Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Trick or Treat

Halloween's approaching and I'm getting excited.  I'm going to try and take the little guy to a few houses this year.  Yes, I guess I officially became one of those moms.  The ones I used to roll my eyes at during my pre-baby years of shelling out, wondering why anyone would take a kid out when they're too young to understand.  Well now I know why.  One: They're so freakin' cute all dressed up.  Two: I get the candy.

Last year the baby was just over a month so I didn't take him trick or treating (you gotta draw the line somewhere people), but I'll admit I did put him in a costume.  It was a little bat costume that was basically a hat with bat ears, a cape, and little bat feet booties.  He HATED it.  He screamed until I took it off.  I felt terrible.  So hopefully this year won't be quite so traumatizing for him.

I've always really loved Halloween, and my childhood memories of trick or treating are some of my most vivid and fun memories of all.  For me I think it's special because you really get a sense of community on Halloween.  Unlike other holidays, everyone is out and about on the streets on Halloween night.  There's something surreal about seeing every single kid in the neighborhood out in the street at the same time.  You get to meet your neighbors, get to see into their houses.  And that's a rare thing these days, when people just seem to keep to themselves.  They hunker down behind closed doors and reach out to total strangers online (ahem....) but don't know who lives on their street. 

True, for some kids Halloween is about greedily gathering as much candy as they (and their parents) can carry home.  Ok for most kids.  But I like to think that Halloween also still holds that magic eerie energy that I remember from my childhood.  When the leafless trees take on an ominous presence and dark corners hold horrible possibilities.  When you look up at the wispy clouds drifting over the moon and half-expect to see a witch fly by on her broom.  When you diligently light your jack-o-lanterns just in case there is any truth to the legends.  When you let yourself get a little spooked, because it's sooo much fun. 

Happy Halloween.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Domestic disturbance

So yesterday was pretty much the worst day ever.

It starts out with me getting up at 5:30 with our son who barely slept all night because he is sick with a cold.  Why, I ask, with the advances of modern medicine, have they not come up with cold medication that is safe for babies and toddlers?  He doesn't know how to blow his nose for crying out loud.  He tries to eat and big snot bubbles are coming out of his little nostrils.

In addition to his cold, and a tooth popping through, the little monkey has had an ear infection for like six weeks now.  He just started his third kind of antibiotics the other day, which gave him a rash and upset stomach so I stopped them.  So he's totally miserable.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, our house has been for sale.  We've been trying to sell it in time to buy this other place that we wanted to fix up and flip.  So yesterday our agents call.  Good news: our house sold.  Bad news: the individual selling the house we want decides at the last minute to increase the price we verbally agreed upon by forty thousand dollars, so essentially we wouldn't make any money flipping it (lesson: you can't trust anyone).  But our house is already sold.  SO, we have exactly one month to find someplace to go.

So my hubby comes home from work and I give him the bad news, all the while the baby's wailing because his teeth or ears or tummy or something hurts and apparently Tylenol isn't cutting it.  Then I catch a whiff of something not normal and I ask my husband to assist me in changing one nightmare of a dirty diaper (I guess it was his tummy hurting after all).  So as we're trying to argue discuss where the hell we're going to live, my hubby is trying to hold the baby still while I clean up the other end.  So naturally the baby screeches louder and tries even harder to do back flips on his change table, effectively getting poop everywhere.  So I snap at hubby to hold him still, and he snaps at me that he's trying to.

And then he catches a glimpse of the rash from the antibiotics and is all, "Holy crap! I don't want him to have any more of that shit." And I'm like, "I already stopped giving it to him.  I knew that stuff would make him sick".  And then he says, "Well if you knew it would make him sick then why'd you give it to him?"  I think my jaw dropped because I saw the look on his face as he realized what he'd said.  But it was too late.  I had officially exceeded my ability to cope, and all my ugliness came bubbling over.  "So it's my fault he's sick?  You're an asshole."  And then I stomped off in a most mature fashion.

Now just to be clear, we're not a couple who call names or swear at each other.  We decided very early in the game that it was too damaging and promised we wouldn't do it.  So we squabble and bitch and even yell sometimes, but we don't hit below the belt.  Until today.  Anyway, my words apparently hurt me more than him because I was the one who ended up blubbering into the sofa cushion.  I felt terrible for reacting that way, but mostly I was upset that we had fought in front of the baby.  Another thing we promised never to do from the beginning.  And I hope we don't forget that promise again.

We ended up both apologizing and realizing that the combined stress of being exhausted, having a sick baby, and selling our house out from under us had gotten the better of us.  So at least we didn't go to bed mad at each other. 

But it was still the worst day ever.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Got the mac and cheese blues

Did you know that everything that is yummy has cheese or milk in it?  And I can't have it?

I'm on a strict dairy-free diet due to my son's milk allergy.  So as long as I'm breastfeeding him I'm not allowed to eat anything good.  Although I'd do anything for him, I can't help but feel a little sorry for myself - especially this time of year when comfort food becomes my lifeline until spring. 

Sure it was hard not having ice cream and milkshakes this summer, but now I'm missing out all the warm fall foods that require cheese, butter, and cream to be yummy.  I'm dreaming about lasagna, fettuccine alfredo, a big fat cheeseburger, cream soups with grilled cheese sandwiches, baked potatoes with sour cream and butter, pizza....mmmmpizza.  And I would literally KILL if someone tempted me with homemade mac and cheese.  
cheesy goodness

And CHOCOLATE...what I would do for some chocolate.  I think I'd eat a chocolate boot right about now.  In fact, I'd eat a cheese boot too.  And if I have to watch my husband savour another steaming cup of coffee with cream, I think I might stab him in the eye.  Sorry, honey. 

I'm trying to remind myself that I'm doing myself a healthy favour by avoiding all the fatty, high-calorie food...but who am I kidding?  I want it.  I need it. 

How's a girl supposed to stay warm in Canada without packin' on a few pounds for the winter?    

Friday, October 15, 2010

To work, or not to work?

I suppose there comes a time for most new moms when they are faced with the decision about daycare.  I'm struggling with this decision.  To say the least.  I've already convinced my husband and workplace to give me an extra 6 months or so, and let me tell you I am extremely grateful for it.  But I'm only prolonging the inevitable. 

Here's the thing:  Nobody else can look after my baby the way I can.  There, I said it.  Ha. 

I know there are people out there rolling their eyes and thinking what an uptight control freak I probably am, and I guess I'm not really in a position to deny such allegations, but I don't really give a shit either.  The thought of leaving my child with anyone makes me uneasy; the thought of leaving him with a stranger makes me feel a little crazy.  Visions of a cave woman come to mind: Some primitive cave woman backed into a corner by a saber-toothed tiger, determined that she will claw the animal's eyes out with her bare hands before she lets it have her young.  You get the idea.  A little dramatic maybe, but that's how I'd feel if I was forced to leave my son at some random daycare.  I already told my husband I'd rather quit my job, sell everything we own and move into a trailer before I'll leave him anyplace I'm not comfortable with.  He agreed with me, and that's why I love him. 

Now I know I'm not the first mom out there to feel overprotective, if that's what you want to call this (personally I prefer concerned, or loving).  It feels totally unnatural to be leaving him to go back to work...for what?  For money?  I'll do without it thankyouverymuch.  My priorities changed the moment I felt his warm little body next to mine.  I heard that in France women get two years paid maternity leave; now that's what I'm talking about.  Or how about going back to the Leave-it-to-Beaver days where women could just stay home, and one income was enough?  I'm grateful for equal rights and all that, but lets face it - I still do all the flippin' cooking and housework anyway.  Just gimme an apron and call me June Cleaver - and I promise I won't complain.

Now, I know there are some darn good child care people out there.  In fact I'm friends with some of them.  But that doesn't make me feel any better for some reason.  Because I wanna do it (yes, I'm whining a little).  I want to be there to see all his first things.  All his goofy smiles.  All his bumps and bruises.  I don't want to miss any of it.  Does that make me selfish?  And am I deluding myself into thinking that he wants me to be there for all those things too?  Or is my father right when he tells me that "there comes a time when a child needs to learn to be without his mother"?  True, I know, but is now that time?  Every bone in my body tells me NO.  Is this instinct irrational, or should I listen to it?  DOESN'T ANYONE HAVE ANSWERS FOR ME?

I know that I'll probably have to go back to work eventually, even if it's only part-time, until we can afford for me to stay home.  I dread it every day.  I just hope we can find someone I know and trust to watch him by then, so we can avoid the whole cave woman thing. 

To all the stay-at-home moms out there:  Keep up the good work, and enjoy every minute.  I envy you.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

That hat

Where to begin....

My husband has this hat.  He bought it as a souvenir on a trip we took to Alberta several years ago.  It is the unrivalled winner when it comes to things to argue about in our house.  Hands down.

He loved his new hat, more commonly known as "the Banff hat", and wore it every day for the longest time.  Even at inappropriate times like when we were out for dinner (argument topic #1).  He wore it so much that it started to fade and tear and come apart - but he continued to wear it anyway, even though it made him look unkempt and sloppy (argument topic #2).  We had this argument once on our way to dinner at a friend's place when I was pregnant.  I don't remember the entire fight, but I do remember crying (gimme a break I was pregnant) and holding that stupid hat out the car window threatening to throw it.  I don't know what stopped me but I've since regretted my hesitation on many occasions. 

The hat finally started to look awful enough that some friends started to tease him about it along with me, and then it finally got demoted from his "everyday" hat to his "work" hat.  I could live with that.  I thought...

Hat prior to work use.  Note frayed edges and sweat stains.

But we weren't done fighting about that hat yet.  You see, my husband builds homes for a living, so most days comes home looking like he crawled out of a mud hole.  So needless to say, the hat is filthy.  I mean filthy.  And the smell of it would make your eyes water.  How anyone could put a dirty, reeking hat on their clean head in the morning is way beyond me (argument topic #3).  And then he complains that he's losing his hair, and refuses to acknowledge the possibility that it's because he wears that radioactive thing on his head day after day (argument topic #4). 

Hat today - on my table
 Sure, I wash it whenever I can get my hands on it, but it doesn't matter because it's dirty again the next day anyway.  Really, the fact that he wears the disgusting thing to work doesn't really bother me that much.  It's the fact that I find it lying around the house that I have a problem with (argument topic #5).  Like on the kitchen counter.  On the table.  On our bed.  On the couch or floor (where the baby can, and does, find it and put it in his mouth - GAG).  Need I go on? 

I don't want to look at it.  I don't want to smell it.  And I really don't want to touch it.  Yet for some reason I still seem to have to get up close and personal with that hat on a daily basis.

The things we do for love.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

A word of thanks

To my fellow Canadians in blog world:  Happy Thanksgiving!

Fall colours are at their peak, it's starting to get cooler, and the birds are hauling ass outta town (wisely).  'Cause they know what's coming - but we're not going to think about that right now.  Because this is what it looks like outside today:

trees in my back yard

birds getting the "flock" outta town

not my pumpkin stand


So at the risk of being a total sap or sounding like a kindergarten teacher, I'm feeling the need to express my gratitude today.  To give thanks, if you will, for all that I have.  Because even though I'm so tired I'm having trouble focusing right now, I have so much to be thankful for I could cry.  Truly.  Here we go (in no particular order):

I'm thankful.....
  • that I live in the most beautiful country in the world, and I have the freedom to express myself
  • for the 2 wonderful men in my life - one big, one little
  • for all my family and friends
  • for my health, and my family's health
  • for my home
  • for food, and wine (again, no particular order)
  • that I am able to be home with my son and not at work, even though it's making us poor
  • and lastly, that I've finally found the piece that had been missing from my life - that which has allowed me to find new meaning and happiness everyday - motherhood.
There are days, I'll admit, when I forget to be damned grateful for all that I have.  When I feel envious of others.  When I wish I had more, better, different.  And I have to stop and remind myself how fortunate I am. 

But not today.  Today, I feel nothing but gratitude.  And love.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Got (breast)Milk?

I apologize in advance, but I need to rant.  Deal.

So my son is officially over the one year mark that - according to North American societal norms and the baby food companies - indicates it's time to start weaning him from breastfeeding.  Well I'm not weaning yet.  That's right, I'm still nursing my 24 pound toddler 4 times a day.  DEAL.  (Sorry...I'm a little sensitive about this).

I was not prepared for the pressure (from family, strangers, the media, my own imagination) to STOP breastfeeding.  It seems like breastfeeding is strongly encouraged up to a point, but after that it's not really accepted by society.  You become "one of those" moms.  You know, the vegan ones with dreadlocks and hairy armpits who swear by 'the family bed' and breastfeed until their kids are 5 (please know that I'm not judging or making fun, it's just a stereo-type I'm trying to describe).

I hear:
"You're still breastfeeding?"
"Doesn't he have teeth?"
"It's time to stop when they can ask for it."
"If you breastfeed too long he'll remember it and be emotionally damaged."
"Doesn't he eat real food yet?"

F--- off!  You ignorant mother fu......(sigh).  Sorry.  Still a little touchy.

I'd like to clear a few things up: 
  • Yes,  he has teeth.  No, he doesn't bite me when he's nursing.  (But he bites everything else.)
  • I have clean hair, and hairless armpits, and I eat meat.
  • My son sleeps in his crib, mostly.
  • He will not remember feeding from my breast.
  • If he learns to ask for it without whining or crying, then frankly my life will get a lot easier.
  • He eats real food several times a day.
The truth is, I didn't expect that I would be continuing to breastfeed into the second year.  I didn't expect that my tiny baby would violently vomit for hours anytime I tried to give him a bottle of formula.  I didn't expect him to start having problems with eczema and ear infections.  And as he approached his first birthday, I didn't expect to learn that he was allergic to dairy (which, by the way, is in everything they make for babies).   Continuing to breastfeed is the best thing I can do to help him overcome these problems.

Consider the facts (and forgive me, as I don't mean to preach):
  • breastfed children benefit nutritionally
  • breastfeeding into the second and third years is healthy and NORMAL in most parts of the world
  • breastfed children get sick less often
  • they have fewer allergies
  • they develop normally psychologically, emotionally, and socially (some research indicates they are more well-adjusted) 
If you can't sustain breastfeeding or choose not to, then there's no harm done.  But if you can, then why not?  And what's with the pressure to wean kids to cow's milk anyway?  What's natural about that?  If babies still require nutrients they can only get from milk, why does society insist we use milk from cows?  Doesn't anyone else think this is a little odd?  Why do I even have to explain this to people??

Okay, I'm feeling a little better having gotten that off my chest (no pun intended).  I hope I didn't sound like a breastfeeding pamphlet, because I'm all for mom's having the choice.  Ultimately, I think we all do our best and want the same thing - happy, healthy babies, and sane moms. 

So kindly get off my case, m'kay?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Confession: My fridge looks like it belongs to a hoarder

I finally cleaned out the fridge today.  This is a big deal.  I decided it was high time I did something about the state my fridge was in after my sister-in-law did nothing to hide her horror when she opened the door on the weekend.  She's always known that I'm a slacker when it comes to cleaning out the fridge, but as she rummaged around trying to find a spot for something she finally exclaimed, "That's it!  I'm coming over this week and we're cleaning out your fridge!  This is ridiculous!"

I was suddenly reminded of an episode of Hoarders where this lady wouldn't throw anything out of her fridge and it was so full of rotting food that she couldn't shut the door and her family had to do an intervention...well, you get the idea.  It's not that I have some unconscious need to keep the crap that's in there.  As a matter of fact, if some magic cleaning fairy came one night and cleaned it out for me I would be ridiculously happy.  I guess it's just laziness.  That and the fact that I have better things to do (ahem, rationalization?).

It's not as though I never clean it out.  It just doesn't get done until:
     a) there's no more room to put things,
     b) something smells bad, or
     c) I put my hand into the crisper drawer and pull it out dripping with sludge from an unknown source.

Anyway, it's a problem and one I'm not proud of.  It's humiliating actually.  Because, aside from the fridge, my house is pretty clean.  Sure, I have my issues with stashing clutter and putting off laundry the same as most people, but dirty I am not.  So there was no way in hell I was going to have my sister-in-law coming over to do this - I decided then and there that I would clean out the fridge today, come hell or high water (plus, me sticking my finger through a liquefied english cucumber pretty much sealed the deal).

Among the treasures in this stainless steel chest were:
  • 3 expired sour cream containers, one unopened
  • 2 nearly empty jars of salsa
  • 5 jars of jam (count 'em, FIVE - I kept one, the rest weren't quite empty but were low enough that you couldn't get the jam out without getting all sticky)
  • 3 empty mustard containers
  • 4 containers of unidentifiable leftovers
  • 2 nearly full bottles of Bailey's Irish Cream - one from last Christmas and one from the year before (you got it - that would have been 2008)
  • 4 leftover chunks of butter, all expired
  • 2 half-empty jars of Cheez-Whiz (I don't even remember buying or eating Cheez-Whiz)
  • 3 english cucumbers - all at different stages of decomposition.
  • about 50 of those little plum and soya sauces that come with chinese take-out

I wonder what the garbage man will think when he sees my recycling bin.

But it's all done - squeaky clean.  And the process was surprisingly cathartic.  I'm going to seriously try not to let this happen again.  Seriously.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

No sleep makes mommy something something...

Four.  Thirty.


That's what time I've been up every morning this week.  Why. Won't. This. Child. Sleep?  At night?  By 8:30am he's ready for a 2 hour nap.  And another leisurely siesta after lunch.  But at night he's up like every hour or 2, and then is up for good at four flippin' thirty.  Rearing to go.  Ready to play.  Why? 

A friend of mine just updated her Facebook status to say, "So thankful for a child who sleeps well, I got up at 9 and she's still sleeping :)" (You know who you are...).  I'm sooo jealous.  No, jealous doesn't cover it - I'm desperate.  I would do anything for that kind of sleep.

Also, I think maybe I'm a little psychotic with sleep deprivation.  Like I keep thinking I see things out of the corner of my eye, and then there's nothing there.  I've experienced this before when I've been exhausted from working nights, so I know I not going completely off my rocker, but's a little disturbing.

The other night around 3am I held the baby in the darkness of his room, waiting for him to be enough asleep that I could slip him back into his crib without waking him.  As I stared at his little face in the darkness, it started to look...well, not right.  Kinda distorted.  I couldn't quite put my finger on what was wrong, so I start inspecting his features, finally deciding that it was his lip that didn't look right.  His upper lip.  It looked all puffy and lumpy and swollen like he was having an allergic reaction or something.  I poked it...and it felt puffy too.  So I start tilting him this way and that, trying to get the nightlight to shine on his face better so I can get a better look, starting to get a little panicky that there's something terribly wrong.  Something definitely didn't look right.  I finally dashed over to the light switch and flipped it on - just to find his face and lips just as I had left them at bedtime.  Perfect.  No puffy lumps.  Just perfect little baby lips.

I'm losing my mind. 

Naturally the journey to the light switch disturbed him enough that we had to start over with going back to sleep, and I ultimately robbed myself needlessly of 15 minutes of sweet, luxurious slumber.  Rats.

Friday, October 1, 2010

What, no gifts?

I had the dreaded Christmas dream last night.  You know the one - perhaps you've had it too - where it's Christmas Eve and you suddenly realize that you haven't bought any gifts yet.  You're filled with a sense of guilt and dread, and it becomes a frantic rush to try and get to the store, but you can't seem to get there because weird, random shit keeps happening to keep you from being able to leave the house.  So the stress and anxiety just builds and builds until you finally wake up, all sweaty and tense.  With a wave a relief you realize it was just a dream, but you have a tension headache anyway.

Like that could ever happen, that you just forget to buy gifts.  There's no way the advertising industry would let that happen.  It's barely October and the Christmas crap is already competing with the Halloween crap in the stores.  It's maddening.

But let's just say it did happen for some reason.  You just showed up at the family functions and holiday parties empty handed.  What would happen?  Would people me mad, annoyed?  Or would they totally understand, wishing that they, too, had forgotten to buy presents?  Does anyone really care about all the gifts, aside from the children?  I'd sooner see my loved ones spend their money on themselves than buy me another gift that, lets face it, I probably don't want or need.  Maybe we need to rethink things a little.

Don't get me wrong, I love Christmas:  the food, the decorations, the time with family and friends, the magic warmth of your home around the holidays.  I love it.  But I could seriously do without the hectic last minute trips to Walmart.  I'm just sayin'.