40 Plus MOMS

Raising children at 40

First Day at the Dentist

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At the Dentist – Photo: Liliana Polcari


Today’s dentist appointment visit reminded me how far we’ve come along.   My daughter’s first dental visit went relatively smoothly, with a little support from me, the dental hygienist was able to clean and polish her teeth at that very first visit.  My son, on the other hand, the dentist couldn’t even take a peek in his mouth to simply count his teeth.  They were both three years-old at their very first dentist appointment. 

When I first wrote this blog, I had mentioned that the first dental visit usually happens at the age of three as this is the time frame that had been recommended to me by our family physician.  After reading into this one a little more, I quickly uncovered that the Canadian Dental Association (CDA), among others, recommend a much earlier visit, closer to the age of one or when the first tooth erupts.  The CDA’s logo related to children’s first dentist’s visit is “First tooth, First Visit.” Another article from Today’s Parent highlights a story of a parent’s experience with their 3-year old child’s first dental visit.  The appointment went well, the child cooperated, but the outcome wasn’t very good: seven cavities! Yikes, maybe I shouldn’t have waited until the age of three!  Lucky for my kids, they didn’t have any cavities.  Also I’m not so sure how much more succesful I would have been with my son if I brought him at a younger age than three.  That being said, I wouldn’t want to dispute what every dental association is suggesting parents should do to keep their children’s teeth healthy.

What’s made a significant difference for both my children was the child friendly setting at our dentist’s office.   They have a treasure chest offering kids little toys once they are done with their appointment, and a jar with sugar-free all natural lollipops.  The staff is also well accustomed to children wandering their office with plenty of books for them to look through in the waiting room. 

In my daughter’s case, she felt more comfortable lying on top of me on the dental chair while her teeth were being cleaned and checked.  The same didn’t work for my son the first time around, but by the second time, he lasted a whole ten minutes.  Today’s appointment, (third one for my son sixth one for my daughter), was stellar for both of them:  teeth cleaned, counted, and polished. 

It made the treasures and the Crayola type toothbrushes all the more rewarding for them!


Treasure Chest at the Dentist – Photo: Liliana Polcari


Toothbrush selection – Photo: Liliana Polcari


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First Day of School

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First day of School ; Photo: Liliana Polcari


What makes the first day of school different from the first day of daycare?  There were many emotions circulating when I dropped off my daughter and now my son for their first day of school.  The feeling was not necessarily the same as it was for my daycare drop-off.  What distinguished the two sentiments was the feeling that it’s the start of independence for my children.   I heard time and time again from parents on how quickly their children have grown.  There were moments during my children’s infant days when each day seemed like an eternity (maybe it was the fact that I was up almost 24/7 and severely sleep deprived.). 

Now at these ages, the days whisk by.  Having said that I’m loving these early years in school, my children still think we, as parents, are the centre of the universe. We still have several years before they don’t want us to drop them off or pick them up right at the school door. 


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First Day at Daycare


On the topic of firsts, I have not and will not forget that very first day I dropped off my one year-old daughter at daycare.  She was a late walker so was not yet walking on her day at daycare.  All the daycare workers warned me that there would be lots of tears but shortly after I’d leave, she’d stop crying.  Well stop crying she did not, what seemed like an eternity while I was signing paperwork, I just heard my daughter wailing.  Naturally I was concerned, but the caregivers at the daycare just took it in stride that our experience was no different that any other family dropping off their child for the first time.  And I was kindly asked to leave.

It so it went on for several weeks that my daughter cried everyday at drop off.  Then all the positive stuff that comes out of daycare started to come alive.   She became more independent, before she was two years old, she knew how to put on her own winter coat and boots.  To put in perspective, my 4-year-old, who never went to daycare still struggles.

As a first time mom, anything new seemed to shock our system, but then my daughter and me quickly became used to the new routine and benefits associated with it.  One thing that helped me feel like I was highly engaged with the daycare was to have a very open communication and contact with the daycare staff.  During the first few weeks, the manager at the daycare encouraged to call once a day to check up on my daughter and I’d be happy to report that she did stop crying shortly after I left the building.




First Day Home

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Welcome home baby!

Simona's 3rd BDay-034

There’s no way to be a perfect mother and a million ways to be a good one.

Jill Churchill

As I’m striving towards pulling together a sensible story and purpose to my blog, I’m getting to reminisce about my experience as a mom from the day my child was born. I’m thinking for a person who was 37 when my daughter was born, I should have been more confident, definitely more mature, than someone who’s a first time mom at 25.

Yet I remember many moments of self-doubt as I feverishly flipped through “What to Expect in the First Year” and spoke at length to close family and friends for advice.  I recall being at the mall with my infant daughter one weekday afternoon, incidentally bumping into quite a few moms, with one mom in particular, standing out from the pack.  I’m sure my hair wasn’t combed that day and I noticed this one young mom who couldn’t have been older than 21 with twins. She looked calm, at ease, and well rested with her infant twins. She was with a friend and each was carrying one twin with a front baby carrier.  She didn’t have a stroller, making her travels with public transit in the winter more comfortable..  

Is it a function of age, circumstance, support network, or of course, simply attitude?  I certainly did become more at ease with my second child, better navigating my options for a better support network.  My family lives out-of-town and my in-laws are elderly so we needed to accept having to seek support outside of our family.

As I continue to ponder the age variances in motherhood, I did find this interesting link that offers an unexpected perspective on having children after 40…

Photos: Liliana Polcari


Weekend Getaway WITH kids


Off we go!


Those that say you can’t take it with you never saw a car packed for a vacation trip.
— Author Unknown

Back in the day before kids, spontaneous weekend travel was so easy; pack up and go. If you forgot something, no big deal. An inconvenience but inevitably, you’d be able to find what you’ve forgotten at your weekend destination. A few modifications and “planned” spontaneous travel with kids is possible. After a few failed attempts of picking up and going with kids, I put together a checklist on our refrigerator door.

One is for summer weekend getaways and another for winter ones. The day before we go on any last-minute weekend trips, I glance through the checklist making sure I have all we need the night before so that all that’s left to do the morning is dress and feed the kids.

Summer list:

  • Water bottles
  • Packed lunches
  • fruit
  • snacks (dry & veggies)
  • cutlery/napkins/tea towel
  • picnic blanket/plastic table-cloth
  • Extra clothes (pants, tops, underpants/diaper/wipes, socks)
  • bathing suit & towels (if swimming)
  • caps
  • sunscreen

Winter ski list

  • ski pants/jacket
  • ski clothing (leggings,turtleneck,socks)
  • helmet, balaclava
  • goggles
  • neck warmer
  • mitts
  • hand warmer
  • after ski clothes
  • water bottles
  • packed lunches
  • fruit
  • snacks (dry & veggies)
  • cutlery/napkins/tea towel

 Photos: Liliana Polcari


The joy of family portraits

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How wonderful, let’s hire a photographer and get great family pictures. Sounds easy enough, not so if your children don’t want to cooperate. Lessons learned, schedule times around your children’s nap and feeding times. Seems obvious, but sometimes, you end up booking the time according to the photographer’s availability.

Two weeks ago, we had a photographer friend of ours come over to take pictures. Kids don’t like standing still for long periods of time, (adults don’t either for that matter), so work fast and have fun. Even the shots where the kids are trying to get away or crying can be cute years from now.

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Eating out with Children

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I can’t count the number of times we had to dash out of a restaurant with food in our mouths while one of us is paying and the other is chasing the kids. At one point I thought, is it just us? Is it because we’re older and we don’t have the energy to discipline them? I was in Amsterdam one month ago and couldn’t help notice how many parents were dining with children younger than ours and were just so well-behaved. What’s their secret? How do they do it?

For one, it seemed like they went out with their kids more often. Just as we go to Montreal every other month with our kids, going out to a restaurant isn’t a novelty. In our case, we gave up quite early after a few times of large mishaps, we just opted out. We avoided going out to restaurants with them for a while until, lo and behold, our kids got some practice. In our case, what helped us was making sure we’d go to a restaurant that served kids fast so we weren’t lingering. Our kids have an expiry time when it comes to going out. They need to move, so as long as we were able to order and eat within one hour max, we were fine. Anything beyond that would make it tricky. Typical crayons, paper, and other small toy kits helped too.