Monday, February 28, 2011

Dear Scott

Hey Babe,

Just thought I'd let you know that you left a dirty dish amongst my clean ones again; on the counter, next to the bottles, soiling the sterilized dishes that are your children's. You should also be aware that a drop of blood from your unfortunate nose bleed is dried on my bathroom floor. Everytime I pee it stares at me and mocks me and I think...I need to clean that...and then a scream from the other room causes me to jump up without wiping, and my stumbling, struggling, cursing frame flies out the door and the droplet of blood is forgotten again until my next ill fated bathroom attempt.

A few more things my dead...deaR...sorry...Freudian slip?...the laundry basket, filled with our folded clothes, too heavy for me to lift up the flight of stairs to our bedroom, has now been settled in front of our door for well over a week. Maybe tomorrow you could lend those beautifully defined, weight lifter, arms to this job of jobs only you can complete? And one more small household discrepancy is bothering me... today I found boxes on our porch...empty, large...and aching to be seen by our lovely, fine happy, Strata Council. Perhaps only then they will be collapsed and recycled as they were meant to be; but I have hope, a stubborn, wondrous hope... that before we have to pay out the nose... you will grab a blue bag from our cupboard and destroy the Councils chance to stick it to a cop...

I know my requests are simple, and thus easily dismissed; you deal with so much on your job and are constantly measuring, calculating, and photographing the cruel, twisted humour of death, but maybe...just could muster some of that cold, hard, steely cop determination and defeat the eye roll of your wife...

Oh...and we need more diaper cream. Thanks.

Monday, February 21, 2011

1, 2, 3...

"Whenever I'm feeling overwhelmed with my 15 month old, I just look over at your house and then I feel better!" - Mike, next door neighbour.

"Three kids in three years! Twins?...Three singleton pregnancies! YIKES"- stranger at the health clinic.

So am I crazy? Too stupid to use birth control? Extremely horny? Devoutly religious? None of the above. We wanted three kids...maybe not this close together...but enough that birth control wasn't huge on our priority list, and enough that we welcomed each baby with open arms.

Having three kids under the age of three is a bit like running a horse race on a Shetland pony. The odds are one in a hundred to win; and no matter how fast your pony runs, the horse beside you is only there because it's lapping you...for the fifth time. No matter how much I get done in a day, no matter how fast I move, it's never enough. So you have to make sacrifices.

The first most obvious sacrifice is a social life. After the third child (especially one who isn't allowed to get sick) family visits are put off and play dates are pushed so far out of the realm of possibility to be but a vague, elusive memory. Three kids at three different stages of development is impossible to wrangle on one's own. Trying to monitor two toddlers behaviour while caring for an infant is a bit like watching a clown juggle dangerous objects he consistently fails to catch. Social life = gone! This unfortunate sacrifice ensures that my children and I have slowly become Britney Spears incarnate...Pajamas are easy, ponytails are sexy, and a child's hair is much easier kept...shaved.

The second sacrifice is just as obvious as the first. Time to one's self. After having one child, finding time to yourself is difficult but not impossible. There's always someone you can con into watching your kid. After having two kids, finding time to yourself will have to be put off until the kids can entertain each other, or a movie can make a babysitter's job easier. After having three can forget it. The minute you mention the number 'three' people get this look in their eyes...the 'are you crazy' look. That's when you realize  that from here on out the only time you will have to yourself is when abandon your kids on someones doorstep. Preferably someone who knows and loves them...

The final sacrifice...and hopefully most obvious is...(drum roll please)...Sleep! Of course. Three kids under three who have nightmares, are afraid of the dark and things that go bump in the night, who teeth and need to breastfeed, ensure that I am awoken at least three times during an eight hour period. Coffee is essential in the morning. It's the one thing that keeps us all alive. Without it I'm sure I would have burned the house down by now...'accidentally'...

But with all the sacrifices come numerous rewards. I get to celebrate a million different moments, a million different ways...three times over. There isn't anything in this world I have sacrificed that wasn't worth it. I get Gabe's hilarious conversations, Edie's constant cuddles, Preston's beaming smiles and a wealth of unconditional love that can't be found anywhere else.

Is your life as rich as mine? Three kids in three years...crazy...oh yeah...and I wouldn't change it...for anything!

Thursday, February 17, 2011


Once upon a time, not so long ago, I believed that my life would never truly be touched by tragedy. Then, low and behold, fate came along and beat that idea out of my skull with such force that I've had a permanent headache ever since. I thought I had life pretty much figured out, I thought I knew what it was to be a mother, a wife, a daughter, I thought I knew unequivocally where my place in the world resided. I had a plan, I had expectations, I knew where my life would end up and who would be by my side near the end of it. My kids would bury me, mourn me, have their own kids and the cycle would begin anew.

Then an explosion of truth collided with my little, bubble wrapped world and now I know everything I planned, although a road paved with good intentions, wasn't etched in stone.  When you face a monster as hideous as a seriously sick child, you can't help but walk away changed. I never knew it was happening. I didn't feel much different after Puck was diagnosed with his heart defect; truthfully, I just concentrated on getting him through the day, and surviving my own morbid thoughts... but, until you have experienced your baby being ill, truly ill, the kind of illness that can't be fixed with over the counter medications, than you can never know what it was like...

Fear, for the most part, doesn't exist for me anymore. The things that used to frighten me, the things that used to put my teeth on edge and cause me anxiety is laughable now. Why be frightened of life when death is right around the corner? Death is not something I fear for myself, but I fear having to live next to it. It's putrid, rotting corpse soiling the couch cushion next to me. I fear the death of my children like never before. It's the one fear that has survived this crazy experience, and it's one I will never shake. It's possibility has been imbedded deeply within my psyche and no amount of cliched reassurances will ever remove it's entangled claws from my thoughts.

But I refuse to live wringing my hands and shielding my children from this world. If death is watching and waiting, readying to strike, then the best thing I can ever teach them is simply this...

Don't waste time and don't lose sight of what's important. I'm not commanding my children to climb Mount Everest while investing in high interest saving accounts and having 2.5 children. The lesson I learned with Puck is simply about love. It is the most precious commodity this world has to offer, and it's one we create together. If you are going to love, than don't hold back...for any reason. If you can do that, than you have everything you need to have a truly wonderful life.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Baby Girl


Recently you have begun to revolt at bedtime. I ask you to say night night and we march off to bed. I lay you down, tuck you in, give you a bottle and leave your room, something you've been accustomed to for a while now and never had an issue with. Things have changed. Now when I leave your room the tortured screams begin. The wailing of someone who has just had their fingers surgically amputated without anaesthetic... has nothing on you kid. You shriek until your voice breaks and your breaths jerk your body like violent, grand mal seizures. "BAD MOM" echoes down the halls and are almost amusing in their grandiose accusations. On nights where your father is working I find your antics more than a little difficult. It seems Puck is his fussiest at night and doesn't want to be off my breast for long and you now insist I don't leave your room until you are asleep. I have tried breast feeding while sitting by your bedside during your difficult nights; but you are much more interested in your little brother than you are in sleeping.

Tonight was one of those nights where no one but Gabriel wanted to cooperate at bedtime. I thank my lucky stars for Gabe who seems to know when mommy is at the end of her rope and not to push it. I finally gave up, after running back and forth between you and Preston, and just shut the door on your tantruming frame. Thankfully you were tired enough that your shrieks lasted only minutes. Sometimes being a mother seems like the hardest thing in the world. I wish I could split myself into three so I could address your distinct, individual needs simultaneously. But I am only one person and unfortunately for you, Puck is the newbie and my number one priority at night.

But rest assured baby girl, when I have a little extra time, and a little extra help, I will quietly sit at your bedside and watch your face become peaceful as you slowly drift off to sleep. You may not be the baby anymore but you will always be my little girl.

I love you,


Saturday, February 5, 2011

Rainy Days and Memories

"The smell of worms" was how my siblings and I described rainy days. The staggering amount of these slimy, slithering creatures, which had just escaped from their collapsed and water logged network of tunnels, ensured that after a spring downpour our little brains associated the smell of warm, wet asphalt as the wondrous smell of worms! Even now as I step out onto my back porch and take a deep breath of fresh, fallen rain I'm propelled back to a simpler time. One where the rescue of drowning worms was the biggest worry we had to contend with, and the numerous responsibilities of adulthood still felt too far away to even bother contemplating. 

After these spring and summer rains, my brothers and I would wander for blocks, picking up worms, rescuing them from puddles; until the sun dried the sidewalks and the worms, once more, disappeared from view. The only ones left would be the ones who didn't survive the deluge and I remember feeling sad for these little creatures.  Back when I was a child and lived in a world where death was relegated to bugs and animals, life was strangely euphoric. We viewed the world as a wonder waiting to be discovered, not as a place that held very real dangers, and very real consequences.

As I got older the glistening edges of my world began to dull. The reality of adulthood began to set in and worries began to pile up. My parents slowly became people... fallible and mortal, and I felt betrayed by a world I thought I knew; but who had been instead holding deep, dark secrets from me.  After my first child was born I expected these feelings to get worse. I expected to see predators around every corner, and possible injuries or even death at every turn, but to my delight I found my world began to glisten again.  And now after a spring rain, I get to take a deep breath, and rescue worms from sidewalk puddles with chattering little children by my side.