Tag Archives: Kids

Thoughts on a Decade

Rhys turns 10 today.

I’ve been frequently lost in thought, yet not really able to come up with the right words to express how I feel about my eldest being this old and myself seemingly graduating to a new chapter of parenting.

He’s been around for a lot of years now. I’ve been a mom for a decade.

What sticks out the most as I’ve approached this day is that I keep thinking back to when he was a skinny squeaking week-old baby. I was sitting on our hand-me-down couches in our tiny rental on Maryland St., totally overwhelmed by what had just happened and what was unfolding in my life. That day, I found myself comforted by my mother-in-law who’s reassuring words turned my thoughts to the future and the reality that I was going to be a young mom. Not that I wasn’t already a young mom. At just 21 years of age I certainly wasn’t the youngest mother out there, but it was much sooner then we had planned and I was the first in a number of circles of friends to have a child. But she opened my eyes to see that even when our kids were a bit older, we’d still be young, and when they were independent, we’d still be young. The days and nights didn’t get easier from that point on, and I wish I had thought back on that conversation more often when I felt the isolation and loneliness that being a stay-at-home mom can bring, but it did stick with me and came to surface from time-to-time.

One of these times, which wasn’t very far off from the original conversation, was when I thought ahead to Rhys turning 10. You can’t imagine (especially if it’s your first child) your kid being that much older. You might have a murky distorted view of what they could possibly be like, or what you hope they could be like, but it’s not like thinking ahead to next winter and knowing it will be white and cold. It’s hard to picture your child 10 years down the road when they are just a helpless baby. It would have been nice to get an inside scoop from future Bria telling me that Rhys would be an awesome kid, full of creativity and intelligence and humour and heart (and that I’d have two more babies down the road!), it would have put my mind at ease. But that specific date, Rhys turning 10 and me being only 31, was a big question mark. I don’t know why it sat in the forefront of my mind for so long. It left a bit of an impression.

And now that Rhys has turned 10 and I am 31 and we are in the present of what was once just a distant far-off future, I can’t help but think back to the past. I can’t help but hover in that chocolatey-brown room above 21 year-old sleep deprived Bria holding little baby Rhys crying her eyes out, feeling a river of every emotion there ever was to feel all at the same time. I can’t help but want so badly to tell her that it’s okay and it will be okay and that she just needs to be kind to herself. No one has it figured out. No one. And while I’m hovering there, in that room, in that moment in the past, I try to steal a glimpse of my precious baby Rhys once more, wishing with every fibre of my mother-heart to once again have that little bundle in my arms. And in this moment, while I’m thinking back on that moment, I can almost feel 41 year old Bria hovering over me while I sit here balling my eyes out on this chocolately-brown couch, wanting so badly to whisper all the exact same things. It’s okay, it’ll be okay, you just need to be kind to yourself. No one has it figured out. No one. He’s growing up fast, but he’s such an awesome man, full of creativity and intelligence and humour and heart.

Just hold him and love him.



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A Moment

My phone was at 2% so I quickly ran upstairs to charge it. The kids had been home from school for a little while and I had already lost my cool more times then I’d like to admit. Once I got up to my freshly cleaned room (the bed was even made) I plugged my phone in then sat on the edge of my bed. I was tired and had only a shred of patience left, if that. I swung my legs up and relaxed onto our oversized pillows. James was downstairs with the chaos, so I decided to catch a couple minutes of quiet.

Not two minutes later our little guy noticed my absence and came wandering up the stairs to look for me. If I had a door it would have been closed and he would have been turned away. But, being a loft, he had free access to poke his chubby cheeks around the corner and ruin me with his toothy grin. He ran to my side of the bed and said “hi!”, clearly proud of his success in locating his lost mother. Without a second to lose he hoisted himself up onto my bed and settled himself beside me, under the covers, using “his” pillow (one of our throw pillows that he has adopted as his own). We sat for a minute in silence. Eli started looking around, then he tapped James spot and yelled “DADDY!”. This happened a few times until I called louder and james came running up the stairs.

“Eli wants you in your spot” I said to James, “Apparently it’s cuddle time.”

So he crawled into his spot and the three of us sat there, Eli grinning the biggest grin.

It was just a blip in our day, and the silliest thing, but it managed to recharge me and put a smile on my face. I live for those moments where, in the midst of the chaos and tantrums and arguments and dinners and Baby Sumo sessions and every bin of toys being upturned, I find a peace and a reason and a purpose and a resolution.

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My first H&M experience happened 5 years ago while I was in Calgary. I had stalked their fashions online and couldn’t wait to step foot into an actual store. I was all hyped-up the whole morning and when I finally crossed the threshold I freaked.

(A little side note about me: When I get excited, I get really really excited. There are certain stores or places that I love (like Bulk Barn) and when I go inside I practically vibrate. My eyes dart around quickly and I become overstimulated. I’m giddy with possibilities. But the flip-side is that I get overwhelmed and can’t function properly. The awesomness is too much and I am unable to make basic life choices, like which trail mix I’d like to buy. It gets better once I visit the location on a regular basis, but if I’ve been anticipating going somewhere for quite awhile then it’s hopeless.)

I tried to calm my internal freak-out and told myself to walk slowly and look at all the racks of wonderful fashions. I had a bit of money to spend, knowing that it would be one of my stops while visiting family, but I quickly became overwhelmed by the sheer volume of things I liked and left the store without purchasing anything from a retailer I had waited years to visit. This happened the next two times that I was inside an H&M store.

I like H&M because I find them to be classy, fashionable and trendy all rolled into one. You can spot a vintage inspired piece with a peter pan collar right next to an edgy sweater with leather patches on the shoulders. They carry garments that are easily added to your current wardrobe at reasonable prices. Sure, not every thing inside their walls is for me, but its my kinda store.

Since that first encounter, I’ve spent 5 years hoping that they would one day open their doors in Winnipeg. Sure enough, that day finally came.

Amid much hype, fist pumping, dancing employees, security guards and news crews, H&M Winnipeg cut their red ribbon and opened shop yesterday morning at 11:00am. I figured that for a Wednesday morning it wouldn’t be too insane so I packed-up my little guy and made my way to the mall. I’ve waited 5 years after all and dammit, I’d be there on the first day!

As I rounded the corner I was made an ass of for assuming there would only be a small crowd. I stood in shock as the line-up of people was half a kilometer long, winding through the mall. The music was blaring and the place was buzzing. I cut through the line and went straight for Starbucks. I wasn’t dealing with any of that nonsense until I had an empty bladder and a coffee in my hand.

I finally decided to get in line at 11:30 when it shrank a good amount and Eli and I only waited for about 25 minutes. He stayed happy eating grapes and I stood and people-watched. A CBC reporter came and wanted to interview the two girls behind me, to which they quickly declined because they were skipping class. After walking down the length of the line, they ended-up interviewing the guy standing right in-front of me as he was the next lucky individual to enter the store (they were letting someone in the store every time someone would leave so they could keep things under control).

Finally it was my time. The lady waved me through and I pushed the stroller into paradise. It was overwhelming. It was crowded. The DJ was deafening. The lines for the fitting rooms and the registers were winding through the whole store. I could barely get the stroller around people and racks of clothing. But I tried to take a peek at some clothes and look for a certain skirt that I’ve been trying to find. A few minutes in to my shopping my sister phone. So I pushed Eli, glanced at clothes, tried not to hit people and talked on the phone. I realized this wasn’t working and decided to call it quits. I’d come back when things calmed down. I clearly wasn’t getting anywhere and Eli wouldn’t sit for long enough to wait in any sort of line. I slowly made my way to the front of the store and was just about to leave when Eli grunted at me (because the only two words he can say are Bubble and Cookie). I looked down and he held up two pairs of tights that he had pilfered from somewhere. Not only did he have them in his lap trying to steal them, he had been eating the tags. Yes, eating them. They were chewed, mushed-up and soggy. Disintegrating actually. He had a huge smile on his face and looked pretty proud of his make-shift snack. I changed course and veered in between two clothing racks and had a moment of panic. I almost unknowinly stole some clothes and Eli ate the tags. I got all hot and red, threw the tights under a bunch of skirts and made a B-line for the exit. Am I proud of it? No. But I’m owning it.

So that was my H&M shopping experience yesterday. After waiting for 5 years and anticipating opening day, it sucked and my kid ate their stuff.

Next time will be better.


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Life With a Toddler

I’ve found that living with a toddler is exhausting. Horribly and wonderfully exhausting. I’m sure that wouldn’t surprise anyone. One minute I’m at my wits end wanting to run run away to Mexico because he’s having a tantrum and the next I’m melting into a puddle while he steals my heart with an adorable smile.

For those of you who don’t know what it’s like to have toddler in the house, let me put it this way: combine a playful puppy, a curious monkey, a jolly gnome, a squirmy octopus and a ferocious banshee. Mix them all up and then let that mutant run amuck in your home with all your stuff, never knowing which one of the personalities will appear from minute to minute or if it will be snotty, pooping or throwing food. Sounds crazy, right? Trust me, it is. But it’s also one of the most entertaining things to watch.


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These Days




Just in the past week or so Eli has started to actually play. It’s still crazy toddler playing, but he’s finally sitting down or sitting at the table and occupying his time with toys instead of just wandering around the house carrying things or moving random objects from here to there. It’s nice. Really nice. I think that part of it is that Rhys and Amelia sit at the table a lot and Eli wants to be up there doing something as well. He’s all about cars and trucks, like most little boys. He can’t say a single word but he can make loads of sound effects already.

Now that the weather is warming up and our snow is quickly melting we are taking lots of walks around the block. Sometimes he walks and splashes in the puddles and sometimes I push him in the stroller. We are both loving the fresh air after being cooped up all winter long. Its fun to see his world open up; new smells and sounds and sights. He’s clearly enjoying himself.

I’ve been busy with the house and kids and husband, as per usual. I moved all of my living room and dining room furniture a few days ago and swept and moped everywhere. It was so clean and shiny and sparkling. Today? It looks like a dirty stuff bomb went off. There are muddy footprints all through the house (husband), there are tiny cars scattered about (Eli), there are clothes all over (Amelia), there are Lego bits and loom elastics and pine needles. It’s a never-ending tedious job that makes me drink at night.

But that’s life. Clean one minute and messy the next.


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Those Cheeks!


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April 12, 2014 · 1:17 pm

The Intruder

I often like to imagine that our household doesn’t fit into the typical “couple with young kids” stereotype. I puff out my chest and can rattle off a list of things like how interesting our kids are, how artsy they’ve become, that one can beat adults at a game of chess and the other has a sense of style like…well…Betsey Johnson maybe? I like to separate my kids from the herd in saying that they’re polite and well behaved and are burning through books and not greedy and whiny and obsessed with video games and Disney princesses. The truth is that they’re typical and that we do fit into the stereotypes. I live off of coffee, own a lot of yoga pants, and know the theme songs to way too many cartoons. We buy McDonald’s, we YouTube pop songs to dance around to, we let them play video games and they whine and cry and demand. We even have ground up Cheerios in our living room rug! I suppose part of it is that I don’t like falling into what everyone thinks living with young kids is like. It’s a picture that’s painted with equal parts repulsion and curiosity. Why would people ever have kids? *blech*

They interfere with your body, your bank account, your lifestyle and your sleep.

Ah, your sleep. Your precious sleep. Since having kids I find that I don’t sleep well. I’m either stressed, physically sore from stress, having bizarre dreams about them growing extra limbs and failing math tests or sleeping with one ear open in case there are midnight tummy aches and teething. A good deep sleep is now a precarious thing.

Last night I must have been having a dip into the elusive REM cycle when some subconscious alarm went off. I opened my eyes a crack and saw a dark shadowy figure standing right by my head. Natrually, because I was completely freaked out of my mind thinking I was about to die, I started yelling loudly which alerted my soundly sleeping husband to the present danger. Being a police officer, his adrenalin and hyper-vigilance went into overdrive with his need to subdue the threat to my person. He lunged his upper body over me and grabbed the shadowy figure, pulling them onto the bed. As he was about to unleash his fists of fury onto the burglar we realized it was Amelia. She’d had a nightmare and came upstairs for some comfort. Poor child. Afterwards she told me that she had been quietly saying “mommy” trying to wake me up when I started screaming and James attacked her.

Needless to say, Amelia managed to get to sleep after that. James and I tossed and turned, trying to find space to get comfortable without knees and elbows and stuffed animals. It didn’t happen.

Our lives will calm down eventually, when the kids are older and independent. For now, we fit most of the stereotypes…except for the mini-van. We’re fighting that one until the bitter end.

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