Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Report Card #2

It's that time again at daycare...report cards. I still can't get over the fact that the Boy is not in school, and yet he is getting report cards. Oops..."Child Development Review", that is. I do love hearing about how others view the Boy, since my opinion is rather biased. I've added my comments below each section:

Language Development
[The Boy] expresses himself in a very clear and polite manner. He is able to answer any question a teacher may have for him and uses please and thank you. He is a very talkative child. He enjoys listening to stories within a small group. One of his favourite storybooks is "Elmo's Adventure". He also enjoys getting involved with our music teacher RJ. His enthusiasm is shown through singing and dancing.

Wow..polite? Really?? Apparently what happens at daycare stays in daycare. We've nattered on about "please" and "thank you" for months, and the best we get is a rather reluctant parroting of the prompted phrase. No, wait! I think he has said "please" umprompted a couple times when he wanted more crackers. I think I'm going to get a t-shirt made for him that says:

"I am addicted to crack(ers)."

Other than that? Talkative, yes. Singing, yes. "Elmo's Adventure"? Never heard of it. Apparently I'm going to Chapters on my lunch tomorrow.

Cognitive Development
[The Boy] can recognize almost all colours. He can recite the alphabet and count from 1 to 15. He is always eager to learn new concepts, and shows it at circle time when books are being read to him. If interested, [the Boy] can attend to an activity for up to twenty minutes. Example: Building large towers with lego, playing with little animals, or using the marble tower.

Now, I would say he knows all his colours. Okay, I haven't taught him to differentiate between maroon, violet, and grape - I just put them under the heading "purple". Cut him some slack here, he's 2.5! I've never heard him count into the teens, though. I love the turn of phrase "If interested the Boy can attend to an activity.." Well, sure. If I'm interested, I can do things for long periods of time too. If I'm not, I just cut bait and run. Why should I expect differently from the Boy? Life is short.

Motor Development (Fine/Gross)
[The Boy] is able to use crayons, brushes and chalk during creative activities and enjoys playing with PlayDoh. Gluing and painting have become his favourite activities. Whether he is using the slide or playing in the sandbox with the shovels and pails, he really enjoys himself in the playground.

Okay, now I'm a really lousy parent. All we have at home is a sad chalk board and some sadder PlayDoh in four colours. I could be thwarting an artistic genius! Maybe I should be getting some art supplies instead of another Elmo book? I'm so negligent.

I think they glossed over the gross motor skills, though. While the Boy is really good at fine motor skills and talking, we've noticed that he is behind in the gross motor skills area. He can fall off the bottom step of the stairs, and has to be watched and helped when climbing playground equipment. He shows no real interest in riding his bike (although that could be because he has developed an aversion to his helmet). He has shown improvement since the ear tubes were put in, though, and we're trying to encourage him to get up and move as much as possible.

Food Consumption/Sleeping Behaviours
[The Boy] eats very well during lunch and snack times and usually asks for seconds. During naptime he sleeps on his own and sleeps for approximately one hour.

Ha! Notice they didn't say what he has seconds of..? If it's crackers, cheese or pasta - or really anything in the bread family - you can't get the Boy to stop eating. Vegetables, though? Apparently that will happen over my dead body.

Social Interaction (peers/adults)
[The Boy] is a very sociable and friendly child who enjoys small groups rather than large ones. He may be a little shy but he really enjoys interacting with all the teachers.

I have noticed this. He seems to do especially well on playdates with one or two kids. He held hands with Cakes! He ran around the zoo with Mme Labrune! He's even been known to share a toy or two. But at things like Sportball or the free Gymboree class we went to once, he backs off as if he's overwhelmed.

Inappropriate Behaviours to Monitor (if applicable)
Not applicable.

Huh. That's interesting. How about crocodile tears and full out Cry-abanas whenever he doesn't get his way? How about constantly voicing the opinion that he would rather be with the parent who is NOT at home? How about losing it when we try to make him wash his hands?? Maybe those are not considered inappropriate, but they are no fun.

Additional Comments
[The Boy] is a very independent child who tries really hard to master tasks on his own. He is always ready to get involved with everything that is presented to him. It is a pleasure to have him in our room. Good Job, [The Boy]!

...So, here's my question: Would this kind of report ever have negative stuff included? Other than the obvious problems like biting, kicking or incessant crying, that is? When I read the report, I was very proud and pleased, but then Mr Earth and I both wondered if they'd ever state what they really thought about a child, or whether they'd try to put a positive spin on everything. I can't really see sending a toddler home with a negative report... How awful! Should I be reading into this more? Are there things in here that are Teacher-speak??

Wow, I'm neurotic! What do you think? (Um, what do you think about the question stated above...NOT about whether or not I'm neurotic. I know that I am - thank you very much.)

Sunday, July 29, 2007


It started very innocently the night you were born. I stayed up all night watching you sleep, afraid that if I looked away for a single minute, you would simply cease to be. Then, when we brought you home, I couldn't pass by the bassinet on my way to bed without stopping to make sure the swaddling wasn't too close to your face. During those first four months, I grew accustomed to falling asleep to the tune of your snorts and snuffs.

It was strange when we finally moved you into the nursery. Only two doors away, and yet the distance seemed so much further. I was happy to reclaim my bedroom, yet unsure of how to deal with the separation. So each night, before I went to bed, I would sneak into your room to reassure myself that all was well. Desperate not to wake you, I would navigate the creaky floorboards with my heart in my throat. Not breathing. Afraid to sneeze. Sure you would hear the thump in my breast and the blood rushing through my veins. I'd crouch down beside the crib like some crazy game of peek-a-boo and listen to you. Breathe in. Breathe out. Then I could breathe again, and move to the door. Sometimes you'd sigh, and I'd freeze. Listen. Breathe in. Breath out. And I would creep quietly out the door.

Since then, I've stretched that invisible cord between us. I can go away for a day, or a night, and you are fine without me. But it wasn't until this weekend, when you jumped into Nana's car with a cheerful wave and nary a backwards glance, that it hit me how far you've come since those early days. I thought I would be happy to have the house to myself, time to myself, to do what I want, when I want. And to be honest, I was. I would be again. But this time I would know what I was missing.

The house would be blissfully quiet at last. But I would miss your exuberant renditions of Five Little Ducks and Mister Golden Sun. And the seventeenth time you asked: "Whaddya doin'?". And the twentieth time you asked: "Where Daddy is?" And your laughter. And your dinosaur growls.

I would be completely unencumbered with baby or gear. But I would miss your unprompted hugs when I pretend to be sad. And the weight of your head in the crook of my neck when you tire. And the legs wrapped tightly around my waist. And the weight of your body in my arms as you give yourself over to sleep.

I could make as much noise as I want without fear of waking you. But I would miss the unconscious avoidance of the creaky floorboard outside your bedroom door. And the knowledge that you're sleeping peacefully behind that closed door. And your sweet breath, in and out.

What I would be missing is you. I will stop by your room tonight before I go to bed, and listen to you. Breathe in. Breathe out. Because when you breath, the house breathes with you. And so do I.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Movie Mom

Before we begin, let me just make one thing clear...this post is not about BlogHer. If you were looking for news on the Conference That Must Not Be Named, then please click here. I'd also like to make it very clear that I'M NOT BITTER AT ALL. ( @$%*#%*!). We can have fun right here in TO, can't we? Anybody?? (The silence is deafening, folks, back me up here, will ya?). Okay..

I mentioned in a recent post , 100 , that I was snubbed for going to Movies 4 Mommies. Here's the story. Upon the arrival of the Boy, my life became a veritable maelstrom. We were having trouble breastfeeding, the boy was found to have a double hernia, and my time going back and forth to the hospital seemed to outweigh my time spent at home. Because of this, I didn't hook up with any mommy group. The nurse that visited the house suggested that I go to this "Bringing Home Baby" group at a local church. The hospital treks interfered with that and I never went, eventhough I really wanted to. As a result, I felt adrift and friendless.

That's when I heard about Movies 4 Mommies, or as they were called in my 'hood, MiniMatinées. I thought to myself, "Great! I get out of the house, AND I get to see a movie! I may even talk to some other moms.." So I went. The people there were lovely. They gave a gift to first-timers, and there were weekly draws for other prizes, as well as some presentations about local baby amenities. Since the movie was at 1pm, it fell right at the Boy's nap time. He would sleep for an hour, and then feed for an hour (Yes, you read that correctly - each breastfeeding session took one whole hour, a half hour on each boob. Sigh). It was a perfect fit, and I had a lovely afternoon.

I started going every week. It was a half hour walk each way, so I'd get my exercise. I saw a fairly recent movie each week (the selection at MiniMatinées ran to the decidely offbeat and documentary taste). Being terribly shy in real life, I chatted self-consciously with other new moms. It was something for me to look forward to. And hey - I'm an actor - I'm always up for seeing a new flick. I think it really helped me to keep my sanity intact in those early days, too.

Eventually, I met up with a friend who I met at FitMom, and she invited me to join her Mommy Group. Ironically, it was the same people who would have been at that Bringing Home Baby group that I never attended. They got along so well that they decided to keep meeting. I joyously agreed to go, because I was feeling very isolated. I tried to integrate myself as much as possible into the group. Some people were very nice, but from a number of them, I got the feeling that I was an interloper.

When they found out (by my own admission, of course, I'm not shy about the truth), that I went to MiniMatinées every week, I was quickly dubbed "the Movie Girl" by those less charitably-minded. There were snide jokes that my son slept more at the movies than in his own crib. There were many insinuations along the lines of "my baby would never stand for it" or "I'm not sure it's such a good thing for them".

My friend from FitMom and I became quite close, though, and she started coming with me to the movies on a fairly regular basis. We made it a little playdate, and it was really fun. And, yeah, I saw some movies that I probably would not have spent money on had I not had a babe in arms. Sadly, my MiniMatinées have closed their theatres, but the good memories remain. So does my new theory on parenting: Do what you gotta do to get through the day with your sanity intact. And don't judge other moms. You don't know what it's like to be in their shoes.

This was cross-posted at MommyBlogsToronto: Mama Drama.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

7 Typical Conversations with the Boy

Lady in Coffee Shop: Hi Cutie!
The Boy: I ate a cracker!
Lady: Oh, really?


Woman Across the Street: (waving at the Boy)
Me: Look (Boy), that lady is saying hello, do you want to say hi?
The Boy: I have a cactus at home!

Overheard while leaving daycare...
The Boy: I have big underwear at home, Phyta!!
Phyta: Yes, you're a big boy now!

The Boy: Whaddya doin'?
Me: I'm washing dishes.
The Boy: Whaddya doin'?
Me: I'm still washing dishes.
The Boy: Whaddya doin'?
Me: Still washing dishes.
The Boy: Whaddya doin'?
Me: What does it look like I'm doing?
The Boy: Washing dishes.
Me: You're right!
The Boy: Whaddya doin'?

The Boy: That your yogurt?
Me: Yes.
The Boy: Who bought it for you?
Me: I bought it. Do you remember when we went to the store yesterday?
The Boy: Oh. Pause. Who made it?
Me: Um, the yogurt man.
The Boy: The yogurt man? Pause. Where yogurt man is?
Me: On the yogurt farm.
The Boy: Where yogurt farm is?
Me: Far away.
The Boy: Oh. With cows, and horses, and pigs, and sheeps and chickens...


The Boy: Where Daddy is?
Me: He's at work.
The Boy: Where Daddy is?
Me: He's at work.
The Boy: Where Daddy is?
Me: He's in a pillow.
The Boy: Noooo, he's NOT in a pillow!
Me: Then where is he?
The Boy: He's at work!
The Boy: Where Daddy is?

Me: Goodnight (Boy), I love you.
The Boy: Yeah.
Me: Do you love me?
The Boy: Yeah.

Sunday, July 22, 2007


I've been freaking out a bit lately when thinking about our upcoming new addition to the family. There are days, I tell you, when I wonder why in the world I would want to go all the way back to "square one", when we have such a good thing going already. But then I thought - we're not really going back to square one, are we? I'm a different person than I was before I had the Boy. I may not know everything, but I have learned a lot, and it's not useless information. So, I thought I would use my one hundredth post (woo hoo! took me long enough), to prove that I have indeed learnt something. My theory is, if I can come up with 100 things I've learnt, then maybe I'm not so unprepared for #2 as I feel I am. If you actually make it to the bottom of the list and there are things you would like to add to it, please let me know. I welcome all knowledge.

100 Things I Did Not Know Before I Had a Baby:

1. Take a few days to yourself before the birth if possible.
2. Pack the baby bag well ahead of time, because it’s hard to do while you’re leaking water everywhere.
3. If you ignore the part of the video about C-sections in labour class, you will undoubtedly have to have one.
4. C-sections may be easier than labour in the short run, but the recovery SUCKS.
5. Babies come out funny-coloured. Mine was purple. Did I miss that in labour class?
6. No one who works in a hospital cares if you’re decently clothed.
7. Not everyone falls in love with their baby at first sight, and that’s OK.
8. Your love for your baby will grow with each day. It will grow double on days that you thought it couldn’t get any bigger.
9. If you have problems breastfeeding, have someone make sure that your baby doesn’t have a restricting frenulum. It won’t solve everything but it will sure help.
10. If you have to pump to stimulate milk production, spend the money and rent the hospital grade pump. It saves a lot of time.
11. If you still have milk production issues, ask your doctor about Domperidone.
12. Breastfeeding problems are not insurmountable, but they will take time, money and a lot of effort.
13. Don’t buy nursing shirts, just put a tank top on underneath your regular shirt – same coverage AND you get to wear “normal” clothes again.
14. Swaddling is a lifesaver, but it’s hard to do properly. The best instructions I found (with diagram!) were in this book.
15. You really can survive on 4 (non-consecutive) hours of sleep per night. It’s not pretty, though.
16. You can watch too much Trading Spaces.
17. Sound machines really can make a baby sleep better.
18. If your new baby cries about two hours after he wakes up, he probably needs a nap.
19. Sometimes babies cry for NO REASON.
20. The “witching hour” happens to almost all babies around 2 months. It’s AWFUL, but it eventually stops. It just seems a LOT longer.
21. Boys wait to pee until you take the diaper off.
22. Poo comes in many different colours. Especially if you’re taking Fenugreek and Blessed Thistle. You may think your baby is an alien, but it’s OK.
23. If a new baby poops when the diaper is not on, it's got an impressive trajectory. Watch out.
24. If the diaper starts to constantly overflow, the diaper is too small. Buy a larger size.
25. Don’t buy cheap diapers.
26. Poo is a hot topic of parental conversation.
27. Most toys for newborns are a waste of money. But it gives you a reason to go out and shop.
28. Coffee can really be a girl’s best friend.
29. Hook up with other moms regularly. You won’t feel so alone.
30. Movies for Mommies are a great way to get out of the house. Ignore the people who snub you for going.
31. If you're going to drink wine, do it while you are breastfeeding. The alcohol hasn’t had time to get into the milk. But, it’s very awkward, and just a little bit Britney.
32. Don’t buy any clothing for a newborn that has to go over the head. It’s not worth the screaming.
33. If the baby is a spitter, buy lots of bibs. Saves you doing a lot of laundry.
34. Babies don’t always hit the milestones when the books say they will.
35. Babies will learn to roll over at the most inconvenient and dangerous time possible.
36. Do whatever it takes to get you through the day with your sanity intact.
37. Leave the house at least once a day.
38. Showering can improve your whole outlook on life.
39. If someone offers to babysit, LET THEM. Especially if it’s free.
40. Other people will take care of your baby differently than you do. As long as the baby’s safe, don’t criticize.
41. Not every mother can tell the difference between the baby’s different cries.
42. You will know when the baby is crying because something is really wrong.
43. Hernia scars do fade.
44. Don’t shove a thermometer up a baby’s bum unless you WANT poo to come out.
45. Swaddling can be hard habit to break.
46. So can sound machines. AND they take a whopping amount of batteries.
47. Batteries are the best shower present you can give a new mom.
48. So is this.
49. So is alcohol.
50. Never say never.
51. Your mom can be your best friend.
52. Buy a stroller that fits your needs, not the one your sister-in-law has.
53. Stroller-Envy is not pretty.
54. Never go anywhere without your rain shield, even if it’s sunny.
55. Memorize the location of all public restrooms.
56. Memorize all the locations of restrooms with change tables.
57. Memorize all the locations of restrooms with change tables that you can access with a stroller.
58. Baby laughter is the best sound in the whole world.
59. Baby smiles are pretty damn good too.
60. The toys your baby likes are usually the most annoying.
61. The person who invented musical toys that don’t have an off button should be shot.
62. I know nothing about parenting.
63. Take time to do something non-baby related at least once a week.
64. Taking breastfeeding drugs means you get a break from your period until you wean! Nice.
65. Some days are never-ending.
66. Some days go by really quickly.
67. Keeping a Baby Book is for the birds. Blogging is waaay better.
68. Some babies don’t get teeth till after their first birthday. They won’t be a toothless wonder forever.
69. Brushing someone else’s teeth is surprisingly difficult.
70. Buy winter boots by September or they’re sold out. Snowsuits too.
71. Get kid's feet measured every four months.
72. There are almost no pictures with me in them. The Boy will think I wasn’t there.
73. It’s worth the money to get a professional family photograph each year.
74. Thank you cards are a necessary evil.
75. Christmas is a lot more fun than before. And a lot more complicated.
76. We need a bigger house to hold all the toys.
77. Summer and parks rock.
78. Get on a daycare list when your baby is in utero.
79. Call the daycare frequently to remain on the list.
80. Have a Plan B when you don’t get into daycare.
81. A baby learning to talk is the coolest thing.
82. Nine times out of ten, the first word is “mama”. As it should be.
83. Having a boy means you will learn more about cars and trucks that you thought possible.
84. Try not to go anywhere without snacks.
85. Pampers travel wipes boxes are indispensable.
86. Don’t be surprised if the baby needs a larger clothes closet than you do.
87. Digital thermometers are worth the money.
88. Telehealth causes more worry than solves it.
89. Fisher Price Little People were better back in the seventies. Buy vintage.
90. No matter how much you spend, the winning “toy” will always be stickers.
91. Routine is good for kids, especially mine.
92. Cracker addiction is rampant in the toddler set.
93. Having “in jokes” with your kid is good for the heart.
94. Get your kid to help out with chores while they still think it’s fun.
95. The first rule of Sleep Club is – you do not talk about Sleep Club.
96. Just when you think you can’t love them any more, you do.
97. A weekend away is a wonderful thing.
98. It’s amazing how many times one person can ask the same question.
99. It’s hard to break the habit of calling someone “baby”.
100. Every single moment, good AND bad, was worth it for this:

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Be the change.

The thing that I like best about the blogging community - especially in the GTA - is that it's not passive. We get together en masse for parties. I have had several playdates with fellow bloggers, and I hope to have more. And now, we're doing something that will have an even larger impact: BlogHers Act Canada. Have you voted yet? Watcha waitin' for, man?? I voted for my personal hot-button issue right now: childcare. Click on the pretty button on my sidebar. Or if that doesn't work cause I'm such a computer loser, click on this link . You know you want to...

Which segues rather nicely into something that I've wanted to post about for a while now. I hope you will pardon me if my thoughts come out rather haphazardly. It's my Achilles Heel. Whenever I feel very strongly about something, I lose the ability to talk about it coherently, and I end up sounding like an idiot. I started this blog in part because I wanted to learn to express myself better.

I'm a details girl. When it comes to tackling large issues, like Bloghers Act - I'm not the instigator. I am perfectly willing to follow other people's lead. I want to help make the world a better place. I fully intend to support, volunteer and get involved in whatever issue we decide to tackle. But I never would have thought to do it in the first place. It's not that I'm unable to see the Big Picture. It's just that I'm more comfortable quietly chipping away at the Big Picture, by handling the details one by one. And since I'm such a thorough little nerd, I always want to start at the most basic level, and go from there. After all, if you don't build a solid foundation, your house may fall.

I think that if you truly want to change the world for the better, you have to start small. It was Mahatma Gandhi who said "Be the change you want to see in the world". To me, that means that if you want to make a difference you have to start at square one - with yourself. If we want this BlogHers Act to be the amazing entity that I believe it can be, we can't allow it to be a singular project (or series of projects). We can't allow it to be a bunch of do-gooders chipping away at random areas of a mountain with no thought for the foundation. And that foundation is us. You. Your family. Your community.

What am I getting at? Good question. Here's another analogy: If you give a homeless man a meal and blanket, you may have helped him, but what have you truly changed? Especially if you still see this man as something other than you, as someone outside your world? What brought this on originally is some reading that I was doing about how it takes a community to raise a baby (me being pregnant, and all), and how here in North America, we have isolated ourselves so much that mothers (not excluding fathers here - they're just often at work) are raising babies alone. Alone, overwhelmed, and depressed - sometimes fatally so. And then I thought - what has happened to our neighbourhoods?

I am blessed to live in a community within Toronto that functions much like a small town, but being shy, I only know a few of my closest neighbour's names. I will sit in the park and quietly play in the sandbox with the Boy, and small groups of mothers hanging out together will completely ignore me. Sometimes I am bold and break into the conversations, but it only rarely turns into a lasting connection. From about 6pm onwards, the neighbourhood is almost deserted. Where are the kids outside playing? Most people will say that it's just not safe to let kids play outside unsupervised anymore. I agree, but we are at the root of that problem. Neighbours used to keep a collective eye out for the children playing outside, but not anymore. Where are we?

We're too busy. Exhausted from the day. Turning on TVs and Playstations for a moments peace and quiet. Driving kids to this lesson or that. Over-scheduling to the point that we're not at home anymore. It takes me weeks and several calendar adjustments to arrange a playdate in the park. It shouldn't be that hard. We need to cut back on the scheduled activities, and put the time back into our families and our communities. We need to cut down on the TV and video games and get our butts outdoors. Populate our communities again, so that they once again become the safe, neighbourly places that they used to be. So that there are always kids to play with when you go to the park. So that hooking up for a coffee date only takes a single phone call. So that no one has to feel alone again.

What does this have to do with BlogHers Act Canada, you say? Well, if a neighbour - someone you thought of as a friend - was hungry, would you not bring them food? If they were sick, would you not offer help? If they were a single parent, would you not offer to babysit to give them a bit of a break? It is my assertion that if we start thinking of the people in this world as our neighbours, as part of our world, then the big issues - the ones we are proposing to act on - might not be as widespread. Maybe eventually, they would even cease to be issues. And the only way to do this, to truly make a change from the bottom up, is to start with ourselves. I know I'm naive. You might even say I was sappy, or Pollyanna-ish. I don't care. It's how I choose to see the world. And I'm going to start making the world better by starting with myself, my family and my community. I'm going to be the change. Won't you help me?

Monday, July 16, 2007

I need more space!

Thanks for all your suggestions and advice on the previous couple of posts...I need all the help I can get.

Can I bend your ear for a tick? Here's our dilemma. We live in a smallish semi-detached house. We have 3 bedrooms and a bathroom on the top floor. One is ours, one is the nursery, and one is a guest bedroom/office/second tv room. The main floor is open-concept with a living room, dining room, and kitchen. The basement is small but finished, and is currently our TV room, playroom and second bathroom. With the steadily approaching arrival of Baby Earth, we're going to have to make some adjustments to the living arrangements. Ideally, I would like the children to each have their own room, so the question is - where do we put the home office? Here is where my brain goes berserk:

  • We could put the computer in our bedroom. This offers a nice, quiet space for a parental unit to do some work. However, it effectively cuts my computer time by more than half. I usually do most of my blogging/surfing after everyone has gone to bed, and I can't do that in our bedroom without keeping Mr Earth awake
  • We could put the computer somewhere on the main level. We would have to buy a new table/armoire on which to put it, though, as space is limited. Also, the computer area is always a mess, and I don't care to expose random visitors to an eyeful of the maelstrom in which we usually live. It's pretty open, and a high traffic area, so it's difficult for Mr Earth to do Serious Work without interruption.
  • We could put it in the playroom/TV room. This is my least favourite choice. I would be much too tempted to blog/surf instead of hanging out with the kids. I am determined to be a parent who actually plays with her kids at least some of the time. This is especially important should I decide to work full time again - which is my intention. I am weak and the temptation is too great. Kids come first.
  • We could convert the nursery back into a computer room, and have the kids share the larger middle bedroom. Not a terrible idea, but it does seem selfish when we have three bedrooms. I do believe that children deserve their own space, if space allows. I have also heard that small children sharing a room is really good for bonding. Seems squishy, though. And how do you keep the toddler asleep, when the baby keeps waking up?

Suggestions?? I'm fresh out.


By the way, if you want to hear more of my Adventures in New York, check out my latest post at MBT. I've even included some nudity this time...Woot! Woot!

Thursday, July 12, 2007


It occurred to me today that I'm having a baby. Wow, it only took me 21 weeks and 1 day! Hurrah. I must be some new kind of smart. I somehow thought that it would be more real the second time around. In contrast, I think I may have been in a complete denial until I felt a few tentative jabs in my lower abdomen a week or so ago. In truth, I still look at women in the final stages of pregnancy, and wonder at the changes in their life they're about to go through - without making any comparison to myself.

You would think since I have already had a baby, I would know what I was doing and what to expect. I don't. In fact, to me it seems worse, because now everyone expects me to have my sh*t together. I don't. It starts at a very basic level. Since the Boy was "from his mother's womb untimely ripped", I have never actually given birth. I went through a few hours labour before the operation, but I don't know what pushing a baby through a woefully small hole is like. But of course, that is just the beginning, isn't it?

I do, however, remember the early days, and I'm not anxious to return to them. I didn't nickname them "the Dark Days" for nothing. I remember walking around in a daze of pain and bewilderment, seeing the world as if through a fog. I remember nights of sleeping one hour out of every three. I remember the constant worry of no milk, no weight gain, jaundice, colic, hernia. I remember looking forward to our bi/tri-weekly visits to the hospital as a way of having contact with the outside (adult) world. I remember it not being a peaceful time, watching a sweet-smelling newborn contentedly sleeping or cooing. I would do it all over again in a hearbeat for the Boy, but it doesn't mean that I would look forward to it.

And how does it work with two, anyway? The basic, daily stuff I mean. How do I get any rest when both kids are on different napping schedules? How do I get the Boy to daycare/preschool when I'm taking care of a wee babe? Should the Boy go to daycare part-time or should he stay home full-time with me? He needs some interaction beyond what I can give him, and I believe the new baby deserves some uninterrupted mommy-time, just like the Boy had when he was young. Should I take him out of daycare and enroll him in a preschool that does, say, just mornings? When I even think of these questions, I feel very selfish, like I don't want him around or something. I do! I just really believe that some time away from the Mommy-Hawk who watches his every move is good for him. He needs space to spread his wings. Even if it's only an hour or two a day.

And what happens when the year of maternity leave is up? Do I go back to work? Can I afford to, even if the miraculous happens and I find two daycare spots or a nanny? While my salary is decent, it would, after taxes, just cover the care costs for two kids. Does it really make sense to go back to work? It does, when you want to go back to work. When work is something that makes you a saner, and therefore better, mother.

Of course, at the heart of this dilemma is the fact that I don't have a terrible lot of confidence in my abilitiy to mother a newborn. Some people just seem born to it, and I am so very jealous of that. I think I kick ass at being a mother to a toddler, though. I sometimes lose my patience, of course. I hope I'm not the only one. But, in general, I feel that I've really hit my stride with the Boy. I get it. My life is still chaos, but it's a controlled, well-organized chaos. I can deal with that. I am not anxious to go back to that state of helplessness, feeling like a complete washout. I also don't want to spend the poor kid's whole baby stage, just wishing he/she would reach toddlerdom. That's not cool. And it's a waste of a truly magical time.

It seems to me that all the support out there goes to the first-time mothers. While I don't dispute that they need all the help they can get, is there anything out there to support the second or third time mothers? I've never seen a mommy-baby group where the mothers have more than one kid. Are we supposing, then, that mothers with multiple children all have a network of friends and a support system in place? Exercise classes are generally for mom and one baby, not mom and baby and preschooler. Other types of classes like Kindergym or Swimming are for a specific ages, and when one goes, the other is not welcome. Ack! My head is splitting trying to figure this all out. Did I miss some sort of crucial education the first time around?

Am I allowed to be scared? Or do I have to keep pretending that I'm nothing but excited?? Because I am excited, you see. I'm thrilled, I'm emotional, I'm half in love with a person I've never even met. I always thought our family wouldn't be complete until there were four of us, and this is my dream realized. But I'm tired of pretending that that's all there is to it.. That there isn't anxiety, worry, and fear behind it too. Because there is. And I can't deal with it unless I own up to it.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


Painted Maypole tagged me ages ago to do this meme, and I have just now gotten around to it. I could make some crafty excuses, but the reality is that I was too busy being lazy. Apparently, there are some crazy rules about posting the rules before the meme, but I say rules-schmules! I walk on the wild side. So here goes...

Eight (FASCINATING!) About Me:

1. I eat a Rice Krispie square for breakfast every day, Monday to Friday. Yep. Every. Single. Day of the Week. And I wonder why I'm getting fat. Hey, man, it's cereal - ain't it? Don't judge me till you try it. In my opinion, there's no better way to wake up in the morning.

2. If you want to make me weak in the knees, or a blubbering mess, all you have to do is play one of the following songs: Annie's Song (John Denver), I Will (Beatles), Teenage Sonata (Sam Cooke), In My Life (Beatles) or Landslide (Fleetwood Mac). I am a total sap.

3. While I remain firmly Christian in faith (my dad is a minister after all!), I find great peace in the image of the Tibetan Buddha. I have started a small collection in my house, and they make me happy every time I look at them.

4. Although I am not a liar, I remain rather partial to over-exaggeration. This bothers Mr Earth to no end, but secretly, I think he likes it. Without being immodest, I am quite possibly the Greatest Exaggerater Ever. It's an art, really.

5. Many women have shoe fetishes, or are constantly spending money on clothes. My shoes are worn, and I'm only buying new clothes right now because I'm forced to due to pregnancy. I'm broke because I spend all my money on expensive hair products. I don't know why, but I've conditioned (so punny!) myself to believe that my hair only looks good if I use the Good Stuff. My obsession right now? Pureology. The best hair care line I've found, and they're 100% Vegan, and earth friendly. Don't ask me how much this stuff costs, you don't want to know. Just touch my hair. It's so silky!

6. According to Mr Earth, I like old people chocolate bars. Personally, I see nothing wrong with Big Turk, Cadbury's Fruit and Nut, or Bridge Mixture. Solid chocolate choices. I think Mr Earth needs to expand his horizons.

7. I seriously thought Pass the Dutchie by Musical Youth was a song about doughnuts. I kept wondering why they had to pass the dutchie around. Couldn't they afford to buy a whole dozen? Kinda funny. Kinda sad, too.

8. Apparently, I am the Most Boring Person Ever. Asked to do a meme on eight things about me and these are the most interesting things I could think of? Most of these revolve around food! I'm not sure what that says about me.

I would tag eight people, but I'm so late doing this that I don't believe there is anyone out there who hasn't done it already.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Wherein Nomo SUCKS at Spelling...

Last weekend, the Husband and I flitted off to New York City to catch some shut-eye sans toddler, and see a couple of Broadway shows. The first night, we had tickets to The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. For anyone unfamiliar with this little gem, it's a show that started out as a non-musical play (C-R-E-P-U-S-C-U-L-E), was turned into an Off-Broadway musical with the help of composer William Finn, and due to enormous success, has now moved up to Broadway.

Any Word Nerds out there? You will love this show. Did you like the movie Spellbound
or Akeelah and the Bee? You will love this show. Do you have a heart?? You will LOVE this show. Seriously, the most fun I have ever had at a show that was not Godspell.

Before the show starts, volunteers go around the milling audiences signing up volunteer spellers for the show. Of course, the Husband and I could not resist. At ten to eight, they choose four people out of the crowd who signed up. I was one of them! Guess being pregnant is good for something..

We were taken to the booth for orientation. The main instructions were to follow any directions given by the actors (for our safety), to "be ourselves" (read: don't outshine the actual actors), and whether or not you know how to spell the word, you must ask the following two questions:

1. Can I have the definition please?
2. Can you please use in a sentence?

OK, I thought, I am all set. I am a good speller.... [more]

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

It's A...


We had our second trimester ultrasound today, and my flair for the dramatic finally won out over my seething curiosity, and we didn't find out the gender. When the doctor asked us if we wanted to know, I simply asked him to confirm that the baby was, in fact, one sex or the other. 'Cause if it's both sexes at the same time, or a third sex entirely, then I would definitely want to know. He chuckled a bit, but I don't think that he fully appreciated the brilliant wit. This is comedy gold, man!

Mr Earth remains convinced that the baby is a boy. He is certain that he saw a penis, and was very proud to see the relative size of said penis. He is ecstatic that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. He would not be put off by my pointing out that this was the umbilical cord. Dream on, my love, dream on. We got some excellent shots of the baby's face - he/she looks like Skeletor. I kid you not. But then, I think that most ultrasound shots make the baby look like an alien, so maybe this is a step up...? At least Skeletor might have been human once.

The only dissonant note in an otherwise exciting moment, is that my doctor had written on the request form that I see a particular doctor at the lab. I didn't really think anything at the time - I assumed that the doctor was someone she knew, or simply favoured. When the technician started the exam he asked me why this doctor was requested. I had no idea. Turns out, this doctor is a specialist in fetal abnormalities. The technician asked if I had a history of problems, and what happened with the first pregnancy, and I assured him that all was fine. We couldn't figure out why she had requested that I see him. Of course, now my heart is racing and I'm having trouble breathing properly. Surely if she thought that there might be a problem, she is obliged to inform us - ? Maybe she didn't want me to worry?? (Like I am now.)

The maddening thing is that the technician and doctor are not allowed to discuss the results of the ultrasound. I have to wait until I see my doctor on the 19th. The ultrasound doctor said that it looks like a "nice pregnancy", whatever that means. At least that sounds positive. I would hate for it to be a "mean pregnancy". (Is mean technically the opposite of nice? Hmm. Yes, these are the things I think about..)

The only reason I think it's a boy is that we have two lovely girl names all ready to go, and for the life of us, we cannot agree on a single boy's name. Not. One. Other than The Boy's name, of course. But you can see how giving two boys the same name might be a problem. Nymbler is no help. It keeps suggesting names like Crispin, Dobbin or Theron. No thanks. So if you have any suggestions, throw 'em at us. Here are the rules:

  • Easy to pronounce
  • Easy to spell (nothing kreative)
  • Well known, but rarely used
  • No names that are used for both boys and girls
  • Preferably of English origin (Irish, Scottish included)

Know any boy names that fit all that criteria? That's why we're having trouble.