Archive | August 2011

Lessons I learned in Toronto

I’m back from my whirlwind trip to Toronto.  Yes, it’s true.  Travelling with a toddler can be challenging.  Especially when you go to board the plane and they announce a 3 HOUR DELAY!!!!!!  It took us hours to prep and pack, we chose the departure time to coincide with his nap time (so of course I ended up with a weepy, crabby kid in an airport gift shop), and of course Air  Canuck couldn’t get us on any other plane.  I got a free drink though, so there you go.

We basically lost an entire day and by the time we got our rental car and arrived at the apartment it was close to midnight – geesh.    I’m not quite sure how my friends have managed to do this twice this year going to Europe without killing themselves.  Perhaps life is better in first class, I don’t know.  Anyway, the kid was brilliant on the plane.  He fell asleep after a bottle of milk and was only awake for about 90 minutes.  Pretty good for a 4 1/2 hr flight.  Note to intrepid travellers – book a seat even if they’re under two if you can afford it.  We had the benefit of travel points but we would have paid.    Mr. Precious delighted in having his own seat and I delighted in having my lap to myself most of the time.  Of course, it was delightful to have him come sit in my lap to look outside to ooh and ahh at the lights in the dark as we arrived.

Lessons learned from this trip:

1.  Miracles happen.  My husband and my sister actually got along.  I’m sure that her struggles over the past year have really opened his eyes to how incredibly resilient and resourceful she has become.  You know those stories you hear about people who lost everything because of the recession and housing crisis in the States?  Well, she’s one of those stories.  Now she’s back in Canada with her husband and son trying to rebuild her life.  It hasn’t been easy to say the least.

2.  I weaned myself from laptop use because where we were staying (in a friend’s apartment he leased for work) did not have internet or cable.  My husband used his smart phone as a wi fi hotspot so I could go on my email a couple times a day AND I did not watch any TV.  I was pretty exhausted by the end of the day, I could barely read my book.  (Which, by the way, I left on the freaking airplane on the return flight.)

3.  The Precious needs his own room when we travel.  We gave him the bedroom and we took the mattress out into the living room for ourselves.  He had his own peapod to sleep in.  That way, he could get go to bed and we could stay up late (ahahahaha) or go back and forth without disturbing him.  Ahem.  He can now get out of it on his own.  Oh, boy.

4.  We talked.  Really talked.  Well, we had a fight first but with us that’s the only way we really talk.  We talked about how fortunate we were to have the life that we have.  We talked about how we could treasure that more, nurture it, not take it for granted.  As is our pattern, we want the same things but we go about them in completely different ways.  Communication has never been our strong suit.  We assume a lot and once you make negative assumptions about your partner, well, it often unconsciously creates a negative result.  Parenthood has really stretched us thin at times.  So thin that we don’t have much to give to one another at the end of the day. By the looks of my mid section, I think I’ve been eating my emotions.  All my anger, my hurt, my loneliness, my frustrations got shovelled into my mouth.  Time to change that.  I gotta keep up with the Precious and he’s setting the bar high for his mum.

5.  I can’t please all the people all the time.  I didn’t get to see my older sister and her family.  I had passed along the message that I was coming via my younger sister.  I never call and leave messages because the calls are never returned or acknowledged.   My sister did call and tell them I was coming but of course  the message was never passed along or it was ignored and so when I hit town, our messages went unanswered as they had all gone on a shopping trip out of town.  They are the only people I know that do not communicate via email or turn on their cell phones.  Of course, I don’t normally hear from them and I don’t expect I will in the near future either.  In essence, I was only there for 5 days and just about every waking moment was booked anyway.

6. My personal shopping time is now down to ten minutes.   I barely managed a trip to get hair products (couldn’t find the place), but of course, we had to cut that trip short cause it was getting late and the kid needed to eat, so we had to go.  I also squeezed in a trip to Victoria’s Secret on my way to meet a fellow blogger.  I grabbed 5 panties for $30 and asked for a bra in my size and hit the till. My idea of torture is being in a shopping centre and not being able to browse for hours.

7.  I love meeting bloggy pals, especially Canadian ones and I was delighted to meet Loribeth from The Road Less Travelled.  I gushed on and on, I’m sure, but if you know me, that’s a given.  I get so excited.  She probably thought  I was a lunatic.  It’s so odd that you know so much about a person you’ve never met.  Of course, you also realize that you just know one corner of them, one very private corner.  I just wanted her to know that she really opened up my heart to those who had lost a child and remained childless not by choice.  She has really touched my heart over the years and I have become much more compassionate because of what she has shared with her readers.    She has encouraged me and lifted my heart when it was sad and cheered with my victories.  This, I believe, is the definition of a friend.  We agreed that hubbies just don’t get it.  Our bloggy love.  I don’t care.  She’s a light in the darkness for me and, I am sure, for many others.

8.  The Precious is delighted to hang out with anyone who is under the age of 20.  Seriously thrilled.  He latched onto my 8 yr old nephew, both of my friends’ teenage daughters and went crazy. Wouldn’t let them out of his sight!   I could finish a conversation and have a drink and have a seriously tuckered out kid by the end of the visit.

9. Keeping a toddler entertained is a full time job. I’ve learned that the Precious is also a little dictator.  We’re working with him with communicating with words, but THE FINGER OF DOOM still reigns.  He points at what he wants.  If that doesn’t work, he will physically grab you and pull you, or he will latch onto you and yank your shoulder.  He understands what we want him to do but he often refuses to do it if he’s not in the mood…which leads me to Lesson #10.

10.  No more Mummy and Daddy Nice Guy.  He’s a willful little bugger and he’s learned to turn on the waterworks when he doesn’t get his way and it’s quite dramatic.  When daddy tells him to “put the lip away” he does, but with me, it’s a full out meltdown.  This is quite embarrassing when it happens in a store lineup.  It’s like he knows how much I like to shop and if he doesn’t get what he wants, well, neither will I.  Cheeky monkey.

And on that note, we still have great weather, but I notice the maple leafs falling on the lawn…..sigh.

How can I miss you when you never go away?

Well, my two day vacation is officially over.  Hubby and the Precious returned Friday afternoon.  He promptly went over and snuggled next to my friend and practically ignored me.  That’s nice, kid, I love you too.  They had a great time.  He also came home with a nasty cut on his eyelid and small bump on his prodigious noggin and a bruise.   They had gone to a park and the ground was uneven and of course the Precious took off at break neck speed and he tripped and fell. A trip to the ER was not deemed necessary but N.eosporin and a bandaid was prescribed.  When DH called me to fill in me I was a little verklempt as they say.  I was already feeling PMS-y and was in one of those weepy felt like crying for no particular reason.  (I had already cried watching The Rabbit Hole with Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhaart and then a dumbass movie Life As We Know It with Josh Duhamel and Kathryn Heigl.)  By the next day I told him that perhaps we should follow up with a doctor’s visit as he had a habit of minimizing things.  That of course released DH’s usual knee-jerk response that I was over reacting that I couldn’t take him to the doctor for every fall he had,the pharmacist said he was fine, he only cried for 20 seconds and he behaved just fine and ate heartily and played, etc,  that I could do what I want but I had a rude awakening ahead of me if I thought he wouldn’t have several more falls in his childhood.  And that prompted my knee-jerk response of me getting chilly and ending the conversation.  Since this is the age where everyone has got to get the last word in, I got a text, then I replied to the text that he has a fit if the Precious uses a metal fork and that maybe we should remember our promise to go easy on each other.  I was well aware that when the Precious is hurt, then he feels just as hurt and worried as I do.  Aren’t we a pair?  How can you tell we just have one kid, eh? Thwoop, thwoop, thwoop!  What’s that sound – oh, it’s our helicopter blades.  Good grief.  Now is as good as time as any to read this.

Anyhoooo, I DID COMPLETE MY GOAL.  Passport application is completed, my mum’s taxes are done and filed ( I actually had to take the bus downtown and was dreading it until I realized I could READ more – what a thrill!), and my mum’s committee accounting papers are 90% done.  I still have to go to  a notary and then also write the provincial body a fat cheque to review all this.  They’d be 100% done if I could have found some 1998 bank statements, but I need to retrieve them  where I THINK they are….  under a pile of storage boxes.  But the bulk is done and by the time they figure out I don’t have her latest tax assessment submitted, I will have received it in the mail.  So there.  I also got in lunch and dinner with a girlfriend.  Hah!  And oh, the mornings of sleeping in, coffee in bed, and peace and quiet.  AHHHHHHH!  Simply heaven.  It’s amazing how my stress level just dropped. No mewling and screaming, no raised voices, no dishes, no wiping of sticky hands, faces and trays.  No one asking me what’s for dinner, what is he going to eat or not eat today.  No tripping over toys, banging my hips into corners while trying to wrangle a tiny person into clothes.  I took leisurely showers and got dressed without an eye on the clock.  If I had a late leisurely lunch, then I didn’t even bother with dinner.  I stayed up late and wait for it – finished a book (!)  The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, that I started in April.  I even had the energy to go for  a long walk with Juno and my friend in the endowment lands.  My back ached but it felt awesome to not feel rushed.  Of course, I tried to clean up a little before they walked in the door, but that didn’t really get finished.  Oh, well.  If I had lounged less on my first day off, I would have gotten even more done, but never mind.

I noticed one thing, I ate less because I wasn’t in a stressed reactive state.  I ate when I felt like it and when I needed to concentrate on the paperwork I could because I wasn’t tired, stressed or pressed by others’ timelines. I could just spread out and get things done in my own way.  I can’t even tell how good that feels.  My body returned to that late night, late morning functioning mode.

I fed my little munchkin his night bottle and felt his body nestle into mine, I kissed his forehead and stroked his hair.  I had to get up again in the middle of the night, he wouldn’t settle for some reason, but I didn’t mind.  In a way, it was just my bonus quiet time with him.  Just like when he was a baby.

 

Kid of few words

http://blogginaboutbabies.wordpress.com/2010/08/13/wonder-weeks-13-24-months/

The link above is for those dusty old mother like myself who’s bundle of joy is driving them nuts.  I’ve found that often when there is developmental progress there is a bit of unpleasant behaviour phase.  Not that I expected my Precious to be a model of perfect toddler behaviour, but he’s a bit behind on the talking.  He seems quite reluctant to repeat anything we say.  He understands everything we say and responds appropriately.  The one thing he has never done has repeated words back to us.  When I really push him, he’ll try, but he looks like he can’t say it perfectly, he won’t say it at all.  I’ve tried to make it into a game and to make it fun so he doesn’t feel a huge pressure. I am naming everything he’s pointing at but I think we just have do practice a lot more.    He does have a few words but he doesn’t use them a lot.  He prefers to take my finger and drag me to the kitchen and point to what he wants.   I expect that if it doesn’t get better in a couple months, I’m going to have to broach the subject (again) with DH.  He is not a believer in any infant development expert.  He’s a big proponent on the common sense movement and when he wants advice he’ll ask his mother or his best friend, father of two boys.  As usual he goes to extremes, the kid is fine or he’s the “r” word (you know, the pejorative slang for developmentally delayed).  I know that all his noise just means he’s concerned but sometimes I just find his “my way or the highway” attitude exhausting. I wonder if all the intervention we’ve had over the years on family building has made him so resistant.

Of course, next week we’ll be in Toronto and my sister is an expert in verbal apraxia and baby/infant learning development and I’m sure she’ll have something to say which will piss him off.  Oh boy.  Chanting time. Wisdom come to me.

Mom’s day off

I don’t know how the stars aligned to give me a husband and child free couple of days, but I will accept this gratefully.  I had just completed my taxes for the past two years and taken them to my accountant and was working on my mother’s for last year.  Sitting on the dining room table are papers for my mum’s committee accounting paperwork  (it’s done every 3 years so I have to sort through 3 years of bank statements for 3 accounts) and that’s due at the end of the month.  Then I also have to fill out some papers for my son’s passport that we need to take to an appointment at the US consulate.  We are leaving for Toronto next week to visit my family and friends.

On top of that, I had a conversation with my mum’s doctor about her deteriorated state.  She’s had a few more falls in the space of two weeks.  Now she’s dragging her right leg and clenching her right hand.  She can’t give appropriate responses and the last time we saw her she kept saying, “Oh, dear! Oh, dear!” every time we said something to her.  We can’t take her to Starbucks anymore because she can’t walk that far and there wasn’t any wheelchair nearby.  (The last time I asked to use one briefly, it had no footrests rendering it useless of course).  Yes, she may have had a mini stroke, but according to the doctor getting a CT scan won’t change the prognosis or management of her case.  Her dementia is progressing (hand clenching is a symptom)  and she already knows her brain is atrophying.   She’s already on aspirin but she is not a candidate for any more blood thinners.  She said she was going to review her meds again with another doctor.  I don’t know what I can do.  I know I am going to have to explain this to my sisters and of course, I’m going to get questions I can’t answer.  I already hear my sister asking, “So what’s the action plan?”.  There is no action plan beyond what has been done already.  The  next logical step is most likely putting her in a wheelchair but of course, she will be unable to propel it.  And that would be the last bit of her independence gone.  I can’t tell you how difficult it is to see her now.  Heart-breaking.  Lately, every time we go, there’s a few elderly women who practically demand to visit with my son when I only have an hour or so to visit with my mum.  I had to bite my tongue the other day when I just wanted to sit with my mum and son in the sunny garden the other day.  A sprightly resident found (followed) us and wanted to hang out with my son.  I couldn’t just leave with my mum because she can barely walk and that would have meant I had to find a staff person and go on a hunt for an available  wheelchair to  take her off the floor, etc.  So I sat there and  tried to  be as compassionate as I could.  I bring him because I see how much joy he brings to my mum (and others) but that day I felt very selfish.  Time was moving swiftly and I was losing bits and pieces of my mum again.

When I get home, there is the routine of needs to be fulfilled and I am waiting to be released from my day time domestic chores so I can just numb out.  At the same time, we are trying to carve out time to actually have family fun time.  There are just not enough hours in the day.  DH actually had the nerve to ask me when we can have the dining room table back (it’s somewhat covered in papers and mail and fileboxes).  I’m not sure why he hasn’t noticed that there is absolutely no room on the desk in the basement.  I refused to dignify that remark.

I can tell DH has finally figured out that parenthood can be just as exhausting and monotonous as paying work.  Except no one at your workplace wants to watch you pee.  He finally cut the Precious’ nails for the first time ever.   He doesn’t leap out of bed anymore when he hears the kid waking up.  If it’s 6am, he yells out to him to go back to sleep.  Oh, whatever happened to waking up early in the morning with the kid and getting the day started, eh?  Whatever happened to that?  Or taking a nap when he’s napping?  Oh, you have stuff to do??? Really?  I wonder what that’s like.   He used to wonder we didn’t go to park or the aquarium or have FUN ALL DAY LONG. Oh, it’s fun all right, it’s exhausting for everyone.  But he doesn’t have to make sure the banking is done only to get home to discover that we’re out of milk again.   Now he’s getting it that the floors still need to be cleaned, the laundry has to be done, the dog has to be walked, the mail has to be attended to, the groceries don’t find their way into the fridge by themselves, the lawn has to be cut and because the dog got skunked, the dog needs to be bathed 3 times,  I need to pre-cook the kid’s meals if I am to have any leeway at all and if I don’t, then it all has to get done on demand (WHEN’S HIS DINNER GOING TO GE READY?) and there is always a cleanup after –  WHICH IS WHY SOMETIMES I DON’T GET TO EVEN TAKE THE TIME TO SHOWER.  Welcome to parenthood.  We’ve both used that phrase on each other this week.

So I finally just admitted that DH should just go ahead to visit his parents without me.  I needed uninterrupted time to get the dreaded paperwork done or at least organized)  so I can just relax in Toronto.  The house will remain orderly for a time, the mega blocks will remain in their buckets, I will not have to deal with a finicky eater, or clean up stuck on food from the floor, no one is going to ask me where this is or where that is, I won’t have to wait for DH to be around so I can take a shower or get dressed with someone underfoot. And lastly,  no one is going to ask me what’s for dinner.

Even if I have lots of stuff to do, I’m considering this a mini vacation.  Hallelujah!

Summer days

Summer has finally arrived and by that I mean decent summer weather.  Corona with lime weather.  BBQs and sitting on the deck weather.  Of course, we only have two more weeks of summer left, but what the hey.  We have managed to miss just about every free city festival.  Ah, toddler life, where nap schedules trump all.

We live about 30 driving and parking minutes from “the island” to downtown, so whenever we consider going down there to catch a bit of whatever is going on in the park, we have to factor in drive time there and back, so by the time we are all breakfasted, showered, packed up and ready to go, we figure we can go for about an hour and then have to leave.  And a lot of parades start at 11 or noon and he has to get back to have lunch or have a decent nap and then he wakes up slowly after nap time, he wants a snack and before you know it, it’s time to start thinking about what’s for dinner.    Time has to be built in for the amount of time the Precious refuses to leave his crib or get dressed.  I have spent more than a few minutes chasing him around with various articles of clothing (much to his delight) or trying to figure out which tone of voice will get him to take me seriously.  By the time we get going and get the grocery shopping done,  and grab a coffee, it’s time to get home for lunch or time to get back for naptime or whatever.  So at times, it’s easier to stick close to home and just go to the nearby water park or playground or hang out in the backyard.

We have had many discussions on how to get around this.  If the Precious grabs a quick nap in the car, then he won’t sleep for the rest of the afternoon resulting in a cranky ass kid by dinnertime.  If DH is driving, then it’s up to me to entertain the King to keep him awake.  If it’s just me, then I’m sunk cause I can’t drive and tickle him at the same time.  So now we’re talking about going somewhere further afield and letting him nap on the way there( 1hr min) or on the way back at the end of the day.  Not sure how that it going to work out, but I’ll let you know.

These days DH is around a lot more.  He has resigned from his job and his moving on to a new one in the fall.  The stress leading up to this was incredible and put a real strain on our relationship.  The Precious was getting all our love and attention, but we didn’t have any energy left over for each other.  We’re making the effort to become reacquainted with one another as more than just a parent.  I’m definitely the one who feels neglected.  I’ve often felt that even the dog’s needs came before mine.  A benefit of having him around is that he’s finally figuring out on his own that the Precious, adorable little boy that he is, isn’t ALWAYS a delight to be around.  He’s now understanding how restrictive life with a toddler can be.  He’s always been critical that I’m not a get up and go type of person.  I’m a don’t bother me til I’ve had half a cup of coffee person.  Now he realizes that the kid has  to be attended to, breakfast has to made, cleaned up, then there’s the matter of getting the dog out and the beginning of the endless errands to be attended to.  Oh, and then there’s snack time, lunch time, laundry time, nap time, emails to get to, phone calls to make, house to be cleaned, etc.  Things don’t always go smoothly and like clockwork.  I honestly thinks he believed I sat around all day long on my fat ass and ate bon bons.  Like I should not sit down or take a shower or pick my nose if I feel like it.  The very first day he stayed home he was like oh, we’re doing this today and it’s going  to be like this and how come I don’t do blah, blah, blah.   I let him know that I didn’t go to his work place and tell him how to do his job, so why was he acting like he could do it in mine. No, way, mister, in this workplace, we have coffee before we talk to the kid.

Oddly enough, our days have been very similar.  We’re pooped by the time the kid goes down for the night and toys are strewn everywhere.  He’s pitching in doing laundry and cleaning up and walking the dog and picking up the dry cleaning.   Now he’s knows that when I am with the Precious, not much else can actually get done.  I can’t even vaccum without him running around standing in front of the vacuum trying to grab the cord or turn off the switch.  And just because he takes a nap, doesn’t mean I want to jam in all my chores when I can sit down and eat a decent meal.  One of DH’s biggest complaints was that I never went out with them walking in late afternoon.  So I started going.  I was tired, but I went.  And guess what, dinner never got cooked.  So I end up throwing something fast just for the kid.  He found out that the Precious takes a long time to eat and sometimes he doesn’t want to eat what’s before him.  He’s figured out that meal times will be a unpleasant for everyone if he insists of making him eat what he doesn’t want to eat.  Believe or not now he negotiates with the kid to make him eat.  Would you like to ketchup with that?  Sweet chili sauce?  How about eat this mouthful and I’ll give you a french fry.  It works.  Honestly, I always found meal times a bit frustrating because the Precious seems to be a picky vegetarian.  I’ve tried every possibly way to sneak meat into his meals, but it rarely works.  He likes black beans, but does not like chick peas.  He loves peas, he hates cucumber.  At least for today he does.  One day he likes salmon, the next he won’t eat it.  What he loves one day, he hates the next.  Sometimes he eats heartily, sometimes he doesn’t.  I make an organic meal creation from scratch and he rejects it in favour of the institutionalized food my mother eats in the home. I’ve had it and it’s horrible and what appears to be a banana cream custard doesn’t even remotely taste like banana.

Needless to say, he’s liking the sitter more and more.

Skunked!

Some people have hot sex all night long.  Not our place, no way. That’s not what we do for excitement around here.   Instead Juno had a case of cold tail for which we gave her a vet approved pain medication.  And then just for giggles, while she’s out relaxing in the backyard, she gets skunked. Literally.  She got sprayed in the face by a skunk.  Not sure how that happened while she was in the fenced backyard, but we’re guessing, a skunk was making its way along the fence line and she caught wind of it and got all curious and decided to poke her head out of one of the many loose boards in the sad excuse called the fence to check it out.  The skunk taught her a lesson in minding her own business.  Did I tell you it was 10pm?

When I heard her come in and start shaking her head, DH went downstairs to check her out.  He thought she had got into something chemical.  I thought it was a skunk.  Upon moving closer to her, the smell was so noxious, I thought the same thing.  I wiped her head down with a towel, there was some foam on the top of her head and she was foaming at the mouth a bit.  I told DH to take her immediately to the ER  vet while I ran around the backyard with a flashlight looking for a noxious substance.  The only thing I found was a G.lade automatic spray device on the ledge in the basement.  We are actually super cautious about poisonous substances because we’ve had dogs and now we have a kid, so anything remotely poisonous is on a high shelf. I pulled the device apart and called DH to let him know that I had found the culprit.  Of course, my nasal passages were so overwhelmed with the noxious substance that I would have thought an apple pie was poisonous.  Anyway, he calls me later to  tell me that he and Juno had been shoeed out of the ER cause it’s skunk that’s the problem.  That explains the foaming at the mouth cause you’d be foaming at the mouth too if you got a snout full of skunk spray.  But she’s not dying, so we’re relieved.  So he goes off to the store to get hydrogen peroxide and I’m in the shower trying to brush my teeth and wash the stank that envelopes me and is progressively getting worse in the house.  I set out bowls of vinegar, scented candles, Miracle Spray  and Febreeze the f*** out of the place. I also have an essential oil diffuser going off in the basement.  In the end we decide on a mixture of vinegar, baking soda and dish detergent and he’s washing the dog at 11:30 at night.   Juno of course is a more than a little unnerved so of course, she wants to sleep upstairs with us.  Luckily, the kid is asleep and we don’t have to worry about him. The whole house stank all night long.  Good times.

So who needs hot sex anyway?

PS. It still stinks, including the car.