Thursday, February 28, 2008

16 weeks

Week Sixteen
Fat begins to form underneath skin, providing your baby with insulation for the coming months.
Did you know that both baby and placenta are now about the same size?
Your little one has reached 4.57 inches (11.6cm) and approximately 3.53 ounces (100gm).
His head and neck are held straighter now.
This is a week of "mights!" You might hear the tiny thumps of his heartbeat with an external monitor now. The genitals are developed sufficiently that an experienced sonographer might be able to determine if your baby is a boy or a girl.
Her heart is pumping as much as 6 gallons of blood a day and beats at a rate about double your heartrate.
If you could take a peek inside, you would witness your child's reflexes in action! (Sucking, swallowing and blinking are now evident.) She is probably even hiccuping even though you don't feel it yet!
Your baby has learned to breathe! This is apparent from the regular movements of his chest. Isn't it amazing that he is able to breathe "underwater," inhaling and exhaling small amounts of amniotic fluid? These actions help the lungs to develop and grow.

Dogs and Poo (and Stu)

Here is an interesting phenomenon: people love their dogs (obviously I'm kidding about the interesting part: fairly common knowledge). I'm just not sure that people really acknowledge that their dogs are capable of being UNfriendly. Kind of like ourselves, I guess. We don't really acknowledge that we are capable of doing bad things (given certain stresses) very often. Most dogs are very friendly, and very outgoing, and very curious, and very loud about guests arriving on their property. If those same dogs sense that their beloved owner is sick/injured/incapacitated, it stresses them out. And then two strangers march in as if they own the place and hover over said sick/injured/incapacitated owner, touching them with strange equipment and in a 'confident' manner which can easily be misinterpreted as an 'aggressive' manner to a stressed out dog.
Needless to say, I've been attacked at work more than once by those oh-so-friendly dogs who will reportedly just want to lick me to death. I've never been super comfortable with dogs in the first place (which dog lovers, if they discover my fear, love to point out as the root cause of my being attacked, which I dispute based on the above argument AND the basis that I've seen dog loving partners attacked as well) and tend to approach them on an individual basis. Some dogs I like, some I love, and some I don't. I make an effort to develop friendships with dogs who belong to my friends because I know I will see that dog more than once, and I know it is important to my friends with dogs.
I can't tell you how many homes we go to with dogs. We're like the mail carrier. Only we go INSIDE the house and TOUCH the person who lives there! When a person calls an ambulance, if the patient is stable enough not to need CPR or something, at the end of the phone call the dispatcher asks the caller to get out the patient's care card and medications, and to put their dogs away in another room.
EVERYONE ignores this request.
I HATE that everyone ignores this request.
When confronted with loud dogs before entering the house, I usually retreat back into the ambulance. Once in awhile my partner will make friends with the dog and then I'll come out. Most of the time the owners appear and take the dog by the collar.
When confronted with dogs upon entering the house, I or my partner will always request that the dog be put in another room (some ingenious dogs will escape; this is kind of usually takes them awhile so we're almost ready to go at that point anyways) with the door closed. Always, ALWAYS, we are reassured "No, no! She'll just lick you to death! She's very friendly!" Actually, once in my five years as a paramedic someone said "Oh, how did she get out? She's a guard dog and she'll bite you." (So put that rottie away, man! She was huge).
Here's the deal: we are here for a medical purpose. I'm sure your dog IS friendly but #1, I'm also sure s/he's stressed out, and #2, We don't have time to establish a relationship with her that will reassure us of her friendly status, and #3, I've been bit before.
That's my rant for today.

Oh, here's another one: when I'm not wiping bums at home, I'm apparantly wiping them at work. Poo! Poo! Poo! I hate poo. It is not really in my job description, but what am I going to do, leave a patient in the hallway with poop on her bum until she gets a bed? No. Why does poo stink so bad? Why do people poop? Seriously, people.

I've noticed something else since Stu was banished. I like Matthew better. I always loved him, but often felt mixed feelings about him, especially when he cried or otherwise carried on because I would feel guilty that he was unhappy. Now, I just enjoy his company without those mixed up feelings. The most marked situation when I notice this is when I look at pictures of him. Before, pictures of the first year he was with us elicited negative emotions in me because they reminded me of a difficult time in my life and made me feel more guilty. Now, he just looks cute. What a transformation! Sometimes Stu tries to crawl back in my head; his voice is actually audible from the floor as well, but I tell him to STFU and he does, mostly. It's so fun to look at video and pics now! It is amazing how long I compensated in that direction without really realizing how much guilt I was carrying around, and how often Stu talked to me.

It's sunny out. Hooray! I'm going to go play in the sun.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

News regarding the voice

Remember that guilty voice? The one I told to STFU? The one I described as a black worm? I've decided to name him Stu. It kind of shrinks him and shrinks his power, if you know what I mean. I'm sure I'm crazy, naming the voices in my head (ha ha), but I don't care! Today was better than yesterday (and all the yesterdays before that), because I refused to feel guilty. Most things stayed the same: I still wiped Matthew's snotty nose all day, he still got a time out for throwing sand at his brother while in the sandbox, and I still wanted to duct tape his mouth shut while I made supper, but inside I was calmer. Inside I felt more entitled to both love and discipline him, since I had no guilt to make up for, or to make me angry. Later in the day, this was more difficult because he has a bad case of diarrhea and tummy pains. For normal people, a child's tummy pains make them feel sorry for their kid (and I do), but for me they usually just add to the guilt. He's uncomfortable, and I can't fix it, and thus, I failed. I don't feel this way with Ayden, but I've a track record of guilt with Matthew that I don't have with Ayden. Damn Stu gets his black, wormy, guilty thoughts in every way he can. So, the tummy pains made it hard to tell Stu to F off, but I did it. Hooray!

In other news, I made Ayden a sticker chart with gift incentives for going to the bathroom all by himself, and he's very motivated. He went to the bathroom SEVEN times today (he usually goes 2-3 times in 24 hours) and did not ask for my assistance ONCE.
HOORAY FOR STICKER CHARTS!!! Hooray for Diego DVDs (the 1st incentive)! Previously, I was cheering autonomous poos. Now, I'm cheering autonomous pees as well!

Monday, February 25, 2008

another GOOD QUOTE lifted from tamie's blog

Babies are pure mystics. If they meet the vice president of the United States, they are unmoved. They may prefer a cow.


(given the current vp, can you blame them? I may prefer a cow, too)

Back from silencia

Hey faithful readers!!! Sorry I have been so absent. I've been having fun. And when not having fun, I've been sleeping. :-)
First, Matthew's foster mother, Lisa, came to visit (the week of the 11th to the 15th) for the first time since we left Thailand. It was beautiful to see them together, rekindling their relationship and was wonderful to have her here, and it strengthened our resolve to maintain contact with her, and to visit her sometime in the future. She lives in Pennsylvania. While she was here we also got to see Matthew's foster brother who lives with his forever family in Richmond. He is now almost four! Wow, time flies. Brent made us some GOOD Thai food that week, and we spent some relaxing hours together. It was perfect.
Last week I worked 3 days. I had not worked for two weeks previous, so I had to put in some time. The only call of note that week was a "possible stroke" which we were dispatched to, which it turned out I (correctly) diagnosed as a heart attack with abnormal symptoms (yay, me!), precipitating a code 3 ride to the hospital from his house, and which would have precipitated needing ALS but we were closer to the hospital than we were to ALS, so we just got him in the ambulance and gunned it. Massive heart attack. Huge. Luckily caught early, recognized early, and treated early. He'll be fine.
THEN...I went away this past weekend, for a girl's weekend away with my cousin and four of her friends, who I know slightly in varying degrees. I took the ferry to Victoria on Friday, READ A BOOK on the ferry in blissful solitude, slept at her house that night, READ A BOOK to ease myself asleep, and slept in (until 8...ha...ha...that used to be an early rise for me...)!!!!! We then packed up a minivan with six moms, 12 bags, $164 worth of groceries, enough alcohol to saturate a small planet, and a very large, very heavy, very ancient CD case of Sara's, and we drove up to Shawnigan Lake, a beautiful lake nestled in the woods on Vancouver Island. My aunt and uncle have a condominium on this lake, and we stayed there for the night. Can you believe that six women ate $164 worth of food in less than 24 hours? Ridiculous. But the food was GOOD. Can yo believe that, since two of us were pregnant, FOUR women drank enough alcohol to saturate a small planet? Even more ridiculous.
We had a blast.
Next day we drove back to Victoria, hit a book sale where I bought 7 books for $7, and drove me back to the ferry for another blissful, solitary trip buried in my book. I tell you, I didn't want to come back!!!!!!! :-D I'm well armed with reading material for the next few weeks, at least. One of my books was a children's book which is set in Thailand! Rare find! I'm happy, happy, happy to have had the weekend off.
This morning I went to aerobics as usual, and my tummy is beginning to get in the way. Last week, it was fine. This week, I kept bumping into it with my knees and it is impossible to lie on my stomach or my back anymore. Technically I'm lying on my stomach right now while typing this, but I have a pillow under my armpits which props me up enough to make the pressure on my beach ball belly just bearable. The nausea is officially gone--I even ate eggs on my weekend away! But, headaches have started. Hefty headaches that make it hard to drive, or cook, or concentrate, or be cheerful. When I sneeze I just about die of a brain explosion. Dunno why?? Hm. But I have been so good about eating every 2 to 3 hours that I haven't had a hypoglycemic episode since Brent got home, and no spider nightmares since Christmas. Hooray!
The boys are good. Ayden has continued jumping and echoing the Lorax every night, and sounding out quite a few words. He spent 1/2 an hour this evening counting out numbers on my calendar this evening, so now he knows all his numbers up to #31. I love to watch him explore and learn.
Matthew has been weepy and insecure for a week or two. ??? Lisa's visit? Daddy's return? Me working 3 days last week? Me going away? Growth spurt? Tired? New level of emotional development/intellectual understanding of adoption (via Lisa)? Change in weather? Sometimes these things are so opaque.
I went to visit a friend last week and we got talking about difficult times in our lives, and I expressed that I still carry a lot of guilt regarding my handling of Matthew's transition into our family. She said, simply, "You know you have to let that go." And it struck me that I do. I really, really do. I had to turn around so our kids wouldn't see me cry from so deep in my gut-it would probably scare them. I knew I had to forgive myself for that time in my life when I was so unhappy and mixed up and angry and it spilled over onto my kids, but until now it has felt irresponsible to let it go. But oh, it is heavy. And it only pulls me back towards itself, like a magnet, and feeds me small portions of unhappiness (and large portions of guilt for dessert). This only makes me less able to cope with and manage the present, and less able to express unconditional acceptance for Matthew in a way that will calm his insecurities.
My cousin Sara put it this way on Saturday, "You know, Matthew came, you had a difficult time adjusting, and that's it. You can't label or judge yourself for that. Especially because you GIVE him so much."
So, it is time. I'm letting go of my guilt, my self imposed flagellation, my sharp earthly penance, that voice in my head that tells me, "You fail. You are a bad mother. You damaged your son. Matthew is insecure. Unhappy. Grief stricken. Emotionally stunted. Because of you. You are bad. You are angry. You are boring. You are tense. You are.........."
Here is what I am telling that voice, that lying voice:
SHUT THE FUCK UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Once and for all.

I am a free woman.

I am floating! I feel weird. Exposed, somehow, and too heavy in some parts of me and too light in others. I keep wanting to pick up that gross, ugly, black worm on the ground and re-insert it back in my head as the guilty voice, just because it's familiar. What do I fill my head with, now that I'm no longer a failure? It's kind of quiet in there. I'll keep you posted. Thanks for listening. blog friends.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Successful Poo #2!

Yesterday evening Ayden disappeared into the bathroom, took off his own pants, went poop, and wiped (and washed) without prompting, help, or intervention from me.

The ass wiping is disappearing!!!!!!!!


Brent and I rented a Lionsgate film tonight...LG makes GOOD movies. We saw 'Trade,' which is a very moving film regarding the trafficking of women and children for the sex trade. It's heavy. I think I would place this film in the category of "Disturbing to see, but Imperative to see." Like Schindler's List. Only disturbingly current. Fascinating how the internet has globalized the trafficking of persons, and created a most horrible, anonymous network for pedophiles. There HAS to be something we can do to empower law enforcement against these criminals. Anyways, see the film. Imperative.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

The Return of the Mommy we all knew was in there

Yesterday I was sick. I hate, hate, hate being sick, and I JUST got over a NASTY cold I came down with the week we came home from Regina. So, there was a lot of watch-a-movie-while-mommy-sleeps type of parenting yesterday. Which I felt very guilty about.
Today, however, was an improvement! I still feel sick, but not as bad, and am determined to make this day a positive one despite being stuck in a 1400 square foot townhouse with two kids, no car, and some serious rain. Breakfast was good. Then we pulled out the finger paints, then the window felts (crayola has these felt pens that are for colouring on windows! So cool!), then stamps, and then we made a fort. I must confess to falling asleep in the fort while we were playing, but I think I'd made a good impression up to that point. Then we had lunch, which was popular, and the boys played while I tackled the disgusting kitchen (we had company this week), and then we made a chocolate cake for daddy.
How cool! The return of the fun mommy! She hasn't really been all that available since last August, except in small doses, because she had to pace herself to get it all done alone. Now, she doesn't have to.
Now we just have to cross our fingers that the chocolate cake survives until 7:30 p.m. when Brent gets home!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Minor victory garners major celebration

Ayden has always found toileting emotionally challenging. While Brent was gone, this seemed to come to the forefront, especially, as you know, with peeing his pants. So, we switched to pullups until Brent came home. He did well again once Brent returned; he switched back to underpants and has had no more accidents. But an annoying manifestation of this weird toileting phobia was his insistence on my presence and "help" whenever he had to go to the bathroom. I was required for emotional support, and help in taking off clothing and bum wiping.
You can imagine HOW AWESOME I thought this was. Every time he FINALLY admitted to having to go to the bathroom (after several hours of jumping, crotch grabbing, and floor humping), I had to RUN to the bathroom with him to "help" him. He's almost five. I hate being required to be present, and to pull down pants, and to wipe bums. Matthew can do this all on his own, and he's 3! Anyways, I knew it was just the stress of daddy's absence, so, while I complained about it (LOUDLY), I didn't push it. Pushing it only resulted in urine soaked pants and a major temper tantrum, anyways. I figured that when daddy got home we could work on this behaviour.
Well, he's been getting progressively better with the toileting since Brent's return. And today, I would happily like to announce, he went to the bathroom, ALONE, took off his own clothes, and wiped his own bum. Without prompting.


Wow, interesting that this is cause for major celebration and mention on my blog, but you've NO IDEA how ridiculous this toileting phobia was. And how MUCH I hated being required for pants pulling and ass wiping.

Here's to autonomy!

Right before another helpless ass to wipe comes along!!


Funny quote (and cool)

A woman's place is in the house.
And the Senate.

-Jessica Valenti

The Tent

By Margaret Atwood.
Frankly, kind of forgettable. But, it is a compilation, and I'm really hurting for a novel, so it may be my fault and not hers. There were several notable passages, this poem being my favourite:

Bring Back Mom: An Invocation

Bring back Mom.
bread-baking Mom, in her crisp gigham apron
just like the aprons we sewed for her
in our Home Economics classes
and gave to her for a surprise
on Mother's Day--

Mom, who didn't have a job
because why would she need one,
who made our school lunches--
the tuna sandwich, the apple,
the oatmeal cookies wrapped in wax paper--
with the rubber band she'd saved in a jar;
who was always home when we got there
doing the ironing
or something equally boring,

who smiled the weak smile of a trapped drudge
as we slid past her,
heading for the phone,
filled with surliness and contempt
and the resolve never to be like her.

Bring back Mom.
who wanted to be a concert pianist
but never had the chance
and made us take piano lessons,
which we resented--

Mom, whose aspic rings
and Jello saladsd we ate with greed,
though later derided--
pot-roasting Mom, expert with onions
though anxious in the face of garlic,
who recieved a brand-new frying pan
from us each Christmas--
just what she wanted--

Mom, her dark lipsticked mouth
smiling in the black-and-white
soap ads, the Aspirin ads, the toilet paper ads,
Mom, with her secret life
of headaches and stained washing
and irritated membranes--
Mom, who knew the dirt,
and hid the dirt, and did the dirty work,
and never saw herself
or us as clean enough--

and who believed
that there was other dirt
you shouldn't tell to children,
and didn't tell it,
which was dangerous only later.


We miss you, Mom,
though you were reviled to great profit
in magazines and books
for ruining your children
-that would be us-
by not loving them enough,
by loving them too much,
by wanting too much love from them,
by some failure of love--

(Mom, whose husband left her
for his secretary and paid alimony,
Mom, who drank in solitude
in the afternoons, watching TV,
who dyed her hair an implausible
shade of red, who flirted
with her friends' husbands at parties,
trying with all her might
not to sink below the line
between chin up and despair--

and who was carted away
and locked up, because one day
she began screaming and wouldn't stop,
and did something very bad
with the kitchen scissors--

But that wasn't you, not you, not
the Mom we had in mind, it was
the nutty lady down the street--
it was just some lady
who became a casualty
of unseen accidents,
and then a lurid story...)

Come back, come back, oh Mom,
from craziness or death
or our won damaged memory--
appear as you were:

Queen of the waffle iron,
generous dispenser of toothpaste,
sorceress of Mercurorochrome,
player of games of smoky bridge
at which you won second-prize dishtowels,
brooder over the darning egg
that hatched nothing but socks,
boiler of horrible porridge--
climb back onto the cake-mix package,
look brisk and competent, the way you used to--

If only we could call you--
'Here Mom, Here Mom'--
and you would come clip-clopping
on your daytime Cuban heels,
smelling of sink and lilac,
(your bum encased in the foundation garment
you'd peel off at night
with a sigh like a marsh exhaling),
saying, 'What is it now,'
and we could catch you
in a net, and cage you
in your bungalow, where you belong,
and make you stay--

Then everything would be all right
the way it was when we could play
till after dark on spring evenings,
then sleep without fear
because you threw yourself in front of the fear
and stopped it with your body--

And there you'll be, in your cotton housecoat,
holding a wooden peg
between your teeth, as the washing flaps
on the clothesline you once briefly considered
hanging yourself with--

but forget that! There you'll be,
singing a song of your own youth
as though no time has passed,
and we can be careless again,
and embarrassed by you,
and ignore you as we used to,

and the holes in the world will be mended.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Frequent Flyers

A frequent flyer, in my line of work, is a repeat customer. In most businesses repeat customers are the goal, but in mine they truly are not. Even in the U.S. one could arguably discuss the potential merits of billing the same patients' insurance company for repeated exams, tests, and probes...I guess...or repeated ambulance rides...
Here this is not the case. If it were, maybe we would have better equipment in our ambulance. Maybe I would get paid full wages for all the hours I work. Maybe we would have GPS (most people assume we have GPS but we do not. We have a thick stack of Map Books behind our seats, and have developed very rapid map reading skills!).
Anyways, I think most frequent flyers are funny. You have to laugh in my line of work, or you'll die of grief.
Some frequent flyers I see:
#1, and currently our MOST frequent flyer, is "The Cat Lady," so named for her numerous pets. Her place stinks, as you can imagine. She has a real medical history and imagined symptoms. Since last spring she has called about every 2 or 3 days, sometime between 9 and 10 pm, usually with some major symptom that requires ALS, which means 2 ambulances. She's very heavy. It took us awhile to get to the point where we don't carry her anymore. Around christmas time she began to increase the frequency of her calls, and move the time up to sometime between 6 and 7 pm--right around shift change. You can imagine how popular she is around the station!! One of our ALS guys (the NICEST guy, seriously) made her cry because he suggested to her that she needed to get some emotional help so that she could reduce the number of times she would need to call us. He was being honest. And straightforward.
Even the hospital doesn't take her seriously anymore, and makes her wait in the back hall until she gets tired of waiting, and leaves. Sometimes. Depends which shift is on. She usually gets a full workup, but I've seen her in the back hall a few times. Anyways, I think this lady is hilarious.
When the ALS pager goes off between 6 and 7, I'm usually about 80% accurate in predicting whether it's the Cat Lady or not. You'd think one would get tired of germy hospitals and cranky paramedics and needles and pokes and prods and tests, but she doesn't. She has an online boyfriend. I wonder sometimes if she calls us whenever they have a disagreement, or if it seems he's losing interest in her. So she has something to report to him? Dunno.

#2, and currently my favourite, is "Denise" (name changed obviously). We just call her by her name, maybe because her story is so hilarious that a nickname couldn't do her justice. She's our neighbourhood schizophrenic, and most of the time she's pretty good about taking her medications, which can be frequently difficult with schizophrenia. When she has something stressful or difficult happen in her life (this can be something as minor as not finding her favourite brand of yogurt in the grocery store, or missing a dr.'s appointment), she gets anxious and generally calls 9-1-1 and gets the police because her story is so wild the call taker assumes she might be dangerous. The police know her so well that they call for us before they even get to her place, and we know her so well we're on a first name basis with her.
See, Denise asserts she was FINE until, at age 17, some doctors diagnosed her as being underdeveloped for her age, and gave her some hormone therapy, which made her grow breasts, which made her depressed. She sometimes talks about her several past attempts at suicide, which failed, because her method was to cut off her 'cleavage' [her word] with a razor. Not a lot of imperative vascular tissue there. I'm sure one COULD bleed to death if one cut of one's breasts, but it would take a LOOOONG time, and likely one's blood would clot before that would happen. More likely, infection would set in. Also, Denise is well endowed. It would take upwards of an hour to cut those suckers off with a razor blade. I really don't think she has gotten very far with this method.
Denise is also married. To a man. But she's a lesbian, and they live in a platonic relationship, and Denise will make passes at female cops, paramedics, and hospital staff, every chance she gets. She will also get quite offended if one (me) makes inquiries or assumptions based on the fact that she has a husband (I was confused! She'd mentioned the husband and then said she was a lesbian, so I inquired...won't make that mistake again!).
And she pulls out all her eyebrows so she looks weird, and wears blue eyeshadow that reaches from her eyelids to where her eyebrows WOULD BE if she left them alone, which is a bit alarming the first few times you see her.
And she's the world's biggest chatterbox. Triage will often leave us waiting with her for upwards of an hour before she gets triaged, and it is SO HARD not to laugh at stories about cleavage cutting while fending off her passes and looking at her eyebrows! Denise is hysterical. I have a soft spot for Denise, I think because she's mentally ill and genuinely struggles with gender identity issues; double whammy, I'd say.

#3, Mr. Shakey. This nickname is a bit mean. He's epileptic. And an alcoholic. And on social assistance. We find him all over town, post ictal (the foggy state of mind after a seizure). Once I found him in the hospital parking lot, sleeping in a stall. I wished I had my camera, because the scene was so surreal: a person sleeping between the yellow lines of a parking stall. His feet resting just above the numbers 117. Anyways, he'd been released from the hospital and sat for hours in the waiting room, refusing to leave, until finally security escorted him out. I guess he didn't make it past the parking lot, and here we don't know the ER kicked him out, and we bring him back again.
Mr. Shakey isn't as funny as the Cat Lady or Denise. He's kind of grouchy and he stinks. Plus, while frequent, he's not nearly as frequent as the previous two.
The funny part about him is trying to remember to call him by his real name and not Mr. Shakey.

#4 The Liver Lady. I've mentioned her before. Awaiting major surgery to repair her liver. Calls often with "Abdominal Pain" which gets a code 3 ambulance just in case of a cardiac event, but we know her address by heart so we do a gentle code 3 because we know she's just fed up with her parents, who are caring for her while she waits.

There are more, but the first two are the funniest.
Some people I share funny work stories with find them sad.
Sad is: babies dying, 30 year old moms who have strokes, teenagers who are paralyzed in fights at parties, drunk driving maiming another one, etc. Funny is: frequent flyers who want to cut off their boobs.


OH YES!! And then there is Vagina Pain Lady. We can't forget HER! She has been trying to quit smoking for years, and when she's bummed out she smokes a few, then feels aweful, and calls saying she can't breathe. Of course, that gets a code 3 ambulance, but then she meets you at the front door of her apartment complex, cane in hand, coat over her arm, purse ready to go (fyi: all signs of NOT SICK). When you ask what's wrong she says, "My vagina hurts!" Okay, we won't be taking a look at that today ma'am. "It feels like someone punched me in the vagina!" Okay. And this has been going on for how long? "Years." And you called an ambulance for it. Tonight.
But she always wants to go to the hospital, so off we go!
Vagina Pain Lady IS hilarious, you have to admit.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Love, love, love to Dr. Seuss

Did you know that Dr. Seuss was born in 1904? And died in 1991? Who knew someone born before cars could write such marvelous books? Not that cars make our artists automatically more sophisticated: but it is difficult to write true classics, that do not show their age, and that stay marvelous nearly a century after they are written (And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street was written in 1937), particularly for children.
Anyways, Ayden's current favourite is "The Lorax," which I never read as a child. We have read it every night for nearly a month. Well, tonight I realized how much it pays off (and remains enjoyable: I don't get tired of The Lorax the way I get tired of Duck Soup or the Pop up Dinosaur book) when Ayden sounded out the words "Lorax" and "Unless," and proceeded to quote the entire story, almost entirely word for word as I read it to him. It was like a weird sort of echo. An echo that leaps and jumps on the bed and sometimes preceeds you, and sometimes follows.
I'm sure this is what Dr. Seuss had in mind when he wrote his spectacular, wild, zany, poetic books. The best part is the imagination.
Love, love, love to Dr. Seuss, wherever he is now...

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Making up for an absence of pix....

So, my main computer broke sometime in November/December, which is the computer that I upload pictures from. Brent is my IT man, and, though he professed to fix my computer at Christmas, sadly it wasn't so. But NOW it is fixed, so here are some photos from December, January, and early February. I'll sneak in ONE of B in uniform, though I'm not allowed...enjoy it, for I'll delete it after you get a good look. :-)


(Ayden and Ella are each others' biggest fan)

And here is the trip to Regina:

Perhaps I should rename this post "Death by Photo!"

Friday, February 8, 2008

Week Thirteen

Your infant is about 2.91 inches (7.4cm) and weighs around 0.81 ounce (23gm) - This is about the same weight as 4 quarters.
If you could peek in again you may spot your baby as he begins to practice inhaling and exhaling movements
Eyes and ears continue to move and develop
Baby's neck is getting longer, and the chin no longer is resting on his chest
Her hands are becoming more functional - Your baby may find it comforting to start playing with her fist.
At this point all nourishment is received from the placenta
On your next doctor visit you should be able to hear heartbeat with a Doppler by now - (Don't worry though if you can't, the heartbeat can be confirmed through U/S). Your baby's heartbeat is much rapider than your own and may remind you of the race towards birth that he is running!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Some Rumi

"the truth is, the sun's beams strike the wall,
and the wall only reflects that borrowed light.
Why give your heart to mere stones, o simpleton?
Go! Seek the source of light which shineth always!

* * * * * * * * * * *

Distinguish well true dawn from false dawn,
Distinguish the colour of the wine from that of the cup;
So that, instead of many eyes of caprice,
One eye may be opened through patience and constancy.
Then you will behold true colours instead of false,
And precious jewels in lieu of stones.
But what is a jewel? Nay, you will be an ocean of pearls;
Yeah, a sun that measures the heavens!"

"The spring seasons are hidden in the autumns,
and autumns are charged with springs;
flee them not"

"Though he stave thy boat, yet hold thy peace
If thou takest umbrage at every rub,
How wilt thou become a polished mirror?"

Sunday, February 3, 2008

good poem (though my battle is daily, not nightly, with self)

thing and not again

i dream battles
dozens of opponents
i am the army of me
killed nightly
but my task
starts again
i want to say
i am but
it is not me
i keep thinking
i was
but that
is only a memory
that is so
often forgotten
like my desk
when watching tv
like my dog
when im teaching

these things
come back to me
in times and places
and go away again

but every night
again i fight
and it won t end
i stop believing
learning is the goal
of education
until i can
resent my students
enough to do
what i am told

but then
what will i dream

Saturday, February 2, 2008

I got tagged by Tamie

The tag is to: Write three writing tips and award three other bloggers...

Three Writing Tips
1. Read [I know this was one of your tips, but it really is the best tip of all for those who art is born in a vacuum, and engaging with other art is the best way to inspire your own creativity, and push your comfortable bits in experimental directions].
2. Watch people and keep a record of interesting bits in a journal you always keep with you...for example, that woman who always leans into your personal space at the counter of the coffee shop you like to go to, waiting for her turn to order...or the mom with fire engine red hair and sparkly knee socks you saw wiping her kid's nose at the playground...or the homeless woman who asked you for change to buy breakfast, and her eyes stuck in your mind because they were such a light blue as to be almost pale enough to blend in with the sclera...(these were all real people that I saw TODAY, and noted to myself). You never know when a note or a description or a colour may blossom into a character walking around on a page.
3. Write when you want to. Some people structure their creative lives, doing writing exercises or drawing exercises for so many hours in a day, and I have a great deal of respect for this. But it doesn't sound fun. You only live once: why beat the fun out of your favourite activities by doing them when it is NOT enjoyable? Of course, some days we are busy and can't write when we want to. In this case, that journal that goes everywhere with you comes in handy: bullet points, or a sentence or two, can usually be dashed down no matter what we're doing.
4. (I decided I must do four, since my #1 tip was one that Tamie also recommended) See your creativity as a journey, and not a manifestation of arrival. In a journey, there is more room for grace, growth, self revelation, honesty, mistakes, and true joy. We all look back at our 'early work' and kind of feel squiggly and sheepish, but why? What are we so afraid our early work will reveal? That we journey, too? That we weren't enough of a prodigy to publish a book at 18? Who are we impressing, anyways? In a journey, we don't have to be geniuses. Just honest.

I tag: Sara, Rob, Dragonfly.

Tamie also suggested asking a question and leaving it open for everyone to engage with...hmmm...pondering...Okay, I have a question. What is the thing you are most grateful to have received from your parents? This can be something tangible, or a life lesson, or anything: something you found essential to your positive well being, or personal wholeness, and are glad that they got right.
(I WILL be adding these to my personal arsenal as a parent, just so you know)

In other news, Brent did his first night shift last night. He came home smiling! He slept much of the day, but when he woke up he told me with excitement about the various things he did and saw during his first night shift. The weird people always come out at night (I know this from my job: they sleep in the day and lurk at night, rustling up all manner of weirdishness). He told me some of the 'excuses' people came up with for being in various suspicious circumstances, and people don't lie very well. So funny. "Um, yeah, I drove down here amongst these abandoned warehouses surrounded by fields at 2 o'clock in the morning in order to visit my friend who lives down here."
C'mon, people. Couldn't you do better than that?
I didn't sleep well. I couldn't relax without all my family members safe under my roof and presumably under my protection, though how I'm going to protect Brent from things that go bump in the night, I don't know. Partly it was sending my heart out into the line of fire, catching the bad guys and carrying a weapon. Yeesh. I've got a lot more night shifts to go. I've got to get used to this! At the end of the day I'm glad he came home with a smile on his face and sparkle in his eyes. I'm happy he's happy. It's good to see.

It's so funny how kids interpret our idioms. Ayden has been asking me frequently lately to define the idioms he hears. "What does "You're talking my ear off" mean, mommy? What's a chatterbox? Why am I a chatterbox?" I told him a chatterbox is a very nice person who people really like, and who likes to use a lot of words when they talk. ;-p Trying to soften the blow! I envisioned him imagining my ear falling off the side of my head.
He has recently taken up the "ants in your pants" idiom and believes it so literally that he's taking to stripping off his clothes in the sincere belief that there are ants inside. "Mommy, today at freeschool I had ants in my pants." Deadpan. Dead serious. How is one's mother supposed to listen to this and not howl? (and I WISH preschool was free, believe me).

Matthew has another ear infection. Poor kid. Luckily he loves his antibiotics. Wednesday when we went to the doctor to have her check his ears, he gave her a big hug as she left. He's the sweetest, most wonderful, affectionate, cheerful, lovable kid I've seen. Everywhere I go people tell me how cute he is. He really is. Of course, he pushes my buttons. Children do. He has the "I'm a wimp" routine down to a science. And definitely the "My mother is requiring me to eat POISON when all I want is a second helping of GRAPES, how does one LIVE when one's mother is feeding one POISON instead of GRAPES, I think I will chew my one bite of peanut butter sandwich for SEVEN MINUTES in a passive aggressive attempt to get myself closer to the GRAPES" routine. He could have a PhD in that one. I really do deal better with open defiance than with wimpishness, but one deals with the cards (or children) one is dealt. Today at the mall he charmed everyone by singing while eating an ice cream cone. He's not the world's best multi tasker, but he managed (this time) not to drop his ice cream on the floor. He really is sweet, swinging back and forth making up his own music to eat ice cream to.

#3 is still making me sick. But, incidentally, not fat. After that first three pounds I complained about at Christmas, I haven't gained any more weight. Whew! I gained too much last time, that's why I'm so worried. I know, pregnant women are supposed to gain weight. I know, Twiggy is not the goal. But moderate instead of extreme weight gain is what I'm after this time. Thank you #3, for not making me fat. Hopefully soon you'll let me get by without getting sick, too. I can't wait to meet you.

My cat is still fat.

I am not.


Friday, February 1, 2008

Midwife appointment today

I saw my midwife today. I LOVE that she spends AN HOUR with me, mostly LISTENING with the most wonderful, empathetic attitude...
Anyways, today I heard my baby's heartbeat. I started to cry! So cool! I wish you could record the doppler and replay it for yourself as you walk around. I'd post it here so you could hear it too. It sounds like, 'wip-wip-wip-wip.' Well, you'll have to use your imaginations.