Monday, August 30, 2010

This is work as a paramedic

POPPIES IN OCTOBER
Sylvia Plath

Even the sun-clouds this morning cannot manage such skirts.
Nor the woman in the ambulance
Whose red heart blooms through her coat so astoundingly--

A gift, a love gift
Utterly unasked for
By a sky

Palely and flamily
Igniting its carbon monoxides, by eyes
Dulled to a halt under bowlers.

O my God, what am I
That these late mouths should cry open
In a forest of frost, in a dawn of cornflowers.

SOLD!

We finally sold our Matrix! We gave up on selling it privately and went back to the dealership to take their $8,000 offer. People are gun shy of Toyotas, after the massive recalls put out by Toyota last year. It's too bad, because that Matrix was an awesome vehicle. Anyways, we paid off our loan on the car and now have that financial burden off our plate, which we were kind of desperate for. Hurrah!
Bye, bye, lovely Matrix. I loved you. Too bad we outgrew your capacity. Enjoy your new home!

Finally Catching Up With My Uterus


Today, Brent took all three of our little ones to the PNE. BY HIMSELF. The man is a superhero. I hate crowds, and I don't 'do' the PNE, so, graciously, my superhero has given me the entire day off. I had breakfast with a friend, a leisurely midwife appointment, and have TIME to BLOG! And I bought a book, which I will delve into later.

Which reminds me. I read this book while I was camping:

It was so amazing that when I got to the end, I immediately turned back to the beginning and read it again. Seriously. It was THAT GOOD! It's about a German foster child during 1939-45, who develops a love for books and words and reading, and, eventually, writing. It is entrancing. The narrator of the book is Death: which sounds morbid, but is actually amazingly powerful. Death is this weary, war sick character with the most amazing imagery and insights...it's very, very good. And there is a lot of joy in the book, despite its setting. A miracle of a book. Important. You MUST read it!

Anyways, the point of this post is not the above book, but rather the fact that for the first time today, I feel 100% pregnant. That only took nearly 14 weeks. Ha ha. I think that this is mostly due to the fact that my life is so full and busy that I have hardly a thought to spare for being pregnant again, except to note things like, "I feel like I just ate a bag of poo," or "I can't sleep at night," or "If I puke and hold it in, I wonder if it would come out my nose?" Or, simply to worry about going crazy again or upsetting the balance in our household. Hard earned balance, with sweat and tears and fish oil supplements. But today, I had time to myself. I went to see my midwife ('s locum), and got to pee in a cup and test it, talk about tweaking my supplements to get rid of the last vestiges of nausea, commiserate about people calling me fat and huge and asking if I have twins in there (ALREADY!), talk about how I feel and my plans for work and for post partum support, and generally midwifey things that make me feel nurtured, and really, truly pregnant. I'm excited to be really, truly pregnant. I feel empowered by my visit to the midwife, like I can DO THIS! And like four kids is something women do every day of the week, and I can take it in stride. It is amazing, and magical, that 45 minutes with a woman whose whole job is to nurture pregnant, birthing, and post partum women, can realign my heart, body, and soul, and make me feel so positive and so strong.

This was the visit where a heartbeat could be heard with the doppler, but I have opted to wait until it can be heard with the fetoscope--sometime around 18 weeks or so. I also declined the genetic screening and a routine ultrasound. We have never opted for the genetic screening, as we felt it would not change how we approach pregnancy or birth and that the knowledge it might bring would only increase stress without offering treatment options we are comfortable with. And routine ultrasound is similar for us this time: minimal helpful information and the possibility of risks for the baby via exposure to ultrasonography. The risks are small, but they exist, and for that reason we will just trust nature this time around that all is well unless indicated otherwise by signs or symptoms (or intuition) in myself or the baby. The risks are minimal, especially a third time around.
Choosing which tests and procedures to accept and which to decline is a positive, interactive process for me. I firmly believe that individuals need to take an active, dynamic role in their own health care, research their conditions and proposed treatments, weigh the risks and benefits, and make the best decisions for their lives, bodies, families, and beliefs. Sure, we might make mistakes. But so do doctors. We all do the best we can. And who knows our bodies, lives, families, and beliefs better than us? In this age of impersonal, assembly line style medicine that is informed by an (incestuous) system of pharmaceutical companies and overworked medical professionals, taking charge of our own health decisions can be the ONLY way to go.
[this is all in a Canadian context: I can't speak to the American system]
It is the same with prenatal care. I'm not sick, I'm not in an emergency situation, and I can think for myself. So I think, research, read, discuss, consult my care provider, and decide for myself. Will I be wrong sometimes? Yes. Will I have to tweak things and ask for re-explanations and re read articles with lots of medical lingo? Yes. Will I make the same decisions for each pregnancy? No. I believe I'm healthier because of all of this.
I work in health care, so I know we are fallible beings and that even medical professionals make mistakes. Especially in emergencies. It just goes by so quickly and there are so many variables to consider and minor exceptions to remember, that mistakes are inevitable. Being involved in my own care makes me feel like I have more say in the process. And the outcome.

Anyways. I'm finally catching up with the fact that my uterus is occupied by a very small, completely formed little person, and that soon--SOON! S/he will be here, occupying my arms and my ergo and my bed and all of our hearts. EXCITING!!!!! I know, the rest of you have been excited for months. Allow me to catch up with you!
Here's what I'm praying:
-healthy momma, healthy baby
-undisturbed home birth
-minimal tearing/perineal trauma
-7 lb baby
-mid february

and, maybepossiblyjustasmalllittlebit, a few requests for a girl have gone out into the vast universe.....



Sunday, August 29, 2010

Point your toes and don't look down

This week I've watched 6 hours of So You Think You Can Dance Canada auditions that I have saved on my PVR. My eyes hurt! But I LOOOOOVE this show! I have to say, lots that I criticized about the first season is gone (Blake McGrath producing, judging, running auditions, AND choreographing--SLIGHT conflict of interest there?!?! Now he just produces and runs boot camp, and might choreograph in the future, which are not conflictual and means I have to listen to his arrogant, pampered, baby-ass voice LESS OFTEN. = HAPPY ME), and the reason I stopped watching the second season altogether doesn't appear to be repeating itself (dance as porn is NOT art and we don't have to be skanky sexy to compete on an artistic level with the U.S.). I'm wildly excited about the results of the auditions--Vancouver ROCKED this year!!! And many dancers I remember from previous years have really stepped up their game. Awesome. So cool.

But I would like to say:
POINT YOUR TOES. A.L.W.A.Y.S!!!!

and
YOU ARE NOT DANCING TO THE FLOOR!!!!!! L.O.O.K. U.P!!!!!!

Although none of you are auditioning. So my critique goes nowhere beyond here. Which is fine with me.
:)

Yayyyyyyyyyyy DANCE!

Did you know I used to dance? Quite well! Oh, my flabby big butt, those were the days :)))
But I'm actually happier with my body now than I was then: go figure. Have babies, appreciate your body MORE! Look what it can DO!

Tho I'm a grouch this time around, when it comes to my size. I'm huge already. I know it. Other people comment on it. I've started lying and telling people I'm due at Christmas so that I don't have to watch their eyes pop out of their heads and listen to the comments. WHAT GIRL likes to hear about how BIG SHE IS? I want to cry. The "Are you sure you're not having twins?" comments have started already. Curl me up in a hole and cry.
I'm more comfy in my body than ever before, when I'm not pregnant. When I am, society tells me overandoverandoverandover that I'm the WRONG SIZE. On the socially unacceptable end of wrong size. What's with people? Strangers or distant acquaintances, I can lie to about my due date. But what's with people I know? Jeepers. How To Make A Girl Feel Terrible In Ten Seconds. A new movie idea.

But. Dance. Yay!

Thursday, August 26, 2010









Hair

You know how almost every child takes the scissors to their own hair at one point or another, and creates a nasty look for themselves? Riley created a new twist on this old theme. He decided to walk up behind me with scissors in his hand, quietly reach over, and cut MY hair! There is a large chunk of hair on the left side of my head that is about 8 inches shorter than the rest of my hair. Wowsa. I'm not winning any pregnant lady beauty contests, that's for sure!!!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Power and Food


In general, there is a pervading philosophy surrounding feeding children and healthy psychological practices which supports power sharing between adults and children when it comes to food. This is a good fit with my (developing) philosophy of parenting, and fits well with my desire to avoid the growing problems of eating disorders in young adults, and obesity, disordered eating, and a general disconnectedness with one's body. Disordered eating in particular has been linked with issues of personal power and autonomy surrounding food, so feeding one's kids in a way that shares power makes sense to me. The generally accepted philosophy is (1) parents decide what to offer, and (2) children decide whether to eat it or not. This is simplified, of course. It makes sense to offer at least some foods you know your child likes and will eat, and it makes sense to encourage them to try new foods, or eat some foods they don't prefer. But overall, parents offer a variety of healthy choices, and children eat to appetite.

And then, along comes a child who confounds our philosophies. Not every family has one of these in them, but ours does. Others do, also. Matthew has always been a problematic eater. How else does one say that, in a way that conveys just how much of a problem food consumption is, without sounding negative? Here are the problems:
-He does not eat to appetite
-He does not like to eat meals
-He declares "It's not my favourite" to all foods which are not plain pasta, bread, butter or dessert (our personal family's preferred phrase when rejecting a food is 'it's not my favourite')
-He is quite short and quite thin, with little margin for losing weight or slowing down on calorie consumption

Let me expand. Since he was 15 months, we have noted that Ayden will eat to appetite and declare he's done, and hop down from the table. Immediately, Matthew will declare "all done!" and follow suit. Regardless of his actual bodily experience of fullness or emptiness, regardless of how hungry he is or is not, keeping up with Ayden trumps all. Anything, really, trumps eating for Matthew. Spinning the lazy Suzan on our table which contains our butter, napkins, and salt and pepper. Kicking the dog under the table. Going to the bathroom numerous times per meal. Talking. Clapping. Kicking the table leg. If we let this child do what he wants, he'll play with all the objects on the table for five or ten minutes, ignore his food, declare himself full, and leave the kitchen as fast as can be.
He has exhibited, since day one, a complete absence of bodily awareness as far as appetite is concerned. The root cause of this is simply that there are WAY TOO MANY more interesting things to do than eat. Which is true, in fact. Eating IS kind of boring, and repetitive, especially if it's food you don't particularly like.
But when you like only pasta, bread, and sugar, you're painting your parents into a corner, dude!
There are select fruits he likes, but they change all the time. One day, he loves blueberries. A week later, he won't touch them. Same with grapes. Apples. Strawberries. Melons.
(Unless they are covered in sugar).

I decided he was more of a grazer, and tried to feed him that way for years. But in the end, this resulted in him declaring himself full, and begging me for food CONSTANTLY. Constantly. And he would refuse his meal, or any variations except pasta, bread, or sugar. Brent would make him eat from his plate at meals, but it seemed negative to me, and contrary to the above feeding philosophy.
But I got tired of the constant begging. How can I handle my skinny child being HUNGRY all the time? And how can you blame his body for being hungry, what with skipped meals and blood sugar spikes from all the bread and pasta, and occasional crackers?
So in early July we started a new system. Brent or I make a meal. We select a small portion of what the rest of the family is eating, put it on his plate, and he is required to eat it. All. Sometimes he can exert control over a stir fry or casserole and choose ONE vegetable to leave behind (especially if it's one we know he hates), but the general idea is that we monitor how much we feel it takes to make him full, and we serve it, and--it's totally old fashioned and runs exactly contrary to the current child feeding philosophy that WE AGREE WITH--but he must eat what is on his plate.

And. It. Works.
He doesn't beg for food anymore. He's not HUNGRY all the time anymore. He even looks about 1% less skinny, though that's hard to judge without before and after test weighs, which I didn't do because I'm not being obsessive about this. Confound it, this child WILL challenge all my best loved philosophies!

My greatest hope is this can bridge the gap between NOW and a future developed self awareness with food, fullness, and hunger. But letting him regulate his intake hasn't developed this in him at ALL, and in the meantime, he has to eat. And eat more than just pasta and bread.

The downside is that mealtimes are a struggle to get Matthew to eat. He negotiates constantly. I'm sure he feels a sense of a loss of power over this thing he really dislikes doing, and I try to be understanding but firm. And often, we wind up spoon feeding him the final half or so of his supper. He will eat it, but it's tons faster if we select bite sized (as opposed to crumbs-too-small-for-a-mouse sized) pieces to put on his fork, and put the fork in his mouth. In true form, I once harshly judged a mom for spoon feeding her four year old, and now here I am doing it with my six year old.
Ah, life. You're so thick with irony. Like the milkshakes Matthew loves.

The upside is that I am far more willing to feed him smoothies and desserts and treats that he likes if I know he ate a solid, all food groups, healthy plate at our last meal. So he actually has the opportunity to enjoy food more. And, as we are consistent, although he still argues, he resists less because we consistently expect more.

The longer I know Matthew, the more I see that he rises to a challenge, rather than gradually progressing to the next stage of development in his life, like most other children. An enriching environment is positive for Matthew, but not motivating, Challenges are motivating. Which is a unique and interesting characteristic to have! And I think could serve him well as an adult, if he can devise ways to pique his long term interest and curiosity in things and learn to challenge himself. Or find an environment that consistently challenges him. Like being a teacher, or owning his own business. Or inventing things. Although inventors seem to me to be solitary types, and one of Matthew's greatest attributes is his charisma. He has a remarkable ability to make people feel special, and to capture their interest and focus. That might be better utilized in a classroom as opposed to an invention workshop....or maybe he will teach, and invent tools and gadgets to enhance learning opportunities in his students??
It will be fascinating to see him grow up into who he will be.

In the meantime, I hope he develops bodily awareness when it comes to food. So I won't be spoon feeding my twenty year old.
:p


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Livingroom


Ayden:
"When I grow up, I want to be even more famous than 19 kids and counting, and have 20 KIDS AND COUNTING!!! And then my wife will be really tired."


This was stated during the drive home from Otter Lake last week. We HOWLED with laughter. Especially when he went on to expand that he and the kids would be able to play video games and eat candy while his tired wife slept. Sometimes, when Brent is working nights and the dishes are done and the kids are in bed, and the house is all tidied (NOT!!!) and my emails all answered (DOUBLE NOT!!!), I sit down and watch some back to back PVRd episodes of 19 Kids and Counting, for reasons I've described previously. Of course you all are familiar with my addiction to this crazy family. Sometimes, because he has a lot of trouble falling asleep at night, Ayden joins me. As far as grown up TV goes, this is pretty wholesome. Speaking of which, the Duggars' girls ACTUALLY WEAR bathing suits from Wholesome Wear dot com that LOOK LIKE THIS:



Yikes.
To each his own.
I may not agree with how this family views women's sexuality, but I respect their right to hold different views from me.
This is how one NOTES differences in parenting without JUDGING them. Comparing and judging are quite different. It is not a double standard to compare parenting and expect to be treated respectfully instead of being judged.

Apparently, not everyone feels the same.

Although I do point out the wholesome wear to make people laugh, because the difference does seem a bit absurd. So maybe that comparison isn't the best example of my non judgementalness (or striving towards thereof).


I never claim to be a rational being. After all, I'm CRAZY FOR REAL. =)


I better go clean my livingroom. My mom, grandma, and aunt dropped by unexpectedly yesterday and I did the 2 minute MAD DASH HIDE THE TOYS UNDER THE COUCH AND THE SLEEPING BAGS ON THE STAIRS AND THE EXTRA CARSEAT INSIDE THE SHOE CUPBOARD cleanup, and it still looked like a bomb went off in there. I'm having guests for dinner. I really should make this house presentable, for once. I've realized recently (and not so recently) that although Brent and I LOVE to have people over to visit and for meals, we never do it anymore. Even our birthday parties are somewhere else, though that usually has to do with space and the numbers of people involved, since nearly all our friends are having kids at exponential rates. Well, in fact, most of our friends are finished and we just keep on breeding. The reason we rarely have people over anymore is because I'm grossed out at the state of our house. The first year of having kids, I managed to keep the house pretty clean because I wanted Ayden to be able to explore freely without much danger or exposure to gross germs. When I went back to work, the slide began. I've been beating myself up for YEARS over this, but I've now concluded that my work is to blame, since I can keep things under control when I'm not working for a few weeks or months, for whatever reason. NOT the first few months after a new baby. That would be ridiculous. But later. So, this decision to strive towards work from home by starting my own business and quitting my paramedic gig will be good for the state of my house. Why care about the state of my house? When it's messy, I can deal with it and I feel fine. When it's so messy I can't actually sweep or wash the floor to in any capacity, I get very anxious. My thoughts are generally in the realm of WE'RE SUCH DIRTY PEOPLE WE'RE SO GROSS IF ONLY PEOPLE KNEW THEY WOULD HATE US BECAUSE WE'RE SO DISGUSTING I HATE THIS.
Not so pleasant.
SO.
Suffice that to say, I am looking forward to having my house back to reasonably presentable status. One in which I'm not embarrassed when people enter my house and take off their shoes because their socks are going to get so dirty they'd be better off leaving their shoes on.
[*as a side note for my American friends and relatives: Canadians ALWAYS take off their shoes inside the house, and consider it extremely rude for guests to leave them on--an interesting cultural difference that needed some explanation for that last statement about shoe wearing to make contextual sense].
Off I go. Cleaning the livingroom. Pray for me.

Monday, August 23, 2010

2 Years Old!!!
















I can't believe our baby is two years old already. I remember when he was C.B., still living inside me, quiet and unobtrusive, content just to be. Just to listen to all the noisy flurry of activity on the outside, buzzing around my body. I remember the moment he was born so clearly it feels like an instant ago. My first thought was, "Wow, that baby is HUGE!" and my second was, "I DID IT!!!" A successful VBAC baby. I felt like I'd been run over by a truck after running a marathon, I was so tired and all my muscles ached so much. And my endorphin high was pretty fantastic.
My third thought was, "Wake up, baby!" Because he wasn't breathing yet. And he was unconscious. I'm so grateful to be giving birth in an age with modern resuscitation equipment and protocols. What a gift. What a gift. He's such an angel.

An angel with a mischievous side...
He has mastered this head tilt 45 degrees to the right, tuck his chin in towards his chest, train his dark, old soul eyes on you, and sweet begging for what he wants that is just priceless. You get way more flies with honey than vinegar, and doesn't this kid know it?!
His favourite word is "MINE!" which can mean, "I want to do it myself!" or "This is MINE!" even if it isn't. Every two year old knows that if you see it, and you want it, it's yours. Especially if you lay claim to it verbally.

Rileys speech is developing at warp speed all of a sudden; he touts 3 and 4 word sentences frequently since we went camping this past week. Things like, "Mine done, not," and "Mama, eat, more, bubblegum!"
He manages to make bubblegum sound like it has fourteen syllables, even though he pronounces it correctly. If you like a word, stretch it out--then you get to enjoy it for longer! He also knows how old he is. If you ask him, he studiously arranges his hand to show two fingers, and very seriously answers, "Two." Uber cute. Hooray! The words are coming in late, but they're coming!!!

If asked where the baby is, he lifts his shirt and points to his tummy. I could eat him for breakfast he's so cute. After pointing to the baby in his tummy he points to mine. "Baby. Mama. Yeah." He still loves to breastfeed, though he's down to twice a day on average. Sometimes he goes as long as 30 hours, and sometimes he's on 4 or 5 times a night or on a bad day (emotionally, for him: I don't mind it!). But on average, twice a day. He has agreed to share his milkies with the baby when it is born. That took some talking! =)

He loves to be naked. Who wouldn't, with that built in toy parents are always hiding behind a diaper? At the beach the other day he would request to put on his bathing suit to go into the water, and then request it be removed while he played in the sand. Go figure? We're starting to focus in on toilet training, to increase his awareness of when he is going. It would be skoukum to have him out of diapers before February. [Don't worry; I harbour no expectations whatsoever. I have 3 kids. I know how wishful thinking comes back to bite you in the ass...but it WOULD be nice!]. Riley hates having his diaper changed. HATES. Has hated it since the day he was born. You would think he'd get used to them after over 3,700 of them? But no. Major torture. Major drama.

He loves the bath, though. This, too, has been a constant since day one. For nighttime fussy periods, I would put newborn Riley in the bathtub and he would instantly settle. By the time the bath was over, he would be content again. He was such an easy baby!

He is also very affectionate. He loves to give out kisses and hugs, and sings to us all the time. Mostly songs about bubblegum and lollipops, in all keys and variations and expressive tones.


LIKES:
Balls
balloons
bubblegum
lollipops
dogs
babies
parties
music
candy
water
momma's homemade applesauce
tomatoes (!)
peppers (!!)
MEAT
grandparents, all
trucks
excavators
motorcycles
airplanes
helicopters
GARBAGE TRUCKS
RECYCLING TRUCKS
books
milkies
trains
baby doll found at the beach
animals
his tricycle
bandaids
cataloguing owies

DISLIKES:
being told No
riding in the stroller
being teased by his brothers
having his bandaids fall off. This makes him extremely mad.
spinach
bats (we discovered, while camping. He screamed like he was going to die)


Development:
climbs like a monkey
runs all day from morning til night
3 or 4 word sentences
chatters while looking at a book, talks about the pictures in appropriate context
makes up songs
dances
uses sign language for ambiguous words like "Poo," which means poop and food, or for water, which he can't say and won't attempt
kicks a ball very far
jumps with both feet
tackles like a bear (which he pronounces 'bur,' with almost no vowel in the middle...very cute)
Says "Ayen" for Ayden, and either "Moga" or "Mat" for Matthew
drags large sticks everywhere
throws rocks with his left hand
eats with his right hand
hits with both hands
bites with numerous teeth
refuses to say or sign 'sorry'
imitates, imitates, imitates


Love, love, love to our 'Turd' child, the manifestation of a dream, the fulfillment of so much, and the total encapsulation of our hearts in your hands. All of us. Even Moga, who steals your candy and toys like nobody's business.

We are proud of you, cute butt. You are astounding.

xo

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Rice Cake

Week Twelve: Fingernails and toenails appear

You are 12 weeks pregnant. (fetal age 10 weeks)
  • The fetus is now about 2.5 inches (6cm) length and weighs about 0.7 ounce (20 g).
  • The feet are almost half an inch (1cm) long.
  • The fetus starts moving spontaneously.
  • The face is beginning to look like a baby's face.
  • The pancreas is functioning and producing insulin.
  • Fingernails and toenails appear.
  • The baby can suck his thumb, and get hiccups.
12 weeksFrom this week you may well be able to hear the baby's heart beat through a doppler monitor on your tummy. You will notice that the rate is up to 160 a minute, double that of a normal adult.

Your baby now has a chin and a nose and a facial profile. Vocal chords are complete, and the baby can and does sometimes cry silently. The brain is fully formed, and the baby can also feel pain. The fetus may even suck his thumb. The eyelids now cover the eyes, and will remain shut until the seventh month to protect the delicate optical nerve fibers. The hair is on the head and the fingers and toes have developed soft nails. The kidneys are developed and begin to secrete urine.

Your baby weighs between 0.5 and 0.7 ounce (14 to 20g), and crown-to-rump length is almost 2.5 inches (63mm). Your baby's size has almost doubled in the past 3 weeks.

Book Reviews



(I know I owe you a Riley is 2 post: next week, after we get back from camping!)

As I told you, I'm a ferocious reader when pregnant. I'm a pretty dedicated lover of books anyways, but when I'm pregnant it's all consuming. So I have been reading some. I managed to secure myself enough fiction for a few days! First, I read "Before I Wake," by Robert J Wiersema. He's from Victoria--and the book is set in Victoria. At first I thought, 'Neat!' I love Victoria, and there are lots of good artists and writers who live there, so this could be a treat.


A word from someone who has been there: DON'T BOTHER. OMG, this book was horrific. NOT the whole thing. Not. It started off well, which is probably why I invested my time until the bitter end, but this book turned awful about one third of the way in. I liked the main characters, they were complex and interesting, multi dimensional, easy to sympathize with, mostly easy to love, and dynamic. And then, the one dimensional church people came in. And some ghosts. And some ambiguous, mythical type Biblical characters with confusing names and the ability to make themselves visible or invisible...It just wasn't great anymore. It wasn't even good. The one dimensional religious people bug me, but their presence isn't enough to destroy a book for me. But all of it together--the off-grid, unbelievable plot, the plethora of weird ghosts and Biblical characters brought to life, along with the flat churchy people, ruined this book for me. Plus, the author did no research into how BC Ambulance operates, or radio communications (which, if you want to include them in your text, you should research what happens in the community in which your book is set), nor pediatric medical care in Victoria. There is no pediatric ICU or neurosurgery capabilities in Victoria. Kids who need those resources are flown to Children's in Vancouver. It's just irritating. The difference between good art and great art is in attention to fine detail. Cutting no corners.

[**update: there IS a pediatric ICU in Victoria--I stand corrected!! Not sure if they accomodate neurosurg, but perhaps...my apologies**]

I slogged it out to the bitter end.


And then I picked up "The Cellist of Sarajevo."


THIS was great art. I have heard of this book, written by a UBC professor. A young UBC professor. So, with being young and pretty much from this area of the world, I was a tiny bit skeptical of his ability to really do justice to the subject of his story, but he absolutely created a perfect work of art. This book was amazing, on many levels. And I loved it with passion. I highly recommend it.

xo, all

Friday, August 13, 2010

Absence

I'm sorry for the looooong silence!! I wasn't off celebrating toileting success, ha ha, I went to my brother's place in McBride (11 hours drive split into two days) last weekend with my mom, sprained my ankle, got back to no internet service, and ran around like a chicken with my head cut off this week. My internet was back up last night, but I didn't have time to even check my blog because I was going through the 57 emails in my inbox (which I just finished now)! Mostly Old Navy fliers and Spam: I'm not that popular!!! :D

Although in fact, toileting success has continued to improve, steadily. We're down to occasional pees when something reallyreallyreally distracting is going on. Slowly, but steadily.

Our trip was amazing: I have to post you pictures because it's just too hilarious to believe without proof. My brother owns 150 acres of Fraser River waterfront property 10 minutes from the (very small) town of McBride. He has mules, an excavator, dirtbikes, a river boat, etc, etc: all kinds of very exciting fun for three little boys. In about 2 minutes flat, Matthew was in the excavator on my brother's lap, operating controls and having the time of his life. All 3 of them rode in the excavator, on the dirtbike, on the mules (except Ayden--bad experience early in life), in an old car my brother has, in the boat, and spent hours smashing around in the dirt. It was fabulous. I have pictures. I will share them soon, I promise! Talk about Free Range parenting...we let them loose and didn't think about them for hours! Now I have a hankering to move to McBride!

Tomorrow is Riley's second birthday. Look for a post tomorrow about my baby!! Two years ago now I was in labour, in the shower in my bathroom, and my midwife was here. I remember it with crystal clarity. I had to stand up for every contraction. I sat down between them on a stool in the shower, to rest. Brent was blinking back sleepyness. I was hard at work. It was hot out.
Sweet baby. I love you so much. We all do!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Cautiously...

Matthew has stopped the pants pooping.
He has slowed down the pants peeing.

....could there actually be a light at the end of this dark hole? I think I see it....I think I see it...
(I was afraid to report on this before, because I didn't want to jinx it. But it's been 3 weeks since the pooping, and 3 weeks of steady progress with peeing. I hear a 300 person choir singing the Halleluja chorus in the far distance of my psyche...)

10 weeks a few days ago


This pregnancy is going by at warp speed. I don't have time to look up what is happening in my body, and with my baby, or do weekly posts like last time. The first quarter of my pregnancy is finished! Surprisingly, I don't feel anxious over the passage of time, which has long been a particular stone in my shoe. You know how numerous people tell you when you are pregnant or your kids are small, "Enjoy it! It goes by so fast!?" I took that and internalized it too much. I constantly worried about the brevity of childhood, and whether I would miss or forget something, and experience irreparable loss. Fear of great loss has followed me since my childhood. I think we all feel grief over how quickly our babies become toddlers, children, and adults, but at the same time we GAIN SO MUCH! I'm coming to terms with this, and experiencing joy in the journey as I discover how wonderful it is to live in the moment, cherish it, and then let it pass. Because the next moment, though I lose what was before, is so rich. Ayden reads and talks intelligently and has opinions that are fascinating. He's smart, he's very artistic, he takes tasks and learning very seriously, and he reads voraciously. Matthew is charismatic, bubbly, positive, fears NOTHING, is game for ANYTHING, masters physical tasks very rapidly, is learning to read and write, engineers lego like nobody's business, and loves with abandonment. Riley is contemplative, gentlehearted, independent (mine, mine, mine is his favorite word), sweet, starting to put two words together fairly consistently, could kick a ball before he could walk (seriously: we would hold him up to a ball and he would kick it purposefully), and tries fiercely to keep up with his brothers.
These are characteristics which have grown over time, and which I wouldn't have the joy of experiencing if they all stayed babies forever. Plus, I grow with them. I get better at the mulit tasking, the interminable amount of required patience, the repetition, ignoring the noise, and growing and lavishing the love. Who I am now is so much more peaceful and capable than who I was in the beginning of this parenting thing. So. Though it's sad how fast it goes, I'm finally at peace with it all.

Here's a picture of Rice Cake for now (whom I always refer to as a boy, but usually think about as a girl, without conscious forethought).




  • The most critical part of your infant's development is complete. Now you are headed into a period of rapid growth.
  • While a bit strange to envision, your baby'shead is now about half its length - Soon the rest of the body's growth will catch up but this area is prepared to keep up with the rapid brain development!
  • Eyelids fuse shut and irises begin to develop - Eye color is also determined by this point.
  • Placenta begins to function this week or next - The placenta is the organ responsible for both the provision of nutrients along with the removal of waste to keep your baby growing strong!
  • Your baby will be about 1.22 inch long (3.1cm) and weigh 0.14 ounce (4gm) at the end of this week

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Formula and Bottles Welcome Post

Hobo Mama just wrote a wonderful post titled, Formula Feeders and Bottles Welcome! In honor of world breastfeeding week, and I have to say, I cried when I read it, and again in some of the comments. It's a beautiful post on love and formula from a lactivist. Go mommas everywhere! Breast, bottle, crunchy, mainstream, all with love.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

For WBW

For World Breastfeeding Week I wrote a post on Mothers of Change on nursing in public. Please visit and read my post! Our entire blog can be read here (the post previous to mine on nursing in public is very good, and deserves a horn tooting, as it explores some issues pretty dear to my heart). Enjoy!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Cosby

Tonight I was restless and cranky. All I ever want to do when I'm pregnant, all three times, is read fiction. Immerse myself in something I can forget myself in, something I've had an insatiable drive for since I learned to read at four years old, some other world that is beautifully written and peopled with fascinating souls. I just finished my last unread book. PLUS I had a really strong craving for CHOCOLATE BROWNIES, which I can't have. Definitively not. So I stomped around, banging the cupboards for chocolate-like foods with no calories and lots of protein, but said cupboards were decidedly lacking in said foods, which made me crankier.
I pulled out my Deceptively Delicious cookbook and turned to the Desserts section, flirting with making brownies or gingerbread loaf or chocolate chip cookies, but the pregnancytired factor saved me and I decided it was too much work. I compromised by making myself hot chocolate with cinnamon added. It's not a baked good, it has chocolate, it's mostly milk, and it will curb my craving. The milk even has protein in it! Though admittedly lots of calories. Hey, it's not CHOCOLATE BROWNIES. How I wish for a normal pancreas that can handle the normal foods most women can eat and have 7 lb babies. Sigh.
Then I went to my bookshelf and pulled off Bill Cosby's Fatherhood. I've read this before, but not since I had kids. I've seen his standup routine on parenthood where he insists that children don't make sense while you're raising them because they are BRAIN DAMAGED, and it is *FOOKING* hilarious!!! I love Cosby's take on parenthood. He takes all the pressure and tension and worry and striving and self control and anxiety and stress I build up over attachmentparenting gentleparenting responsiveparenting don't-fook-your-kid-up parenting just go PSHHHHHHHTTTT!!!!! And begone. I mean, he has tons of love for his kids. He has five of them! And, of course, most of what he says is tongue-in-cheek. However, this is how he sums it up:

Yes, having a child is surely the most beautifully irrational act that two people in love can commit. Having had five qualifies me to write this book but not to give you any absolute rules because there are none. Screenwriter William Goldman has said that, in spite of all the experience that Hollywood people have in making movies, "Nobody knows anything." I sometimes think the same statement is true of raising children. In spite of the six thousand manuals on child raising in the bookstores, child raising is still a dark continent and no one really knows anything. You just need a lot of love and luck

I mean, I really do try. And I really believe deeply that kids are gentlehearted creatures that need lots of demonstrations of love, and an empathetic ear, and good models of self control and expected behavior, and care for their souls. But gosh, sometimes I sure get tired of the parenting holier than holies. Raise your kids in the manner you see fit! But sometimes on blogs or parenting sites or the comments sections of FB or other articles, the didacticism comes out. You know, the tyrants. I read somewhere recently someone posted a comment to the effect that parents who feed their kids MacDonald's should be charged with child abuse. MWHAAA? Or one of the blogs I follow has this on her heading:

WHERE I POST CRUNCHY NEWS, ARGUE POLITICS, ADVOCATE ATTACHMENT PARENTING AND NATURAL FAMILY LIVING, CHANNEL MARIA MONTESSORI, GARDEN ORGANICALLY, AND KICK YOUR LILY WHITE ARSE FOR MAKING YOUR BABY CRY-IT-OUT

Of course, she is free to post whatever she wants on her blog, and I'm free to read it or pass it by. I am not really saying she shouldn't SAY whatever she wants to say, but then I'm wishing on the other hand that we would all just be a little more flexible. I mean, I might not have a lily white arse, for one thing. I'm sure lots of different coloured people let their babies cry themselves to sleep. But what starts as a philosophy somehow turns into religious dogma. And I hate the implication that there is ONE BEST WAY to do anything, including raise kids. There are lots of good ways. There are lots of bad ways too, I suppose. But no matter how close we hold our parenting philosophies to our hearts, in the end we're all just guessing. If this is God's design, would He not necessarily have added in flexibility in children, to grow and thrive under a variety of conditions and parenting styles? There are absolutes. For sure. There are bottom lines. But are they as high up or as universal or as important as they are touted to be? I sure hope not. Otherwise I FAIL.

Cosby says this:

The First Parent Had Trouble, Too

Whenever your kids are out of control, you can take comfort from the thought that even God's omnipotence did not extend to His kids. After creating the heaven, the earth, the oceans, and the entire animal kingdom, God created Adam and Eve. And the first thing He said to them was "Don't"--he hurled no negatives at the elephant--but to the brightest of His creatures, the ones who get into Yale, He said, "Don't."
"Don't what?" Adam replied.
"Don't eat the forbidden fruit.
"Forbidden fruit? Really? Where is it?"
Is this beginning to sound familiar? You never realized that the pattern of your life had been laid down in the Garden of Eden.
"It's over there," said God, wondering why He hadn't stopped after making the elephants.
A few minutes later, God saw the kids having an apple break and He was angry.
"Didn't I tell you not to eat that fruit?" the First Parent said.
"Uh-huh," Adam replied.
"Then why did you?"
"I don't know," Adam said.
At least he didn't say, "No problem."
"All right then, get out of here! Go forth, become fruitful, and multiply!"
This was not a blessing but a curse: God's punishment was that Adam and Eve should have children of their own. And so, they moved to the east of Eden, which was still the good part of town, and they had your typical suburban family: a couple of dim-witted boys. One of these boys couldn't stand the other; but instead of just leaving Eden and going to Chicago, he had to kill him.
Thus the pattern was set and it never has changed. But there is reassurance in this story for those of you whose children are not doing well. If you have lovingly and persistently tried to give them wisdom and they haven't taken it, don't be hard on yourself. If God had trouble handling children, what makes you think it would be a piece of cake for you?


Wowsa, this man is funny. So I feel all better from my earlier grouchiness. I drank some hot chocolate to satisfy my chocolate craving without TOO much sugar ingested, and I read a really funny non fiction book by Cosby.

Sometimes I spank my kids. There. I said it. I can't put the I'm a Gentle Parent widget on my sidebar, but somehow in the end, I think my kids will turn out okay. I don't beat them. I don't even spank them that often. But sometimes, it happens. I don't think these are my best parenting moments, but neither are they my worst ones! And I get tired of the judgement from some sets of parents for other sets of parents, regardless of which set's philosophy I agree with, because we're all just doing THE BEST WE CAN!
And, as my friend Tamie says, we're enough. The best we can is enough. We are all enough, just as we are, and doing the best we can is heroic! And beautiful.

World Breastfeeding Week!


This week is world breastfeeding week! The Orgasmic Birth Website has a great post describing the history of WBW--a good read! Enjoy!

I particularly like the evidence of positive change mentioned in this excerpt

Today, 28% of all maternity facilities in the world, in more than 152 countries, have implemented these steps. UNICEF recently noted that child deaths around the world declined from 13 million in 1990 to 8.8 million in 2008 in part due to increased early and exclusive breastfeeding. However, much more remains to be done.


So often, the most effective ways to improve health are the simplest. Breasts: life saving devices!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Photog carnival

I finally got around to posting pictures of our trip to Pender for camping!!
Here we are on the ferry on the trip over.
We had waffles and whipped cream with strawberries, and eggs and bacon for breakfast....yummy!!!






Last month we purchased a new camera on a buy-now-pay-later deal. We buy all our big, non vehicle purchases that way, and never pay a dime of interest because we pay it off in time. Saving up for the purchases doesn't seem to work as well for us as signing up for the buy-now-pay-in-12-months-no-interest (but 29.9% interest after that). So now, we are the proud owners of a Canon Rebel T1i (which means nothing to me except we have a nice, big camera that takes skoukum pictures). This means that I have my photography happy husband back!! This is one of his main forms of artistic expression, and when I met him he was big into photography. In fact, the very first time I ever met him, he was taking pictures of my dance troupe for the yearbook. He says he noticed me then, but I didn't notice him until five months later. So, as a natural consequence of this new camera purchase, Brent ALWAYS has the camera. There are more photos of me than of him, because I can rarely have a chance to take pictures!

Hiking

Jellyfish were a huge hit


Boobie pit stop


I managed to sneak the camera and take this picture of succulents that I really like


As pleased as we are with this new camera, we realized when we got home from this trip that we could really use a filter....











Live starfish, also a big hit

Medicine Beach fortress





Affectionately called Fish 'n Tits by my always inappropriate, sometims really funny husband





Matthew (always the ham: is the 2nd child ALWAYS class clown???)


Our camping hammock is a huge hit every year



6 weeks pregnant