Sunday, December 27, 2009

She'll climb the highest mountain .. or 14 stairs

I've been painting my bathroom in any time that is available over the past two days. It's a nice way to save a bit of money on the reno and since Big Love's schedule has calmed down a bit, he is able to stay with Sweet One while I tackle this project.

Last night Sweet One had me up three or four times. She'd cry and then as soon as I'd enter the room she would immediately lie back down and go to sleep. It's a little nuts. I think she's experiencing a little separation anxiety because she is not used to be kept from me for even a few hours straight during the day. Not once, not twice but three times Sweet One has climbed the stairs, unbeknownst to Big Love, to come and find me. I find it utterly sweet that she is so determined to find me! And then when I'm done work for the day, she holds onto me as tightly as she can.

So despite being exhausted from her night wakings, Sweet One is making it up to me by showing me just how much she adores her mama. (I'll remind her of it in 13 years from now when she's trying to tell me how much she hates me!)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

I hope everyone out there has a Merry Christmas.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

SOKC - A Sleepy One Kid Christmas

For the most part, I don't mind living away from my family. I don't even mind having a quiet Christmas with just the three of us here. Making our own traditions, not having to plan our day around everyone else's schedule - a quiet day or two where we spend time together. Christmas always felt very stressful for me and, quite honestly, depressing prior to having Big Love in my life. This is why I am content here with our family and his church schedule. But there is always one day prior to Christmas Eve and Day that I do wish it was easier to see my family at this time of year. And today, it seems like it is the day.

I haven't put our tree up yet because I don't want to spend every moment chasing after Sweet One and trying to catch the tree as she pulls it over. Our mantel and tv storage thing is decorated.

In the perfect world which I imagine in my head, I want to have another child who is about 2 years younger than Sweet One. Right now I see a problem with that. The idea of ever having a second child right now is the most terrifying thing in the world. We have been working SO hard over the past two months to get Sweet One sleeping better and it doesn't feel like we're getting anywhere. It is getting harder and harder to be productive in my days when I am this exhausted. It doesn't feel like it will ever get any better and the idea of being pregnant again and doing this all over makes me want to jump off the roof of my house. I know many parents out there have problems with children and sleep. It is crazy how it can become all consuming in a day.

I think we have one of those phone systems that can only send calls and not receive them.

Sweet One loves to drink water out of my glass. She giggles just before she is about to drink and then after. It is so cute. There are moments like this that make the lack of sleep worth it. Thank God. Otherwise I think I'd jump off the roof of my house.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

in the parking lot of a grocery store

I had just taken my keys from Sweet One so that I could get her into the car. A few screams of "Dammit, mama, I want those keys", me trying to reason and offer her my purse instead and within a moment or two she was fine. Another young mother with a son in tow smiled at me as she walked towards her vehicle which was parked next to mine (funny how when I passed her twice in the aisles she made sure she didn't look my way). The he said, "Hey Trouble". To which she answered, "Me? Trouble?". I looked behind me and there was a guy about our age in a car talking to her. I didn't continue to listen in as I wanted to get home so I could get Big Love's Birthday dinner cooking. But then a few minutes later I heard this:

Her: You need to use some birth control, [dude].
Him: It doesn't work!
Her: Well, maybe you need to turn it off.
Him: My Grandmother thinks the same thing.

I had to get a bit better view of who she was talking to and with this conversation in my head, I had a mild reminder of Cleetus and his crew. An older large sedan that had this guy talking and easily five children in it with him. He drove away, she turned around and looked at me as she said, "That was the nicest way I could say that." All I could do was laugh out loud. I'm still laughing about it!

Now as I try to get the blueberry out of my hair that I found just now, so kindly placed by Sweet One, I will get off the computer and go and have Birthday Cake with Big Love. It's nothing fancy but the icing (frosting is the term used this side of the border) recipe I found here is freakin' awesome - and simple to make!

So Happy 29th Birthday my love. Thank you for being the man you are. You love Sweet One and I patiently and completely. You take care of me at moments when I'm not sure you'd be able to. You are my rock and my best friend - and a wonderful father to our little girl. We are both very fortunate to have you in our lives. Here's to another 29 years ... at least.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Goodbye, my little friend

My cat died yesterday. It was quite scary for me because it happened unexpectedly. Sweet One was napping and I sat on the couch. He walked on my lap and then I decided to get up and wrap some presents. I was sitting on the living room floor and within minutes I heard him fall off the back of the couch and when I rushed over to him he was making strange sounds and not responding to me calling his name. I kept calling his name, over and over, hoping he'd wake up. (Thankfully Sweet One chose this afternoon to have a decent nap so she was sleeping while I was freaking out.)(Also, our contractor had gone to get supplies so that was nice, too!) Amidst my flood of tears I called the vet and they said I needed to bring him in. I was terrified to touch him. I called Big Love at a restaurant he was at for his staff Christmas lunch and he got home as soon as he could, wrapped him up and put him in the carrier so I could take him to the vet. I said goodbye to him and he looked very peaceful. Gave him a few kisses on the head and petted him. Thanked him for being such a good little friend to me over the years. (When Sweet One woke up she said "dat" a few times and has been looking around for him.) The vet said it was probably a heart thing that happens to older cats and they can't detect with the stethoscope, only an autopsy. We had been anticipating not too much more time with him as his kidneys had started to fail but I did not expect it to happen at home. The day before I bought treats for his Christmas stocking. I am thankful that he didn't suffer at all.

I knew it would be hard to lose my little companion but I never imagined it would be as hard as it is. LM Montgomery spoke of her cats in her journals and many of her stories had cats who played very important roles for the heroines. There was a time in my life where that did not make sense to me as I've never been a cat person. I considered myself only a "my cat" person. His little spirit was so affectionate and quirky enchanted me. I loved my little cat and he was a kindred spirit of mine on four legs. He was with me, often crawled up on my chest, stomach or legs, through some very dark and lonely times. I've had him around for 8 years. And I still expect him to crawl up on my lap as I sit here and type.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A cooling thought

Our fridge came with the house and we have no idea how old it is. It does look like it is easily within the last 10 years but other than that, no clue. Once in awhile it would make a weird sound here and there which sounded something like ice cubes being dropped but this morning my husband mentioned that it was making more noises. The new noise is somewhat of a grinding one that seems chronic. And just when we're having our bathroom redone. I only hope that the fridge is not about to quit on us. Luckily, it is cool enough that I could possibly put the food outside on the back step for awhile to keep until we win the lottery!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Why I walk

Why is it that a child sleeping or not has complete control over everything in my day? We've had a rough month and a half but progress was being made ... slowly. Two steps forward, one step back. I feel like we're on the step back right now and the overwhelming frustration and fear at being dragged back to a week ago when she woke me up every two hours permeates everything. It was that Monday night where at exactly 4:40am I couldn't handle it anymore. I broke down and cried for twenty minutes, desperately wondering why my efforts at helping Sweet One learn to sleep better were not working. I cried as hard as she does when she is fighting sleep. Then we had one night with major improvement and following that, two blissful nights where she slept 7 hours straight. The last couple of nights have not been as good. Nor have the days of napping. Today she had another half hour nap and I woke up from my own nap utterly frustrated. Angry that she won't seem to nap better; scared that I'll never get her napping properly; pissed off that no matter how hard I try to help her sleep better nothing seems to work; worried about how the next two weeks will go when the contractor is back working on our bathroom that is barely 12 feet away from her door. When all of these emotions come together I do everything I can not to take it out on her but sometimes I look at her and want to pretend for just a few hours that she is not there and that this little person who is not even 17 pounds yet (at 11 months) doesn't make me feel like the most horrible mother in the world.

And so we will go for a walk. Some days we go for two walks. During a walk I don't have to have patience with anything else than my mind. Sweet One will sit and look around, completely content. Sometimes if she is tired enough I won't try to stop her from falling asleep. The snow is falling lightly and the insulation chamber I bought to put around the stroller seems to be helping keep her warm. Walking is the only thing I know to do so that I do not lose my sanity and luckily, the fresh air is good for both of us. In the next little bit we will go for our afternoon walk. And probably almost every other afternoon that follows, weather permitting. Because deep down I know, from hearing other stories, that eventually this too shall pass and putting one foot in front of the other gives me some comfort that I'll get there eventually.

Monday, November 30, 2009

The time is nigh

I received a phone call today and our contractor came to look at our bathroom once more. He was 'getting really close to be able to start' it and wanted to refresh his picture of what needs to be done. Well, close is freakin' close as he will be starting tomorrow! After months of hoping that our contractor would actually start, the wallpaper I took off (and the pictures that nauseated my sister) and just be plain old sick of looking at the ass of a bathroom we have, a new one will be here soon.

I'm finding myself a little anxious about what the few weeks will be for Sweet One and I. We're still working on her sleeping through the night. I made her quit the soother at sleeptime cold turkey and also her third nap. The last few hours of her day have not been as bad as I would have imagined. She's starting to sleep a bit better but if she does wake up more than once for a feeding I rock her rather than feed her and she seems to go back to sleep alright. It is obviously not only hunger that is prompting these night rousings. Nap time still isn't perfect but it is ok. However, I'm not quite sure what will become of it with this disruption to her schedule. Has anyone out there dealt with this situation? Any suggestions for me? (Well, other than to stop worrying and know that like everything else we'll figure it out!)

I think Sweet One is fighting off her first cold. Her nose isn't running or anything but her voice has more rasp to it than before. She sounds slightly conjested. Luckily it hasn't killed her spirit. With the third nap being cancelled I've been trying to spend that time out for walks. She is sitting in the main stroller part rather than the car seat now and seems to really enjoy having a look around at everything that is going on. (Winterizing will be happening as soon as I get around to ordering whatever it is I need. Suggestions are welcome.)

But I am a little weary from an early morning and so will stop. It is 6:30 and Sweet One has already passed out for the night!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

An hour long walk with the family and the rain coming down a bit; shootin' the shit; 3:00 I got the pie made and Big Love followed my step-by-step instructions to prepare the turkey at the same time; Sweet One and I just arrived home after a half hour walk in the glorious sunshine and upon our arrival home we were soaked in the smell of Chocolate Pecan Pie and turkey. So all in all it is a better day now than it began. Happy Thanksgiving!

Family matters

A few days ago I was on the phone with my sister and she told me about something that happened between her and our SIL. I'm sure that my SIL doesn't realize how rude her comment was nor that it was not taken as a joke by my sister.

Sister: Thanks for coming to this concert!
SIL: Huh?
Sister: Because you're here, [brother] is babysitting my kids so I could come, too.
SIL: Sweet! Birth Control.

Seriously? My jaw dropped. I understand that our SIL has no desire to have children and, despite being a teacher, does not like young children. What I do not understand is how she can basically insult someone's children to their face - especially when they're family.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thanksgiving limbo

I find that here in the states, the overall sentiment for Thanksgiving is much more intense than in Canada. I'm not sure why but I think part of it has to do with the fact that, from my observations, it is the holiday that gets the ball rolling on the Christmas/Holiday season. (What would Black Friday be without Thanksgiving? Perhaps just another "Biggest 2-Day Sale EVER" that seems to happen at least once if not twice a month.) It seems to me that people make a bigger deal out of trying to get 'home' for Thanksgiving if they are separated from their family - even though Christmas is only a month away.

For the past three and a half years we have been in Thanksgiving limbo. Each year I have made our Canadian thanksgiving. The first year we were here I made it in the tiny apartment that we inhabited for more months than I care to remember. It was on a Sunday and Big Love was gone ALL day. I cooked and drank a few rum and cokes - had to pour the ingredients for my glazed squash three times because I kept screwing up from my tipsy-ness! This year was the first year I felt more detached from Canadian Thanksgiving. The motivation to have Thanksgiving in October was not as prominent for me. It seems the longer we're away from Canada the easier it is to feel that its celebrations are not as much a part of our life. It doesn't feel like it is 'ours' anymore.

I have not yet made a Thanksgiving meal in November. The first year we were here the associate pastors of the church (who are no longer here) invited us to their house. We had a nice meal with just the four of us. I was introduced to an American Thanksgiving with a strong southern influence (Oh! the pecan pie! I can not say enough about the pecan pie. I'm told it's all in the shot of bourbon.) and the flavors were gorgeous! Last year we were invited to Sweet One's surrogate great-grandparents house where we enjoyed Thanksgiving with them and some of their family. This year will be the first year we will be at our house on our own. Big Love and I still seem to lack an attachment to Thanksgiving in November but I am going to make us a small dinner. Sweet One is an American (despite our jokes that we will raise her Canadian - no shoes in the house.) and that means that Thanksgiving in November is part of her own story. Who knows what the future will hold but I do plan on making both Thanksgivings mean something within our family. Maybe I'll even attempt a pecan pie.

I am thankful for a humble home that is full of love and the laughter of my daughter; for the opportunity to make our own traditions together.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

No more soother tonight, Sweet One

My legs were aching, my back hurt and tears were leaking out of my eyes as I silently cried with her.

Before she was even born I hoped that Sweet One would not be a baby who loved her soother but babies quickly make liars out of us and it wasn't long before she'd crawl across the floor to get one she saw. So much of the literature out there talks about how babies will get used to sleeping with the soother and be unable to sleep through the night without it.

Over the past week her multiple wakings during the night were no longer as much for food as they were for her soother. Her nap length, rubbing her eyes and yawning for most of the day were all things the professionals say are because of soother-dependency. I knew I'd have to wean her from it but I really didn't want to. There have been a number of times where I suddenly realized that it was time for changes. With this, it was time after I had walked into her room a fourth or fifth time to give her back the soother she tossed out of bed to get my attention. I had a rough day personally and didn't want them to be a regular occurrence. Something needed to change because I was barely hanging on.

Weaning was necessary. By wean I mean go cold turkey. Not fun by any means. She screamed and I leaned over the crib railing to rub her back. It felt like hours even though it was only 15 minutes or so. I was ignoring the pain in my body because it was nothing near the frustration that Sweet One was voicing after having her best friend taken from her. I cried because I felt like I was doing it to her. After all, I let her have the soother as much as she wanted. I continually gave it back to her in the early months to help her keep sleeping.

I'm lucky. For the most part, Sweet One falls into the category of an easy baby. By this I mean it usually takes only 3-5 days for her to adapt to new changes in her life. One night done, two to go. And hopefully she won't send me the therapist's bill twenty years from now.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I conquered the sleep sack

Every time I passed by the dining room table I looking at the material. A constant reminder of the sleep sack I wanted to make for Sweet One. I was going to go rogue and make it without a pattern. (Patterns for this weren't on sale when I was buying the material.) My first sewing project, other than curtain panels, that I would not use a pattern for. Pieces were cut with another sleep sack as the guide. I knew I could make it but that little voice inside my head that makes me question my abilities (even for something as simple as this) was working too well over the past week and a half. Today I silenced it and my little project worked just fine. The only thing that could have been better was the size of the armholes. Because I was guessing at how big it needed to be I did not get the proportions right. (The pattern is on sale now so I will probably get it to avoid that particular problem again.) My original motivation for making this was to save some money. The supplies for this one cost under $10 whereas buying a new one is double that.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Because Sweet One was born in January, it makes the Christmas season huge for what she will be receiving. I'm thinking that I will not spend a whack-load on her (since she won't remember it and all) but buy her some 'half-birthday' gifts. One thing I am really trying hard to avoid is toys for her that are based upon computer programs. Ever since she was born, neither Big Love nor I have felt that these toys are the greatest for her development. You know the ones that sing, beep, buzz and do everything for the kid short of wiping their butts and doing the potty training for me! I think that they do too much work for the kid. They are often battery powered and I want my child's play to be kid-powered. Nowadays it is so easy to push a button and everything is done. While looking online a bit I was happy to see that there are a lot more toys out there than the standard jumping frogs and other toys like theirs.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

I am woodwork

Lately I've been struggling a bit due to the fact that I haven't gotten out of the house with the purpose of doing something for myself (and only myself) since before October. Seriously. This is NOT GOOD. I'm going mental. Part of the reason I don't get out as often is because, quite frankly, I have no friends to hang out with so what is the point of getting out to hang out with none other than MYSELF? However, going to the movies is amazing for helping me recharge and I need to make a point of getting to the theatre at least twice a month. It will be best for all who live in this house. But I feel like I am woodwork. It sounds stupid, I know. I take care of my child, wear the same fukking clothes all the time because right now we can't afford to get me new ones and do the same thing every day. I'm not exciting, my brain is shrinking and I feel like I am losing a sense of who the hell I am. This is not only due to my daughter but has been happening ever so slowly since we moved to this little town. (Big Love: As you read this post DO NOT feel guilty. I chose to move here just as you did.)

Brainfart #1:
Last year we had the majority of our Christmas shopping done by September. It made this time of year less stressful financially and mentally. In my family, the 'kids' did a gift exchange thing and Big Love got my sister's name. I'm trying REALLY hard to find something original that she will love but I'm not sure I will pull it off. For me, she is the hardest person to shop for because in my eyes, she has everything. I think I've figured out one thing that will be original and then another thing that might not but I hope she'll like having it anyway. (To my sister: As you're reading this, I'm not trying to be bitchy/insulting at all. I just have no clue what you'd like and would desperately like to surprise you.) I drew my sister in law's name and she's easy because I can get her a jock strap for hockey and all will be good. I'm lying. But her wish list makes it pretty easy.

Brainfart #2:
We had a bit of a rough day today with Sweet One. Her rough days are fairly easy to deal with but when the hour of 5:00 approaches and I'm trying to get her dinner ready it's tough because she's pulling at my leg and won't be happy unless I'm holding her. Yes, every mother deals with this but it is still challenging.

Brainfart #3:
I really wanted to enjoy my Bacardi Rum tonight. The stuff that is aged 8 years but a) we don't have it and b) if I were at the store I'd think that we couldn't afford it right now and therefore I don't deserve it. (Wine seems to be giving me a buzz just fine.)

Brainfart #4:
Today I got a message from the author of a blog I read. She started it "Hey Lady!" When I lived in western Canada I had a friend who called me that all the time. It was wonderful to see it in an email again.

Brainfart #5:
Approximately 30 weeks ago I watched a rerun of the episode in Gilmore Girls where Lorelai and Luke kiss for the first time. I decided to continue watching the episodes until the station reached the end of the series. (Did I ever mention I cried while watching the actual series finale?) Then when it stared all over again I decided to watch it from the beginning because I had no idea how many I may have missed. Well, today I got back to the kissing episode and it turns out I missed a few but not as many as I may have missed. I have officially watched every episode of the Gilmore Girls. Big Love asked if I was going to keep watching and I couldn't say no. It's is totally my replacement for not having any girlfriends here. (I know I should shut up but every once in awhile not having a girlfriend in the town I live in can really suck. Some days, more than others.)

My apologies for possibly being annoying and pathetic today but really, that's how I feel. I did get a message back from the phantom phoner. One thing to keep in mind is that he has a liver issue. He's is not all that well and may not ever completely recover so when things go weird with him, it is not just me but his parents who also wonder WTF. Man I miss this kid sometimes.

Sorry about the phone thing, my best guess would be that the keypad was unlocked in my pocket and inadvertently called your number. I am actually alive and well at the moment engaged in the usual doldrums of churning out assignments and papers for my cruel masters.
Other than the universe conspiring to rob you of sleep, hows life?

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Middle of the night phone call

This is an email I sent via Facebook. I'm not in his friends list but needed to get in touch with him because I'm a little confused and slightly worried because my imagination is that good. He's the son of Sweet One's Godparents and for a number of years I taught him voice lessons. Basically, I watched him grow up and over the past year we've lost contact. I guess it is because he's in his early twenties and doesn't need to say hi to his 'big sister'.

Hey Kid,

I don't mean to stalk you but when I email you at one account the messages seem to end up in the abyss of emails that never return. Last night at 12:30 I got a phone call which freaked me out a bit. It was your cell number with nothing on the other end. Since I haven't heard anything from you in over a year it was a little weird and I just wanted to make sure you are ok. Perhaps it was some weird unintentional phoning thing that your phone likes to do to wake up mom's who were about to have their first night of 6 uninterrupted hours of sleep for the first time in weeks (how I was desperate).

Frankly, I watch too many tv shows and add that to my overactive imagination well imagine what I was conjuring up in the 45 minutes that followed to phone call as I desperately tried to fall asleep again before Sweet One woke me up at 4:15!

My sarcasm is with the idea that you are in fact just fine and not lying in a ditch somewhere. If a cell phone rings and the owner is unconscious beside it, does it still make a sound?

Hope you are well.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

As long as she doesn't go buying beer

Sweet One was in the Snugli and we were on our way home from the drugstore where we picked up almost $25 worth of greeting cards. As can happen, Sweet One was making sounds to tell everyone within hearing distance that she was in fact having a great time. This time it got a slightly eccentric man's attention and he started to talk to us from across the street. Then he said, "Wait, I have something for you," and began digging in his pocket. I wasn't quite sure what to do. Was he going to pull out a dirty candy from him pocket and expect Sweet One to eat it? Was he going to be the lonely old man who follows us home? Luckily, neither of the above happened. I decided that I would let him attempt to give her what he wanted. He's an old man and it might have made his day. (If it seemed dangerous I would quickly put an end to it.) He pulled out a quarter and Sweet One took it from him. He then proceeded to tell her (although he thought she was a boy due to the red clothing she had on) not to spend it all in one place. He also said, "Don't go buying no beer. I don't believe in that stuff." We said thank you and continued on our way home.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Mundane mumblings

I've had lots of postings in my head lately but it seems that by the time I can actually sit down to put words to screen, I'm tired. And then I also realize that what I might write about isn't all that exciting and so why would anyone else think it is exciting! The lovely cyclical nature of not enough sleep and over developed skills of self-flagellation.

Right now I am working on getting Sweet One to sleep without me rocking her the entire time. It is the third day and so far she is still making noise. Yesterday it too her little to no time to fall asleep because she was so exhausted from a 5 am morning and not enough naptime. Hopefully she will fall asleep soon so that it doesn't cause another one of those tomorrow. Good lord, I do not want to repeat how tired I was on Sunday. I also think a tooth is on its way and I do wish that whole process didn't have to be so painful for the little babes out there.

Why is it that almost every time I try to get Sweet One sleeping the neighbor-dog is outside barking his yappy little mouth off? We had a sheltie when I was young and my mom was able to train it to not bark non-stop. My guess is their skills at training a dog are as developed as their exercise routine. What is with people who don't take their dogs for walks on a regular basis? They all need it. (Ouch. That was bitchy. I'm tired and maybe I shouldn't be typing!)

So I'm going to leave it at that. I'll go here, raise some money for charity and hope that Sweet One does spend the next 45 minutes screaming at me.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Randomly I Roll Along

A little bit of this, a little bit of that as it floats in and out of my brain over the past few days. Not much but this is where I'm at right now!

We had a lovely trip to Baltimore and then a little cabin at one of the state parks. Sweet One made the trips in the car quite easy. I think having Big Love in the back with her helped a lot because she had someone to play with. The two nights in the big fancy hotel (which we so did not pay big fancy prices for) were a little challenging with Sweet One waking up every 2 hours the first night!

The last month has been a challenging one for me as a mama. With the weight issues and trying to get her to eat more, the refusal when she is not happy with what I'm offering, and then feeding her at night 2 to 3 times. I thought I was going to lose it; it was never going to end. When we were at the cabin I had two nights of 6 straight hours of sleep! It was a miracle. And then the last night we were there I gave Sweet One a soother rather than the boob and she went back to sleep. She's eating more during the day from both me and her solids. Now I need to get her eating a larger variety of foods and hopefully she'll like what I'm giving her!

Family is family whether you know them or not. And I learned that especially in the past few days because a cousin of mine was killed in a car accident. She was only 21 years old. I didn't know her at all but my heart aches for those who knew her well and loved her even more. We never want to outlive our children and as I think of my Grandma, I am sure that outliving our grandchildren is difficult in its own way.

Another milestone of motherhood last night: I was puked on multiple times. I have no clue what happened but she woke up at 8, I found some puke and then as I tried to comfort her, waves of warm, stinky pukey-ness would cover us both. Eventually she fell asleep and I held her until 10:30, making sure she was going to be ok. For quite awhile she did that breathing thing where little bubbles of sobs were heard as she inhaled. Despite the grossness of the whole situation, watching her face squish up as she fell asleep was wonderful. As she slept, I saw many of the same expressions and movements upon her face as I did when she was a wee newborn. It is good to be her mama.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Abigail Adams had it a lot harder than I did

The doctor drove the wagon to the front of their house. Lying in the back was a man dying of small pox with sores all over his body. She had her five children waiting. For each of them, the doctor cut their skin with a knife that didn't seem any cleaner than a kitchen knife. Inside this cut he placed a small bit of skin that was taken from the sores of the man lying in the wagon.

It may be a fictional account but this was what I was horrified by watching the miniseries John Adams. Abigail Adams was a brave woman to expose herself and her children to a small specimen of this live illness in the hopes that it would help to protect them. The risk was that they would die because their bodies could not fight it. How far science has come that we only have to stand in line for awhile to have a dead virus, one that can not actually cause the illness itself, injected quickly and safely into our children to protect them.

The whole process was harder on me because I was afraid that she would cry. I gave her a does of Tylenol before we left and I can honestly say that except for two short wimpers, Sweet One has been acting like her normal self. Actually, she's been easier to deal with than she was for a good part of today.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tomorrow I will be taking my daughter to get the swine flu vaccine. Fortunately for me, our pediatrics clinic gives the preservative free version to all children under the age of 3. Despite the fact that thimerosal has been deemed safe, if the option is there to not take the chance, why bother? This is the stance the clinic takes.

Choosing to vaccinate is a little scary. There is so much fear with vaccines in general. We have given her all her vaccines to date and she has been just fine with them. I am hoping this one will be the same case. I have been watching as many segments on tv as I can find, reading online and listening to others talk about the challenges of making this decision. For me and my husband, we firmly believe that the risk of not vaccinating and the potential complications for a child our daughter's age is not worth the risk. From what I have learned, the vaccine has been made the same way that the seasonal flu shot has been for years.

I still get nervous about taking her to get her vaccines but it is not because I believe they are going to give her autism, it is because I know that it fucking hurts. She screams at first and then she cries. What mother wants to put her child through that? I take comfort in knowing that I do not remember my vaccines from when I was that small. And I take comfort in believing that they are doing what they are meant to do. Will I get the swine flu vaccine? As the pediatrician said, if there are enough and I can actually get your hands on one!

As I think about this more, I'm starting to believe that the panic and frenzy found in the media is moreso the reaction of the public to a new virus that is not fully understood. Choosing whether or not to vaccine gives us a sense of control. There are so many things in this world that we have absolutely no control over. When the opportunity arises, I know I will leap at the chance to feel like I have the ability to protect my daugther. Regardless of which way I choose.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Pop Tarts, Take Out and Coffee

At some point in my life I heard that it is not good to talk baby talk to babies because it really doesn't help their language development. I even went as far as to tell Big Love that it is best that we always use words with Sweet One. Honestly, I had no idea where I had heard it from but I believed it to be from an excellent source and was willing to stick to my guns.

Every day, abc family airs two episodes of Gilmore Girls and 5 per week (mornings being a repeat of the previous day at 5pm) and I'm making my way through. When I need a serious break from self-flagellation and my frustrations with a little girl who won't eat I love turning one of these on. Big Love says I often giggle more during one of the episodes than any other show I watch. I just finished watching "Die, Jerk" (Season 4, Episode 8). Lorelai is visiting Suki and her new baby, makes a few cooey noises and in walks Bruce the midwife to give Lorelai shit for talking baby talk and then lectures her on how babies brains are hardwired early on. This is where I learned not to baby talk to babies in 2003 when it was originally aired!

Quite honestly, I'd love to have a relationship with Sweet One as Lorelai and Rory have (reminding myself this is fiction) and so I pretend I'm 'getting my learnin's on how to be a mom' as I giggle through these episodes. Maybe I can learn to relax a little more with Sweet One and her eating. If Rory survived on pop tarts, take out and coffee I guess it can't be all that bad!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Monkey see, Monkey Do

I wasn't handling it very well. When her mealtime would approach, my stomach clenched and my entire body reacted with such high levels of stress that I thought I was going to lose it. As Sweet One continued to turn her head to pretty much every spoonful of food I would give her, I desperately clung to any ounce of composure and patience that was hiding somewhere. I know damn well that it was the voice with the heavy chinese accent in the back of my head saying how she is too small, if she is waking up in the night it is because she is not eating enough during the day and that even children in India would be staying along the curve at this age.

For a number of days following our 9 month check up, Sweet One ate with vigor. She would scarf down everything I put in front of her face with excitement and delight. The look on her face once her desserts of fruit came out was wonderful. You'd think she was eating a Ferrero Rocher Cheesecake! But once she got sick she stopped wanting to eat. I figured this was par for the course because who really wants to eat when they're sick? My concern came when she started to get better and was eating large bowls of oatmeal and fruit for breakfast but nothing once lunch and dinner came around. I was freaking out inside! Why wasn't this little girl eating? I read about food refusal and knew I'd have to figure out another approach.

Today was overcast and so with Big Love on his day off we decided to go out to lunch. Prior to leaving we attempted to feed Sweet One beets, which she actually ate the night before, and some noodles and parsnip. No luck. As a last minute thought, I put them in her diaper bag as we left the house with her booster seat in tow. Once we were sitting at the restaurant and eating our own food, Sweet One started to take interest in what we were doing and actually ate her beets up! She also ate the parsnip I brought. With this newfound interest in eating I was desperate to find anything for her to eat and so gave her a little bit of haddock meat from my plate. Success! She she seemed to like it.

Suppertime came around and once again Sweet One had no interest in her food. I was in the kitchen trying to get the roasted butternut squash separated from its peel but it was taking much longer than I had anticipated. With more stress in my voice, Big Love decided to take over and I went into the dining room with a bowl of greens for myself. I'm not kidding when I say that as soon as I started eating, Sweet One did too. She even ate the chicken pureed with butternut squash which she wouldn't touch for the past few days! Following that, she seemed to want a neverending supply of homemade pearsauce! Who knew that the simple act of eating with her, rather than after her, would get her to eat.

The relief over this simple concept of getting my daughter to eat is amazing. I was beating myself up for not finding a way to get her to eat and I felt like, once again, I was fucking up. An added bonus is that I will eat more regularly and possibly not find myself starving in the middle of the afternoon! Lets just hope that this will continue to encourage Sweet One to eat.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Proof my husband is full of shit

It is absolutely gorgeous outside. Close to 70F/20C with the sun brilliantly shining. It has also been a better day for Sweet One with two 1.5 hour naps and her fever coming down gradually. I do wish she'd eat more solid foods but I'm just giving her as much as she will eat and that's the best we can do.

Big Love had been putting in extra hours at work for the past week because of a concert he had last night and so decided to come home for a few hours this afternoon. I took the opportunity to mow the lawn and rake some leaves while he played outside with Sweet One. Near the end of our time, Sweet One's soother (yes, if she's sick we let her have it whenever she wants) fell onto the lawn. A minute or two later this conversation happened.

Big Love: "Your soother fell out again. Where did it go?"
mamabird: "You didn't put the soother back in her mouth after it fell on the ground, did you?"

"Are you saying that so I won't get mad and you actually did?"

"Do you lick the ground?"
"I worship the ground you walk on."

"But would you lick it? The ground."
"If you walked on it I would."

"But would you suck it?"
"If you walked on it I would."
"You're so full of shit."

Honestly, I am not embellishing whatsoever, folks.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

How Sweet One affects my dreams

Most of my dreams happen in the morning after Big Love has taken Sweet One downstairs to help me catch a few extra zzz's. This morning my dream found me walking around pregnant with part of the baby pushing and protruding just underneath the right side of my ribcage. It felt as real as I could imagine. I did have minor contractions when I was pregnant but I didn't even know they were contractions until I had some more while hooked up to the monitors shortly before I went into the OR.

Sweet One had another rough night. She didn't really sleep until almost 10:00. Big Love and I were wiped (me especially, many tears were shed that evening) and so we crawled into our bed with her around 9:15 thinking that if we fell asleep first and she followed suit then it would all be ok. She fell asleep first and I put her in her crib. She woke again at 1:45, 3:00 and then 5:45. Often the last one ends up her wake up time and I was pleading with her to sleep. I fed her in our bed and then hoped she would fall asleep. Well, she did. Lying on her back, with her head just below the right side of my rib cage, perpendicular to me so that her butt ended up on the bed to the left of me. We made a bit of a T. I wasn't worried about her comfort because I know that type of position feels great in yoga. But it did answer the question as to why I felt like I was having contractions in my sleep!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Sweet One's first fever

This morning I had an idea for another post and it didn't have anything to do with Sweet One. Crazy! I know. But then the morning happened and she is all I can think of.

Yesterday Sweet One hardly ate. This was weird because ever since we went to her 9 month appointment she's been downing more food than I could believe! So I was worried that she wouldn't sleep through the night asking for food constantly. She went right to sleep at 6:30 and woke up many times. At 9:00 I was giving her sweet potato, peas and pears and she gobbled it up between yawns. At some point I gave her teething tablets because it is possible that the two in the front could be coming in and then around 10:00/10:30 I gave her Tylenol because I suspected something was going on. Big Love thought her head felt normal so I didn't take her temperature. (Minor relief that I would not have to put the thermometer up her butt.) 11:30 she woke up for food and again at 2:15. Finally, she slept until 6:00.

I know these details are probably 'been there done that' for many moms but honestly, up until a few weeks ago this kid was sleeping from 10:00 or so until at least 6:00. It was wonderful and I knew I was fortunate. With the past few weeks finding me waking up at least twice to feed her and her wanting to start he day any time from 5am on, I was starting to wonder what to do.

Big Love took her for the first few hours of the day and then she had another fit-full nap. When I was getting her ready for her second nap her forehead felt a little warm and I had to check her temperature. With an under-the-arm reading of 100.2 I decided that it was time for my first rectal reading. Quite honestly, I was scared that it was going to be uncomfortable for Sweet One but she didn't seem to react well. (I guess a little vaseline can make the experience a little more comfortable.) Thank goodness the digital ones work quickly and told me her temperature was up to 102/103 degrees.

Why I am typing all this about her first fever I'm not quite sure. What I do know for sure is that I was afraid of this happening. For the first two months she was alive I was scared she'd get a fever and have to have a spinal. Then I was simply afraid of her burning up, screaming and us having to have a steamy shower like all those moments I've seen on tv. But the truth of the matter is that it isn't too bad. She's not napping very well but when she does wake up she's still quite cheerful. She gets tired and a little fussy but it isn't that bad. Tylenol has been taken and the Motrin is on its way in case we want to alternate. It's just another bit of mamastuff that I was afraid would be huge but in the end we're taking it a little bit at a time and figuring it out together. Just me and my girl.

She has just woken up from a productive 10 minute nap! I thought babies sleep like crazy when they're not feeling well. Not mine.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Falling off the curve

In the end I don't care if I don't do what the books say. If my daughter is happy and healthy then I'm doing a good job. If she is confident and courageous in who she is then I can't ask for more. I want to be a good mom and I want to provide her with what she needs. I believe in my mother's intuition to guide me in many things and what it does not show me then I'll figure them out.

For the past few days I've been wondering if Sweet One needs to be eating more solids. She has stopped sleeping through the night and I've thought that perhaps giving her more in the day would be necessary. I had this on my list for our 9 month checkup that was today. Unfortunately, I didn't even have to refer to the list about this because the doctor was quickly in my face trying to figure out if Sweet One was eating enough solids. I felt like I was on trial. (A slight cultural/language barrier made him sound like he was attacking me more than perhaps he meant to which didn't help me feel completely comfortable.) I admitted I had been conservative out of fear that she would stop breastfeeding. In my defense I was waiting for this appointment to confirm my instinct that she should be getting more solids now. For the past week I was thinking about it constantly. I honestly had no idea at what point solids are supposed to take over as the main caloric source and had been making sure she was not so full as to not want the boob.

The problem here is that when I took her in for her 6 month appointment Sweet One weighed 14lbs8oz. Today she weighed 15lbs4oz. In 3 months she didn't even gain a full pound! Prior to this her weight gain had sat within the 5th to 10th percentile and now she's hanging below the curve altogether. I feel bad. Luckily this is an easy problem to solve and already I have given her much more to eat since the appointment than I regularly would have. Ever since I started Sweet One on solids I have spent a lot of time trying to find out at what point solids should become the main source of calories and I honestly kept coming up with nothing. I'm not an idiot! But I feel like I fucked up.

I know we're going to be ok. As my sister said, "at least you're not trying to feed her and she's refusing. You just need to give her more." It is a simple solution. She will continue to grow and I will continue to learn (and hopefully stop the self-flagellation).

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Because I'm not yet pulling my hair out..

...I thought I'd get a post out. There's been a few things lately that I have thought of mentioning here but by the time I am able to start typing, it is "that time" again and my hair starts to tingle. So I decided that I will get them out there now before "that time" arrives!

I told a story this story at my wedding reception: Big Love moved into my apartment with me two weeks before our wedding and in this time the carpets in the hallway had been cleaned leaving behind a nasty odor. We opened the windows in the apartment, despite the cool temperature outside, to try and get rid of the smell. When it was time to go to bed I was dreading getting into a cold bed. After spending some time washing my face I walk into our room to find Big Love on "my side" of the bed. I thought he was be
ing a dork because he was new to the idea that there were "sides" to the bed. He had a bit of a mischievous smile on his face and so I asked why he was being a dork and on my side of the bed. His answer was, "I was warming up your side for you."

A few days ago Big Love went to bed to read a few minutes before I was done watching tv and I crawled into my cold side of the bed, complaining that the romance had died because he no longer warmed my side of the bed for me. (To be honest, if the bed is a little chilly at first it can take me quite awhile to warm up and actually fall asleep.) The next night I came into the room to find Big Love on my side and I looked at him, teasingly asked what he was doing there, and then smiled as he told me he was warming it up for me.

Big Love is not a man of grand romantic gestures, but he is always trying to make my day a little brighter.

Sweet One has started holding he head against mine when I pick her up after she has been sleeping. I love her hugs!

Despite their simplicity these two things have been beams of sunshine in my days.

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving! Growing up we always had the dinner on Sundays and so tonight we will be having Turkey thighs, garden carrots and the Chai-Spiced Pumpkin Cheesecake I baked last night.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The witching hour

I've heard it said that the witching hour/hour from hell (whatever you call it) landed at about 4-5. I'm sure you've experienced it if you have kids ... for some reason during that time everything gets more difficult. I will admit that it was never that big of a deal for me because Sweet One would usually be just waking up from her third nap of the day and therefore be in a very good mood. But for the last three days 3:00 comes and I want to pull my hair out. What used to be the time for a third nap has now become the time when she is exhausted but won't sleep no matter what happens.

It doesn't matter that from 2:00 on she's been rubbing her eyes and yawning, she doesn't seem to want to nap. I miss her third nap! It was the only time in the day where I grabbed my Diet Coke, sans caffeine, and did nothing and worried about even less.

Today I thought she'd take a third nap. We got home just before 3, I gave her a little boob, read a few books and then started trying to get her to nap. The writhing started immediately and after awhile I put her in her crib. I am now leaving her in there wondering if she will put herself to sleep. I have to admit that the laughing, panting (not quite the right word but don't have another one) and chatter is cute. (After 15 minutes in her crib it has turned into crying.) If she doesn't nap she'll have an earlier bed time which means we'll probably be waking up before 6 again and I hate that.

I feel so frustrated that I can not figure out her sleeping. Her naps are spaced out STUPIDLY with an average day being:
  • out of bed anywhere between 6/6:30
  • napping again at 8 for 1.5 hrs if I'm lucky
  • napping again sometimes by 11:30 and rarely does it go longer than 1.5 hrs
  • sleeping by 6:30/7
This leaves that last 5.5 hrs of her day for her to be very tired and I'm not sure what to do other than just trying to remain calm. I think the fact that it is Saturday with Big Love not back from work yet (he works 6 days a week and for some reason Saturday is by the far the hardest day for me emotionally but I'll post about that another time).

Big Love got home and as soon as he opened the door he was given two options: a) peel and cut up butternut squash or b) take his daughter for a walk. He opted for b) and now the only thing I can do is have a mini-meltdown and I don't know where the hell it is coming from.

Cheers to motherhood and the days our children can wear us down in a mere 45 minutes.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Cafe et chocolat dans la ville

Despite all of my fears, and the fact that I had an anxiety cry as we drove away from our house, the trip to Montreal will go down in the memory books. I've never been good at staying present in the moment. The Power of Now was fleeting even though I knew how important it would be for me and the way my mind works. Never did I imagine that my daughter would be my guru. Yes she cried herself to sleep for an hour when we got to the hotel (unheard of in her world!) but after that she was amazing. Once in the thick of it, everything went as smoothly as it could. She was incredibly sleep deprived but never once had a fit or became fussy for more than a few minutes. I do not know what I did to deserve such a wonderful child but I am thankful every day. (One woman on the train told me not to expect the next one to be so good natured and I dislike the logic of these comments so much that I simply said - I had a scary third trimester and my friend told me that is why I have such a wonderful baby.)

Spending time with my friend in Montreal sustains me. Conversations with her help me figure out what it means to be a woman and I always feel like a better person for knowing her. It was wonderful to watch her and her husband enjoying time with Sweet One - I am happy that Sweet One has them in her life. It is almost insane that both of us moved so far away from 'home' but ended up being a reasonable distance from each other to see each other twice a year.

Highlights of our time were:
  • walking around the neighborhood Sunday morning when the streets were almost empty and it seemed we had the city to ourselves
  • coffee shops here and coffee shops there! No lack of (decaf) coffee to drink!
  • a wonderful "Girl's Dinner Out" where we had good conversation and Sweet One didn't rush us - a brilliant Ferrero Rocher Cheesecake. Seriously. Best cheesecake. Ever.
  • coffee and Tornade de chocolat for me, coffee and chocolatine for my friend (if you're reading I need a name for you, you can even choose it) Sunday morning in a small French bakery where the nearby church bells serenaded us.
I guess it doesn't look like much because we often don't do anything fancy but it means the world to me.

After a long day on the train (11:45-7:15), Sweet One had a huge smile of relief on her face when I put her into the car at 7:20 last night. Rarely has she ever slept in the car for more than 30 mins but she did this time. Within 5 minutes she was sleeping and did so all the way home. This morning she woke up and it is clear that she is happy to be back in familiar surroundings. I'm a little sad as I sit here typing while Sweet One and Big Love nap. I usually go through withdrawal after spending time with 'my people' because being back here reminds me of how far away they seem. But for now, my cup has been filled up and I will sip from it when I start to feel all alone.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

First trip as a single parent

I bought health insurance for the few days we'll be in Canada and fell under the category of Single Parent. That was weird.

As per my usual routine I am very anxious about this trip and my abilities to get Sweet One and I to and from Montreal smoothly. Despite the fact that the majority of our trip will be on a train and all I will have to do is entertain her. I'm excited to go but terrified of doing this alone. I think all the more better to be doing this trip. I worried about the summer vacations and once we were en route all was well and so I trust that this will happen again.

I'm tired. My mind is not working and so I must sleep so that driving to the hotel this evening will be safe! Then it's early in the morning onto the train.

Bon voyage.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Perhaps my expectations are too high

When getting my hair cut is it too much to ask:
  • that I be sitting in the chair for more than 20 minutes
  • that my hairdresser isn't distracted the entire time by everything else going on
  • that my left side is the same length as the right side
Please tell me if I am being ridiculous!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Layer by Layer

I never know quite what I am getting myself into when I start a project here in this little house of ours, especially when my two main ingredients are wallpaper and Ultra Downy. The featured bathroom is in dire need of renovation. (If it can get done we will not have to shower in the bathroom that is probably swimming in mould.) We've been in a contractor's queue for awhile now and a month ago he said that it was quite possible that he would start on October 1st. Perfect timing for Sweet One and I to be gone with all the loud noise going on. Yesterday evening,as Sweet One was going to sleep (she did it all on her own!), I found the energy get started the awful task of taking down the wall paper. The first picture is the top layer. Yes, my friend, there were more than one. Not at all sure just how much of a gong show was going to ensue. As backward as it may seem, my way of expecting a mess and getting a break actually worked! The top layer came off easily in large pieces.
And it revealed an even more beautiful layer! Gross. (Twenty minutes after I started all of the this the contractor phoned to let me know he was going to take advantage of the good weather to get other projects done. Well shit. Another month, at least, to wait.) So I got the section that is in the final picture completed and was exhausted. As I was finishing I told Big Love that I probably wouldn't do anymore until I was back from Montreal. I've been sick for over a week and haven't had a whole lot of energy.
Every time I went into the bathroom I smelled coal dust. If you walk past some houses in this town there are small steel doors near the ground for people to dump the coal directly into the basement rather than carrying it through the house. I guess I never imagined that coal would have been used recently enough to have it underneath the wallpaper. Or maybe I had hoped that the wallpaper wouldn't be so old as to contain excessive amounts of coal dust... but it did! I hated the idea of smelling that for who knows how long, especially since I had no idea if it was detrimental to our health or not, and so I started "a small section to get rid of the dust" this afternoon. This is what was under the second layer of wallpaper!
Even grosser. The grossest! What followed was not uncharacteristic to me. The above section proved fairly easy to get done (believe it or not, only 80% of it was actually still stuck to the wall!) and so I took on the next patch, which lead to the spot above the sink so that I could get rid of all the coal dust. Then since Sweet One was still sleeping, I continued on above the tub because I had gotten into a zone with just enough water/ultra downy being rubbed all over the wallpaper to make the whole process go quite smoothly. (And I only dumped one bucket of my water/ultra downy concoction on the floor!) But what is the point of finishing the wall when I still have a bit more over top of the tub because really, it's a pain to clean wet, ripped up wallpaper out of the tub so I might as well just do it once ... which finally left me with such a small spot that I couldn't not finish it all up. About 3-3.5 hours after I said "I'll just do a little bit" there was no more wallpaper. Just bare walls with this pale yellow paint on top of the plaster.
I am happy that this job is done and the bathroom is cleaned up. I hope we are next on the list soon! The bathroom has so much space in it and huge potential to be a very nice space. And the smell of Clean Breeze shouldn't stick around for too long!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

I don't think I will ever figure this out

From what I've read on other blogs, trying to get kids onto a sleeping schedule that functions and works for everyone in the family is the bane of our existence as parents. (Yes, I have failed the Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Baby because I just can't seem to get it to work.) This is today's schedule. I decided I didn't want to try and keep Sweet One awake so that she'd go to sleep at specific times. I just followed her cue.

Wake up 5:50am.
Nap 8:00-9:10 (she almost always falls asleep for a nap at 8am)
Nap 10:50-12:05 (she was already acting tired by 10:00)
Nap 2:45-present (it is 4:20 and RARELY does this kid ever sleep for more than 1.5 hours)

Now, if I can figure out how to get the longest nap to be in the middle of the day I might feel like I could have a bit of a life that doesn't center around when she needs to sleep. (And I'm a little worried about napping turning into a gong show when I go to Montreal in a few days.) I wish I felt a little more equipped with how to help her get a more functional sleep schedule.

Friday, September 25, 2009

A few things about Big Love

  1. He laughs when I bring him home "Senior Multi-Vitamins" - he doesn't like swallowing pills and they were chewable
  2. This morning I watched the season premiere of Grey's (was in complete disbelief that it was George who died the ENTIRE time) and so didn't get the vacuuming done as I often do on Big Love's day off. I told him that I wasn't going to be able to fully relax once I put Sweet One to bed and before I finished my sentence, he asked if I'd like him to vacuum the floor while I gave her her bath. Ahhh.
  3. Even though I have outbursts like yesterday that continue on into today (it only lasted for a few minutes today), he is still patient and loving and without judgement.
  4. I love tv more than he and there are times that he will sit in the living room with me, watching reruns of Gilmore Girls just to be with me. (I'm almost done and I will be able to say that I have watched every. single. episode.)
  5. When I accidentally put too much salt in the kale (I was experimenting on a new way to cook it) he profusely apologized for being a bad husband and not finishing what I made him for dinner. A few minutes later I quit eating it, too, because the salt was awful.
  6. He has been counting down the days until Sweet One and I go to Montreal (we start out in 5 sleeps!). Not because he wants to get rid of us but because he knows how important time with my friend is for my sanity. He was the one who strongly encouraged me to buy the train tickets.
  7. He constantly tells me how beautiful I am, desperately hoping that I will stop struggling with all my postpartum woes. (How does Chyler Leigh look so amazing postpartum in Grey's?)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

I am a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad daugther-in-law.

I usually send out a mass email of some pictures of Sweet One. I've decided that rather than doing this every couple of weeks I will do it once a month. Every now and again I'll email my sister, my mom or another friend a picture here and there. I don't do it for my in-laws I guess because I think that Big Love can email them a picture or two in between if he wants to. But today I felt guilty and so got into our email account so that I could send them one.

There was an email from them telling us they got back from a trip which we didn't know they were on which is strange because they will often send us an email and contact info if they are going to be in the bathroom longer than usual. Big Love had even phoned them the other evening to check in with them (funnily enough he says that he does it out of obligation rather than really wanting to call them). Neither of us knew they were gone. But I digress. Their email asked to re-upload a video we have of Sweet One doing the delirious laughter thing babies do because they hadn't seen it due to their trip. At the end of the email it said to let them know how "our little girl is doing". (When we are with them, they make comments about how their other son always calls on Sundays, every week. They must have one of those fancy phones that only has the incoming capacity and not the ability to make outgoing calls.) I do not understand why, but every time they call Sweet One "our little girl/baby" (it first happened when I was pregnant) I want to punch them in the face, tell them she is their grandaughter and not their baby. I don't know why. This primal reaction is immediate and overwhelming - it will probably bug me for the rest of the day. When my mother-in-law calls her "my love" repeatedly I want to take Sweet One away from her. Stranger yet,

I replied to their email: Here is a picture of your Grandaughter. I'm not sure if I still have the file for the video. Then about 15 minutes later I decided to spend the few minutes it takes to re-upload the video and sent them a link: Luckily, it was not accidentally deleted.

I really don't know why they annoy me so much especially when we spend very little time with them. They live so far away that in the 8.5 months Sweet One has been here we have not been around them for a full 2 weeks. While sitting at the dinner of my brother-in-law's wedding (Big Love was up at the head table), my mother-in-law said something about planning a fall trip. I acted like I didn't hear anything and we've heard nothing from them. Honestly, this fall would not work for a visit from them anyway with Big Love's schedule at work. I know I've bitched about the tiny, sheltered world they live in and the eccentricities they have. I need to learn to be more tolerant and accepting.

I think that perhaps part of my issue is that I do not know my in-laws very well. We have always lived quite a distance apart and thus there has not been any foundation for a relationship to be built. I do not feel 100% comfortable around them, yet. The idea of someone stealing my child is terrifying and as lunatical as it seems, when they us terms such as 'our baby' I am afraid of losing her. I want to draw a huge line in the sand and clearly state the facts: that Big Love was their baby and therefore Sweet One is their Grandaughter NOT their baby.

If only I could have a psychologist to explain all of this to me so I could stop being such a loon.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Waiting for a few more minutes to pass

For the longest time now I've been waking Sweet One up around 10/10:30 for a last feed before I go to sleep. Sometimes she'll wake up on her own and other times I wake her. I do have to admit that I feel guilty for startling her system when I wake her up but it is equally as hard on me to have an interrupted sleep. Last night she woke up for a feeding at 8:30 and so I decided to let her sleep through 10:00 and I spent most of the night wondering when she'd be waking me up. There are books that support the last feed of the evening and others that do not and in the end it is simply fukking hard to know whether my decision is right or not. So right now I'm just sitting here, waiting to see if she'll wake up and also deciding if I should just go to bed and see how things work out. I'm quite sure she wouldn't sleep through the night as she seems to only last about 7-8 hours before she's hungry. Rather than reading multiple books with even more opinions on what to do with our babies, I wish we could have one book specifically for our own baby. Wouldn't that be lovely?

This past Sunday I watched the Emmy's. Overall I wasn't all that impressed. They didn't grab me and I fast forwarded through a lot of it. I was pleased that no one's speech was muted, then again maybe they were all told to keep away from political comments. There was, however, one moment that practically had me crying: Kristen Chenoweth winning Best Supporting Female Actor for her role in Pushing Daisies. I absolutely adore her and equally loved the show. Rarely is there ever a show with such originality and quirkiness. I am very sad that it was cancelled.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Wardrobe worries

It is 11:39am and I am still needing to get myself dressed. My daughter is napping (she's been whiny for the first time ever today!), the main floor is vacuumed and the kitchen floor is washed and so it's not like I've been lazing around.

I hate trying to figure out what to wear these days. I look in my drawers and closet and if it isn't too big it is frumpy, or poor quality. I absolutely hate it! With the fall season approaching I am in need of new shirts because the milk factory won't fit into my pre-pregnancy shirts and I've got another 4 months to go. (I was a lot smaller then than I thought.) Shopping doesn't exactly inspire happy thoughts for me, either. I find it impossible to find affordable clothes that are a decent quality and make me feel like me. (After our recent investment at the vet, I'm not too excited about spending money in general.) Maybe Stacy and Clinton will be at my door the next time the doorbell rings!

When I was trying to think of all the things that pregnancy and having a new baby would entail, I don't think I imagined just how much money would be needed for buying clothes at all the postpartum stages.

2:44pm. It's Big Love's day off and so he took Sweet One for a walk while I napped. She loves the Snugli! She has her hat and sunglasses on it and all you can hear is brrrrr, yayayay, yaaaaaaa. I've had people smiling from across the street because they can hear her and today a woman stopped her car to tell Big Love how cute she is! She's sleeping again - so tired today. I'm having some quiet time and so I went to The Basement which I think is an amazing place for women to put stuff out there. I only learned about it in the past week or so. After reading the most recent post, one that I can relate to in terms of cold turkey off of antidepressants, I feel like a complete asshole for being so upset because I feel ugly everyday!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

My petit chat noir

nce I rescued him from the streets, I've often worried about my cat more than some people would (but also less than others, too). For the past two weeks I've been a little preoccupied with the findings in his litter box. We got to the vet on Monday and they sent in a complete blood panel to basically give us an overall view of what is going on in his body.

I've been feeling awful because he has not been getting as much attention as I would like - and some of the attention he has been getting was me being pissed off because I was stressed out. This is understandable with a baby in the house, I know. But I do feel bad about it. I became scared that I was going to have to make the decision about whether or not we deal with what is going on or just put him down. After all he is a pet and our bank accounts do not overflow with money. I came close to crying a couple times. He's been such a good cat to me for almost 9 years. The idea of putting him down sucks. Sweet One adores him even though he only tolerates her!

Luckily, at this point we do not have to make any decisions other than to change his food. This will help to manage his early kidney failure which, thanks to my worrying, we have caught early enough that it isn't dire. Already he had been on a 'prescription diet' but now we need a different (and more expensive) one. Should things get worse then we will have to re-evaluate. But for now, I'm going to search online and see if I can find his new food at a cheaper price.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Teething Poop

It's been an interesting few days here at Le Nest. Teething began last week. Of course I had no idea what was going on when I had a fussy and crying Sweet One as opposed to the Sweet One who only cries when she is hungry or her father is putting her to sleep. I learned that teething was happening once the first one was already out. HELLO! Why can't we know ahead of time so that the necessary aids in helping to soothe our children can be at hand? Number two is on its way. I just finished putting her down for a nap and just like at 10:30 last night, she screamed bloody murder. This is SO rare for her. Seriously. No bragging, just tellin' ya it is because when she does scream like this I really know something is up. So the homeopathics seemed to help but my ears are ringing even though she is sleeping. Oh. That's the neighborkid blowing his whistle? Remind me NEVER. EVER. to buy any child a whistle. So tooth number two is close to its own cotillion and then the rest. Is it normal to get a new tooth per week? Why is there no blood when these teeth push through?

And to make matters much more wonderful my cat is not doing well. Without too much disgusting detail, I've been checking his litterbox dailing to monitor the state of his poop and today we went to the vet where they ordered a full blood panel. I hope we caught something soon enough because if anything is excessively expensive (this trip would have had me crying if it got any more expensive) to deal with what is going on we may have to look at alternatives. Never thought I'd be so invested in poop! Not just a baby's, but a cat's, too!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Defeat can sometimes be very sweet

We've been battling it out for an hour now. Her incessant writhing is making my arms hurt and my pleas for her to go to sleep are ignored. I give up. Does she know that she has won this one?

I stand up. My nursing tank is damp because the pee has leaked through the homemade cloth diaper. It is too thin. I didn't make it out of the right material, even though I thought it was going to be perfect. All the money spent and time invested have been wasted. Another thing to add to the list of what I thought I had figured out before she was born only to be shown how little I know now that she is here. Maybe I can selvage and repurpose the material. I know I've lost this one.

I haven't bothered to change my shirt yet. Still trying to gain some composure from the battle. Pee is sterile, isn't it?

The sun is shining on our covered porch and I think we'll go there. It's time for her to have supper. Potato, sweet potato and peaches. She can't get enough peaches. We both feel better now. She is talking constantly, telling me all that she has to say. Her smiles stretch for miles. The blue of her eyes are sparkling and I think I can see the depths of the ocean in them.

One day down the road she is going to fake sleep all in the attempt to avoid spending time with me. What is one little, late afternoon nap missed? For now, I'll drink these moments in. Now I win.

Travel help needed

So here's where I need a little help and so I'm putting it out there. Big Love is taking his final week of holidays over the Halloween weekend. At this point we're thinking Philly or Baltimore for a couple of days and then maybe Chesapeake Bay. It can not be too expensive and it has to be baby-friendly. I'm wondering if anyone out there has any ideas about where a good place to stay would be and what some things would be good to do. The only thing I hate about exploring new places is that you can spend hours trying to figure out what to do before you realize half your day is done and you haven't done a damn thing!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Starting one place and ending up somewhere different.

Within the first six months or so of moving to this town it became evident that 'fitting in' wasn't going to be easy. When it came to meeting other women who might be considered my peers, they were already in firmly established social groups and despite their outward actions of welcome it was obvious that there is no room for anyone new. Three years and counting has not helped me feel like I am going to feel all that at home here in this little town, which is ok for now.

I am loving the book Rockabye by Rebecca Woolf. I seriously can not get enough of her and thank god she has two blogs out there that I can read until my heart's content! I know it is probably quite cliche to say that there are moments in her book where I feel like she is writing about what I'm experiencing, but it is true. I completely relate to her agony of trying to meet new friends so that her son, Archer, can have kids to play with. The guilt I feel that I do not have any playmates for Sweet One is sometimes palatable. (She seems content so maybe my guilt over this is mostly my own sadness that I haven't made any friends my own age!) I've been getting through her book quickly because I want to soak up every word of it. I'm no book critic but I adore how beautifully she has told her story in a completely honest way.

And if her story isn't enough to read about finding a way to be an individual while being a mother - because really, the world of motherhood sure has a lot of expectations of what one should and shouldn't do - I go to see Julie & Julia yesterday. A young woman turning 30 who wasn't where she thought she'd be brilliantly, and with great originality, makes her reality what she wants it to be. Is the universe telling me something? Problem is, I simply do not know how to go about figuring it out for myself.

As if often the case, I'm typing this post thinking it will be about one thing and it is turning out to be something as things pop up in this melon of mine. What I'm realizing right now is that at this point I am afraid that once Sweet One does not need me at home with her that I will not have anything for myself. I want to find a way to leave my mark on this world. I'm not wanting to be famous or anything like that but I do so desperately want to feel like I have contributed to this world in a way that is true to myself. I know that being a mother is important and that being at home with Sweet One is where I need to be now. I do not want to be a SAHM for the rest of my life. Eventually I'm going to have to figure out what I want to do with my life! I'm not one to find brilliant original ideas. Usually I see what others are doing and then try to do my own version. This seems to lack personal motivation and confidence more than I would like it to.

For now I think this post needs to end here. Not quite finished but it has gone as far as it can for now. I hope it has more to it in 5 or 10 years from now. Luckily, I have the amazing husband who will support anything I want to do, just like Julie & Julia did. So maybe there is hope and I will find 'what I'm meant to be'.

Monday, August 31, 2009

This is what happens when Sweet One sleeps for more than 45 mins in the afternoon, without me.

After more obsessing I finally decided to order the bag once I realized that it was actually larger than my diaper bag. Sweet One and I are going to Montreal Oct 1 and with the goal of avoiding the need for a pack horse to help me getting things onto the train, I'll attempt a small suitcase and therefore actually have genuine need for a larger bag! Yes. Still ridiculous, I know. For the first time ever I don't have any guilt about this somewhat superfluous purchase and it is on its way. So enough of that, I can shut the fukk up already! To top it off, I got a message from my sister on facebook:

I packed up a giant box of clothes for [Sweet One]. I'm not sure what size she is but this should be good from now until next fall. There's a winter coat but not a snow suit or anything, but i've probably got more stuff to add I just didn't want to dig around in [the boy's] closet when he was sleeping. I can probably get [my crazy husband] to send it off while I'm here but it's also missing the robeez boots and a few things like that, but I can send those off seperately. So there's probably a few hundred bucks saved on clothes right there, definitely way more saved than the cost of a Puddle Jumper, if you see where I'm going with that.....

She's funny. And I was about to go shopping for a fleece sleeper and long sleeved diaper shirts because it seems as if October temperatures are here already. I must admit. I'm completely jealous of my sister right now and it is not because she has four lug bags but because she is in the one part of the world I'd give anything to live in - Halifax. And after stalking her on Facebook I realized she'll be in PEI which is even better than Halifax! Truly. I want to live there more than anything in the world. I'd start packing now. Who cares if this house doesn't sell. It's the one place in the world I wouldn't have to think about. My main love of all things Canadian maritime is from Lucy Maud Montgomery. Her fiction books and even the Selected Journals of hers that were published make me know I could belong there. I visited it once and felt it in my bones. The idea of living somewhere I could actually belong is very appealing.

Sweet One sleeps and I'm at a loss of what to do since I've already watched last night's Army Wives. The result? One post that is boring and not much more than a stream of consciousness that is a little too close to what actually goes on in this brain of mine! But isn't Cavendish Beach beautiful?

Friday, August 28, 2009

It's kinda stupid, but it is how the gears work from time to time

I'm coming up on the 'end date' of my 30 days to fix a bad habit and I have to admit that for the first two weeks it was primarily the idea of rewarding myself with this beautiful lug puddle jumper (or this one) that kept me going. My house is not spotless but it is less of a gong show from day to day. I am happy about that. I set a goal and it was done.

Here is where my brain starts to act funny and not make any sense to my husband. In my world: I keep track of every penny we spend to make sure we stay within our means, the majority of the things I buy are necessities, I feel guilty every time I buy clothes even though my body has been morphing constantly over the past year and very little fits. But once in awhile I think maybe I can get something that I do not in fact need. I just want it because it's pretty and it would be fun to have.

So for the past few days I've been proud of accomplishing my goal and excited about the idea of having this lovely reward. But really, to spend that much on a bag seems extravagant when I have a completely functional diaper bag that works just fine. Do I really need this extravagance? Only once have I ever spent that kind of money on something like this. The milk factory requires that I need new tops for the new season approaching. It would be better to spend the money on that. In the end, the idea of actually buying something like this for myself seems absurd and ridiculous. I don't deserve it. The guilt is lying like dead weight on my shoulders (even though we have a little extra this month.) So we'll see. Will I for once actually think I'm worth a splurge or will my common sense and guilt win? (Strangely enough, my sister was about to buy me one for my birthday and I said I was fine with my diaper bag, but then I saw hers this summer and was very envious. I love the messenger bag she got me but it's not big enough for a diaper bag/food and a change of clothes for me when Sweet One and I go on our first trip solo.)

I'm ridiculous, I know. Big Love has no clue why I worry so much about something like this. I just do. For days on end! I seem to think that everyone in my house is deserving of special things here and there except for me.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

If only I could hit the pause button

To my dearest, darlingest Sweet One,

As I rocked you to sleep tonight you grabbed my mouth. I blew it away and you laughed because you thought it was funny. With the room dark, save only the light slipping in from the studio, I could see your eyes completely focussed on me and your laughter. I'm sorry I had to end our playing for you to go to sleep. If I could pause these moments and hold onto them forever I would. But you must grow. We both will. I only hope that there are many more reinventions of moments like this one.

Love, your mama.

Monday, August 24, 2009

To the Fair!

I grew up in a town that has an annual Fall Fair and Rodeo. It has a pretty good one, at that, with the rodeo now being a part of the pro circuit. When we moved here we were told that the county fair here is one of the largest in the area which makes it something one has to check out now and then. Today we took Sweet One to see how she'd be around the animals and she really seemed to be enjoying herself. Hanging from my chest in a carrier, she made lots of noise and smiled as we walked around.

At the pig barn and I saw this mama pig with a little one not really feeding but rubbing its nose all over the place looking for something, with its siblings sleeping peacefully in a pile. I couldn't help but look at her and think: "I can relate!"

Friday, August 21, 2009

Love: three stages of

Big Love showed up in my life at a perfect point in my life. But Irene Nemirovsky says it with much more grace than I:
"Some else to love, of course. But the way to find him (I mean a true, sincere love) is not to think about it too much, not to yearn for him. Otherwise you make the wrong choice. You imagine you see love in the first and most ordinary face you come across. I hope with all my heart that one day, later on, she'll remarry, but first she must find peace again."
And now, when the five strawberry plants I planted have only one beautifully sweet, red strawberry, Big Love picks it and brings it into the house for me to eat.

So I hope that our marriage last so that I never have to place this ad which was in the paper today:
BRIDAL GOWN valued at $1800. sz. 12 w/gauntlet & veil & 2 cremilin skirts. Worn once by mistake asking $400.
Then again, I only paid $400 for my dress in the first place!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Interpreting Time

You will never hear me say "the book was SO much better than the movie" or vice versa because when it comes down to it they are two completely different mediums and each have their own abilities. I adored the Time Traveler's Wife. I've read it twice. The second time I read it I saw a name in it and knew I would one day have a child by that name. (It wasn't a wish or a hope, it was something being struck within me that revealed a truth.)

Today Big Love took the afternoon off because he will be at work in the evening and I decided that it was about time I took a few hours off. I have not left Sweet One for that long before but knew that it was time. I saw the movie and in my opinion the movie was absolutely beautiful! I am not a critic and nor do I pretend to be but I really think that the movie was able to interpret the important parts of the book and make something wonderful.

When I got home it was clear that Sweet One was excited to have me back. When I held her she rested her head on my shoulder for the first time. It was great to go and have some time for myself and to come home to a baby who was both fully content with her Dad but ecstatic to have me home. (And it was good for Big Love to get some confidence in his ability to care for his daughter when I'm not reachable!)