Saturday, May 27, 2006

This is for you, Beth

The shoes, the feet:

And, because she is, in my objective opinion, the most beautiful creature on earth (yes, that is a dress):

Enough to ruin the day?

What is that horrible sound that has the potential to drive me round the bend and ruin this glorious day? Ah, yes, the ear-bleeding sound of an innoncent child, with eyes for glory, practising Claire de Lune on the recorder.


Behind my house.

The sun is shining, the girl is napping

Life is good. Except that I miss John. This would be a perfect moment for him and I to have lunch out on the patio, read the paper and chat. Instead, I'm going to finish my entry, make corn muffins, finish the soup for supper, and hopefully, make some freezer jam with the overripe strawberries I just bought. I've never made freezer jam before but I figure it can't be that difficult.

This morning Emily and I had breakfast out - Ottawa Bagel - one of Emily's favourites. She'll routinely eat an entire bagel and did today. Then to my chiro appointment, then to Parkdale Park - new play structure and Emily was totally into it. Especially the extra high swings. Then right next door to do some shopping at the Parkdale Market (and thus the overripe strawberries). Then back to the park so Emily could snarf down a bunch of strawberries. Then, home. Whew.

John called and Emily was beside herself when she heard his voice come out of the phone. It was great. Of course, trying to get her to let me talk on the phone after that was challenging. There was some squealing.

One thing I'm finding, being on my own, is that I feel a deep need for adult company (I don't count work - I'm talking friends). Someone else that can keep an extra eye on Emily. Preferrably someone with a kid in tow so Emily has a natural amusement. I'm potentially going to seek this out for after her nap.

Time for some cookin'!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Missing her daddy

Yesterday was fine, although Emily did ask about John a few times. Today was weird though - she had that sporadic, unexplainable crying on and off until supper (hmm, hunger maybe? No, I think it was missing John).

Things are going fine so far - Emily even has let me put her to bed and leave the room while she is still awake - albeit not as quickly as John, but still - progress!

I really miss John though - down to my soul. Not just for the partnering on Emily stuff, but on just sitting and talking in the evenings or before bed. I really miss that. At least there is email. Having him gone is really making me appreciate him more - for his love and friendship, as well as for the Emily stuff.

Enough sap. Got Emily some new shoes. She loves the Globo store where I go. In the kids' section, there are raised platforms with colourful seating pads that she loves to climb on. And of course, stupidly, all the shoe boxes are at her level and she tears around pulling shoes out. Who came up with that bright idea? Got her first pair of sandals though. I put aside the pink and got orange and grey. Very sporty and cute. And on sale for $13 so all is good.

Time for yoga before bed.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

What's going on in there?

I'm sitting at my desk wondering what the heck is going on in my belly at the moment. I'm getting kicked in the ribs, sides etc on a constant basis for the last 10 minutes or so. When I look down I can see quivers and big kicks on the outside. Some are pretty strong - some seem to be just reminders that "hey, I'm in here, and I notice you haven't eaten any wine gums today.. what's up?"

I remember this well with Emily but not until the last 2 months. This is much earlier and it makes me wonder what the kid will be doing in the last trimester if this is the behaviour now. Or worse, what will the behaviour be when s/he is 18 months old???

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Soon to be solo - ACK!

John is leaving this week for a conference and to do some research in Toronto. This means I will, for the first time, be completely on my own for one week with Emily. Emily and I have a great relationship - it's not that. However, having John share the burden is so important that I think this may be a burnout week for me. I see this happening because of two factors: having to do all the cooking and having to do all the putting-to-beds. Not to mention that we'll really miss him. And the fact that he and I have been watching Alias on DVD every night and now I have to wait until he gets back. Poor me.

John totally rules at the putting-to-beds (not to mention cooking). He and Emily do the bath, read books (clearly having a great time as evidenced by the squeals of laughter coming from her room - Emily's squeals, not John's), and then John plops her in her crib and walks out and we don't hear from her again until morning (which in her world lately is 5:45 a.m.).

If I put her to bed, it all goes the same way until the "plop her in the crib" part which is a total no-go. There is rocking in the chair, hugging, finally coaxing her into the crib, playing with "baby," finally laying down while I hold her hand and put my head against the crib pretending to sleep with her. John gets it all done by 7:30 (sometimes sooner). For me it is 8:20 or so by the time I get downstairs. And no, leaving her to cry doesn't work. She doesn't go to sleep for me that way - she just screams. And I'm not into that method of parenting anyway.

So, we'll see how it all goes. I'm sure there will be frequent but groggy updates through the week.

The visit of my dad and Donna has left me feeling very industrious and wanting to get jobs done around the house. This grew from the fact that Donna's work resulted in crossing many things off of our list of jobs to be done. So, I'm finally sewing the big drapes for the living room (almost half-way done now) and they look amazing so far. Also, while at Fabricland, I found some fabric on sale that will be perfect for sheer curtains in the kitchen as well as some more that was dirt cheap for the new baby's room. One more trip to Fabricland should do it for the last bits I'll need to finish all these curtains. Finally, our living room won't be sweltering in the summer!

Here is something from John's blog that made me laugh:

Today's Helpful Hint: if you get a chance to vote for the Conservative
Party of Canada, and thus the northern variant of the American Republican Party,
please do all Canadians a favour and simply take your unregistered gun and
shoot yourself in the foot. At least you will save the gas money in driving
your Hummer down to the polling station.

Friday, May 19, 2006

There was pee-pee...there was a toilet...

...There was pee-pee in the toilet! Yes... it's true! She hit the target. It was last night and I'll set the scene: it was our usual after-dinner play time in the basement (also known as a room that we used to casually relax in with our tv and gas fireplace but has now been taken over by a mad rush of toys). During said time in basement, Emily normally drops a bomb which requires a major diaper change. I noticed the tell-tale smell mentioning to John that "damn, I meant to take her up to her toilet [attempting to avoid the word "potty" which I hate] for a while to encourage this to happen there. I'll have to be better about that." But, when I went to change her, I found it was just noxious gas and no actual product. So, here was my chance. We played with her toilet for a while (you are probably wondering how one plays with a toilet. Ask a toddler and you'll find out. Oh, and also buy a musical toilet - yes, it's true. We did. I hate the concept, I've frequently made fun of these in public settings, but since it is just me and the Internet I'll admit that I bought one. Why? Because she loves it and I'll do anything to make her love the toilet if it means one less diaper in my future). Nothing happened. So, we went back downstairs sans diaper but with me carrying both Emily and the musical toilet.

Toilet play continued in the basement. Then it happened. Emily started to pee on the carpet - I grabbed her while I was squealing (yes, squealing - it was very high-pitched for some reason) "Emily - not on the carpet - go pee-pee in the toilet!" and sat her on the musical beast. She kept peeing!!!! And she seemed to love watching the pee escape her. Her favourite part however was the cleaning out of the vessel. The way it works, for those of you who don't know, is that you remove the little receptacle out of the bottom, put some water in (at least I did to give it a rinse) and empty all the contents in the toilet. Emily loved this and wanted me to get more pee to flush down. I tried to explain that she had to produce the contents if she wanted to do this again. Not sure if she got that.

I hope to work at it this weekend. My only question really is if she actually has the muscle control or understanding of the feeling she gets just before she pees. I kind of think I just caught her mid-stream and was lucky there was still something left when I sat her down. Report to come.....

Argh... what now?

This week I was informed that there is a two to three year back log for language training in the government. This is for full-time language training - the kind I am slotted for and was planning to enter into right at the end of my maternity leave. Although I originally planned not to return to work, financial issues and the ability to get full-time French training while drawing a salary and having much better hours made this the option I decided to choose. However I also knew that there was no way I could return to this particular job with two children at home. It has been very difficult to do my job and my job as a mother/partner in this particular position in the government. Now I am faced with the fact that, if I return to paid work after my maternity leave, it might very well be back to this very office, doing this very job, until a space opens for me in French training. So, my new decision, pending discussion with John, is that I will take leave-without-pay following my paid maternity (the government very generously grants parents up to five years of leave-without-pay for "care and nuturing" of children) leave until I get the chance to do my language training. I'll have to likely look for something to help help pay bills but I have a couple of ideas that I could do from home.

I see this from two views: a great opportunity for me to spend more time with my children - which is what I wanted to do from the start, so I'm not actually upset about this; and from the other side, the idiotic bureaucracy of a government that demands I be bilingual (I'm glad of this if they pay for it) and yet aren't actually able to offer it in the 24 month time frame they give you to actually become bilingual. So, if you can't get your levels in the 24 month time frame you actually have to appeal to the Deputy Minister to grant you an extension of up to one year. This effectively means that you are given an extra 12 months to get placed in the language school and you better pray that you get placed in there with more than a couple of months left to get your levels or you are cooked. Does this make sense to anyone out there? I would potentially be penalized/lose my current position because I don't get enough time to get my required levels - even though it totally isn't my fault! It's because they don't have enough teachers/resources to actually offer it... how dumb is that?! Anyway, I have no idea how this will play out but I do know that there is absolutely no way I can do this job again. So, either way... I'm out of here. And yet again, the government wins the award for the "dumbest thing I've ever heard."

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The best news I could get....

Dawn told me this morning that she thinks... get ready for it.... that Emily is READY FOR POTTY TRAINING! Wooooohooooo!

I have suspected this myself for a while, as has John. She is very interested in peeing - well, she's interested in saying "pee-pee," watching me pee, pretending to pee and wipe her bum. Nothing ever actually materializes but the interest is definitely there. She also likes to tell us after she has peed. Not entirely helpful when trying to get her to pee on the toilet.

We have a wee potty in the basement. She was liking it for a while - a place to sit and think only - but has lost interest. It isn't the best - it is a hand-me-down - and not very stable - she's fallen over - potty and all - a couple of times. Times where I thanked the gods that she indeed had not figured out how to pee in there... or worse.

So, I think I'll get a new potty and place it on the bedroom floor of the house and make a more resolved effort to GET ON WITH THIS. Which leads me to another comment - I can now completely understand why children with parents who work outside the home potty train later. It takes concerted effort and time. You have to be resolved. On weekends, I want to spend lots of time with her, and I do, but I just have not had the commitment or energy to really get into this. I know how to start - give her lots of fluids and keep putting her on the toilet. All day. As you can imagine, I'd rather be at the farm, sandbox etc than doing that. Although I also know that in a few months I'll want her completely trained...RIGHT NOW. So, I am resolved to start this and see it through, in concert with Dawn. And not to give in to what is easier or more fun because this will be totally worth it for all of us even if I'd rather be petting a cow with Emily than singing the pee song and cleaning up some puddles off the floor.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Walk to D'Feet ALS in Ottawa

My mum died of ALS in January 2005. I can't believe it has been over a year. Every year since she was diagnosed (in January 2003), I've participated in the Walk to D'Feet ALS. The walk is normally in September but they've now switched it to June. The last walk (September 2005) was the first one since my mum died and through my fundraising Web site our team, friends and family raised over $2600. Being that the current walk is only eight months later I don't expect to raise that much however I hope to raise $1000. The money goes straight to families dealing with the disease. It is used to provide equipment to these families/persons free of charge and they can use it until their death. It is an amazing thing since ALS requires a lot of medical equipment and could easily bankrupt people.

Anyway, here is my site:

If you can donate, that's great. If you can join us for the walk, that's also great - just register through my site (donations can be done there too).

Saturday, May 13, 2006

A great birthday

Wednesday was my 34th birthday. I was at work of course, which I didn't enjoy (I don't enjoy it much these days). However, John and Emily took me out for a birthday breakfast. My wonderful boss took me out for a birthday lunch, and then at the end of the day John gave me the best birthday present: a gift certificate to Nordik Scandinavian Spa! He bought me a day in the pools, a massage and a wine and cheese platter to go with it. I can use it anytime before May 2007. I'm so excited! To top the day off our friends, Meredith and Ron, brought over an ice cream cake.

My dad and his wife, Donna, arrived on Wednesday night and Donna has been working non-stop on our house since she got here. She recaulked our downstairs shower, fixed the rocky toilet, finished painting my kitchen, painted the closet doors in the front hallway, expanded the front garden, pulled all the dandelions from the front lawn, started repairing our front steps.... Wow. Unbelievable.

My dad sat in a chair. Okay, he put up a smoke alarm and helped with the bricks on the stairs.

Then he sat on a chair.

Tonight we're heading to The Works for dinner. We're treating Dad and Donna. Small price for all the work she has done. Wow.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

If I was 70-odd years old, I would not be here

Walking through my building this morning, I took note of something that I've noticed before. In my building, in this government department, there are a lot of old people who should be out there enjoying their retirement years. These are not people in their 50s or early sixties. These are people who are definitely in their 70s and are here on contract, probably after long careers here as foreign service officers. They look happy enough. They don't seem to begrudge being here... but what the frack? I think it's sad that they don't have something they'd rather be doing. I know they have good pensions. They probably bought their houses in Ottawa when they were going for about $30,o00 and are now worth $300,000 minimum. That's a decent return.

I just think it is really sad when work becomes someone's life and s/he can't define her or himself without it. If I was retired, I would be doing everything I always wanted to be doing while I was working. I am totally living for retirement. That's also sad being that I am only 34. Only 30 years to go!

Monday, May 08, 2006

Things are looking up

No tears this morning! Well, not "no" tears, but very few and none when I actually left so things are certainly improving during the drop off at Dawn's. The trick seems to be that Dawn needs to sing Wheels on the Bus as Emily goes to her and I leave. This has become Emily's all-time favourite song. I don't know how many times John and I sang it with her this weekend. She prompts us by saying, almost shouting: Encore, Bus! Even if I was engulfed in flames, and she said 'encore, bus', I would sing the song as I stopped, dropped and rolled, that's how cute it is when she delivers that line.

We had a really nice weekend. Absolutely no errands done except a bit of grocery shopping. Instead, we had a social weekend - a goodbye party for Louise on Saturday afternoon and Nevan's birthday party on Sunday morning. Both were great but Nevan's birthday was the kind of low-key affair that we gravitate towards. The party on Saturday was fun but with so many kids it was a little wild. Emily, preferring to be the cool bystander, watched them like they were a pack of wild animals who had somehow escaped the reserve.

Emily was in great spirits all weekend which makes it that much better. Our only issue is still with getting her to sleep. It took until 9:40 last night but some progress was made in getting her to sleep IN HER CRIB rather than my arms. That's a huge deal as my huge gut is starting to impede her falling asleep on me in the rocking chair. We'll work on it again tonight and see how it goes.

I really have to scan and post the ultrasound picture but I keep forgetting.

I'm thinking, as usual, about what I want to to do long term (short term I obviously want to spend with the kids). I've often had these thoughts that I should have gone into a trade. And I realized that it is still an option. And then I sometimes think that maybe editing would be great - I could do it from home and I'm pretty good at it now, being that it is essentially what I do here but this job has way more crap piled on top. Hmmm... plumber, editor, teacher. I wish I had several lives to try all these things, and of course, piles of money to indulge myself in training to do all these things. I'll just keep thinking and exploring instead. What I do know is that I don't want to do this anymore.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

It's during the night that reality shows its ugly face

Things seemed so great yesterday but I did have a suspicion that it wouldn't last. That Emily would, in some way, react harshly to her new situation. As in most suspicions I have about her, I was right. She went to bed fairly well (considering what a fight it has been for us recently) but she woke up crying at 11:30. Thought it was her teeth. Gave Motrin. Spent next hour trying to get her out of my arms and into her crib. Failed. She was very happy to fall asleep... as long as it was on top of me in the chair in her room. Eventually I gave in and took her to our bed hoping for a miracle. None came. Instead, I had the usual flip-flop show that she does when she is in there with me. After about 30 minutes or so I took her back to her room, forced her in her crib, sat in the chair and listened to her cry until John came in as reinforcements about 30 seconds later. Spent next hour and a half listening to John patiently attempting to get her to sleep in her crib. His perseverance paid off and she finally went in and went to sleep.

John says he came back to bed at 2:00ish. I swear the clock said 3:00.

Emily was up again at 5:40. This time I held her for as long as she wanted and when she said "dodo," meaning she wanted in her crib, she actually stayed there. Normally, lately, she says dodo and then promptly cries when you obey her instructions. Anyway, I was back in bed by 6:15 or so and then didn't wake up until 7:30.

This inane amount of detail brought to you by me who can't focus on anything besides our lack of sleep. You can tell I'm totally out of practice in regards to losing sleep. Oh woe is me when September rolls around.

Anyway, to follow on that, we had big tears, clutching and kissing my face when we tried to leave her at Dawn's this morning. Luckily for Emily, it is out of sight out of mind and her anti-tear drug seems to be wooden blocks. Apparently after 30 seconds without us she was building mega towers.

I hope Dawn doesn't have too tough a day with our overtired munchkin.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Update from Dawn

In Dawn's words: "Emily is an absolute treasure today." I asked her if she was being sarcastic. She said that she was serious. I'm so happy! This could have gone so badly. A kid at this age - really, it can go either way with a big switch like this. She could have had a terribly sad day today which could mean it would be really hard at the drop-off tomorrow but apparently she is, generally, as happy as she could be. There were a few tears about 30 minutes after I left and she was calling for me but Dawn got her through it. Emily was really excited about going to the park and asked that the other Emily sit with her in the wagon and even moved over so the 3-year old could try to squish in. Of course, she filled her diaper at the park... but that's our Emily. I'm sure she entertained everyone in the area with announcements such as "tu pu" and "caca" and sudden hand-waving in front of her nose.

She ate lunch well (not the meat of course) and drank lots of milk. Who is this kid?

I'm going to try to pick her up at 4:30 today so we have more time together tonight.

I'm so glad that she's having a good time. So far it seems like I made the right choice in choosing Dawn's.

A good start

Drop-off went well! Emily was happy to get to Dawn's and started playing right away. She didn't even whimper when I left. She was already playing with toys and things seemed to be going well.

And, the drive to work is shorter in distance and slightly shorter in time - I was at work in 20 minutes! Oh joy.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Little but late thoughts

Time for bed. We're just finished watching 24, a little hockey, and an episode of Battlestar. We have to savour Battlestar since we bought the DVD set of season 2 and know that it can only last so long. After that we have to wait for broadcast and then release of season 3. That's like being stuck in the desert without water.

Tomorrow is Emily's first day at Dawn's. I'm worried. Can't help it. I just want her to be happy. All the time.

Second morning at the new daycare

Friday morning, I took Emily back to Dawn's. After about 20 minutes, I left to do a few errands and came back about 2 hours later. It went fairly well. Emily seemed to enjoy herself, according to Dawn, and played and ate well. She was a bit clingy but that was to be expected. Emily and I spent the rest of the day doing the usual Karen-Emily things. It all seemed fine until 2:15 am when she woke up crying and wouldn't let me put her down, wouldn't sleep in her crib and I finally gave in and took her to our bed where I was subjected to the usual Emily-wanting-to-be-in-our-bed-but-also-not-able-to-sleep-because-oh-man-I'm-in-mummy-and-daddy's-bed-i.e.-the-holy-grail. I also got the treat of her rubbing my boobs periodically. Don't know why and don't want to know why.

I don't know if this wake up and the horrible time she has had going to bed since is to do with adjusting to a new daycare or due to the fact that she seems to be getting another molar or maybe because she is 20 months old and that's JUST WHAT TODDLERS DO. However, she stuck to me like glue all weekend insisting that Mummy help her do up her buckles, tie her shoes, pass her the orange juice because DADDY'S HANDS ARE JUST NOT GOOD ENOUGH. Hmmm. I'm just going to go with it and wait it out but it is entirely annoying when I am in the middle of cooking or reading and I have to be the one to undo the buckles for the 86th time that day.

She also started hitting us. I won't get into the ugliness of that but let's just say it was not the best parenting moment in our house but we seem to have worked out a good system for dealing with it now and it is having some effect. Of course, Emily saying "Torry, Mummy" is about enough for me to forgive her of just about anything. Okay, anything.

Today she is with John and I am back here. HERE. Ick, here. Doing things that seem totally inane and stupid compared with spending even one second with Emily. Last night I was thinking about this while watching one of the last episodes of West Wing (that's about enough to make me burst into tears right there - how can they end this show when they've introduced such great, new characters? I'm sure Jimmy Smits and Alan Alda would be happy to stay on... sigh). I realized that this weekend (counting Thursday and Friday when I was with Emily) had a much more profound affect on me than my previous stay-at-home times with Emily since I started back to work. This time was different. At risk of sounding completely Oprah, this time I felt like my soul changed somehow. Like I feel as though I can't do this anymore and be happy at the same time. Like there will be a change after my next maternity leave - I will do everything in my power to ensure that I am not back here or anywhere else that requires me to spend this amount of time away from her. I am very aware that Canadian women do not have much of a choice in deciding to either stay home or go to a paying job. Most of us are like me and have no choice but to return to work even if we don't want to (and this is not at all saying that you should feel that you should stay home. I wish I was in a job that I really wanted to come to every day but it just hasn't happened for me) and Stephen Harper's childcare plan will not do anything to change that no matter what he says. However, I do see options for myself in making money while also being with Emily (no, John, this does not include a plan to open my own telephone sex line). Maybe after my next maternity leave I'll want to come back here and do my French (I must admit it will be very hard to say no to that) but it just felt so dream-like and distant to think of myself sitting in this office or any other office. That's the best description of how I felt in that moment. And in that moment, I knew that something had to change.