Saturday, February 28, 2009

Post 699

Okay, so today something scary happened. It cased a 20 minute long anxiety attack which was unbelievably difficult to manage. I took Ayden, Matthew, and Riley to White Rock for fish and chips and an afternoon exploring the beach. I parked and unloaded all my charges. Lately Ayden has been having difficulty with listening, and obedience. Lately I have been having difficulty enjoying Ayden's company. Chicken, or the egg? I don't know.
So upon exiting the car he climbed the embankment to the paved path which runs parallel to the beach, ducked under the fence, and looked around.
"Ayden, get down please."
"But mommy I just want to go up here and wait for you!"
"No, Ayden I have to put money in the machine for parking and we have to walk to the machine together."
"But mommy how about if I just meet you at the stairs?"
Sigh. "Fine."
I collect my two other kids and pay for parking, return to the stairs that connect the parking lot to the walkway, and no Ayden. I walk up and look East, and West; no Ayden. I call him.
There are a number of stairways leading up to the walkway so I turned East and checked every stairway. I thought perhaps he meant the main stairway, two blocks East of where the car was parked? I looked down the walkway to see if I could see a little boy in a navy blue coat, jumping around close to where the main stairway would be, and I didn't see any little boy that was mine. But I did see a train. That's when my panic started to close in. Normal panic, yes, but with the added element of being unable to breathe, shout, or even talk...
I checked carefully for little boys up and down the tracks, and reassured myself that Ayden KNOWS to get out of the way of trains and cars. But I also knew that if he had climbed to the rocks on the other side of the tracks, he could panic when the train came and try to run BACK across the tracks.
"Oh, Jesus, please. Please please please please." I couldn't come up with anything more coherent than that.
So here I am, having an anxiety attack on the White Rock Beach pathway, one small boy hanging on to my hand, and another tiny boy strapped to my front, and the third small boy Missing In Action. I was so drenched in sweaty anxiety that I literally did not know what to do. As soon as the train passed I called Brent's cell phone, forgetting that he was not at work but sleeping. Then I called our house, forgetting that the phone in our bedroom was not on. Then I phoned one of my friends but she didn't answer.
I walked all the way to the main stairway, past the pier, down to the huge rock my boys love to visit, and no Ayden.
My phone rang, and it was Brent.
Okay, half of me was so thankful, because he could be my voice of reason in deciding what to do. The other half of me was so dreading telling him his oldest son was missing! Ack.
He told me to call the police. So I did. Ayden had been missing for about 10 minutes by this point. Just being in a situation where I needed to dial 9-1-1 was so overwhelming that I could hardly dial.
"Oh, Jesus, please please please please..."
The call taker who answered my call was AWESOME! I will always be grateful for how she helped me. She was quick and efficient and thorough, asked me the right questions, and every time I got panicky and frantic, she talked me down again. I was still walking back and forth between the car and the pier, looking and looking and looking, and never finding! I walked past the public bathrooms and every t.v. show with a child abduction on it went through my head and I almost threw up. I really did almost fall down because I was so frantic I didn't know what to do and I seriously couldn't handle it.
I pictured myself going in the bathroom to clear it for perverts, but what would I do if I found one? I had a baby strapped to my front and another small boy by the hand! Another 10 minutes had passed. I could see police cars driving up and down Marine Drive, and the police call taker told me that the bylaw officers in town were also looking for Ayden. I knew more people were probably on their way to help me look, but OH MY GOD IT WAS TAKING FOREVER.
The weird thing about cell phones is that because I could call the police on my personal phone and mobilize help that way, no one else on the beach knew what was going on. If I had no phone, I would have had to ask a stranger for help, and a number of people would most definitely have helped me search, but instead I was alone except for the voice on the other end of the line.
"Melissa, we found him!"
I yelled. A few people turned around, saw me on the phone, and went back to their business.
"He's okay! He is with a bylaw officer, who found him on the sidewalk. He's pretty upset, but he's okay."
"Oh thank you, oh thank you!" She told me where to find them.
Oh Jesus, thank you.
The first thing Ayden said to me was, "Why didn't you come? I told you to meet me at the stairs and you never came!"
"Oh sweetie, there are so many staircases! I looked everywhere and I couldn't find you!"
When he left the parking lot, he turned West.
i looked both directions, but then turned East, towards the main stairs, the pier, and the white rock.
We went to a cafe and ate hot dogs, jelly beans, and ice cream. Whatever they wanted, I got. I tried to hold it together so Ayden could settle and feel calm, but I may have given him a few extra hugs and kisses.

It is good that I don't live in a constant state of awareness of how much I stand to lose. But it is also good sometimes to be reminded not to take my children for granted. Sometimes all I am is irritated and grouchy. I am reminded today that he is a blessing, and not just a bundle of disobedient cause for irritation.
Reality check.

Definitely in the top 3 for Worst 20 Minutes of My Life.
But little boys can't grow up without getting seriously lost at least once, right?
My brother was missing for almost 2 hours once, when he was 2.
These kids.
I'm no longer surprised at grey hairs sprouting on my head, nor wrinkles on my face. I earned them all.

I was surprised at myself when it happened, because I handled it so poorly. I lost my grip on reality to the point where I couldn't determine for myself what the next rational step should be, and I couldn't take that next step with confidence and assurance. One of my defining characteristics is that I am calm and proactive under pressure in an emergency, but today I just wasn't. Even in emergencies involving my children, I am incredibly calm until the emergency has passed, and then I lose it. But today I just lost it.
I was able to pull it together once I found Ayden, because I wanted him to pick up on my calm, not my panic.
Now I'm alone and all 3 boys are asleep, so the test returns: can I keep the anxiety at bay?
I wish I had some chocolate. Chocolate is good for keeping up endorphins, right?
This life. This darn hard life. What can I do but live it?

Seattle pix

This is my mom and I in Seattle last Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. So much fun! Thanks mom for the photos!

Friday, February 27, 2009

The individual's experience versus Trends in the System

I was afraid this might happen. One of my readers was offended by my post regarding Cesarean births. Perhaps if I explain myself a bit further some of the offense may be tempered. If any of you are feeling similarly, know that my post was not a manifesto criticizing any individual experience, but rather a look at trends within a larger Canadian system which lend themselves away from the optimum, evidence based management of pregnancy, labour, and birth.

Here are a few things about me that are true:

#1. I had a cesarean section birth with my first baby. I don't regret my choice to have that cesarean section, given my circumstances and the position of my baby in my uterus at the time of delivery.

#2. I highly value individual birth stories and respect each one. As mothers and as care providers we do not write the birth story: rather, it writes itself. I have a fundamental respect for the autonomy of birth stories and recognize intellectually, emotionally, and experientially that sometimes birth stories write themselves as cesarean sections.

#3. I know that the most consistent factor in women describing their birth experience as positive is that they did not feel a sense of a loss of control during their birth. This means that women who had opiates during labour, epidurals, vaccum extraction, forceps deliveries, or surgical births overwhelmingly describe their births as positive if they were in control and their input was highly valued during the entire process. Cesarean births can and should be respected and positive experiences.

#4. I am an extremely empathetic person. I think with my mind and with my heart. Part of the reason why I advocate for lowering the cesarean section rate is because I care so much about what happens to women and babies, as individuals and as part of a larger system. The evidence points towards lowering the overall cesarean section rate of the SYSTEM, but it does not point towards the eradication of surgical births. If there were no surgical births, my reader and her babies would not be alive or well. My oldest son might not be alive or well. And countless other women and children as well.

Here are some things about my cesarean section rate post that are true:

#1. I address the system, and not individuals.

#2. My post begins with acknowledgement that the development of surgical birth is positive.

#3. The statistics.

#4. The evidence based solutions I put forward were actually all used in the case of the reader who posted her comment. She had a midwife, mobile labour, encouragement of a trial for VBAC, and a good support system.
If you knew me better, you would know that I believe that if you had a midwife and wound up with a cesarean section, you can be pretty darn sure that you NEEDED a cesarean section.

#5. The reason why I state so clearly that cesarean birth is more dangerous than vaginal birth is that I was so surprised when I found out this fact. Most people I know also find this a surprising fact, which is I think in part responsible for the increasing popularity of elective sections. If we know the risks involved we can make informed choices pertaining to care. In the individual case of my reader, the risks involved in refusing surgical birth were far worse than those involved in choosing surgical birth, so obviously she made the best decision!! So did I, in my own case. However, for many women this is NOT the case, and I think the surgical birth rate being as high as it is, increases maternal morbidity and mortality rates. I also think this is unacceptable.
I know of someone who wanted to have a VBA2C (her first section was for failure to progress, and her second scheduled because she wanted to be certain of her delivery date and figured she could try for a vaginal birth the next time around) but her doctor told her it wasn't possible. This is not true.
I know of someone else who was told that her body was incapable of birth because she is small of stature and has a small pelvis. With her first baby, on the advice of 3 different obstetricians, she had an elective cesarean and delivered a 5 lb full term baby. The first thing she thought when she saw him was, "He knew to grow small so that my small body could give birth to him." She never got the chance to try.
I know of women who have had two, three, and four cesareans and were never once encouraged to try for a VBAC.
I'm fairly sure that if people knew that surgical birth is still more dangerous than vaginal birth despite advances in medicine, they would think twice before electing to have surgical births when not medically indicated! This is why I mention the risks so clearly. Not to 'put fear into having sections,' nor to make anyone feel like 'less of a mother.'

#6. My post addressed the system as a whole. It mentioned no individuals, and this was intentional. If I were a teacher I could simultaneously cheer for a student who earned an A+ on their report card, or who graduated from high school, and criticize a certain aspect of the educational system, without cheapening that students' achievement, or negating my support of them as an individual.
The same goes for obstetrics.

I hope this rounds out the reception of my first post for everyone.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Roro Ratatouille

Remember Ayden's imaginary friend, Roro? Today he bit Matthew on the cheek. It bled. He needed a bandaid. This is according to Matthew.

Roro also has a really yummy recipe called "Fruit Loops Yum." Here it is, for your cooking/eating pleasure:

Take a cookie sheet and cover it in a layer of fruit loops
cover the fruit loops in a layer of chocolate pudding
then put some naan bread on it
then cook it for 2 hours in the oven
take it out of the oven and take the naan bread off
cover the pudding/fruit loops in butter chicken sauce
then put icing on
then drizzle chocolate on top
then put frosting on top of that

That's it!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The problem with cesarean sections

The advancement in medicine to the point where the cesarean section was developed is wonderful! Many moms have been saved (especially moms who develop eclampsia; still the biggest maternal killer in obstetrics), and many more babies have been saved by this surgery. The problem with c-sections is not inherent in the surgery itself; it is in how we use it.
The problem with cesarean section birth is this: surgical birth is more dangerous than vaginal birth.
The risks associated with cesarean sections are low, as this surgery has been performed so many times as to allow physicians and surgeons to fine tune their surgical methods. However, the complication, death, and injury rates are HIGHER with surgical births than with vaginal births. Nature still knows best.
[when, oh, when will we trust this?]
Complications of vaginal births exist. However, the risk of complications due to cesarean section surgery is higher. Statistics do not generally accurately reflect such complications as spinal anasthesia, breastfeeding problems as a direct result of anasthesia/mother-infant separation post op/fluid bolus in conjunction with spinal anasthesia/hemorrhage post op, psychological trauma, or anything which arises more than a few weeks after the surgery is performed. But statistics still show us that complication rates, maternal mortality and morbidity rates, and infant morbidity rates are higher with C-sections.
The most common complications arising from cesarean surgery are, in order of frequency:

Future incidence of placenta previa
Fever (indicates infection)
Wound infection
Opening of uterine scar
Injury of visceral organs, most often to the intestines or bladder, usually made by the scalpel

Sometimes the infant itself is injured by the scalpel.

Risks for future include a higher incidence of ectopic pregnancies, increased risk of uterine rupture in future pregnancies, increased infertility rates, and etc. The incidence of uterine rupture is increased, statistically, during labour and during the third trimester in subsequent pregnancies.

The World Health Organization has analyzed data from studies around the world to determine what would be a balanced cesarean section rate that reflected a balance between helping/intervening when necessary, and avoiding unnecessary exposure to the risks involved in surgical birth. The WHO conclusion is that a safe cesarean section rate should be no higher than 10 to 15%. Otherwise, moms and babies are being harmed because of surgical birth. In 2006, Canada's C-section rate was 26.3% [citation]. This means that over 1 in 4 babies in Canada were born by Cesarean Section. In 2007, The United States' C-section rate was 31.1% [Wikipedia].

This article by ACOG states:
"For a low-risk childbirth that is progressing normally, C-sections require substantially longer recovery times and present greater risks of complications such as infection, bleeding, scarring, chronic pelvic pain, and damage to the intestines or bladder. C-sections also increase the risks during subsequent pregnancies, making a repeat C-section more likely. In 2007, research by the Canadian Perinatal Surveillance System found that elective C-sections have higher risks of anesthetic complications, major infections, obstetrical wound, and cardiac arrest. The study also notes that women who had an elective C-section were more likely to require an immediate hysterectomy due to bleeding.2 "

Babies born by c-section have higher rates of prematurity, respiratory distress, and other problems associated with surgical birth.

The problem is not with Cesarean Sections themselves. The problem is in our OVERUSE of surgery to birth our babies.
One way to reduce C-section rates, which few seem to be advocating, is the ROUTINE trial of labour for repeat cesareans. Vaginal Birth After Cesareans (VBACs) have a 60-80% success rate. The success rate for women trying to give birth vaginally with NO history of previous surgery is 73.7% in Canada. If the VBAC rate is 60-80%, I would say any VBAC has just about the same chance of delivering vaginally as a woman who ISN'T a VBAC. So why don't we try?
This question has a complex answer. Baisically, there are two reasons that are most often given for NOT trialing labour in VBACs. One, there is an increased incidence of uterine rupture at the scar. Two, a woman who had 'failure to progress' or 'Cephalo-pelvic disproportion' is cited as likely to have it again in future labours, so to save her the grief of trying and failing again, and to save the medical system from unscheduled surgery (which is more costly and inconvenient from a medical standpoint), a repeat cesarean is recommended and surgery is scheduled.
Well, first of all there is an increased incidence of VBAC uterine rupture in the third trimester. This third trimester rupture rate is generally conceded to be 0.4%. The incidence of uterine rupture in VBAC labour? 0.4%.
So, if we are going to advise women not to have VBACs because of an increase in rupture rates [women who have not had uterine surgery have a rupture rate of 0.01%. Those who have had c-sections have a rupture rate of 0.4%, which is a significant increase!], we should also advise them not to have any more pregnancies.
Most women who are electing to have repeat sections do not know that their rate of rupture does not increase in labour as compared to the third trimester. Nor do they know that vaginal birth is still safer than surgical birth for other complications.
The second reason cited for advising against VBACs is that failure to progress or CPD will repeat itself. This is unproven statistically. Regardless of the reason for the first cesarean, the VBAC success rate is still 60-80%.

Most women these days have 2 babies. This means that 13.15% of cesarean sections performed in Canada are repeat, elective sections (conjecture on my part). If we allowed all of those 13.15% of women to trial labour instead of scheduling their repeat sections, we could automatically reduce that number by 60 to 80%. I pulled out my calculator:
If 60% of women were successful at VBAC, our section rate would drop to 18.41%
If 80% of women were successful at VBAC, our section rate would drop to 15.78%
The WHO recommendation is that a region's C-section rate be 15% or lower. So, JUST BY THE ROUTINE APPLICATION OF VBACs, we could reduce Canada's c-section rate to within 3.41 to 0.78% of the WHO recommendation!!

Other things we can do to reduce c-section rates? Normalize midwifery (my midwife's c-section rate last year was a mere 3%...though high risk deliveries are referred OUT of midwifery care and thus affect the intervention rates, low risk deliveries by general practitioner physicians are still in the 25 to 30% range, pointing towards midwives as the better way to go if the goal is a reduction in surgical rates). Discourage routine continuous external fetal monitoring. Encourage the usage of doulas (and even have their services covered under health insurance--way cheaper than paying for a cesarean section! Intervention rates automatically go down when a doula is present). Encourage upright, mobile labour, upright delivery positions, and water births. Never leave a woman in labour and her husband or partner alone. I think it is being left alone that creates more fear than any other routine procedure in birthing. Fear taps into the fight or flight, sympathetic nervous system response, which automatically slows or stalls the rest/regeneration/reproduction, parasympathetic nervous system response. Failure to progress can result. Inability to push out a baby can result. Piddly labour can result.

But I think fundamentally at fault is our cultural belief that birth is dangerous, and that womens' bodies are unable to give birth. Somehow, birth seems impossible. Many women believe their bodies are broken, or weak, or too small, or incapable...these fears are normal and valid when we are pregnant, but they are untrue. Unfounded. If we believed in women's ability to give birth, and if we believed that birth was difficult but beautiful and valuable in and of itself [much like other feats of physical strength and endurance], perhaps we would be able to lower those rates of surgical birth.
Not perhaps.


Wow, it is snowing like crazy outside! Yesterday I could see my crocuses peeking through the soil: today it is snowing. Normally as you all know, I love snow. But today I am bummed. I think I would be pissed off at the sun, if it were sunny today. I'm grouchy. Here is why.

This morning Riley woke up at 5 a.m. He wanted to play, but not play solo. Play with ME. For 2 hours. Then he fell asleep again at 7. Brent left for work shortly after 7, and not 2 minutes after the door shut behind him, Ayden came upstairs to tell me that Matthew threw up all over our fabric cushioned rocking chair.
Awesome. A show of hands, who loves to be woken up to a pile of vomit on their furniture? Does this sing glad tidings to you? Does this foreshadow a great day of loving and enjoyable interactions with your children? Well, for me it does not. In fact, the vomit is still on the chair because before I could get to it I had to clean up MORE vomit on the floor and table and in a little trail to the bathroom (where, naturally, none of it actually made it into the toilet). This pretty much signifies my day.
Poor Matthew was heartbroken when I told him he couldn't go to school because he was sick. "But my friends might miss me!" He said. Too cute.
I had to hustle Ayden to swimming lessons. Ayden does not like to be hustled, so he yelled at me a lot. A LOT.
More puke.
Then Riley puked on me 3 or 4 times, just to add to the pile.
Then Ayden yelled some more.
[some days this means I yell back, but today I didn't have the energy. I just tried to talk, and if that proved fruitless, I walked away]

Riley screamed his head off in his carseat for the entire drive to swimming, then back. Then the drive to school [Matthew was too sick to walk], then to Costco, then back. My ears were ringing.
I coughed so hard I peed my pants.
It was raining so hard I'm sure no one noticed.
And then the rain turned to snow.
So no, today I am not a fan of the snow.
Or parenting.
Why do people have kids? Can anyone remind me WHY I had kids? This type of day is SOOOOOO not what I want to do with my life. Am I selfish for wanting more out of life than crying, vomit, and verbal abuse?

I must admit that the afternoon got better. Ayden came home from school in a MUCH better mood, volunteered to make peanut butter and jam sandwiches for lunch, by himself, for everyone, and played with Riley for hours. Matthew slowed down the vomiting but replaced it with stinky diarrhea, until supper when he puked on his plate. But at least he slept part of the afternoon so that was good. Riley was also in a better mood since we didn't go anywhere in the car, and he had had a nap. I spent some time on the computer and got supper made and it actually tasted good. Even though I made up a recipe for pork chops out of my head! Crazy. Orange juice, maple syrup, and minced garlic. Who knew? Sounds like a pregnant woman's recipe, akin to ice cream and pickles or something, but it tasted good.
Brent called me in the afternoon to see how everyone was doing. Why is it so irritating to vent about a bad day to one's spouse when said spouse is sitting in his police cruiser, obviously upbeat and having a good day? Even his sympathy was irritating.
He wants more kids. I don't. It is not his life that gets put on hold to make, birth, breastfeed, and bear over 80% of the cleaning/feeding/laundering/teaching/exercising/stimulating/ass wiping/body fluid cleanup/shopping burden for. I love babies. I love my kids. I love HAVING babies. But I think I'm done. So, so done.
We'll see if I feel the same in a few years. It is just an enormous commitment to have a child, in terms of my body, brain, bed, life, energy, relationships, and etc....I'm not sure I want to go all the way back to the beginning again. I have had my natural birth, and another baby, and another breastfeeding relationship. It feels like enough. Days like today I can't believe I had ANY! Ack.

Well, now I have vented to you! I feel much better. Lighter. More free.
Hopefully you don't judge my ranting.

Here's to better days ahead!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Passive Aggressive #2

Woah! I went to Seattle for three days and come back, and there's been a comment war on my blog!
Love and grace, dear ones.
First of all, I wanted to blog on Sunday to let you know that the day AFTER Matthew fell asleep in the middle of cleaning, Brent asked him to clean up his bedroom and not fifteen minutes into the task, Matthew fell asleep again! I laughed so loud it almost woke him up again.
I am certain that this behaviour IS passive aggressive. It is not hard to picture Matthew stopping in the middle of cleaning or any other unpleasant activity and lying down on the floor to avoid it. And it is not a long leap from lying on the floor to falling asleep. I had a roomate in University who used to take naps to avoid her essays and projects and papers that needed tending. She was the world's most creative procrastinator. Sometimes she dressed up in her fanciest dresses to write papers; partly to make paper writing more interesting, and partly because when one is dressing one obviously cannot be actually WRITING a paper.
Passive aggressive behaviour is not sononymous with spiteful behaviour. I DO get riled up when Matthew is passive aggressive but I don't think his goal is to get me riled up. It is simply to avoid doing what he is asked, which is closer to passive aggressive than to spiteful.
However, that said, I think Alyssa's question is a valid one to ask of a friend: is your assessment of your child's behaviour accurate? Sometimes an outside perspective is refreshing and helpful, especially when your child's behaviour is making you tie knots in your panties out of frustration.
In this particular case my assessment was accurate, but Alyssa has had some incredibly helpful insights into his behaviour and my frustrations in the past, so I always welcome her comments.
Thank you also to Caryn, another very good momma, who is also honest and loving and appropriately frustrated with her child on certain occasions, and to several other friends and readers who emailed me. I love you all. I appreciate your support as I slog through the early years of parenting my energetic and remarkable boys.

kisses and hugs.

And I had fun in Seattle. Although what is up with buying pants after you have a baby? Fuck. Hours of shopping and no pants. What is up with these super short fly pants? And the super low rise waist? I'm sorry, a TOOTHPICK would have muffin top in those. Bring back the normal rise, I say!! No need to cover the bellybutton, but an inch or so below would be great. That way I can tuck my muffin hips into my pant ass where they belong, and not be displaying them for the world of kindergarten parents and preschoolers to see. And shirts? My bra size is 32 F/G. Before you call me Barbie, keep in mind that these are POST children boobs so I could tickle my ankles with my nipples if I were so inclined. I like to call them my 'sand in a tube sock' breasts. They used to be nice. Now they are not. So. Do you think they make shirts for Sand-in-a-Tube-Sock Barbie? No. They do not. Either I buy a shirt that's too big and look pregnant in it, or I buy a shirt that's too small and look like a floozie falling out of her shirt. Option C would be I learn to sew and make my own shirts. Ha! I saw snot fly out of my nose and hit the computer screen on that one.
I bought myself some new shoes to make up for the lack of accomodating shirt and pants sizes. And then I went to Carter's and bought Riley some really cute onesies, and then to Gap and bought him an outfit. If you can't clothe yourself nicely, buy clothes for your child! Next best thing. If I look like a floozie or frumpy prego but my kids look good, at least I can sort of hide behind them or something.
We had a great getaway. I went with my mom and Riley. We visited a friend of mine in Bellingham, got the 'birthing tour,' including her office and the birth centre in town, adn went out for coffee. Very cool. Then we continued on until we hit the Seattle Premium Outlet Mall and shopped as above (my mom was considerably more successful in attaining some clothes). The next day we visited Pike Place Market--dudes! I love this place! It was amazing. We bought fresh, cooked, shelled crab and ate it with spoons. We ate crab and artichoke quesedillas for lunch. We visited the original Starbucks, where I bought myself a STAINLESS STEEL coffee/tea mug after a year of hunting. I got wonderful handmade toys for Ayden and Matthew, and a sweater for Riley. Check out these toys:

The artist can be found here. He makes this ferry that is amazing, and Ayden wants it for his birthday.
I bought myself a bracelet that I LOVE. I will take a photo for you one of these days and post it so you can see. It is beautiful. My mom always wore a bracelet when I was a kid and I have this maternal association with bracelets because of it. I always wanted a really nice one that I wouldn't have to take off, and I have found it! It is silver with a green stone, hand crafted by a woman who sells her jewellery at Pike Place Market. I didn't get her card, unfortunately. I totally should have and I could have posted her website here, if she has one. Well, if I go back someday I'll see if she's still there.
Then we went to the SAM (Seattle Art Museum) for an afternoon visit, perfectly timed as the rainclouds opened up just as we arrived at the doorstep of the museum. Except that the museum is CLOSED ON MONDAYS!!! Such a pain. So we went back to the outlet malls, and visited the museum this morning instead.
Riley was a champion shopper/museum visiter. No complaints. Breastfed discreetly in the ergo without complaint and smiled at people and piles of clothing and pottery in a most charming manner. Napped in there, too.
At the SAM I saw a Rothko, a Pollock, some amazing minimalist stuff, and some fascinating African artifact carvings; some statues of female figures breastfeeding and giving birth were amongst my favourites! I love art.
Then we drove home.
It was lovely to have a mini holiday and spend some quality time with my mom, and to visit Seattle. Pike Place Market is JUST my style.
My mom will email me photos and I will post some.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Passive Aggressive

Tonight I sent Matthew upstairs to his bedroom to clean up all the lego on the floor before he could come down and eat his supper. This was the logical consequence of having lied to me when I asked, "Did you clean up the lego like I asked you to?" I heard him clinking lego into the box s.l.o.w.l.y. through the floorboards above our heads, and sniffling. Ayden and I finished our suppers. Ayden finally requested permission to run upstairs and see if Matthew was finished, and discovered Matthew asleep on the floor of his bedroom.
Want to get out of chores? Simply fall asleep in the middle of them.
Too bad he still had to clean up all the legos. You can't passive aggressive THIS momma and get away with it.
This made me half mad, half snort with laughter.
What a monsta.

Bad Luck Matrix, Sorry, and Nightmares

I've decided that our Toyota Matrix is horribly cursed. We only bought it a year ago. Since Riley was born we've been rear ended twice (and a third time in the red car) and then on Tuesday somebody scraped up a good foot long, six inch tall scratch in the side of it while it was in a parking lot, and then had the decency to TAKE OFF. Asshole. Like, whatever, it's just a car. But who does that? Enough damage to leave your OWN car's paint in large quantities on the other vehicle, and then just run away? Seriously? Like we can afford this?
In the end we're hoping a good wax buff and a self-help job with a silver paint pen will repair it enough to be rust proof and minimally ugly.

I also wanted to say sorry for neglecting my blog of late. Some of you only post on your own blogs once a week or so (or less), so I know you'll not think I'm neglectful, but for me this is unusual. Partly, I feel like I don't have much to say. Often throughout my day I'll think, "gee, I should blog about that! That would be funny/interesting/I'd like to record that" but then IF I sit down at the computer with the energy to type and not just peruse other peoples' blogs, I often forget what it was I wanted to say. And feel like I have nothing else interesting to write about. So, sorry. Partly also it is just busier around here. Twice a week the boys swim in the mornings during my usual computer time, Tuesday mornings I have my PPD/A group meeting, and most of my computer time is in the morning before school.

I've been wanting to post about nightmares for a few weeks, because I had something interesting happen. Well, interesting to me. Ever since I was a kid, I have had weird nightmares sometimes. Numerous times as a child I would WAKE UP and have a nightmare. I mean, obviously some part of my brain was still sleeping since I was able to still be dreaming, but my eyes would be open and I would be able to sit up or move around. Then I would 'see' something moving around my room or the hallway outside my room and it would generally be something I found incredibly frightening, and it would not dissipate until someone else came to see what I was thrashing and screaming about. And I would fully wake up. In fight or flight mode, heart beating wildly and muscles tensed for flight, and it would take me awhile to calm down.
Then I outgrew those.
Then I got pregnant with Ayden and started having this ONE, recurring nightmare that was very similar, which I named The Spider Dream. In it, I wake up in my bed and suspeded above my head is a very large, very nasty, very predatory spider. It was always moving, and always descending towards my face. But it never looked exactly the same. The spider itself always looked slightly different, or was tangled up in another spider, or was off to one side or something. I would thrash around and scream, trying to get OUT from UNDER this spider and would not wake up until Brent woke me up and reassured me. This nightmare repeated itself throughout my pregnancy with Ayden, and I thought it a weird, undocumented side effect of pregnancy. After he was born, it went away.
In the interim I discovered that a side effect of low blood sugar can be nightmares. Aha! I thought. I've discovered the reason WHY I had that spider dream when I was pregnant. I had low blood sugar at night!
When I got pregnant with Riley I made sure that every evening I had a snack before bed. The snack was always healthy. One night I woke up and the roiling spider was suspended above my head again, and I didn't wake up and have the dream dissipate until I fell out of bed and woke myself up (and really scared the cat!). This was while Brent was still away at training so I didn't have him to wake me up before I thrashed around enough to fall out of the bed! I later determined that popcorn was not an adequate bedtime snack because popcorn does not actually have very many calories in it. And I didn't have any other Spider Dreams for the rest of my pregnancy.
And then I had one last week.
No, I am not pregnant.
And I had a huge meal late in the evening so I know I had enough to eat.
Brent suggested that perhaps I ate too much and my body made too much insulin to compensate? But I'm pretty certain there was still food in my stomach, being absorbed. Although his is the best explanation I can think of.
The other explanation is that when I'm anxious I have HORRIBLE dreams, and I have had quite a few of those since Riley was born. But they are different in that I have them when I'm fully asleep, eyes closed, not moving around or conscious of being in my bed. And they are pretty directly related to how much I dwell on anxious thoughts during the day. They usually involve my kids. Like, last week I had one where I and the boys were visiting a marina and were on and off several boats, touring around. I suddenly realized I didn't have Riley and didn't know where he was, and couldn't remember seeing him for at least an hour. I ran all over looking for him and started freaking out and everyone pitched in to look for him. Finally someone found a baby in the water and it had been under water for over an hour. I totally freaked out and was screaming and a lady pulled him out of the water and was carrying him towards me and he looked all limp and grey. The back of his head was towards me and I recognized his bald spot. But when the lady got closer and handed him to me, the baby was a girl, so Riley was still lost. Then I woke up.
Sometimes I'm afraid to go to sleep, because I don't want to have these dreams. I have them frequently, though FAR LESS frequently than before I went to see Irene my counsellor for those four sessions. And I no longer have extreme insomnia like I did before I went to see her. Remember, sometimes I would get out my computer and post late at night: 'I can't sleep?' It was so aweful because I had a baby who slept perfectly yet I couldn't sleep myself. So my sleep is far better than it used to be, but I am still having the occasional nightmare. Two in a week is unusual. But it has been extremely difficult to keep my anxiety at bay because my grandma and an aunt that I'm very close to are battling breast cancer right now. I love them so much and I feel pretty powerless to help with three kidlets and 500 kilometers of geography between myself and them. Also, a very close friend of mine had a 'suspicious lump,' which she had removed and which turned out to be something totally unrelated to cancer. Thank heaven. But that was a question mark for about six weeks there. And I am still mourning Grandma Kadie's death pretty heavily. So I guess that could be a reasonable explanation for the Spider Dream's return.
So weird, this life. This being human.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

LOST: 2 pounds

If found, do not return to owner!
2 pounds to go to pre-pregnant weight.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Six Months

Riley was six months old yesterday! So big already!!

Beautiful boy. Stats to come...not sure how much he weighs or how tall he is! He sure is chubby though. I'd estimate 19 or 20 lbs.
[I went to public health today and weighed him: with a wet, full cloth diaper and a sleeper on he weighs 18 lbs, 12 and 3/4 ounces. He is 69 1/2 cm long]
Sits up unassisted.
Chews things constantly, though still no sign of teeth.
Scoots backwards on bum while propelling with bare feet on floor.
pushes himself backwards on tummy.
Reaches for mommy, daddy, and brothers.
Has too many dimples to count.

His brothers
His daddy
Momma's milk
sippy cup
Paige the cat
Banging his heels on the ground

his carseat
long drives
sleeping anywhere but his (our) bed
large dogs
total darkness
being tired
being alone when wakeful (he is okay being alone to fall asleep at naptime)
pooping, farting, and gaseous emissions

Breastfeeding love

I found this new blog by another momma that I really like. She posted about breastfeeding recently and she gave me permission to quote her. I'd like to add a few thoughts to the breastfeeding mix, before I quote her wonderful post. First of all, breastfeeding is miraculous to me . I'm so astounded by how stinking healthy my baby is on a pure diet of JUST MY MILK! The more I learn, the more miraculous the process seems to me. It's white gold, people. Pure and simple. I love to breastfeed, because it empowers me, feeds my baby the perfect diet, and makes me feel close to him. But there is no doubt about it: breastfeeding is sacrifice. It cuts into my free time. It involves closely sharing my body and my personal space with someone else, 24/7/365. For me, the first three months are WORK and sweat and foundation laying...besides the universal learning-to-feed that the baby goes through and the (re)-learning-to-breastfeed that the mom goes through, I have a very forceful letdown that is difficult for my babies to grapple with until they grow into it. Thus, breastfeeding is generally work and not joy for the first three months. But the reward is a breastfeeding relationship that is truly unique and wonderful, and something I will always feel good about, long after my children have weaned and grown and reaped the benefits of my milk.
Here is Corin's take on breastfeeding (check out her blog! She's a cool momma). Thanks for permission to reprint, Corin.

I LOVE breastfeeding. I just have to say it. Gosh, it's just the coolest thing in the whole world. I was putting Levi to bed tonight with our usual routine. I rock him and nurse him, then lay him on his tummy {GASP!} in bed and put his pacifier in his mouth and he goes to sleep. Some nights though he's a little more restless than others and I pick him up a few times and just hold him until he's comfortable enough to go back to sleep. Anyway, tonight he tossed his head back and forth a bit and seemed like he wanted to be held so I picked him up with his pacifier in his mouth and held him cradle style like always. He turned his head toward my face as I was putting him in position and opened his mouth to let the pacifier fall out and with eyes closed, and parted lips started to ever so gently pace his mouth back and forth across my lips, thinking that my lips were my nipples {ooooooh if all men could have their way!}. So I sat back down in the glider and nursed him {again} even though I know for a fact he wasn't hungry, he'd just nurse five minutes before that. I sat there and just relished how good that made me feel; that he wanted me. The latex thingy in his mouth was just that to him. A latex thingy. But he wanted me. The real deal. He knows where comfort lies. He knows where to go for safety and familiarity. He knows that when he calls for me, I come. When he calls to be nursed, I nurse. I provide. I give. I surrender. I let every guard down for him. All for him. And he knows it. I LOVE that.

It's what a mother was meant to do. Give all. No matter how many women take offense to that, it's true. We were born to birth, to nurse, to nurture, completely, in pain and in joy, in loneliness, in comfort, all of it, not just the easy parts but the hard parts especially. It's what we do best when nature is at it's best; unobstructed, untouched, left at it's own, no lights, no machines, no man in a white cloak telling us stick there or push it out or suck it in. Just us all by ourselves. Two people alone in a dark room, telling one another without words how much they love each other. Giving all that one has...receiving the world in return.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Thank you! And then.

You are great friends, all of you, thank you for leaving comments the past few days after my whiny foot stamping!! I appreciate you all.
Though I don't really know why Rob put "I love lamp" twice?
Is it funny if it just leaves people feeling confused? My husband seems to think so. Perhaps you two have the same sense of humour, and that is why I get along with both of you [read: get along. don't read: get]

Suffice it to say, thanks for your comments, they cheered me up!

I am about to go curl up in front of the t.v. to watch some old Friends episodes on DVD, and eat chips. But first I wanted to say that I had a really really hard day. Today I did not want to be a mom. Already being irreversably a mom, I felt rather trapped. Being a parent is fantastic and rewarding WHEN you like your kids. When you don't, it sure sucks.
I think the main reason for my difficult day is that yesterday I went to my first meeting of a group I found through my doctor's office: it is a perinatal depression and anxiety treatment group. We meet for two hours once a week and discuss what we are experiencing as far as peri/post partum depression/anxiety, and learn the basics of the condition itself and how to optimize those aspects of it that we can control in order to improve our emotional state. It is a support group and a treatment group rolled into one. I definintely am appreciative of having found this, and feel it will help augment my sessions with the counsellor I saw [who, btw, I am not allowed to continue to see even on my own dime...some rule...political...or whatever; anyways, I had several friends suggest I could continue to see her after my employer quit paying but this actually wasn't an option. I could have hunted around for another counsellor but that process is exhausting and daunting since it is hard to find a good one: and I felt 70% better anyways. Just needed a bit more of a leg up. Then I found this group!]. However, the rest of the day after our meeting and all of the following day are BRUTAL emotionally because all this stuff gets dragged up and flies around...memories of my adjustment to Matthew and how alienated and monstrous I felt, anxiety over how I'm going to handle my kids, loneliness, guilt, and a general drive to curl up in a ball somewhere and check out for a few days. Cry. Listen to music. Go for walks. You know? Well guess what? I don't get days off!! So instead I dragged myself around and did the requisite mom duties, but resented it in my head.

So, if you think of me, please pray. This group is good for me, but I also need to be happy. God is good, he gave me this family and these kids and he will help me walk through each day with them. Even when my journey has rocks and thorns and mountain ranges to scale. How does anyone do it without Him?

Going to curl up now.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Monday, February 9, 2009

Perfect baby and some thoughts

Remember when I complained about Riley's sleep patterns about a month ago? I was having trouble getting him to nap without me. That lasted about a week, and then he went back to the way he was before that; perfect. I don't know what I did to deserve this, but I have a perfect sleeper on my hands.
Now he's even better. I can feed him, give him a soother, and walk out of the room. Sometimes he'll stay up for a good half hour talking to himself and playing with his feet before he drifts off to sleep with no fuss.
He's perfect. N'cest pas?
He's just outgrown his cradle this week. He would cry out for me while drifting off to sleep and I would go check on him and his fat leg would be stuck between the bars. He's got some serious turkey thighs. Goose? Swan? Egress? What's the biggest bird out there? Pterodactyl?

Ah. This reminds me. Matthew told a friend the other week that she 'had a reddy fat tummy.' I about died. Remember when he told me, 'Mommy, you hab reddy, reddy, reddy, reddy, reddy big bum. You no fall in potty, right?!' Ah, kids. Slap some duct tape over their mouths and you'll have yourself some peace and quiet and no embarrassing moments.

Like today.
I was walking Matthew to school and I wanted him to hustle. Matthew is V.E.R.Y. passive aggressive. You think working with passive aggressive people is frustrating, try RAISING one. So when he whined that I wasn't waiting for him I reminded him that, "It's not my job to wait for you. It is your job to walk faster if you want to keep up, remember?' This is my solution for lagging children which allows them some roaming room and keeps me from becoming a horrendous nag. I walk a reasonable pace and they keep one eye on my distance from them so they can run to catch up if necessary. I then waited for Matthew at a corner because we had to cross the street. Meanwhile he's whining that I am not waiting for him, and staring at the clouds, weaving back and forth across the sidewalk, taking forever. I reminded him again of our 'jobs' when walking. He looked at me full in the face and stopped. Passive aggressive anyone? So I marched the twenty feet to where he was, grabbed his arm, and hustled him across the street. Now his pouting turned to crying and a few feet onto the sidewalk on the other side, he fainted. Plop, facedown on the sidewalk. Awesome. Now his school pants are filthy and wet, and there is road rash on his face because he fainted with his hands in his pockets and had nothing to break his fall.
[FYI for those who don't know this of Matthew: when tantruming, he holds his breath until he faints]
Exasperated, I put my hands on my hips and glared at him.
'Matthew, get up.'
Dirt from head to toe.
Accusing look in his eye.
Seriously? For crossing the street faster than your heart's desire?
This child would test the patience of JESUS HIMSELF.
And now I look like the Bitch mom of the century because I have no sympathy for my fainting child.
Judge not, my friends. Judge not.
Playing into Matthew's M.E.L.O.D.R.A.M.A.S does not serve him well. Nor me.

Just another walk to preschool.

Would duct tape solve this scenario's embarrassment factor?
No. But it sure would make it quieter!

In good news regarding Matthew: he has astounded his speech pathologist again. We are now working on the pronounciation of the letter 'k' and the final syllable of each word, in addition to 'f' and 's' and grammar. His stutter is GONE halleluah praise JesusMaryandJoseph, what a sense of freedom we feel! And he feels! He is very proud of his words these days. Very.
And he is always gentle with his baby brother.
And he has the cutest, flung out, upside down and sideways sleeping positions.
And he is generous.
And he is FUNNY.
And he has energy to beat the band.
He's one of those kids who are REALLY HARD to raise but who go on to invent the Internet or Insulin, or forge a new theory of economics, or ride a bike really fast in the Olympics or something.
I hope someday he looks back on his life and feels happy with the path God laid for him. I hope he sees adoption as so positive and wonderful an experience that he goes on to adopt his own children, and that a legacy of adoptive love grows out of our one small boy. I hope he remembers more love than frustration in his mother's actions. I'm sure he will. I work hard enough on that relationship to know he will.
God has great things in store for that little boy; I've known that since I met him. He has already brought several people to toss themselves into God's embrace with total abandon...
I am excited to see what else God has in store for my brown baby. Amazing things, I'm sure of it.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

The thing about chicken soup from scratch

I used to be a vegetarian. A year or so before I met Brent I started eating meat again, but I didn't really know how to cook it. And generally found raw meat bloody disgusting to the point of not being able to eat it if I had to look at or smell it for very long before it was cooked. Now, I am learning. I've touched raw chicken and not fallen over dead. I have yet to be comfortable touching raw beef, so when we have meatballs he touches the meat. The boys call my ground beef browned and put in sauce "mini meatballs" which we find hilarious. Easiest meatballs in history.
Anyways, I have been trying to get healthier with the recipies I attempt, which means that when I make soup I need a carcass for soup stock. I tell you, it is a long way from vegetarian to chicken carcass in a pot! But now I can do it. I have been trying to get closer to the origins of things, including my food: if I can't get closer to its origin I at least try to imagine where it came from and whose actions brought it to me. If I know its journey I can be intentional about my choices. Apples over oranges, since apples grow 500 km away and oranges grow 3000 km away. You know? Not that I never buy oranges, but I try to be intentional.
But the thing about this chicken carcass thing is that it is more difficult to ignore that my meat comes from an animal. I think this is good! But it is hard for me. I don't care about the darn chicken's feelings; I just find it rather gross to see bones and ligaments and strips of fat and stuff. More than once when I have made my soup from scratch I've found a vertibra in my bowl. When I pick the meat off the bones I have to get in there and dig with my fingers: there is no way to daintily deal with the meat with two forks or a fork and a knife, like I do when slicing chicken breasts! It is good to get closer to the origin of my food, and I definately save money and feel healthier when I get a whole chicken and manage 4 meals out of it AND a pot of soup! I have also discovered that chicken and RICE soup is a ton easier than chicken and homemade NOODLES soup, though considerably less popular with the tots. Can I call Ayden a tot? He's almost six. He's cute as a tater tot. Does that count?
Anyways, being faced with the bones of my chicken carcass is making me grow as a person. That is what I wanted to say. :)

Friday, February 6, 2009


There was a shooting in the parking lot of my grocery store this afternoon. Gang related. Tons of shots fired. Ack! I shop there at least once a week, sometimes with my kids! Even more often I'm in the parking lot, because there are quite a few stores that we frequent in that same strip. Over 40 shots were fired.
Brent played it cool. Wasn't surprised. For some reason, the area surrounding the movie theatre is a really cool place for gang related activity.

Here are some UBER COOL ambulance shots from this afternoon. This would mark the first time I have missed work since Riley was born.

Thursday, February 5, 2009


I'd like to clarify that although Brent was 'away' when I got pregnant with Riley, that he came HOME for a WEEKEND. There was no artificial insemination or hanky panky going on. Well, there was some hanky, but not with anyone I'm not married to.

Just to clarify.


Very funny.

last born meme

Totally. I wanted for years to have another baby but it was never the right time. I even went so far as to get pregnant while my husband was away and I had to do the tough, exhausted, barfy, early pregnant all by myself while working full time and single parenting two other kids. I fully brought it on myself. Totally happy.


I knew before I knew, so I wasn't that surprised. But I was elated! I felt like I could feel safe sharing the news with family after the line showed up on that pee stick, but before that I knew.

No way.


My boobs hurt a week after ovulation. Then a week later I peed on a stick in Brent's parents' upstairs washroom and voila! A very faint line.

This was the tough part! I had to wait for Brent to call me so I could tell him whether the test said yay or nay. THEN I told his parents, and called my mom.

Yes. I needed mental preparation if I was to be the mother of THREE boys

August 17th, 2008

Aweful. Horrendous, aweful, terrible morning sickness, for 14 weeks. I PRAYED to actually barf (and did a few times), just so the nausea would go away.

Mangoes and rice milk. Fried perogies with saurkraut, onions, sausage, and sour cream.

Being repeatedly told I was huge.

boy (and he's third, btw...but this meme doesn't really work for adoption)

Yes. Though I wouldn't trade him for all the girls in China, now.


Yes. One. Very nice.

I knew.

I suspect I had gestational diabetes, though I refused the test.

The hospital in the next town West of ours

Started in earnest at 4:30 p.m. on Aug 13th, and he was born at 5:09 a.m. on Aug 14th, so 13 hours.

Brent. I wanted to kill him for accelerating/braking too fast, bouncing me around too much. That was the worst part of the entire labour.

Brent, Ayden, Sharon, Jeanette, my mom, and my sister Megan

100% au natural

Not a drop. Didn't need it or want it.

10 lbs, 2 ounces of chubby cuteness

5:09 Aug 14th

27. What did you name him/her?
Riley Alexander Smith Vose

Quinn came in a close second. He didn't have a name for the first 12 hours because we couldn't decide between Riley and Quinn. In the end, the boys both voted for Riley, so that tipped the scales.

5 months and 3 weeks

First baby meme

First Born Share
Here you go mommies - a different kind of survey for a change - it's all about your first born! Just copy and paste it in a new note for yourself!
Let's see how much you remember:

most definitely NOT

for a month

nausea and tears

no way


I bought a test and peed on a stick. I kept re-reading the instructions, thinking I must be reading them wrong--'it can't be positive!'

Brent was in the bathroom with me


May 15th

for a few weeks

mandarin oranges and MACARONI AND CHEESE!

people calling me huge




Four of them

one surprise, three I knew

yes. I probably had undiagnosed gestational diabetes, I had a large volume of anmiotic fluid, and a breech baby requiring surgical delivery

The hospital in my town

zippo. scheduled C-section


Brent, my doctor, my obstetrician (well, she didn't watch, did she? She did it all), and a schwachload of surgical nurses

as above

no labour, but I did take voltarin, T3s, and advil to deal with the post-op pain. And had a spinal for the actual surgery.

9 lbs

May 8th, 2003

27. What did you name him/her?
Ayden Leonard Smith Vose

Austin, Riley

almost 6!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


Not the Brent and Melissa Voses. The Billie and Brian Voses. Look at my new niece/nephew!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Isn't s/he CUUUUUUUTE as a BUTTON?!?!?! Dudes. I love this beebee already!!! Can't wait! Due in early July.

Matthew in the evening

Our bedtime routine takes about an hour. To get all three boys corralled, bathed, teeth brushed, stories read, cuddles, and settled in their beds, this takes an hour. On a good day. With no interruptions. Or barfing.
So, tonight I was on my own as Brent is working nights. I had just finished bathing Riley and came around the corner near the stairs, and saw this: Matthew climbing the railing of the stairs with a slinky wrapped around his neck. About to commit suicide.
"Uh, uh, uh, uh, me fly!"
Flying? You are going to fly? Off the banister of the stairs with a slinky wrapped around your neck? OMFG. And I don't mean the slinky was wrapped like a loose necklace, I mean that one single coil was tightly wound around his thin little neck.
Me fly.

If this little boy makes it to adulthood alive, it won't be for lack of trying to do otherwise.
Anyone wanna harbour a guess as to why I might not want to have any more children??

Matthew in the morning

Poor Matthew. He's the only morning person in a family of five.
This morning I heard him ask Ayden, "Why your attitude badly today?"
Ayden was grouchy. He answered, "I just am crabby because I need to eat my blueberries without anyone talking to me."
About ten minutes later, Matthew piped up, "Ayden, your attitude feeling better now? You already ate your blueberries."
I howled.
Ayden's attitude generally needs adjusting a few times a day. This comment was SO fitting. Especially because I could see that eating his blueberries had NOT made Ayden's attitude feel better. Too funny.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


I miss grandma kadie. All the time, every day, a thousand things remind me of her. These are the top things that remind me of grandma: jam, grocery shopping, my garden (even under a mountain of snow), winter weather (she hated it--one year when i was small she slipped on the ice and broke her arm, and went to physiotherapy afterward), my kids, cookies, waffles, whipping cream in the container and after it is whipped, walking, holding hands with my kids, anything to do with vegetables, sale items, toilet paper, rye bread, praying before meals, german sausage, saurkraut and perogies, flowers, especially peonies, petunias, geraniums, and roses. Picking fruit in the summer. Raspberries. Carrots, especially from the garden. Those houses that were built in the 50s with the broken glass stucco on top and the wooden siding on the bottom, with hardwood floors all covered in carpet inside. The smell of baking. Crochet. Doilies. Cut crystal.
Every morning I think of her as I make myself tea. And then again when i walk my kids to school. And again while I make dinner. And again while I am falling asleep in my bed and letting my mind wander here and there and back again. And any time I think about or see one of the above memory triggers, also.
I know it's not goodbye, but gosh it hurts to have to wait to see her again.
It hurts, it hurts, it hurts.
I feel better when i think of how happy she must be to be reunited with her baby boy Glen and her husband Julius. It has been a great many years since she was able to be with them.
I miss you, grandma.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Manners and poop

Why is it that everything we try to teach our children happens to be an opportunity for them to exert their autonomy and be oppositional, whereas everything they learn in school is the gospel truth? Case in point; ever since we had Matthew we have been drilling manners into him: please, thank you, hello, goodbye, fine thank you, sorry, excuse me, look at people when they address you, etc, etc. Half the time when other people talk to Matthew I want to bury my head in the sand because he is so rude. This week's theme at preschool? Manners. Suddenly he's the expert on manners. "Wu not say tank wu, mommy." Uh huh. "That's because I said 'have a good day' instead."
Case in point with Ayden; ever since we had Ayden I've been trying to instill an awareness of taking care of the environment. This week at school he is studying recycling and composting and suddenly he's gone from litter bug to scorning the garbage truck and picking up other peoples' litter (used beer bottles on the way home from school do you say 'you're on the right track but don't pick up those?')

And while we're on the topic of picking things up...why don't people pick up their dog poo? Just because it is a public trail, or a snowbank, doesn't absolve you of your responsibility to pick up your dog's poop. You don't want to pick up poop? Don't get a dog. I don't want my kids walking in it. Poopheads.
To those of you who DO pick up your dog's poop: THANK YOU.