29 April 2010

Out damn teeth, out!

Do you know or remember what it’s like staying cooped up with a teething baby for twelve hours each day, solo? Try running your nails down a chalkboard or banging your head into the wall repeatedly. Sound familiar now?

As you have undoubtedly guessed, Drew has started cutting his first tooth. I was so excited when I finally saw the very tip of a sharp little tooth poking through his lower gum; that was a whole six days ago and the damn thing hasn’t budged since. While the pain hasn’t been waking him too often at night (knocks on closest available piece of wood), he hasn’t exactly been a joy to deal with during the day. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t blame the poor little guy for being more irritable, but the whining does get irritating after listening to it and trying to distract him all day. Add this on top of trying to clean the house and pack everything for the move and you are left with one frazzled mom.

In short, I am pooped. I spend the bulk of my days covered in drool and lugging around a 21lb baby while trying to maintain some form dwindling order in the house. Yes, you read correctly, I have a 21 lb six-month of. At last week’s appointment with the pediatrician he actually didn’t even fit on their measurement table because he has grown so long. My little boy (oxymoron) is close to the size of a 1-year old. I cut back his milk slightly because he is hoovering down solids but he is still getting more than the norm for his age. Drew’s problem (or rather mine), is that he never seems to reach “full”. I keep having nightmares about an 8” foot teenager eating me out of house and home. I am glad he’s a good eater but his enthusiasm is a little frightening at times. Once again, I find myself playing the sick and twisted blame game, always doubting myself and worrying about whether he’s eating too much or not. The doctor seems to think he is just big and solid; either way I do cut him off when I think he’s had enough. Some people are of the opinion that you cannot overfeed a child – to those people I say, come and spend a few meals with my son.

Perhaps the fact that he doesn’t have teeth yet is a blessing. Can you imagine the damage he would do with a mouth full of pearly whites? He’ll be begging for filet mignons before I know it!

27 April 2010

Breaking up is hard to do

No. Put the telephone down. I am not splitting from my wonderful hubby.

The “breakup” I am referring to is not with a person but rather an object…a house to be exact.

With only three weeks left until the highly-anticipated/ dreaded move, I have officially started the process of breaking all emotional ties to my house. I realize this sounds nuts but I think it will help me with the transition. By packing away all photos, paintings and mementos, I’m trying to depersonalize the house (note I’m not saying home) so that I’ll be sick and tired of living in this bland space by the time moving day comes around. However, while I’m growing weary of the bare walls, I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I still feel sad about leaving.

Yesterday I actually started tearing up as I puttered in the garden one last time. Most folks would probably just leave the weeds but I gave it the works– edging, pruning, weeding. I’m not sure why but I feel more sorrow over losing the garden than anything else. The garden is somehow symbolic ; hubby and I started it as newlyweds, tended it religiously and watched it grow along with us. Some of my happiest moments were spent in that garden – the one place I could truly unwind. It will be strange not seeing the new shoots come into bloom this spring. I’d love to be able to come back and see what it looks like five years down the road but it would break my heart if I discovered it was gone or poorly tended. I really hope the new owners enjoy it and can add to it.

Isn’t it strange the things we get attached to? I feel silly for getting choked up over a garden. I’ll be able start all over again at our new place but there’s nothing quite like finishing that very first project. Nothing can ever beat the excitement or the sense of accomplishment that comes from owning your first home. I guess I just feel a little more jaded this time because I actually know how much work and money a new home entails. I’m also moving this time as a mother, with significantly less vim, vigour, or time to put towards projects.

This was a house of many firsts and I’m sure I’ll cry when I turn the key in the lock one last time. That being said, I do look forward to creating new memories in our family home; it is, after all, the place that we’ll be living (God willing) until we’re old and grey.

21 April 2010

Cooking my way through maternity leave

I sometimes feel like I’m living the movie “Julie and Julia.” While I may not be paying direct homage to Julia Child, I do find myself zipping through several cookbooks that had been collecting dust on my kitchen shelf. There is something very comforting about cooking. While I may not have as much control over my own life and schedule anymore, trying new recipes gives me a bizarre sense of order and liberation at the same time. The rest of the house may be in shambles, I may not have even had a shower, but I know that something nutritious and delicious will usually be on the table at the end of the day.

One of the benefits of trying out so many recipes is that I often have leftovers to put in the deep freeze; this has proved very useful on Tuesday and Thursday evenings when I have to get to the gym by 6:30. I also find myself spending less on takeout and have the added benefit of knowing exactly what I am putting into my body. I have certainly become a little more concerned about additives in food, especially since I started making baby foods for Andrew.

While some women would probably think I’m crazy for spend my limited free-time in the kitchen, I honestly love it. I’m a little worried about how I’ll adjust to going back to work this Fall. I really don’t want to default to garbage meals so I’ll have to figure out a way to keep this going. I foresee food prep in the evenings.

19 April 2010

Happy “Half Birthday”

It’s hard to believe that six months ago I was being admitted into my hospital room after a long night spent walking and moaning around the labour and delivery triage unit of the Montfort Hospital. I was somewhere between six and seven centimeters dilated and getting antsy for the anesthesiologist to give me my epidural. I was so tired but so excited to get on with it and meet my baby boy. I was elated when I could start pushing and all I could think keep asking was, “Can you see his head? What colour is his hair?” Even though three hours of pushing finally revealed a fuzzy little red head, he was too big to deliver past the pubic bone. I was crushed when they told me it would end in c-section. To this day I still feel saddened and cheated out of being able to hold him straight away.

I’m not sure I’ll ever get over Andrew’s birth entirely. I didn’t have that instant maternal love that you hear about; in fact I was terrified of leaving the hospital and actually having to hold and take care of him. I think I was so self-absorbed and focused on regaining my own strength that it prevented me from bonding with him as I wish I could have. Nobody can tell you how you will feel post-partum. I remember crying to a public health nurse on the phone when she suggested that I might have post-partum depression. Nothing could have prepared me for the rollercoaster of emotions that would course through me over the first three months of Andrew’s life. We were a sad sight to behold – crying baby and crying mother. I’m not sure how we got through those difficult days but somehow we did and the bad parts are starting to fade from my mind.

I was worried that my rough start would somehow affect my relationship with Andrew; I was terrified that we wouldn’t connect. Now, at six months, I can’t imagine a stronger bond than the one we share. I don’t have to do anything other than lock eyes with him to receive a big smile in return. When he’s scared, hurt or just plain tired, Mom is his world. There are days that he tries my patience and tires me to no end, but my heart is also full to bursting. While that primal love and instinctive need to nurture did not exist in the beginning, it certainly does now. The tears have been replaced (mainly) by smiles and giggles and I’m much more confident in my own abilities as a Mother. Perhaps my rocky start has come to make me appreciate what I have now even more.

These past six months have been the most challenging times of my life, the most humbling and exhausting. They have also been the most rewarding. Today I feel like we’ve reached some invisible milestone – half a year of life. Andrew has grown and changed in so many ways; so have I.

17 April 2010

Busy Momma

Don’t believe the rumours; I’m still alive.

Please excuse my lack of updates. It seems I have a difficult time even cobbling together a decent sentence these days. I have tried to sit down and compose a few posts over the past month but it usually ends with me hitting the delete key and walking away from the computer. I truly think that maternity leave has depleted a few brain cells. When you spend your days changing diapers, singing silly songs and amusing a baby with all manner of crazy tactics, you tend to lose your grip on writing…or language for that matter. I can, however say Bababa, Mamama, amd Dadada, like a pro!

So what has the rambling redhead been up to in the past month you ask? Have you been waiting with baited breath? Ready for the super exciting answer?


In exactly one month, hubby, Drew and I will be saying goodbye to our first home and will be movin’ on up (cue the Jefferson’s music) to our forever home. I like to call our new place the “forever home” because I literally want to remain there until the day I either (a) kick the proverbial bucket or (b) am forced into a retirement home. Can you tell that I enjoy moving?

I abhor clutter and refuse to bring unused junk into our new digs. I have been fighting an uphill battle to convince hubby that a larger home does not necessarily mean a larger holding pen for his crap (AKA old computer bits and bobs). I swear to God men are more emotional about “stuff” than women are. Cleaning out of basement has been less than fun but we are managing to purge quite a bit before we complete the packing. I can’t stand living in a sea of boxes but it has to be endured because we simply don’t have a big empty space to hold everything. Every time I think about all the work that remains to be done, I start to feel a little panicky. While we will be doing all the packing ourselves, we at least opted to hire movers for the day of.

I’m going to stop thinking about the move now because it makes me cringe. Let’s turn our attention to Andrew – my whopping little (oxymoron) boy that is already wearing 12 month clothing. He is growing at an alarming rate and nobody seems to believe me when I tell them that he’s only just going on six months. He is certainly a sturdy fella and he loves food a little too much. People who claim that you can’t overfeed a baby have obviously never met Drew; I swear this kid has no “full” button. Now that we’re onto solids (Good Lord the poop!), he’s in seventh heaven and adores banging on his highchair for more. I keep having visions of a seven foot teenager eating everything in my cupboard.

Aside from eating, which occupies a good deal of time these days, Drew has changed in many other ways. He has certainly found his voice and loves to shriek and giggle. We have started him in swim and baby music classes which he seems to tolerate; if anything, it’s nice for me to get out of the house with him from time to time. Developmentally, he seems right on target – rolling often and starting to sit up unsupported for longer stretches. The rolling, however, is a double-edged sword. He enjoys flipping to his tummy to play but suddenly forgets how to roll onto his back and freaks out. This wouldn’t be a problem if it happened only during the day; it’s the nighttime “roll-a-thons” that really get annoying. Suddenly we are experiencing what it is like to have disturbed sleep (our string of good luck had to end at some point). We are hoping this a phase he will outgrow soon. I’ve heard it’s very typical for babies to learn one skill and forget another. It’s frustrating because he first learned how to roll from his tummy to his back but apparently forgets that phase of his life……gah!

Despite the disturbance in sleep, being covered in flung food and generally looking haggard, Drew is a happy little fellow and we’re starting to finally enjoy the craziness that is parenthood. While out little man still throws us for a loop some days, we are coming to recognize his little tics and tendencies. We know how to get the best out of Drew and we are rewarded with huge smiles, coos and a bond that truly cannot be described unless you are fortunate enough to be a parent yourself. It amazes me how all I have to do is look across the room, lock eyes with my son and he breaks out into a smile – I warms my heart and makes all other worries melt away; it reminds me why I am doing this.

I think I’ll leave my post at that for now – congrats if you have made it this far! I have loads more to say and will, hopefully, be able to post more frequently from now on – it does the brain good.