Friday, July 31, 2009

Dessert anyone?

There is nothing more decadent in the world than a rich, flourless chocolate torte possibly drizzled with something even more chocolatey. Add in a little espresso flavor and godlord I'm a gonner!

A new development with my daughter is that when it is about time to feed her she looks at my chest with the same look I think of my torte. She obviously knows her meal lies behind whatever I'm wearing now! I never thought someone would get so excited when thinking of my boobs.

Moments like these are the ones I never imagined could be a part of mamahood.

*this photo is from the food network

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Oh the freedom!

Am I seriously already thinking of new vacations when we just got back from one? YES! Because now we are not bound by weddings and other events going on 'back home' in western Canada. I know it sounds mean or harsh but I am so glad that we don't have to think of others for the upcoming year and can just go wherever we want. Since moving out here we have thought of many places we'd like to visit but couldn't be of the aforementioned familial obligations basically eating up all of our extra cashflow. Now we can venture out on our own a bit. We do have a few rules for ourselves: 1) we'd prefer no further than 1 hour time difference (unless it is Newfoundland where there's an extra half hour) and 2) we'd prefer no inlaws - ok that's just me because I'm a bitch sometimes.

Now if we can only narrow it down to find a few different places we can visit without killing the piggybank all will be wonderful. I'm dying to go to New Orleans but my husband is wondering if having a little one who goes to sleep quite early in the evenings would cause us to miss out on some of the great things there. Any ideas/experiences out there? I am very interested in going south because I always have been - and we won't be bound to travel in the summer months and so can go in the spring to prevent being returned home in liquid form in a rubbermaid container!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Will I be punshied for having a good baby?

At some point during our vacation we heard of another couple traveling with an infnat. En route to their destination the baby slept the whole way and was very easy to travel with. When a fellow traveller mentions how great the baby has travelled, their response is that they'll probably have to pay for it on the way home. Sweet One is an amazing baby. She's happy and even when she's very tired she doesn't get crabby. Occassionally we're asked if she is always as happy as she appears and the answer is yes. Yesterday a woman told us to watch out because she'll probably 'make up' for it when she's older. When it comes to raising children, are we expected to be punished for the times when our children are too good?*

Ever since I heard about the couple thinking their return trip would be unbearable, I've had it floating around in my head about this idea that we, as parents, should not expect good behavior to continue down the road. I think it sucks. Currently I believe that my job as a parent is to prepare my child for life once she is on her own. To give her the skills to thrive and to be a good person; proud of who she is and to "speak and act with confidence and use courage to follow [her] own path".** I am not stupid enough to think there won't be hard times when Sweet One has to test the waters as she figures out her own path. Growing pains happen but I do hope there will be far more good times than bad. Perhaps I'm being over optimistic but if ever I'm going to utilize the Law of Attraction it will be in what I hope for my daughter.

*Carrie Bradshaw I am not, but can't I pretend just for a moment?
**The Twelve Gifts of Birth, by Charlene Costanzo

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Returning home

My guess is that I have never transitioned well regardless of how old I was. I get nervous going on holidays but once I'm going I'm fine. The trip home feels like one of those tunnels that goes around a turn so long you think it will never end but suddenly you are through. The sunshine is great. For awhile. But then I find myself in dark clouds that stick to my head. They distort everything I see. I can't think straight, I can't focus on anything and I am not fully present in anything I do. I don't feel like I am doing anything right. And this year it seems even harder because I have someone who depends on me for everything. So the little time that leaves for me is almost useless because I just want to curl up and cry. This depression hits me every time I return from a vacation but right now I feel like it is enveloping me and I can't get out. I want to run away but know that wouldn't do a damn thing. And really, an hour away from Sweet One and I feel like something is wrong!

Big Love and I still firmly believe that we are where we need to be. To own a house, for me to stay at home with Sweet One and to get as far out of debt as we can (a light I can actually see at the end of its tunnel). But despite all of that and the momentary feelings of peace I have in our decision it does not make me feel any less guilty about what it means for Sweet One. It means she can't play with her cousins and that right now there are no babies or young kids for her to spend time with. She enjoyed being around her cousins so much and gave enormous smiles to a baby she saw on the plane. It made my heart break for her. Her lack of companions means that I don't have friends and that by far is the hardest thing about living here. Sometimes it just makes me angry.

I hope in a few days I will feel better. Right now I feel completely deflated. I'm exhausted. I don't want to have to do anything. I feel completely stupid and useless because I am struggling to find a way to get Sweet One back onto local time. Prior to and during our vacation she would be asleep before 7, sleep until I woke her at 10:00 and then sleep until 6 or so. Now I can have her asleep before 7 but she wakes up and doesn't get back to sleep until around 10:00. I'm trying something I read which is to put her to bed half an hour earlier each night. Last night it was 9:50 and so tonight may be around 9:30. One thing is clear, the sleep she'd have from 6:30/7-10:00 was definitely important for my own self-care.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Grandma's House

It was beautiful to watch Sweet One with her cousins. We arrived around supper time on Tuesday and by the next morning she was kissing my nephew and smilng as she watched my niece. Sweet One seemed much more relaxed (compared to the previous few days) at my Grandma's house but the fact that I was much more relaxed here was not lost on me. To my great disappointment I was not able to spend much time at the beach where I spent a lot of time during my childhood vacations. Sweet One whimpered when we got there and cried when I tried to take her into the lake with me. A little too young for all that noise. My Grandma was in better shape than I had expected while we were there and we got a few pictures of her holding Sweet One.

My niece and nephew sure do require a lot of energy to be around but as their aunt I only remember the really cute things. Such as my nephew crawling up on my sister's or my mother's lap whenever they were holding Sweet One. My mom kissed Sweet One and my nephew grabbed her cheeked and said "Grandma, kiss me". So unbelievably adorable! Just before we left my stepfather was taking some pictures of us all when we heard a plan above. My nephew immediately said "Mom, pane" and started looking around. The day or so before we were able to watch the yellow plane that my sister was taking her lessons in fly over the house a few times. It was really neat and I was so proud of her. I guess her son is, too!

The last night we were there we awoke at 130 am because the house 50 feet away was burning. The entire household, as well as neighboring houses for all of the cul-de-sac and most of the block, were evacuated as electrical transformers were blowing. A little more drama than we had all hoped for but two hours later we were back in the house. Being back at home, our neighbor has a little fire pit and when he has things burning it reminds both Big Love and I of that night.

As we left the place of some of my greatest childhood memories, I could not shake the feeling that it was probably the last time I would see my Grandma and her house. I'm not sure why and perhaps I'll be proven wrong in a few years, but it was a very prominent feeling for me.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Go to your [the living] room!

Last night I tried to help my MIL with the dishes. The previous three nights she did them all by herself and I thought that maybe if I were to help we could talk a little .... well, I got glared down. She was mad. Sent me to the living room because it was much more important to her that I visit with my BIL and his fiance. Well, I tried. And I kinda hate doing dishes.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Life-giving waters

We met with the pastor who will be baptizing Sweet One yesterday. I am constantly amazed at his ability to, in such a precise way, connect the historical basis and present relevance of what is said and done within a church. Needless to say, Sweet One's baptism will be perfect and beautiful. I am so glad we chose to do it this way.

To further challenge myself with my separation anxiety I almost left the house this evening for awhile! Unfortunately, the person I wanted to meet up with is at work for the evening and so I will be staying in. But I think my decision to go was definitely a step in the right direction.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Separation anxiety

Sweet One is sleeping here in the basement. It is quite separate from the rest of the house and the only way to hear anything from there is through a monitor. I feel anxious about this. Completely separated from Sweet One for the first time and yet still in the same house as she is. It is a strange feeling that I'm not too sure I like. Back home, even if she is in her room upstairs sound still travels from there whereas now I feel like she's been put in a sound proof room!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

No turbulence

maybe one day I'll figure out what happened to me yesterday, but right now this is all I can do to make sense of my day:

6:00 - wake up and eat, get dressed, Mama runs around getting things ready. 7:20 - there's no way I'm staying awake any longer so I hope she will let me nap. 8:00 - wake up, don't really want to eat, get in car. 9:00 - stop at rest stop so mom can pee, but i don't really want to eat again. 10:00 - I go on a strange bus for a few minutes. now we're at this weird thing called an airport. lots of stuff going on. 11:30 - I'm getting hungry so I eat a bit. 12:00 - now we're getting on this thing called a plane. people are looking at me and smiling because I'm so damn cute. how do I know? they all keep telling my Mama how beautiful I am. 12:20 - this adoration is tiring. I'm going to sleep. 1:30 - Mama is standing up on this airplane thing. I guess I slept through it all. Now we're wandering around another airport and Dad keeps telling me we're in Detroit. Mama changes my bum, I eat a bit and we have to get on another plane. 3:40-9:45 or so - plane was late starting but seriously, people were constantly telling me how cute I am. the people who bring the drinks loved me. i sucked my soother a lot and my ears never hurt. I got pretty tired at one point and cried a little but I only want to sleep for half an hour. It's too late in the day and if I'm not in my bed by now I'm not gonna! what's the point? 12:00 midnight - the sky is still light, we got a strange car, drove for awhile to this hotel and seriously, I'm done. I just need to scream a little to make it all better and then I'll eat what Mama has for me. ok, I feel better. Good night. supposedly I have to go on this thing called a ferry tomorrow.

Then she woke up at 3:40 local time (but really, 6:30 in her world) for food and I got her back to sleep for another three hours. This kid was amazing. We're now in Victoria and it is going well.

A few weeks ago Big Love and I had a huge conversation about being here with his parents. I was so worried about the constant "Facts about babies according to MIL" and the glares I sometimes get. In the end my concern boiled down to the fact that I need him to be as present with Sweet One and myself while we are here so that I don't feel like I am being left out on the front lines. With prior visits he would always revert into the quiet, shy son that he was for many years - I could hardly recognize him. So far so good. I already feel less 'on my own'. Although I got a "Aren't you going to put a hat on her? You don't want her head to burn." Seriously. Look at my hand holding not just a hat but sunglasses as well.

Sweet One is playing shy a bit and really wants her Mama. The in-laws seem careful to give me my time and space with Sweet One but there is swarming behind me when I step out to use the washroom! I managed to get her sleeping at her usual bedtime just switched into local time. Let's hope the time change is this easy! Now all I need to do is find a subtle way to get my in-laws to stop calling me mommy because I'm Mama.

One final question: When Seattle highways have a lane for 2 or more persons, does the driver count as one or is that the driver plus 2 persons? I was confused.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

and off we go, again

Tomorrow morning we need to the leave the house by 8am to get to the airport. Twelve hours later we will arrive in Seattle and following that we will get our rental car and drive to our hotel in Mount Vernon. I hope Sweet One is alright. On our previous trip we realized that even if she is dead tired she is usually ok as long as she can see her Mama - which is also why most of her hardcore screaming is done when I am driving the car. Luckily the next day won't be as long in the car and she'll get to go on her first Ferry ride to Victoria.

I haven't spent the last week not sleeping from the stress of this trip, thank God! I do think that having a trip previous to this one has given me some confidence in knowing that I know what to pack and that I'll be able to handle this. There are a few very long travel days ahead (both by air and land) but hopefully we'll all survive.

Sweet One is going to be baptized while we are on our trip. When I was doing my undergrad degree I became very close with the chaplain and his family. Since my undergrad he and his family has moved to Victoria, which is Big Love's hometown, and so she will be baptized by him. I am also very happy that some very special people in my life have agreed to be her Godparents and are flying in for the occasion. At a time in our lives when we feel quite isolated from those who are closest to us, Big Love and I can not be happier that Sweet One will be surrounded by dear friends and family on her baptism day. (And the fact that her head will atually get wet in the midst of beautiful liturgy - something that would not happen here!)

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Home again, home again ...

... no time for the jiggidy jig as I feel that by the time I finish the rhyme we will be gone again! The trip to T.O. was wonderful and I fully took the time to luxuriate in my surroundings. The beautiful hotel, the streets filled with people and interesting places and being back in Canada. One of my favorite moments was when we were walking on the downtown streets Sunday morning. It was so quiet. We also enjoyed having Sweet One out on her first holiday - her first train ride, hotel stay, subway and street car rides - all so fun. She was amazing. I could tell she was getting more and more tired with each day but ne'er was there a breakdown that had her screaming in public. She went to sleep by 7:00 each evening and I would watch tv (often with subtitles because the volume was quite low) or read (often too tired to read) in the semi-darkness as I listened to her sleep. In the end we just felt like the trip was great. We learned what it is like to travel with Sweet One and I feel like I am a bit more prepared for the trip - on our own first was much better than being surrounded by tons of family to overwhelmed us all! An added bonus: Big Love placed third in the competition. He played very well and even before the announcement was made that he was a finalist we felt like he had accomplished what he went there to do! (And the prize money helped pay for a chunk of the trip!)

Now I am home. When we first got home I placed Sweet One in her Exersaucer and I immediately saw the joy in her face at being somewhere familiar. My job right now is to help her get as much rest as possible before we leave on the next trip and I am feeling quite overwhelmed by all of the other tasks that need to be done. It usually takes me a week to feel done with all the catch up from a trip, nevermind that we are off again early Wednesday morning! I need to make a list of all that needs to be done because it will be more easily completed than this jumble of 'things' scrunched up in my brain!