Sunday, October 31, 2010

On Being a Soccer Mom, and Lasts

I like soccer as a sport. I played a bit as a kid, nothing major, nothing exciting, and I was no good. But it's fun, there is tons of running, kids are outdoors, learning a team skill, and the equipment and league fees are reasonable. There are no early morning practices =)
In reality, I am having a hard time adjusting to being a soccer mom. This is purely selfish. I don't like getting up early on Saturday mornings, I don't like the impossible hassle of which-field-which-kid-what-time of having TWO boys in soccer, and (slap me, here), sitting on the sidelines is (maybe, a bit, sometimes) a little bit boring. I'd rather be doing something else. Soccer practice twice a week (once per child) is way worse. It's at dinnertime, and I don't have the advantage of a husband who is home at 5 pm to help with evening activities. 4 of every 8 days, he's working during the supper-soccer rush. Once the kids are old enough to help cook, it will get easier. Once they are old enough to leave in the house for short periods, it will be fine! But right now I have to plan a dinner around leaving the house at 5:45 for an hour and a half. Load three boys in the van, unload, mind two of them while the other one has practice, load them back in the van, unload, either eat (if we haven't eaten yet: usually the case), or start with bedtime, and I'm. Fricksausted.
Once 4:30 pm hits, I'm usually running full tilt til 8. Make dinner, monitor child behavior, (possibly practice violin with Ayden if I can leave dinner cooking), feed/eat dinner, monitor child behavior, clean up from dinner, monitor child behavior and unsuccessfully try to initiate bedtime clothing and tooth brushing from the kitchen sink, get children in pyjamas (any who have not done this task have no idea how hard it is--any transition is difficult for children, but transitioning in and out of CLOTHING is absolutely ridiculous), brush teeth, read stories, give cuddles, monitor child behavior, practice violin with Ayden if not done yet, replace errant two year old in bed, settle Ayden in bed, fall onto couch, and check time. Oh, 8 pm. Sometimes later.

Squeezing soccer practice into all this makes me very....cranky.

Luckily, the kids looooooooove soccer. And they are really getting so good at it. And I'm adjusting, slowly. By the time I get accustomed to this routine, soccer will be finished! Soccer season is six months. The kids play in sun, frost, rain, mud, thundershowers, but not snow.

If Brent was around to help with soccer all the time, I would enjoy it much more. It's the single soccer parenting I detest so much.

It's also not reeeeeeeeeeally kosher to drop your kids off at soccer practice just yet. I'm wondering what age that happens? Because it would be much less disruptive to drop them off and go back to dinner, which is what we actually did last Wednesday with Matthew. I'm not sure WHY everyone stays on the sidelines for practice every week? In case their kid gets hurt? Moral support? Discipline? Tying shoelaces? But we do. So I follow the herd. Except for Wednesday.

Part of this is also that dinnertime is Riley's worst time of day. He's overtired and wants to nap, but it's too close to bedtime. If he'd sleep at noon he'd be fine but he's not tired enough then so we just put up with dinnertime freakouts. So loading Riley in the van generally requires the use of a bomb suit to protect all my body parts from flailing angry feet and arms and head, including those sharp little teeth, while I lift and buckle him into his carseat. And yet we just keep breeding.
=)


The "Lasts" part of this post is about me being at work today, at quite possibly my final shift with BC Ambulance. Tuesday I am going to ask my midwife for a note to start my maternity leave early, on account of the painful contractions I get when I lift anything heavier than 15 lbs. My ultimate plan is to not come back here after my leave, although I'm keeping that option open in case I need to, financially. My hope is to get my own personal craft/doula/artwork business running while I'm off, enough to replace at least part of my paramedic income, so I can work from home. With 3 kids (and soon to be 4), we're finding it a bit strenuous not to have at least one parent home for the logistics of running the house, and I'm ready to move on anyways. It will help me bide my time until I get into midwifery school (if I get into midwifery school), which I'm seeing will be much easier to manage as a career if my kids are a bit older anyways.

So I'm at work. And on the one hand, I feel sad to just leave it all behind. We have some really fun times, and I'm definitely not sick of taking care of injured people. Sick people, somewhat. But major trauma is what we all sign up for, and none of us ever get enough of it. =) Most people are all, EW GROSS HOW CAN YOU HANDLE IT??? And most of us paramedics are all, How can you live without it? Variety. So good.
On the other hand, I'm tired. I have to get up at 4 a.m. to be on time for day shifts. That SUCKS. I'm a peeon. I'm sick of the heirarchy. I'm sick of working with cranky partners. I'm sick of the stupid ambulance always getting dirty again right after you wash it, and the tanks always draining (fuel and oxygen), and the supplies always disappearing, and the batteries always needing replacing, and the drugs always expiring, and it just is a neverending cycle, much like laundry.
I get enough of laundry type cycles at home, thank you very much!

It's sad to walk away from it all though. I invested a lot into this job, thinking I'd be here for longer than I was. But I got OUT as much as I put IN, which is a ton, so I'm grateful for that! It's not your average desk job, that's for sure.

Goodbye, BC Ambulance. You haven't been good to me, but I had fun anyways =)

Saturday, October 30, 2010

On Matthew's Surgery

Thanks for your prayers and well wishes, guys, Matthew's surgery went really well! Matthew and I had a very nice time at White Spot the previous evening, where I filled him up best I could in anticipation of no breakfast before surgery. Milkshakes are sometimes lovely options =) At least there is some milk in there!! And fries are originally potatoes! It's remarkable how much I enjoy each of my kids when we get to spend time together one on one. I always enjoy them, but as a mass, you know? I try to have individual relationships and respond to each as an individual, but it's different when you are alone together than when you are doing the daily functioning unit thing. I have to do that more often! Matthew is really really funny. He's also a constant limit pusher, so even one on one he's sliding off the chair and tossing toys into the aisles and eating crayons (I know! He's six! It gets a reaction) and forgetting his manners. He's also really into repetitive annoying noises. I remember when my cousin Tonya's second little girl was younger she often blogged about the awful 'mouth noises' she'd make: I totally get this! Matthew hasn't outgrown this yet.
However, he's also fun and enthusiastic, and wore his Halloween costume out for dinner so everyone naturally thought he was adorable. Because he was. And we worked on the activity page together, which is a really nice new development with Matthew--he's old enough to concentrate on paper oriented tasks! He has never really been captivated by coloring and crafts the way other kids are, he'd far rather interact with people and move his body around. But now he has developed to the point where he can do word searches and mazes and find-the-thing-that-doesn't-belong, so he will engage a parent to do it with him and be occupied for quite some time! So we did the entire activity page before dinner came, and had a good time.
He fell asleep immediately upon hitting his bed, and in the morning he didn't protest no breakfast, even when I had to eat in front of him. I felt so bad! But there's no way that pregnant me can go without breakfast, which he seemed to understand.
We were late getting to the hospital, but they get you to come in 2 hours early, so even late there's plenty of time. Matthew was a bit worried that it might hurt, but he was cooperative and charming. He wore his halloween costume to the bed the night before and to the hospital in the morning. It helped him to feel brave. =) He weighs less than we thought, but there is always scale discrepancy, right? He's so tiny the size 6 hospital jammies were falling off him!
I want to give a shout out to Matthew's ENT surgeon: I LOVE him. I'm quite sensitive to the bedside manner and imaginative capabilities of medical personnel, and this guy operates exactly the way I wish all would. Respectful, kind, professional, and entirely ethical. He presents options and lets parents choose. He has really good bedside manner with adults, and is moderately good with kids. He gives prizes and explains stuff, but he doesn't do the initial build trust intro that is imperative when new adults interact with a kid. Because Matthew is so good natured and resilient, I don't mind this because he does well as long as there is an adult present whom he trusts. It's incredible to me how MUCH Matthew trusts the world he lives in, given his early life circumstances! I had explained the surgery in detail several times with Matthew, and described operating rooms and what they are like, and what would happen. So he willingly met his nurse, anaesthetist, surgical nurse, porter, etc, etc, and when we got to the operating room they asked, "Can you hop up on the bed?" and he said "YUP!" and up he went. He slapped the funny gel donut pillow they have for surgical patients a few times, then flopped down on it. He didn't protest the anaesthetist's hand on his face, or the 'stinky air' that came from the tube, or anything at all. I think he found it all quite interesting. I held his arm until he was out, and someone remarked that all the other kids who had had surgery that morning had kicked and screamed, but Matthew was so brave! Which he was. He didn't look at me while he was being put under: he was watching the nurse's face and the lights above him, and he was very relaxed. And curious.
The hardest part of the entire experience for me was walking away then. He was so small and vulnerable, asleep on the table, and I had to just LEAVE him with all these people I didn't even know, to do invasive things to his body? It was so, so hard.
My friend had offered to come be with me at the hospital since Brent couldn't come and I would be alone, which was so nice. But the surgical team was running ahead of schedule so she wasn't there for the hardest part, which was walking away and then waiting in Matthew's room for the surgery to be done. I crocheted and prayed. And suddenly, so soon, the surgeon was in the room and it was over! I'm so glad it didn't take long.
They took me to the recovery room so I could be there just after he woke up, and he was remarkably calm there, too! He was stoned! It was really funny. Very tired, big pupils, and slow speech! He perked up to the prospect of a popsicle, and we were out within 40 minutes. He felt a bit nauseous, and his ears hurt, but they gave him tylenol and he recuperated well. Another 2 hours or so in his room (my friend had come by then so it was nice to have company while we waited!!) and he started rolling playdoh into balls and tossing it around the room, so I knew he was feeling better.
What a day. Oh yes, and I got a parking ticket. Nice. Free health care, but you owe us $21 for parking. Bleh.
I was emotionally exhausted by 1 pm. Matthew curled up in front of the tv for the afternoon, and I puttered around.

Thanks for your prayers! We got through unscathed, untraumatized, and healthier to boot. Please pray the tubes don't fall out this winter, or we'll have to go through the entire ordeal again!!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Happy thoughts and prayers, please

Matthew has surgery tomorrow morning to have tubes put in his eardrums to help facilitate drainage and avoid the chronic ear infections, hearing loss, and language regression that he struggles with every winter. He will be put under general anaesthetic for about an hour. Hopefully he will wake up just stellar, but please pray everything goes well, that he doesn't get frightened, and that there are no problems, infections, or complications.
I've had four surgeries. Appendectomy, two Radio Frequency Catheter Ablations on my heart, and one cesarean section. It's amazing that even with all that surgical experience, having one of my children have surgery is a freaky deal, and totally different from having it myself. It's minor surgery, but the general anaesthetic is not minor in my mind! It will be really tough. And Brent is away. He has been away since Monday for work related training and won't be able to get out of it for tomorrow, so I'm going to be trekking the hallway of the hospital all by myself. Brent's mom agreed to take Ayden and Riley overnight, and took tomorrow morning off work so she could take Ayden to school for us, and look after Riley. Hooray for family! I don't know what I'd do without them.
In the meantime, Matthew and I are going to White Spot for a dinner date, just the two of us, for a Pirate Pack and some fun times. Pray for me, too, that my nervousness over the surgery doesn't show! He's nervous himself and doesn't need to carry my emotions on top of his own. He's mostly worried that it will hurt! Grandma told him that his daddy had the same operation at the same hospital, when daddy was 5. That helped!
Thanks you guys. You're awesome.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Chomper

Riley has developed an AMAZING new quirk: he bites. Hard. Yesterday he bit Matthew so hard it scraped the skin off his back THROUGH HIS SHIRT, and left an oval shaped blue and black bruise. Today I yanked him off Matthew again with Matthew's tshirt between his teeth, and headed him off several other times. For now it's just Matthew but with the amount of two year old frustration I've been seeing in him the last few weeks, I'm willing to bet it's only a matter of time before it spreads to others...including me...because what can be more evil in life than a mother who wants to put on your socks? SOCKS! Can you imagine?!?!
I'm thinking about reinstating the nap at this point, to help him cope. But how to force a toddler to sleep at noon instead of 5 pm when he wants to? Ah, the life dilemmas. Nothing I learned at paramedic school helps me with this situation, either...

BABY!!!!

Okay, what better way to unfunk that to be at a baby's birth?!?!! Today turned out to be AWESOME! Magical. Seriously otherworldly. THAT birth was a gift from the Universe. And that baby makes my two year old 'baby' seem so huge and so grown up!

Love and prayers for baby and family....

Funked?

I don't know if it's the weather, or the rhythm of our schedule settling in (which can get mundane and insane at the SAME TIME), or the seemingly interminable waiting that is sometimes involved in the birth process (my friend has been going to have her baby ANY MINUTE for 24 hours and I'm her doula so the anticipatory waiting has been high around here for the past day!), but I'm feeling frustrated with my life. Not exactly funked, but kind of bummed out. Part of it is career oriented, because I'm not 100% sure of my midwifery plans at the moment, starting my business is seeming kind of flat, and giving up a specific career goal path is a bit of an identity freak out for me...Doing ANY single career for The Rest of My Life seems boring and hard, but doing no career seems boring and hard.

So, life is feeling a bit boring and difficult, at the moment! A passing phase? I'm positive, since I usually feel funked this time of year and most other times of year feel excited about life in general and don't have enough years to devote to all the things I'm passionate about or interested in. Today, life feels too vast to fill. Still, passing phases are not always fun even though they are transient.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Quote of the Day

"When we adults think of children, there is a simple truth which we ignore: childhood is not preparation for life; childhood is life. A child isn’t getting ready to live; a child is living. The child is constantly confronted with the nagging question, “What are you going to be?” Courageous would be the youngster who, looking the adult squarely in the face, would say, “I’m not going to be anything; I already am.” We adults would be shocked by such an insolent remark, for we have forgotten, if indeed we ever knew, that a child is an active participating and contributing member of society from the time he is born. Childhood isn’t a time when he is molded into a human who will then live life; he is a human who is living life. No child will miss the zest and joy of living unless these are denied him by adults who have convinced themselves that childhood is a period of preparation.  How much heartache we would save ourselves if we would recognize the child as a partner with adults in the process of living, rather than always viewing him as an apprentice. How much we would teach each other… adults with the experience and children with the freshness. How full both our lives could be. A little child may not lead us, but at least we ought to discuss the trip with him, for after all, life is his and her journey too."
-Professor T. Ripaldi

(borrowed from Melodie)

Friday, October 22, 2010

Bright mornings

I really should take my camera on our morning walks to school; we walk through a forest that is all brilliant fall colours, and the sun slants through the trees, and the path is crooked...it's unbelievably gorgeous. My favorite thing about this picture is that Matthew is always in them, way in the distance, tiny and cute and capable, with his enormous backpack and tiny body. He looks so confident and small. The juxtaposition just fills me up with joy. Ayden is generally far ahead, out of sight, because he is so fast.
When we started this walk two years ago, we would drop Ayden off at kindergarten, walk Matthew to preschool, and then walk home. Matthew would drag at my arm, digging his thumbnail into my palm and doing this hilarious and annoying whine-cry. "My feet hurt from all this walking!" Only it was more like, "Y hee urt dih wa-ee" because his speech was so dysfunctional. It was like dragging an unwilling dog on a leash. I kept thinking, walking is good for you, you'll get used to it, you need the exercise, the time in nature is essential for the growing imagination and the nurturing of your soul, keep going, keep going. And now, he's a spot on my horizon with little legs and an enormous backpack, independent and small and capable. Those walks were hard. And so worth it.
Lately, he has developed a decided abhorrence to affection. Oh, I remember the days when he used to touch me CONSTANTLY. He was crawling into my lap, onto my shoulders, over my head, between my knees, always, always, always. It was a revelation to me to recognize that my introspective need for occasional privacy in my personal space was something it was okay to take. I felt so guilty that I needed to sometimes, just for a bit, not be touched.
Partly this is because Matthew is SO tactile. Especially before his communication pathologies were cured, he had to touch everything. It was a form of exploration, communication, and being in the world. He still has the interparental nickname of "Touchypants," not because his feelings get hurt easily (they don't), but because he touches with the same impulse that the rest of us look. Imagine someone calls you. What's the first thing you do? Turn your head and look. Matthew reaches his hand out and touches. It's who he is.
I remember standing in church with tights and a skirt on and suddenly feeling a small hand slide up my leg and touch my butt...he had a fascination for the feel of tights! That was hilarious.
Anyways, he has now reached a level of maturity and classic boy-ness where affectionate touching is gross. I tease him by chasing him with kisses. Hugging him is like hugging a dead tree. The look on his face is like, "Wow this is about as gross as a pit of viper snakes. I better play dead." Actually, he reminds me of my sister with the hugging thing. She always hugs the air around you and pats your back gingerly with her fingertips. Wow! Nice hug! I prefer a rib cruncher, myself.
But there is one last vestige of affection that he isn't aware he does, and I'm hanging onto it and savoring every last second. When I read to him, he curls his body into my side and rests his head on my arm. It's so, so wonderful. His cheek is so soft. His body so small. He's so warm. And he loves me. He belongs to me. It's awesome.
[I almost scratched Ayden's eyes out at the dinner table for suggesting that adopted sons are not as real as biological sons--in the context of Indiana Jones, who has an adopted son. An argument ensued. I WON.]

When a connection with a child is hard fought and won, it is all that much more rewarding in its sweet peacefulness. It's hard to really explain how far this is from five years ago. It boggles my mind. It makes me believe in God. And the possibility of peace on this planet. And the availability of a solution for poverty. If I can be fixed, repaired, healed, or led to this place, anything is possible.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Mother of All Baby Columns features us!!!

I'm so excited! Parent Central www.parentcentral.ca published an article about Mothers of Change! We're in the buzz! We're on the horizon! We're becoming more established and better known! ROCK ON!!! CHECK IT OUT!!!

On Books and Bitches

Today was an excellent day! Except for that bitch.
Let me explain.
It was sunny and crisp, I got up easily without hitting snooze or cursing the day I was born (or gave birth), I made the kids a HOT BREAKFAST, and we walked to school. I did scads of housework, including vacuuming the rugs--even the stairs--although I did have a coughing fit that made me pee my pants, so that wasn't that excellent. I folded laundry, played with Riley, got him to keep his pants dry til 2:00pm, visited my mother in law, and worked on a post for Mothers of Change (which hasn't been published yet).
We walked to pick up the boys from school, came home, enjoyed each others' company, I made good food for supper (though my dessert totally failed), and took the kids to Ayden's soccer practice.

Wherein, enter: bitch. "Oh, I like your shirt! It's so cute!" My new favorite maternity shirt says "Baby Makes the Belly Go Round" it IS so cute! So I smiled and said thanks, and she asked when I am due.
[I hate this question. I usually lie. Who am I kidding, I ALWAYS lie: but how far to lie is the question. I settled on February because she would likely see me at soccer until after Christmas, which is my other lie that I prefer because it makes me 'look' small rather than big]
So, I said, "February." She looked at my belly, her eyes got big and round and her face surprised, and she said with disbelief, "February? Really?! Oh my god."
I love it that you just called me fat.
She was pregnant, too. Shall I call you fat? Ugly? Stinky? Something else that might hurt your feelings?
Get some MANNERS!

Right after soccer Brent came by and we did the baton relay passoff with the kids so I could go to book club. So I arrived at book club all grouchy and in pain, because, of course, I walked 3 km today so my body was all, "I'm dying! I'm going into labour! Stop the torture!" Yeesh.
I love my book club girls. They're all hilarious, and fun, and supportive, and smart as heck. We talked about everything from the book to labour and birth, Saskatchewan, homosexuality and the church, food, nutritionism, parenting, judgmentalism, and sex. Always the sex.
The books more than made up for the bitch. Thankfully.
xo
=)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

On Porn

The Feminist Breeder posted today an interesting paper she wrote about pornography, I have to link it! It's really interesting.

Story about the tongue cut in half

Rob asked me to tell this story, which I referred to when I blogged about Ma-Hue shoving a rock in his ear who-knows-how-long-ago. I forgot that I haven't been blogging for as long as I've had kids, so I would not have told this story on here! When Matthew was 15, almost 16 months, we went to Thailand to scoop him up. We came home the day before Christmas, 2005. [What an awesome Christmas present, hey? Here's a baby!]. Things have changed since then, but Matthew's immigration process was parallel to that of an adult immigrating to Canada from Thailand. His forms were the same, the waiting times were the same, he even got a letter reminding him to study for the test they give to adults before their citizenship gets approved. During this interim time, adopted kids had no medical insurance for the first three months (just like any adult newly landed). We bought private insurance to cover the three months, but it wasn't that comprehensive. We just don't have private medical insurance that covers your day to day and routine doctor's visits, etc, here in Canada. We paid our doctor a few hundred dollars for well baby and ill baby visits during those three months, which is virtually unheard of in Canada. Anyways, we purchased insurance that covered major accidents, but nothing for more minor stuff.
Three months and TWO DAYS after he arrived in Canada, Ayden and Matthew were sitting on our bed, and a scuffle ensued. A one sided scuffle in which Ayden pushed Matthew off the bed and Matthew's mouth erupted with blood. When he fell, he bit his own tongue so badly that about halfway back in his mouth, on the left side, it was cut all the way through. As though someone took a chef's knife and sliced it. It was still connected on the right side (thank heaven), but that left side was totally unattached except by the frenulum underneath. Most of the time, ERs will not stitch tongues, or generally the inside of mouths, because they heal well and quickly with very few infections. But I knew this one would get some attention. And he was hungry but there was NO WAY he could eat with half his tongue hanging off!
Brent took Ayden to our friends' place for dinner (we had been getting ready to go to their place when it happened) and I took Matthew to the ER. Triage made a face at me and said, "We don't usually stitch mouths," and I said, "I know. But look!" I opened his mouth, pulled the tongue apart, and she jumped back. "Let me get a doc to look at it, I think that really needs stitches!" Y'think?! I know it does. The doc took one look and said, "Oh yeah, that needs stitching all right! Come on back."
I was worried about the emotional trauma of being held down by a new mother while a scary and painful medical procedure was done to his mouth, but the doc sedated Matthew with a drug that causes amnesia. Matthew acted really drunk, it was VERY funny. He kept waving his hands in front of his face and looking at them in awe--a legal drug trip! We wrapped him in a flannel blanket like a sausage, so he couldn't grab at the instruments, and the doc put 4 or 5 stitches in his tongue. They were dissolving stitches so he wouldn't even have to suffer the discomfort of having them removed! Which was awesome. His pupils were the size of grapes, and he couldn't walk from the sedation...But his tongue works stellar now, and he was able to eat as soon as he came home.

There you go. The story about the tongue cut in half, almost all the way off. Paid for by our national health care system after a mere two days of coverage. =)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Successful birthday party

Matthew's birthday party was yesterday. I know, I know! A month after his actual birthday =) But he doesn't mind, and September is WILD every year, so this just got pushed back. We went to the movie theatre for his party this year. The party was good, but it was an expensive way to go. Fall birthday in our house often means a party 'out' somewhere, rather than a home party. I like home parties best but as aforementioned, fall is nuts. So.
We had 2 hours in the party room, food, drinks, 'freeze dance,' bean bag toss, a craft, cupcakes (which we brought), gift opening, and then an hour and a half long movie in 3D. It was fun. BUT we forgot our camera. Can you believe it? Gahhhh....

Riley's eye looks good: the optometrist said it's healing fine, just to use antibiotic eye drops for 4 or 5 days while it heals. He hates the drops, but he puts up with them.
Toilet training is still about the same. If we get him on the toilet every 2 hours, he's great! If not, he will only rarely tell us if he has to go until it's running down his leg! He IS only just two.

Ayden slept in our bed last night. That was a nice throwback! He hasn't done that in a long while. (The 3D movie scared him). It was nice to have him tucked up against my back again.

I worked Saturday night. Night shifts are gruesome this pregnancy, I have to tell you. Especially Saturday nights, because EVERYONE's been drinking and they get in fights and vomit everywhere, and I can't hold back my own puke whenever I see someone else puke while I'm pregnant. I went to one call in particular with three cops and a belligerent drunk who wouldn't cooperate but wanted medical attention, and the cops were laughing at me puking in the gutter while our patient made the sidewalk awash with beer and semi digested food. That patient was such a douche that I told him off.
"DUDE, it's two o'clock in the morning and I'm tired. Either answer my questions or get out of my face, I'm here to HELP YOU!"
"You guys don't care about me at all! Sob, sob."
Self induced drama. You drink too much, you get in a fight, and then you want my sympathy when you treat me like a piece of poop? The cops got impatient with his lack of cooperation and borderline aggression so in the end, they took him to the hospital in their PC. Excellent. The back of my ambulance won't need cleaning from our puke mixed together.

Sometimes it's funny to me to read about other peoples' complaints of sexual harassment at work. I mean, I'm rightfully horrified but the funny part is I get sexually harassed by patients virtually every shift. I've had to develop a thick snake skin and self protective verbal retorts that I keep on hand to deal with it. But there's nothing anyone can do to prevent this from happening in my type of work. There's no code of ethics for people soliciting the services of an ambulance (well, there is, but it's pretty low and doesn't include sexual harassment of female paramedics: even violence doesn't automatically exclude you from an ambulance ride, because combative head injuries get transported all the time, same with aggressive diabetics, and unpredictable psychs with violent histories. All of these are medical conditions that can cause violence and aggression, beyond the patients conscious control, and need hospital care quickly).

Saturday, October 16, 2010

HIRED!

We hired the realtor who came to our house yesterday...We also have 99% completed cleaning/organizing our house including OUR BEDROOM. In the end, I had to toss a bunch of stuff in two boxes and put them in the garage for further sorting because the realtor was coming in very short order, so that's the 1%.
Our next house needs an office for my small business supplies, like wool/yarn, stuffing for toys, jingle bells, safety eyes, etc, plus doula supplies (mostly a library of books and DVDs, and some stuff like sitz bath tea, etc), plus a place to put my sewing machine and fabrics for making slings, and then ALL my art supplies. I have so many paints, gesso, paintbrushes, scrap canvas, old paintings, etc, and they all live in my bedroom closet where there is obviously no space for them. An OFFICE with a nice, bright window for natural light so I can paint IN IT, would be a gift from heaven.

Pray hard that our home sells in a week. That's what I'm hoping for with all my heart...Otherwise, I'm going to go insane trying to keep this place presentable for showings!!! Pray also that we get over 300,000 otherwise we won't be able to afford a place much bigger than what we live in now!!!

And what's up with realtor fees? HELLO?!?!!! You want $12,000 just to SELL MY HOUSE? But there's no way around it. Seriously. The market is not hot enough for USellAHome to really work out at the moment. Sigh. And that price is with a discount for RCMP families...

Thursday, October 14, 2010

20 Weeks

Yes, Ma-Hue will still need surgery for tubes in his ears: the rock was an unrelated event we may never have discovered had we not been already signed up for surgery! Good timing!!
Speaking of having boys (which I fully acknowledge is actually KID behavior, and that having a girl will save me from NONE OF IT--I do recall my cousin Kathleen jumping off the roof of our house onto our trampoline, double bouncing into the rock garden, knocking herself out and breaking a collarbone!!!!!), today Riley was flinging a stick around and hit himself in the face, scratching his cornea! He wasn't even running with said stick: standing still and flinging it with all his might...
Our optometrist happens to be a GOOD friend of ours, so Brent called him at work and we described the injury. He recommended antibiotic drops, and scheduled us to come in tomorrow. Apparently the eye replenishes cells within 6 to 8 HOURS?!!?!! So it should be okay. Already it looks much better, less scratched and more like a white bump. Scary, though. The optometrist said it's a very painful injury.

I'm at 20 weeks now!


Your Pregnancy: Week 20
Hooray! You're halfway there! And in case you don't believe 20 weeks is a milestone worth celebrating, consider that it's longer than a semester at college—or any relationship you had in high school. Congrats! This is also the week your bambino is able to flash you on the sonogram, revealing what exactly he or she is packing. Why not celebrate with a bottle of sparkling grapefruit juice? It's not as sexy as champagne, but it's got bubbles, and that counts for something, right?

Wondering what's up with your body, your baby and your life this week? Read on ...

What You're Thinking
"Twenty down, 20 to go!!"

Your Body
Stretch marks are the battle scars of pregnancy. Think of those tiny lines on your belly, breasts and butt with pride, not embarrassment. They're caused by your skin stretching to accommodate your growing belly—a necessary evil!

The truth is stretch marks are difficult if not impossible to avoid. But, hey, even if cocoa butter isn't a wonder cure, it sure does feel good going on ... especially if your partner does it for you! And it makes you smell like a freshly baked chocolate cake! And the good news? A dermatologist can help lessen the appearance of stretch marks after your pregnancy.

And it doesn't stop there. Other skin changes like acne and rashes are also common while pregnant. So if you're breaking out all over, you're not alone and it will go away.

Your Baby

Your baby has established sleep patterns akin to a newborn now. Many babies even have a favorite sleep position already. Some snooze with their chins resting on their chests, while others nap with their head flung back. Many babies at this age fall into noticeable cycles of sleep and activity, so you may know before she arrives whether you have a night owl or an early bird.

If your baby is a boy, the testes have begun descending from the pelvis into the scrotum. If it's a girl, her uterus is completely formed and the rest of her "parts" are in development.

From this point forward, your baby will put most of her energy into gaining weight and, not coincidentally, so will you! Right now your baby weighs approximately 10½ ounces and is about 6½ inches long.




It's true, that I'm thinking "20 weeks down, 20 to go..." At first this pregnancy seemed to fly by without much thought, but now I'm bogged down in the middle, feeling like it is taking forever. I think because I was rounding up in my mind from about 17 weeks onwards (rounding up to 20!), so I feel like I've been at 20 weeks forever.
The baby's movements are getting stronger, and I can generally tell what position it's in based on those movements, though not definitively yet. Having had one breech baby, I tend to be verrry sensitive about the position of the baby (I was with Riley, too), to be on the lookout for breech again, so I can encourage a head down position as early as possible. So far, this baby likes to lie transverse.
The boys were talking to the baby after supper. Ayden was all, "Hey baby, you're so sweet, you're a girl aren't you? I love you!" And Matthew was, *POKE* *SQUISH* *JIGGLE* "What does that feel like to the baby, mommy?" *SLAPSLAPSLAP*! And Riley lay on my legs and yelled at my bellybutton, "HI BABY! HI BABY!" I won't be surprised if this baby comes out with bruises on its head and hearing damage!!! It's a zoo around here.

I have gotten TWO comments in the past week about how SMALL I am for 20 weeks pregnant: hallelujah, hallelujah! Someone is looking down on me with mercy because I hate being told I'm BIG. Those of you who have been reading my blog for years will remember that with clarity. I feel like my belly hasn't expanded much out front, but just filled in (not so jiggly, more firm than before), and filled up, so my belly starts below my breasts instead of my ribcage. So I'm really not that much bigger. Though from now on I'm supposed to gain weight pretty steadily. Yahoo. Not.

The itchiness is settled down--I didn't get a call back from my midwife's office regarding my lab work to check for Cholestasis, which in Canada means your labs are normal. I hate that: you go to the lab, get this test done, and never hear back so you have to assume you're healthy. Go, Canada. It's more efficient, but it kind of sucks as a consumer. BUT I'm very grateful I don't have Cholestasis, because homebirth would be OFF the table and I would have a very tough decision to make regarding induction of labour: induction at 37 weeks (!!!!!!) is strongly recommended to avoid stillbirths, because the elevated liver enzymes that make the mom itchy are toxic to the baby.
The thing is, as a woman who has had a cesarean, induction is more dangerous for me. It increases my chances of uterine rupture by 400%!! The risk is still low (1.6% for first VBAC, and 0.8% for second VBACs), but I don't like to increase that risk at all. And induction that early would likely require some pretty high doses of pitocin...
Anyways, I DON'T have Cholestasis, so I can rest easy. I guess I'm just freaking itchy, which just makes me a freak. A grouchy one.
I just found out today that the rate of uterine rupture with a second VBAC is HALF that of a first VBAC, isn't that cool? I found that here if anyone's curious about the research behind that info: excellent resource, btw. I love this website. Tons of well researched info, links to studies, critiques of specific cases, etc. Awesome.

So we have a realtor coming to our house tomorrow, and the house still looks like a bomb went off in it. I'm tired. Brent's tired. The kids are disastrous. Sigh. I hope she understands.

Brent's birthday is tomorrow. 35! I'm married to an old man now.

We also started attending a marriage course at our church last Monday, which goes for 7 weeks. It's funny, when they advertised I thought, well that could be good. It never hurts to get a tune up, right? Fine tune some things? Tweak? And then once we were signed up but before we went to the first class, I freaked out. What if it's a Focus on the Family program? Or some other uber conservative organization that wants me to obey my husband so my kids won't turn out gay? Pshhhhhhhtttt, why pay to be tortured like that? Yick. But I am glad we gave it a try because it's totally NOT FotF or anything like it. It was created by the same organization that created the Alpha program, which is supposed to be good. And so far I really like it! It's clear to see what we're doing well and where we could improve, right off the bat. The improvements are mainly preventative/maintenance things, like spending focused time together where we give each other undivided attention (who doesn't divide much of their attention with 3 small kids underfoot?), and building each other up spiritually a bit more. I'm not a big advocate of Date Night every week per se, because I believe that working together to raise a family has brought Brent and I closer together rather than further apart, and that we don't need time AWAY necessarily. Well, we do, but for shorter periods and less often than society likes to tell us we need to. But it IS good to try and spend focused time together, because the logistics of life right now capture so much of our attention. Feeling known and truly knowing your partner takes some focused time and attention.
So that was good! I'm glad we signed up. I'm glad Brent never protests when I have ideas like this. I'm glad he's open and honest and loving and very selfless. And patient. I'm very fortunate ♥

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Ma-Hue

Just a few days ago Riley switched from calling Matthew "Mack," to a more accurate, "Ma-Hue" with a pause in the middle. So cute.

So. Ma-Hue. He's been playing soccer for a grand total of 15 weeks of his entire life. Two six week sessions at our community centre, one week of soccer camp in July, and two weeks of league soccer. He's fantastic. Like, the kid is famous on OTHER TEAMS. He's an incredible ball handler, has a bottomless pit of energy and competitiveness, and he's FAST! I'm not generally one to love bragging about my kids: I'm very proud of them, but bragging turns me off. But I just have to, he's that good! It's a mixture of BRAG and SURPRISE! I always knew he was very physically adept, has incredible balance and fine and gross motor capabilities, AND that he swims like a literal fish, but to see him put his skills together with his social acuity and excel at a team sport is a bit of a surprise. I'm very proud!

Ma-Hue also got a date for surgery to have tubes put in his ears, on Friday Oct 29th (please pray for him!). So this morning we went for a pre-op visit to his ENT specialist, and when the doc looked in Matthew's ear, he said, "You have a buildup of wax, I'll just use this tiny vacuum to get it out, okay?" And then a few seconds into the vacuuming, he sat up and looked at me with this half smirk and said, "There's a rock in here!"
I started HOWLING, like I was almost CRYING I was laughing so hard! Of COURSE Matthew has a rock in his ear, why ELSE would he be unable to hear on the right side??!! The doc pulled it out with these tweezer tools and told me stories of extricating rocks from other kids' ears, and we kept the rock. I'm going to put it in Matthew's baby book. Here's the rock you admitted to VOLUNTARILY STICKING IN YOUR EAR!!! He agreed not to try that again. It also hurt a bit when it was being extricated so hopefully that will help enforce the not trying that again. Wow. Little boys. We've had no broken bones yet, but there have been rocks in ears and tongues cut in half nearly all the way off and ingestion of adult advil and smearing of poop on 700 square feet of laminate hardwood and heads being kicked by mules and all manner of bugs and creepy crawlies I'm supposed to feign interest in!

Jesus, give me a girl. I can take it. Hormones and drama and screeching and all, I've survived 3 boys, I can do it all!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Potty training (I know, you guys just can't get enough)

Last week, we had a great week, which you all know about because I couldn't stop blogging about it or facebook statusing how many poops my kid did in his underwear.

Well, then he developed diarrhea. So we took a few days off, completely ignored toilet training, and waited that one out.

Yesterday was the first day back toilet training, and we had zero successful pees, and zero successful poops. There was some laundering. And some carpet cleaning.
And then today everything clicked. Two poops, on the toilet!!!!!! One at a friend's house (strange toilet, strange bathroom: recipes for failure until now)!!!!! Four pees, on the toilet!!!!!! And then mommy got distracted and forgot to bring him to the bathroom for far too long, and there were two pees on the floor. Those almost didn't count, because I was just distracted.

Hooray Riley! He's so proud. You should SEE his face. Too cute. And when his brothers cheer? It makes his day/week/month/year. Hooray for leaving diapers behind. Hallalujah! Just in time for another round of diapers with baby #4! :P

Photo post


In my garden;



The Nose Picker at work
(it's in your favor that I didn't take a photo of him eating it)



And on his coffe break from nose picking;


Matthew's family birthday restaurant of choice: McDonald's


Riley is a professional organizer at heart:



Or really just Jesus on the cross in his spare time
(caught sleeping on the stairs)


And a beautiful wedding on a gorgeous October Sunday
10/10/10, which happens to be Canadian Thanksgiving.
The wedding was gorgeous, and the most fun I've had
at a wedding since our own! (But I was peeved we didn't
get turkey at the reception). This is my friend Melissa
a.k.a. 'Wyville'


With her new hubby Geoff
a.k.a. Geoffica (and sometimes, GeofFucka,
depending on the hilarity of the situation)
My boys dressed up for the wedding...aren't
they amazingly CUTE?!
My bff was a bridesmaid, so we got to hang out
with her kid, Bodhi, all day! It's good practice
for having four boys....just in case...Bodhi has
the cheesiest fake smile for pictures EVER,
isn't he cute too? All my boys consider him their
best friend. Bodhi's an only child so I think my boys
are a bit like his brothers

All six of us

Now, I'm no professional but I'm QUITE proud of this photo:


Riley dancing up a storm with the flowergirls
(he's a ladies' man)


Ayden and Bodhi danced up a storm, too: Ayden
was flushed and sweaty from dancing nonstop
for over an hour...(Matthew refused to dance)


Monday, October 11, 2010

''Isn't a healthy woman with a healthy baby walking into hospital to give birth like calling the fire brigade when you see the sun rise?'' -- Kian

Sometimes. Sometimes, not. I believe that in order for birth to function optimally, a woman needs to be well supported, comfortable, and free from fear. Fear triggers the Fight-or-Flight, Sympathetic nervous system, which is in direct opposition to the birth process: a Rest-Regenerate-Reproduce, Parasympathetic nervous system function.
If I'm afraid at home, it will inhibit the birth process.
If I'm afraid in hospital, it will inhibit the birth process.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if every woman giving birth could choose the optimal environment for her, for that birth, and then have emotionally supportive, evidence based, best practice care in that environment?


Sunday, October 10, 2010

Stats

crazy talk. I just discovered the 'stats' section of my blog, which shows me where people are visiting from. Just this last week I had these hits:

Canada
281
United States
46
Indonesia
27
Ukraine
21
South Korea
5
Philippines
3
United Kingdom
2
South Africa
2
Australia
1
Netherlands
1




How the heck do I have 27 visitors from Indonesia?! 21 from the Ukraine? Zdrazdvuyete! I don't know Ukranian, but I know some Russian. South Africa? So cool. I wonder who all these people are, visiting my blog? I wonder what they think of it? I wonder if they come back frequently, or just visit once?
And props to the Chapmans: by far, your site is my greatest source of traffic. Hello fellow Chapman fans!
And hello everyone, from all walks of life.
=)

Gratitude

Thanksgiving was gorgeous. The weatherman predicted torrential downpours, which we got on Saturday but then Sunday (today, of course) cleared beautifully! Our friends got married today, and I'll post pictures later. Dudes, I hate to brag but my kids are SO CUTE. Anyways, more of that later. For now, a few things I'm thankful for:

-my partner in crime. What would life be without him? Darn lonely, that's what. And rather devoid of sparkle. I'm very, very thankful to have such a wonderful husband. Every day I'm grateful, and we never seem to hit any distant or hard spots relationally (knock on wood!). In life, yes. But we are a great team, and hard spots in life generally bind us tighter together, rather than pushing us apart.
Thank God for that. Since that positive pregnancy test a few mere weeks after our wedding day, hard spots have been numerous, and challenging...

-my kids. Oh, my kids. Life would be so eerily silent without them. They are such INTERESTING people! I'm so grateful God gifted me with these childish creatures that are neverending springs of intruiging, fun adventures and hilarious 'isms.' How I LOVE them! I'm grateful to experience such love.

-lifelong learning.

-my families, both birthed and married into. How can I express how much it means to me that there is love in abundance in both?

-God, who loves me perfectly. I'm very grateful that He never gives up on me, always pursues me, and always strives to bring me closer to healing and wholeness. I generally figure I should have my shit together by now, but He doesn't. He fills me in a way nothing else can (though much of me is still searching for more, and always wanting to go deeper or ferret out loopholes or inconsistencies in my beliefs: fundamentally my essential self is 'full,' regardless of my life circumstances, because of God).

-colour, and art, and good books. Good conversation. Wool and cotton, fiber arts, glass safety eyes, pumpkin hats and strawberry hats and picturing delicious babies playing with my toys. Birth. Creativity in all its forms.

-beauty. Tulips. Pumpkins. Matthew's vibrant personality. Riley's picture face. Ayden's serious approach to everything, including having fun. Brent's hugs. [it's like hugging the safest place on earth]. The smell of earthy fall.

-jokes. Riley's favourite:
Knock, knock.
Who's there?
DIRT!
Dirt who?
DIRT!

-my bed. Oh, how I LOOOOOVE my bed. King sized pillow topped oasis of comfort, peace, and rest. Awesome.

=)

Matthewism

On our way to the reception after a wedding ceremony today:

"I never want to get married, because then you have to kiss! And I hate kissing!"


[Brent: "You'll get over it"]

Friday, October 8, 2010

Update!

Sorry I've been quiet lately! I'm just so freaking tired!! I feel like I have a vacuous space instead of a brain in my head, even though all day long I think, 'maybe I'll blog about that!' Later, I can never remember what 'that' was!!! And here it is 1 a.m. and I should be sleeping. So hopefully you don't mind a bullet post:

-I'm just resigning myself to the fact that I don't do pregnancy graciously. Last night I was so grumpy I was laughing at myself while grumping about the bed and my back and the blankets and my husband and how everything was sore and everything was itchy and I'm so tired....Brent laughed at me too, because I was being so ridiculous.

-the only thing I like about pregnancy at this point is feeling the baby move. Oh, and midwifery appointments. Gosh, those make me feel so peaceful.

-I'm trying out a new approach to the march towards winter solstice this year: solstice as peaceful, instead of solstice as gloomy and depressing. I'm hoping it helps!

-I LOVE the smell of applesauce bubbling in the pot, waiting to be canned. Delish.

-I have contractions all day, every day, I'm in pain, and I'm worried the baby will come too early.

-Riley sleeps 12 hours every night without waking, thank you GOD what a blessing! And then last night he woke up 3 times!!! It's always worse when you're not used to it. Brent figured out that he had eaten very little supper and was probably hungry, though he didn't ask for food. He just kept asking to breastfeed.

-I have a new doula client. She's amazing. I want to marry her, she's so fun. She's due in Nov.

-I'm almost done work. Yippee!

-Riley got pushed off the top of the slide at the playground today, and fell about 5 feet and landed on his head. You've never seen a pregnant lady run so fast in your life! Thankfully he's okay.

-I bought a t shirt today that says 'Baby Makes the Belly Go Round' and I love it. I may wear it every day between now and March 2nd.

-I've purchased the domain name and am working on the website for my business! I'm very excited about it.

-I think I'm having a girl.

-I don't think I'll do EC. I admire it, but I just don't care enough to do it.

-Remember my laundry woes? For years I bemoaned my laundry. I've finally fixed it. We fold while we watch t.v. on the evenings that we watch t.v. So, most nights. When Mt Laundry is folded, it doesn't get backed up so far, and I feel better about laundering more loads. Also, I do one load per day. (Plus maybe a load of dirty pants from Riley's accidents) It keeps things manageable!

-Speaking of which, Riley pooped on the potty for the very first time EVER this morning!!!!! Hooray!!!!!

-And then he pooped his pants three other times today. He def. has the runs.

-Ayden started violin lessons. Did I mention that? He seems really into it, and likes to play--although he gets mad at me when we practice, frequently. Today he cried. Whenever he's frustrated I just play for him while he listens, or I offer to pack the violins away and play tomorrow, but he always wants to keep playing (or listen, he loves to listen to me play). I think he just has really really high standards for himself. Plus, he is incredibly tired and emotionally wrought by the end of a school day. It's tiring for him.
He's so serious about anything to do with learning, and he had three lessons before his violin teacher finally cracked a smile from him! He's also REALLY quiet. Hardly says boo. And then you get him in the van and it's like HOLY CRAP VERBAL DIARRHEA!

-Matthew was also pronounced quiet by his grade one teacher at parent-teacher interviews. I was all like, "Are we talking about the right Matthew? this is Matthew VOSE we're discussing, right?" and then I was all, "Whatever you're putting in his water bottle I WANT A LIFETIME SUPPLY. It was hysterical. I noticed his desk was strategically placed DIRECTLY in front of hers, so I figured she had trouble getting him to focus, but she says quite the contrary. She watched him operate last year whenever I would bring him into the classroom with me (Ayden had the same teacher) and assumed he would be busy busy, and need particularly close supervision. This is a correct assessment, according to me.
It turns out, we're both wrong. He's QUIET.
Until we pick him up from school and he's all HOLY CRAP VERBAL DIARRHEA! The kid is incessant.

-Actually, Ayden's most irritating trait is that he cannot sit still for meals, especially dinner. He literally twirls. His ass never actually brushes the chair. I want to STAPLE HIS BUTT TO THE SEAT, he sits beside me and is constantly in my space, bouncing on my chair or elbowing me inadvertently, or running over to the space by the fridge and twirling. Twirl. Twirl. Twirl. What are you, a ballerina on steriods?

-Riley's most irritating trait is that he screeches "MAMA!" and slaps me when he wants my attention.

-Matthew's most irritating trait is that he claps. OMG the clapping. Please. Stop. The. Clapping. Amazing how the smallest thing can be so irritating when its incessant. At the dinner table, all of a sudden he's clapping a rhythm. When you're disciplining him. When you're disciplining his brother. When he's supposed to be sleeping. Augh.

-The dog's is that he barks at the cat while we're trying to sleep at night.

-Brent's is that he is a total pig. You've never seen such a slob in your life, you might see my house featured on Hoarders by the time we're 50 if I let it go for even a minute. Oh yes, and the world's worst back seat driver.

-Mine? Hm. I'm pretty near perfect, that's hard. But there is that stinky fart thing. And Brent hates it when I burp. Though the boys think it's hilarious.

-The weather was gorgeous this week. I really love walking to school on crisp, sunny mornings through the fallen leaves. Awesome.

-My nose is cold.

-I'm reading "The Guernsey, Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. I LOVE IT! At first I was really disappointed b/c it's a series of letters, which I hate. I hate books that are a bunch of letters to and from people. But it's totally worth it with this book, which is funny and moving and not pretentious all at once. And very very personable.

-I'm itchy.

-I'm TIRED.

-My uterus hurts.

-I need a few days where I just lay in bed and eat and drink and read. How on earth can I make THAT happen? I need a mini bedrest order. Did I mention I'm scared this baby will come early? If it comes now, it will die. Just after I typed that, it kicked me. "Don't be so negative, mom! I'm just fine!" Oh, I'll miss that baby rumbling when it's gone forever!! Feeling the baby move is my FAVORITE part of being pregnant. By far. I love it!

-I think we found a boy's name. Not that we'll need it.

-Still working out a girl's name, though. Only one shot: gotta get it right.

-Rar. My uterus hurts again.

-We contacted a realtor! She's coming by next Friday. I'm excited! Hopefully we'll move before the baby comes. We're bursting at the seams in this little townhouse! Pray hard we sell fast. Keeping this place spotless will be absolutely a ridiculous job. Pretty much everything finally has an organizational 'home' now--after several years of ongoing organizing and tossing and sorting--but our room is still the Final Frontier. I've gotten as far as the closet and the bookshelves, but the rest of it is still fodder for Clean Sweep. It doesn't help that my husband's stuff keeps migrating onto the organized surfaces (ie, razor knives on the bookshelf?! And iron on the washing machine? DAMMIT God has a sense of humor saddling me with this man. Though he does do a pretty mean bathroom renovation...). Rar.

-Goodnight! xo