Friday, August 27, 2010

For the Record.

Dear Gabe and Eden.

As you may well know, being kids yourselves, children are the best miniature comedians the world will ever produce. The stuff you two have done or said since the beginning of your lives has never failed to put me into stitches. Because I am your mother, and am pretty much obligated to embarrass you with stories of yourself to your teen friends and future boyfriends and girlfriends, I have decided to record some of the most hilarious events in your young lives to date!


Event 1. Diaper change in the NICU.

We were young parents, ill prepared for the undertaking of caring for a premature infant. We were stressed, tired, and in need of some serious TLC and laughter. Then one day, during a diaper change, you pissed all over your own face. I was mortified and was screaming at daddy to "put the diaper back up, PUT THE DIAPER BACK UP", and I'm not sure if it's because your father is a bit sadistic, or if it was because he was laughing too hard, but you ended up emptying your entire bladder contents all over your own head. The funniest thing about the whole ordeal was watching your poor little reaction! You shook your tiny head from side to side trying to avoid the waterfall of pee hitting you in the face, not to mention trying in vain to catch your breath while being drowned in your own urine. CLASSIC.

Event 2. 6 weeks old at Grandmas house.

Another daddy diaper moment was brought to you only a few short weeks later. I think you were trying to punish him for his horrendous treatment of you earlier. Daddy had you on the guest bed at grandma Jefferson's house and was kneeling, face level with your not sure what the logic of this was...but just as daddy had slipped a clean diaper under your skinny butt, your tummy rumbled and out shot projectile poo! Daddy got the diaper up just in time, but I can still imagine him being an instant slower and getting a mouth full of infant crap! I really wish to this day he had, it could have been the best diaper story of all time.

Event 3. Trip to Victoria.

Approximately 3-4 months before your sister was born, your father and I took you on a trip to Vancouver Island. We visited friends and relatives and stayed in a variety of hotels. One of them was in Courtenay (The Best Western), and as with all great quality hotels, our room was beautifully decorated with breath taking floor to ceiling mirrored closets. The instant you saw yourself you got extremely excited and ran full bore at the child in the other room...never slowing for one second and never realizing that the floor did not keep going...that it was merely a reflection of our own room. You hit those mirrored doors so hard I thought for a second that there would be damage to them and you would be stuck with 7 years bad luck... starting with the multiple stitches you would need...Turns out the mirror was just fine, and so were you and I think I laughed for a good week after that.

Event 4. Edie's homecoming.

The day your sister came home was a momentous occasion, but if we thought you would let your sister have one day to be the center of attention...we were wrong. After your nap your grandma Jefferson went to get you from your room. I was snuggling down with Edie for a nap of my own when I hear my mom yelling for me. I run to your room where I'm immediately hit with the smell of crap. My mom merely looks at me and says "he got his diaper off..." With your diaper off and your little butt hanging free, you thought it would be a good idea to squat, take a crap on the rug then pick up the poo and smear it all over the walls, door, carpet, and yourself...Welcome home, Edie...

Event 5. 6 weeks after your sister was born.

You have always been a kid with instant karma. If you hurt someone the universe will slap you down in nearly the same second the act was committed. This is unfortunate for you, but fun for me to watch. Your little sister had just come home and although your jealousy was mild compared to other kids your age, it did pop up every now and then. This particular day you ran at your sister (who was strapped into her rocking chair) and hit her with one of your toys. Now I don't know how many times I've asked you not to run with food in your mouth...or for that matter to be gentle with Edie...but Karma would be your teacher this day. The minute you swung your toy train and connected it with her little, innocent, infant head, you choked on the piece of marshmallow you had been eating, barfed, slipped in it, and landed flat on your back in your own vomit. The dazed and confused look on your face was priceless!

Event 6. Potty training.

My first attempt at potty training you was only successful for a week, but in this time you managed to make me gag and shudder, and I'm sure this was your plan all along. You were doing awesome with the potty training and I was so proud of you. You rarely had accidents and when you did I asked you to help me clean it up (which you did with a weird sort of fascination). One day I was preoccupied with cooking, cleaning or attending to Edie (who knows) when I happen to look over at you and notice you are slurping some sort of liquid off my hardwood floor. My eyes scan the immediate area for cups, or bottles and when I don't see anything my shock and horror is instantaneous. "SCOTT" I scream, "STOP HIM"...Your daddy asks why..what is that? When I exclaim "He's not wearing a diaper, what do you think it is?" ,daddy again enters a state of hysterics (and is less than helpful) and you, my little man, look up at us with such a mischievous little grin that it's hard for me to claim that you were too young to know what you were doing!

Event 7. Mommy's tired brain.

You and Edie love to steal each other's toys and I'm constantly playing referee. Her favourite toy to play with is your Toy Story action figure "Woody". One day as you were sitting side by side, you snatched your action figure away from her. "Gabriel!" I said sternly, as Edie started to whimper, "Why won't you let your sister play with your little Woody" My lecture just kind of trailed off there... I still think that naming a child's favourite movie character 'Woody' was an inside joke at PIXAR.

Event 8. Diaper Cream.

You have a weird obsession with diaper cream. You love to rub it all over yourself. The first time your father and I caught you doing this you were hiding behind our bed, with a tin of penaten, and had it all over your chin and kinda looked like you had a white beard going on. I found it hilarious and took a picture! The next time I caught you doing it, I was tired and in pain, and you had managed to cover yourself...head to TOE...I was less than impressed that time!

Event 9. Flying poop.

You have been potty training for nearly two weeks now and you have only had one accident. This one accident was met by an intense look of shame and an attempt to hide behind my curtains. When I finally coaxed you out and told you it was okay that everyone had accidents, I got to taking your soiled pants off. Just as we were nearly home free your pant leg caught on your ankle and as I gave one last strong yank on your pants, they turned from garment to sling shot, and the poop that resided in them flew a good five feet..and landed on my couch! I tried not to laugh too hard so you wouldn't think pooping in your pants was hysterical...but it was the hardest thing I have ever had to do.


You my little girl are not quite as adept at doing things to make me laugh until I cry; however, you are the most lovely and charming little girl, and do a million things that make me say "awwww". But don't get me do have a few stories.

Event 1. What's that!

You and your brother have bathed together for quite a while and it hasn't been until recently that you two have showed any real interest in each other. One day, as your father was bathing you (as rare as this is) I hear that tell-tale, hysterical laughter coming from your dad. I join him in the bathroom and ask him what is so funny. Your dad tells me that you grabbed Gabe's dink and yanked as hard as you could, dropping Gabe like a ton of bricks and making him yelp in pain. You and daddy thought this was hilarious...Gabe was, of course, a little less than impressed.

Event 2. Owie.

You soon grew to hate bath times and would fight me tooth and nail when it came to getting your hair washed. As I was about to lean you back and rinse out your hair, I warned your brother to back off because you liked to flail and I didn't want any injuries to occur. Gabe backed off a few paces and I dunked you in the water, and on cue you started to kick your legs as hard as humanely possible. While I'm feverishly rinsing your hair I hear "OWWWIIIEEEE"!! emanating from your brother. I glance at him and see that he is in a half squat position with your foot caught between his legs...poor Gabe...he just can't keep his junk safe from you.

Event 3. Here Horsey!

Your father and I took you and your brother to the fall fair in Chilliwack. We visited the petting zoo first. Gabe loved to run past all the animals making all their sounds, and trying in vain to communicate with them; while you sat contentedly in your stroller. As we were passing the miniature ponies, one leaned down to sniff you. The look of horror on your face and the flinch that brought your foot in a wild kick which landed directly on the ponies nose, was only matched in intensity by the wild ripple of laughter that oozed from your father and I. The pony seemed to be the only one not laughing.

Event 4. Bouncing Baby Butt.

One day, before a prenatal appointment, I was shaving my legs in the sink. You and your brother were playing in the hallway (stair landing) at my feet when I heard Gabe say "Poo, mom, poo". At first I wasn't sure what Gabe could possibly be referring to when I notice that you, my sweet angel, are naked as a jaybird. When I swing my foot from the sink I almost put it directly into your dirty diaper. When I look down at you, I see that you are happily bouncing your bare, poopy butt all over the carpet at the foot of the stairs...Your sheer look of delight and Gabe's look of utter disgust is what made this moment so memorable and so hilarious!

Event 5. Bare ass.

While I was doing the dishes I heard you and your brother's peal of laughter coming from the bathroom. I immediately knew that whatever was going on, wasn't good, as the majority of the time you two are at each other's throats. When I reach the bathroom I notice that there is paper hanging from your brother's mouth, and in your hands and I start to scold you guys for playing with the toilet paper. My confusion begins when I notice that there isn't any toilet paper in the bathroom...but you, my dear, soon cleared up that mystery when you walked past me and your bare ass was hanging out of your freshly changed diaper like those old fashioned pajamas with the ass flaps... I realized then that Gabe had chewed his way through your diaper...for what purpose i'm not entirely sure...but i think it has something to do with me randomly biting your little baby butts!

Event 6. Cracker.

You are notorious for eating other peoples discarded food. If Gabriel leaves so much as a crumb on his plate you will go after it with a zest I have never seen before. After snacks one day, Gabriel left a peanut butter covered cracker on his plate...if you can call a cracker he's licked half to death peanut butter covered... and you picked it up as per usual. You brought it over to the couch, with the intention of eating it after you were finished your cereal bar. Soon you forgot it was there and went on your merry way. A few minutes later you wandered over to the couch and rested your head on it and when you brought your head back up, you had a cracker stuck to your forehead. The fact that you didn't notice and wandered around with it plastered to your face until your daddy saved you (I was having too much fun laughing) made my day.

Well kiddies, that's all the stories I have about you so far, but don't worry I will keep recording them so that I can bring them up at inappropriate times during your teenage years and young adult life!



Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Myths of the new mother

When I first became pregnant with Gabriel I AGONIZED over everything. I researched every product we bought! I watched birth videos and proper breast feeding technique videos; I researched the hotly debated sleep separating versus co sleeping. I read about childhood disease, childhood development, SIDS. I read every statistic on every website I could find dealing with everything from Bis phenol A in baby bottles to the safety of vaccines. In short I became an EXPERT on nearly everything imaginable dealing with babies - or so I thought.

Myth number 1.

It's possible to prepare for a baby.

HA. As I previously stated I was an expert on everything. All except Preterm Premature rupture of membranes, steroid shots, induction, gavage feeding, monitor reading, and all around proper care for a premature infant. And let's all face some very hard, very real facts. NO ONE is prepared for how a baby will change their very existence. It's just not possible to imagine giving up nearly every ounce of your freedom to a screaming, pooping, eating, sleeping machine...

Myth number 2.

Breast feeding is hard could it be?!

HARD. For one thing it hurts! The first few weeks are notoriously difficult for most people. For one, you have to get the baby to latch properly, this is a hell of a lot harder than it sounds. Next you have to deal with the drying effects of saliva on your nipples...can anyone say ouch? And if you are really lucky, like I was, than the cracked and bleeding nipples get infected and abscessed. YEAH. ABSCESSED. I gave up breast feeding my son at 4 months old, and although I breastfed my daughter for a was mainly successful due to having very little sensation in my nipples thanks to my first experience! Breast may be natural, but it sure as shit isn't easy!

Myth number 3.

Your baby should sleep consistently through the night by 6 months old!

This is a myth that every mother needs to cling to in those first few months of utter sleep deprivation. But this myth is SO false it's ridiculous. And I don't care what you say. I don't care that you're baby has been doing it since they were six weeks old. I don't believe you. There are too many variables! Growth spurts, teething, separation anxiety... No, your baby will not sleep through the night at 6 weeks old like your spouse's aunt's second cousin's baby did. It doesn't happen. Let it go.

Gabriel never slept through the night consistently until he was 2 years old. Read it and weep. Nightmares. Diaper problems. Sickness. Teething. Separation Anxiety. Consistently sleeping through the night is never going to be found with a baby. NEVER. The sooner you realize this the happier you'll be!

Myth number 4.

You're never going to be one of THOSE moms...

Let's tick them off shall we!

1. Your never going to be one of those moms who becomes too distracted to notice that their child is in a dangerous situation.
-Gabriel. 10 months old. Emergency room. He climbed onto a cooler while I was chatting on the phone and before I could grab him in time he fell on his head onto cement.
-Edie. 7 months old. Butt shuffled to the edge of the stairs while I was doing laundry and would have fallen if her brother hadn't had the foresight to grab her in time!
-Gabriel. 2 years old. Disappeared in a campground while I was preoccupied with putting Edie down for a nap.

2. You're never going to be one of those moms who let the TV babysit your child.
-That is until you have a second child and realize you can actually cook, or clean without screaming, whining kids under your feet. My kids get 2 hours of TV a day and the TV time is thoughtfully and skillfully planned around meal preparation times and cranky times!

3.You're never going to be one of those moms who feed their kids fast food.
-It will happen people, perhaps with a million promises that it's going to be a one time deal, or with a thousand justifications like "well I did get them apples instead of fries...and milk instead of pop or juice...", but whether you like it or not, there will come a time when lunch or dinner has crept up on you and you haven't had time to prepare something. Face it. Junk will enter their system and (barring allergies) will probably happen more than once in their life.

4. You're never going to be one of those moms who yell at their kids in hard is it to speak calmly? You are the adult after all...

And I could go on and on, but let's just call a spade a spade shall we! Motherhood is the hardest job in the world, so maybe we should stop judging other moms and their ways of doing things.

And finally Myth number 5.

Your child will be the most brilliant, talented, handsome, wonderfully behaved, child prodigy in all the world.

Biased. We all are. Let me say it and shatter your proud, parent world... most peoples children are not the most brilliant, talented...etc. in all the world...simply because...mine are...but also because parents love unconditionally. This means that you love your child (and will see what you want to see)even if they are the most stupid, untalented, ugly, mean, little shits in all the world.

Myths, mom and dads, are alive and well and living in my home. Hopefully I have excised them from some of yours!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Month 29

Dear Gabe,

It seems you have been alive as long as I have. The truth is I suppose my life never felt like it held much consequence or meaning until you came along. I think anyone who knew me would have been utterly devastated to lose me ;) but in the grand scheme of things every person hopes to leave some sort of imprint or impact on this world. My imprint is you. You and Eden, and "the finale". Everything I do impacts you in one way or another. Whether I wash the dishes or not, impacts you; the type of food I cook, impacts you; being angry, impacts you; loving you, impacts you. Every move I make is mimicked, repeated, or watched. Everything I do and everything I am reflects directly through your behaviour, your choices, and your life.

You are more than a genetic copy of your father and I, whether you like it or not (and no one likes it!) you will end up being more like your parents than you will ever care to admit. It's inevitable. That's why it is such an important job. Once you become a parent, you are now in charge of shaping a person's character. A parent's actions and words weigh heavily on a mind that has not yet learned the difference between literal or figurative, or truth from fiction. And that weight shapes a persons sense of morality and their beliefs; and will impact things like how they treat others, how they treat themselves, and how they view their world. Are you an optimist or a pessimist? Do you jump in or take your time? Is the world beautiful and full of wonder, or dark and full of negativity?

Don't get me wrong, you have a choice in these things as well. You can change and become someone better, or even someone worse; but in the beginning when you are still a child, when choice is more of an elusive word than a definitive action, a parent will influence almost every aspect of their child and his/her life. That's why becoming a parent is so scary. It's not just about keeping a child physically alive and well, it's keeping them from harm in every sense of the word. Mental harm can be just as devastating as a physical one. A child called stupid can be just as affected as one who breaks a limb. And as with all injuries it will take time to heal and the right treatment to heal correctly.

I admit I haven't learned everything there is to know about proper parenting, unfortunately there is never any "right" answer. I suppose the best you can do is try and stay as far from the obvious wrong answers as possible. So Gabriel, this being your 29th month, and probably one of the most challenging with the terrible twos, and potty training, I just have to say... I'm doing my best and I hope to God it's good enough because I love you more than words can ever say!

All of you kids are my teachers, and I hope to always do right by you!



Friday, August 20, 2010


Some days I want to scream. It's not easy being a mom especially when you are the primary caregiver and all the kids want or will listen to is you. Scott tries to discipline but the kids either don't listen to a word he says, or he's so harsh I have two screaming kids who are terrified of daddy's yelling...argh. Not to mention the fact that I do all the cleaning, organizing, and gardening, all while being 6 and a half months pregnant! Some days it just gets to be too much and I need a nice long bath, lots of alcohol, and a book. Lately I just haven't gotten much time to myself... and let's face it...with two kids who sleep at seperate times, a daughter whose teething and wakes up frequently in pain, and being largely pregnant, all helps to contribute to my inability to complete or even start my favorite past time.

When the world of mothering becomes a burden it's a good idea to take a step back; but since that step inevitably ends up squashing a little person's toes, I decided to take the kids out for a walk. I shoved them in the stroller, ignored their cries for escape, and just enjoyed the cooler weather. We had an impromptu picnic in a park near our house (without another person in sight) and I watched as the kids ran all over the field. I had to smile in spite of myself as Edie tried in vain to keep up with her older brother.

As I was sitting there, face upturned to the sky, listening to their screams of joy and laughter, I actually caught myself enjoying motherhood again. When I opened my eyes Gabe and Edie were standing over me smiling and saying "Mom?". Then Gabe gave my a handful of flowers/weeds and kissed me on the forehead. In perfect form Edie passed me a half eaten flower/weed and I decided that motherhood isn't so bad afterall....but maybe we should go before Edie poisons herself with some unknown foliage!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Gabe Poops. Edie Dances.

It seems Gabe is over his potty striking! He does one and twos in the toilet now with very little fuss. The only problem I'm having right now is transferring him to underwear. For whatever reason he thinks underwear is a diaper. So although he wont have accidents if he's naked, he will with clothes on. Go figure. So I think I will keep him naked for a few weeks then slowly try and switch him to undies.

After every successful potty achievement we empty his potty into the toilet, rinse it out, then dance our arses off while I sing "Gabe peed/pooed in the potty". Gabe does a wild and crazy dance while trying to sing with me and Edie points her fingers in the air, sticks her little tongue out, then shakes her bootie while running in circles. I always laugh at her dancing, its hilarious! Then we all clap and return to whatever activities we were interrupted from.

Edie is making strides in her own independence as well. She sits at the table in the booster seat now while we eat, she can drink from a cup (not a sippy cup, a real cup) and she uses a spoon and fork without many issues. I just can't believe how quick they grow up. Pretty soon they'll be 25 year olds, raising their own families, and I'll be the old fart whose good for babysitting and cooking family dinners. I look forward to it though!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Call.

The call came while shopping in Walmart. Private Number. Probably his mother...*eye rolls ensue*. "Oh, hi Brent", was Scott's response after answering his phone and I knew. I had just heard the news on the radio. Traffic Officer hit. Scott listened intently and I walked away, I didn't want to eavesdrop, I didn't want to pry. This is His world. One I won't ever truly break into, one I'd rather not be attuned with.

Scott tells me the radio is saying it's an RCMP member, but it can't be, highway 99 is VPD territory. Still. There's a chance it could be someone he works with, someone he knows, someone he's friends with. It could be a person we've gone to dinner with, or met during our multiple get togethers. Brent is going to find out. He'll see if it's one of ours, if it's someone we know.

I think about The Call. The spouse answering the phone. RCMP on caller ID. It's the call no one wants, no one talks about, it's the call we all dread; wife, husband, mother, father, son, daughter. I had that call once. That horrible call. RCMP on the caller ID and a member talking to me who wasn't Scott. I remember being surprised by the words leaving the members mouth, "Shot's fired - it's being reported he's not seriously injured - he's still out there - that's all I can say". Broken memories of a conversation no one's prepared for. Desperate phone calls made to members and their wives, trying to glean anything out of anyone. "Why hasn't he called, how bad is it, how bad could it get?" I paced the floor, and I longed for a cigarette (I was 6 weeks pregnant and recently a reformed nicotine addict).

Scott's phone rings and pries me from my memories, it's not an RCMP member, it's a Vancouver Police member. It's not one of ours, and of ours. I think about his family. I think about my own. I hope he's ok...while simultaneously - and somewhat shamefully - being relieved that it wasn't my call to recieve.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Finale

The countdown has begun. I am 24 weeks pregnant as of this past Wednesday and November will come faster than I can imagine. But my countdown has nothing to do with my due date and more with viability of the unborn. As much as I try not to think about it, somewhere in the back of my mind, a little voice whispers about amniotic fluid, and ruptures, and Preterm births. So now that I have made it to a point in my pregnancy where a real attempt to save my child's life would commence if he/she would be born early I can't help but think every Wednesday "one more week, let's at least have one more week".

And occasionally my paranoia and fear will cause me to turn to the Internet for answers. And soon I find myself knee deep in information about premature infants, survival rates, and NICU's in BC - and as much as I want this information, for my own peace of mind, I also wish I didn't need to feel this way during my final pregnancy.

My first pregnancy I was so blissfully ignorant to any possible problems that may arise. It happened to other people - sure- but to me... No never. Ignorance is bliss...and I miss it. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that I sit around hour after hour, worrying and fretting and praying (being a mother of two dictates that isn't possible), but every now and then, when the kids are in bed , the house is finally quiet and "The Finale" is kicking me, I can't help but rub my stomach and ask my body to cooperate - for at least- one more week.