Shaken

by , on
March 23, 2010

Yesterday afternoon we had an accident here at the house that has kicked the confidence I was feeling down a few pegs and shook me up a bit.

I was sitting on the couch with my feet up and the baby lying in my lap, drifting off to sleep. Joe was arriving home from work and the dog got excited as usual. He started running around the house barking. I was worried he would wake the baby up, buy otherwise nonplussed. And then Henry decided to just into my lap.

It only took a split second, I didn’t see it coming and I couldn’t react. In a mere moment he was on top of her and off of her and all I could so was gasp.

She started crying immediately, out of shock rather than any pain, though we wouldn’t figure that out until later. I couldn’t panic or cry in that moment because first I had to calm her down and make sure she was alright.

She cried until she was red in the face and sweating. She cried so hard actual tears formed and rolled down her cheeks. She cried and cried and couldn’t seem to stop herself, and then we would get her calmed down a bit, but as soon as we moved her she would start right up again, increasing my fear that she was bruised or broken.

Joe decided to take her out for a drive to see if she would fall asleep and I had half an hour alone to think about how I would feel if my failure to react quickly enough had caused her pain.

Today I look at the scratch he left behind on her face, mere millimetres from her right eye, and shudder to think what almost happened.

Staples

by , on
March 22, 2010

I’m thinking a lot about my wardrobe – what I wear now, what I want to be able to wear and what I want to have in my closet when I get ready to go back to work.

For years I have avoided making major changes in my wardrobe because I’ve been comfortable, and I’ve never really been pushed out of my comfort zone. The jobs I’ve had have all allowed for fairly casual dress and I’ve taken advantage of that, and the casual dress only became more pronounced when I was pregnant and trying to avoid buying too many maternity clothes.

Now I have a child, and I’m building a career and making connections, and I need to up the ante. I need to remind myself what looks good on my shape, what I’m actually really inclined to wear, and how I can dress my age. And I’m also driven by the fact that right now I only have a few things that fit and I’m living in sweatpants and jeans, but last week when the weather was beautiful I put on a jean skirt and collared shirt and felt great walking around in the sunshine.

And so, I have started looking around for key pieces that I want to have in my wardrobe so that I can feel that good getting dressed every day:

1) A good white dress shirt – I think this is a must-have basic. I can wear it with dress pants or jeans, I can wear a sweater vest over it, which is one of my favourite looks. One of my problems with ‘business’ dressing is that I hate tucking my shirt in, but that, along with ironing, is something I may just have to start doing.

2) A great wrap dress – I have been looking for a wrap dress for years. It’s something that I know will look good on me, I know it will be comfortable and I know I will wear it often, I just haven’t been able to find one. It occurred to me this weekend that Etsy.com is exactly what I need. I looked up wrap dresses on Etsy and found two that I would love to order, and they’ll be made with my measurements so I know they’ll fit. One of them is made with jersey, which is probably my favourite fabric in the world. I am very excited about this dress.

3) Black dress pants – I am constantly looking for the perfect pair of pants. Part of the problem is that my weight goes up and down and even when I find pants that I like, they always end up not fitting quite right. It drives me crazy that I spend so much time adjusting myself and I know that it makes me look uncomfortable.

4) A great white t-shirt – I also spend a lot of time looking for the perfect white t-shirt. It has to be comfortable, have a good neckline, be long enough and, most importantly, not be see-through. Seriously. I cannot believe how many store sell white t-shirts that you have to wear with something under them. How hard is it to make a white t-shirt with fabric that isn’t see-through?

5) Good foundation garments – I’m too old to be dealing with panty lines and bulges where they don’t need to be. I need a lesson on how to dress myself underneath my clothes so that the clothes I do have look good.

Things I have already:

1) Great shoes – Last year I bought a great pair of loafers and a pair of grey heels that I absolutely love. I also have a pair of purple heels that I absolutely adore. I still can’t believe how comfortable they are. I also have a pair of high-heeled boots that I love and instantly make me feel more dressed-up.

2) A great shirt-dress. I got this at Addition-Elle last year and I love it. I has a tie around the waist that draws attention to my slimmest part, as Stacey and Clinton recommend. It’s comfortable and I feel great in it.

3) A few good sweaters – I wear a lot of sweaters and cardigans because I’m always worried about being cold. I have some good sweaters, both warmer ones and lighter ones.

Things I need to do:

1) Start ironing – I hate ironing and I’m not good at it, but if I want to look polished, it’s important. Though, @DellaSiemens recommended that I get a steamer instead of ironing, and I’m all for that.

2) Wash things properly – I ruin too many sweaters and bras by not paying attention to the hand-washing instructions.

3) Tuck in my shirts.

4) Get clothes tailored – I’ve never taking clothes to a tailor (except my wedding dress), but I know that to get a good fit it’s something I need to do.

5) Think before I buy – I’m a clothes-horse. It’s something I inherited from my mother, who inherited it from her’s. I like buying clothes and I like having a variety when I get dressed, but I need to start thinking in classics, in pieces that I love, and in pieces that cost a bit more but last a bit longer.

What are your favourite wardrobe staples?

Happy

by , on
March 19, 2010

There is a picture I took with my webcam early in baby’s life. I was trying to take a cute picture of her sleeping against my chest, but when I look at this picture I see a lot more:

I look at myself in this photo and I see sadness. I see the hard I was facing. I see the future I was looking into – sleepless nights, days without being able to eat or shower, months until I would be able to wear real clothes. I can’t bring myself to delete the photo, as hard as it is to look at, because it speaks to me and it reminds me of the changes I’ve experienced.

For the first time in a very long time, I’m happy. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever been able to define myself as happy without feeling an asterisk. I’ve been on anti-depressants off and on since high school. I’ve been struggling with various parts of my life for longer. I contemplated suicide when I was 16, and again when I was in my early 20s. I have spent months in the absolute depths of depression.

When I was pregnant, postpartum depression was a concern to me, as it was to my midwives and my family doctor. In the late stages of my pregnancy and early post-pregnancy I struggled. One of my biggest worries was that I was going to pass on all my mental issues to her, that she would grow up to hurt as much as I had. I couldn’t get over the idea that I was going to be a bad mother because I would distance myself so as not to infect her with all the things that are wrong with me.

And now we’re two months in and I look at her and realize that I’m not infecting her, she’s infecting me.

The past two weeks have been full of sunshine and walks and watching her grow and learn. When I walk over to her crib in the morning she looks up and smiles and kicks and gets very excited that I’ve come to get her so the day can start. She smiles all the time, most importantly she smiles when I smile at her and so I’ve spent weeks smiling more than I ever have in my life.

I look at her and I can’t help but feel love and pride and joy. I feel happy. I love being a mother. I love being her mother.

It’s been a shock to the system, but I’m getting used to it. I can be happy.

I am woman…

by , on
March 18, 2010

This morning I was fascinated to learn that because I am a woman, I’m not interested in blogging. So says a Globe and Mail columnist that clearly failed to do her research and has also never heard of mommybloggers.

She compares blogs to peeing contests and says that women don’t blog because they are more interested in listening than just speaking. Strangely enough, that’s one of the reasons I do blog, and one of the reasons my RSS reader is filled to the brim with other women bloggers who I share conversations with.

Because I am interested in sharing conversations I have started many blogs, this being just the latest, where I have compiled everything. This being the place where I spew my thoughts and ideas in the hopes that people will come here, leave comments, answer my questions and offer suggestions, leave the addresses to their own blogs so I can find new friends and build my knowledge base.

It’s ironic that this article about a lack of female bloggers will create so much response in the blogging world, and it’s a shame that she’ll probably never see the response, because she’s not interested in the conversation.

ETA: There’s a small movement on Twitter to list our favourite female bloggers, you can add yours with the hashtag #xxbloggers

Building my own baby book

by , on
March 15, 2010

Shortly after I found out that I was pregnant I started a journal in which I would write to the baby, telling it all the things I was experiencing – good and bad. Since she was born I have kept up this journal, writing her birth story and about important events that have been happening in her first year – Like the gold medal hockey game at the Olympics.

It is much easier for me to write all my thoughts and all her memories in a Moleskine than it is for me to figure out exactly what goes where in her baby book. The baby book has all these lines to fill in – her first smile, her first laugh, what happened on her first night home. It is almost impossible to pinpoint these things. She’s been smiling for weeks, which of those was her first real smile? I have no idea, because she started smiling before she was supposed to and people told me it was just gas, and then she would smile in her sleep and that was somehow different. And now she smiles every morning when I stand over her crib after I hear her start moving around as though she’s happy to see me and knows that I’m her mom.

And if someone can tell me just exactly we’re supposed to remember the times to input in the “On your first night home you slept from blank to blank and again from blank to blank” I would appreciate it. I had to write in, off the grid: “On your first night home you barely slept, in fact you spent most of the night screaming – it’s one of those things that’s perfectly normal but that no one tells you about until it’s happening and you’re panicking.”

I’m growing to hate the baby book and the calendar that’s supposed to have stickers on each of the big days in her first year. It’s fair enough to put a sticker for her first bath or her first doctor’s visit, but how am I supposed to pinpoint the day she discovers her hands? She sucked her thumb minutes after she was born, she stopped hitting herself in the face weeks ago and now she sticks her first in her mouth and grabs my fingers or her bottle. Which of those things means that she knows that her hands are hers?

But then there are the things I get excited about that seem so ridiculous. The past few days she has started really trying to roll over – she’s been able to go from her back to her side for a little while, but now she goes from her side to her belly but can’t quite get the momentum to get back on her side from there yet. This week it seems as though she’s determined to get that down pat. Every time I set her down she ends up in some different orientation. It’s fascinating to watch. And today, when I put her down beside me on the couch, I look over and not only had she ended up on her belly, she was holding herself up with her arms with her head held high. I don’t remember the last time I was so excited.

Just true blue excited.

She’s growing so fast and she’s learning so much and I want to document it all for her, even though I know that she’s not really going to understand how big the small steps are unless she has a baby and watches it for herself. I certainly didn’t. Now it seems as though every day something else hits me that reminds me how much she’s changing and how much she will change.

And so, I write to her so that maybe one day she will know and to remind myself just how special every moment is and how special we are together.

Fourth Generation

by , on
March 15, 2010

When I found out I was pregnant almost a year ago I was hoping to have a boy, not because of some gender preference, but because if we had a boy we were going to name him, in part, after my grandfather.

My grandfather is one of my greatest influences and one of the most supportive people in my life. If it was not for the large part he and my grandmother played in raising me I would not be the person I am today, I would not have the life I have today.

This summer my grandfather turns 90 and baby girl and I are making plans to fly out to see him. Well, I’m making plans, she mostly sits in her playard and babbles. Joe can’t come with us (unless he happens to have work to do in Regina at that time of the year, fingers crossed), but we are making the journey anyway because I can think of nothing more important to me that for my daughter to meet this man.

I’m not a stupid person, I’m not in any kind of denial. I know how lucky we are that Gramps is still with us, and I know that despite his good health he will only be getting older and some time sooner than later we are going to lose him – And I know that when we do, I will fall down hard and not be able to get up for a long while.

The fall will be that much harder if I lose him and don’t have a single picture proof that he held her in his arms and a single story to tell her that he doted on her and bounced her on his lap and called her his GGD. (Yeah, my 89-year-old grandfather calls the dog ‘Dawg’ and my daughter his GGD, and he signs his emails GGF).

He will pretend it doesn’t matter. He will pretend that our visit is solely for my mother’s benefits, as he did when I went out there last Christmas, but he will as happy to see us as we are to see him, and I will remember this trip for the rest of my life. I will write it all down so she knows.

Clearly, I’ve lost my mind

by , on
March 12, 2010

About a week ago I sent an email to enroll myself in something, then I was asked to confirm, and last night I was asked to confirm again and provided with an actual day and time.

Last night I replied to an email with the subject line ‘Fresh Meat’

In about a month I will be attending an open house for the local roller derby league.

As I said on Twitter last night, I am trying something that truly terrifies me in the interest of a potentially awesome outcome.

I’m going to be learning to skate and seeing if my interest in becoming a roller derby player (roller derbyist?) translates to any actual ability. I’m going to risk getting hurt in the interest of showing my daughter that being scared of getting hurt shouldn’t never prevent you from doing anything you want to do.

I’ve been terrified of getting hurt most of my life. I’ve also never been part of a team like this, and I’ve never been part of a real group of girls like this. I’ve never roller skated before.

And I’m absolutely terrified and worried about fitting in, and worried about my clumsiness and general lack of athletic capability, but the main thing I’ve been thinking about is what my derby name will be.

Becoming a teacher

by , on
March 11, 2010

All my life I flip-flopped about wanting to become a mother and one of the things that was always holding me back was the idea of having to teach someone how to walk and read and talk and all the other things kids are supposed to know before you send them out into the world. Not to mention how I was going to help someone with math and science (I really liked chemistry, but as hard as I try, my brain can’t seem to hold on to that kind of information, same goes for geography).

Now my little girl is here, just about two months old, and I’m not worried any more.

She’s bright eyed and she loves looking around and drinking in the world. When we read to her she looks as the pictures and listens to the words. She lies in her crib talking to herself, making out sounds. When we lay her on our chests she pushes with her legs and tries to get into a push-up as though she wants desperately to crawl. All I have to do is help her along as she figures things out on her own, and remind her how beautiful and smart and strong she is every day.

I can teach by example, I can teach by doing, I can teach by surrounding her with the people I know and love that can be great examples of other choices, other lifestyles and other paths. I can introduce her to my co-workers in an office full of strong and intelligent women and expose her to some of the feminist ideals that I’ve learned to adopt during my time on the planet. I can teach her to be open to different ideas, but to develop her own strong opinions. I can teach her that following your passions is a necessity of life by staying true to my own.

I can help her appreciate the arts and sports and literature and history. I can teach her how important the past is to the future. I can lay the foundations for her future and she will succeed on her own.

Many changes in motherhood

by , on
March 9, 2010

My baby is sick.

Two days ago I had a very bad stomach flu and today my husband is stuck in bed and my baby daughter can’t keep any of her formula down. She woke me up at three o’clock this morning and she’s thrown up four times since then. I’ve spoken to two nurses and one pharmacist about her symptoms, keeping her hydrated and when I really need to start worrying. I’m watching her every minute, forcing pedialyte into her and trying to trick her stomach by giving her less formula more often, waiting for the time when it doesn’t come back up.

This is the thing I dreaded in motherhood. I can’t handle vomit, drool disgusts me, and having to clean up poop multiple times a day? There was no way I was going to be able to do it day in and day out.

But I can. In fact, I don’t even blink.

This morning she threw up all over me and my only thought was to get her upright so she was getting in on me instead of on herself, and the panic that she still wasn’t getting any food. I’m afraid of diarrhea, but only because it would mean more risk of dehydration.

Absolutely none of the things I thought would be the worst of being a mom bother me. Her crying doesn’t register, her smells only mean she needs something – either a bath or a change. Being with her every minute is not nearly as bad as being away from her for too long.

Almost two years ago I worked two of the hardest months of my life. I was working 12 and 14 hour days, getting to work at 5 am and doing nothing but sleep when I was home, drinking way too much coffee, eating way too many carbs and I was way too stressed all the time. During that time, my boss noted that she has a much easier time with the sleep deprivation because she had a baby at home, she was used to it. I didn’t think it was possible to get used to it, and some days it hits harder than others, but I understand what she means now. You get through days because you have to, you get out of bed because you have to, you wake up when she wakes up, you do the dishes when she’s asleep, you eat and type with one hand while holding the baby with the other.

I am also amazed at home patient I can be now. I’ve never been a patient person, my mother will tell you stories of just how impatient I can be and how frustrated I can get. There is nothing more frustrating that a baby that starts crying because she wants a bottle and then she won’t take a bottle because she’s crying too hard. But I just sit there, bottle in hand, waiting for her to calm down for one second with her mouth open, and try and try again to show her that I’ve got what she wants. I’ve learned that sometimes she just needs to be cuddled and rocked until she falls asleep and there’s just no other way. I’ve learned that sometimes you have to feed her one ounce every half an hour instead of four ounces every two hours so she won’t throw it all up and that instead of being frustrated by how much time and effort it takes and that nothing else will get done today, you celebrate when she hits the hour mark without having thrown anything up.

Dear Kansas City Star-Telegram: Suck it.

by , on
March 1, 2010

Earlier tonight I read an article that @KevinGaudet posted on Twitter. Still coming down from the Olympic high, this article made me very, very angry.

Canada came out on top this Olympics. After a tragic start, and criticism from all sides, Vancouver came back with a vengeance and most people seem to agree that the host city did a bang up job.

But this jackass decided to compare the maple leaf to a swastika because he thinks there were too many Canadians in Vancouver. Too many Canadians, too much Canadian patriotism and, frankly, not enough recognition of the accomplishments of American athletes. In this article he complains that the Canadian media were too focused on the Canadian athletes.

I can only point out to Mr. LeBreton that the Canadian media are covering the Olympics for a Canadian audience. The international media, like Mr. LeBreton himself, were sent to Vancouver and Whistler to cover the games for their international audiences. That’s the way this works.

I would also point out that Canadians have experience watching American Olympic coverage, so we know that NBC will often break in to an event when a US athlete is competing, and then move on as soon as they’re done.

One big question I have about the article is where he got this quote from the mayor of Whistler: “We have to find a way to acknowledge Nodar … and the Canadian athletes that have done well.” and what exactly goes where that ellipsis was placed, because according to the Vancouver Sun the mayor said this:

“Over the weekend, Whistler Mayor Ken Melamed promised that when the Celebration Plaza is converted from Olympic and Paralympic use, there will be a permanent memorial to Kumaritashvili and all of the athletes who competed in Whistler in the alpine, nordic and sliding events.”

Not quite as insensitive as Mr. Lebreton would have us believe.

Having read through the comments, I guess the paper realized that the column was not being well received and they printed this follow up in which Mr. Lebreton fails to grasp exactly how we Canadians might have been offended by his saying that we are wrong in our patriotism.

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