Archive for real human friends

This is where I am now.

It’s been a year since I posted that last entry.  If you came here wanting an update on all things personal, here goes:

Alice is almost seven, Henry is almost two, Matt has been married to me for almost ten years, and I am almost entirely sick of writing blog posts.  Almost.  My household is a mad rush of diapers, snowpants, toy trains, puppets, laundry, dishes, and bad reality tv.  Lather, rinse, repeat.  But things are good.  I grew tired of this blog, and decided a few months ago that I wanted to do a book-only blog.

So I did so – 8 months ago.  I wrote my first post and then apparently decided “oh well, that’s enough for now.”

I’ve returned to it recently though, and plan on trying to stick with it.  The book thing really enriched my life a few years ago with a 50 book challenge.

From now on you can find me over there at: http://thebooktable.wordpress.com/

I hope you come visit!

K

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why I need friends to survive the winter

The space between my blog posts is getting larger and larger.  Oh blawgh, you are kind of boring me.

So the post-holiday suckage has set in, and I have been trapped in the house with a teething baby.   The frigid temperatures have meant I have spent many a day alternating Henry between his different “stations” around the house to pass the time as quickly as possible.  There is the “feeding station” (in the feeding chair), the “exersaucer station”, the “jumpy thing” station”, and I think you get the picture.  Of course, all Henry wants to do is move move move around the room.  He has mastered the butt-scoot and is now wrecking havoc on my life with all of this mobility.  Crap child, why learn to move?  Why not be thankful for a half hour in the exersaucer and leave it at that?  Meh.

Despite my moping around, however, I have managed to get some cherished time in with some of my most cherished friends.  Including this one and that one.  A lot of the time, these dates include beer, pizza, and much venting and eye rolling.  And sometimes, these dates are also caught on film.  Like below.

There are things about this video that I just love – like Nadine’s voice when she says “oh sure!” when Alice asks her to make up a contest, my daughter’s crossing of her arms over her chest when she is listening to Nadine’s plan, Nate’s obvious interest in something else entirely, and my ridiculously witchy giggle when Nadine tells them to lie down.  But mostly I love it because it will always remind me of a snowy day in January when two friends ordered beer and pizza to make it through another dinner hour together.

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She did not go gently into that good night

As it is with any pregnancy, things get forgotten and put off for later. Taxes to be filed, letters to be sent, emails to be returned, blog posts to be written.  I am guilty of much of this – I am only now finding post it notes stuck to the top of the fridge reminding me to schedule Alice’s eye appointment.  Six months ago. 

Last Christmas season, when I was big and uncomfortable with a giant baby Henry inside me, my maternal grandmother died.  It was not unexpected, as she was well into her 90s and had been ill for some weeks preceding her death.  But still, a loss felt deeply across a large extended family on my mother`s side.   And now, a year later, I am reminded that I never wrote a blog post about her death.   I definitely meant to, and even had a draft going.  But, as it goes in a house preparing for a new baby, that post went the way of appointment reminders and thank you cards.  So it is now, a year later, that she is in my thoughts as we prepare for a holiday season without her.

She was known as “Doll” to her grandchildren (and even most of her children).  And she was all kinds of outrageous at times. She was not the typical grandmother who scooped you up and cuddled you for hours.  She didn’t knit you a sweater and make you a hot cup of cocoa and whisper wisdoms in your ear.  She could even sometimes be too abrupt and a little (dare I say it) mean.  She had opinions about the world and she wanted you to know that.

But she did teach you how to play piano, as well as a good game of cards. She laughed loudly at your stories and encouraged you to dance at family parties (of which there were many). She was a woman who loved a good, old fashioned, family sing-a-long.

It’s true, she could be fierce.  But it was a fierceness blanketed with love and strength.   If anything, Doll taught me to be open with my opinions, and to not shut my mouth when someone else said something I didn’t like.   I come from a long line of opinionated women, and I am proud of that lineage.  We are women who have many neuroses and anxieties and even depressions, but try to keep us quiet and submissive? We will come at you with both fists fighting.

It was in my later years, after I was an adult, that I came to know Doll better.  During the summer after Alice was born, I spent a month up north at my parents’ place.  Trying to get some sleep, and trying to come to terms with the fact that this tiny little person now depended on me. Doll was also spending a few weeks there, and so 4 generations of women in my family (Doll, my mother, my daughter, and I) had the opportunity to spend hours of uninterrupted time together.  I was touched and amazed by the way Doll was with my new daughter.  Every morning she ask how my night went with the baby, and told me stories of her own babies and their sleeplessness. Alice adored her, and would reach for her all the time.  Doll would bounce her on her knee and coo and make her laugh.  And in those moments, I saw the woman who mothered five children, survived the Depression, lost her husband 20 years earlier, and always always did not go “gently” into any night.

I only wish she had lived long enough to meet Henry.  He is just the sort of mushy gooey giggly baby boy that she would have loved, or so I like to think.  I like to also think somewhere in her passing from this world that she passed Henry on the way in.  And, after telling him he “had a good shaped head” (inside family joke here), she wrapped him in her memories and love, and passed him onto me. 

I will end this with a song, as she would.  This was one of her favourites, and has special meaning in my family. Click on the video below – it really is a present to my mom and her siblings on this first Christmas season without their mom.  Because everybody needs a little bit of their mom on Christmas.  Even those who are grown and have grandchildren of their own.

Merry Christmas Doll.

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we interrupt this program…

…of dramatic sighs and shaking heads to bring you this cute baby:

Thanks for all of your comments on the below post.  I have much more to say about it (of course), but wanted to remember my joy in life today.  And he definitely is part of that.

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Gratitude

It’s been 7 weeks now since baby boy bounced into our lives.  7 weeks of getting to know a new person.  7 weeks of realising we are now a family of 4.  7 weeks of trying to make our first born not feel left out.  And 7 weeks of – quite honestly – brutal recovery for me.  I can now see the other side of it, given that I am now able to sit without wincing, take a shower without crying, walk around the neighbourhood, give my 5 year old a bath again, and read a book while breastfeeding at the same time.  Important goals, people.

The VBAC was great.  The physical damage a giant baby did to my nether regions?  Not so great.  But I’m still here, and each day I return more and more to the land of the living.  And most importantly, I would not have made it without the most excellent support and nurturing I received in the past 7 weeks.  I am a lucky lucky girl to have these people in my life.  People like:

1.  Matt.  The VBAC experience was intense, exciting, horrifying, electrifying and heart-stopping emotional all at the same time.  And Matt was there the entire time, holding my hand and letting me be me.  Which is the best thing a partner can do, really – allow the birthing woman to be who she is and not feel badly about the fact that she has a yucky cold washcloth over her face, having a panic attack, and yelling at her midwife not to deny her an epidural all at the same time.  Even more important, though, was Matt’s presence these last few weeks.  He soldiered on beside me while I cried my way through a post partum infection, depression, and general pain.   He never made me feel weak or ridiculous when I needed to cry, and he made my home a place of comfort and safety.  This experience has bonded our relationship like nothing else, and I am in awe of his strength and giving nature.

2. My mom.  In the weeks right after Henry’s birth, my awesome mom came to my house, slept over, made meals, cleaned the house, did the laundry, brought me food when I couldn’t walk down the stairs, picked up my daughter at school, and generally took care of everything so I could focus on the baby.  She also took Henry in the middle of the night at times, so I could get a nap, and was there when my anxiety reared its ugly head.  She was, quite honestly, absolutely amazing.  I can’t thank her enough for helping my newly expanded family find its way.

3. The midwives.  I know I have waxed poetic here before about how great it is to have free access to midwives here in Ontario.   Their presence throughout the pregnancy and their helping hands at the birth itself was invaluable.  But it was their support in the post partum period where I really saw how lucky I was.  They came to my house, for example, when I was having symptoms of a post partum infection. And checked me out in my own bedroom.  They were available 24-7 by pager, and many times talked me through the recovery pain.  I had one memorable phone conversation with Kay in the bathroom at 11PM one night, as the infection didn’t seem to be going away.  I was tired and cranky, and sick of being incapable of living regular life.  As always, she talked me down and made me laugh.  And for those moments, I am so very very grateful.

4. My friends.  Whether it was bringing us food and treats, taking Alice for a playdate, or just plain commiserating on the phone with me, these amazing women got me through.  We were astounded by the support we received.  People were sweet and loving and just wanted to hold our baby and visit with us.  Not only my real-life friends, but my most favourite bloggy friends too.  The lovely group of Nadine, Marla, Ann, Jen, Dani, Andrea, and Andrea got me the most beautiful silver bracelet with Alice and Henry’s names engraved on it. And gifted me with it on Mother’s Day, a day when I was at a particular low point.  I wear it with pride, and will take a picture and post it here soon so the rest of you can adore it as well.

5. The rest of my family.  My sister, who took Alice to her house in the middle of the night when I was moaning in labour pain.  My brother and SIL who took Alice to the museum one day so I could get some much needed peace.  My other brother, who came to visit that first week and sat in my bedroom with me holding his new nephew.  My father, who cleaned up my garden and front yard while I was at the hospital giving birth.  So I would come home to a fresh-looking lawn and house.  How generous and supportive all of these people are.

6. and finally – my kids.  (Plural!)  Every day it gets a little easier to maneover life with 2, and I’m starting to be able to relax.  They are my greatest gifts, these two.  The feisty little girl whose tall leggy body takes up the length of the bathtub now.  The girl whose face lit up when she saw I was downstairs again after the first week of being stuck on the 2nd floor.  The lovely little spitfire girly who still wants to sit on my lap and rest her head against my own. 

And then there is him.  He who all these people gathered to meet and hold.  He who took his sweet time coming into this world, and then bore his giant body into the room.  The sweet little milky-breath boy, who gave me my first smile on Mother’s Day.  Whose shy smile breaks into a grin that quickly spreads across his entire face.  Whose beautiful newborn-ness had now made two of my friends spontaneously cry real tears in awe.   The one who has somehow carved out a new place in my heart I didn’t know existed.

For all of this, I am so grateful.  So very grateful.

 

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and then came Henry

After 41 hours of labour, 1 hour of pushing, and many many moments of “mother f$@*ker, get this kid outta me!”  the beautiful babe arrived April 13, 2008 at 7:06PM.  All 9lbs 14 oz of him.  Who said you couldn’t have a successful VBAC with a (close to) 10 lb baby?? 

 

Birth story to come. For the time being, I am a little bed bound while I heal my umm…wounds.  But suffice to say, I am so happy to have done the VBAC.  Now I get to enjoy my chilled out little boy, and start this new chapter in my life.  Whew!

 

 

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I get by with considerable help from my friends

Five years in, and I’m still amazed at how all consuming this parenting gig can be.  You would think by now I would have accepted and embraced the fact that I am someone’s everything.  Well, to be clear, her DAD and I are her everything – with Matt these days probably taking the majority of that everything, leaving me with the leftovers.  But regardless, somehow I have managed to become this all-consuming force in this child’s life.  A prospect that leaves me breathless, joyful, and downright terrified most of the time.

I manage to navigate through this mess of a mommyhood, however, with the help of some excellent women.  They are my windows to a reality check, a phone call to a laughing fit instead of a breakdown.  And during this second pregnancy, they have been invaluable sources of comfort and experience.  Last weekend, these lovely women threw me an excellent non-traditional baby shower to welcome the little penis who currently lives inside the uterus.  A good night at a local restaurant we tend to frequent in Leslieville here in Toronto.  Nothing over the top – no silly games or contrived platitudes.  They know me well, these women.

So Marla and Nadine, if you are reading this, thank you from the very bottom of my hormonal self.  You made this pregnant woman’s year. 

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