Wednesday, November 29, 2006

What it's like

The last few days have felt like the stars are in alignment around here. Emily has been absolutely stellar. Funny, energetic, only minor whining. Hope has been going to sleep relatively easily and sleeping well, smiling and laughing while awake. The only little glitch is Emily's t.v. addiction. I 'm tackling that tomorrow by limiting her to t.v. only right after breakfast and then not again the rest of the day.

I got a list today of all the drop-in playgroups in our area. They're supposed to be great and I don't know why it took me this long to get interested in them. I'm going to try them starting next week.

I feel like I should be speaking more often to what it is actually like to being at home with two little kids, one tiny.

It is overwhelming sometimes.

About a week ago I announced in here that I thought I had PPD. I believe now that I don't have any depression. Rather, I'm just tired, get angry sometimes, overwhelmed and at that time I was constantly being challenged and annoyed by Emily. It was a perfect storm.

As I go through this year, I have often thought of my mum. I'm sure she had moments like this. I never asked her, and she probably wouldn't have told me all the sordid details or the bad moments she had that were similar to mine last week (when I threw a soap dispenser against the wall right after hauling my hair dryer against the bathroom mirror). For my friends and I who are doing this right now, I don't think we've heard the realities of it from any of our mothers. I'm not sure if this is because they have blocked out those hair dryer-throwing moments or they don't want to tell us about those horrible moments because they don't want to remember the times when they questioned their own decency as a mother. Whatever it is, it is something that women who are engaged in this crazy motherhood thing need to talk about more.

We lose it.

It's okay to lose it (to a point of course). What is most important is that we spread the word that we're far from perfect, that this is the hardest job a woman will ever have, and that we need outlets and support. And, that until a woman experiences this for herself, it can never really be honestly explained to her.

I found it hard with Emily but I also loved it. I love it now with Hope. I love it with Hope and Emily together. However, with the two at home together, I am more challenged, more tired, and at times, more frustrated, than I have ever been in my life and probably will ever be again. It isn't depression, but it is hard. Really hard. But I wouldn't trade it for anything and I am glad that Emily is home with me full-time. I'm experiencing something now that connects me to my mum further and so many women before me.

Being home full-time with two kids is something that far fewer women do now than when our mothers were doing it. A number of my friends in fact have had a second baby but keep their first child in daycare. I can totally understand that. And I probably would have done the same (although probably part-time) if Dawn hadn't closed the daycare. But, here I am and I'm so glad that I am doing this. It is making me a stronger, more creative, more understanding person. I'm thankful for that.

I'm going to spend more time over the next few months though thinking about all of this.

If I can find the time, that is....

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The new carrier

As promised... she cried in there yesterday but seemed pretty happy today. Now I just have to master putting it on... not the easiest thing in the world, especially with a somewhat bum shoulder from my car accident a few years ago that has served to restrict me from putting one arm behind my back very well. Hmmm, will have to figure that one out.

Also figured out how to use the timer on my camera!

Emily's letter to Santa

Being put in the mail today:

Dear Santa,

My name is Emily. I've been a good girl this year. So, for Christmas I would like a Pooh chair and a book about a fox.

I hope you are staying warm at the North Pole.

I know the alphabet. My Mummy and Daddy would like a baby fox book, too.

My sister, Hope, would like a little baby fox book. She is two months old.

Thank you,

Emily Walsh
Age 2

Sunday, November 26, 2006

A pain in the...

Poor Emily. After three full days of no poop action, the eagle had to land this morning. She was very uncomfortable and trying to stop the poop from emerging. Eventually nature had its way with her and she sat on the potty unable to stop the inevitable but crying and clutching me. I felt so bad for her. And I was worried that it would give her stage fright for a few days, compounding the problem.

Luckily, she had an easy time of it this evening, earning her more Smarties and proving to her that pooping can feel great, rather than painful. "Feels good!" she said. Oh yah, she's my daughter.

Dawn, Mimi and Papa Mimi were over for supper tonight. Emily was absolutely beside herself with glee. We had a great visit. We really miss seeing those guys every day and clearly Emily does too.

Hope had a better day although there was still a major freakout when she went down too late for a nap. Again, t.v. did my parenting for me and lulled her to sleep. Since then it has been clear sailing. She really is such an amazing kid and such a good baby. She has started to laugh now and it is perfection.

I bought a baby carrier today that has lumbar support (unlike many carriers out there) and can become a baby backpack too. I'll try it out tomorrow and hope that it solves some of my logistic issues regarding hauling these two into stores and museums and the like. I got the Ergo Carrier, sold by the famous Diaper Lady here in Ottawa. However, I got it from someone selling it used. In reality, it had never come out of the package so I got it for a decent price considering that - and no taxes of course. Nice. Once I get Hope in there I'll post a photo or two. Still none taken today but hopefully I'll get on that tomorrow.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

No accidents!

Emily went all day today, in big girl underwear, with no accidents! We're rewarding that, against all my good judgement, with Smarties. I didn't mean to do that but I told her that if she went accident free for a day she'd get a treat. By "treat" I meant the cheapo Barney doll hidden in my closet but to Emily, at least since Hallowe'en, "treat" means candy. Oops. So, while she was pretty taken with the Barney (hey, the guy's wearing a swimsuit - fullpiece!), she was pretty insistent on candy. I saw an opening for some major strides forward re the toilet and went for it. It seems to have paid off. Every time she takes her underwear off and uses the toilet, she gets 3 Smarties. You do what works if it means that you're not cleaning shit off a two-year old bum. Really, it may as well be adult poop at this point. Nasty.

Speaking of poop, Emily has had none of it for going on 4 days tomorrow. I'm concerned and am now lacing her drinks with Colace, a stool softener. This coincides with Hope going down to one big poop a day. Odd.

Hope has also entered an odd phase regarding going down for naps. She'll have none of it easily all of a sudden. Until yesterday, I popped in the soother, laid her down, gave her a kiss, walked out and came back an hour or two later. Now, she cries, grunts and kicks her legs like a ninja master. I worked on it for about 40 minutes this afternoon and did succeed in having her fall asleep on her own, without rocking her (I'm really trying to avoid that) but I couldn't do that tonight. She was so worked up (our fault - we dragged her to the mall when she should have been sleeping late this afternoon) due to lack of sleep that the only thing I could get to stop the crying was t.v. She isn't a crier by nature at all so this was unusual. Poor kid.

We went to the mall to do two things: buy a new dishwasher (finally!) and have Emily check out the big guy himself - Santa that is. Last I checked God was not resident at St. Laurent Shopping Centre. Anyway, Emily had a whale of a time - she was mesmerized by the decorations, all the activity, getting to use the mall toilet, and seeing (other) kids sit on Santa's knee. I didn't offer the chance to her and she didn't ask. Saved me $8.99.

I'm truly pumped about the new dishwasher. Ours has been limping along for over a year now. I think it is original to the house being built in 1988. No kidding. The top rack does not get clean now. The bottom seems to be on its way out too. So, while it might seem extraneous to some, we bought another one. I just don't have enough time in the day to want to use it doing that many dishes.

My first six months home with Emily I never used the dishwasher. I was totally against it unless we had guests. I took the moral high ground regarding the environment and did the dishes everyday. It took me about 30 minutes. Emily napped for 40. That sucked. Then one day, after we had some people over for dinner and we used the dishwasher I decided to screw the environment and embrace the beautiful technology that was sitting in my kitchen. I never looked back.

Well, enough rambling. No photos today but I'll try and get some good ones tomorrow. Hope is humongous. Cute but humongous. I'll try and capture that and show you what I mean.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Early to rise, makes a woman cranky

It's 6:53 am and I've been up for almost two hours now. Hope woke up to feed just after 5:00 and soon after that Emily got out of bed and came in to say hi. John got her back to bed but right after I got Hope back to sleep (around 5:45), Emily came back in our room. Clearly day had started for her if not for me.

So, we're sitting in the basement eating our oatmeal, she's watching Dora and I'm trying to keep my eyelids open. Today will be one of those days where I just try to get to Emily's naptime as quickly as possible, minimizing all whining (by both of us). I'm thinking a visit to see Santa today might be the way to go.

I actually considered getting my camera in the middle of the night last night to take a picture of what had to be the most offensive baby poop I have experienced. Hope didn't poop yesterday. Instead, she saved it all up for one spectacular dump at 12:30 am. I was holding her at the time. I could feel the nasty, poopy warmth spread up her back. It was already soaking through her sleeper as far up as her shoulder blades.

There was actually wet poop in her armpit. That's a new one for me.

Happy American Turkey Day to Beth and Erika!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Everything old is new again

Or as my mother was fond of saying, there's nothing new under the sun... Emily on the top (November 2004) and Hope underneath (November 2006). Uh, I guess they are sisters.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

What happens when....

you leave a toddler under their own devices in the basement/playroom while you breastfeed and put to bed the baby: first look seems rather mild. Not too much to worry about:

And then, a little more but still not too bad:

Hmmm, a sign of things to come but still manageable:

And around the corner... oh, the humanity! (Notice the toilet paper... she actually managed to dislodge this from the toilet paper holder. No small feat for a person who can't even zip her own pants):

Monday, November 20, 2006

Photos from the parade

Jen, in her wisdom, brought a camera to the parade. Here are some photos from the UnSanta Claus Parade.
And finally, the aforementioned Santa bus that we used as a replacement for Santa himself:

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Santa, no Santa, it doesn't seem to matter

Yesterday I took Emily to the Santa Claus parade. We got there for 11:30 thinking that would ensure that we saw the floats that started down the parade route at 11:00. Turns out that the parade got underway about 30 minutes late so we saw nothing until about 12:30. Emily didn't care. She amused herself for the first full hour watching a big machine/crane at a construction site.

It was darn cold. Emily sat on my shoulders most of the time eating a lollipop passed out by some group of paraders. By 1:00 we still hadn't spotted Santa, but look! there's a big bus with a humongous Santa hat on it. I told Emily that was Santa, she was thrilled, and we left. Dontcha love toddlers? Forgot to take my camera of course so you'll just have to use your mind's eye.

Last night the Henkelmans came to our house for dinner. We were all supposed to go out for dinner at a swanky bistro but Meredith's son had a nasty stomach flu and she was supposed to babysit for us. So, a quick change of plans, and the Henkelman's came to our house, they ordered take away Thai, brought dessert and wine, and it was all very good.

Lastly, it seems that I have a touch of postpartum depression. That seems like saying "I have a touch of the cancer." Anyway, it means that I may not be posting as often as I have been depending on my energy level and desire or ability to do anything more than play with Emily and change Hope's diaper. But, I'll try to post updates as I see myself through this next exciting phase of parenthood. John's being very understanding... especially after I throw a soap dispernser atgainst the bathroom wall. Don't worry though... that's all I've thrown so far.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Three words I've been waiting to hear

I'm sure every parent is like me and waits impatiently for their child to, without prompting, say: I love you. I tell Emily I love her all the time, not because I need to hear it back, although it would be kind of nice to hear her say that spontaneously. For now, her kisses, hugs, Mummies, grabbing my hand, touching my cheeks, etc say it all. Still.... like I said, it would be nice.

This morning we were snuggling in the rocking chair just after she woke up. She walked over to get a pull-up as we were going to be leaving shortly for playgroup (otherwise it is "big girl" underwear all the way). She chose a Dora and Boots pull-up. She climbed back in my lap. I told her that I loved her.

She said: "I love Dora. I love Boots."

Oh. God. The apocolypse has arrived.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Care for a cuppa?

The last week, actually longer, has been really rough with Emily. There has been a lot of whining (her, not me), lots of rudeness, crying, temper tantrums and hot and cold with the toilet/potty. I told John last night that, if I'm honest, I'm not enjoying being her parent lately. I wondered if I'm not giving her enough stimulation, if it is a phase, or if it is a result of too much t.v. (current addiction is Dora and the Wiggles).

This morning started off badly. Right from when she got out of bed she was crying and whining. So, I let her watch Dora while I got breakfast ready. We enjoyed breakfast (okay, who wouldn't? It was blueberry bread pudding with whipped cream on top) and then there was some crying when I told her there was no more t.v. for the day. So, to divert her, we had a tea party. A "real" tea party. I made tea, put out cookies, brought her table and chairs up from the basement, brought Pooh and Baby to the table, and gave her the china tea set she likes. It was a major event and a total hit of course. The tea party marked the end of whining for the rest of the day (so far).

After about 30 minutes of that, we took all the kids books off the shelves in the living room and spread them out like a library and read lots of them. After that it was off to the kitchen for drawing. Then, upstairs to feed Hope and for Emily to generally destroy the top floor. I decided that today I was going to stop caring about tidying except for during Emily's nap. It works so much better if I just play with her.

Clearly this was part of the issue. She does need more stimulation, more interaction and more activity than I have been providing lately. I do of course play with her and give her some activities but she needs more than I was giving her. This will mean a messier house, a more fatigued me but if it means less whining and crying, and a better relationship between her and I (back to how it has always been - very close and loving with little conflict), I'll totally do that.

After drawing, it was off to pick up John at the train station, get some groceries and Loblaws (where Emily saw her playgroup leader, Paul - a big hit), and then home for lunch. Clearly nap happened a bit late today.

After her nap, we go to the library so John and I can vote and to let Emily explore a bit. All in all, a great day with my big girl. Oh, and big girl underwear, no accidents, and lots of potty time! Hooray! Even hit the mark in Loblaws!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Humming along

There isn't much to report on from here at the moment. Emily is being a toddler - the last few days she is hot and cold with toilet use. Hopefully I'll be able to get her back on track during the coming week. Hope is doing really well. I've been working on changing her sleep location a little bit and it has therefore been a bit of a struggle the last couple of days but nothing that I can really complain about. Especially since she slept five hours straight last night!

The week ahead will probably be our usual routine - library, playgroup, and who knows what else (maybe a visit to the farm?)... we have to get our flu shots this week too. Ick.

The only question mark for the week will be if John goes on strike on Wednesday. That could make life a little interesting around here. We'll pull out the guitars and ponchos and head for the water tower.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Being two months old makes me happy

Two months can go by so fast

Hope is two months old today. Only two months and two hours ago, she came flying out of me right here in the basement. And now, two months on, I still have a few ailments to show for it (the shortness of this entry is testament to my still-sore ass). The ailments though pale in comparison to the absolute heart-melting emotion I have for this tiny, perfect being. She has in every way completely captured my heart. I spend the few moments of the day when I get to be alone with her, gazing, memorizing every line on her face, every emotion she shows, and whispering to her about how much I love her, and how she is my heart. I hope she hears every word and remembers it all above the din that is sometimes our house.

She is the perfect baby. For the time being, she wakes up around 7:30 and feeds, goes back to sleep around 8:30 and wakes up about an hour later. She'll then be up for a bit until around 11:30 and then sleep until about 12:30. Then she'll do a good sleep (two hours or so) sometime again after that. Then back down again around 5:00 and then up around 6:30 and then down for the count around 8:00. She will then usually sleep until 1:00 am and then get up every 3 to 4 hours to feed. Repeat. I can't ask for much more. And amidst all of that there is rarely a cry. Just lots of smiles when I come into our room to get her up from her nap. As soon as she sees my face she grins and coos and does everything she can to melt my heart again. It totally makes my day every time. I often get excited when she starts to wake up because I know that is what is waiting for me.

Tuesday mornings are Emily's playgroup. This is a hard time for Hope. She is hauled along, left in her car seat most of the time and summarily ignored for most of the two hours. It can't be fun. But, she puts up with it, doesn't protest too much (until she gets really hungry) and somehow manages to sleep a bit even though several two-year olds are intent on poking her or getting two-inches from her face because that is just what two-year olds do with babies. Go figure. It's some kind of phenomenon. I told Emily this morning that when she gets older, she owes Hope a big thank-you for understanding that Emily needs this kind of activity even though it isn't fun for Hope. I will thank Hope by making sure that when she is two, I am off work and taking her to the playgroup so she can climb, slide, run, sing, do crafts, cry, get angry, break things... all the things that two-year olds need to learn.

I guess my ass was able to hold out longer than expected.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Emily discovers Nutella

Oh my. In an effort to get Emily to eat her toast, which she requested but then refused, I slathered it with peanut butter and nutella. Um, she seemed to like it.

Every day (almost) lately Emily has been helping me bake. It started slowly in the summer when we baked her birthday cake at the cottage. It really took off when Beth was here in September and she and Emily baked together everyday. Sometimes twice a day.

Now, I am baking my own bread (seems crazy, but isn't really when you have a kick-ass mixer with a dough hook) and Emily loves to help, of course. John took some pictures today. The kitchen floor is in a constant state of needing to be mopped.

Halloween photos

Emily did go out for Halloween, even with her cold.... and loved it. Although you wouldn't know it by the photo below that makes her look like she's going out under protest. I probably would have protested in fact... this was my first chance to collect candy in years!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Tortiere be damned

Because Beth said she is always hoping for photos of the nieces, I have left behind a very untidy house (something I usually can't stand) and dinner preparations to upload some halloween photos (no costume ones yet, but they're coming) and a few of Hope.

She seems to have developed a bit of a mohawk.

Wrap up of the saga of the hemorrhoids

I gave in and got a prescription. It was the best thing I did in regards to the 'roids. Within 3 days, the hemorrhoid has been blasted to almost oblivion. Combined with the "cushion bum sore mummy," as Emily calls it, I'm feeling almost 100% aside from the fatigue fog I'm walking around in lately due to Emily having a cold and therefore waking up in the night usually right after I finish a 45 minute breastfeeding session with Hope (she's a bit of a gourmand when it comes to enjoying her meals). I think the roid cream and the cold may be related as the walk-in clinic is the only place I can think of where I may have picked up any germs. I seem to be a carrier though rather than having the cold myself, thankfully.

The potty training is still humming along. I actually feel like we're on the road to being diaper-free with Emily. Yesterday she wore "big girl underwear" to the library and back with no accidents. In fact she wore the underwear a lot yesterday with no accidents. Sweet. Hopefully there will be no backward steps now regarding the toilet.

I have some pictures to post of Hope but not until tomorrow because there is a tortiere that needs making for supper. Mmm-mmm, good.