Sunday, November 30, 2008

November comes to an end

So we are at the end of November. Christmas is coming.

I've been absent for a bit. All chaos. My parents, who live in Manitoba, were here for a visit. That was chaos, but fun chaos. At the end my brother had a hissy fit. We've had those before and survived. It's such a long story that I won't bore you. But basically he ruined the end of the visit. Luckily we had a good time on the last few days without him.

Ray went to Rochester for training from a Sunday to the Tuesday. Xander had the flu in there. I had it yesterday and still have it today. Yuck!


And in the middle of this Liam has truly learned to crawl. He's everywhere and into everything. We need to re-babyproof this house. He's making laps of the main floor. Cute. He's also working hard on pulling up and gets up to his knees.

I think I might be on to something for the sleep issues, but I dare not write that yet. I'll let you all know if it works. It might be a bit of a process, but this might solve things. Might.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Still Nothing

Despite Liam acting like an insomniac with PMS, we still have no teeth. At his worst, he won't even accept the soother and just screams at us. Mostly in the middle of the night. Thankfully a little baby Advil helps this, for a while anyway. But he is just grumpy and hard to please in general.

On one hand, I don't want teeth. He can chomp pretty good with his gums, and I swear he's bitten me with them. Ouch! On the other hand, I am ready to have a really good night's sleep and stop this insanity. Plus, he is almost 9 months old, so I guess it is time.

I could swear that Xander was not this bad with his first teeth, but I brought that idea up to my Mom this morning and she said he was pretty bad himself. (And that I was terrible before my first two teeth popped through.) Which I will just file under Mother's Amnesia. Even I have it.

Let's hope before long Liam's fussing and fretting is over, we have a few teeth, and I am on my way to storing this time away under Mother's Amnesia.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Monday is Murphy's Day

I figure a day is not starting well, when it begins this way:

Xander: It's morning time!!!
Ray: Oh shit, it is too. ...It's quarter to eight!

Xander and I had to be at preschool for 8:30. The day was packed full of stuff, and it would have been nice to have had at least another half hour to work with. But then again, what's a Monday morning without a little Murphy's Law thrown in.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


I have a few interests. My family and friends. Of course, my kids. I love to travel, though with kids and limited income, that is not much of an option these days. I'm a reader. Ray is too. You should see our living room: 7 six foot bookshelves packed full. And that is only a portion of our books. We read.

About 7 years I started running. I love running. It makes me feel human and helps me keep life in perspective.

I am not a fast runner, but I can do the distance and just keep going. Most of the time. And I have had the patience and perseverance to come back from injury and two pregnancies.

But right now I am debating. Over the summer I joined a great running group. I really like them and I like running with them. But Liam was just born in February and that brings a few new challenges. Lack of sleep does not make for a better runner. It makes running a bigger effort. My joints are not back to normal, and they may not be until I finish breastfeeding.

While I was running over the summer, I got plantar fasciitis. Despite rest, ice, and lots of painful massage, it persisted. It has died down now, but my knees and hips are aching now. Especially my knees. In an effort to stop the ache, I got new shoes. They are fantastic and the aching is much less. But I am finding that my knees are still not right. Most likely because of the crazy hormones from having a baby and breastfeeding.

A new clinic is about to start on November 25th. I would love to go. I really want to spin too with the group. But then I wonder if I ought to put my efforts elsewhere this winter. It makes me sad, but I've never ached this long before. But I still struggle with the choice: to run or not to run.

Friday, November 14, 2008


I was checking my email this morning and looked back at Liam to discover he'd done this in the 20 seconds I was not paying attention. He's really getting into his books.

Xander loves books so much that he is mad he can't read yet.

I guess that Liam is our kid too!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Mother's Amnesia

I have long argued that mother's amnesia covers much more than labour and delivery.

Despite the fact that almost everyone I know in my generation has battled with some kind of sleep issues with their children, the generation before us insists "We had no problems with our kids sleeping." (Insert "what's your problem" at the end of that sentence, because it is the unspoken ending we all hear.) How is it possible that none of us had sleep issues and yet a good portion of our kids do? Statistically, this makes me go....hmmmmm?!?

My mother-in-law, aunt, and Mom all said this. Although, to give my Mom credit, she did say my brother screamed 12 hours a day for the first 6 months of his life, so "thank God the little bugger slept at night". I crack up every time I hear that. And it was Mom who ratted out her generation. I revealed my theory to her one day and she said, "Lorna said that none of her kids had sleep problems?" in the most surprised voice I have heard in a while. When I confirmed it, she told me that my one cousin cried up to 45 minutes each and every time she was put down for a sleep until she was 2 years old.

Aha! I told you: mother's amnesia.

When Mom came to visit last time, she also said, "You are right: Liam really does not sleep!"

Ummm, Mom, did you think I was lying?

So far we have tried The No Cry Sleep Solution, The Baby Whisperer, The Sleep Lady, and variants of CIO. All to some degree of success and some degree of failure. Right now Liam will go down fairly readily for his morning nap, screams blue murder about an afternoon nap (and often we get nothing from him), and goes to bed easily in the evening, but often wakes up after 6 hours for a snack and then is up and down and up and down from 2-6 am. Causing chaos with Xander and exhaustion for his parents.

Although part of me wants to retain this so I have sympathy for my kids when their children come along, part of me really can't wait for mother's amnesia too.

And it is a heck of a good method of birth control!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Xander is finished with daycare next week. He's been going to preschool since September and he loves it! As Ray said this morning, his attitude when he gets there is very much "Don't let the door hit you on the way out." He gets so much stimulation there and I can almost see the little cogs turning in his brain. We love our home daycare situation, but between the fact that he is getting excellent outside stimulation from preschool and the fact that my business is not rolling in the money these days (who can do much writing with an 8 month old underfoot) it no longer balances out. Besides, with him going both places, I no longer have much time with him and I miss him.

Liam is more and more mobile each day. He's trying his hand at pulling up on furniture, people, toys, and walls. Some are more successful than others. Occasionally he gets brave and lets go...then falls. Ooops! He's also getting teeth, I think. I can see little bulges under the gums. I will count no chickens, um...make that teeth before they hatch. Oh yeah, and he definitely has some of my mother's genes: no matter what food I make him, he leaves a spoonful behind. Does not matter how little or how much, there is always something left behind. This is my Mom. If you find a coffee cup with a half inch of cold coffee lying around your house, I bet my Mom was there! Liam does this too. Let me tell you, it is no less annoying because he is tiny.

And when does this sharing a room get easier? Seriously. It has been at least a month now, maybe a bit more, and these two are still driving me insane. Liam wakes up and cries. I have heard legends of siblings who learn to ignore this. Who are these strange children? Can they come give lessons to Xander? Xander wakes up and starts yelling "It's too loud Liam. TOO LOUD!" Which makes Liam cry more/harder. You can see where this is going, right. So we end up comforting Liam and putting him back to bed, and Xander goes to sleep on his air mattress in our room for a bit until Liam is sound asleep again. Repeat each night at some point. Sometimes a couple times a night. No wonder I am tired. If this is still like this when January rolls around, Ray and I are going to have to have a serious conversation about putting Xander in the 3rd bedroom, on the main floor; the room that is Ray's home office. There is a human limit to how long we can deal with this.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I Remember

I remember that my maternal Great-Grandmother took my Grandmother and Great Uncles to England just before WWI and got stuck there for a good part of the war.

I remember that my paternal Grandfather, who was Polish, was on "the wrong side of the war" because he was forced by the Nazi invaders. He had 3 tanks blown out from under him by the Allies, but survived it all, then was captured and held as a POW in Scotland for the remainder of the war. I know all this from my Dad, since my Grandfather never did speak to us about it before he passed away. He was extremely grateful to be Canadian.

I remember that my paternal Grandmother was taken from her family in Poland when she was 14 years old. She was send to a work camp by the Nazis and her own father never saw her again, though she told me that her sisters wrote to tell her that when he was very ill later in life, he kept "Waiting for my daughter to come home to me". After the war she was offered passage to Canada and she took it. I do know a little about this time; about a decade ago, she shared some of her experiences with me.

I remember being in Europe and going to see concentration camps (I was 8-12 years old then and it was in the mid 1980s). Even in the summer, there is a chill. Legend has it that the birds changed their flight patterns around Dachau and Auschwitz. I believe it. There is a quiet around them that confirms there are still no birds there. I will always remember. You cannot see that kind of thing and forget.

I remember going to The Eagle's Nest. It was beautiful there, but all I can think about is the horror carried out by the people who created this retreat. Even at 11 years old, I knew that.

I remember that we were in Europe because my Dad was military, and knowing that at any time, my Dad could be called to fight and to die. I grew up with that knowledge in my heart. I will always remember that.

I remember speaking to our family friend, Henry, who could never tell us his real last name. His wife Cic did not even know it. He had been in the Polish underground and was injured a total of 7 times during WWII. He told me that each time, he would dream of his mother the night before and she would tell him what was going to happen. I always smile at the memory of his face telling me this and then saying that he would respond with, "Mama, Mama....not again!"

I remember that friends of my parents are in Afghanistan.

I remember. And I will teach my children to remember too.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Funnies by Xander

This morning I was driving Xander to preschool and we had a conversation that left me laughing. We started off goofing around (he has a think about using the word walnut as "bombutt" and then being silly with it). He told me I was silly.

Me: But I am not that silly. If I were silly, I wouldn't have married your Daddy. (There's a fallacy argument in here somewhere, I am sure that Ray will point it out to me later.)
Xander: You're not married to Daddy.
Me: Yes, I am.
Xander: You didn't wait for me? (And he started crying at the thought of being left out of something!)
Me (trying not to crack up at this point): Well honey, that's how it is done. (Never mind, we'll talk about the details there much later.)
Xander: I really wish you hadn't done that!

I lost it at that point.

Later on I was filling in birthdays and anniversaries on a calendar.
Me (to Ray): And Xander is 2005.
Xander: NO, I am 3!

Xander running around the kitchen: I am getting the ants out of my pants.

There's other stuff, but D is singing the D song in the background via the ABC thing the Leapfrog makes, so it's hard to think of them all. Conversations with a 3 year old is an interesting way to spend your day.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Preconceived Notions

I've been pondering this in bits and pieces for a while, but more so since yesterday. One of the clients in the office I work in a couple times a week was in and we were talking about how he has been researching community viability and is convinced that our towns and cities are not set up right. I know what he is talking about, because I've lived in Europe and Asia and towns and cities there are walkable. You can go down the street and get everything you need. No need for a car. We were talking about how it is healthier to have that kind of lifestyle. In North America a car is required for banking, groceries, and sometimes even just to go to see a neighbour, depending on where you live. We could refashion our lifestyles to make them healthier just by taking on a community model that incorporates our whole lives, rather than compartmentalizing work, entertainment, and the place where we sleep and store our stuff.

All of this is interesting stuff, but what he said that made me ponder into other directions was that there are a number of people who have a preconceived notion that he is a "communist" because he is researching and considering the consequences of this kind of community.

Which made me think about other preconceived notions.

I breastfeed my kids and make their baby food from scratch (well, most of it). We are also about 90% chemical free in our house. And there is a huge misconception that this makes me "crunchy". I do these things because it works for us. But I am almost the antithesis of crunchy in my own mind: I vaccinate my kids and believe in vaccinating very strongly, we use disposable diapers, and although I love the premise of AP parenting, I just cannot do it long term, so we are more middle-of-the-road with our parenting. I like to pick and choose from among parenting trends for what works for us.

Another one that gets me is "religious". We do not attend church regularly. It is pointless with Xander, because we end up chasing him around the building. That worked okay when we went to a small church, but that church closed and the one we belong to is huge. I am not a big prayer person. I believe in God, but prayer feels a little fake to me. I find communication with God by singing. This has been true my whole life. There's a story of me being about Xander's age and we lived in a remote community. My Mom is Anglican and my Dad Catholic. I was baptised Catholic. The church in that community was one building with rooms on opposite sides: one for the Catholic service and the other for the Protestants. The priest and minister would stand in the room between to greet the people as they came in. Every week Mom and Dad which side I wanted to attend. (They say that this caused quite some interest between the priest and minister.) Every week the answer was the same: "I want to go to the singing side." But because we don't go to church right now, there is an assumption that we are not religious. Certainly you would not know that if you listened to conversations that we have with Xander though. It's another preconceived notion.

My favourite one though is the notion of being an athlete. I was never good at sports in school. I am not good at anything requiring a stick and ball of any kind, which leaves out anything team related. And in school athlete = team sports. When I was a kid I biked like crazy, swam really well, and skied like a demon. But I was not an athlete; I didn't do team sports. As I have gotten older this has turned around. I discovered running a number of years ago. Now a lot of people consider me athletic. This also cracks me up. I suppose I am, but by running standards, I am a slug. lol!

Still, these are all just notions. Preconceived or not. We are much more colourful than that!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Liam sits

Liam has been able to sit if you put him there for several months now. Lately he's been throwing himself on the floor and making movements towards crawling. He can spin himself around on his belly with his hands. For a while he would get up on his hands and then not know what else to do, then put his face to the floor and arms down and scream, while sticking his butt in the air and knees under him. We thought that stage was annoying (the screaming part), but also hysterical to watch. Plus we felt bad for him that he just could not get it together. These days he is getting it together, but has yet to add a forward or backwards movement to it. He's up, but it's like watching a car stall. No one is getting anywhere at this rate! And he has been ticked off about not getting anywhere. He has the idea that there are places to GO, dammit.

And today I watched in open-mouthed fascination. He was sitting. Then he flung himself forward on all fours. Then down on the floor and did the spinning thing. Apparently he was done with that, because quick as you can say "sit up boy" he tucked his legs under himself, pulled his body back, and was sitting there again...grinning at me! We were both laughing in a second.

This kid is going places. Soon.

I guess the bigger question is: are we ready for it?

Friday, November 07, 2008

Back in the saddle again

I'd pretty much forgotten about blogging. Life can do that sometimes. And life has changed around here. Instead of one beautiful, funny boy to steer our lives, we now have two. Liam joined our family on February 29th, 2008. Yes, that is the leap year. And NO he will never lack for a birthday. I promise! Liam is 8 months and Xander is quickly heading towards 3.5 years old. How that happened is anyone's guess.

One of my sweet online friends, Lisa, has a pretty impressive blog. I follow it and laugh with her regularly. It's in my links on the sidebar. Go check it out! Over the past few months, I have found myself thinking "I need a blog". And I remembered that I have one. I just never use it. Sometimes I tell myself that I need to be writing for work. That's true too. Other times I think that life gets so busy with these kids and I am tired, but then that does not fly far as Lisa has 4 kids and manages this. How? I have no clue. But she is Wonder Mom. I'm just trying to keep up and hoping that writing begets more writing.

Also, there are so many times when the kids or Ray do or say things that crack me up, and I wish that I had a place to put it.

So here I am. Back in the saddle again.