The Lucky Ones

As a parent we are constantly criticizing ourselves. Wondering if our parenting styles and disciplines are the right ones, and if the decisions we make today are going to affect our kids in ten years. Parenthood is a scary thing, especially if you are new at it. Every move we make they are watching and taking in. Every word we speak they are copying and repeating.

Sometimes I see those parents with three or four kids and they just look so comfortable, so at ease. I wonder how they do it? Do I need to have that many kids to feel more confident as a parent, to be more resilient?

One thing that helped me to become a better parent was joining all the mom/baby/tot groups out there available to us. Life With a Baby group offers tons of amazing programs for new and expecting parents. LWAB offers support for all parents with children ages 0-6, offering programs even for expectant parents. It’s truly amazing how many other parents are going through the same things, and I can’t stress how important it is to have interaction and be able to network with those who are. The first program I joined was called Parenting Confidently, I learned a lot of important information from infant nutrition to intro to CPR and still am close with a few of the mums I met through it. The program really helped me do just that, parent confidently.

Being a parent is one of the hardest and more rewarding jobs ever. It’s really the only job where you wear the hat of about 50 different things in one. It can be overwhelming and stressful at times, but these days we are so lucky to be able to have all the resources and information at our fingertips, including organizations such as LWAB that offer programs and resources from conception and beyond.

Right now Life With a Baby is getting ready to launch their 2012 Building Resilience in Parents and Children Conference. This informational event is open to all parents, caregivers and professionals who are looking to gain knowledge and build resilience in themselves, their children or those they care for. Sounds intriguing doesn’t it?

There will be several known speakers there to talk about some topics including: Gaining a better understanding of self-regulation, resilience and attachment in young children., better understand parenting behaviors cross culturally, and acquire practical tips and strategies for positive parenting. All topics I can assure you we could all gain from as parents.

Events such as this one are why more and more parents, new and expecting, are gaining such great knowledge and confidence when parenting. Even though parenthood can be a scary thing at least we know there groups like Life With a Baby who care enough to help us through it by organizing such amazing events such as this, we truly are the lucky ones.

Don’t miss out! If you would like to attend please visit http://www.lifewithababy.com/Conference to learn more information and sign up!!

About the Author:
Madeline Soleil Alaouze is currently a stay at home mom to her little one year old girl Audrina. She has recently entered the social media world as an online community manager and mommy blogger and couldn’t be happier with where life has taken her! You can read more about her story, experiences, insights and advice as a new mum through her blog http://newmumontheblog.wordpress.com

Love the Husband You’ve Got

A look back to 2009…
Do you ever see another family and think, oh look at that, “They look like such a nice family, look at how much he helps her with the baby”… then the comparisons begin.
We compare our husbands to others we see at the grocery store, at the parent and tot programs, walking along the sidewalk!  To a first time mom other dads always seem to be more involved… well, things are not always what they seem.   Just last week another mom commented to me that Katelyn, Denys and I are the perfect family.  We always look so great and like we are having so much fun.  The funny thing is I was thinking that she looked so great and her husband must be so happy that she gets herself all dolled up before going out.  I mentioned this to her and we got to talking.  In the end, it was the same story all over again. He (dads who are not at home with the baby) will never get it.   Well the truth is they will not get it. They cannot understand what it is like to get pregnant and give birth so guess what!  They will not get it a 100% and that is OK!!!
As the founder of Life With A Baby, other moms constantly ask me questions about my marriage.  One of the most common is “Do I like my marriage”?  The answer is yes; in fact I love my marriage! Just not all the time :)  is my marriage perfect? Absolutely not!   But marriage takes work; a good marriage is very, very hard work.  All relationships take work, the question is not whether or not I like my marriage – the question is “Is my marriage worth all the hard work”.  So far the hard work seems to be adjusting to the new dynamics of our family.  One of the biggest challenges that marriages face is the birth of a first child, the stress of caring for a newborn is overwhelming, add in sleep deprivation for both mom and dad and that is the recipe for a very difficult situation.   There has been a few times when I’ve said” that’s it – it’ too difficult! Maybe I should get a divorce.  Do I want a divorce? Of course not, it’s just my frustration talking and feeling like things are better for the next family.  I had such romantic notions about what parenting would be like and the reality is very far from my fantasies and extremely different from the perfect images of family on TV.  Being a mom is the best feeling in the world.  I love my daughter more than I could ever imagine.  The shock of my life is just how different it was when there was just the two of us.  It takes some time to adjust to life with a baby.  The fact is all first time parents have a difficult time adjusting to parenting.  So when you look at another family it is definitely OK to admire what a great family they are, or how well daddy and baby are playing, but do not go down the comparison road.   You know the saying love the baby you’ve got! Well we all love our babies unconditionally no matter what – so let’s try to love the husbands we’ve got and appreciate him for who he is – the truth is you do not really know what is happening inside the home of another family, so appreciate your husband for the things he is doing and try not to compare him to the perfect image of so and so next door.
Claire Kerr- Zlobin is the founder of the Life With a Baby program and busy Mother of Katelyn, 5 and Ethan, 15 months.

My Experience With Pregnancy Loss

It was 1994, life was going well.  I was enjoying my career in healthcare marketing.  Even more exciting was that a year earlier, after seven years of marriage, my husband and I decided we were ready to start a family.  We tried for a year and nothing happened.  It was frustrating since everyone I knew seemed to get pregnant so easily.

My frustration was soon over when in April 1994, I found out I was pregnant.  It was Easter time so I was feeling like rejoicing more than ever.  My husband and I were so excited that we had to share our news.  When I was seven weeks pregnant, we told our family.  For my mom, it would be her ninth grandchild and she was excited when we told her the news.  But my husband’s parents were elated.  It would be their first grandchild.  In addition, my husband’s grandfather was grateful that he would be a great-grandfather.  Everyone was so excited and happy for us.

One day in May 1994, when I was eight weeks pregnant, I was talking to a co-worker in the parking lot where we worked.  We spoke for several minutes then said our goodbyes.  As I approached my car, I began to feel a warm sensation in my underpants.  It was the same feeling I felt when my menstrual cycle was about to begin.

My heart began racing.  I got in the car.  I lifted up my skirt and looked in my underwear.  There was a little bit of blood.  Oh my God!  I felt panic.  I immediately drove my car to the emergency room.  Thankfully, I worked at a hospital so I did not have far to go.  As I approached the front entrance of the emergency room, I began to feel lightheaded.  Oh no, I am going to pass out.  I took deep breaths.  I hurried into the emergency room.  I cried out, “I am pregnant and I am bleeding.”

Immediately, I was brought in and the intake nurse took my vital signs.  I was taken into a hospital room, where I waited to see a doctor.  I tried not to cry since I needed to keep my composure so I could call my husband.  I was given a telephone.  I shakily dialed the number.  “I am bleeding and I am in the emergency room,” I told my husband.  “I will be there right away,” he said.

I waited for what seemed like forever but soon the doctor came in to examine me.  He was reassuring saying, “Sometimes a little spotting is normal and is nothing to be concerned about but we will do an ultrasound to check on everything.”  I felt somewhat reassured.

When my husband arrived, I was so glad to see him. He held my hand and comforted me.  I was then rolled away in the hospital bed to the room where the ultrasound would be completed.  As the test was being done, I could see something on the screen.  But I did not know what it meant.

The test was soon over and I was taken back to the room in the emergency department.  My husband and I waited for the doctor.  Shortly after I was in the room, the doctor came in to talk to us.  “I am sorry but you have had a missed abortion,” he said.  “This means that at some point the fetus died and stopped growing.”  My husband and I both began crying.  This news devastated us.  Questions began to go through my mind.  Why did this happen?  Did I do something wrong?  I did not know the answers to the questions and no one ever answered them for me.

Before I left the hospital, I had a procedure to remove any remaining tissue from my uterus.  Still I had no answers to my questions.  A week after the procedure, when I saw my regular obstetrician, she was able to comfort me.  Although she could not answer my questions, she informed me that many pregnancies end in a miscarriage.  In fact, she said, “Normally, a woman has to experience three miscarriages before further testing is done to see what is causing them.”

I could not believe this.  Why should women have to go through this more than once before being able to understand why it happened?  My doctor also went on to explain that the highest risk for a miscarriage is during the first twelve weeks of a pregnancy and why it happens is often never known.

So I would never have my questions answered.  In fact, I would never even be directed to someone that could help me process the questions I was asking.  My husband and I were left to deal with our loss on our own.

My husband seemed to adjust and deal with the loss rather quickly.  Although I know he was sad, he seemed to be able to move on more quickly than I did.  I think, because I was the one who carried the baby, the guilt of “what did I do wrong?” haunted me for a long time.  In fact, if it was not for my family and friends, who reached out to me, some of whom experienced a pregnancy loss themselves, I don’t know if I would have ever come to terms with the loss, accepting that is was not my fault, which eventually lessened my grief and helped me to move on to a better place.

I would, eventually, conceive again and go on to have a happy and healthy baby boy.  But the loss of my first baby forever changed me.  To this day, I still feel cheated that my first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage.  I will never completely understand why it happened but I am now able to better understand the feelings associated with pregnancy loss that so many women experience.  In fact, years later, I would learn that there are organizations that provide support for women and families that experience pregnancy loss.  I did not, personally, have the opportunity to benefit from the support resources available.  But now I am able to provide emotional support and direct women and families to available pregnancy loss support resources.

 About the Author

Jennifer H. Moyer, B.S.
Mental Health Advocate, Writer and Speaker

Jennifer Moyer’s mission is to bring hope and inspiration to individuals and families facing mental health issues.  She is a mental health advocate, writer and speaker on mental health issues.  She strives to increase the awareness, education, prevention and treatment of postpartum psychosis and other mental health issues related to childbearing as well as mental health, in general. She can be contacted through her website at www.jennifermoyer.com or emailed at Jennifer@jennifermoyer.com.

Surviving Day One

As I drove into work on my first day back after maternity leave, I was thinking about what was going on at home. My husband Scott was getting Eleanor ready for her first day at daycare. I was worried about the drop-off. Would she cry? Would she be scared? Would I have to come home from work?

I received a text message from Scott a while later: a sad face. Oh no. This can’t be good. I texted him back, “Is everything ok?”  I was surprised at his response. “She didn’t even care that I left.”

Ouch. I wasn’t sure which news would have upset me more: Eleanor crying and unhappy to see him leave, or not caring that she was just dropped her off at a strange house with strange people.  Was it so wrong to ask for a few tears?

In reality, I am very happy that Eleanor adjusted to daycare so well. She has little friends to play with, an overwhelming amount of new toys to explore and a break from Mom and Dad.

Daycare can be quite an adjustment. Here are a few tips to manage that separation anxiety (from your child and you):

1. Don’t drag out the goodbyes. Make them quick and to-the-point. Avoid lengthy hugs and long “Mommy will see you soon” speeches. You’re just asking for tears.

2. Check in with your daycare provider through the day, but not too often. A quick text or email should suffice. You do not require a play-by-play of every minute.

3. Share your feelings with your partner—not your child. Feel free to tell your partner that you miss your child throughout the day, but avoid repeating this over and over to your little one. It may trigger some anxiety.

4. Send your kiddo to daycare with a transitional object from home if they are getting upset or fussy. A blanket, favourite stuffed animal or much-loved toy can help them adjust to their new environment.

I couldn’t be happier with the way Eleanor is transitioning to daycare. She really seems to enjoy herself. She brings her blanket with her everyday and that seems to be a big help.

My way of coping? Gushing to co-workers about my perfect kid (sorry co-workers) and updating my computer screen with a different Eleanor photo when I get into work. That way, I still get to see her smiling face all day!

 About the Author:

Amy Bielby is managing editor at ParentsCanada magazine, and Editor of Expecting and Best Wishes (both ParentsCanada publications). She has one daughter, Eleanor, who was born nine weeks early! Follow Amy on Twitter @BunOutOfTheOven.

Back to Life, Back to Reality

Last year, on September 7th, I was 31 weeks pregnant.  I was still hard at work at ParentsCanada magazine and going about my daily routine. And then, surprise! After a serious emergency delivery, my first baby, Eleanor, entered my world. I gave her the gift of life, and she gave me the gift of one year’s maternity leave.

How can I describe maternity leave? Bliss? Heaven? Like having an abundance of free time to accomplish all your goals, but without the pressure or requirement of follow-through. Last week, this slice of paradise came to an end, which meant saying goodbye to my freedom…and goodbye to my little girl.

The worst part about heading back to the office is that, as a commuter, I don’t get to see my daughter in the morning. I leave the house before she wakes, and my hubby is the one that feeds and dresses her in the morning (you can tell he picks out her clothes—one outfit was pink pajama pants with a too-big shirt in a different shade of pink). As I drive home, I race against the clock. If I make it home faster than my husband, then I get to pick her up. After only one day, I realized I miss her.

The best thing about returning to work is that I have full confidence in my childcare. I am lucky in that a good friend runs a home daycare and Eleanor is in excellent hands. I know childcare is an issue that can be very stressful. Making the right decision involves several factors:

1. Who will be the main caregiver? It is important that you meet and visit with this person. It will ease your mind knowing you have someone trustworthy and pleasant to deal with.  They should have lots of energy (for outdoor play and activities), plenty of patience and be well-organized. Ask about their background as well (education, experience with kids, etc).

2. Is the environment up to your standards? Look around the daycare. Are there plenty of toys? If so, make sure they are in good condition and the play area looks clean. Find out where your child will eat and sleep, and explore those areas as well. In a home daycare, look for a child-friendly environment versus an adult-friendly space.

3. How flexible is the daycare? Some places charge one dollar for every minute you are late at pick-up time. Some charge for a full week, even if your kiddo is there for fewer days. If you’re lucky and get several weeks vacation each year, ask your childcare provider if you still have to pay when you have time off. In a home daycare, ask the owner if she/he will be taking vacation time throughout the year, too.

4. What do you have to supply? Find out what your responsibilities are when it comes to providing diapers, wipes, milk, and food.

5. Do you want to be close? If you commute, decide whether you’d like your daycare to be close to home, or close to work. If you choose a daycare near your home, be sure to have someone available during the day in case of emergencies.

These are just a few of the major things to consider. After you are comfortable with these aspects of your childcare, dig a little deeper. Ask about the daily schedule, the number of children in the daycare and meal plans.

I was very good during my first day at work. I held back and didn’t call or text my daycare provider. She messaged me with updates throughout the day and I left it at that. The last thing I want to do is get on her nerves by hovering or nitpicking. If you do your research and really trust your caregiver, then heading back in to the professional world is that much easier.

Amy Bielby is managing editor at ParentsCanada magazine, and Editor of Expecting and Best Wishes (both ParentsCanada publications). She has one daughter, Eleanor, who was born nine weeks early! Follow Amy on Twitter @BunOutOfTheOven.

Nutrition for New Mamas – The First Few Weeks

Meet Charlotte. She just had her first baby and has fallen head over heels in love with this amazing and very new little person.  However, being a new mom isn’t all cuddles and happy sighs, is it?  She is worried that during pregnancy she gained too much weight.  Before her baby was born, she envisioned her maternity leave filled with jogging with baby in the new jogging stroller, or doing weights while baby was sleeping, and so on.  Now a week after giving birth, she feels overwhelmed – taking care of the baby takes all her time and energy… and she feels emotional, exhausted, and hungry all the time.  What is a new mama to do?

1)    Stop worrying about the weight… at least for now.  Immediately after having a baby is not the time to start a new diet and exercise regime.  Right now, the focus needs to be on recovering from labour and delivery, establishing breastfeeding, and getting to know the new wee one.  Eating well is always a good idea, but any weight interventions can wait for now.

2)    Eat.  Caring for a new baby, especially if you have never done it before, is seemingly unending.  Many mamas remember skimping on eating simply because they felt as if they didn’t have time to eat.  No sooner does mama sit down to eat, than baby wakes up and wants to eat too.  Remember, you need food to fuel yourself, not only for breastfeeding, but for being a mom.  Letting yourself get over hungry doesn’t help anyone.  Keep easy foods available – whole grain crackers and cheese, lower fat granola bars or muffins, trail mix, pre-chopped fruit and veggies.  Remember that a healthy balance of carbs and proteins can help you feel full longer than filling up with refined carbs.

3)    Drink.  You need fluids – extra fluids for breastmilk production, to ease digestion and to keep your bowels moving easily, and to feel well.  Staying hydrated keeps you feeling as fresh you can.  Keep a water bottle with you.

4)    Take your multivitamin.  Whether you continue with a prenatal vitamin for a bit, or go directly to a regular multivitamin, keep up with the folic acid to support breastfeeding and to support any future pregnancies.

5)    Get enough omega-3’s!  Good for you and good for baby’s brain and eye development.  Aim to eat fish twice weekly – some good sources of omega 3’s and low in mercury are salmon, Pollock, herring, rainbow trout, and canned light tuna.

6)    Protect your bones!  If a breastfeeding mama doesn’t take in at least 1000 mg of calcium daily, the body will steal it from the bones.  Need ideas for high calcium foods beyond dairy products?  Check out our previous blog – Got Milk?

When it comes right down to it, adjusting to having a new baby is both thrilling and difficult.  It can take some time to figure each other out.  Someone once told me, the years go fast but the days go slowly.  Try to relax, enjoy the happy moments, lean on your support in the harder moments.  Cuddle your newborn and one day sooner than you think, you’ll look down and see that you don’t have a newborn anymore.

 

Do you have nutrition questions?  Sarah Robert is a Registered Dietitian, mom of 3, and owner of Simply Yours Nutrition.  With a passion for helping people find realistic and practical nutrition solutions, she is an excellent resource for your family – whether you need a customized nutrition consultation, help with meal planning, or support with feeding your children. Check out her website at www.simplyyoursnutrition.com and “like” Simply Yours Nutrition on Facebook for free nutrition tips, information, and chances to ask your questions.

 

References:

Dietitians of Canada.  Lactation:Evidence Summary. In: Practice-based Evidence in Nutrition [PEN]. 210-03-19. [cited 2012-09-04].  Available from http://www.pennutrition.com.  Access only by subscription.

Thrifting Basics: Why You Shouldn’t be Scared of the Thrift Store

Ohhh…back to school shopping. The dreaded price tag attached to that can send a momma reeling. With two school-aged kids of my own, I know this feeling all too well. There isn’t room on my budget spreadsheet (yes, I have one, and it’s glorious in all its nerd glory!) for $200 worth of brand new jeans that will come home with grass stains which I will no doubt flip out about…deep breaths…if spending that kind of money stresses you out as much as it does me? Welcome to Thrifting 101, with Alicia.

I’m going to teach you the joy of thrift shopping & (hopefully) take the stigma out of it for you. Trust me when I say it’s a game changer & your bank account will thank me for my services.

We’ll start slow so you can catch on quick…

1- No Distractions (with a necessary exception): You will need ample time to browse. Thrifting can be very overwhelming. If you are going in for back to school shopping you’re likely looking for a great variety of things- pants, skirts, shirts, shoes…it can be difficult to concentrate. When possible, leave the kids behind. If you must take them, stick to one aisle. Look at the shirts only, or find shoes that fit (if you’re worried about foot fungi, antibacterial sprays are your friend- apply liberally!). It’s like the saying “you can’t see the forest for the trees”…there’s a wide variety of “trees” in a thrift store.

2- Inspect Your Selections: Check for pilling of fabric, look at all seams (especially armpits & wrists), open & close all zippers, snap all snaps, count all buttons. There is the odd chance that a retailer will give you a discount if you point out that a button is missing, but most of the time you may have to say a sad goodbye. In my opinion- if it’s not a Must Have item that you certainly could not find anywhere else…leave that damaged item behind. It often isn’t worth the cost or time to fix.

3- Don’t Touch Everything: This seems counterintuitive, “but Alicia, if there’s so much merchandise, shouldn’t I be looking at everything to make sure I see the best fit?” NO! If you’re a rookie, this will burn out your brain. Instead, slowly let your eye scan the rack for a pattern you love, a fabric that stands out, heck- even a length that you’re looking for. It can be too easy to grab everything that you think might work…this is the quickest way to hate thrift shopping.

4- What You Are Buying is What it Will Look Like: One of the things I love most about thrifting is that the clothes are all previously washed. If anyone is going to shrink the sleeves on that $60 sweater? It wasn’t you. You are looking at that shirt the way it will come out of your dryer. Is it wrinkly? If you don’t love ironing, don’t buy it. (and if you do? Hit me up, I’ve got a whack load!) Does that ruffle fall funny? Chances are you’re not going to fix that.

Which brings me to my next point;

5- Use Ultimate Discretion: Your success as a thrifter does not come from how full your bag is…it comes from the quality merchandise you can get for a significant discount.

6- Think Outside the [Retail] Box: I often browse first to find a pattern that catches my eye…often it’s something that I find kinda weird. But I pull it out from the pack, I consider it, I wonder what it would look like with a chunky necklace, a belt around the middle, a little more style. You would be surprised at how influenced you are by a retail store’s marketing. How the mannequins are dressed will influence what you buy because you think it looks nice. Things are grouped together on racks in the hopes that you will buy Piece A, Piece B & maybe these accessories at the counter together. You have to do this work by yourself at the thrift store, and it is work. To start out, buy 90% from your comfort zone (things you normally gravitate to), 10% of things you want to try. Keep your receipt- thrift stores allow returns too!

7- Look Outside the Size Ranges Noted: Just like different brands fit & size differently, thrift stores often have loose interpretations of “small” or “size 5/6″. And, grabby gusses will often move things around frequently.

8- You Don’t Have to Buy in Complete Outfits, but You Can: It’s not the way I shop. I buy separates because I know my style. Most of the things I buy naturally go together because I am attracted to similar things. Take a look in your closet before you go, you don’t need 17 button down shirts in jewel tones. At first, it may be harder to place together an outfit from six different spans of racks, don’t stress. Pick pieces you can work into an existing wardrobe staple.

9- Pay Attention to Pricing, but Don’t be Ruled By It: Thrift pricing is all over the place, if you think the price is high, it’s completely subjective. Trust your instincts but have an open mind. If the material is good, if you think you won’t find it somewhere else, if you’re totally in love with it? Buy it. It likely won’t be there tomorrow. But don’t be swayed too much by an emotional connection (it’s a real thing, trust me). They’re just clothes and next week there will be a replacement love for you.

Mostly you want to be sure you’re shopping smart, taking a few more precautions & opening your mind to a few more options. But the savings are real. Every region is different, so I don’t want to start giving pricing guidelines, but I would venture to say that I spend around 80% less than retail on all clothing purchases since…drumroll please…September 2010. My family is dressed well & we save money. It does take a little more brainpower and planning and time, but it’s infinitely worth it. See if your thrift store has a loyalty program, a discount card, sign up for weekly emails with coupons- if you’re already saving money, save a little more.

Have any questions for me? I’d love to hear them! Have any tips to add? Please! ADD THEM!

About the Author:

Creative, high-strung overplanner meets handsome, patriotic superfan. Married 6+ years, they proceeded to build an army of estrogen: three daughters in six years. Alicia rides the hormone train over on her blog Life With Ladies. She’s a fan of the overshare, and hopes that one day her daughters forgive her for writing letters to them all over the internet. She can be found @mrshiggison on Twitter and Instagram (infamous for #urinaledition) and come like their Facebook page for more ways on how to probably not give advice to your kids. Allegedly.

The Legal Costs of Finding Your Perfect Home

With the addition of your new baby, your family may be fast outgrowing the condo that had worked so well for you.  The idea of a backyard and three bedrooms now has a certain appeal.  Before finding that perfect home for your growing family, you may want to consider all of the relevant closing costs of buying a home, including legal costs, and budget accordingly.

Buying a new home and selling your old home can incur legal costs for which you may not have budgeted.  To ensure that you budget more accurately, the following is a breakdown of the range of real estate legal costs that you might expect:

Legal fees only for the purchase or sale of a residential property – $600 to $1,500 + HST

Legal fees only for the purchase of your new residential property and the sale of your old one – $1,000 to $2,500 + HST

Keep in mind that the above costs are only for legal fees.  You will also come across the following costs, which may or may not be included in your final bill with a real estate lawyer:

Other costs related to the transaction performed by the lawyer’s legal team (often referred to as disbursements):  $250 to $450 + HST.  These costs would include property searches.

Registration fees – to register documents with the Land Registry Office, there is a cost of approximately $70 + HST per document.  For example, if you register the Deed/Transfer and your mortgage against the property, the cost would be approximately $140 + HST.

Title Insurance – the premium will depend on the value of your property.  Depending on the comprehensiveness of the title insurance you purchase, it would normally cover defects with title which might affect your claim to ownership of the property.

In total, you could be looking at total legal costs in the range of $1,500 to $3,500 excluding land transfer tax.

Land transfer taxes can be significant.  In Ontario, a certain percentage of the property purchase price must be paid by the purchaser to the Ontario government.  In Toronto, a second land transfer tax also applies and is also calculated as a percentage of the property purchase price.  Land transfer taxes are usually paid by the purchaser.  Therefore, if you are purchasing a property in Toronto, keep in mind that you will be paying two land transfer taxes which can add another $10,000 to $20,000 to your tab.  If you and your spouse are first-time homebuyers, you may be eligible for a rebate of a portion of the land transfer taxes, lowering the amount owed.  To get an idea of how much land transfer tax you may have to pay, try this land transfer tax calculator.

Legal costs are only one of the major costs associated with closing a residential real estate purchase.  You may also be required to pay premiums to the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation, moving costs and other unexpected costs.  Be sure to create a realistic budget taking into consideration all closing costs, including legal costs, when deciding on how much you can afford to spend to buy that perfect home for you and your growing family.

About the Author:

Jeffrey Fung is the Founder of MyLawBid.com, a free resource that saves you time and money in your search for a real estate lawyer in Toronto and across Ontario.  To begin reaching out to lawyers in real estate or any other area of law, complete the short MyLawBid information form.  MyLawBid.com has over 200 registered lawyers in all areas of law from Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta and has been written about in Techvibes.com, Moneyville.ca and The Globe and Mail.

Potty Training – Get Ready, Set, Go!

Get Ready

If your child is near or has passed his first birthday, you can begin incorporating pre-potty training ideas into his life. They are simple things that will lay the groundwork for potty training and will make the process much easier when you’re ready to begin.

•    During diaper changes, narrate the process to teach your toddler the words and meanings for bathroom-related functions, such as pee-pee and poo-poo. Include descriptive words that you’ll use during the process, such as wet, dry, wipe, and wash.
•    If you’re comfortable with it, bring your child with you when you use the toilet. Explain what you’re doing. Tell him that when he gets bigger, he’ll put his pee-pee and poo-poo in the toilet instead of in his diaper. Let him flush the toilet if he wants to.
•    Help your toddler identify what’s happening when she wets or fills her diaper. Tell her, “You’re going poo-poo in your diaper.” Have her watch you dump and flush.
•    Start giving your child simple directions and help him to follow them. For example, ask him to get a toy from another room or to put the spoon in the dishwasher.
•    Encourage your child to do things on her own: put on her socks, pull up her pants, carry a cup to the sink, or fetch a book.
•    Have a daily sit-and-read time together.
•    Take the readiness quiz again every month or two to see if you’re ready to move on to active potty learning.


Get Set

•    Buy a potty chair, a dozen pairs of training pants, four or more elastic-waist pants or shorts, and a supply of pull-up diapers or disposables with a feel-the-wetness sensation liner.
•    Put the potty in the bathroom, and tell your child what it’s for.
•    Read books about going potty to your child.
•    Let your child practice just sitting on the potty without expecting a deposit.

Go

•    Begin dressing your child in training pants or pull-up diapers.
•    Create a potty routine–have your child sit on the potty when she first wakes up, after meals, before getting in the car, and before bed.
•    If your child looks like she needs to go–tell, don’t ask! Say, “Let’s go to the potty.”
•    Boys and girls both can learn sitting down. Teach your son to hold his penis down. He can learn to stand when he’s tall enough to reach.
•    Your child must relax to go: read a book, tell a story, sing, or talk about the day.
•    Make hand washing a fun part of the routine. Keep a step stool by the sink, and have colorful, child-friendly soap available.
•    Praise her when she goes!
•    Expect accidents, and clean them up calmly.
•    Matter-of-factly use diapers or pull-ups for naps and bedtime.
•    Either cover the car seat or use pull-ups or diapers for car trips.
•    Visit new bathrooms frequently when away from home.
•    Be patient! It will take three to twelve months for your child to be an independent toileter.


Stop

•    If your child has temper tantrums or sheds tears over potty training, or if you find yourself getting angry, then stop training. Review your training plan and then try again, using a slightly different approach if necessary, in a month or two.

This article is an excerpt from The No-Cry Potty Training Solution: Gentle Ways to Help Your Child Say Good-Bye to Diapers by Elizabeth Pantley. (McGraw-Hill, 2006)

Postpartum Depression: One Blogger’s Story

When I was asked to be a guest blogger and share my experience having postpartum depression (PPD), I was so excited. They wanted me? Really? Wow, am I interesting enough to be a guest blogger?

After my excitement wore off, fear set in. Now that I’m feeling better (PPD free) I find it’s really hard to write about my experience living with depression. Just reading other people’s PPD blogs sucks me into a vortex so deep, it’s hard not to get sucked back into the old feelings of pain, sadness and alienation I felt just a few short months ago. Most times, even just the mention of having PPD makes me sad, and sets off a cry-fest.

But, I know that talking about it is therapeutic – not only for me, but for other mom’s out there who may be experiencing the same emotions, and for husbands trying to figure out how to be supportive in such difficult times.

So, here’s a little bit about me and my story as a postpartum depression surviving momma of one, with another on the way.

I remember the day like it was yesterday. My son was due May 28, 2010 but he decided to cook for an extra 7 days. On June 4, 2010 my husband and I obeyed the doctor’s orders to check in at the hospital, we were going to see if this baby boy was ready to be born. Well, he wasn’t but letting him cook longer wasn’t an option and the induction procedure moved ahead full force. I was a bit nervous to be induced but really wanted to get the show on the road so to speak so I was all for the induction. Not long after the medication had been administered did the baby’s heart rate drop extremely low. Twice the nurses and doctor had to rush in to help get the baby’s heart rate back up. It was so scary and fast. Next thing I knew, the doctor was saying an emergency c-section was needed, we weren’t taking any chances to let the baby’s heart rate drop again, they were worried that he was reacting to the medication, or worst, the umbilical cord may be wrapped around his neck.

Fast forward a few hours, our little boy was born super healthy and robust, and we were left to rest and recover in the hospital. Next came the feeding – he hungrily latched on to my breast, it hurt a bit but I wasn’t complaining. I was just amazed that he knew what to do.

But then things took a turn for the worst. He couldn’t get any colostrum from each feeding, my nipples wouldn’t cooperate (one decided to invert out of the blue) and he ended up with jaundice. The nurses were trying to help show me how to get him to latch, reminding me how important breast milk was and how inferior a choice formula would be. They were just doing their job, but man, did I ever feel like an utter failure as a mother. Most of the nurses were trying to support my decision to breast feed, and my family, seeing me struggle and struggle, tried to reassure me that if I wanted to give the baby formula it was perfectly fine.

I felt caught in the middle and felt so useless. First a c-section with no labour, then no breastfeeding? What was wrong with me? One of the most miraculous things about pregnancy and being a mother is getting to experience giving birth, I didn’t even know what a contraction felt like, then my baby had to be surgically removed from me because my body practically attacked him. Now, I can’t even feed him?

I felt totally ripped off and was so angry at my body, and everyone else who just couldn’t understand how I felt.

I really think that’s when my postpartum depression started, but to tell you the truth, I only recently realized this.

After our hospital stay, for weeks and weeks, I thought I had a really bad case of the baby blues. But thinking back to when we were finally home and rested, if someone even mentioned “Hey Jen, I think the baby is hungry,” I would have a hysterical cry-fest, and would scream at everyone for making me feel like a failure at being a new mom. Everyone was convinced it was baby blues, even my dad tried to comfort me and reassure me that these hormonal baby blues wouldn’t last very long and I’d feel “normal” again in no time.

Fast forward six months later, I was still feeling really sad, overwhelmed and extremely short on patience with everyone in my life. I was mad that my husband got to go to work while I stayed home alone with the baby. I was mad that my friends’ babies were older and sleeping through the night. I was mad that I had to spend so much money on formula, to watch this little baby spit half of it up on our leather couches. I got angry if the baby was fussy.

Then I’d get sad that I got mad. Then uncontrollable guilt would set in. It sounds so silly but it’s true. My emotions were literally all over the place. I fantasized about running away. I was the worst mother to ever walk the earth; surely everyone would live a better quality of life if I just packed my bags and ran away.

It was such a terrible emotion to be feeling when I wanted this baby so badly. I had everything I could ever want, a husband who was just amazing, a beautiful home, a dog, a baby boy, lot’s of friends, a crazy close family and a wonderful career. So why was I so sad, angry and ungrateful?

I thought it was just the adjustment of having a new baby and really didn’t think much of it until my mom and husband encouraged me to go see my doctor.

It came to no surprise to our family doctor that I was suffering from PPD, after all, she’d been keeping an eye on me each month as I brought the baby for his monthly check ups. I think she was just waiting for me to open up to her about how I’d been feeling. Looking back, she was probably going to just stage an intervention if the crying visits went on any longer…and I can’t say that I’d blame her!

As much as I was really upset and kind of ashamed to have PPD, I was happy to have such a sympathetic doctor who helped me to understand the different degrees and kinds of PPD. With the help of some medication, and my family’s encouragement to join a local postpartum depression support group, I finally had the tools I’d need to get myself some help.

I think the best part was how it felt to be able to just talk about it and be able to put a label on how I had been feeling. Knowing and understanding what I had (and it’s so common) made me feel so much better and optimistic about my road to recovery.

My little guy is two years old now and I’m expecting again. I’m due in September and while I am free from depression now, I know that the risks of getting PPD are a bit higher since I’m predisposed to it now. I’m scared about what my experience will be with a newborn and a toddler in tow, but, I’m hopeful that with the support of my family, friends and amazing doctor, I’ll be able to kick PPD in the butt once again if needed.

If there is someone out there reading this blog that thinks they might have PPD or maybe has a friend who is going through a tough time post-partum, here are a few links I found that have really helped me understand this condition.

Postpartum Depression – Canadian Mental Health Association
Baby Blues or Postpartum Depression? – Women’s Health Matters

About the Author:

ImageJennifer is communications professional by day/blogger and postpartum depression surviving full-time mommy always.  She’s a social media junkie, obsessed with coffee, blogging, celebrity gossip and online shopping. Visit her blog at http://morningcoffeeconfessions.blogspot.com.