Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Sleepy trip prep

I'm still quite excited about our trip tomorrow. I am a little nervous about Sweet One being away from her home for a full week but know that she'll have to get used to it especially since we leave for almost 2 weeks on the 8th. I really have no clue of how much to pack for her. How many toys to bring, what I should have 'just in case' ... all those kinds of questions. My sister said she often worries quite a bit leading up to a trip with kids but once you're in the midst of it it isn't nearly as big of a deal. I guess a lot of things have been like that for me over the past year so I'll just go with the flow.

Sleep pattern last night was a bitch. I slept better when Sweet One was waking me up every 3 to 5 hours! Went to sleep at 10:30, counted down from 100 twice. Woke up at 1:45. Counted down from 100 twice, watched some tv, dusted the living room, crawled back into bed at 4:00. Who knows if I fell asleep right away. Sweet One was hungry at 7:00 and then she rejoined me in bed from 7:40-9:00. It's been similar to this for a week and I think I'm going to lose it.

Monday, June 22, 2009

mamabird in the City

Anyone who knows anything about me is quick to learn that I love the 1900s, especially through the eyes of Lucy Maud Montgomery. And if you know me, you will also know that any bit of extravagance is avoided. But starting Thursday, one of the rarerest of occassions will be happening and I am quite certain that it may never happen again in my life - I will be staying at a luxury hotel for six nights. Big Love is taking part in a competition/convention in T.O. and we will be staying at the hotel pictured above (Fairmont, baby! The hotel is sponsoring the convention - you know how it works), arriving there via train at the station that is across the street but cut off in the picture. Just as people in yesteryear would have done it. I'm so excited! I don't even care that I'm not quite sure how we will afford this week, I just know that we need it. I have google maps made with mama/baby boutiques and restaurants I want to go to. Mostly I'll be window shopping but to be able to do it in a city after months and months of being stuck in this little town is going to be wonderful. Also, a dear friend of mine decided to get a flight to T.O. since she knew I'd be there and so I'm gonna get some kickass girl-time ... something I can not get here. I can't wait.

(The only thing that might suck is that evenings will probably be very quiet so Sweet One can get to bed early. I desperately wish I had a laptop for this trip!)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

The clothes of yesteryear

I'm starting to fit into some of my old clothes. The ones I wore before Sweet One grew inside of me and stretched me in ways I still can't quite understand. Although I'm not quite back to the size that I once was I know that there is a good percent of these old clothes that I will never truly fit into again. They are from long ago and they just don't fit with how I want to express myself.

We got our driver's license renewed yesterday and were struck by how different we looked from the ones we got 3 years ago. And then even moreso the ones we got when we were still in Canada!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


This past week has been one that I won't forget any time soon. My niece and Mom were visiting and it was great, although there were many times during the week where I said "I'm not having more than one kid". Sweet One has not had any interaction with another child yet and I was glad she could spend time with her cousin.

My 5 year old niece has more energy than any other child I have ever met. I know children are huge bundles of energy; I spent almost every minute I could babysitting from the age of 14 on. But this kid is different. She runs instead of walks, never naps, the imagination station in her brain is mindblowing and she loves having fun. The last evening she was here the two of us (just us, no baby) walked to one of the local drug stores. I had her pick out a frame that she liked but did not tell her what it was for. When we got home, she put a picture of her and Sweet One in it. She asked me if it'd be ok if she took it home for her and after telling her that it was a present for her so she can remember this visit for a long time, she looked at me as if I had just given her the best thing in the world. She held it, looked at it and carried it around.

After Sweet One had gotten used to having two more people in the house it was so wonderful to watch her laughing with her cousin. I do feel sad that she will not be able to spend time with family on a regular basis but that is simply part of this life I have chosen. I do hope that eventually we will be able to get back into Canada. I doubt we'd get any closer west but getting rid of the border crossing would make flying easier.

A big relief to me was the lack of friciton between my mom and I compared to her last visit. I've been struggling with our relationship for awhile. My mom retired from teaching to go into part-time ministry and I feel like ever since she has done this I don't recognize her anymore. Her entire personality has been swallowed up by it and there are times when I'm not sure if it is my mom that I am talking to. The high pitched, swooning voice is hard to take seriously. The way she expresses her spirituality doesn't seem genuine to me. Some of the things she says just makes me shake my head in bewilderment - "who actually says that?" is one response my counselor has said when I repeat some of these phrases. But for the first time in a while I was a little sad to say goodbye and I think that is a good thing.

I get angry when people do not accept me for who I am. When they expect me to do and be something other than what I am. I hate it when people expect everything to fit into a small little box. Sometimes I wonder if it is a defense mechanism because I am constantly afraid of being criticized. But if I am honest I know I do the same thing. I have my own box that I expect people to fit into. This is my hypocrisy. I hope I can work through it. Family visits may become easier if I can!

So it has been a wonderful whirlwind of a week. Yesterday morning, Big Love was able to stay home for a little longer which enabled me to get the laundry out on the line and the main part of the house cleaned. The quiet order in my house was bittersweet as it meant that I no longer had my niece to mess things up!

With one whirlwind down we have two larger ones to go. Once the 25th arrives we will only be home for 5 days out of 27. It will be an adventure for us all and I hope Sweet One will be alright.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Poop Soup

She was splashing like crazy. My clothes were very wet. These days she really likes her baths and she even looks excited once the bathtub is pulled out. The strength of her kicks has water flying absolutely everywhere. As I was beginning to think about taking her out of her little tub she paused for a moment. The water went from clear to mud. She pooped. In her bathtub. I knew it would happen at some poing because she's a baby and only knows that when you gotta go, you go. But knowing this doesn't make the first experience of it any less - well, just what it is. A baby sitting in a tub of poop soup.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

5 months

My Dearest, Darlingest Sweet One,

Today you are now 5 months old and I do not know how the time has passed so quickly. I've been trying to hold onto each moment I can but they always seem to pass us by. This afternoon we had a nap. I left one arm out of your swaddle to see if you could sleep without it wrapped up, which you did for the first part. After you started moving a bit more I woke up and watched you sleep. Sometimes you would nestle your face into my arm and I would lie there, breathless, hoping not to wake you. (You don't seem to want to take long naps during the day and I'm desperately trying to figure out how to remedy that.) After awhile I held your hand and felt every little movement. They are precious. I love the tiny softness of your hands. I think it is cute how you lift both of your legs up and lower them down slowly while you sleep. When you woke up your face was full of smiles for me. I'm a very lucky mama because every time I walk into a room your face lights up. (This makes your Dad jealous because you don't do that for him yet!)

After your nap you spent some time with your Dad while I worked in the yard. I started out making a bin to grow potatoes in and ended up working on a chunk of the lawn that is actually the neighbors. It is on the other side of their fence so they don't think they need to get rid of the immense amount of weeds that are grown there - it drives your Dad and I crazy. By the time I was done all this work I really missed you. You and I spend pretty much all of our days together and yet if I'm busy with something for a couple of hours I end up feeling like I haven't seen you all day!

We have a couple of months coming up that are going to be tricky to figure out. Your Grandma and cousin are coming on Wednesday and we have to pick them up late at night from the airport. On the 25th we go to Toronto and are there for 1 whole week. Your Dad will be busy for most of it so it will be just us girls hanging out in a fancy, big city hotel. Five days after we get home from Toronto we'll go on a two week trip for your uncle's wedding. There will be so many people there excited to see you. I'm a little worried that all these trips so close together will be difficult for you but I'm hoping that we'll figure it out. You and I have been figuring out a lot of things together so maybe this will be one more notch for us. (I still need to figure out why you won't take longer naps before I go insane.) After all of this you will be big enough to start eating solids!

Thank you for being such a wonderful daughter, my Sweet One. Your Dad and I can hardly believe that you've only been here on the outside with us for 5 months. You have changed our world day after day and we love you more than we can say.

Your Mama

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


You know how you can envision how something is going to work and in your mind it goes just according to plan but then the reality sneaks up on you and it doesn't quite work so you have to figure out an alternative? Well, I've been experiencing that quite a bit but the one situation I'm thinking about right now is cloth diapering. We want to use cloth diapers because of both the financial savings and the environmental benefits they have. Prior to Sweet One being born my cousin had sent me some commercial fitted cloth diapers. They looked gorgeous. So I made some in a larger size as well as multiple waterproof outer covers. The picture in my head as I spent so much time making all of these things was quite nice. I was saving money by making my own and being such an industrious mama at the same time. (I have since learnt that there is another option out there that would have cost about the same and I wouldn't have had to slave over all the pieces of birdseye!) I have not been able to use anything yet. The ones from my cousin are not working because there is a padding in the middle that is nearly 2 inches thick. Now Sweet One is not a big baby. Born at 6lbs7oz she weighed only 12lb13 at her 4 month appointment. I still do not have her completely out of all her 0-3 clothes.

Now I'm trying to figure out another option. I'm thinking the prefold option will be a good one. Anyone have experience with them? I'm trying to find an affordable way to do it (well really, buying them new won't take long to recoop what I would be spending on the gDiaper refills) and so the other day I found myself on some websites that I read about which deal with purchasing used cloth diapers. I don't really like the idea of buying them from strangers and so I checked out a cloth diapering store that has both new and used. I sent a short email to the woman to ask what she may have in used prefolds and this was her response:

I have all sorts of used items in my store. Unfortunately I do not have
the time and energy to sort through and individually list them. I am a
very busy very poor single mama to three boys. Taking time to go through
them would have to generate income for me as I have some bills I am
desperate to pay. Until I get a bazillion things that desperately need to
be done (really basic things like learn how to market my store adequately
so people know I exist in my town) and find the floors in my house and
start getting my kids and self baths on a more regular basis, I cannot do
anything more then I currently am doing. I tell you these things not to
ask for pity but to help you understand why I cannot go through my boxes
and list what I have. You are welcome to come into my store and look at
them. That way I can offer them at a much more reasonable price and you
would be sure to know what you are getting. I have tons of stuff that
would be free (but not fancy enough for most people...) Where are you

Quite honestly when I was done reading this email I felt so badly for her. I just wanted to hug her or something like that. Sometimes I think being a mom is hard when Big Love is at work but am thinking things might be much more difficult for her. I wish that she didn't live in the complete opposite end of the state from me or I'd go and buy my things there! (I also thought it was weird that she seemed completely opposed at making a sale if she is so broke.)

If anyone out there has any suggestions on which products have worked well for them and which have not I'd love to hear it as I really don't know anyone here to ask. I wish I wasn't in an area where everything like this has to be ordered online because I'd love to get my hands on something before I buy it.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Little Miss Fixit

I've done quite a lot of improvements to this little house we live in. Nearly every wall has been painted which has also forced me to develop spackling skills. One large undertaking I did was my floors upstairs. We started with terrible, awful, horrible, no-good horse hair carpets and now have refinished hardwood. It's rustic looking but we like it and really, anything is an improvement.

Despite all of these accomplishments I still second guess myself every time I take on something new. In April I was at a swedish home store and bought some shelves for Sweet One's bedroom. They've been gathering dust since. I completely knew the logistics of how to put them up but the monkey on my back would laugh and tell me that I would screw them up some how, that it wouldn't be good enough. Well, today I threw that monkey off. I stood up from this computer chair, marched into her room and put one of the three shelves up! No glitches! If you look very carefully you can even see the bubble on the level is exactly where it should be. (Woo hoos abound.)

It's too bad I still haven't figured out how to redo my awful bathrooms.

Monday, June 1, 2009

percolating under the surface

My Father-in-law often refers to Sweet One as "our baby" or "our little girl". I hate it. The first time he said it I was still pregnant and my gut reaction was "No, this is my baby." Since then it doesn't matter whether it is in person, on the phone or via email, I immediately begin to personify a mother bear who's cub is being threatened. There's a major difference between your baby and your grandbaby and I feel that it needs to be acknowledged. (The implications of this being his baby well, ew. That's for the soap operas, not me.) Big Love understands that it bothers me a lot but believes there are other more important things to "fret" about. I firmly believe that were my FIL to stop calling Sweet One his then I would not feel so threatened and be able to be more gracious during their time with her. I am trying to let it slide but also wish Big Love would stand up for me without me having to ask so that I can feel more comfortable around his family. The situation has been reversed and I stood up for him.

From where I stand Big Love's family is very contained. Take all your emotions, expectations, relationships and experiences. Tie them up and put them in a very small box. The most important part is to make sure that this box, labelled comfort zone, is never tampered. Surround this with a constant happiness that seems fake and conversations that never get under the surface of things. Stepford is fictional but they are very close neighbors. I sometimes believe that I have too strong of a personality for them and that I might shatter their world by accidentally blowing the lid off of their comfort zone. Big Love once told me that his mother's "comfort zone was quite small."

If something happens to Big Love and I we have asked my sister to take Sweet One (good lord was that hard to vocalize and may it never come to pass!). Today as Sweet One and I walked Big Love to work I told him that I would hope his parents would not fight this because I do not want his parents to raise her. I think he was surprised at how strongly I felt this. "Yes, they are contained but I don't think it is as bad as you make it out to be." In my eyes, this controlled containment is awful. There just has to be more depth to people than what they show. I felt completely stifled after 5 days with them.

And then it hit me. Countless times I'd get excited/hyper as a child and be told "that's enough" or "don't be silly". How I wanted to express myself was unacceptable and wrong. I remember being so excited to share news that I had walked to school for the first time all by myself and I was ignored. I was desperate to be heard and wholly accepted for who I was but it never happened. I can't count how many times I felt spit on my face from his screaming at me or from the end of a forceful shhhhhht. My acting out for attention was always met with anger. The violent response was never his responsibility, it was always mine. Whether it was the beatings of my younger years or the verbal abuse later on, I was constantly afraid of an outburst. (To this day I cower if I hear a male voice screaming.) It didn't matter if I was five or twenty five, the fault was always mine. A few years ago I asked him why I got more 'discipline' than my siblings. "When it's your first kid and you're at your wits end, what do you do?" was his excuse. Again, a complete lack of responsbility.

I have spent a lot of time digging through the crud to find my own truth. To be honest with who I am and where I am coming from so that I can heal. The journey has been hard but it has helped the pieces fit in a better way than they ever did. I believe this is why I struggle so much with the "make believe" world I feel I am thrust into when with my in-laws. Within her first few days of life I promised Sweet One that I would never yell at her or hit her. I want so much for my daughter to feel proud of who she is and free to express herself. Hearing my in-laws place their words of ownership on her makes mamabear rear her ugly head because I immediately become afraid they will expect her to fit into their cramped comfort zone. In the end I can not expect my daughter to want things as I do but I do want to give her the freedom to choose rather than putting her in a box.