Friday, March 23, 2012

Planning for the Unthinkable

Money is tight right now. (Welcome to day care.) But about a year ago, I started paying into something that I think is worth the money. I bought a life insurance policy for Moe. 

My friend plastikgyrl blogged about this years ago, and even then, before I was a parent, it struck a chord with me.

Nobody wants to think about losing their child. But I need to know that if the unthinkable happened I would have the resources to grieve properly. We would both need time away from work. We would want to say goodbye without worrying about how much it cost. We might need to travel a bit, to get away from the places where the memories are most painful. This insurance policy would let us do that. 

And when Moe turns 18, it's his. He has automatic life insurance, at the same premiums I'm paying now. He may not realize it at the time, but that's quite a gift. 

Like I said, nobody wants to think about the unthinkable. But I know several people who have had to go through the unthinkable in the past few years, and, well, it got me thinking.

(Now if I could just get my shit together and pay someone to write our wills.)

Dear Moe (25 Months)

Hello, bean! You’re 25 months old! You have embraced being two with your whole heart and being. You are very much your own little person who knows what he wants and isn’t terribly impressed when he doesn’t get it. You are getting better and better at expressing yourself verbally, you are so interested in the world around you, and you handle yourself very well in social situations.

We haven’t made a huge push about using the potty, but that will come this spring when we spend more time outside (and not in snowsuits). Despite this, you’re making great progress. You love to use the potty when we go to a museum (thank you, Granny, for the gift of a travel reducer seat). You also love to wash your hands. In fact, we ran into a little trouble at the Agriculture Museum, where they have hand washing stations in some of the barn areas. All you wanted to do was wash your hands!

We’ve had some lovely playdates this month. You met Jube, my friend Neil’s little boy. (We have a fantastic photo of you and Jube when you first met: you’re both standing as far away from each other as you can in the small space, staring at each other intently. It’s like a toddler standoff.) You spent a great deal of time with Hanna and Ben, who spent March Break with their mom Jaimie in Granny’s basement apartment. You had a lovely playdate with Koen – when we left and I was getting you into your carseat, you were busy blowing kisses in his direction.

We’ve been getting you ready for spring. You got new running shoes (thank you, Uncle Mark and Aunt Janine!), some winterized Crocs and a new pair of rain boots. I’m proud to say that when offered several choices, you selected the pirate rain boots. You now ask for them by saying, “Pirates?” And I went shopping in the basement among Aunt Kimmy’s hand-me-downs and you’ve got plenty of shorts and t-shirts for summer. (You’re a big fan of the WALL-E pyjamas we found down there, too. You point to your belly and say, “WALL-E!” quite happily.) I picked up a portable umbrella that we can use in the backyard and at the park, and a new hose nozzle, as it won’t be long before we can get the water table out.

We weren’t thinking we’d have to get all this stuff ready for another month yet, but spring came very early this year. In fact, we kind of skipped spring initially and launched right into summer. It’s been 25 degrees out the past few days… in March! Aside from the fact that this weather is a bit creepy, it’s been really great. Our new thing is that when you get home from day care, we sit on the front porch together for a few minutes, drinking water and playing in the dirt. Although you need constant reminding, you are learning that the dirt has to all go back into Granny’s garden.  Yesterday, I found you and Daddy sitting together on the front porch, snacking on grape tomatoes. Daddy was cracking you up, and you were cackling away. It was wonderful.

(You have the best cackle, by the way. That laugh, combined with your fantastic eyebrows and adorable nose make you pretty much impossible to resist.)

You’re changing so quickly. You’ve begun real imaginative play now. I watch you with your cars and trucks, and you’re making them have conversations and acting our scenarios between them. You’ve gotten so tall, too. The other day, you were standing behind your table, and I thought you were standing on one of your toys (you love to do this, and it makes me crazy), and I went to check it out and realized, no, that’s just how tall you are now when you wear your shoes.

Our evening pre-bed cuddle has also changed. You are so big now, it’s hard to find a comfortable way to cuddle you in the rocking chair. You like to cuddle for a minute or two, but then you usually ask to go in your crib. (Then, frequently, once I put you in there, you protest and demand more cuddles. *sigh*) It’s a strange dance, these days. Our cuddling also tends to involve us chatting to each other now, instead of quiet rocking. You listen to my heart beat (and say, “boom, boom, boom”), you touch my mole (“mole”), we smile and giggle and give each other kisses. You love pressing your forehead to my lips.
It may be time to convert your crib into a toddler bed – I’ve been putting it off because you love your crib and don’t ever try and climb out of it. It will be a big change – it will mean gating your room. We’ll see how it all goes and when we do it. 

Transitions have been challenging for you this month. (You go back and forth with this – you’ll go through a phase where they are no problem, and then suddenly for a while they are hard again.) You really like to take your sweet time and move on from an activity when you’re ready, but when we have to move things along, you’re never a fan. You occasionally freak out when we say it’s time to change your diaper, and resist bathtime and bedtime. Once you’re in the new situation, you’re fine, but you don’t like being told that it’s time to do something else. We give you warnings (2 more minutes, 1 more minute) and that helps, but it’s still hard for you.

Another month, another ear infection. You’re now resistant to amoxicillin. We have an appointment with an ear, nose, and throat doctor at the end of the month. We’re going to ask him to check your hearing and your adenoids. He’ll also likely want to discuss putting tubes in your ears. At first I was against that, but if it will stop these monthly ear infections, I think it’s worth it. We don’t know what kind of damage the infections are doing to your hearing, and it isn’t good for you to be on so many antibiotics. (We’ll also ask the doctor if it’s ok for us to go ahead with the swimming lessons I’ve signed us up for. They start at the end of April.)  You were a miserable little guy, Moe. You had a terrible fever, chills, and were begging for Tylenol. I don’t ever want to see you like that again.

You love to paint. Your favourite colour is purple. You are quite attached to your blanket, Burp Bunny and Leary the Otter. You bring the blanket and one of the stuffies downstairs with you every morning. You love calling our names – even if we’re right there in front of you. You’re getting so many new words, it’s insane. Just this morning, you asked Daddy so sweetly for more apples: “Mo appoh, pease?” It was one of your first full, unprompted sentences. I read an article this month that said that a two-year-old should have at least 25 words, or else it’s time to be concerned. I was relieved – you have far more than 25 words! However, you still tend to clam up if you’re in the company of people who aren’t family. (Or if you ask to call someone on the phone.)

It’s also getting easier to explain things to you. I’ve been sick this week, and you understood when I told you that I was going upstairs to lie down and focus on getting better. You understand and no longer get antsy when I tell you I’m going to move laundry over or going to the bathroom and will be right back.

All in all, you’re a wonderful little boy. You are sweet and loving, roguish and mischievous, goofy and serious, all wrapped up into one beautiful package. We love you so much. This summer is going to be fantastic. (Every day with you is fantastic.)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Notes to My Younger Self

For International Women's Day, CBC is asking women what they would tell their younger self. 
What would I tell my younger self?
1. You are beautiful, and thinner than you think you are. Embrace it. Wear the bikini while you can. Love your body, as it will be with you the rest of your life. 
2. Stay in touch with your kamp friends. Who got hired as CIT and who didn't will eventually become irrelevant. These are the girls with whom you grew up. Treasure them. 
3. Quit smoking now. It will be so much harder at 25.  
4. The best thing you can do is learn to take care of yourself, rather than trying to find someone who will do it for you.  
5. Your mother is an amazing woman. Treat her with respect and recognize what she does for you everyday.  
6. That guy with the steel toed boots and blue hair outside Southam Hall? Totally worth a second look.