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thoughts on life, parenting, news, and crazy shit

Month: July, 2013

The Moment

imgfave.com

imgfave.com

Funny how there is so much anticipation, stress, and anxiety when it comes to having children.  And yet there are these defining moments that seem so short that make you sit back and go “That’s why”.

You go through what Don dubbed “the gestational period of an elephant”  (thanks for that by the way) and can’t wait to meet this life you have created and loved sight unseen.  Some parts are wonderful, but some parts blow.  Then you go through labour, and just when you think you want to die, they place him on your chest and you have your first moment.

The one where you exhale, and in that second, you know why you were so willing to suffer all those hours.  The one where your life is so wonderfully changed and you can’t imagine not being willing to do it all again if you get this moment again.  It gives you the right perspective to become a parent.

And then you endure the first weeks of getting to know your child and trying to figure out what they need, and how they need it.  They cry.  You cry. You wonder why on earth you did this to your life.  You neglect your other child.  You feel guilty.

Because you love them.

And then it happens.  Just when you think there can’t possibly be a payoff to all of this, it happens.  You have another moment.

You look down at your awake and content infant, and he looks back at you.  And he genuinely recognizes your face, your voice and your touch.  And it makes him happy.  Not quelled from his current discomfort or need, but happy.  He looks right at you, and smiles that big, toothless, gummy baby smile, and you forgive all the sleep deprivation and stress and remember what it is to be loved back by your child.

And you want the moment to last forever.

 

It Takes A Village

jeannie-ology.com

jeannie-ology.com

I haven’t been posting much lately.  I know, I was dedicated to my Monday to Friday routine, but there is a new Sheriff in town these days.  His name is Little Buddy and he works me to the bone.

Over the past week there has been a terrible tragedy here in Winnipeg.  A mother diagnosed with postpartum depression has apparently killed her two small children, and then police recovered her body from the river two days ago. It has been shocking to all of us.

And as a mother who is 4 weeks postpartum, it has been frightening.  Because obviously, something took a grip on this poor girl, and she was unable to control her thoughts and actions.  And as a mother who loves her babies so fucking hard, you wonder how that love couldn’t have been enough for her.

But as a mother who felt a little nuts in the first few weeks after having a newborn with a couple of complications, I could understand how you get to a dark place like that.   It’s exhausting.  It’s overwhelming. It’s defeating.  But all of a sudden it should start to fit together slowly, and you feel like you can breathe again.  Each day seems a little more manageable.

Do you remember that saying “It takes a village….”?  It really does.  I am fortunate to have an awesome village around me, and it’s that support that helps pull you through the hard days.  But I think a lot of people misinterpret the saying.  ” It takes a village to raise a child” , because I think it means that it takes a village to support the mother in raising her children.

And that support comes from having someone to bitch to.  Having someone recognize when you are struggling and jump in without having to ask what needs doing.  Making sure you get out of the house every single day without a child in tow.  Leaving a plate of cookies for you because you need a snack and are out of arms.  Calling just to see how things went today.

At least this is what my village does.  And knowing that even if I need a break my children will be looked after well for that hour or two gives me peace.

Because you know what happens when you spend 24 hours a day caring for everyone else except you?  You create a perfect storm to feel insane.  And some days, when the symphony of crying children begins and lasts all day, insanity feels like a perfectly reasonable alternative to the current situation.

Post partum depression is a real thing.  I’m sure I’ve been feeling a bit of PP anxiety myself.  But I feel confident in knowing that if I should start to feel or act a little off, I have a village of watchful eyes around me that would step in.  Because they’re watching closely.

So watch your moms out there.  Love them enough to realize that everyone needs help now and then.  Realize that a mother who loves her children is still gonna have days where she questions being able to do it.  Recognize when the question of being able to do it becomes a realization that she can’t.  Step in.

Become her village.

 

Nature Is A Tricky Bitch

rina8.deviantart.com

rina8.deviantart.com

I don’t know, but I think I might have pushed out my mind when I pushed out my baby.  Or maybe it got tangled in the umbilical cord by mistake.  Is that a thing?  Because I’m not sure if I felt this insane when I had the Destroyer.

I probably did, but Nature is a tricky bitch you see.

She has a way of romanticizing all the parts about childbirth and motherhood as if they were set to a soundtrack and put together like a montage.  I know in the logical side of my brain that labour with Buddy was really tough this time, and the recovery was way harder.  It was like running a marathon without training for it first.  But in my memories of it, I only think of how amazing it all was.

And as I try to remember those first few weeks with Destroyer, I imagine her as this perfect baby who only cried a little in the evening.  Unlike the monster that I have birthed now, who pretty much screams unless he is eating or sleeping.

But the truth is that none of the prior statements is true.  Destroyer made me cry out of frustration.  Buddy is not a monster.  And when I have my shit together, he doesn’t scream ALL the time.  Just most of it.  And even that may be a little melodramatic of me to say.

If he didn’t look so much like me, I may have eaten him by now.  But he is just so fucking beautiful that I couldn’t bear not being able to stare at him all day.  I guess I’ll have to just be satisfied with nibbling on his toes and smelling his new baby smell.

So anyway, because Nature is such a tricky bitch we continue to procreate and make more babies because they are so adorable and worth it once they are done eating and screaming on a two hour rotation each day.  But I am smart, you see. S-M-A-R-T.  I am documenting my shitty days so that when I beg Husband to impregnate me for a third time, I can refer to this blog and remind myself that it’s not as sexy as that bitch Nature would have me think it is.  And make an educated decision about it.

I love my children.  Forever and to the moon and back.

But some days just blow.  Some days are really, really hard.  Fact.

Skype date with wine anyone?

Week 3 And We’re All Still Breathing

newsinhealth.nih.gov

newsinhealth.nih.gov

Sometimes I read the shit that women write on various mommy pages and message boards and just shake my head.  I mean, I guess it’s nice to have a forum and group of gals to ask questions and get support from, but I’m just surprised at the anal retentiveness that is out there.

Ok. Maybe anal retentiveness isn’t nice to say, because we all have our ideals and beliefs and truly do what we think is best for our child.  Maybe I’m just feeling resentful towards all the first time mommies out there who have the time and energy to worry about a nice way to tell a stranger not to fucking touch their baby.  (How about “please don’t fucking touch my newborn with your germ ridden hands” ?)  Or who can run around and get the latest organic this or that.  Or who remember to brush their teeth every single day.

Don’t get me wrong.  The first time around has its challenges.  Mostly because everything is new and scary and you just want to make sure you keep the child alive the entire day.

But the second time?  Motherfucker.  It’s a whole new level of tired and crazy. Because you have to keep two alive.  And the bigger one can talk a bit and be annoying and run away.  At least the newborn stays where I put him, as long as the bigger one doesn’t drag him across the room and shove him in the bottom drawer of his dresser like she does with all the rest of his shit.

Here is my checklist of things I try to keep on top of during the day:

1. Nobody is crying or screaming, but everyone is breathing.

2. That wet spot on the bed/chair/couch is just from a dripping sippy cup, right?

2.1 When did I change the big one’s diaper?  Yesterday?  Sniff check the wet spot on the couch.

3. No more scrubbing bottle nipples.  Rinse out the chunks and convince myself that boiling them will take care of the rest.

4. Keep an episode of Thomas the Tank Engine or some bullshit on the IPad loaded at all times.

5. Both children sleeping.  Should I take a shower or a shit?

6. We still have three dogs?  Did we feed them this week?

7. Gas prevention and coping.  First time mommies take note.

8. A laundry pile that never shrinks.

9. What did the toddler just pick up off the ground and eat?  Was it dog shit? No? Ok.

10. Wipe off all visible signs of baby spit up off my clothes.  Worry about the smell later.  See #8.

A giant kudos to all single moms out there.  My husband is a huge help, but works 12 hour shifts.  Let me tell you about how long those days feel.

And then ask me how much I care if the cloth in his clothes is organic and or if I’m worried about being nice to rude strangers.

Cause I’m so not.  Please pass the wine.

 

Two Years

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Today we celebrate the arrival of our Twee Destroyer.  The one I credit with changing me so completely that sometimes I barely recognize the woman I’ve become over the last two years.  Two years ago, my journey into parenthood began with a dramatic entry.

My labour with her was only 8 hours, and at about 4 hours in, we went to the hospital with contractions 2-3 minutes apart.  Only to be sent home.  Of course we were back very shortly after they got rid of us, with my water broken and her head crowning.  15 minutes of pushing for a posterior baby and she flew on out.

As an infant, she was stuck with terribly inexperienced parents who had their heads pretty much shoved in their own asses for the first three months or so.  She screamed a lot.  I remember having the damn stroller in the house, rocking it back and forth when I just couldn’t walk anymore.  There were some nights where I would sit alone in the dark after she had finally fallen asleep and drank straight gin.  No ice. No mix.  I needed to feel the burn.  Don’t judge me, didn’t you know that coping is actually spelled a-l-c-o-h-o-l?

And then there was the puking.  She has always been a puker, and still sort of is.  I remember the first time we saw it.  She was maybe two weeks old and I was feeding her in the living room.  When I went to burp her, it fountained over the coffee table and on the the floor in front of the tv.  We were like, do babies do this?  Is this a thing?  It was for her.  She puked if she ate too fast, burped too hard, got too mad.

And there were so many times where we would get told something by our doctor, or read an article or whatever, and just go “whoops”.  But she seems to have survived the worst.

And along the way, through all the screaming and puking, we were constantly delighted by this little being we had created.  Because she was delightful.  IS delightful.  We loved every milestone she met, every smile and laugh and funny thing she did.

Through all of our screw ups, she has turned into a loving, gentle, social, perceptive, beautiful little girl.  And it’s hard for me to call her a girl, because she still feels like my baby.  And it doesn’t seem fair that being a baby is over for her already.  It doesn’t seem fair that two years have passed and I already wonder where time has gone.

I’m proud of the child she is becoming.  And I wish her all the love and happiness in the world on her birthday today, and for always.

Happy Birthday, Baby.

 

Baby Apparatus Hell

I could do this, right?

I could do this, right?

For the smallest person in this family, somebody’s shit sure takes up a lot of space.  I’ll give you all three guesses as to whose it is.

Seriously.  Everywhere I step, there is some sort of apparatus in the way.  An infant gymnasium.  All he needs is a coach and a uniform and you’d be sure he was training for some sort of infant Olympics  A swing, a bouncy chair.  Receiving blankets.  Diapers, wipes.  Bottles.  It’s fucking everywhere, and it’s making me feel irritated.

And so I wonder to myself, what in the hell did people do before all this shit was invented?

According to Bestie, in Africa the moms just swing the baby up on their back by their arm and tie them into place using a piece of fabric.  Then they go about their day.

So why does getting Buddy and Destroyer ready to go out into the goddamn backyard seem like such a pain in the ass for me?  First world problems I tell you.  It seems like a lot of work to sunscreen and hat the toddler.  Find something to cart the infant and a multitude of his shit in.  Pick up any dog shit as soon as we get there so no one steps in  piece of gold.

But it really shouldn’t be a lot of work.

Maybe I need to drink more.  Is that a thing?

Or, I could just accept the fact that I could just shut up and wear my baby like every good granola mom out there so I have my hands free and forget about all the baby apparatuses.  Or apparati?  Whatever.

Or I could just close my eyes and before you know it he’ll be able to sit up on his own and I can get most of this shit out of the way.

Or I could just stop complaining and enjoy every second of him being this tiny and gorgeous and sweet.  Cause he really is, you know.  Gorgeous.  I can say it.  I make good-looking kids.

And just like that, all is forgiven.

 

 

And The Wolf Turned Into A Butterfly

funlava.com

funlava.com

When I was a teenager, I worked at a summer camp called Anglican Island.  It was some of the greatest summers of my life.  Getting paid to live away from home, at a camp and resort on Lake of The Woods.  On top of all that, I made some of the best friends I have ever had.  Most of us are still in touch one way or another to this day.  Some of us are very close.  But all of us, I think, would be there for one another in the blink of an eye when needed.

These people that came into my life in the summer of 1994 are part of a community that expanded into spiritual weekends held during the winter months, church services, dances, and regular social activities.  It wasn’t culty.  It wasn’t weird.  It was a community full of love and fun and shared faith.  And we all grew up together, and supported each other through the hard times and the easy ones.

At the center of this community was a man named Jim Wolf.  He was a large, burly man with a beard and a slightly bent over walk.  From afar he looked like any regular person.  Up close, he had the kindest, warmest eyes I have ever known.  Despite his size, his demeanor was gentle, and full of understanding.  He could listen and interact with a bunch of teenagers and twenty somethings and never get bored.  He never made you feel like your problem was too small to be heard.  He was full of love, and made you feel so.

I swear, when Jesus said we should be more like Him, Jim Wolf listened.  He walked the walk and talked the talk.  He suffered his own personal tragedies, and it never changed him from what we all knew him to be.

I think its amazing when any adult is able to positively impact the lives of so many young people, but even more so when it is a priest.  What group of teenagers wants to hang out with a middle aged priest?

We did.  He became a significant adult in our lives that we could confide in.  That we could turn to without ever feeling judged.  And who always had an anecdote or piece of advice that made sense to us.  We loved him like a parent.

And now, two days after this world has lost a soul that truly made it a better place, I find myself deeply sad and reminiscent of the time I spent with him in my life.  I find myself grateful to have known him.  And regretful to not have seen him for many years.

Our world was better with you in it.  You will be deeply missed, Jim.  Our hearts are heavy today, but yours is light.  You finally are reaping the rewards of all the good you have done for so many. You used to talk about metanoia.  How we needed to change into (metaphorical) butterflies for our faith to be complete . You helped us change for the better.

Your metanoia is complete….so fly butterfly, fly.

The Wiener Blanket

Ok.  So let’s talk about a couple of things.

This post is mostly about genitals, FYI.

I have never, ever, in my life felt so afraid of a penis.  I mean, not that I’m the resident expert on all things balls and sticks, but it’s not like one has ever really made me feel uncomfortable.  Unless you count the drunk loser who asked me to dance at a bar once, and tried to press his boner against me the entire time.

I’m talking about Little Buddy’s little armadillo.  First of all, there is the new problem of learning how to clean shit off a set of testicles. Seeing as I don’t have any of my own, I’m unsure as to just how sensitive they are.  And sometimes, shit sticks to the skin. No big deal, right?  Because it isn’t like I’ve never changed a dirty diaper.  But here’s the thing about balls.  The skin is kind of, I don’t know, loose?  So when you try and wipe, the skin moves around.  Kinda like the skin on an old man’s neck.  And I’m scared I’m going to hurt them.

Then I have to remind myself to lift the little things up and get under there.  Again, is this uncomfortable?  To have your balls lifted and cleaned under?

And then, I am amazed at the sheer size of an infants testicles relative to the rest of his body.  It seems a bit excessive.  When Bestie came to see us in the hospital after Buddy was born, we were chatting about this phenomenon as the nurse eavesdropped.  We concluded that it was a baby thing, to which the nurse replied ” OR, he could just have big balls.”  Now personally, I like a good size set of nuts on a man, so I’m hoping that this will be something he can be proud of later on.  Right?

Now.  Here’s the scary part.  His little armadillo is capable of projectile pissing.  He’s not even two weeks old, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been soaked in baby pee.  And not a dribble.  Fucking soaked.  The other night it soaked through the comforter on the bed, the mattress cover, my clothes and my underwear.  HOW dose something so small produce that?  How? So now I’m gun shy.  Every time I change his diaper, it’s a race to get the balls taken care of and the old diaper off and the new one on before he pisses on me.  It’s like a video game, where you keep trying to beat the same level over and over again without dying.

But I am a genius.  I have a designated receiving blanket that we have called “the wiener blanket”.  So as soon as I wipe the shaft, I cover it up with the wiener blanket and hold it in place with his feet.  Then I deal with the balls.  Etc.  So far, so dry.

See?  I got this kids.

I roared a 9 pound baby out of my vag, I can figure out some male genitalia.

Like A Beast

pixabay.com

pixabay.com

The other night made me question why I was insane enough to have a second baby.  Oh my Jesus.  I totally forgot about this annoying phenomenon called cluster feeding.  And gas pain.  And what happens when you have both things happening simultaneously.

I’ll tell you what happens.  As a parent, you feel like a total douchebag loser.  I forgot how dramatic babies are about things.  He screamed for about 3 hours straight, because I forgot how to read the needs of a newborn.  But I’m optimistic, because I feel like if it happens again tonight, I’ll know exactly what to do.  Right?

Anyway, the truth is, it’s not the newborn stuff that had me feeling like a failure.  It was not being able to take care of my Twee Destroyer the way I was used to being able to.  All I wanted was to let him have a little snooze while I read her bedtime stories and got her tucked in.  All I wanted was to have that little bit of one on one time that both of us need so bad right now.  All I wanted was a small window of time of having things the way they used to be.

And don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t change having Little Buddy here for all the tea in China, but sometimes I wonder how come second borns don’t come with a second set of parental appendages.  Nice going, Evolution.  You couldn’t have thought of something useful, rather than fucking wisdom teeth?

So the whole thing had me feeling a little down.  Baby blues or whatever.  But it got me to thinking about postpartum depression.  A surprisingly common, but not so commonly discussed problem that happens to moms.  I read in a few different places that having a traumatic birth experience can be a contributing factor to it.  Now, I don’t know if that is true or not, and I’m not super interested in arguing about it. But I can totally see why it would.

Parenting is a hard thing.  Whether you have one or two or five kids, you are constantly adjusting to the world as it changes.  And right after the birth of a new baby, the changes are huge as we all adjust to our new dynamic.  It feels overwhelming, and frustrating and plain fucking stupid sometimes.  There are so many things that I wish I could take back over the course of a day, that I can see how easy it is to feel depressed.  How many times I yelled at my Destroyer for doing normal things that just seem so annoying when you have a needy newborn in your arms.  It makes my heart break for her.

BUT, each day we get a little more settled.  Each day I feel a little less insane. And having had the experience of birthing my baby the way I wanted to do it helps a lot.  Why you ask?  Because no matter how hard the day is, I keep thinking that the day of birthing him was 30 hours, not 24.  The pain suffered and energy required was about 1000 times more than any of these shitty moments you have as a “new” parent.  My birth experience made me feel like a total beast.  If I can do that, then I can do anything.  Every time I feel defeated, I have that to draw on and picture, and it empowers me.

Crazy, right?  I mean if drugs and procedures are available to help us endure and overcome the pain, why not take advantage of modern medicine?  Why do it natural?  To prove I could. Because for me (and it won’t be the same for all girls)  the idea that me and Buddy came through that together makes me feel strong.  Those things were there, but we didn’t need them. We just needed each other. And that’s pretty cool.

Having said all of that, it’s probable that my uterus is now retired.  Because as awesome as the memory is, and as awesome as the bragging rights of a long, drug free labour are, he fucking broke my body.

Seriously.

 

A Change of Heart

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Do you hear that?  Neither do I.  Because it’s the sound of both children napping at the same time.

So here I am, one week post partum.  27 pounds lighter.  Can you believe that?  If you needed to know just how much water I was carrying around.

And in the past week, I have had to swallow my pride and admit that my son has changed the parent I thought I was.  Because there are no rules, except the one that says you do what is necessary for your child at the time as you see fit because you love them more than life itself.

I have had to change my mind about a couple of things I swore I would never do.  Little Buddy had to spend a little time in the NICU after birth.  And then we both spent a few days in hospital after that.  He’s okay now, but last week was stressful and exhausting.  He had some breathing troubles, his sugar crashed after birth and then there was jaundice.

Anyway, in all of this, the best medicine for him was contact with me.  Skin to skin.  Lots of snuggling.  And the dreaded co-sleeping that always terrified me.  So on his one week birthday, he is still sleeping with me, and I have to admit that I really like it.  There is nothing sweeter than waking up to his little face.  Nothing.

Then there was the whole cut versus uncut debate.  I swore up and down that we would circumcise him.  We booked the appointment.  And then, in the hospital while changing his diaper and looking down at his little armadillo, I just couldn’t bear the thought of it.  I could not even start to think about putting him through anything else in such a short period of time.  He just looked so perfect, and I no longer felt the need to change him.  So today, I cancelled his appointment.

What the fuck is happening to me?

You know, I haven’t even been able to drink.  I keep trying, but my body just won’t accept it.

One day I think I’ll get back to myself, but for right now, I hope I’m not just plain and simple crazy.  They say love does funny things to you.

It sure does.

AfterOtis

Written by Natalie Oldham

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