Friday, February 26, 2010

Check Me Out!

My friend Heather is a talented photographer (she took Baby Ben's newborn pictures which are amazing and treasured) and dedicated Mother. She has a great blog; Raising Memories, that features all the great ideas and activities she does with her very precocious and adorable four year old, Talia and gorgeous one year old Katrina. I get lots of ideas from her blog and most importantly I am inspired to make the most of my day with my children and try to create memories with them. This week she asked lil' ol me to be a guest blogger for her blog feature.

So go check me out on her awesome website!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Brink

Much of life is about pushing one to the brink of what they can feasibly handle. At least that has been my experience. Perhaps it is to show us how Strong we can be, you know...when you don't have a choice but to endure it since you would not have put yourself there otherwise...

Towards the end of high school (five years back in those days...*gasp* I know!) I realised that none of the drama mattered, it wasn't representative of the real world and these in fact were NOT the best years of my life. When I couldn't bear riding out these precious days of my youth in this large brick building that was holding the progression of life stagnant, for one more day, I welcomed graduation and life.

When Jon and I were dating I couldn't live with the uncertainty of not knowing for sure I had him forever for one more day and then, just like that he asked me to marry him.

And Then there are children...from the very beginning they drive you to the brink.

When I couldn't bare to face another day as a childless woman, I saw that line on a stick that gave it all purpose.

When I couldn't bare to have this same baby pushing on my ribcage and punching my bladder for one more day, I held him in my arms.

When I couldn't go another night on three hours of sleep, he gave me nine.

When I think I am going to scream and rip my hair out of my scalp, he makes me laugh so hard my thoughts turn to bladder control instead.

And then there is February. Each year I find myself in the brink of February. When I cannot stand to see one more more winter more glove...wet puddle on the floor...when my hands are as dry and chapped as they can be and I crave the sunshine on my face spring will come.

Today is that day.

I cannot stand one more minute of winter...I want the sun, birds, parks, evening walks, flip flops, sand boxes, BBQ in the air, patio tables, housefly's and garden weeds so desperately I had to shut the curtains on today.

I am at the brink.

Spring must be on its way!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


I was at a book club night last week where our conversations barely touched on the book. As a group of similarly aged woman, full time Mothers and home makers we talked about what we always talk about...our homes and our children.

One friend who was there relayed to me a conversation her sister in law, expecting her first child had with her husband after she left that evening.

"I like to talk." she said.

"But these women...they NEEDED to talk. there were five different conversations happening at once, it was like they just HAD to get it out".

I thought about this and the truth of it. So rarely are there times in my week when I feel heard or understood. Husbands try but until you have lived one day in the shoes of a full time mother and homemaker; (the hardest and best job in the world I'll have you know...)you don't really understand all that it entails and the feelings it invokes in even the most patient of woman who sweat perspective. You need a lot of a lot to get through it with grace.

It is always a welcome occasion then when I am with people who I relate to. Who understand when I speak and the mere fact that I have to speak. With words consisting of more than two syllables and don't bat an eye when I use the word "poopy" out of habit without realising it. It is a sisterhood that understands the most draining of responsibilities is also simultaneously the most full filling and the degree of exhaustion experienced in the early days are unrelatable to those who haven't experienced it.

It also goes unsaid that these occasions have food. Sugary, sweet, chocolaty food. Woman who spend day after day emptying their well of all they have to give for the good of their loved ones can make it all up in with just one evening of chocolate fondue and women who understand their worth- with or without the discussion of a book half the club members didn't read. We are a robust people. The energy when we get together is high, thick and capable. We are very aware of the hard working nature of one another and don't for a moment need to put up the defensive mask so often one of this profession needs to wear. We know we are doing important work, this is our staff meeting of sorts.

The mother- to- be- thought we were all talking at once, but she will see, once practiced that a true multitasker can keep track of all five conversations at the same time and even pause to relish in the delightful and perfect combination of a shortbread cookie dipped in warm chocolate.

I did enter the book club with the quiet desperation of a homemaker with cabin fever, a stir crazy two year old and under eye bags compliments of a newborn. I left not only with the rush of sugar in my body but also the rush of acceptance and understanding that all woman at home crave and can only be filled by one another.

until next month...


Jacob put on another pound and Ben is not so afraid to touch him. He must seem robust enough to be aproachable now and is asking to hold him at least once a day. He kisses him whenever he enters a room and always keeps track of him. When he was fussing on the couch yesturday Ben gave him the sweetest of hugs.

Can you tell I am loving this?!

I am.

One Month

One Month...WHAT?!

This one very long day has actually been 31... and that means Jake is officially growing too fast. I am only feeding him three times a day from now on, and if he keeps up this growing nonsense I am pulling it back to two!

I kid, I kid...hang up the phone.

So on this, Jacob's first commemorative blog post I will give his one month fact.

1- Jacob is awesome.

Pretty simple, I know. He coos, he poops, he smiles in his sleep, he curls up on my chest, he toots and makes his brother laugh, he smells like deliciousness, he has fat cheeks, he only cries when he is hungry, he sleeps well, he is...awesome!

We love you Jakey!

Friday, February 19, 2010


Ben is unsure about his role with Jacob. I fear in not wanting to push him I wasn't encouraging enough so he started testing on his own... he will give him a nudge as he walks by and then look at me out of the corner of his eye...throw balls a little too close to his head and so on. On the flip side he has started telling me when he heard him crying and trying in his very rough two year old way to comfort him. Occasionally he will ask to hold him or touch his toes but this week there has defiantly been advancements in the right direction. As I was driving home from a playgroup on Wednesday I could hear Ben whispering to Jacob, about who knows what...boy stuff I am guessing...things that moms aren't privy to...

When I looked a little longer in the mirror to try and see what Ben was saying I noticed a missing hand. Then I saw it...tucked in Jacobs car seat, he was holding his hand.

I think the nudges and the "love taps" are going to make their appearance at times but I am reassured to see some sweetness in there as well.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Where Did the MoJo Go?

I have a vivid memory that sums up my early introduction to parenting; I was soaking a 3 or 4 month old baby Ben in an oatmeal bath at an ungodly time of day, likely around 3 in the morning. He had the worst eczema I had ever seen before or since, on a child. It bled, oozed infection, was raw and painful and covered his whole body. It was an early sign of the allergies he would be later diagnosed with. It began after we started vaccinations (not a coincidence) and got worse until we realized it could be controlled through diet. In that desperate time we tried steroids, every cream at the drugstore, probiotics, different formula, and anything else anyone suggested. We saw specialists, pediatrictions and naturalpathic doctors with little improvemement. The only thing that offered temporary relief from his screaming early in the morning when the pain flared and itching became too unbearable for his little uncoordinated hands, was to submerse him in oatmeal water until he was so exhausted he could sleep. And then so could I. After I cried.

This particular morning, after weeks of no sleep and debilitating worry, I had to lay him on the floor on a towel because my arms and hands were shaking so badly I was afraid I would drop him in the water. He, by the grace of God, didn't cry when I put him down and I sat on the toilet. My head bobbed as I tried to keep my eyes open; Ben and the towel seemed to rise up and hover in front of me. At least 4 feet of the ground my small wet son was floating. I blinked, scratched my eyes and reached out to touch...air. I could see what I couldn't feel.

hallucinating. I was so tired I was hallucinating. I didn't trust myself to drive after that, or walk up and down the stairs with him without gripping the railing. I was really losing it.

That was tired.

I am tired now, but not THAT tired. That was the kind of exhaustion I wouldn't wish on even my worst insomniac enemy...or the kindred spirit of another Mother up all night with a sick and suffering child.

But I am still tired.

I am used to having lots of energy, projects, ideas, inspiration; get up and go.
Today... we have spent the majority of the day on the couch. I just finished watching Ben stuff glutton free animal crackers in all of his stuffed animals mouths at their picnic (that I orchestrated from the comfort of the butt grove of my couch). I spent this lazy lazy day then making a schedule for the transition challenged two year old with pictures and then went on to make one for myself, making sure to schedule in my work out that hasn't happened yet ("6 weeks postpartum ubntil working out is advised"...blah blah blah...I saw myself on the monitor of the baby camera and thought who is that fat woman in my my son's room?! OH! it's me. (See I AM tired...) I really need to get on this...and off the couch.

I need my Mo Jo back.

Have you seen it?

I might be sitting on it...

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Who Is Who?

We thought the simularity between Ben and Jake's ultrasounds were we were somewhat prepared for the shock of having a baby identical in appearance to our first handed to us. In going through the house and taking down some collague frames to add pictured of Jacob to I wondered if it was even nessasary...could I just say some are Ben and some are Jake? Is that wrong?

***first three are Jake, last three are Ben

Guitar Hero

Jon and I are equally untalented musically. We joked before children that we would have the next Osmond family because we must have a lot of recessive musical genes to pass on to our children. To our surprise and delight Ben LOVES music. At Christmas time all he wanted was a trumpet and now he has been asking us for a guitar. A REAL guitar. We found one finally at Sears yesterday and our little rock star has been singing and playing it ever since.


As far as talent goes we are uhhhh..."unsure" but we will certainly encourage this interest!

To show his support Jake got a new guitar sleeper too!


Jacob came at a time in Jon's life that is full of commitment, responsibility and conflicted interests. There isn't enough hours in the weeks for him to get what he needs to accomplished. We had planned for a "babymoon" period where our family of three could make the adjustment to a family of four together, without interruption to the bond that happens when a new little member joins a family. Jon was only able to take one day off work when Jacob arrived and has worked very long hours ever since trying to deal with some big changes there.

We miss him.

A lot.

He plans on making this time up in the near future but this time, when a baby is so small and precious and new is fleeting and I know it is hard for him, and the very limited amount of time he has spent with his new son, for circumstances outside his control.

Last night, on our first quiet Saturday evening Jake and Daddy finally got some quality time together.

Jacob, true to his way, stiffened as he changed arms and inhaled deeply before he settled into this new body holding him. He paused and then laid his head down confidently and assuredly to fall asleep on Jon's chest. He knew him. This was Daddy.

Babies are funny sometimes in their resiliency, understanding, patience and wisdom.

Lotsa Love

Dear Jon,

I forgot it was valentines day... because for three and a half weeks it has been on very long day. Blissful, surreal and long.

New babies do that.

I wanted to tell you that regardless of the date on the calender I love you. The 14th of February helps us remember if things like sleepless nights or long days at work made us forget to say it. Especially if we have been a little cranky, a little overwhelmed and a little bit taken for granted.

So today, on this day to remember, I am thinking of all the things big and little about you that I adore. All those little bits and quirks that make you, you. I wouldn't change any of them.

I love that you are such a great dad and how hard you are trying to balance everything on your very large plate right now, I love how you are always trying to put us first and how you get more handsome every year. I love that you scrape my car and fold laundry and bake valentines day cupcakes in between NASCAR laps. I love that you kiss me first when you come home and how I feel when I can hear your loud car coming down the street in the evening. I love how you eat everything I make without complaint even if you have to pound the table while pretending to grin to get it down. I love your sense of charity and service, your commitment to your family, church and friends. I love how much our boys adore you and I love that one day they will grow into men like you.

Thank you for everything you are,
and everything you do,
this day and everyday,
I love you.

(evidently I am not sleep deprived enough to lose my ability to rhyme...In another life I may have wrote greeting cards, I know.)

Dear Ben,

Oh my Ben.

"I love you" doesn't even almost come close. You make me laugh and yell and pull my hair out and kiss you all in the same minute. Your fiest is so uniquely yours and I love you for it. Your big spirit drives the energy of our family and you have a knack for keeping every day fresh.
I love those dimples, that mop of hair, those fat little feet, that infectious laugh, that roar of rage when the world is out of your control. I love that determination, natural empathy and sense of humor in everything around you. I love how much you love your family and how loyal you are to your Mommy. I love that you "needa kiss" when you bump anything, and how you will bump yourself just to get a kiss (although I give them out for free you know...) I love that you are caught right now between your toddlerhood and boyhood and how you bounce back and forth every other moment from "mommy's boy" to "big boy".
I love watching you grow and change and become more of "Ben".

I love every inch of you and every moment of being your Mother.

Happy Valentines day my darling,


Dear Jacob

My little sweetheart.

25 days ago you were a wish and a flutter. I don't really remember anything before that, before you.
What a special boy you are. To have so seamlessly entered our family and our hearts in a way that makes us forget you haven't been here forever.

I love the weight of your little body on my chest as you sleep, the dimples on your pudgy hands and the hours you spend happy to just patiently, contentedly and curiously take in the world around you. I love when something catches your interest and you purse your lips in awe. I love that you only see beauty and through your eyes we catch it. I love that you have a maturity and wisdom in those big dark blue eyes of yours that hold a unique personality waiting to unfold. I can't wait to see who Jacob is. I love that your lips curl up in happiness as you sleep in my arms and how you don't relax until you breath in a familiar scent. I love how patient you are with me and how we can tell just how sweet you are already.

I love everything you, forever and ever, always and more.


Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Bath

I decided it was time for Jacob to have a bath...not a wet facecloth in warm water kind of bath but the real "I am three weeks old now" submersion kind of bath.

We got one of these fancy euro tubs that keeps the baby submerged in water so he stays warm and can't fall over (although judging from the mouthful of water Jake got he needs to be a bit bigger before that comes into effect...). Regardless, he hated every second of this. Exactly why I stalled on embarking in this milestone for three weeks.

To premise, Jacob has cried three times in his life. Not when he was born, not when he is so wet his sleeper is soaked, not when he pooped up to his ears, not when Ben threw a car and hit him in the forehead, not when he is hungry.

The first time we heard him howl the most heartbreaking of newborn sobs was when blood was being taken out of his heal for his newborn screening blood tests, the second was at the lab when he had to have four viles of blood taken out of his tiny veins and the sadistic technician had me hold him down after I told her she had one chance to get it right or he wasn't having the test done. I cried harder than he did that time.

The third?

This bath experience.

Back to the warm wash cloths we go...

Thursday, February 11, 2010


I forgot that when you are breastfeeding, if you don't eat 37 times a day you feel like you are starving to death.

I drink all day like someone who was just picked up off the Sahara and I eat...oh goodness do I eat.

It seems like I have a bad case of the "Mondays" know..."I'll REALLY start on Monday". I said that on Monday. Ha.

So despite my voracious appetite I did lose a pound this week

(Dear Home,I know that was nothing to write about).

BUT Jacob GAINED a pound this week. This means that every pound I lose...he can gain?

(does it work like that?)

So HE is my diet. He makes me eat like a hippo (I assume they eat alot...) but also takes my weight. What a guy!

Drink up Jakey...Mommy's butt isn't going to lose itself...

The process then might be a little slower than originally intended but I will be healthy and fit when I am done as well and that is always the goal. We are going to walk and walk and walk just as soon as that sidewalk is bare.

ps my wedding rings are on (and I can't get them back off...)

pss we still haven't bathed that gross?

Yes. (I kind of just forgot, it's not like he is dirty...)

pss We still haven't eaten fast food, as per our life long pledge...but we did unanimously decide that Tim Hortens doesn't count. I heard if you give that up you get your health benefits taken away, can be deported to one of those horrible countries that doesn't know what a tim bit is and will be called "Un- Canadian" GASP.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

OOPS I Did It Again...

When I was pregnant with Ben I admittedly ate like a cow and gained a fifth grader in addition to my newborn. I was in denial about this weight gain until I had to face the truth in the mirror and the 8 inch gap between the button on my jeans and the hole on the other side...

I tried really hard to maintain a healthy weight this pregnancy and was doing really well UNTIL my third trimester coincided unfortunately with the holiday season...starting with Halloween...thanksgiving...Christmas...New Years... and various parties, and cookie exchanges in between where pregnancy and people feeding you copious amounts of food despite your weak refusal go hand in hand.

I got fat again...

I know this for a few reasons;

- My dress boots don't fit. The last place an apple shape like me puts on weight is in the limbs. If my boots only zipper up to mid calf than I know there is a problem.

- "Cankles"- this is when your ankles and your calves are equal size and there is no defined space between them, thus giving you "cankles"...of which I have a chronic case at the moment. The water retention I claimed it was related to seems to have only been fueled by my denial.

-My wedding rings don't fit- they are a size 4...I normally have small fingers so it doesn't take much to turn them into sausage links, a couple of Christmas's party cookie platters took care of that one. This point however is very motivating because I love my rings and feel naked without them so I really want them back on.

-I have more than the single appropriate chin. There are multiple at the moment. I look like a bird most of the time for trying to jut my chin out and reduce the effects...I suspect it probably just makes it worse but I can't help it.

-I bought some new clothes this the maternity section...there is nothing worse than being there HOLDING your newborn...expect shopping in the plus size section, where I will NOT be stepping foot so elastic and empire waist it is until I can go to the mall.

-When I am sitting on the ground I can't get up without bracing my myself on one knee first.

-When I get up or sit down on any surface I let out an involuntary groan.

Therefore... I am fat.

But not for long!!!!

6 months. My natural path said it was perfectly acceptable to lose 2.5 pounds a week while nursing...or 10 pounds a month...or 60 pounds in 6 months. Conveniently what I have to lose.

Here my February 8th "BEFORE" picture. I will post another on August 8th- I better be wearing my rings!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Au Natural- POST EDIT

When I wrote "Au Natural" to explain my birth choice I worded and reworded as to not offend anyone who didn't choose or was able to have a natural delivery. I hoped it came across as intended; that the process and importance of birth can be overlooked, covered up, disregarded or excused away with the multitude of drugs available and sometimes we don't give ourselves the chance to see what we are capable of. I simply wanted to convey that it is an empowering experience that we can do without the aid of pharmaceuticals since it seems as though it is just assumed we can't handle it without. Although I know some would say why would you want to...and in short that is what I was trying to answer.

My longest labor was 5 hours and 22 minutes long...followed by 3 hours. I am sure many people would read what I wrote, thinking back to their 30 hour ordeals and what they went through to birth their babies and thought...ya 3 hours... I could have done that standing on one foot; try 25 hours more of that and tell me the anathethiologist isn't your new best friend.

I get the fact that I don't really. I was blessed with an experience I was able to handle...just barely and was grateful for it. I did not do it any better than anyone else.

Why the new thoughts? I just read my cousin Nick's wife Keri's birth story. ( didn't do the math but it seemed to last for days...her hoped for drug free delivery ended with every drug available and finally in a c-section. Whew.
A Queen she is. A queen.
And empowering it must have been, what she did and would have gone through for her child. Take that and run with it I say.

I suppose then I realize now that you can find empowerment in any birth experience if you look for it, the perseverance, endurance, willingness and sacrifice that I experienced is not unique to me, that is what makes a Mother. You can't escape that no matter what drug you try- it is necessary in every experience. Getting a big needle in your spine (of which I am more terrified of than anything else by the way) or enduring major surgery are experiences not to be taken lightly in their own right.

I would encourage than instead of aiming for the perfect natural birth...whatever that is, to find the metaphor and empowerment that is unique to each experience and cherish that.

Did that come across as intended? Probably not.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


Ben has been an awesome big brother. He has exceeded our hopes and expectations and is always so sweet, thoughtful and gentle with Jacob. The transition issues that are becoming evident in our two year old are centered around personal hygiene. He seems to be manifesting his control issues surrounding being usurped in the family to exerting control over what we may and may not do to him, namely bath, cloth, brush his teeth or change his diaper. In being sympathetic to the changes in his life and his desire to retain control somewhere we entertained this to a degree. His diaper was changed only when it was hanging down to his knees, he wore pajamas all day for most of the last week, his teeth probably won't rot in a few days and this is only day....9 without a bath.

But he stinks.

Jon and I are not good at tough love. We are suckers for tears, are easily manipulated by cuteness and don't follow through with many threatened time-outs...fortunately Ben is agreeable and obedient most of the time and we don't need to bring out the heavy hand very much.

But the kid stinks.

This was one we had to fight for. I bartered, bribed, threatened and apologized but our little stinker only got clean this evening by force. I had to hold him in the bath and scrub him down...not creating positive bath associations for the future, I know. Fortunately the second year is all about phases and I can assume he will be out of this one as fast as he got in it.

Tonight though was a matter of just having to be mad till he got glad again. That is all there was to it. Did I feel horrible about holding him down and pouring water over his shrieking soapy head while he clutched an all natural organic blueberry lolly pop. You bet. I hate this part. You know...where you have to be the parent...because your child is rotting out of his own skin.

While I calmed him down in a fluffy white towel afterwards he confessed that he was scared of the bath because of the water in his ears. And then... I felt even worse.

So box of glutton free animal crackers and an evening of letting him milk me for all I'm worth (including 3 episodes of Max and Ruby...which I detest)later smells like orange creamsicles. He is yummy again... and still this cute.

***photo by Verity-Anne Dokter

Baby Jake's Head...

A couple of hours after his birth Jacob's head began to swell...and swell and swell.
The midwife (the insanely calm one) even let a flicker of worry cross her face as she measured the circumference of the swelling. There are two large masses on Jacob's head, one significantly more so than the other. They are pockets of blood and fluid accumulation on his head resulting from his surprise posterior birth (or being born face up, common in only 5-8% of births...can you tell I have spent some time on google...) and getting stuck on my pelvis. When it continued to swell we were referred to a pediatrician today to have a look at it.

The Doctor said it was one of the worst he has seen.

WHAAAAAT?! Will he have brain damage? Will it stay like this? Does it hurt him? Can it rupture? Will it keep getting bigger? Should we cancel his circumcision appointment? How do we know if it is getting worse? What are the future implications?

Don't cry. Don't cry. Don't cry.

After I calmed down I could hear what the Doctor said...specifically; no, no, no, no, no, no, it will get bigger and buy hats.

Apparently it is mostly cosmetic at this point, he will be sleepy and jaundiced while his body heals and it may look worse before it looks better and could take up to a year for his head to remold. I don't think it will take that long since of course he is a particularly strong and resilient baby (look what he has already been through!) Regardless, we still think he is pretty darn gorgous!

***photos by Verity-Anne Dokter
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...