My Daughter Is 'that' Kid

Posted by Lindsey Costard on Tuesday, March 26, 2013.
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Stella is officially 'that' kid. The kid that people roll their eyes at when she arrives. The kid that people are whispering about when I walk in the room. The kid that makes everyone say her name like this "Steeeeellaaaaa", where their voices rise at the 'e' and fall, with annoyance, at the 'a'.

They don't like her in the child-minding at the gym. The other day one of the people at the front desk asked me "How's Stella? Is she still... y'know..." I filled in the blank and said, "Sketchy?" Because frankly, that's kind of how she acts. I really hate to say that, but she's so clingy and particular about who is holding her and how they are holding her and on and on that it's just plain crazy to me.

But, still, nobody talks about my baby that way.

I get mad when they act annoyed and frustrated with her. They are with her all of one hour (if I can even make it to an hour before they come and get me, which I have only done once). I have been ignoring their passive aggressive comments that place blame on me (ie. She's so spoilt! Do you hold her all the time? She's never away from her mommy, that's why she cries so much. You need to bring her out more. Don't you exclusively breastfeed her?? (when I pull out formula) Does she sleep in a crib at night? What? She sleeps in your bed?? She's so spoilt!) And on and on.

One girl, upon hearing I use cloth diapers to reduce garbage, said, "Oh, are you one of those environmentally conscious people?"

???? Since when did that become a bad thing to taunt me and my baby with?!?!

But the final straw happened last Thursday. I came in to see how things were going and I saw the witchiest lady of them all dangling Stella with her arms wrapped around Stella's chest. Stella was, obviously, crying and the lady was rolling her eyes,  making this totally irritated, mocking sound in response to Stella's tears.

I finally flipped. I ran to her saying, "She's definitely not going to stop if you hold her and talk her like that!"
"What??" asked Witchy Witch.
"She's not going to stop if you hold her and talk to her like that!"

Witchy didn't like that. She began arguing that she had bouncing her back and forth between contraptions but she still wouldn't stop crying. "I can make every one of these kids stop crying, except for her!"

For a split second I didn't want to argue about it, but then I had a moment of clarity. I had to tell this bitchy know-it-all off.  Because that's what is really making me upset about going to the child minding. Everyone in there has an opinion about what I should or shouldn't be doing, and how I am doing all of those things wrong.

Newsflash. Everyone is doing everything wrong, all the damn time. Is my baby dead? No. Starving? No? Then we're ok. In fact, you're the one who can't get her to stop crying... when I hold her, watch her tears miraculously stop. Or not. Because that also happens all the time too.

So, in case you are in doubt, or are not sure about what you are doing wrong as a mother, father, or a potential parent, please follow this hilariously accurate chart that my friend Sarah just sent me:  

So, in case you are one of these judgy people, just stop. Stop all the judging of mother's out there (unless it's like a clear case of this person is a crappy parent). Everyone is trying to do their damn best and my suggestion is this: If you would do it differently, then do it! Do whatever the hell you want to do and stop judging me.

Thank you.

How to Find an Apartment in Toronto and Not Kill Yourself

Posted by Lindsey Costard on Sunday, March 17, 2013.
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  1. Find the apartment you like with ease (by checking multiple websites). 
  2. Call the landlord and schedule a time to see it. Weekends and evenings are normal and preferred visiting times.
  3. Decide you like the apartment and tell them you want to apply.
  4. Provide your SIN number so they can do a credit cheque, fill out an application (stating what you do), show some proof that you are working, give a cheque for the last month's rent as your deposit.
  5. Live in apartment. 
This is the way apartment renting SHOULD be. Please see my post about renting an apartment in Rio without killing yourself.

Sometimes I have to admit that I am super grateful we are in Canada. 

If you can't beat 'em, live there

Posted by Lindsey Costard on Wednesday, March 13, 2013.

A lot of people tell me they are jealous of my adventurous spirit. I don't mean for that to sound cocky... it's just that that's what people say. I think most people who haven't done it think it's a glamorous lifestyle. In some ways they're right - travelling and living abroad obviously has it's appeal, otherwise why would people do it? There is the challenge and excitement it adds to the mundane-ness of everyday life. The downside, however, is that you never really feel completely at home in any given place. Especially for those people who are divided by more than one country with family.

I spent a lot of time thinking about all the great things about Canada while I was living in Brazil. And now I still do the same thing, only I am thinking about Brazil. I really try to keep things in perspective - I know that there are several factors affecting my happiness at the moment. It's winter (that will never end); I live in my mom's house in the basement; I am not teaching English; I have a newborn baby and don't sleep a lot. Many things at the same time that make it difficult to look on the bright side of things.

But, the big difference is that, when we were in Brazil Ro always told me that if I wanted to go back, we could. I always said no, it's not time yet. I'm not ready to leave. I haven't finished what I needed to do (whatever that was). Well, here I obsessively think about going back to Brazil. I think about all the things I wished I were doing right now - teaching, yoga outside, running on Praia de Botafogo, going to the beach, looking at the Cristo, looking at mountains, walking everywhere, being close to a bigger family, spending time with friends in Brazil, speaking Portuguese, being challenged by daily life, eating pao na chapa, raising Stella there.

I think a lot about raising Stella there. Brazilians are definitely much more open and accepting of children as a part of society. They are not inconveniences, they are not just children. They are future adults, members of society. She would be a part of a bigger community of people who stop just to talk to you because you have a baby. She would speak Portuguese, for sure. She would also speak English, for sure. She would be raised in the Brazilian community and learn the art of modesty and of valuing belongings. She would also have an equally strong Canadian and English upbringing. I don't know how strong the Brazilian in her would come through living here. I don't know. That's the thing.

I just don't know. I have so many questions. There are so many 'what ifs'. What do I do? Can someone tell me what the right choice is? If we went back, we would have to do it right. We would bring our belongings instead of imagining we could somehow afford them there. We would have enough money for a down payment on a house, ideally. Knowing what we know now... we would do it differently. But I think it's what we want. I think it's what would make us happiest. How odd... I was so unhappy for so long in Brazil... things only shine clear once you're out of the situation, I guess. I see now that I finally beat Brazil, it didn't beat me. And once you beat it, it's hard to leave it... so you might as well just stay.

Top 10 Things I'm Grateful For Right Now

Posted by Lindsey Costard on Wednesday, March 6, 2013.
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Today has been a frustrating day. Stella woke up every 2 hours last night starting from the time I slept (midnight) until the time I finally got up (noon). There comes a time where sleep is futile and I should just get up instead of convincing myself I'll feel better after one more 'nap' (because night sleeping generally now consists of 3-5 'naps').

So, I could use this blogging opportunity to complain about how it just took me one hour to get Stella to sleep (after trying to put her down 3 times, and each time she woke up the second I removed my arms).

But I won't.

I really need to use this time to reflect on what I'm grateful for, under my current living circumstances.

  1. Baby spinach. I eat baby spinach at every single meal. How did I go three years without you, BS??
  2. My car. I've mentioned that I never ever thought I'd say that in my life, but I also didn't imagine I would be back living in my hometown, Suburbsville, where walking is impossible because 'blocks' are like, 20 minutes apart. So thank you, Car, for frequently allowing me to leave the house with Stella.
  3. My (soon-to-be) free gym membership. Discovered that if I volunteer 15 hours a month in the child-minding at my gym, I get a free membership for myself and Ro, plus free child-minding AND free tanning! Uhhh.... yes, please?!?!?
  4. My (soon-to-be) completed diploma in TESL. I love being back in school. I love teaching English. I love linguistics. I LOVE IPA transcription. I love being a giant nerd.
  5. The song "Afternoon Delight". Because it's on the radio right now and it's hilarious.
  6. When Stella sleeps or laughs. Over the course of a day, those are probably the biggest accomplishments... putting her to sleep especially.
  7. Rodrigo. All day. Every day. My dear husband gives me joy, makes me laugh, and takes care of me every single day. We have always said that we would never say "I can't live without you" kinds of phrases because they are too needy and dependant and we, of course, could physically live without each other. But there are no words to describe how much better my life is with him in it, and how deeply grateful I am for him. 
  8. I'm gonna go ahead and say when Stella sleeps again because it just deserves to be on here twice. Love my baby! And love her even more when she's sleeping.
  9. Cheap concert tickets. To bands that I like. I just discovered this amazing (Canadian) band and bought tix to their next show for $30... What!
  10. How sad is it that I'm running out of ideas. I'm going to repeat Rodrigo again for another reason. He is totally open-minded about everything, but at the same time grounds me when I start floating into crazy-idea-worlds. Any wild suggestion I make (especially about where we should live) he is always on board. Even if that suggestion is the Middle East (what!).  I love him.

Well, that wasn't my best list but it did make me feel better so tra-la-la. I will leave you with another video of the song that has stolen my heart the last few days. By the band mentioned above, they are covering another great Canadian artist.

I Have Flaps Where There Were No Flaps Before

Posted by Lindsey Costard on Friday, March 1, 2013.

So many people say that gaining weight in pregnancy is one of the hardest parts of pregnancy. There is a lot of anxiety and pressure around not gaining too much weight and then losing all the weight (a la every single celebrity) in an ungodly amount of time.

I wasn't AS concerned... truthfully I wanted to milk the opportunity to eat whatever I wanted, be served first, and act-a-pig without judgment. I think I wasn't worried though because, for some miraculous reason, I was gaining weight slowly. Until the last 2 months. Then I doubled what I had gained in the first 7 months. Ack! In total I gained about 50 lbs. Imagine 25 lbs in 2 months!

The hardest part is that I am an ex-fatty. I have spent so much of my adult life making sure the scale was going down... watching it go up and up and up is kind of a mind-f@#!

But, I also wasn't too worried because I was certain that after the baby was born, and I started breastfeeding, the pounds would just melt off! *Repeat in a magicianly-like manner* They would just melt off!

Blink blink. Why aren't they melting off??

Aww crap.

So as UNconcerned as I was about putting weight on, the hardest reality to face is the after baby weight that sticks around. My body has completely MORPHED into this weird blobby mass. My widened hips that seemed so charming during pregnancy are now just big ol' hips that don't fit into my pants and my new pregnancy breasts that were such a pleasant surprise at first have now grown two bra sizes and look more 'African Village' than 'Victoria Secret'.

All this body changed turned into a lot of whining, complaining, and staring in the mirror while lifting fatty parts of my body up (that were not there pre-pregnancy) and letting them flap down, obviously making a bad situation much worse.  Enough was enough! I decided to go back to the gym.

I started out with a once week "Baby and Me" class, where I could do a super low-impact workout but bring my baby into the class with me so she could cry and whine and nobody could complain and ask for a refund. It was a good start to get me moving again and to get my joints oiled up because they were feeling super super tight, especially my knees.

After a few weeks of that, however, I started to get bored and, truthfully, just wanted more. So I dragged my butt back to the company I used to work for, GoodLife. Let me tell you, GoodLife is a way better experience as a member than an employee. Not that it's bad as an employee, but I was grateful to be able to walk into the club and not worry about how my numbers were and how many more days until the end of the month and do I need to start harassing my family and friends for their banking information?

The other great thing is that this club has Child Minding, so I can bring Stella with me while I work out! No excuses!

So I'm on my way to a new (old) bod and I'm doing it the tried and true way. Diet and exercise. And not raspberry pills. (Anyone on my FB knows that it was recently hacked and sending out hundreds of random messages telling people I lost 15 lbs because I started taking some raspberry pill crap).

After about one week and the gym, I'm already feeling great except I can barely walk up or down the stairs, or sit on the couch, or move, or breathe. But that's how I know I did a good workout ;-)

Here's to me losing the last 20lbs!