Friday, April 30, 2010

Snacktime Snafu!

Dear Baby Alex,

Please start eating solid foods. I can't breastfeed you forever. Think of how awkward that would be in your high school cafeteria....


P.S. Hold still so I can wipe the yogurt off your face.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Ok, I'm trying not to panic

This is not what I planned. I thought I had everything figured out. When I got pregnant with my son, the plan was that my husband would be graduating from university just as I had my son. I didn't plan for a global recession to hit, right as I got pregnant. Engineers were in high demand before the recession but now companies have laid off thousands of employees and have hiring freezes. My husband took an internship position with lower pay because it was better than nothing, plus I was still getting my maternity benefits (thank you government of Canada!),

So now, his contract is up in a week, my maternity benefits just stopped. On top of that, my husband had to delay graduation last summer because they only told him a few weeks before graduation that he was missing a class. Since last year, the university changed the course requirements, and because he's graduating this year, he's not exempt from the changes. He's missing one credit. Fuuuuuck. So now he has to scramble to write a 20 pages technical report BY MONDAY in order to graduate. The alternative is delaying graduation yet again. My poor husband is so stressed, I can easily see him giving up and not finishing school because of this. I'm trying to stay positive (and stay out of his way) but I'm finding it hard.

He's come so far it would break my heart if he didn't finish school. Just as as was finishing up my master's degree, Rick went back to school. High school. He had never finished because he got in with a bad crowd, and I suspect a bit of a learning disability too. So I worked not in my field to help support us as he went back to school. Only fair since he had supported me through (too) many years of university. He got his high school diploma at the age of 32 and started university.

You can see why I don't want him to give up when he's so close.

I was supposed to stay home with Alex for a few years. Now I'm thinking I might have to go back sooner. I can't even go back to my not-so-great job where I was under paid, under appreciated, and over educated because my employer had to replace me with three people. I worked so much overtime that three part time employees took the place of one full time position. So now what? I don't have a daycare lined up and I don't even know where to start looking for a job.

Hopefully Rick can find a job sooner than later. I really don't want to have to move in with my dad. I shudder at the thought of it.

I keep singing "just keep swimming, just keep swimming". Ah Disney has all the answers.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Meet Daisy the Cat

I figure I should introduce one of the Ninja Kitties so I'll start with Daisy, since she's featured.
We got Daisy almost three years ago from a shelter. We already had Sweetie (to be introduced later) and figured she was lonely and wanted a friend. We saw a news report about pets being abandoned during moving season. Ok, we can do this, what's another  cat when you already have one. Famous Last Words!

We picked her out of literally hundreds of cats on a sweltering hot day (oh the smell at the shelter!), she kept coming up to us to be pet. They told us she's one year old. Perfect. We'll take her. We had to go back later to pick her up. Daisy was at the vet's office when we arrived. Apparently she was closer to 5 or 6 years old. Ok, fine. We're messing up the the birth order like the Jolie-Pitt kids but fine. Daisy had some black wax in her ears so they had to put some solution in her ears to get it out. She kind of looked like a drowned rat. Ok, fine. Just temporary, she'll look cute again. She needs to have teeth removed, but you need to wait 6 months or so, for her to settle in. A bit of an unexpected expense, but fine. Little did we know that tooth decay in cats means nasty stink breath.

So we brought her home on the metro, and anxiously introduced Daisy to Sweetie. I had visions of them sleeping curled up together, cleaning each others ears. Ummm yeah, not so much. Hissing, and swatting, and chasing is more like it. They get along fine now, they seem to put on airs that they hate each other, but they'll sleep in proximity of each other.

Daisy is a funny cat. She's only got one fang (from the teeth being removed, which greatly improved the stink breath), she loves being whacked on the bum, and she cries when Alex cries. We think she was owned by some old lady that used to hover over her when she eats because she'll only eat if I watch her. If the litter is in need of a change, Daisy will protest by pooping right outside the litter box. I have to latch the door to the apartment because if I don't she's figured out how to pull on the door from underneath to get the door open, then off she goes into the building. She did that trick once with the closet, wandering in. I shut the door and off to work I went. Poor Daisy was in the closet all day. She didn't complain when I finally let her out.

She's a good cat most of the time, and I'm a good cat mom most of the time.


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Sing, sing a song!

Open, shut them, Open, shut them, Give a little clap, clap, clap.
Open, shut them, Open, shut them,
Put them in you lap, lap, lap.
Creep them, crawl them, creep them, crawl them,
Right up to your chin, chin, chin
Open wide your little mouth
But do not put them in, in. in.

tappe tappe tappe
pique pique pique
roule roule roule
mange, mange, mange
cache cache cache

When I started this whole parenting thing, maybe my brain was fried. The only nursery rhymes I could remember were Itsy Bitsy Spider and Old Macdonald Had A Farm. Poor Alex had to hear those and Christmas songs over and over again. He didn't seem to mind. There were even a couple of weeks where I couldn't get Lily Allen out of my head, and would sing that to him "good dancer love but you should have worn a bra".
 To entertain myself I started making up songs as I walked around the house with Alex, while I changed his diaper. Kitties in the Bed, Little Baby Alex, Baloo Balloon songs. Oh yeah, I'm the Taylor Swift of baby songs.

I never used to sing, rarely listened to music. Music was a distraction while I was on the Elliptical, or running, something to keep me company at work.  This little person of mine seems to love when I sing to him, loves hearing music. He grabs my hands, pushing my hands together to make me clap. This is the first sign he's conveyed to me (I'm doing baby signs with him).

I figured that I should get some kids music so Alex wouldn't learn any bad words from the Beastie Boys. Problem is, most kids music sucks. Seriously. I have a friend who happily listens to the Wiggles all day. I don't think I can do it. There must be a happy medium!
I do have a new found appreciation of music. I may be a terrible singer, but hopefully growing some brain cells.

This was the only song that would soothe Alex when he had a bad cold. I love this version of the song. (This was the only "video" I could find)

Monday, April 26, 2010

Spring is in the air!

We went for a lovely walk with Alex on Sunday. We took him to the park near our apartment and then for ice cream (while Alex napped in the carrier). He sat on grass for the first time. Still undecided about it. He seems to like how it tastes.

I spotted this beautiful flowering tree on our street on the way home.
Add this to the list of items I want when we buy a house.
That and a washing machine.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Friend, Interrupted

Ok. I have to admit, I'm not great at parties, I don't do well in crowds. I'm especially nervous for this party I'm going to tonight because I'm going to see my friend C. who I haven't seen since I had my son. You see, I met C. in my prenatal yoga class and while I had a healthy baby boy, hers died in childbirth. We had hopes that our babies would play together, we talked about their activities in our bellies, we became fast friends. I looked forward to yoga, just to have our chat on our walk home. Six days after I had Alex, she gave birth to August. I haven't heard the details of what happened and I'm not the type to pry. I have a lot of survivor's guilt, having an emergency C-section I felt it could have easily been me. She was a doula, and had a home birth. Something went wrong and she lost her baby.

I've been friends with her for about a year now, but haven't seen her in nine months. At first she said she would be ok seeing Alex but she quickly changed her mind. Understandably of course.

Now, my question is what do I say to her when I see her? Just this week she got the autopsy report and her son's ashes, and had a miscarriage. How do I talk to her without bawling my eyes out?

I know I'm being irrational and I'm worried she's going to find out about my post partum depression. I feel like I shouldn't be depressed, I don't have the right to be. It's silly I know. I just keep thinking she's going to look right through me and figure it out.

She's moving away and I think this will be the last time I see her. It's a shame, it's been a long time since I clicked with someone like I did with her.

This is a photo that was taken for the yoga instructor's website. C. amazed me with her flexibility. My giant belly was only 3 weeks ahead of hers. I love this photo of us, because I felt strong and capable like her. It's also the only reminder I have of August. I made a promise to her that he would not be forgotten.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Don't fence me in!

Main Entry: contain
Part of Speech: verb
Definition: include, hold
Synonyms: accommodate, be composed of, comprehend, comprise, consist of, embody, embrace, enclose, encompass, have, have capacity for, hold, incorporate, involve, seat, subsume, take in  

Main Entry: contain
Part of Speech: verb
Definition: hold back, control
Synonyms: bottle up, check, collect, compose, cool*, cork, curb, harness, hog-tie, hold in, keep back, keep lid on, put half nelson on, rein, repress, restrain, restrict, simmer down, smother, stifle, stop

Taken from

At this age, I feel like I'm always trying restrain Alex. He's crawling and furniture walking and getting into everything. I'm always putting him in the stroller, car seat, carrier, crib. I do try to give him time to free roam as well, to explore and make messes. Squishing bananas between his fingers, grabbing handfuls of cat food, splashing in the tub, screeching at the top of his lungs to play with his voice. Last night Alex got some extended naked time. I swear he's twice as fast when naked.

In order to get anything done though, sometimes I have to confine him. I strapped him onto my back in the Ergo carrier yesterday, just to get some vacuuming done. I'd like to think I'm creating a holding environment (therapy term) and not just putting him in Baby Jail. I prefer the first set of synonyms (although it does feel like I'm hog tying him when I'm changing his diaper).

Alex in what we affectionately call The Circle of Neglect

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Sleeping Beauty

I'm giddy with excitement and don't know where to start. It's news that makes you want to stop strangers on the street to tell them about it. I think I should go buy a lottery ticket today.

Alex slept SEVEN HOURS last night.

He hasn't slept that many hours in a row since October. Even back then it was only the one night.
When he was born people would always ask if I was getting any sleep. Yes, I would boast, he only wakes up two or three times a night, I would say proudly. He hit the dreaded 6 week fussiness and never really got back from it. It was impossible to get him to fall asleep. I don't know how many nights I roamed the streets at midnight with him in the carrier, desperate for him to fall asleep. I complained to his doctor, who brushed off my concerns and said "Some babies just don't sleep". I thought babies slept 16 hours a day and I would have plenty of leisure time. Ummm not so much.
For a while it got so bad, he was waking up every hour. I thought maybe because he was rolling over and waking himself up. I was so desperate I considered getting this which is basically a baby straight jacket. I bought lots of sleep solution books, none helped. My husband and I joked we had the No-Sleep Sleep Solution.

Getting seven hours sleep, you see, is like getting the glass slippers to go to the ball. Here's hoping Alex doesn't turn into a pumpkin at midnight.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Nature versus Nurture?

He is a little devil. I love him to bits, but he is a devil. He's not a bad baby, not at all. Alex seems much more intense than his little baby friends. He's louder, harder to rangle, sleeps less, eats less, wants to be naked all the time, he walked along the furniture before crawling, and is happiest when I'm close by.

I feel like I'm starting to get the hang of this mothering thing, but it still feels very chaotic at times. Alex seems to work on his own schedule, scoffing at the one I try to impose on him. I never knew that babies could be strongwilled. I thought they were blank slates that you could mould and shape.

Alex was even like this in the belly. He was born at 41 weeks and 3 days after induction, then c-section, and even then there was a lot of tugging to get him out. (I'll have to write about my labour and delivery before I completely forget the horror of it).

I recently complained to my sister about Alex refusing to eat any meat. She laughed at me. loudly, and said "Are you really surprised you have a picky eater??". Mmmkay, yes, I hadn't thought of it that way. I used to eat only 3 things every day and my mom even made seperate meals for me (sorry Mom!).

Alex definitely keeps me on my toes. I can't even imagine what he'll be like when he's walking. I'm in trouble aren't I?

Spokeit and I were playing 20 questions to get to know each other better, for a cultural exchange on Dooce Community. One of the questions she asked me was "Fancy Kleenex, regular Kleenex or toilet paper to blow your nose?". My answer was toilet paper. Umm, can I change my answer?