On Being Responsible For Your Own Damn Self

I always try and look for meaning and signs in my everyday life. Even in the littlest things, it brings me comfort to think that there is more to this world than we can see and that something out there leaves us clues or hints at lessons we need to learn or decisions we need to make. So when today, for the second day in a row, I realized that my boyfriend had taken the car seat to work with him, 45 minutes away, in spite of my disappointment and frustration I tried to look at it a different way.

It would have been so easy to blame him. After all I had asked him hours before he left for work, when he was just sitting on the couch, if he could go and grab the seat for me. And he said he would do it after. Don’t worry, he told me, I will make sure I bring in before I leave. Ok, so I was pajama shorts that were not appropriate to be seen by anyone and I didn’t feel like changing at that moment so I said, that’s fine.  And then when he left for work two hours later the car seat didn’t even cross my mind because I have been in the habit, until recently, of taking the whole seat in with baby still strapped in. But the seat and baby combination is getting heavy. I didn’t even realize that we had forgotten to take the seat until he texted me from work to say he was sorry and had forgotten. Motherfucker. And I just sank a little. And then frustration bubbled up inside. And even though I could feel my temper rising (I had really been looking forward to hanging out with my parents and getting out of our small apartment), I thought of how this was no one’s fault but my own. I had no reason why I couldn’t have put some pants on and gone out to get the seat myself when I had thought about it. I am the one who had every reason to keep the car seat at the forefront of my mind and remind him as he was walking out the door. But whatever. It happened and can’t be changed.

Anyway I decided to look a little further into this. Two days in a row this happened, with the forgotten seat when I wanted to go out with my son so obviously the universe was trying to tell me something. And the conclusion I came to was this: that I can’t depend on anyone else to give me what I want. The car seat didn’t matter to my boyfriend. He would be at work all night and it was of absolutely no consequence to him whether or not I had access to that car seat. It mattered to me. And also to my parents who were now missing out on a night with their grandson.

Even though my boyfriend told me that he would remember, absolutely, for sure would bring it in before leaving for work, I had no business to assume that such a small thing would break through his daily habit of getting into his car and driving to work, basically in auto pilot the whole way. Because the car seat didn’t matter to him or affect his life. It mattered to me. And I might matter to him but that isn’t enough to make all the little things I care about things he cares about.

This whole situation, though seemingly mundane, has made me realize that unless I take control and take responsibility for every aspect of my life I’m going to find myself sitting on the sidelines wondering why I didn’t take action. It might seem silly to make such a grand conclusion from such a small incident but I truly believe the universe is always giving us feedback about ourselves and I don’t want to wait for the universe to have to bitch slap me with a lesson.

So even though I really wanted to get out of the apartment on this gray, rainy day I can at least find solace in the fact that I have three amazingly interesting books on the go that I can tackle and an incredibly entertaining and loving 11 month old who is all the company I need.

Being Selfish and Making Decisions

Not being selfish is something I struggle with. Sometimes I find it hard to put others before myself. Well, except for my son, who is always my first priority. So I guess having a child has helped in a sense to help me be more thoughtful of others. In another way its made the situation entirely worse because when I’m not preoccupied with my son my first thought is usually about myself and what I need to get done and what I want to do.

I used to be good at talking to people and keeping conversations going with just about anyone. It’s not that I’m terrible at it now and totally awkward, I guess I’m out of practice. I’ve been more or less cooped up for 10 months barely seeing anyone besides my boyfriend and immediate family. So even though I’m going back to work at the beginning of next month and that sucks balls I’m pretty excited to start that part of my life again. It will be good for me to focus my attention outside of myself (and not on my son) for a while. Even though I do get paid for what I do it’s very rewarding to spend time teaching things to kids and especially when I get a chance to help one of them build some confidence. I do miss adult conversation but I guess, for this stage of my life anyway, I’m destined to spend the vast majority of time with children. Which means my patience is due for a tune up. In the past year I’ve found that my patience can wear thin at times, especially when dealing with my boyfriends 7 year old son…and also with my boyfriend. Maybe its because at times I feel so worn out and emotionally drained from being with my baby all day (and sometimes all night too) that its easy to snap at someone else. Because I obviously can’t get mad at my son. Yet.

Sometimes I indulge in the occasional fantasy about a life that is all about me. Where I live on my own and do what I want, whenever I feel like it and have zero obligations to anyone but myself. But even in my head it seems empty. No life is ever that cut and dry, that perfect or that clean. Lives are messy, and its hard to go even a day without upsetting or disappointing someone or becoming upset or disappointed yourself. Or even with yourself.  Its easy to look back, 5 years ago, and say, well why didn’t I do this? Or travel here? But life isn’t lived from the future. Its hard, in the moment, to put yourself 5 or even 10 years down the road, and try to look back and guess at the decisions you should make. And sometimes making choices is hard and confusing and the only thing we want is to feel safe and comfortable. Yet every inspirational figure will tell you that’s no way to live. We shouldn’t live in our comfort zone. We need to get out there, get messy, and be scared. But then we also get the message that we should have families and mortgages and jobs to secure our future after retirement. Not everyone can quit their job, travel the world, get rich off some genius idea and then live the rest of their life in bliss, never having to  worry about a thing.

People are all different but I feel like we listen to the same messages that don’t really work for everyone especially because we all need to hear different things at different times in our lives. And when we think about how different every life is its all too easy to fall into the trap of comparisons. And when we compare our life to someone else’s we can’t ever really be happy because we either think our life looks bad or boring compared to someone else’s or we get a superiority complex thinking our lives are so much better than another’s and then we rely on that superios feeling to feel good about our life.

The best thing to do is keep in our minds a vision of the person we want to become and to balance that with love for the person we are now. And whatever situation in life that we find ourselves, to accept it and make the most of it instead of wishing things were different. We can really make huge differences in our lives if we learn how to focus our energies. And wishing for things to be different or complaining about our current circumstance is definitely not a good use of our energy. So I’ve decided that my goals for the week are to be less selfish and focus my energy. And also to pass my driver’s test. Which I’m kind of nervous about. But I digress.

Anyway, in a way, picking goals all about me and picking two (well three)  instead of one isn’t really getting me off to a good start in the focusing energy department but, oh well.  Anyway, thanks for reading!

Mom’s Life: Highlights of the First Year

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Even though I still have another month and a half to go before my little one turns one, I thought I would start now to compile a list of the best and worst moments of my rookie year as a mom. There’s been laughter and smiles, and tears and screams. Moments when I look at my son and think about how lucky I am to have been blessed with such a beautiful and perfect child, and moments when he’s screaming in my face, pulling my hair, and swatting his soother away from his mouth at 4am and I think about what circle of hell this creature must have crawled out of. But through everything, the love I have for him has grown exponentially and I can’t wait for many more years of adventure as a mother.

 

First Time I Changed His Diaper: Maybe not the very first time but one of the first three. I had had barely any sleep in his first 2 days of life and I was feeling spun. Took off his diaper and cleaned him up then lifted his bum to slide the new diaper under him….and he pissed. Directly onto his own face. And I felt my first pangs of failure as a mother. For like 3 days then it was just really funny.

The couple weeks when breast feeding got more painful than contractions: Only on one side, but it seriously felt like someone had stabbed me in the nipple multiple times. I would dread having to feed him on that side, like actually super anxious. And I’d try and make excuses to feed him on the other side again or be like, “Oh, I don’t think he’s actually hungry I’ll just rock him.”

The first time he hugged me: He gives me little hugs all the time now but when he was just over 3 months old I picked him up and he wrapped his little arms around my neck. And then not even 7 seconds later, he threw up down my back. It was magical.

When he had cradle cap: This is a highlight because I used to pick at it constantly. It was like crack, I couldn’t stop. I haven’t ever done crack, for the record, but I hear it’s addictive, hence my choice to use it here.

First time he shit up his back: It literally covered about 85% of the back of his pajamas, it went up to his neck. It was horrifying.

His first trip to the E.R: I was nursing him at my parents when he was around 3 months old when I felt a fair sized, liquid filled lump on the side of his head. I immediately burst into tears thinking something horrible had to be wrong. We took him to the E.R and then later to a pediatric clinic when the doctor told us it cetahemo-something and that it would go away. And it did, but it still terrified me because it seemed to pop up out of no where.

When he became mobile: He started shimmying and spinning on either his back or belly around 4 months.  Around 5 1/2 or 6 months he started crawling. After 7 months, when he was pulling himself up, I couldn’t leave him even for a second without him making a bee-line for something not baby safe–like a cat. I can now barely remember the days I could leave him on my bed while I did my makeup.

When I had to nurse in public: Which I am not a fan of doing. I support fully any woman who wants to because there is nothing wrong with it, but personally I would rather do it in private. But anyway, he’s fussing already because he’s hungry and then for some reason when I try to pull my boob out he starts screaming even louder causing more people to look at me while I’m trying to be stealth. Like Jesus people, I know he’s crying but I’m trying to get it under control.

When I used a onesie as a hair tie: It actually looked kind of cool. I wouldn’t have had to do this but my asshole cats get my hair ties off my dresser and bat them around the house until the get lost under something.

First time left alone with Daddy: Who has another child, 6 years older than ours, so I wasn’t worried or anything but still, I was nervous to leave him alone. The first time he just slept. The one time I came back, and he had given little Boo a bottle and since he can’t quite hold it up on his own he used a stuffed dinosaur to prop the bottle up….or you could just feed it to him and bond with him, but whatever the stuffed dinosaur was cool too.

First night in his own room: He slept totally fine even better than when he was sharing a room with us. It was a tough experience because I spent most of the night staring at the monitor, trying to see if I could see him breathing/ waiting for some creepy Paranormal Activity shit to happen so we could bring the baby back in our room.

Dressing him up in an old Halloween costume: I found some old costumes that my mom had made for me and my sister one Halloween. She had been the moon and I was a star. I put my poor child in both of them. He wasn’t pleased.

Dressing him up in anything, really, purely for our entertainment: Putting his Oma’s wig on him. I can’t take credit on this one. This was his dad, 100%. But I seriously laughed so hard I had tears in my eyes.

The first time he got himself stuck somewhere: When he got stuck under his toy table, all I could do was laugh and get my camera out. I had a reason though! Well number one, it was hilarious, and two, I waned him to figure out how to out of there on his own! And he almost did, I still had to move the table after a while.

His first poop that smelled terrible: almost like actual grown people poop: it was awful. That’s all. But at least they don’t shoot up his back now.

When I had to start saying “no”: Or “stop” or had to take something away. And I swear to god this baby, at 7 months, gave me the most defiant “f-you, Mom” look. Can’t wait for the toddler years.

The first solid foods: Oat cereal. He wasn’t fan. Have you ever tried that shit? I don’t like it either.

When he fell off the bed: We fell asleep while he was nursing and even though I had set up pillows and storage totes around the perimeter he managed to roll to the end of the bed and fall off in the one spot where I hadn’t put anything. I felt beyond awful. His dad came in and took the baby to the living room so I could sleep but not before giving me a look like I’d just hired Ted Bundy as a babysitter.

 

I will be adding more as they happen/as I remember. He learns so much everyday. Today he got his diaper off all by himself! Wow! Thanks for reading I would to see some comments of the best or funniest highlights during your rookie year as a mom (or any other year)||!

Meditation And The Universal Mind

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Ever since a child I’ve been drawn to all things supernatural. As a child, my sister and I would hide in my closet or in a dark corner in the basement and tell each stories with the sole purpose of scaring the sh*t out of ourselves. When we got a bit older we would huddle in the rec room and watch Unsolved Mysteries and Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction before going to bed and laying awake thinking about all the true crime stories we had watched.

I’ve also been drawn to the fact that some people seem to have extraordinary, unexplained supernatural gifts; people who inexplicably know things or can predict future events. I spent many days as a child feeling cheated because I wasn’t born with some sort of psychic ability. As I’ve gotten older though, I kind of get how having an ability like that would be a lot of pressure–especially when you’re younger. Still though, I’ve continued my interest in this subject and have discovered many more facets to supernatural abilities besides being a psychic and talking to the dead.

For a few years now I’ve been drawn to people who weren’t born with any special abilities but have trained themselves, and trained their minds to function at a higher awareness than usual. They have managed to tap into universal consciousness, as it is often referred to, and are reaping the benefits of this pure, universal energy flowing into their minds.

How do I get to this point? How can I train my mind to experience universal mind in all it’s glory? Apparently the answer is meditation. Meditation is the path to accessing this universal mind. Everything I read on the subject says that meditation is the first and most important thing to do on your journey towards spiritual “enlightenment”.

For a long time I didn’t quite understand how meditation actually worked. I have meditated, and I’m slowly starting to bring it back into my life because I have experienced the benefits of a mediation routine first hand: less stress, better sleep, an overall feeling of well being are just a few. It wasn’t until recently while reading Spiritual Telepathy by Colleen Mauro that I realized what meditation did and how it resulted in an individual mind being able to access information and inspiration from the collective mind and help align their conscious, everyday selves with their higher, sub-conscious selves, or the soul.

Meditation is meant to quiet your five senses; the ones you use to interact with and perceive the world around you. When your senses are sufficiently dulled and your thoughts are quieted you have a chance to access your higher senses and to perceive the subtle world–the invisible one.

Like everything, developing the ability to do this takes daily, focused practiced and commitment and also an understanding of how the process works and what you can do to make your meditation experience as effective and beneficial as possible.

People throughout the years have talked about the ability to tap into a universal pool of ideas and I’m sure some people have an easier time than others in doing so. I would love nothing more than to be able to get my mind to the point where self-awareness was so low that I felt at one with all consciousness and developed the ability to receive ideas and guidance from a higher power.

One of the most difficult things about training myself to do this is that I have no idea what it will be like or feel like when it happens. And this makes it a hard goal to have because I don’t know what I’m striving for. Also I feel that trying to label the experience and define what it will be like is hindering my progress.  I think the best thing to do will be to commit myself only to the process and have faith in whatever comes of it.

I will keep posting about my meditation journey and keep you updated on all the benefits I’ve noticed, how much time per day I allocate to meditating and any types of focused meditations I do or mantras I use. And if I have any tips on finding time and a quiet space to meditate while looking after a baby full time I will include that as well!

Thanks for reading! Comment and let me know all about your experiences with mediation and any meditation tips you have to share!

–Kayla

Maternity Leave Reflections

My baby just turned 10 months old. He’s walking now and becoming so independent and I couldn’t be prouder. However, since we are coming up on his first birthday, that means my maternity leave is almost over and I could just cry whenever I think about it. I’m actually going back in a month since I left work a month before my due date. So that leaves me with only a month in which to enjoy every moment, every toothy grin, every shrieking giggle, every smack in the face and finger in the eye, every sweet little hug.
I’ve done a lot during my year of “vacation”. I’ve explored my creative side with mug designs, posters, and many, many DIY projects around the house, most of which fell apart or turned out looking like crap but were still super fun to do. And I’ve learned a lot too! I’ve read a few books, started this blog, started learning French, and have researched more environmentally friendly ways to clean my home.
With all my spare time that wasn’t spent changing diapers, nursing, cleaning up puke, and now chasing after my very mobile older baby, I always felt like I was wasting time. I often found myself with a nagging feeling like I should be doing something productive during my days. Well, the last few months, since realizing that, yes, I will have to go back to work barring some miracle or lottery win, I’ve finally realized that the most important thing I could do with my time was just to be with my baby. The dishes can wait and I can clean the bathroom when he naps. I don’t always have to fill each spare moment with some enriching activity (for either me or him).
I guess this revelation might be obvious for some moms but I really felt like I should of been doing something marvelously productive with all this spare time. But lately just sitting on the couch, watching my babe toddle around the room on his chubby adorable legs is the most amazing thing. I am so grateful to have had this time to spend with my child and there is something so important about being present, mentally, totally in the moment for your child. Just being there for him, looking into his eyes and letting him know that I’m here for him, I love him, and that for now, just being his mom is more than enough to make my life complete.
I am really excited for his birthday so we can celebrate his incredible year of “firsts”.  I’m also really looking forward to watching him grow into a toddler and then a boy, then a teenager, and then eventually, (safely in the future for now) a grown man. But a part of me wishes I could hit the do-over button the night before his birthday and experience it all again; from the first time I held him to now, as he cruises around the living room with his plastic hammer, hitting everything in sight and hollering like a mad man. It still feels surreal at times to look at him and think, “Holy fuck, I’m a mom now.” He’s a real little person and not once have I been able to look at him without feeling so much love.

I know going back to work will be a challenge but when I’m away from him at least I’ll be comforted by the fact that I was able to spend everyday of his first year with him, even though he won’t remember it. I guess that first year is really for the parents. I’m guessing so they can remember their sweet little baby in those early days when the kid turns into a sass-mouthed 6 year old. All I can do now is spend the next 2 months soaking in every last glorious minute until my baby turns one. And then after that I guess I’ll just strap a helmet on him and maybe one of those Hannibal Lector face masks so he doesn’t eat anything weird, send him off to explore, and watch in amazement as my little person makes his mark on the world.
Thanks for reading!!!
-Kayla

Really Simple and Easy Decor Ideas For Your Little One’s Room

I haven’t written on my blog for nearly a month and every time I think about this I get the same feeling I would get in high school when I was reminded that I had an essay due the next day that I hadn’t started yet. I knew I would do it, it was only a matter of writing down words. I just had to figure out what those words would be. I always think that I don’t want to share anything unless it’s worth sharing but this attitude causes me to leave out a lot of funny or interesting things that happen to me. I do lots of crafts and DIY projects but since I’m fairly new that game a lot of my projects are embarrassingly juvenile and not something I want to share. Today though,  I want to share a few things I’ve done to my son’s room to organize and decorate. I wanted to make the space special for him so that he will love being in there but since he is not even a year yet, all these things I’ve done are basically just for me. I feel good that I’ve created this space for him (with his father’s help), even though it took months for us to finally get started on it. It makes me immensely happy to see him crawling around his room, pulling books down off the shelf and digging through his toy bin for his favourite toy of the week.

Seeing how fast my little one has grown has made me realize that before I know it he will be a boy who won’t necessarily want baby decorations in his room. So I have been making an effort to pick out things for his room that can grow with him. Of course I’ve included some seriously baby-ish things, like the collage of quotes from my favourite baby books I made for him, but here is my list of things you can easily add to any nursery or room that will grow with your little boy for years and years. Note the word “easily”.

1. Alphabet: I picked up a peel-and-stick set from Wal-Mart and it looks adorable. I’m sure he might grow out of this one sooner than some other things but I wanted the alphabet to be on display for him to see everyday.
2. Classic Toys as Decor: I bought a few Hot Wheels type cars and a plain wooden frame from the Dollar Store and made super cute picture frame that I’m sure he will continue to enjoy at least until his teen years. And if he doesn’t like it I’ll guilt him into it.

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3. Peel and Stick Sets from the Dollar Store (or somewhere else): The set of jungle animals I bought at the Dollar Store for $1.25 looks amazing and they had a pretty big selection to choose from. I’m a huge fan of the Dollar Store, especially for inexpensive decoration ideas. I’ve also had my eye on an animal themed map of the world peel and stock wall decal that I think will look amazing in Boo’s room.
4. Another idea from the Dollar Store, but you can get these items at any craft store: A plain, plastic bucket/bin and letter stickers, and create a personalized toy bucket that will be cute enough to display. I had some big, gold, sparkly letters that I used to jazz up a bin we had been using for laundry. Ten minutes and some Mod-podge later and we have an awesome bin to keep blankets rolled up in.

5. DIY pictures/posters: I seriously love canva.com. I have designed a few graphics that I’m going to print and frame to put up in Baby Boos’ room. They all have quotes from classic rock songs. Here is one:

Buddy you're a boy, make a big noise, playin in the street you're gonna be a big man someday.

6. Hats for Decor: Pick up some cute hooks, or knobs for a dresser, and hang your Little One’s hats or headbands on display. Easy access and super adorable.

7. Display the name:  I have his name in painted wooden letters above his bed with a star underneath.

8. Above his bookshelf I have the word READ that I did using wooden letters, scrapbook paper, and mod-podge. I know it seems straightforward but this tutorial here really helped me.

I know these might seem like silly ideas, and Pinterest is obviously the best place to go your main decorating ideas, but these are all super easy things that can be done without a sewing machine, lots of money, or any talent.

I would love to hear what your easiest and most clever decorating ideas are! Especially if they arealso practical/storage ideas!!

Thanks for reading!

-Kayla

A Really Good Story

What makes a good story? This is something I’ve struggled with since childhood. I used to dream of being a great writer. Unfortunately I was, and still am, very impatient and my ambition would dissipate just as soon as I ran into a snag in my plot line. I had no vision, and would start writing with no theme, no idea, no feeling. I wanted to be an amazing writer, a revolutionary writer even, but I spent so much time thinking about how great of a writer I was going to be that I forgot to actually write my great novel.
When I read novels like the Harry Potter series, any book by Jodi Piccoult, Gone With The Wind, Stephen King novels and so many others I feel like an idiot for ever thinking I could write something that great. I just haven’t ever had the push to write anything like that, not to mention the skill. Like my mind can’t even create these intricate story-lines and deep characters, with all the lessons they learn and everything is so beautifully written, the author manipulating the language like clay, forming pictures and feelings inside your mind.

A great story is alluring and provocative. A really great story grabs you by the soul and holds your attention until the last page. Sometimes even after you put a book down you can hear the author’s words in your mind and you ache to again be immersed in that world.
Frequently when I’m in the middle of a particularly riveting book, the character’s stories and problems start to creep into my life, occupying my thoughts, and I find myself rushing errands or counting down the minutes until I can get a minute in which to savour a few pages before returning to my real life obligations.
My favourite novel was a book about books; The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. I read it in the 12th grade as part of our English curriculum and I fell in love with the story and the characters. In subtle ways this book still affects my life today. It’s one of those books that you wish they would make a movie of or write a sequel or prequel to (which he actually did) even though you know nothing could ever live up to that book (sadly, it didn’t, still fantastic though) and how you pictured it in your head. The mere idea of being able to absorb more information, to be more intimately involved with the story is intoxicating and it would almost be worth the disappointment just to be able to experience another aspect of that hallowed world.
So I guess I don’t really know anything about writing a good story because I’ve never written one; I’ve only read them. But I do have a few hunches about what makes a story great. I think the best stories are spurred from our inner most desires, our worst fears, our greatest loves, and even mundane aspects of our everyday lives.
I know it must take courage to write a great story because the best stories are always somewhat of a confession and expose of piece of the author’s soul. Each character is like a part of whoever created them. Everything you put down on the page is something that was already inside you; a sum of your life experiences. Not THE sum, but A sum. A beautiful creation born out of pain, love, friendships, anger, laughter, and tears that is unique to the author.
To me there are few things to be revered quite like a beautiful piece of writing. It doesn’t matter if it’s one page, or one thousand. If you own any novels with pages that have been speckled with tears, you already know what a good story is. When a simple combination of words makes your soul light up and your stomach tingle you have fulfilled that author’s dream to touch the life of those who read his work. The Shadow of the Wind says that, “Reading is a lost art,” but I don’t believe that. Reading is part art and part spiritual experience. You might be by yourself but you’re reading the words of another, feeling feelings that she has imprinted in the words of her story, meeting, even loving, people who will never exist, becoming part of a finite world that exists only in your mind. And then after all the emotions, sleepless nights, and breathless page turns everything just ends.

7 Psychological Phenomena Affecting Your Everyday Life

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Our minds are so complex and intricate and there are so many things our brains can accomplish and do for us. However, there are many phenomena that occur in this world that cause our brains to flip out a little and act in ways contrary to our wishes. We can be conned by con artists or manipulated by people whom we trust. I’ve been doing a bit of research lately and have found these seven phenomena that can (and probably do) affect your life each and everyday.

1. THE PHENOMENON: The Gruen-Transfer Effect

HOW IT AFFECTS YOU:

  • This effects involves using manipulation to entice people to make impulse buys.
  • Using intentionally confusing layouts, stores try to increase the amount of money you spend on any given shopping trip.
  • Think Walmart super centers–you walk in and no matter what you need you are forced to walk past hundreds of products that you never intended to buy
  • Baskets of “sale” items catch your attention and near the register you have multiple chances for an impulse buy (“Well, I will need razors next week…might as well grab some now.”).

WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT:

People are starting to get wise to these tricks and I hope most of you are better able to resist the pull of consumerism and cool gadgets than I am. The best thing you can do is write a list and stick to it. And possibly enlist some extra help to stop you from buying salt and pepper shakers shaped like Elvis and to assist you in navigating the confusing isles of these grocery super-centers.

 

2. THE PHENOMENON: The Pygmalion Effect

HOW IT AFFECTS YOU:

  • Like the play of the same name, this effect is a self fulfilling prophecy.
  • It’s the phenomenon where someone’s higher expectations of a person lead that person to actually perform better. Studies where teachers who believe certain students have higher IQ’s treat those students differently thus giving those children a better chance at success. Some teachers will even give these students special/preferential treatment.
  • This effect was researched extensively by Rosenthal and Jacobsen

 WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT:

Use it to your advantage! If you are an employer, having higher expectations of your workers can lead to better performance not to mention happier workers.

You can use this effect on yourself by not being too hard on yourself and giving yourself high expectations to live up to and assuming that you will do a good job on whatever you are doing.

 

3. THE PHENOMENON: Cognitive Dissonance

HOW IT AFFECTS YOU:

  • We commonly tell ourselves lies to make the world appear a more logical, harmonious place which is the basis of this phenomenon.
  • When we change your attitudes or values to fit with the current reality we are being affected by cognitive dissonance. People do this is situations involving conflicting attitudes and behaviours because we have a desire for harmony and consistency.We want our world to make sense.
  • We tell ourselves lies to justify our actions when we do things we know are wrong or find ourselves in less than ideal situations to make ourselves feel better and out of a desire for things to remain harmonious and to avoid conflict or inner turmoil.
  • Dissonance can occur if we work hard and long to achieve something that turns out not how we expected or we discover that it wasn’t worth our time. This is known as effort justification.
  • “Cognitive dissonance was first investigated by Leon Festinger, arising out of a participant observation study of a cult which believed that the earth was going to be destroyed by a flood, and what happened to its members — particularly the really committed ones who had given up their homes and jobs to work for the cult — when the flood did not happen.

While fringe members were more inclined to recognize that they had made fools of themselves and to “put it down to experience”, committed members were more likely to re-interpret the evidence to show that they were right all along (the earth was not destroyed because of the faithfulness of the cult members).” –

From <http://www.simplypsychology.org/cognitive-dissonance.html>

WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT:

Not a whole lot because we probably won’t want to admit that we are experiencing cognitive dissonance when it occurs. This phenomenon often deals with our inner most feelings as well as our closest held beliefs. Sometimes though, we have to just be disappointed in ourselves and in our behaviours in order to learn and grow instead of ignoring the conflicting feelings and justifying the inconsistency.

4. THE PHENOMENON: The Abilene Paradox

HOW IT AFFECTS YOU:

  • This paradox can affect your life so often, in such a subtle way and you might not ever know thappened.
  • When a group does something together that no individual in the group wanted to do simply because the individuals each thought the other wanted to do it, or were agreeing to said activity in order to maintain harmonious group dynamics or because they were indifferent to the activity.
  • This paradox often ends up with everyone in the group disappointed with the group decision that was made.

WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT:

Communicate! This paradox occurs as a direct result of miscommunication among a group. Speak up if you really don’t want to do something, especially if it isn’t an obligation. You might be surprised by how many other people were thinking the same thing.

5. THE PHENOMENON: Psychology of Personalization 

HOW IT AFFECTS YOU:

  • An experiment done in a restaurant showed how waiters increased their tips by doing nothing to their service but by making customers feel special, following up with the customer post meal, and offering personal attention
  • When waiters brought mints out separate from the cheque, or when waiters brought out additional mints with a message about bringing them specifically for the customers, in case they needed more, the customers increased the tip by up to 23%
  • People are inclined to give more when they felt special
  • Being given a gift (mints) made the experience feel more personalized and encouraged restaurant patrons to tip more than usual

WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT:

Being aware of this can be extremely helpful in situations where someone is trying to manipulate you. In most cases waiters are probably not trying to manipulate you by bringing out more mints but don’t feel pressured into tipping more than usual just because of more mints.

 

6. THE PHENOMENON: Clustering Illusion

HOW IT AFFECTS YOU:

  • This illusion describes the phenomenon of people finding patterns in random sequences.
  • Example given: flipping a coin. If you get three heads in a row you might assume the next one is going to be tails, because what are the chances of getting 4 heads in a row? But in reality the chance of the next flip being heads is still 50/50
  • Humans have a tendency to see patterns and make sense out of the world causing us to notice patterns or sequences where there are none.
  • This illusion has a lot to do with patterns and probabilities and the inability of many of us to properly understand the likelihood of certain events happening

WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT:

Educate yourself on probability and patterns. While reading about this I had a flashback to high school math class and learning about probabilities which did not turn out well for me. Knowing the likelihood of a certain outcome can help you plan better or maybe even be a better gambler, if that’s your thing.

7. THE PHENOMENON: The Halo Effect (or The Horns Effect)

HOW IT AFFECTS YOU:

  • This is a phenomenon where if you observe one good trait (halo) in a person, or one bad trait (horns) you automatically and subconsciously assume that person has other positive or negative attributes.
  • You could unknowingly be missing out on getting to know good people simply because of one bad trait poisoning your overall opinion. People often assume that attractive people are nicer and smarter simply because they notice one positive, they therefore assume that other positive traits follow.

WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT:

Being aware that this phenomenon exists is the first step in overcoming it. Never ignore your intuition or gut feelings about a sketchy character approaching you in a dark alley. That would not be the time to give someone another chance even though they have some less than ideal qualities about them (“That’s a nicely done tear drop tattoo! Wow, that gun must have been super expensive!)

Sources:

http://www.simplypsychology.org/cognitive-dissonance.html

http://www.duq.edu/about/centers-and-institutes/center-for-teaching-excellence/teaching-and-learning/pygmalion

https://www.helpscout.net/blog/the-psychology-of-personalization-how-waiters-increased-tips-by-23-percent-without-changing-service/)

I also got a lot of ideas from Quora! Which is super cool site where people are always talking about something interesting.

7 PsychologicalPhenomena ThatAffect Your Daily Life

Comment and share your experiences with these phenomenons in your life! I would love to hear from you!

 

 

Must Have Baby Items for 3-6 months

Must HaveBaby Products

This was such a fun time for me and my little guy. Like every stage in babyhood he developed so quickly that everyday was a new adventure and I loved watching him learn new things. These three months were the ones where your baby goes from a mostly immobile lump to a moving, yelling, smiling, adorable human being. Not that they aren’t adorable human beings before but this is when I first noticed some independence happening and personality developing which was sad and exciting all at the same time. The big things for us during these few months was grabbing onto and manipulating toys, sitting up unassisted, rolling both ways, and crawling. Not everything on this list is totally crucial and must-haves are different for everyone but for our family we are certainly grateful for these products!

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A Sit Me Up Seat: I loved the Fisher Price one but was not a huge fan of the Bumbo, although many people are. This gave him a fun new perspective and he wasn’t always fussing to be held upright.

Jumperoo or Jolly Jumper: We started using ours at around 4 months and he began losing interest around the 7 month mark, although he still goes in occasionally at 8 months. The more independently mobile he becomes the less he likes to be restrained. It was such an awesome purchase though, it would keep him entertained for quite a while.

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Toys: 3 months was when he started actually holding onto toys (on purpose). His sit me up seat was a great place to practice holding toys with its removable tray. The first toys he held onto were the Winkel by the Manhattan Toy Company (there are more than one kind), and this soft plush book that was from the same company coincidentally. Any of the Lamaze toys that have like 50 different things for babies to discover are great and they’re site has a guide if you want to make sure you are buying age appropriate toys for your little one. At around 4 months my guy started to really love stuffed animals (and still does), he also loved anything that made noise.

Kick and Play Piano Mat: Gets its very own spot on the list because it was just so awesome (and still is). Once your babe starts kicking their legs this mat is fantastic to watch them play on! And it’s a great way for them to develop spatial and body awareness. He still likes to play with the piano part, which you can take off the mat and use as a stand alone toy.

Playpen: I love knowing that he can’t get into any shenanigans in the playpen and it’s great to keep toys all in one place.

Car Mirror: I should of put this on the first list. If you don’t drive ever, obviously ignore this but I loved having the mirror to occasionally peek on little Boo in the car and I can’t believe I waited until he was 6 months to get one!

Highchair: We didn’t start using ours until he was pretty close to 6 months but that is in part because we didn’t bother setting it up and just used the Sit Me Up seat. High chair is way better though as it puts baby up at our level.

Crib: We transitioned to a crib around 4 months which isn’t really ideal. I would of loved for him to be in the crib earlier. The crib was amazing for his physical development though, he started rolling like crazy from the first time we put him in there.

Bibs/Bandanas: My guy started drooling A LOT around 2 months. Everyone said he would have teeth in no time. But they didn’t cut until 6 months. So we had four months of drooling and soaking shirts within minutes of getting changed. Bibs were amazing.

Bottles: Again this is a personal choice, but we introduced a bottle a bit before three months I guess it was, but we actually needed them in the 3-6 month time frame.

Teething Toys: We had an awesome teething ring that seemed to help and a squeaky cow from Infantino and he just loved to bite on that things face. His teeth seemed at bug him before he could actually hold onto toys really well so this was a bit challenging.

Teething Medicine: We have tried 2 kinds of homeopathic teething medicine. The first kind was the Kids 0-9 Teething by Homeocan. It was good and he liked the taste but I much prefer the Camilia Teething Drops that come in individual tubes with the correct dosage so you never have to worry about contamination. I also found that the Camila Drops worked more effectively.

Sunscreen: I know this might be necessary before 3 months, especially if you have a summer baby, live in a  warm climate or go on vacation. A lot of sunscreens aren’t recommended for babies under 6 months and while its best to avoid sun when you can, having a safe and effective SPF on hand is crucial. I would highly recommend going onto Safe Mama and reading through her list of sunscreens. The amount of time and effort she puts into researching these products is amazing and I am so grateful that someone out there is doing this for all the moms!

Some form of journal (optional): After the sleep deprived, hectic, chaos of the fourth trimester is over, it’s a perfect time to start recording all the adorable things your baby does. I try to at least jot down milestones and cute stories when I can and take note of the day. Or just take a ton of pictures which is like a photo journal.

Another optional/nice to have would be a Tummy Time mat: I saw a cool one the other day that’s like a waterbed almost that looks super fun. Kind of like this one here. I bought a separate tummy time mat with a mirror and everything that we hardly ever used because he would puke on it like all the time. And he was sort of interested in the mirror but it wasn’t until like 6 months and a bit that he really started going nuts for his reflection. This could also be good for the first three months when you actually start tummy time, however, after 3 months your baby will take more notice of the tummy time mat.

To help with sitting up: We would prop him up with the nursing pillow which gave him some supported and either stopped him from falling back or at least slowed him down. Also having the right sized toy for your baby to concentrate on while sitting will help. I bought a bouncy ball from Walmart which worked like a charm. Square shaped toys with lots of bells and whistles would be helpful too and unlike the ball they won’t roll away.

Baby Proofing: Best to get started as early as possible, even though your little bundle of joy probably won’t be too mobile until he or she starts crawling (which can happen at 5 or 6 months, I think the average is a little later though). From my reading, I would say the biggest dangers to babies and children are strings, cords, or even handbags that could pose a strangulation risk, choking hazards (balloons, water bottle lids, toys from older kids, food, money), unsecured furniture that could be pulled down onto a child, laundry pods (which boggles my mind that kids can even get at these), any body of water from a pool, to a lake, a toilet, a bucket with a bit of water in it. Okay so there’s a lot. My strategy so far has been to…never let my baby out of site. But obviously that’s not a forever plan. Managing the environment and spotting risks before they become a problem is a must. And keep your baby either within site or in a playpen/crib.

So I guess I’ll stop my list here! My little one is nearly 8 1/2 months old as I’m writing this so in a few weeks I’ll be able to add a 6-9 month baby essential item list. I haven’t put a stroller on any list but I do think that one is somewhat obvious and a great item to have especially with the nicer weather and going for walks is a great way to get back into shape after the baby!

xoxox

Let me know what you would add to the essentials list!

 

Must Have Products For Baby’s First 3 Months

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Anyone that knows me for more than 10 minutes will probably figure out that I love to shop. I regularly browse Amazon and Walmart.ca just for fun. Since having my baby I absolutely love shopping for baby things! I was a little disappointed when I first learned that babies, as newborns, don’t require a whole lot. I think most new mom’s probably end up with an over abundance of baby items from their baby showers but even with all the wonderful gifts moms-to-be receive it still might not cover all the bases. There are the obvious things, like a crib or a change table (and you could probably get away without needing those things at first if you really had to) but after my baby shower and just before my due date I realized that I was lacking in sleepers in the 0-3 month size. I had an abundance of newborn clothes and 6+ month clothes but that 0-3 month size seemed to have alluded me. So of course my mother and I went on a shopping spree for adorable sleepers and all was good, especially since little Boo spent a lot of time in that size. Still, we ended up with more than enough clothing at all sizes. So here is my list of products that I personally found 100% necessary in the first 3 months of motherhood.

 

 

Snuza (or Owlet or Angelcare): The movement monitor was a lifesaver for me. I was a nervous wreck, constantly hanging over the bassinet watching for his little belly to move up and down so this was an amazing product. We have had our Snuza for 7 months now and the battery is still going strong and he hasn’t yet tried to pull it off.

Somewhere for the baby to sleep: A bassinet or pack’n’play  or crib. As long as it’s safe.

Swing/Bouncer: Somewhere to put the baby to give your arms a break. These things are sometimes the only place baby will sleep soundly. And its like a “station” for your baby to be in during the day.

Sound machine: Some people swear by these and while it did seem to calm him down a bit it was nothing dramatic and we could of done without it if we had to. I do love our Cloud b Sleep Sheep though!

Nursing pillow: We didn’t have one of those sweet, puffy, bouncy type pillows but we did have a very soft red one that was perfect to cradle our little guy while he laid on the couch or our bed. Sometimes it was the only way to get him to sleep.

Gripe water: I had said I didn’t want to give him any but some nights he seemed to be in pain and gripe water really seemed to help. He also freaking loved the taste.

Toys? I know not 100% necessary but still fun to have. The next post I will include things I needed for 3-6 months and I will list my favourite toys that Boo loved when he first started grabbing things. He still loved seeing his toys and hearing the noises they made. Just not as much as he loved watching our ceiling fan. 

A play mat with toys hanging from an archway: Doesn’t hurt to encourage reaching as early as possible but mostly it’s a stimulating place to put the baby down on while you do other things. My little one started really liking his play-mat when he was around 2 months old. Also, I found that it helped to establish a routine and break up the monotony of those first months.                       

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Baby bath: Our little guy has loved his baths since his very first one. I know this ones a bit obvious but we had a bath insert so I could sit next to him and let him chill in the bath and kick his feet around. Some babies hate baths but for our little one it was and still is an enjoyable activity.

Baby carrier: Another lifesaver, somewhere he would fall asleep almost instantly and it always calmed him down.

Mitts! A lot of babies like to scratch the shit out of their faces, mitts are awesome. Although it didn’t take long for our little trouble-maker to pull his off.

Soother: You will probably get some as a gift if you have a shower. I didn’t plan on using one but ended up enthusiastically offering it to little Boo on our second night together.

Receiving blankets: Babies can be messy. Or get cold. I used a ton each day. You can never have too many.

Sleep Sack, Woombie, swaddle blanket of some type: I wish I had of at least tried swaddling or using a Woombie. I do use sleep sacks a lot and I think they are pretty awesome. For many babies swaddling signals sleep time, helps them feel secure and prevents them from waking themselves up when their hands flail out wildly.

Thermometer: For when you think they might have a fever, we have one that you can use by just scanning the forehead which is a lot easier than trying to stick it in a mouth or under an arm.

I’ll keep this list short and end it here. I’ll maybe add some more if I think of any but I’m pretty sure I’ve included all the not-so-obvious tings that were necessities for me for the first 3 months. That first little bit after baby is gonna be so different and will be a time for you to concentrate on learning to care for yourself and the baby and what life as a mom means to you. Before I finish, here is a short list of what you probably WON’T need for the first three months.

  1. High-chair: For sure won’t need this for a while.
  2. Crib: We chose not to get one until little Boo outgrew his bassinet. He slept in our room anyway.
  3. Shoes: Unless you really want to, it’s seriously frustrating.
  4. Bottles: unless you’re formula feeding!!! Take your time to research which ones you think will work best, we didn’t use a bottle for months and still don’t use it that often. I know for a lot of parents bottles will be on the must have list but if your lifestyle or feeding goals are at all similar to mine you may be able to hold off on the bottle purchase if you choose.
  5. Baby food or feeding paraphernalia.
  6.  Nursing bras or shirts: I do have a few but I never really wore them often. I preferred stretchy sports bras for the first bit then eventually just started wearing my regular bras again.

 

That’s all I can think of for now, I wish I had of done this months ago!

xoxox