Saturday, 28 April 2012

The "Other Firsts"...

Okay, so we all know about those special “Baby Book Firsts” – you know, the ones you ‘ooh’ & ‘aah’ over… the ones you ‘share’ & ‘tweet’ to all your friends, family, followers & fans… the ones that makes their way into the infamous Baby Book. Agreeably, these are true milestone moments and will be remembered and cherished for a lifetime.

But what about the “other firsts” – the ones that don’t seem to have a special page in the ‘scrapbook of love’? The ones with a little less “Aww” value? Don’t they deserve their 15 minutes of fame too??

BABY BOOK FIRST:    Baby’s First Word – melting your heart the very first time your little angel gazed lovingly at you and called out “Mommy”
OTHER FIRST:    The 87th time you hear ‘MommyMommyMommyMommyMommy’ at the exact time you’re trying to finish a phone call or get dinner on the table.

BABY BOOK FIRST:    Baby’s very first tooth – documenting the very moment the first little pearly white comes poking through
OTHER FIRST:    The very first time those chompers are taken out for a spin – on a playmate, the dog, or even on you! (NOTE: Bonus first – if this “first bite” happens to occur while breastfeeding - OUCH!)

BABY BOOK FIRST:    Baby’s First Food - the first time your precious little one opens his or her precious little mouth and enjoys the wonder of pureed carrots
OTHER FIRST:    The first time this delicacy you’ve so lovingly prepared is less than a huge hit and you are, thus, forced to catch the remnants of said meal in your napkin, hand or plate. (Bonus first – if you are actually able to salvage something out of the regurgitated meal and eat it anyway!)

BABY BOOK FIRST:    Baby’s First Step – who can’t remember running for the camera/video camera/iPhone to capture those first uncertain little strides away from the safety of the coffee table?
OTHER FIRST:    The very first time those steps are all strung together to result in an impromptu Olympics hurdling event running through your living room, ending in an overturned footstool, a broken lamp, and a skinned knee.

BABY BOOK FIRST:    Baby’s First Independent Mealtime – watching with wonder and pride as your little one manages to manoeuvre those Cheerios into his or her mouth all by themselves (more or less!) for the first time
OTHER FIRST:    The very first time you watch your little sweetheart skillfully pick out every diced onion, grated carrot, corn kernel or other offending food item from the meal in front of them.

BABY BOOK FIRST:    Baby’s First Mess – you know the drill, open the diaper bag, take out the extra diapers, shift the spare clothing out of the way, dig down beneath the spare pacifier, bag of Cheerios and special ‘lovey’ to carefully extract the special non-toxic, organic, handmade baby face wipes to gently clean away that offensive speck of dirt.
OTHER FIRST:     Some spit in your hand and a swipe with the thumb oughtta get most of whatever the heck is on there! (You know you’ve done it!)

BABY BOOK FIRST:    Baby's First Successful Sleep Through The Night - no additional words needed... *Sigh*...
OTHER FIRST:    The first time you close your eyes to count to 10 while playing Hide & Seek and promptly fall fast asleep! (Bonus first – your kids think you’re actually looking for them and keep hiding, allowing you to stretch out that impromptu nap!)

So, does anyone else think their Baby Books might need a few extra pages added on to them?

What's your "Other First"?

Friday, 13 April 2012

Just Two More Minutes

Have you ever heard the phrase “the gift of time”? I recently had one of those moments that caused me to reflect upon exactly what that meant. As a society we generally walk around with a sense of both entitlement and infallibility when it comes to time. Whatever we don’t get to today can always be tackled tomorrow. Too busy answering emails to play with our kids at the park? Not in the budget to take a family vacation this year? So preoccupied with getting dinner on the table that we can’t listen to the same knock-knock joke for the 187th time? No worries. Tomorrow we’ll do a better job and be a better parent.

Last night as I hurried home from a class to crawl into my son’s bed for a goodnight cuddle, I can admit that even though I love feeling his little arms wrapped around my chest – and I was happy to be there – my mind was already jumping ahead to my ever-so-important to-do list – Make his lunch for the next day, check my emails, change the laundry, run over my presentation for the next day’s training session, remember to get gas the next day…..  Pretty typical stuff. When I went to leave he held on a little bit tighter and asked me to stay for just two more minutes. With a sigh, I thought about everything else I needed to get done that night. Besides, he should already be asleep, it was already far too late, and it’s not like I hadn’t already cuddled him. As I stood up to leave I took a moment to really feel his little fingers wrapped around mine and truly see his beautiful little face and decided right then and there that just two more minutes was not too much to ask.

There are 1440 minutes in a day – how many of those do you spend really being present? Not shuttling kids to another sporting event or dance class. Not bribing them to eat one more green bean. Not making sure that their teeth are brushed & their hair is combed. Not explaining to them why beds really do need to get made. I’m talking about really being with them.

Not responding on autopilot with another “Yes, I see…” or “Uh huh…” or “Sure, great somersault”. I’m talking about absolutely unplugging from the rest of the world and being completely present in whatever is happening during those two minutes. Not checking email while watching them run around in the backyard. Not commenting on another Crayola-inspired masterpiece while making sure the dishwasher is loaded. Not cutting a hug short because dinner is on the table and getting cold. I’m talking about truly appreciating the fact that the gift of just two more minutes with those who live inside of your heart is truly a gift beyond compare.

How many people would kill to have just two more minutes with a loved one? What if we changed our perspective to see that the number of minutes we have with our families is actually a finite number, and not an unlimited amount? What if we reminded ourselves that the next two minutes we spend with our kids are just as important as the last two minutes we have with them? What if we remembered that in our final days it won’t be our iPhones, clients or dirty laundry that we’ll be thinking of – it’s much more likely that our minds will be full of visions of sticky fingerprint hugs, sun-kissed smiling faces, sounds of happiness emanating from full-on belly laughs, the quiet beauty of a sleeping child…

Aren’t these the things that are worth taking just two more minutes to appreciate while we have them? The days are long but the years are short. Kids grow up fast… too fast. That “tomorrow” we’ve all been banking on may hold something completely out of our control. Those two more minutes we’ve all been banking on and putting off until tomorrow may become the moments that mean the most.

So today I challenge you to put down the iPhone, close up your Inbox, step away from the dirty dishes… then pull up a chair and truly be with your loved ones for a full two minutes. Truly appreciate that artwork, share a belly laugh, listen to that knock-knock joke (again), stay for that extra cuddle... You may find that those two minutes turn to five or even ten. You may find the world will actually keep turning while you step away from your daily routine for two minutes. You may even find that those two minutes will end up equalling a lifetime of memories for you and your loved ones.

Think about it. What could you do with just two more minutes?

Sunday, 8 April 2012

My Fine, Feathered Fear

To most people, the signs of Spring are welcoming, cheerful, and joyous. I, however, am not most people.

Blooming flowers… love them.
Sunny days… sign me up.
Singing birds – Houston, we have a problem!

Yes, I’ll admit it – my phobia isn’t one of the cooler snake/spider/heights variety. I’m deathly afraid of all things feathered and flapping!

Now truthfully, other than a few nasty run-ins with some killer geese at local parks, or the odd petting zoo catastrophe, this phobia is relatively tolerable. I can definitely live with it. However, what I have learned is that it’s OTHER PEOPLE who can’t seem to live with it!

Apparently, living in perpetual horror of all ‘freaky flyers’ is NOT the coolest or most accepted phobia on the block! Tell people you’re afraid of spiders, snakes or heights and you’re welcomed into the club with open arms. Tell people that Big Bird sends shivers down your spine and your met with a disbelieving stare, smirk or one of five ever-so-helpful responses:

 “You’re not ACTUALLY afraid of birds, are you??”
ACTUALLY no, I just thought it would be a great conversation starter. Please excuse any wayward hyperventilation or sweat droplets that may appear as I eye that swarm of seagulls circling above. It’s obviously just for effect…

“Birds aren’t scary – they make such beautiful music!”
Let’s face it – birds may chirp but they’re no Adele. Besides, spiders spin delicate and intricate webs of spun silk that could be admired. And some of the most beautiful views in the world are gained from the highest mountaintops or tallest buildings. You don’t see those glorious attributes winning over too many phobia-inflicted individuals!

“Why don’t you just get a bird feeder so you can watch & appreciate them?”
That’s a FANTASTIC idea! What could be better than inviting the source of my fears and frustrations onto my own turf? I’m pretty sure all of my snake-fearing counterparts take up snake charming in their spare time so they can get up close and personal too…

“What about chickadees or canaries? They’re just tiny…”
Does it fly/flap/peck? From canaries to parrots to ostriches (don’t even get me started on the concept of a bird that is bigger than I am and can outrun me too!), the only thing I want to see flying is the 747 whisking me off to a bird-free paradise!

“Have you ever seen the movie ‘The Birds’?”
Of course! Because my idea of a good time is spending an evening sitting in front of the TV with my loved ones, terrorizing myself by choice! In fact, sometimes I jab toothpicks under my fingernails during the commercials just to kick it up a notch!

So yes, I realize that there is a distinct hierarchy in the world of phobias, and my fine-feathered fear and I fall neatly to the bottom of the pile. All the cool kids are huddled together in great company staring down terrifying tarantulas, scary snakes and horrific heights – reassured that they are not now, nor will the ever be, alone in their periods of popular paranoia.

So it’s time to take a stand – I’m taking back the terror, dealing with the dread and allowing the anxiety! Have a fear that others might see as ‘flighty’? Share it here and be proud of the panic!
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