Experiments In Domesticity

Marriage, Motherhood & Modern Housewifery


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Moving On Up

Musicman and I have tossed around the idea of moving closer to family since I became pregnant. We definitely did not want to move while I was pregnant, as I had the most amazing midwifery care. Once Ladybug was born, moving anywhere, other than from the basement to the living room, seemed too daunting for a time.

In the last few months, our discussion about moving became more serious. With one set of parents in poor health and the other about to retire, we felt the time to make a decision was upon us. We sat down and made a list of the pros and cons, and decided that a move was in order.

Our realtor came by today and our house will be listed as of tomorrow. Sitting in our beautiful, tidy home, we both feel excited and wistful. We love our house, we have great friends here, and Edmonton has so many amenities. We are moving 600 plus kilometres, from a city of over a million inhabitants, back to our hometown of 90,000.

What tipped the scales was the idea of Ladybug being near her cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents. We both had this opportunity when we were young, and we feel it is very important. We can always get another house and make new friends.

Selling a house, moving, and buying a house are stressful events for adults – imagine what it must be like for a toddler! Poor little Ladybug has been walking around the house watching me stage rooms. She points to where things used to be, makes a sound and then holds both hands up as if to say “what’s going on?”

When moving with a child, it is generally advised that you not make any other major changes to their routine. For example, don’t go from co-sleeping to a crib or toddler bed. At the new house, try to set up your child’s room first. It’s also a good idea to prepare them for the move by discussing it with them.

I expect that Ladybug will be more clingy over the next couple months and that her sleep pattern will be disturbed. She doesn’t sleep as soundly or for as long whenever change is afoot. I plan to take things slower than I would have in a pre-baby move and to give myself plenty of time to get things done.

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Happy Women’s Day!

Today was International Women’s Day and, while I didn’t do anything in particular to celebrate, I did spend some time thinking about the women who are important to me and what it means to me to be a woman.

I have had the great privilege of being the daughter of an unquestionably amazing woman. My mother is a true humanitarian and has always had a heart for the poor, the needy, and the underdog. The love and compassion she shows to others is uncommon and has been a real lesson for me. She is also a tireless worker and loves interacting with others – qualities that I continue to work on. I am eager to see what project she will tackle, as she begins her retirement this summer.

My grandmother is also a remarkable woman. She is fit, active and involved in her community. She has always kept an immaculate home and shared the produce from her gigantic garden. She will be 90 years old in June, she lives in her own home, and she regularly drives the over 600 kilometres to visit her family. I admire her independence and strive to be half the homemaker and gardener that she is.

How I define “woman” has changed dramatically in the last year. While I don’t believe you need to be a mother to be a whole woman, I think having a child alters your understanding of the passage of time and what it means. I am glad that I have been able to experience the fullness of being young, single, married, divorced, childless, a career girl, a student, happily remarried and now a mother. Each new phase of my life has offered me some tremendous highs and valuable learning opportunities.

I am thankful for my wonderful friends, my strong mother and grandmother, and this crazy life. I am thankful for being a woman: we’ve come a long way but we have a long way to go.


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The Dry Season

Ladybug has been suffering from dry skin and eczema-like patches on her body. Not a huge surprise, considering I have the same issues every winter. The moisture-guzzling combination of cold weather and dry, warm forced air from the furnace leaves many of us scaly and itchy in the winter. Here are a few dry, sensitive skin tips that I have found helpful:

Around the House:
– ensure that your furnace has a humidifier and that it is working. They are not terribly difficult to replace yourself and are relatively inexpensive;
– use a portable, plug-in humidifier in your bedroom. There is some debate as to whether hot, cold or ionic is best. I went with ionic because the vapour is very fine and cool, and I thought it would be better for a baby;
– consider the type of laundry soap and fabric softener you use. The more heavily-scented, “whitening” or other tempting miracle soaps often contain harsh, skin irritating ingredients. Because Ladybug is cloth diapered, I use a laundry soda that is recommended for diapers. You should absolutely avoid fabric softener and dryer sheets if you cloth diaper because they leave a moisture repelling residue behind (on the diapers and in your dryer). I have had little static by using reusable dryer sheets. (For cloth diaper tips and tricks and some skin-friendly laundry soaps, check out the “Resources” section of the Bummis website.)

On Your Skin:
– do not bathe in really hot water. Hot water, like hot air, is drying;
– put rolled oats in a cheesecloth bag or tie them up in a washcloth for an itch-soothing soak. I found this to be a great relief when I was pregnant last winter;
– add some plant-based oil to your bath water. I like almond but plain old olive works well too;
– avoid chemically, heavily scented or otherwise “unnatural” soaps or body washes. Read the ingredients on what you plan to put on your skin. Less is more in this case. I like liquid Castile soap or Val’s Veggie Bar soap;
– after a bath or shower, massage more plant-based oil into your skin before towelling off. Coconut oil is perfect for this purpose and has the added bonus of smelling great. Do not rub your skin dry, blot it gently;
– for diaper rash, a good barrier cream is essential because it prevents the contents of your baby’s diaper from penetrating the broken skin and making the rash worse. I like Burt’s Bees Baby Bee Diaper Ointment. Look for a cream that is thick and seals the skin while repelling moisture. When the skin is not broken, I like to use an emollient, soothing cream like Weleda’s Calendula Diaper Care;
– for skin irritations, cradle cap, and minor eczema, I have had great success with DermaMed’s Baby Healing Cream. I use it on myself and on Ladybug. Musicman calls it the “magic cream”.

Finally, do not forget to drink lots of water and stay away from too much caffeine and alcohol. What you put into your body has an effect on your skin too!

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