Tuesday, February 28, 2012

My butt needs to break up with my couch

I’ve become lazy in the evenings. 

After I put Moe to bed, I’m all sleepy and relaxed because I’ve been cuddling a warm boy in a dark room with soft music and deep breathing. Then I have to wait 10 or 15 minutes to make sure he’s really asleep before tackling the kitchen, loading the dishwasher, etc. (If he hears the clinking of dishes or the bustling of a Mommy in the kitchen when he's trying to fall asleep, it can go badly. So we wait.)

And that 10 or 15 minute wait is killing me. Because I sit down. And once I’ve sat down, it is VERY hard to get up again. 

So I need to find a way to light a fire under my butt in the evenings and git ‘er dun. I’m thinking of setting a timer, actually. I’ll set the timer for 15 minutes, and when it goes off, I have to hop up and get to work. And I’ll set it for 30 to 45 minutes, and when it goes off again, I put down the dishcloth and go sit down again.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Dear Moe (2 Years)

My sweet darling, you turned two years old yesterday. We have had a wonderful month together, but before I tell you about all the things you did, I want to take a moment and tell you about all the things you ARE.

You are focused. You have been known to stay on a task that interests you for up to 20 or 30 minutes. When you want to accomplish something, you are very good at trying again and again until you either get it right or are willing to ask for help. You can be very good at entertaining yourself.

You are sweet. You tuck your cars into a little bed every night and for every nap (it’s a little box I covered in wrapping paper, with a washcloth “blanket”), and you do it so lovingly that it warms my heart. You get three bedtime kisses from Daddy, and after you get them, you insist he gives Mommy a kiss, too.

You are silly. There’s very little that you enjoy more than a fit of the sillies. Whether you are laughing hysterically as you run back and forth down a hallway, giggling maniacally as you balance a plate on your head, or sticking your arms through Daddy's t-shirt armholes and squealing in glee when your hands meet at the neck hole, you have a great silly sense of humour that is so much fun to watch.

You are a great listener. You can be playing away on your own while I read you a bedtime story, but if it has cues to which you like responding, you’ll catch them and do whatever action you’re supposed to do. If we are casually humming a song that you know, you’ll likely recognize it and ask to hear it. You are always listening.

You are communicative. Your words are coming fast and furious and your vocabulary is increasing daily, but even when you don’t have the words, you can almost always make your point known. It makes like so much easier. You’re a great communicator, Moe, and that makes us very happy. 

You are gentle. Whether it’s stroking my hair, Zaphod’s fur, or a stuffed animal’s face, you can be exceptionally gentle and loving.

You are excitable. If you get wound up, it can be hard to calm you down! And when you get too excited, toys start flying, stuff gets chucked off tables, and you scream like an excited banshee. (The screaming is a sign that you want to take things up a notch and get the party started!)

You are methodical. You eat methodically, you play methodically. You like to do things in your own sweet time, and you want to do them thoroughly. You like to figure out how things work. Mealtimes aren’t quick, and it can be hard to move you from one task to another, but I think this will serve you well in the long run.

You are wonderful. Daddy and I try and get out for a date night every couple of weeks, and when we do, our conversation inevitably turns to all the great things you do that make us laugh and smile. You are an amazing combination of brave and cautious, of zany and focused, of silly and serious. Most of all, you are so much fun.

This month has been wonderful. You had your first bubble bath, and you loved it. We have now declared Saturday night to be bubble bath night, and it’s a wonderful tradition. You do pretty well on Saturdays, actually. We generally go for a long walk outside with Uncle Mark and Aunt Janine, and that means that we warm up at home with cocoa. You sometimes even get to have breakfast in the living room while watching TV on Saturdays. We like to make our weekend time with you as special as we can.

One way we do that is by visiting museums. Thanks to your grandmothers, we now have a membership at the Canadian Museum of Nature and at the Canada Science and Technology Museum (which also includes the Agriculture Museum and the Aviation and Aerospace Museum). Between Nature and Science & Tech, we get to museums a few times every month. At the Canadian Museum of Nature, you love the dinosaurs, playing in the coast guard boat kitchen in the Water Gallery, seeing the huge turtle and scanning the bear’s groceries. At Science and Tech, the snowmobile is always a hit, and you love the Braille exhibit.

I tried signing you up for Toddler Time at the Library on Monday mornings. It’s basically a circle time at the library, with songs and activities. You would much rather explore on your own. When Granny took you a few weeks ago, you preferred to spend your time learning how to use the mouse on the library computer. I figure our time is better spent at a museum where you can chart your own course – you get enough circle time at playgroup when you go with Robin. She tells me you’re getting pretty good at following along and singing the songs and doing all the proper circle time things. I think I’d rather spend weekends exploring with you.

I also love to hear you chat, even though your favourite words this month have been “no” and “ow”. (You have a tendency to use both of those inappropriately.) Sometimes your words are super clear, like when I asked you what crayon you wanted to use and you said, clear as day, “PURPLE!” and picked up the purple crayon. Other times, it’s hard to know what you’re saying, like the day you said “potty”, “party”, and “body” and I wasn’t sure which one you meant at any given time. In fact, it took us a while to figure out that you COULD say “potty”. For a while, you kept saying this strange word at odd intervals – it sounded like “pie-yay”. When I finally pieced it together and said, “Oh my gosh, are you saying POTTY?” you smiled and nodded enthusiastically (and then gave me a look that clearly said, “Oh, Mommy, you’re so cute when you finally get it.”) You love to say “water” when you’re in the bath. You answer quite clearly when you’re asked how old you are now: “TWO!” When we were all at the museum together and you couldn’t find Aunt Janine for a moment, you called to her asking for “Jin! Jin!” And my favourite verbal development this month is that you can say “pit stop!” like Guido from Cars. It sounds like “peet stop!”

You’re doing great with the potty, sweetie. You generally manage to pee on the potty at least once a day at home, and we couldn’t be happier. Robin’s trying to incorporate it into her routine too. The next step is keeping that diaper dry, and then we can switch to training pants. You’re going to do great, whenever you’re ready.

I worked on Family Day, but that didn’t stop us from having a few “family days” of our own this month. At one point when Daddy was off with you, you both came downtown to visit me at the office . We had lunch at D’Arcy McGee’s, a special treat, and you enjoyed a real Irish meal without a single vegetable in sight. We ended the meal with ice cream, which was a VERY special treat indeed.

We got a very unique invitation to be part of a photo and video shoot for my work. That meant that you got to play on the snow slides at Jacques Cartier Park while the park was closed! You loved going down the slides with me, but wouldn't venture by yourself (I wasn't keen on letting you anyway). You were awesome at looking adorable - the director was madly in love with you - but less awesome at taking direction. I think our friend Sarah got some nice photos of you with her camera, though, so we'll be able to enjoy those. 

You've enjoyed playing in the snow in our front yard. You have your own little snow shovel (thanks, Granny!) and we keep one of your plastic trucks nearby so it can plow the front step. We've had great outdoor fun with Uncle Mark and Aunt Janine, too. You made your first snow angel with us, and you climbed a snow mountain and slid down on your own. We've taken you to Conroy Pit on Saturday mornings, too. You and Zaphod make your way along the trail together, and he plays with other dogs and you tolerate them well. Zaphod comes back to you every few minutes to check on you and make sure you're ok, and if another dog bothers you too much, he takes care of them for you. He is still very much your doggie, and you are very much his toddler. 

You had your first trip to the dentist this month. It was to take a quick peek at your chipped tooth. You didn't like the part where Dr. B. actually looked in your mouth, but you were delighted with your new toothbrush. We took you back to the allergist this month, too. You still have a mild allergy to eggs (whites and yolks), and you have also developed a peanut allergy.

We've changed our bedtime routine slightly. Instead of reading to you upstairs in your room, we take out the basket of bedtime books downstairs on the mattress on the living room and go through a few together. Sometimes you sit with me and listen attentively, looking at the pictures, and other times you elect to play with other things, but you know that when I'm done three books, it's time to go upstairs. This works a lot better than the old routine, where we'd fight our way through the books and you'd try and take them out of my hand or throw them on the floor in an effort to stall bedtime. (You still excel at stalling bedtime, but you're a bit more subtle about it now.) 

It's hard not to laugh when you're angry, sweetie, and for that, I'm sorry. It's not that I don't respect your feelings, it's that you do this little stompy angry dance and gibber with rage and its reminds me of Rumpelstiltskin. But your feelings are very real to you, and we get through the meltdowns together. They tend to be more frequent now, but less intense and quicker to end. 

You know your colours, and you know some numbers and letters. You love to do arts and crafts. You are parroting words all over the place. It's just wonderful to watch you develop.

Your birthday party was a huge success. We tried to keep it a reasonable size - just five other boys: Caleb and Noah, Alex and Nicholas (Robin's two youngest boys), and your buddy Koen. It was wonderful to have Robin and Mark there, and Big Noah even showed up! Your Aunt Janine and Uncle Mark were there, of course, and so were your grandmothers. Auntie Kimmy and Uncle Luc both came, and so both did Koen's parents, Aunt Jen and Uncle Albert. You were given a disgusting number of fantastic gifts, you thoroughly enjoyed your cupcakes, and you behaved remarkably well. You were overall a gracious host, and nobody had a meltdown (including Mommy), which was a miracle given the number of people in such a small space. It was a really, really lovely time and I think everyone was happy to be there celebrating with you. You also got a great birthday phone call from your Tia Reiko, which you enjoyed immensely. 

And so, you're two. And you're wonderful. And we are so very happy to have you in our lives. And you find new ways everyday to melt our hearts. Keep being so fantastic. I can't wait to see what the next year brings.

Monday, February 20, 2012

What Do You Do?

What do you do when a small boy who is suddenly two, wearing dinosaur footie pyjamas, takes you gently by the hand on his birthday morning and asks you so sweetly, albeit with only two words, to let him sit in your lap and watch the first part of his favourite movie even before breakfast has been eaten? What do you do when you know this will make you late for work, of which you missed 1.5 days last week due to a cold, and you still have to make yourself a lunch and pack the diaper bag for Grandma?

You sit down with the boy, that's what you do. You sit with this little ball of love in your lap and you marvel at this amazing creature who has been in your life for two years but has somehow been in your heart forever, and you stare at him in wonder. You press your cheek to his head and breathe in his warmth and you smile as he leans back into you and puts his small chubby hand on yours. You tell yourself the same thing you realized when he was three days old and you were suddenly overcome with tears and love... that he'll never be this small again.

And you vow to work through lunch.

 In Mommy's Lap

Friday, February 17, 2012


Two years ago tomorrow, on February 18, 2010, at 8:52 am, I sent the following email to Mark and Janine: 
I'm off to the doctor again today - at my appointment yesterday my blood pressure was too high, so we're going to measure it again today to see if it has come down. I suspect it was high because of the bonehead move I pulled when getting the car out of the garage on the way to the appointment - I clipped the passenger side mirror and broke some of the plastic. *sigh* It's because I have to give myself extra space on the driver's side so I can get my enormous self out of the car these days. I was not impressed.

So today Bundy has declared "NO ERRANDS FOR YOU!" except for the doctor's appointment (and I have to go to the pharmacy, regardless of what he says, because I'm out of diclectin). I'm to sit my ass on the couch and relax until the appointment.

*twiddles thumbs* 
 At 12:19 pm, I sent this follow-up: 
At dr now. Wants to induce in next 48 hours. Have demanded second opinion. I see next doc in 30 mins. Meanwhile, at [Bundy's workplace], bundy is struggling to breathe. Jeebus.

Janine replied immediately: 

He tells you that, and he wants your blood pressure to go DOWN? WTF!!!

 I then got this very calm and reasonable reply from Mark:
2nd opinion, good! Also good, you're where you're supposed to be timing-wise, so it's not the end of the world if you're induced this weekend.
I explained further: 
Apparently I have early preclampsia and the only cure is to get baby out. Or else my liver and kidneys could be compromised. But my dr is away, so I've asked for a 2nd opinion.

Hope your camera batteries are charged. Gulp. And looks like we may miss baconfest. LOL

After this, I go to [Bundy workplace] and calm the bundy.
Janine continued to be her calm, reasonable self: 
OK. So you have pre-pre-eclampsia and just hearing that made me forget EVERYTHING I'm supposed to not do. Are we not supposed to come to the hospital until we're called? Are we allowed to hang out NEAR the hospital waiting for news? Am I supposed to be boiling water? I am, FYI, just in case.

Also, I twittered "I CAN HAZ BLUD PRESHR MULLIGIN?!?!" to be funny and my camera batteries are fully charged, and my memory cards are empty, and my camera is even fixed and working perfectly.

So like, I think I'm ready to go but not because I don't think I'm supposed to go anywhere. I'm just supposed to be here.

*grabs you and shakes you*


No, no, no. Can't do that, that's wrong.

Then, later, at 1:44 pm, also from Janine:
Is there any news???
My reply, at 2:08 pm: 
Home now. We'll get a call sometime in the next 48 hours to come in and be induced. Appt with Dr. Huard went really well, he explained everything very thoroughly. This is really for the best - it could be dangerous for me and for Moe to wait much longer. Bundy's running some last minute errands and is on his way home, too. (He's been pretty useless at work since I called him, poor lad.)

In the meantime, I have some paper work to fill out regarding the cord blood, a few emails to send, and a bag to pack. Then I'm to relax as much as possible until we get the call. I've had some time to wrap my head around this, so I'm feeling better. Bundy needs more time. *grin*

I'll try and keep Mark up to date with things, but we'll definitely call you when Moe has arrived. Then we would love it if you could both come to the Civic ASAP to take some photos. :)
Mark replied, offering to help with running errands.

Janine replied with this:
HOLY SH!T!!!!!!
Moe is going to show up in the next 48 hours!!!!
And then, shortly after, with this: 

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Unwelcome Visitor

Ok, so imagine you have this friend. Except, they aren't even really a friend, more like someone you used to see regularly, out of necessity, but you never really got along. But you learned to live together. Then suddenly one day, they disappear. They are gone from your life - no warning, no explanation. You're having a hard time with something that they could really help you with, but they won't return your calls. You think they may have blocked your email.

You struggle through your hard time without them - you get help from others. It isn't ideal or easy, but you get through it. You figure they are out of your life forever.

And then suddenly, years later, they show up on your doorstep, suitcase in hand. They need a place to stay. You are totally unprepared for their visit - you don't even know where your spare sheets are, you are flabbergasted to see them. And they are the worst possible houseguest. You tell them you already have plans, they insist on tagging along. They start making demands on you, making you physically uncomfortable, they keep you up at night, and you become so irritable around them. You're exhausted. And they refuse to tell you how long they are staying. The visit seems to last forever. They make you incredibly uncomfortable, you're so hurt by them that you're near tears.

Finally, you wake up one morning and they're gone. They've left a note. It says, "I'll be back again in a year, maybe 18 months. Can't be sure. See you then. You seem tired - maybe you should eat some steak."

This, ladies and gentlemen, is my relationship with my period. She's a total bitch. Just when I've forgotten about her, she shows up again, and she kicks my ass.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Coming Out Crazy

I have a mental illness.

I have struggled with depression since I was 15 years old. That's more than half my life. I take medication for my illness, and I have a self-care regimen that plays an important role in keeping me healthy.

Over the course of my life, I have had a number of depressive episodes. I have been hospitalized for depression. I have self-harmed. I have taken sick leave from work. I have sought and received professional help. I have done really, really stupid things when the crazy has come to call. But I have fought through the dark and come into the light.

These days, I am happier far more often than I am sad. I struggle in the winter, and always will. I will always take medication - I have tried going off it, with poor results. But I am safe, I am happy, and I know how to take care of myself.

Despite it all, I wouldn't change my past. The crazy, as much as it has been terrifying, debilitating, overwhelming and, well, crazy, has made me so much stronger. By getting help, I wasn't just helping myself deal with a specific depressive episode, but I was building a toolbox of coping skills and techniques that have helped me to get through struggles that would have otherwise crippled me. I have come out of it all a better, stronger person.

Mental illness is more common than you may think. And it's nothing to be ashamed of. The Royal Ottawa's mental illness awareness campaign is called You Know Who I Am. And you do. But the best part of my journey is that now I can say that I know who I am. I know who I am, and I love who I am.

To anyone who is in the thick of it: you are not alone. Keep persevering, keep seeking and getting help, keep pushing through the dark. Because the light on the other side will eventually show you how incredible you are.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Occasional Twinges

I still get occasional twinges.

Don't get me wrong. I love my son so much that it's painful. I am so very grateful to have him in my life.

And I am well aware that we don't have the financial (or even perhaps emotional) resources to raise a second child.

But if we did have those resources... just say we did... It would be really nice to have a choice about it.

Because, apparently, when you have one child, people don't think anything of asking if you plan to have another. And even though I have buckets of experience with dealing with these kind of questions, it really doesn't get any easier.