Saturday, January 26, 2013

Quote of the day #2 (It's been a good one for quotes)

I've been tempted to use horse poo for a pic. Mostly because most of Facebook's rules are horse shit.

@HippieKatey on twitter

More Christmas Fun, Again


Ayden, Riley, Matthew playing with Matthew's Santa gift

Little Miss Joyful and Optimistic


Ollie with Amarys' favorite doll


Amarys and Birch working out who's The Boss

Quote of the Day

Being there is half the battle in parenting. The other half is to live in the present and love the one you’re with — do everything as an expression of love.

-"JJ" on 5 Kids is A Lot of Kids blog, comments

Sunday, January 20, 2013


A few months ago we got a new kitten.  ♥

You can't help but love her.  The farmer we got her from clearly loves animals, and took good care of her litter and all their other animals.  She eats freaking expensive food, but good nutrition is pretty important so we squeak it out of the budget somehow.

Her name is Sasha and she's hilarious; I guess she thinks she's a dog half the time, and a cougar the rest of the time.  She LOVES affection, purrs if you even walk past her, begs for hugs all the time but is happy after a quick snuggle which is all I ever have time or patience for.  She's devoted and loving no matter what.  Loyal. Pouncing.  WILDLY ENERGETIC.  She climbs walls that have no curtains, people.  Our couch has never looked worse but it wasn't in great shape to begin with.

The first night she was with us, she was so small and had never spent a night alone, so I put her tiny furry self on a warm cozy spot on my duvet right by my shoulder.  Any time she woke up and cried, I put my hand on her and told her it was okay, and she purred immediately and went back to sleep.  Attachment parenting a cat.  Yes, naturally, I am intensely weird.  In the morning, she forgot where her litterbox was and after about ten minutes of meowing in desperation, she peed on Brent.  It was awesome.

We have this other cat.  She's nine.  She is fat.  She is neurotic.  She is weird.  I love her to bits.  I don't have a photo handy.

Paige (the nine year old cat) doesn't love Sasha.  She doesn't HATE her, but she's not a fan.  The thing she's most worried about in the WHOLE WORLD is that Sasha might eat her food.  So she gorges herself trying to keep her food safe from that orange kitten, overeats, and barfs everywhere.  And tries to steal Sasha's food constantly.  But it's too rich for her (plus it's made for kittens) so it makes her barf more.  It was a full time job keeping cat #1 out of cat #2's food.

Then, one day, Sasha had runny poop in her litterbox.  The next day, it was worse.  The following day?  Her ass exploded all over our bathroom.  A 360 degree explosion at ankle level.  She was siiiiiick.  She slept, explod-a-pooped, and slept some more for days.

I was frantic.  We didn't have money for EXTRA vet bills, just the expected ones like vaccinations and spaying and stuff.  I couldn't figure out what could be wrong, or where she would get a tummy bug.  Did she get up close and intimate with a diaper?  The kitchen scraps?  Her own bum?
My Bible study ladies sorted it out for me: Sasha was eating Paige's food on the sly.  I had seen her do it a few times but didn't think much of it.  She was still eating her expensive kitten food so she should be okay, right?

WRONG.  Kittens can't eat adult cat food because it has "too high an ash content."  [I'm all, pardon?  We put ASH in CAT FOOD?!?!?!]  Apparently it gives them all manner of butt squirts.  Which explained the runny cat pooplosion on Ayden's winter jacket.  And some artwork.  And a towel.  And more of the bathroom walls.

It took several weeks of constant cat food dish shuffling to keep cat #1 and cat #2 eating out of the proper bowls and never stealing, but Sasha's butt finally recovered.  My bathroom will never be the same, though.

Want to leave comments about how you hate cats and this will never be you because of all your fantastic cat loathing?  Thank you buh-bye.  Don't bother.  I love my cats.  Brent calls me the crazy cat lady and blames ME for the nail marks on the walls and the poop on the artwork but I just remind him how cats love to pee on you when you secretly hate them, and how he better fix his attitude before he gets drenched again.

Monday, January 14, 2013

More Christmas Break Fun

Oh Amarys.  Not the world's most amazing sport about things, are you?
Winter Wonderland MY ASS, she says...

Smith cousins: Birch, Riley, Amarys, Matthew, Oliver, Ayden.  I don't know what's wrong
with all these other peoples' kids: mine are all perfect angels (kidding: note, Birch and
Amarys are wearing matching skirts that Auntie Megan bought them!  So cute).

We went to my Aunt Barb and Uncle John's place for homemade perogies, cabbage rolls, borscht, and 
sausage rolls.  WOW.  So yummy.  After dinner the kids decorated gingerbread cookies.  Big hit!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

On Heaven

I pulled my bread out of the oven and Matthew said,



"Doesn't my bread smell like heaven?"

"Yeah, heaven with butter!"

What could be better?

Friday, January 11, 2013

'Mato Fiend

 Amarys loves tomatoes.  At the grocery store today she saw a pint of cherry tomatoes and did a squeaky little excited toddler dance.  So I bought them for her.  She ate the entire pint in about an hour!  When offered a cookie instead?  "NO!  'MATO!!"

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Why Would I Breastfeed my Three Year Old?

I got asked about this topic last week. It always takes me by surprise because although in our culture it is normal for women to breastfeed for about a year (coinciding with maternity leave), in my SUB culture it is very normal to breastfeed each child for a number of years.  Three years per child seems to be about average, but I have friends within that subculture who breastfed for two weeks, and others who breastfed for four or five years.  I have one friend who breastfed her oldest child until he was seven.  This doesn't faze me at all.  Given this as my context for "normal," you can see how easy it is for me to forget that breastfeeding a two or three year old can seem very foreign to many of the people I know.

Riley, 2 years old.  I was pregnant with Amarys here.

I'm a birth junkie.  I love all things pregnancy, birth, and baby related.  As a birth doula I've read and seen and experienced a lot of situations and people who believe deeply in the natural, biological, or indigenous way of life.  As the child of a birth junkie mom, I grew up steeped in natural birth and natural eating and natural everything.  My mom and my aunts all breastfed their children for several years, because it was 'natural.'

I'm also a breastfeeding counselor.  I have taken an intensive course on lactation through Douglas College that involved over 35 hours of clinical work and 40 hours of class time.  In my spare time I like to read World Health Organization publications on human lactation, visit the International Baby Food Action Network website, and email my photos to lactation activists  =).  One of my favourite groups is my La Leche League group, where in a city full of non crunchers, I have a pocket of 'my people' who crunch.  We vary in our levels of crunchiness, but in general we breathe a sigh of relief in our meetings because we're with other women who 'get us.'  Because we're kind of weird.  And we know it.

I'm okay with being weird!  It's always suited me to be on the fringe somewhere.  Breastfeeding isn't for everybody, and breastfeeding long term certainly isn't.  I've got no judgment for anyone's choices when it comes to breastfeeding because I believe that women are smart and I trust them to be capable of making awesome decisions that fit them the best.  It sucks when women plan a certain feeding scenario or duration and it doesn't work out because of nature or lack of support (SUCKS), but when people are happy with their feeding outcomes?  I say AWESOME PANTS.  You rock.  Two days?  Two weeks?  Fifty years?  Rock on.  If people are not happy with their feeding outcomes?  You rock extra hard.  Seriously.  You did the best you could and that is enough.

I'm on the fringe when it comes to my passion about milk and I like it but more than that, I actually really, really believe in breastfeeding.  I'm passionate about women's issues in general and am a pretty fierce feminist.  I know a ton of information on breastfeeding, human lactation, the components of breastmilk, cultural attitudes and their effect on breastfeeding rates and subsequent maternal and infant health, and worldwide trends (for example, the worldwide average age of weaning is 4 years old.  Yes, that is average, yes that is worldwide, yes, that means that many, many children older than age 4 are breastfeeding in cultures other than our own).  If you compare duration of lactation in humans to other mammals, it is biologically normal for us to breastfeed our young for between 2.5 and 7 years.

An important component of the human immune system is a substance called secretory IgA or SIgA.  This lines the gut and provides lifelong, frontline defense against disease and inflammation.  Newborn humans create no SIgA until approximately 4 to 6 weeks of age.  All of their SIgA comes from their mother's milk during this time period.  SIgA is not replicable and is not present in infant formula.  Children's bodies make only trace amounts at first, and gradually increase over time.  Their bodies do not produce sufficient levels of SIgA until around 24 months of age.  That is why Health Canada and the World Health Organization and lactation experts recommend breastfeeding for a minimum of two years.  The WHO recommendation is worded as follows:

Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended up to 6 months of age, with continued breastfeeding along with appropriate complementary foods up to two years of age or beyond.

Why would I breastfeed my three year old?  Because it is healthy and feels normal to me.  It is my experience that once children near the two year mark, their development makes them resistant to change and particularly needy of reassurance and comfort.  Sure, they are flailing around for inappropriate independence and drive us bonkers with cries of MINE! and NO! and MINE DO IT! but they need lots of hugs and kisses during that year, too.  Lots of reassurance that life is okay, despite all the emotional turmoil.  To stop breastfeeding at this point simply because I've reached an arbitrary age limit seems unnecessary.  Like taking away a lovey right when they need one, you know?  Most kids gradually replace breastfeeding with more emotionally mature methods of interacting and more and more food, and eventually you realize, hey!  They've weaned.  Some don't (see Riley's weaning story).

It worked for me.  And probably will this time around, too, since Amarys is nearing two years old and showing no signs of weaning yet.  Yes, I do it in public.  I don't do it every two hours like with a newborn, so  nursing her in public doesn't happen every day.  But I think it is a good idea for people to see toddlers breastfeeding more often.  Plus, it's just my body and my toddler so who cares what I do?  Nope, I don't use a cover.  I'm not an octopus and those things require constant fiddling.  Plus I just don't think it's something that needs covering up.  It's nutrition and comfort.  Kind of like feeding my kid steamed carrots while she sits on my lap or something--it's not that big a deal, I don't cover her head when feeding her carrots... And hopefully the more women who breastfeed in public?  The less of a big deal it will seem.

And to my future daughters in law?  You're welcome.  Your men will see breastfeeding as pretty cool.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

That Time my Picture Got Banned from Facebook

Recently, The Feminist Breeder had a major Facebook scuffle.  She posted a photo on Facebook of her daughter trying to decide between breastfeeding and eating a piece of bacon.  Anyone who has breastfed a toddler has so been there, when your lap is full of a very willful creature who loves their milk but sometimes chooses a particular foodie treat above the breast.  It's a hilarious moment.  TFB's photo didn't show any nipple.  It got reported, and she was suspended.

In response, Gina (TFB) launched an awareness campaign.  She asked her readers for photos of themselves breastfeeding and planned to publish a photo per hour for 72 hours; the same amount of time she had been banned for her Bacon vs. Breast photo (also known now as "Bacongate").  I sent her a couple of mine.  Including this one:

It was up for less than an hour.  Almost 500 people "liked" it, and around 70-ish people commented on it.  Lots of positive feedback: go mama!  Good for you, your toddler looks so happy and healthy!  Tandem nursing photos are great!  And some negative vitriol: That child is WAY to old to be 'on the nip!'  That's disgusting!  You will make your child a pedophile breastfeeding him at that age!

And suddenly?  Poof, it was gone.  Outcry.  But no one was all that surprised.  Facebook has strict policies regarding what you can post and what you can't.  Breastfeeding photos are allowed, but not if the nipple is showing or the child is not 'actively nursing.'  As you can see, my photo complies with this policy quite well.  People just can't get their heads outta their asses when it comes to breastfeeding a toddler, preschooler, or school aged child.

I didn't care.  I had figured my photo wouldn't last long anyways.  TFB got lots of high profile press for the campaign, and my photo got her banned for a further week, with a threat to delete her account altogether if she kept it up.  None of my friends and family would report that kind of photo (and indeed, it was my profile picture for a month last year during another FB anti breastfeeding protest and no one reported it, deleted it, or said anything nasty).  It was kind of interesting to watch the drama unfold; several days later, TFB's suspension was reversed, the photo was returned, and all its comments along with it.  An apology was sent, but Gina was fed up.  She withdrew from dynamic interaction with Facebook and wrote this post outlining why.  Interestingly enough, that photo has been removed again since the campaign, because I went to get a copy of it for this post from my Facebook photos?  And it's gone.  I checked TFB's page?  Gone from there too.  I have other copies, but interesting that it was removed again, silently, after an apology was sent and it republished with all its original comments and likes attached.

By that time, a number of people had commented or sent links to Gina regarding questionable Facebook practices.  Like, the existence of Rape Positive pages.  Breast/boob/tit fetish pages.  Pages that promote violence against women.  A page that created The 12 Year Old Slut Meme.  (Source: I couldn't bear to click or link to the actual pages but this Huff Post article is credible and you are welcome to click on links from it).  Facebook deletes photos of women nurturing their children at the breast like it's going out of style (which serves to make women feel like they are doing something abnormal or nasty just by breastfeeding.  Because somehow it's totally natural and amazing and you've GOTTA DO IT but simultaneously it's disgusting and NO ONE WANTS TO SEE THAT), but they won't delete rape positive messages?  Boob fetish pages?  A page called "Kicking a Slut in the Vagina and losing your foot inside" stays?  "I kill bitches" is less offensive than me breastfeeding a three year old?  Are you effing kidding me?  These pages are supposed to be funny.  I don't find that kind of hate and degradation funny.  Why do so many people find violence against women entertaining?  I'm a pretty passionate advocate against violence against women.  It's a pretty damn big problem, and not just in Afghanistan.  For example:
  1. Number of U.S. troops killed in Afghanistan and Iraq: 6,614:
  2. Number of women, in the same period, killed as the result of domestic violence in the US: 11,766

The longer I read through all the ways Facebook allows or endorses discrimination against women, the more disgusted I am with humanity.  A friend recently showed me a link to this article about Facebook moderators; paid $1 an hour in developing countries, these moderators are subjected to images of humans being dismembered, beaten, raped, beheaded, and to images of animal abuse, to name a few.  The sheer volume of images and pages which need moderation is astronomical when you consider that Facebook has over 845 million users.  Images flagged for moderation are remarkably open to misuse, abuse, or dissemination by those moderators, as well.  My tandem breastfeeding photo could be used in porn or photo shopped or sold or whatnot by a weird or messed up or poor employee who was moderating.  It could be stolen from this blog and the same done with it too, but at least I'm not actively engaging with the entity that is disseminating my information.  Endorsing it by virtue of having an account.

Much of this, and the discussion surrounding women's rights and the mysogynist motivation behind FaceMash (the precurser to Facebook) have made me take a step back from Facebook.  I've been withdrawing from there and coming back here more often, posting even small snippets that I would have put on Facebook before.  I just get a bit disheartened by the dark side of Facebook.  Okay, a lot.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Because What Is Cuter than a Toddler in her Bathing Suit in January?

Amarys Dinah

Amarys was sitting next to me on the bed yesterday.  I was surfing Twitter.  Suddenly she shouted,


I looked at her.

AMISS DINAH!  Again.  "Amiss" is herself, but Dinah?

DADDY PEENEEZ!!  That's when I figured it out.  "Daddy has a penis!  Amarys has a vagina!  YES, baby girl, GOOD JOB!"


Toddlers.  Making the world spin with laughter since the apes.  Or Genesis, whichever.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Anxious Ayden

I've written some on here about Ayden's bout of Anxious that started last spring, but not all of it.  Not the whole story.  Crazy how this stuff can creep up on us, as we are busy doing life.

Last April we went on a road trip to Vernon to visit my parents.  On the way up, Matthew (who gets motion sickness) barfed in the backseat (in a bag) next to Ayden (who has a particular fear of throwing up).  We pulled over at the Coquihala summit to help Matthew and toss his bag o' barf, and Ayden leapt out into a snowbank in his underwear to get away from the smell.  He was horrified.  Pale, shaking, overcome.  He's a pretty modest guy who wouldn't do anything so illogical as walk around in the snow with no shoes, so you can see how frightened he must have been to shoot out of the van door like a shoeless bullet in his underpants!  It was pretty hysterical, except at the same time we felt pretty bad for him.

That night he had trouble falling asleep.  This wasn't that unusual.  He's always been an incredible night owl, and needed less sleep than all the researchers say kids need.  But that night was later than usual.  And the next night was worse.

The following week he came home from school sick.  He felt nauseous, was pale, gagging, and lethargic.  Until ten minutes after I got him home.  Then he was bouncing on the couch like normal.  I took him to gymnastics: they called me to pick him up because he was sick.  Same deal: nausea, gagging, pale, sick.  Get home?  Business as usual.

He's also always had food "issues."  As in, he hates most food.   But suddenly, it was so much worse.  Sandwich meat, for example, was 'too warm' for consumption by lunchtime.  Yogurt was 'rotten' unless frozen.  Fruit was 'moldy' if it had a bruise.  Food that touched other food was contaminated.  He was constantly afraid of throwing up.

He was staying up til one, two, or three o'clock in the morning every night and wanted us to lie with him for hours until he fell asleep.  He was certain that he had a breathing problem; "something wrong with my breathing, and also swallowing."  He came home from school and gymnastics repeatedly.  He was afraid that either he would throw up, or he would have a breathing difficulty so severe that he would die.  He became constantly aware of his breath, and felt vigilant that he needed to pay attention to his breathing because if he stopped paying attention to it, he would stop breathing and die before he realized it.  He bit all his fingernails, coughed or cleared his throat constantly, and had his fingers in his mouth all the time.  As he was drifting off to sleep with either Brent or I next to him, he would leap up and cry out, "MOMMY!" all shaking and afraid.  Backrubs and warm milk and chamomile tea and lavender oil and soothing music all made no difference.  The only thing that helped would be if I lay next to him and talked about his deepest fears, using my cognitive behavioral therapy tools to help him come up with comforting thoughts.  Stuff like,

Your body is smart and knows what it is doing.  It will breathe for you while you are sleeping, automatically. Kids don't die very often.  If you have breathing difficulties bad enough to threaten your life, mommy and daddy will get you help.  We will take you to the hospital and the doctors and nurses will help you.

Sometimes that helped, sometimes it didn't.  When he would talk about dying and how scary that is, I would go into that:

If you did die, it would feel a bit scary because it would not be familiar, but you would go to heaven.  There are people who love you who have already died and who would meet you there, and take care of you while you wait for mommy and daddy and your brothers and sister to join you. Grandma Kadie.  Grandpa Gigi.  Daddy's grandpas.  Jesus will be with you.  Even if it takes sixty years for us to join you, that much time feels like just a short time in heaven, because heaven is for eternity.  Heaven is full of peace and happiness, and no pain or fear.  It is a beautiful place.  You probably won't go to heaven before me, because most people have their parents go first when they are very old.  But if you did, you would be taken care of while you wait for us.

It helped.  He liked it when I talked about heaven, and he would drift off to sleep.  But this is not an okay place to live in, indefinitely.  We knew something was wrong, but we didn't know exactly what to do about it.

A friend of mine suggested trying a low dose of melatonin to help him sleep.He wouldn't eat the fish oils I bought him, thinking they help MY anxiety, maybe they will help his?  I knew that lack of sleep was compounding the problem, and thought that perhaps more sleep would bring him closer to rational and balanced, and then we could do more of the cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) thought pattern changes and get our Ayden back.  He was pale, drawn, exceedingly tired, had dark circles under his eyes, and was constantly eating his fingers, not eating his food, breathing weird, and coming home sick.    Ayden is normally spunky, intelligent, quirky, and lots of fun.
My friend's daughter had gone through a rough patch with sleep and emotional regulation, so she tried a low dose melatonin every night for two weeks, and it reset her sleep cycle and she was much better.  So we tried that.  I figured if two weeks didn't reset things, we would take him to the doctor.

The melatonin helped enormously with his sleep.  He would fall asleep around 7:30 at night (!!! he's always been a night owl and NEVER fell asleep by 7:30 since he was two years old) and sleep like the dead until 7:30 or 8 in the morning.  It was like the hallelujah chorus in our house.  We were so relieved!  He was MUCH better rested and his symptoms improved somewhat, but they didn't disappear.  After the two weeks was finished?  He went right back to one or two or three o'clock in the morning, terrified to fall asleep, and everything else got worse.  So I took him to our doctor.  She listened carefully to the history of what happened, from the barfing in the car to the melatonin solution.  She asked careful questions about illness, allergies, screen time, exercise level, and his school experience (does he like it, is there anyone or anything at school that frightens him, is he being bullied, does he feel over pressured, does he do well in school, etc.  To that he replied, "Not very well.  Just okay."  I had to tell her, "He's in the gifted program at school."  and then she understood).  She told me he needs more exercise, she thinks he probably has anxiety, and referred us to Matthew's pediatrician.  She said, the most common causes of anxiety are low iron and thyroid issues, but diagnosing those takes blood tests and she didn't want to force him to have blood taken because he was anxious about so many things and needles could make it worse.
I disagree with her regarding Ayden's exercise level.  We don't believe organized sports are the answer to sedentary lifestyles and/or health problems in kids.  Participation in organized sports is at an all time high, and so are obesity rates among children.  Kids need to play outside lots, and have free time to roam and follow their imaginations.  They need to ride bikes and walk places and spend time bouncing around together, not further institutionalized in parent supervised team sports.

Organized sports are awesome, and we definitely want our kids to be a part of them.  There is TONS that kids learn by being involved in anything from hockey to swim team, but as far as overall exercise goes, I think it is of more benefit for kids to have free time in the woods or the backyard or roaming the neighborhood on their bikes.  This is a dying art, this roaming around, and it stunts our kids' imaginations and sense of confidence in their own abilities to do anything from climb trees to solve complex problems to walk anywhere on their own.  That's a separate issue, but I'm allowed to disagree with our doctor on that one.  I knew a lack of exercise wasn't the problem, and that we allow limited screen time so that wasn't the problem, either.  We're also pretty strict about what they SEE during their screen time, so they don't see a whole lot of scary stuff.

This being Canada, it took four months to get an appointment with the pediatrician.  Nice.  In the meantime our doctor recommended we put Ayden back on melatonin to help him sleep, and watch his exercise level and screen time.  The iron reference intrigued me, but I wasn't sure we should do anything til after we saw the pedi.  Ayden asked me about the iron at one point, and we discussed the fact that he could TRY it, it wouldn't hurt him to have a supplement and it might help, and we could tell the pedi what had happened including our experiment with iron supplements.  I got a big bottle of Floradix iron supplement, which is vegetarian based, liquid, and doesn't cause constipation or stomachaches if taken with meals.  It has high absorbability and an excellent reputation (including my own experience with it when I was pregnant).  Ayden hates the taste, but because he was a part of the discussion around treatment for his anxiety, he took it anyways.

Within a week, he was SO MUCH BETTER!!  He was sleeping well with the melatonin and his colour was back, his food issues were slowly disappearing, and he was feeling less afraid about his breathing and swallowing and dying in general.  Within three weeks, he was 75% better.

The pedi, when we saw her a month or so after starting iron supplements, did a thorough exam of him, took his weight and height, and asked at length about his thoughts, feelings, activity level, general personality, family history, social history, and family background regarding mental illness.  She sent him for blood tests but said that our description of his symptoms (including all the nail biting: pica!) AND the fact that iron supplements helped is diagnostic enough.  Likely lab results would show normal iron levels now that he was supplemented, but she would check anyways.  She diagnosed him as having a tendency towards anxiety, compounded by iron deficiency, and recommended continuing with iron supplementation, trying to increase iron in his diet, and the mental health workbook for kids, Taming The Worry Dragons.  We scheduled follow up appointments.

A few months later and he is so much better.  Once fall hit, I added omega fish oils and vitamin D to his supplement list and explained why.  Since his food issues were better, he was more receptive to the fish oil than he had been before.  We went back to the pedi for our final follow up in December, and he had gained three pounds and grew a whole inch in just two months.  Likely because his nutrition is better now that he feels comfortable eating normally and isn't constantly afraid of bad or moldy food, throwing up, or dying.  Poor kid.  When he read Taming the Worry Dragons, he was so excited to see an accurate description of what he was going through, and to have his worries validated.  I was so happy we were able to recognize his problem, sort out a possible solution, find him resources, and get him help.  I'm so glad we live NOW and not several generations ago, before this kind of problem was recognized and treatment available.  I'm so glad we live in a generation that considers mental illness to be real and solvable, and that we live in a country where treatment and resources are available free of charge to all.  I mean, they are limited and severely stigmatized, but we're moving in the right direction.  I feel like my kid has better access and resources than I had, and for that I'm very grateful.  We also have the best pediatrician in the COUNTRY, I swear it, she's amazing and I want to take her home in my suitcase so I can have her on hand whenever I need her.  =)

Ayden feels good.  His energy is back.  He still takes melatonin to sleep, and no longer sleeps from 7:30 but more like 9:00 or 9:30, which matches his sleeping patterns since he was a baby.  I think the 7:30 was a combination of months of sleep deprivation, and low iron meaning low energy.  And actually all those breathing problems match iron deficiency too, since it can make people short of breath and give them a rapid heart rate and dizziness.  All of which he had, and translated into "breathing and swallowing problems."

We feel good.  We can feed him, send him to school, snuggle him into his bed, and all is well.  He can fall asleep on his own and feel good, safe, loved, and healthy.  He can also advocate for himself: things like the Terry Fox drive or Remembrance Day assemblies are triggers for him, and sometimes he has told his teacher "I have anxiety and this is making it worse, can I leave?"  Perfect self advocacy.  I'm so proud of him.  And it's really neat to see him diagnosed and treated without being aware of ANY stigma; he just accepts it as a medical condition as legit as any other, and accepts his treatment and gets the help he needs when he needs it.  Hopefully by the time he grows up, there will be hardly any stigma left.  He's brave and sweet and lovely. And normal.  



Upon being put to bed:

"I'm scawed, daddy."

"You don't need to be scared, Riley.  I'm just down the hall in the kitchen, and mommy's in the bedroom, so if you need anything we are very, very close by.  AND God is close by, to keep you safe."

Face crumples, "Daddy?  I weally, weally, weally wish God didn't make wobbas."

"Wobbas?  Robbers!  Oh Riley, you don't need to worry about robbers!  You are safe here with us."

More crying.  "But the wobbas could come in our house!"

Grasping at straws.  "They won't come to our house.  I'm a police officer.  Robbers are scared of police officers."

Instant smile.  "Okay!"  Hippity hoppity, back to bed.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

On New Years

My friend Melissa from Vibrant Wanderings posted on FB about making a "Favorites of 2012" list with her daughter as a part of their New Years celebrations.  I loved this idea so much, I copied it!  I just made a list with some questions for my kids, and wrote down their answers on our road trip home from Vernon yesterday.  My kids are hilarious.

1. What is your favorite memory from 2012?

Ayden; My birthday, Christmas day, and skiing.  And the entire summer.

Matthew: All the nice, fun special days, and the skiing.  And of course my birthday.

Riley: Camping!  All the camping trips.

Amarys: Tandy?

Daddy: Oregon coast.  Running on the beach there, visiting the cheese factory, and seeing the coast.

Riley: Oh yeah, I like the cheese factory, too!

Mommy: Hiking in Cape Scott in July.

2. What was your favorite trip from 2012?

Ayden: Oregon

Matthew: Ella and Ruben's house in Port Hardy.

Riley: Otter Lake camping.

Amarys: Tandy?

Daddy: Oregon Coast tied with Vancouver Island trip.

Mommy: Portland trip to see my friends in December, tied with Vancouver Island trip.

3. Favorite food in 2012:

Ayden: Perogies

Matthew: Candy, granny smith apple pie

Riley: Perogies AND candy

Amarys: MILK.

4. Favorite book:

Ayden: Diary of a Wimpy Kid (latest one)

Matthew: Hardy Boys, and Grandad's books (my dad writes stories for the kids, loosely based on wildlife experiences he has had.  My sister bound three of them and illustrated them for my kids for Christmas).

Riley: The Jacknife Robber (a Grandad book)

Amarys: Crabby Crab board book.

Daddy: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series

Mommy: Hunger Games series

5. Favorite game:

Ayden: Mario Glaxy Wii

Matthew: Minecraft and Wii

Riley: Mario Galaxy

Amarys: Hair pulling

Daddy: Raises eyebrow and winks at mommy

Mommy: Cranium

6. Best Friend:

Ayden: Arjun

Matthew: Arjun and Dalton

Riley: Ella and Ruben (cousins)

Amarys: Mommy

Daddy: Mommy

Mommy: Daddy

7. Favorite sport:

Ayden: Skiing

Matthew: Skiing

Riley: Skiing (he's never tried it) and T-ball

Amarys: Nose picking

Daddy: baseball

Mommy: snowboarding

8. Favorite Colour

Ayden: red and blue

Matthew: black

Riley: pink and purple and all the colours

Amarys: unknown.

Daddy: orange

Mommy: red

9. What is your greatest hope for 2013?

Ayden: That I will get lots of money on my birthday

Matthew: That I will get lots of money and Minecraft (computer game)

Riley: That I can sleep in my pirate tent, and have a tent party downstairs.

Amarys: MILK!

Daddy: That we will be a happy, healthy family (and some unmentionable things)

Mommy: That we would find financial unburdening.

Happy New Year!  The Vose Six in all our depth and selflessness..... =)

The Vose Six plus Oliver and my sister Megan