care for their minions.  I know that doing the research was only a small part of the battle, but having a list of resources in one place would have been helpful in navigating the world of paid child care.

Canadian/Local Resources

Find a Sitter or a Nanny:
We used this resource to find our 3 regular sitters and were really thrilled with the results, they are lovely, professional and genuinely care about our children.  You can search and list by formal qualifications, experience and even location if you want someone who lives close to you.  Tip - don't post your phone number, unless you want a prospective sitter (who we didn't hire) calling you at 6AM on a Saturday morning.  Remember to interview and check references and figure out the best fit for your family.

Find a Nanny Share:
 I haven't used this resource but it looks promising and is available for those living in major Canadian cities.

Parental Guide to Licenced Daycare in Toronto:
Includes ways to find out if your child care facility is licensed, what to look for in a centre, questions to ask and some limited information about home child care.

Alphabetical Listings of Licensed Daycare Facilities in Toronto:
This is a great way to verify if a local daycare is licensed, however only facilities that have fee subsidy are rated.  Also, use the rating to raise any red flags, but don't dismiss a daycare based on the rating.  Our daycare had good, but not great ratings, but was the right fit for the minions.

How to Apply for Subsidy in Toronto:
This is how you apply, but don't hold your breath....Apparently getting subsidy in Toronto is like finding Willy Wonka's Golden Ticket.

Want Multiple Momstrosity updates on Facebook click here?

*Sometimes Chris likes to poke the mama bear...poke, poke, poke...GRRRRRR!
**For further details of the report click here:
***Obviously this is an extreme situation and not the norm at daycare:
****We were on several waiting lists, some of which we paid $50 just to get placed on from the time I was 5 months pregnant...Essentially it took us 16 months to get daycare...without the added barrier of applying of the lists I was on wouldn't even return my calls when I enquired about our spot on the list, even after paying to be there.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Zombie Zoo

Since I have been back at work (16 business days) Miss Molly has been banished* from daycare for 4.5 days....and counting.  Last week it was a combination of teething along with what our nurse practitioner says is called Slapped Cheek Disease.  Basically this is a virus (aka fifths disease) that starts off like a fevered cold and ends in a rash that looks like someone took a round out of you. In Molly's case, a serious slap to her right cheek and then her chest and back.  Once there is the onset of the rash it is very unlikely that the child is contagious.

What no one told me about Slapped Cheek Disease is that once the infected child begins to feel better, i.e. no longer fevered and lethargic they begin to take on Apocalyptic Zombie Infection levels of rage, strength and sound.  The entire weekend was filled with insistence on the Kangaroo treatment**, temper tantrums, crying, tears, screaming, then finally into the crib for a time out - only to recycle the above...endlessly with increasing venom each rotation of the cycle.

This is a wind up Zombie...when he walks he poops candy.  He is the Zombie that keeps on giving.

Last night we had a debate on whether or not daycare could send Molly home for being generally unpleasant, difficult and round the bend enraged.  We figure that until she can get herself so worked up that she runs a fever or gives herself a rage rash (I'm pretty sure that isn't a real thing) they can't call us to come get her.  Daycare called me last week to get input on techniques I use to calm down the wrath contained within the 19lb confines of the girl child.***

I seriously worry about Molly and her rogue personality, especially as someone who was thrown out of nursery school for her refusal to eat cabbage, toilet train and constant screaming.  One staff at the nursery school actually quit because of me.  I imagine that was the breaking point that lead to their decision to throw me out. I often thought my mother was lying about my expulsion, until 13 years later when I ran into the employee who quit because of me.  She was a nanny for a family that I babysat for and she recognized me instantly, confronting me about my pants soiling, blood curdling screaming, and theatrical ways.  I didn't have any satisfactory answers for her.  She pretended to be over it - but she wasn't.  This woman surely had other problems becoming unhinged because of a toddler, right?****    I fear that the acorn doesn't fall far from the the old oak tree when it comes to Miss Molly and me.

The worst thing about Slapped Cheek is that it has an incubation period of 4-21 days.  Which essentially means that Jack is a ticking time-bomb.  And the worst part is, much like a zombie, he's the one who bites.

*"But purgatory, torture, hell itself.  Hence-banished is banish'd from the world.  And the world's exhile is death: then banished, is death mis-termed: calling death banishement, Thou cuttest my head off with a golden axe, and smilest upon the stroke that murders me."  In non-Shakespearean terms, she was sent to Nana and Grampa's where she tortured their dog, ate digestive cookies and napped. 
**Being secured to myself or her dad constantly, like a baby Joey.
***Can I claim to be an expert in child-rearing now because even people with extensive training in early childhood education need my input on taming the beast?
**** Says the woman who spent better parts of this past weekend and the months surrounding colic on the brink of dementia because of her girl child.