Most people don't plan on dying at a young age (yep, I'm diving right into this morbid discussion) but the reality is that it happens.
It's really crappy, it sucks, it's not fair, but it happens. So my husband and I recently decided we should finally tick some things off of our Grown-Up To-Do List, and making a will was one of those things. (It had actually been on our list for the last two years...procrastinate much?) But, we did it. And we had to make some really tough decisions, so we did what any educated grown ups would do: we threw some names into a hat, played rock scissors paper, flipped a coin and called it a day. Signed. Sealed. Done.
Then we scrolled further down our Grown-Up To-Do List and realized that we needed more life insurance. We both have insurance through work, but it's not enough. Sure it seems like a small jackpot right now, but when you consider how much our grocery bill is each month *gasp*, and our son's addiction to truck toys, we quickly realized it wasn't enough.
That's when I started to research just how much life insurance we actually needed.
Here is some of what I learned:
My research was helped by looking at Empire Life's 10 Misconceptions About Life Insurance article.
So my husband and I put on our grown-up hats again and decided to purchase more life insurance. We've come that far. Now we just need to actually purchase more life insurance (one step at a time, it took us two years to make a will, remember?) Since I am such a deal hound, we will definitely be speaking with the people at Empire Life. Their rates for term insurance are very competitive (sometimes much lower than mortgage insurance offered by banks) and they have a 99% claim fulfillment rate.
But seriously, unless we want to leave our kids with a collection of antique spoons to help them get through University should something happen to us, we'd better get our butts in gear. We don't want to be those people. You know. The people that die without life insurance, because that would be dumb.
And speaking of dumb ways to die, check this video out and get ready to be singing it for days!
So be honest — do you have life insurance? If not, what are your reasons?
Are you one of the 65% of Canadians who has no life insurance coverage or inadequate coverage?
Empire Life makes buying term life insurance simple and affordable with an easy-to-use online “Fast & Full” application process that you can use with your insurance advisor. For more information on Empire Life or to get an insurance quote and learn more about insurance that will work for you, visit empirelife.ca. Because the dumbest way to die is without Life Insurance.
This is proudly sponsored by our friends at Empire Life.
Dumb Ways To Die.™ characters are officially licensed to The Empire Life Insurance Company. © Metro Trains Melbourne, Dumb Ways To Die.™ All Rights Reserved.
Registered trademark of The Empire Life Insurance Company. Policies are issued by The Empire Life Insurance Company.
Everyone thinks her child is special (and yes, every child is special). Many parents think that their child is "advanced." They think their child is oh-so-freaking-perfect. And then that oh-so-freaking-perfect child becomes a TODDLER. And that's when the said perfect child stops shitting rainbows, and instead...paints the walls with their own shit and says, "Hey look! A rainbow!"
Toddlers press buttons we didn't even know we had as parents. It's amazing how someone who has only been on this earth for 26 months can have the power to bring an educated, rational grown woman to the verge of absolute rage in less than sixty seconds.
*deep yoga breath
*this too shall pass
*the days are long, but the years are short
*(insert mantra of choice to get through the episode)
How can a small child, 3 feet tall, have this ability? I was seriously asking myself this question the other day, and I realized the answer: toddlers are irrational wild little animals so when we try to make sense of their actions, it infuriates us because we cannot predict what will happen from one minute to the next. There is no rhyme or reason to half of the shit they do, and for a parent who is trying her best to respond to her child's needs, this can be infuriating.
One minute, we can be having so much fun laughing and playing outside, and then all of the sudden: Wham. Tears. A meltdown. Over what, you ask? I wouldn't let him hold the axe in the shed. I know. Shittiest parent ever.
And he's had other irrational meltdowns as well:
I cut his PB and banana sandwich, "Nooo! Put it back together!" Tears. So I pretended to put it back together and instantly the world was a better place again.
I used the wrong almond milk, "Nooo, that one!"
I wore my bathrobe, "Nooo! Take it OFF! OFFF!" Tears. (This always happens. He hates my bathrobe. And socks or slippers. Therefore, I always walk around my house freezing cold in the winter. Sigh.)
So I was beginning to think that maybe my child was regressing intellectually (he never used to have irrational meltdowns, only rational ones regarding typical stuff like putting on his snowsuit) so I asked some friends, "Do your toddlers freak out over weird shit?"
And here are some golden gems I received as answers:
"But the cat needs her food cooked in the oven!"
"No Gracie, you can't wear your life jacket in the carseat!" — Gracie, 2.5 years
"No Mommy, that's not my cup. I want Ainsley's cup!"
"I can't find my superpowers!" While she is in hysterics her mother has to list super powers until she finds one that is acceptable, then she stops crying — Brynn, age 2
"Nooo, my boobies mommy! Not Leo's!" — said by toddler when baby brother is being fed by Mommy
"Daddy looked at me!" Followed by meltdown. —Elizabeth, 2 years
"You can't ride the cat/bunny/goat/dog (insert other small animal)!" Followed by meltdown. — Stella, 2 years
"Nooo! Hair down mommy!" Freaks out as mom tries to put hair in ponytail. —Elodie, 2.5 years
She freaked out because I put on my beige bra instead of my black one. — Kylie, 2 years
She freaks out because the puppy is licking her. Then she freaks out cuz the puppy won't lick her. She freaks out because I didn't let her get in the carseat herself. She freaks out because I wouldn't put her in the carseat...
"I want milk from the bottom of the jug!" — Kenzie, 2 years
Honestly, these toddler years can be trying, but they are also funny as hell. It's so awesome watching these wild little animals develop. Yes, they can press our buttons, and yes, they might make us cry from frustration from time to time (or daily) but at the end of the day, when your toddler is having an irrational meltdown, the best advice I can offer is this:
Grab some popcorn, sit back, and enjoy the show. The best comedic writers in the industry couldn't dream this shit up!
If you'd like to read more about my toddlerhood adventures, check out 10 Things To Make Your Toddler Laugh Out Loud. and My Toddlers Truck Addiction.
One of my dearest friends just had her second baby. She messaged me desperately saying, "Mayday, mayday, I need your advice! How was Cole with the new baby? I'm pretty sure my toddler hates me! Message me back, or better yet—write a blog post on the topic!"
So Cat, this post is for you! (And any other mother of two, or more, who has a new baby in the house and is trying to adjust to their new routine.) And by routine, I mean clusterfuck-of-craziness just trying to keep everyone alive and fed and generally clean-ish.
NOTE: It's 12pm and I still have smudged mascara on my face from yesterday. At least I attempted to wear mascara yesterday, or maybe this was from last week? Who the hell knows . . .
*Attempts to wipe smudged mascara away while at computer desk*
Anyway, moving along . . .
Introducing your toddler to your newborn.
I was really nervous. I was afraid Cole would try to eat the new baby. I was afraid he'd cry and scream and throw things directly aiming at the baby's soft spot.
My friend told me that when she was born, her brother took a shit under her crib because he was so mad at his mom for brining home a new baby.
Yes, I was expecting the worst. So, I actually turned to an online group of Moms and asked them, "Ladies, what is the best way to introduce Cole? Should I be holding the baby when he comes to visit at the hospital, or should I make sure someone else is holding the baby? What can I do to minimize the stress?" I received an array of helpful answers, but one really resonated with me:
"Jen, chill out. You overthink things."
And in the end, that's what I did. I chilled out. At the time, I actually didn't think about it. I was beyond excited for my son to meet his new baby sister, so when he ran into the hospital room and I was in the middle of feeding her, all I could do was cry happy tears. He jumped up onto the bed, snuggled in close, and stared at her with absolute love and intrigue. He leaned in and watched her feed. I kept bawling. It was beautiful.
And from that moment, he has fully accepted her. He loves her, kisses her, and calls her That Guy, Baby Maeve, Maevey Bean, and Sweetie Maeve. He reads books to her and shows her his trucks. Watching the two of them together fills my heart with more love than I ever could have imagined. Those are the good moments.
Then there are the not so good moments.
The times when my toddler is tired or needy and wants Mommy all to himself. "Put down baby Maeve!" And he starts to cry. This always happens when she also happens to need me, so I do my best to meet both of their needs simultaneously. I've twisted my body into the most obscure positions in an effort to feed her and snuggle him at the same time. I'm pretty sure I've stretched my boob beyond repair and am now officially a contortionist. Sigh.
But when "sharing Mommy" absolutely won't do, I have had to accept the fact that one of them is going to cry and be pissed at me. There have been times when all three of us are crying. It's not a pretty sight.
Luckily now, three months into this whole "two kid" thing, we've gotten into a pretty good groove and these crying fits happen less often. But if you're just at the beginning of the two kid phase (or are about to enter it), here are a few things I'd recommend to help with the transition:
1) WARNING. Before the newborn comes, talk to your toddler about the baby. Let them know a baby is coming, and explain to them the things that will happen. "When the baby comes, Mommy is going to be holding the baby a lot, and feeding the baby." Remind them that you still love them, and that you're going to need their help. Let them know what to expect.
2) DAYCARE. If you have the means, put your older child in daycare for a couple of days a week. Or let a grandparent take care of them. Do something with them. Does this sound evil? Maybe. Do I sound like an uncaring mother? Maybe. But honestly, I am so thankful for having my Mom's help. I think we are all better rested and happier because of it. It took me a while to accept her help (even though she lives with us), because I wanted to be able to say I was doing it alone (isn't that silly?) But guess what? When she takes Cole to the park that gives Maeve and I a chance to just hang out, the two of us. Or, if Cole is needing some Mommy time, my Mom can take Maeve, and Cole and I can kick a ball around the backyard or read a book. It's awesome. You don't need to feel guilty about wanting to spend some time away from your toddler. Easier said than done, I know, because GUILT is a synonym for MOM.
3) TELL YOUR NEWBORN TO WAIT. This is by far the best advice I've received (thanks Mandy!), and I've used it time and time again. When Cole is feeling needy and I'm holding Maeve, I look at Mave and say to her, "Maeve, you're going to have to let me put you down and wait a few minutes while I snuggle your brother. It's his turn to be with Mommy." Even though she doesn't give two shits, it makes Cole feel important. It works like a charm.
4) TAKE A DEEP BREATH. It'll be crazy for a while, but just know that at the end of the day, you're giving your child a sibling and that is such an amazing gift. It'll all be okay, and for the days when it's not . . . there is wine.
If you'd like to read more about my experience with two kids, check out The Transition from 1 to 2. You can also read about when I first found out I was pregnant with Maeve.