12.20.2009

Hey! That Apple Has A Worm In It!

Babies are like 'LOL Catz'. . . And this one is saying; "NomNomNom"

GIST #33 of 365

1) Oliver has finally found his thumb and can take over some casual part time human pacifier hours for me!

2) The nice Christmas-y must of the 7 foot live Christmas tree Das Piper brought home last week.

3) Pakoras

4) My blue ukulele

5) That I have been able to hold my tongue about the presents I got people this year despite my excitement. . . I usually break down and tell everyone long before Christmas.

12.15.2009

A Post by Oliver;

This is what it would look like if I was a girl. . .

This is also what it looks like when my mom forgets to pack a spare set of clothes and I decide to explosively poop all over myself in the middle of our moms group, and the only other baby still in size 0-3 month clothes is a little girl.

Thank you Ann and Mary!

-Oliver.

12.08.2009

Anne Geddes is Sick in the Head

The Canadian Baby Photographers were nice enough to send me a photographer today for a free sitting. And of coarse I was like, hells yes you can put my baby with totally humiliating little outfits and props and take pictures because it’ll be adorable and he’s too little to do anything about it.


Last night I was nervous about it. The woman on the phone had given me a run down of how the session would go, that there would be several ‘Anne Geddes-esc’ shots in only his diaper, and then a few snapshots in an outfit of my choice, and that I didn’t have to clean or worry because no part of my home would be seen in the final product. But that didn’t stop me from desperately running around the apartment with a confused baby in one arm and a duster in the other. Not to mention of coarse that even when it’s clean, having strangers come into my home is kind of really awkward and slightly stressful for me.


Don, the photographer was really great though, and put me at ease about the whole thing right away. That is, until he sat my wobbly little bobble head on a platform 3 feet off the ground and then LET HIM GO SO THAT HE STARTED FALLING BACKWARDS!


I always wondered how they got those tiny little month or two old babies to sit up straight for photos. I had always just kind of assumed that they were propped up by their mother’s unseen hands or held up with strings or something. I had even considered that maybe Anne Geddes had been secretly drugging her little models to get them to happily take those positions.


Nope! It’s worse than that actually! The trick, apparently, is to hold them in the position you want then take your hands away, snap the picture, then catch them again before they fall. I am convinced that this information has been deliberately concealed from the general public so that when we become parents we will actually agree to the whole production.


In the end though, once my heart started beating again. The results were absolutely adorable, and well worth it. After all, Don assured me, he’d been doing this for nearly 40 years, and he’s never dropped a baby.Or so he says, it's not like he would ge around bragging about it if he had.

12.04.2009

GIST #32 of 365

1) Finding little notes of love for me in Oliver's little pockets. I think he may have had some help from daddy.

2) Oliver likes to lick everything. . . It sounds gross I know, and it actually really is. . . But it's wicked cute at the same time.

3) The hoarfrost on the trees today is breathtakingly beautiful.

4) Now that he's discovered playing. Oliver is less insistent on nursing constantly and more interested in going to daddy for more that 10 minutes.

5) That I am finished all of my Christmas shopping. Except that I haven;t found a stocking that I like for Oliver yet. . . It's an important decision, we're stuck with it for life after all.

12.01.2009

Oliver's First Snow

Well, it's Oliver's first snow that will actually stay with us.


He doesn't look too happy about it.

GIST#31 of 365

1) Big fluffy snow falling silently outside my window last night.

2) I am done my Christmas shopping!

3) Watching Oliver's eyes bug out at a new toy.

4) The clusterf*ck of cow licks on the back of Oliver's m akes his hair stick up like Alfalfa.

5)BK veggie burgers.

11.27.2009

Romance Is Dead

Because THE BABY IS NAPPING!!! ON HIS OWN!!! WITHOUT ANYONE HOLDING HIM OR LAYING DOWN WITH HIM!!! Pocket Buddha walks over to Das Piper and gives him a snuggle and some sexy kisses.

Das Piper: Um, why do you taste like pepperoni?

Mood effectively ruined.

What did we learn? If you're trying to catch a little intimacy for the first time since your baby was born 10 weeks ago, make sure to brush your teeth first.


Also, eating a felafle wrap with copious amounts of Tadzhik from 'Opa' will apparently make your mouth taste like pepperoni.

11.23.2009

GIST #30 of 365

1) Staying cozy and cuddly on this long cold day

2) Sugar cookies

3) Baby smiles

4) Das Piper

5) Oliver enjoying a private concert by his favorite band, 'Daddy and the Red Guitar'

11.21.2009

Tangy Time Sugar Cookies. . . Just The Thing To Ruin Any No Fun Diets This Winter

Yesterday morning, Das Piper took Oliver for a little walk leaving me alone at home for the first time in 2 months. Instead of pacing and worrying like I wanted to do, I made these cookies instead.

1/4 cup Butter
1 TBSP vegetable oil
1 egg
1 cup sugar
1 3/4 cup unbleached flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 lime

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit

2) With a whisk, cream together room temperature butter, oil, and sugar with the zest of your lime until it's nice and fluffy.

3) Add in your egg and the juice of your lime.

4) Mix in your flour and baking soda to make a nice sticky dough. If, like me, you don't have a fancy electric mixer it's easiest to mix the flour in a little bit at a time.

5) Drop balls of your dough onto a cookie sheet (about the size of a loonie is best) and press them down with a fork. Remember to leave space for the cookies to spread! Bake for exactly 8 minutes, then let cool on a wire rack.

For Christmas I think I am going to try and work with the green tinge that these cookies have because of the lime and make some red and green pin wheel cookies.

How do I do that?

Dye half of the dough red with food colouring, then roll out both colours into 1/4 inch thick rectangles. Stack the two sheets of dough one on top of the other and give it a roll or two with the roller to make sure they stick together. Roll the stack into a log like you're rolling sushi then chill it in the refrigerator for an hour or so. Cut into rounds and place on you baking sheet and bake.

I've never tried that with this particular dough, but I am sure it will work out like it does with other sugar cookies. (I made some pink vanilla pinwheel cookies for my god daughter a while back and she loved them.)

GIST #29 of 365

1) Oliver stops eating and unlatches himself then smiles a huge smile up at me before latching back on and resuming his meal, as if to say 'Thank you mommy, this is really tastey!'

2) Breakfast in bed thanks to my lovely Das Piper.

3) Learning to skate again. er. well learning to skate, I wasn't any good at it the first time 10 years ago.

4) 11 degrees and sunny on November 21st! So we're still able to go for nice walks outside for now.

5) Found a free blackberry app that makes my blackberry SMS look like iphone SMS. . . Why not just get an iphone? Because I said so that's why!

11.16.2009

How I Made My Flu Shot Unnecessarily Stressful

In an effort to shield Oliver from this year’s media boogey-man, the N1H1 virus, Das Piper and I got our N1H1 vaccinations last week. After hearing constant discussions about it in my mom’s group, and on the radio (btw CBC, could you maybe find something else to talk about soon?) Das Piper and I decided that when it comes to our son safe is definitely better than sorry.

Oliver being 4 months away from the 6 month eligibility mark did not get one, and for that I am kind of glad because his regular 2 month vaccinations are only days away and I am having a hard enough time gearing up for that. But as the parents of a child under 6 months, we became eligible for the vaccination shot on Thursday the 12th.

Now, I have never been afraid, or even a little nervous of needles. In fact, I remember as a child wanting to go have blood taken at the doctor’s office because I remembered getting to pick a toy out of the prize box, and clearly a super bouncy ball was worth the momentary slight discomfort of a needle in the arm. But being ushered through the dark dank abandoned hallways of an old high school, my anxiety level went from none at all, to damn near terror.

Something about the check in desk and releases and forms, and holding room, followed by an awkwardly quiet queue room the atmosphere reminded me of the dirty hazy hue of every apocalyptic movie I've ever seen. At first in a way that I could joke and be sarcastic about.

Of course, anyone who knows me knows that I am really good at joking and being sarcastic to the point where I really freak myself out. Like the one time I tried to tell my sister that there was a little undead man with no legs living under the basement stairs and that he was waiting for her to walk by so he could cannibalize her, and ended up terrified of the room myself I was so convincing. Or the time I was so excited about participating in a zombie walk that I talked about zombies for days and days to the point where I made someone walk with me anywhere I was going to act as my ‘zombie decoy’, ya know, just in case.

In this case, sensing that Das Piper was feeling a little nervous, I started making ridiculous comments about N1H1 being developed and spread by ‘Purel’ and the government injecting computer chips into our arms to that they could track us, or maybe it’s like that episode of the X-Files where Mulder find out that small pox vaccinations were actually alien DNA experiments to try and create an alien-human hybrid. And of coarse I just kept talking because Das Piper was smiling in amusement until a tiny irrational part of my brain started to buy what the sarcastic part of my brain was coming up with and by the time I got to the chair, my heart was racing.

The shot itself was incredibly anti climactic. I barley felt it. And aside from a bit of stiffness in my left arm for an hour or so afterwards there was no lasting effect at all.

All in all it was a minor inconvenience that will give me peace of mind. While the chances of me or Oliver catching this flu was small considering that neither of us spends too much time outside of the house, it was still enough of a worry that I was nervous about going to our mom’s group, and swim classes. Now we can go out without any worry at all.

11.13.2009

Eco Parenting: It's The New Black

Since being thrown into the roll of responsible adult and contributing member of society I have also found myself in a new and fascinating marketing demographic. That of the yuppie mommy set. A quick look at the vast amounts of money that we’ve spent in the past year and what we've spent it on pretty much confirms that I am eating it up just as eagerly as the next yoga pant wearing new mom out there.

The secret to driving me and every other new mother mad with desire for the latest diaper, toy, or onsie? Make it sound ‘super’ adorable. If of coarse you mean ‘super’ as in super hero save the planet and all life as we know it super. Throw words like 'natural' 'organic' 'eco friendly' at us and you can pretty much guarantee that at least 90% of us are not only going to pick your product over a similar product right beside it, but be willing to pay extra for it too.

You can charge upwards of thirty dollars per cloth poop catcher so long as it's certified organic bamboo (because bamboo is the new hemp).

How about 40 dollars for that eco friendly t shirt with a cute 'save the planet' bumper sticker across the front to let everyone know how responsible a public citizen your baby is for the two weeks it will fit him?

And of coarse 100 dollars is no cost at all for the baby food kit that will help you make all natural baby food for the health of your little one and the environment.

It all sounds really obviously stupid when I put it like that. But I really do eat it up.

Guilt is probably the most likely reason why I am so suddenly seduced by such an obvious ploy. Residual guilt over bringing yet another carbon eating person into this train wreck is really at the heart of it. Not only is this little person probably making the problem worse. But I also know that the most devastating effects of today’s environmental doochery will be felt by him and his children more so than me.

So maybe buying these products makes me feel like I am doing something. Maybe what they're really selling me is a lifestyle in which I feel in control and empowered. A lifestyle in which I am providing the brightest future for my child.

Well let me tell you, if the me from a year ago could see this. She would slap me upside the head.

Today I find myself sitting in my son's room surrounded by expensive organic toys folding his expensive environmentally friendly clothes wondering when I forgot my old mantra.

Consumerism cannot fix what consumerism broke.


I'll have to do More than try to buy my way out of this if I want that feeling of control and empowerment to be meaningful and lasting.

Of coarse making socially and environmentally conscious decisions as a consumer is important. But it's time for myself, and I am sure many others to get real about which decisions are actually effective.

Buying as much locally grown food as possible. Effective.

Buying super deluxe pocket snappy organic cotton diapers where a simple 3 dollar prefold will due. Not effective.

Making local all natural baby food with the food processor I already have. Effective.

Buying bamboo cotton clothes when the drawers are already bursting with hand-me-downs. Not effective.

But most importantly. I think it's imperative that we pair these responsible consumer choices with hard action. I want my son to grow up with the knowledge that although personal changes towards a More socially and environmentally responsible lifestyle are important. He also has the power to effect change in many other ways

Here’s where I go for ideas and information on environmental issues. Getting myself excited is the first step in raising my son to be excited and passionate about the health of our planet.



Green Nexxus - Is an online community for sharing tips, thoughts, and information on anything green focusing on the real impact of little changes.

Contact your government - An online listing of Canadian government contact information, so that you know where to send letters urging our government to make bigger changes, and to take environmental issues seriously.

David Suzuki Foundation - No eco link list would be complete without him, because he knows what he's talking about. A great site for information on both small actions, and the bigger issues as well.

Roots and Shoots
- A campaign championed by Jane Goodall to encourage young people to think critically and find solutions to problems effecting animals and humans alike.


11.08.2009

No One Ever Suspects The Frog

11.02.2009

West Coast Sling

Oliver is 6 weeks old today, and in the last 6 weeks we have learned a great many things.


We have learned that caffeine is in fact passed along through breast milk, and that caffeinated babies are no fun at all. We have learned to worry less about comfort and more about fastening the diaper tight enough to prevent catastrophic poop events. We’ve learned to only buy food that is easy to prepare and eat with only one hand. And that the purchase of a bassinet to put beside the bed was a total waist of time and money, even if it can hold more books than my bed side table.


We have also learned a thing or two about the portability of babies. Basically, with the help of a good baby carrier, the world is your play ground.


The baby carrier we’ve been using is the West Coast Sling from Baby Slings Canada. The sling is secure and comfortable, and can be used in a number of different positions depending on the age and mood of your baby or toddler.


Wearing your baby may not be for everybody. I’ve met a few mothers who either didn’t like, or weren’t comfortable with the idea. But for me, being able to wear Oliver has been a life saver. Not only can I wear him around the house when I am doing chores, but with the bus and my own two feet as my only means of transportation, the sling has given us a freedom that would have otherwise been difficult or impossible with a stroller, or just my bare arms. Nestled snuggly in the sling, Oliver falls straight to sleep, and usually stays that way through anything I may need to do be it out and about errands, or puttering around the house.


The best part about this particular sling is that it gives me piece of mind that my son will be warm enough throughout this upcoming winter. While the main sling, the part that actually holds the baby close to you, is made of a light jersey material to keep your baby happy and cool in the warmer months and can even be worn at the beach or in a pool, it comes with three covers that slip on and off as easy as a sweater to make the sling a great option in any weather. A fleece cover for warmth, a rain cover that is also great for blocking the cold prairie wind, and a UV cover that I will no doubt be using come summer. The combination of fleece and rain cover feel like completely cocooning him in my own body heat and a winter parka, which saves me having to worry about little mittens and toques staying on, or the wind hitting his tiny face.


I could go on about this sling all day, and some days I do when a number of women stop me daily to ask about it. This sling in the single most useful and awesome gift that I have received since Oliver was born; I don’t know what I would do without it.

11.01.2009

GIST #28 of 365

1)Waking up to big open mouthed baby smiles

2)Today, bulk candy will be the cheapest it is all year!

3) French toast! It tastes way better when it's made by someone who loves you.

4) Oliver's Halloween shirt glows in the dark!

5) I actually saw a fair amount of trick-or-treaters last night, the last few years they have been so sparse I was concerned for Oliver's future Halloween experiences.

10.25.2009

An Aspect of Motherhood I Never Took Into Consideration

It’s been 5 weeks now since Oliver made his entrance into the world, and those 5 weeks have mostly been spent at my breast in front of the television, or at my breast in the bedroom under a book, or at my breast while I try to fold laundry with one hand, the monotony of which is occasionally interrupted by a car ride to Tim Horton’s, and our weekly mommy meeting.


Our mommy meetings (The YMCA’s ‘Y’s Moms program that I’ve mentioned before) have been instrumental to my sanity thus far as it provides me with a hole room full of people to talk to other than Oliver and Das Piper.


At first I was so happy to have these people that if I were a puppy I would have wagged my tale so hard I fell over, then piddled on the floor. Not only were these other mothers PEOPLE TO TALK TO! But they were people to talk to who didn’t mind me talking at great length about my new favorite subject! They were people who would listen with actual interest as I went on and on about Oliver this and Oliver that. Best of all they were people who wouldn’t raise their eyebrows in disgust when I started talking about boobs and poop and barf.


Now I am, realizing the true cost of this opportunity. . . Having to smile and nod and talk to people that I would never ever in a million years put up with if it weren’t for the fact that our children are only weeks or days apart.

My usual blunt self would have absolutely no problem saying ‘Hey, you know what? We have nothing in common, you’re really boring/annoying, I don’t really want to be your friend.’ It’s not like our children are old enough to have any kind of awareness of, let alone relationship with each other. So why am I so hell bent on being nice to some of these women? It’s not like also being a mother automatically makes me their friend.


As Oliver grows up this problem will only get worse, as he grows I will no doubt find myself on sports sidelines, and parent comities, or in play groups with people that I absolutely cannot stand. And in a city this small I may end up on sports sidelines and parent comities and in play groups with many of these very women, most of whom I like just fine, but some of which annoy the shit out of me. How on earth am I going to deal with that? He’s only 5 weeks old and I am already having trouble. Am I just being a big baby for complaining about having to be nice and bite my tongue for once?

10.18.2009

GIST #25 of 365

1) A little warmth after a week of cold, rain, and snow.

2) The quiet laziness of an empty Sunday after a bit of a whirl wind week.

3) Fussy baby finally sleeping. . . . Oops I spoke too soon. . . But the last 10 minutes were blissful.

4) Almost forgotten Thanksgiving leftovers in the freezer.

5) The smell of Penitin diaper cream.

10.14.2009

Dear Oliver;

I know that you're only 3 weeks old, and that you have been working very hard on your 3 week old duties. . . Like that extra leg roll you grew over night, and adding 2 seconds to your holding your own head up record. . . But could we maybe work on a facial expression other than looking bored and unimpressed with me?


Also, I am worried that people won't believe me when I tell them that your toes are so cute that I want to eat them, so as you may have noticed I've been trying to take pictures. I would appreciate it if you could keep them still long enough to get a decent snapshot.


On a third and final note; I know that you're your father's son and all. . . but I don't appreciate you hiding your little face behind rude fingers when the camera comes out.


Love you forever and ever;

Your Mommy

10.10.2009

GIST #24 of 365

1) A 3 1/2 hour nap for Oliver and I in the middle of the afternoon.

2) My old jeans fit. . . . Sort of. . . They're really tight, but I can button them up!

3) Oliver may be a bit young yet for the Twilight Turtle, but it sure works to relax me.

4) Being able to appreciate the beauty of all this early snow because I don't have any reason to go out in it unless I want to.

5) Dorky camera angles make sleeping babies more interesting. 6) Das Piper has somehow managed to sucsessfully move said sleeping baby from my lap to the bed without waking him! My tired breasts are most thankful for the extra hour of rest!

9.30.2009

Off To A Rocky Start

A toxic environment.


That’s what my doctor called my uterus.


He didn’t really mean it to sound so harsh. “The infection in your uterus made it too toxic an environment; we had to get him out fast”.


Getting him out fast meant distress, which earned Oliver an express ticket to the neonatal intensive care unit, Das Piper told me later that at one point his heart rate went from a terrifying 189 beats per minute to an even more terrifying 45 beats per minute just before he was pulled out.


Getting him out fast meant less time for my body to adjust to Oliver’s shape and size, which earned me a long and painful repair and recovery. All told Oliver and I were not discharged from the hospital for 5 days after his birth.


At the beginning of our 5 day stay in hospital, I thought little about it. The doctors and nurses assured us that we were both healthy, and that the IV antibiotics were routine and harmless. In short, we would be bringing home a totally healthy and normal bouncing baby boy, just a few days later than expected.


A number of contributing factors meant that we would be spending this time in a tiny curtained off corner of a larger public room watching other families come and go. There was the teenager who spent most of her stay alone and crying while frantically text messaging on her phone, the east Indian family with the delicious smelling food that made me even less excited about the hospital slop I was eating, the family from out of town who were evidently hard of hearing judging by the astronomic levels of their television’s volume.


I took it all in stride. I smiled and nodded at the nurses trying to tell me how to breastfeed, all of whom had different ‘facts’ and opinions about how I should be feeding my child. I didn’t punch the lab techs that came in every morning to draw blood from my baby right there beside my bed. (They don’t just use a needle on infants; they cut their little feet and squeeze out drops.) And I stayed calm and optimistic while learning to clean, calm and feed my son around the IV and the hoses attached to it, all the while telling myself that after 5 days, I could bring him home and never have to think about it again.


On the 4th day, when Oliver was in the nursery receiving his daily medication, they told me that his IV needed to be redone, again. I'd heard him crying on my way back from a soak in the gross hospital tubs. I entered the nursery to see his arm swollen around the IV. I had just enough time to kiss his head and find out that the IV had slipped out of his vein and allowed some of his antibiotic to be injected into the tissue rather than his blood stream, before they whisked him away to the NICU for the third time to have it fixed. When they brought him back I lost it.


For lack of anywhere else to put it they had stuck an IV line in my son’s head, then handed him back to me along with a bag of the hair they had to clip away to do it.


I know it sounds really stupid to be upset about a few little pieces of hair, especially when it was medically necessary and part of keeping him healthy. But that little bag of hair completely ruined every ounce of strength, patience and calm that I had in me. That little bag of hair, and the barely noticeable bald patch it left behind on my son's head would be a constant reminder to me that my body had made my baby sick.


When I saw that little lock of hair, the one that looks almost identical to the one my mother still carries with her from my late sister, a little voice in the back of my head said ‘There! You see! Proof, physical proof of your negligence.’ That same voice that had been quietly asking why I hadn’t mentioned having a slight fever to my doctor, why I had been so quick to assume that my flu like symptoms were one final bout of morning sickness, and not a sign that my uterus was infected and becoming less hospitable by the day.


That little bag of hair was a reminder that my uterus had been a toxic environment for my baby, and I was suddenly terrified that the toxicity wouldn’t end there. What if there was something wrong with my milk? What if there was something wrong with our home, and the environment we were taking him to? What if I dropped him, or bumped him, or somehow injured him by accident? What if I fucked this kid up so far beyond repair that he became an axe murderer or something and the police and all the news papers would say that it was as a direct result of his toxic home environment?


Thank God for Teresa the night nurse who sat with me and rubbed my back while I clung to my baby (who was fine and slept through the whole procedure by the way) crying how sorry I was for the 15 minutes it took Das Piper to throw on some clothes and drive like a mad man back to the hospital. And thank God for Das Piper, who managed to calm me down and reassure me enough to breastfeed and then go to sleep.


Since being home I have calmed and reassured myself that everything will be ok. I’ve come to accept his little tiny bald spot that no one but me notices, but even more important than that I have come to accept the profound vulnerability that comes with being a parent. I have come to accept that pretending everything was ok in those first 3 days in the hospital would never have worked even if they hadn’t cut his hair, because even without the bumpy start, I would still be worried about doing the right thing, I would still be worried about being good enough for my son.


Today Oliver and I attended our first Y’s Moms group. Y’s moms is a totally free walk in social group for mothers of small children held at the YMCA. The purpose is to have a place to talk about what has been going on in yours and your child’s life, whether that is good or bad, and to provide a support group of other parents. When I mentioned this vulnerability, that I hadn’t been prepared to be suddenly so fragile, there was nothing but complete understanding in the eyes of the other mothers there.


‘It’s that vulnerability that makes us good mothers’ one woman said. ‘If there was nothing on the line we wouldn’t work so hard to give these babies the best we can give.’


Now, instead of symbolizing all of my guilt and terror over an infection that was not my fault, and not something I could have prevented, that little bag of hair is a reminder of the extraordinary change that this little boy had made in me. For better or worse, I am his mother, and I am giving him nothing but my absolute best.

9.29.2009

GIST # 23 of 365

1) Waking up to the gentle murmurs of Das Piper talking to his son.

2) Banana pancakes.

3) Reassurance from the home visit nurse that I am breastfeeding correctly, and recognition of the fact that I stuck with it even though the doctors and nurses at the hospital were getting jumpy about my ability to nurse effectively after breast reduction surgery.

4) Teeny tiny baby socks.

5) Finally being together as a family at home in our own beds.

9.28.2009

He's finally here!


Look!
It's the first honorary passed-out-naked photo of Oliver!
He's such a rock star.

Oliver Malcolm Blair
September 21st, 2009
8 lbs 11 ounces
22.5 inches long

9.20.2009

Pregnant Bellies Are Not Fashion Accessories.


This lazy Sunday morning started with a big bowl of cereal and Project Runway. This week’s designer challenge: to create a look for pregnant celebrity Rebecca Romijn. (Ok, so it wasn’t really this week’s challenge at all, it was a re-run, but I am really not the kind of dedicated T.V watcher who sees things on first airing.)


To my horror, the episode featured the usual skinny, cellulite free, un-swollen models of the show who’s only reason for feeling ill or woozy would be the meal or 5 they missed to be so skinny and cellulite free, with pillows strapped to their otherwise perfect midriffs while they strutted down the runway in 6 inch heals.


I would look and feel that good in heels too if I wasn’t so swollen that my ankles disappeared about a month ago! I could wear short shorts and confidently strut down the street if I could bend far enough to shave my legs or use make-up to cover the varicose veins! Sure those leggings look great on the model, but they’d be tight enough on me that the whole world would be able to see the diaper sized maxi pad I have to wear to catch the copious amounts of mucus and discharge that no one ever warns you about. I would love to show off that much cleavage too, except that there’s no room in those tiny cups for nursing pads, a definite must have when your boobs start squeezing out sticky colostrum every time anyone even mentions a hungry baby. And last but not least, I would like to think I could rock a runway walk like that too, except that cramping, ligament pain, extra weight, and a baby in the way makes it absolutely impossible to walk without a waddle, let alone any faster than a slow meander.


Maybe Heidi Klum is just better at this whole pregnancy thing than I am, I mean, she’s certainly had more practice having had almost four children to my almost one, but I doubt that even she believes her own line.


Yes pregnant woman can be sexy; yes we can still look good. Occasionally, even feel good and sexy, and thank God we are no longer subject to the horrid maternity fashion of old. But the image of pregnancy being portrayed in Hollywood is completely ridiculous and unattainable. On the whole, women are constantly held to impossible image standards by the fashion and entertainment industries every other day of our lives. . . Is it too much to ask that we be given a 9 month reprieve while we are growing your future consumers?


If I have learned nothing else over the past 9 months, I have learned this lesson the hard way: There is absolutely nothing glamorous about pregnancy.


Don’t let those cute little Hollywood starlets fool you, the next time you see a tabloid photo of a glowing Gisele Bundchen, or an even bustier than usual Kendra Wilkinson, do me a favour and spit on it.


The reality is that between the clumsiness that makes you feel like a bull in a china shop, the weight gain and swelling that make you feel like a beached whale, the morning sickness that has the potential to be so bad that you literally loose four months of your life, The many and varied substances that your body discharges, and the number of different people that need to poke and prod and swab and look in your most intimate of places, you are lucky to even feel human most days. What makes it awesome is the little bundle of joy that’s wrecking your body to get to you; there is simply no other way to dress it up.

9.14.2009

GIST #22 of 365

1) Das Piper somehow managed to make hamburger helper out of veggie meat. . . I was obviously suspicious at first, but it was delicious. . . The upstairs neighbour must be leaving red neck germs in the hallways or something; enjoying Hamburger Helper today. . . Watching Dog the Bounty Hunter tomorrow.

2) Only two more days before my doctor goves me some natural induction methods to try. This baby will be here soon.

3) TSN may suck gigantic balls in the sports coverage department, and I may have had to watch said shitty coverage with people I really really don't like. . . But it's hard not to be happy with a 45 point win over Winnipeg in yesterday's banjo bowl. . . Especially when people I do like bring me ice cream at half time.

4) The Food Network.

9.10.2009

Still Pregnant.

In the excitement following last Friday's doctor's appointment I made the mistake of telling everyone I know, including the faceless masses of the Internet that I am 3 centimeters dilated and can expect to go into labour any day.

OK, mistake is a strong word, it is exciting and I don't regret sharing this excitement with everyone else. Nor am I not extremely appreciative of all the support that I am receiving from friends and family.

Our cellphone provider is going to be extremely appreciative as well. Since Friday afternoon our phones have been ringing off the hook.

"Have you popped that baby out yet?"

"Still pregnant?"

"Hey! haven't talked to you in a while, weren't you supposed to be having a baby this month?"

And of coarse, the most common one:

"Am I a Gido/Baba/Grandma/Grandpa yet?" (To which I can only say this: Have I done something to make you think that I won't call and let you know when you are?)

Yes I am 3 centimeters dilated, and yes I am experiencing other pre-labour symptoms, and yes the doctor seams to think that, though it is possible, I won't be going all the way to my estimated due date. BUT that does NOT mean that I am in active labour, from what I've read pre-labour symptoms can precede active labour by up to 4 weeks.

You've made it through the first level, but sorry Mario, our princess is in another castle.

What it DOES mean is that I am exhausted, uncomfortable, and irritable. So while I appreciate the support, I cannot be held responsible for what kind of response well wishers will get when they call. Here's how to avoid having to call.

1) If you are just calling to see if I am still pregnant, the answer is probably yes, I promise you that I will be shouting with glee from roof tops (And by roof tops I mean this web page, and twitter, and mass text message) and you will know.

2) If you are calling to see if I need anything, the answer is not really, but here's a wish list of things to make you feel useful.

- Frozen casseroles and other such things to heat up and eat after the baby is born when I don't have time to cook.

- Movies and or TV series to watch/play in the background so that I don't forget what adult conversations sound like after the baby is born and Das Piper goes back to work.

- In suit laundry.

- Books to read. . . In the last few months, having nothing better to do, I have run out of things to read. If you have anything interesting, I would love to borrow it.

- A million dollars. For obvious reasons this would be VERY much appreciate.

3) If you are calling because you want to drop by for a visit. Then by all means, call and see what I am up to, I'd probably love to have visitors, but don't call when you're already here, or only a block away. I may need a few minutes to find pants that fit, or put some deodorant on.

9.01.2009

The Great Epidural Debate

The great epidural debate is one that I had originally decided not to touch on in my writing here, or really discus at all with anyone else. I believe that whether or not a woman chooses medication as a form of pain relief during labour is a decision that she can make with her doctor and partner. I am apparently the only person who believes that this topic is none of anybody else’s business.


At a certain point in pregnancy every second person you meet wants to know one thing. ‘Are you going to get the epidural?’ When I tell people that I don’t want to but am not ruling it out I get one of two main reactions, both of which are extremely annoying.


Reaction #1, the most common reaction comes from the people who I’ve written about previously, the ones who are about to tell me all about how horrible it was to birth their children and seam to think that telling me this is at all helpful to my own birthing experience.


One of these people actually rolled their eyes and laughed at me before delivering her lines; ‘You know there isn’t a special place in heaven for mothers who give birth naturally. Oh you’ll end up taking it, trust me’. It’s that last part that gets to me the most, the part where the say ‘trust me’ in the most ominous voice they can muster.


I’ve already addressed these people in a previous post, and when I address them in person I usually calmly explain that my partner and I have talked about it, and my doctor and I have talked about it, and I am comfortable with the birthing plan that I have made for myself.


Reaction #2, usually comes from people who either don’t have any children, or feel very smug about having had there children sans epidural.


‘By even making it an option you’ll use it, do you know all of the horrible things that those drugs can do to you and your baby?’


Why yes, I am aware of the possible side effects of an epidural. I am aware that it can slow down labour, that it can be ineffective or partially effective making the rest of my labour worse, and most of all I am aware of the studies suggesting that the epidural drugs can have negative effects on bonding and nursing in the first few hours of my child’s life. I am however, very satisfied with my doctor’s reassurance that it will not turn my baby into a three eyed flying cancer monkey, nor affect his ability to thrive in any other way.


Once again what I actually say in real life, because I am not as cool in real life as I am on the Internet, is much the same as what I tell the first category of people. I am comfortable with the birthing plan that my partner, doctor, and I have agreed upon.


Said birthing plan is relatively simple, if I can stay calm, and stay focused, then I should be able to avoid the use of the epidural, and if I do ask for pain relief Das Piper knows to talk me through the contraction, and ask me again so that I don’t end up making a rash decision in the heat of the moment.


My reasons for wanting to avoid an epidural are simple as well. In general I’ve never been one to take medication for anything unless it is absolutely necessary, that applies to antibiotics, pain relievers, and anything else. I always like to give my body a chance to heal itself before resorting to drugs.


What experience I do have with being under anesthetic also makes me weary. Waking up from my breast reduction surgery was unpleasant to say the least. The shaking, vomiting, and headache resulting from the anesthetic were far worse than any other part of my very painful recovery. While I understand that an epidural would be administering different drugs than those from my surgery, I also know that these are possible side effects of an epidural as well and would prefer not to feel like that during one of the happiest moments of my life.


Regardless of my reasons, or my birthing plans, or anything else though, the point remains that there are many different pain relief options to choose from during labour, and I believe that I have done sufficient research to make a well informed decision for myself.

8.30.2009

GIST #21 of 365

1) Fresh garden peas

2) The fact that I totally lucked out on weather this summer. I know it was kind of lame for everyone else, but I am eternally grateful that didn't have to share my body with this kid through a heat wave summer.

3) Cramps, discharge, and a number of other symptoms of pre-labour that no one wants to hear about in any detail, that signify that this pregnancy is almost over, which, of coarse means that this discomfort will soon end!

4) Das Piper made me chocolate chip cookies, which he served hot from the oven with a giant glass of milk. . . He's a keeper for sure.

5) The teeny little teddy bear booties my parents got for the baby. I haven't been able to put them away yet because I like looking at them, and feeling them, and imagining little feet in them.

8.25.2009

Passing Judgment On Those I Have Never Met

Dear Upstairs Neighbour;

I feel the need to apologize. Without ever having met you I have found myself jumping to many conclusions, most of them negative, about you based on the many very annoying things I have witnessed over the past few months. The final conclusion I have drawn about you is that you are a family of uneducated red-necks who must have had some good luck at some dark VLT one night and decided to trade in your trailer for an apartment in the city and a sound system.

Ok, so I am not really apologizing, these conclusions are totally backed up by fact. I am just trying to be nice in the hopes that you will take the following suggestions under consideration:

1) Please keep in mind that I can hear you. The thing about these fancy apartment buildings in the city is that your neighbours are much closer than they were in the trailer park, so when you use that fancy new sound system to listen to the same Kid Rock song over and over again, or yell at your child causing him to stomp and slam doors, or yell at each other while stomping and slamming doors the people around you can hear it. Although I do have to give you props for being this annoying in a cement building, it’s much harder to get all of that sound through cement than it would be through wood and dry-wall.

2) It is not acceptable for your son to stand on the front lawn and yell at your window (the one right above mine) for you to let him in. If you really think that a 7 year old is old and wise enough to wonder the neighbourhood alone and unsupervised, then teaching him to use the buzzer shouldn’t be all that difficult. I know, intercom technology may be new and scary to you, but I promise that it is wonderfully convenient.
- Also, the next time I hear you tell him to go away and play a bit longer when he just wants to come in for a glass of water on a hot day, I am calling family services.

3) The window is not an appropriate garbage disposal. When you throw your fruit pits, cigarette butts, rotten eggs, and food wrappers off your balcony, they end up on my barbeque, in my tomato plants, and on the front lawn. I am sorry that you feel the giant garbage bin located at the back entrance is not convenient enough, or perhaps it’s the cost of garbage bags seeing as how you never leave and therefore couldn’t possibly have a job, but it’s not a suggestion, it is mandatory for you to bag and dispose of your garbage.

4) Do some laundry every once in a while. I have noticed on the laundry schedule that you have booked the 3 hour block of laundry time right before mine on Tuesdays. I am not really complaining that you have never used this time in the 6 months that I’ve had that laundry slot, it gives me the extra time I need to wash all of the new baby stuff we’re getting. But it does make me wonder. . . I mean, if you don’t care to dispose of your garbage properly, I can’t imagine what your other house keeping skills are like. I just hope you’re not growing anything up there that may become a health concern for others living in the building.

These are only a small few of the many things you do to make me judge you on a daily basis, but I didn’t want to overwhelm you. When you feel you have mastered these tasks I would be happy to give you another list of things you may want to consider.

Thank you for your time:

-pocket.buddha-

P.S. Please note that the noise and garbage complaints have been passed onto the building manager, and will probably only get worse should any of your obnoxious sound pollution wake my sleeping baby.

8.20.2009

Breast Feeding After Reduction Surgery

At the age of 16 I underwent breast reduction surgery. It was one of the best things that I have ever done. At that age the larger than average size of my breasts was causing a lot more than physical pain although there was quite a bit of that.


At that age, the larger than average size of my beasts, combined with the very early appearance of them, was causing my usually outgoing and bubbly teenaged self to shy away from pretty much any situation where I thought they may be noticed.


In grade 9, after 3 years on the elementary basketball and volleyball teams, it was assumed if not expected that I would try out for the high school teams. But after 2 minutes in the changing rooms outside of the gym I quickly got myself out of there. Hardly any of the other girls trying out had breasts, let alone ones with stretch marks that hung lower that a teenaged girl’s ought to, and adding the bulk of my chest to the good foot of height that I had over each one of them made me feel like a bumbling giant.


I struggled almost daily in front of the mirror of my bedroom making sure that the tags of my shirts, the ones that were clearly marked ‘plus size’, would not be spotted, and that the giant straps of my specialty bras, the ones that looked like a 60 year old woman should be wearing them, would not slip out into the open. I wonder to this day if my ending up befriending the punks of my high school didn’t have to do with the bulky black sweaters I wore as often as the weather would allow, to try and hide my chest.


It was all of this and more that got my 16 year old mind set on breast reduction surgery. I knew that it wouldn’t be covered, nor would I get my doctors approval just because I wanted to shop at a store for 16 year olds and not at a store for middle aged women. So I played up the pain, let them put me on pain killers before booking another appointment to tell them that I didn’t want to be on pain killers the rest of my life, and that I wouldn’t if they just removed the problem. I was quickly added to the waiting list, and received a surgery date a few months later.


At about this time in August of that year, I went under the knife. My mother looked terrified while they were preparing me. But I don’t remember feeling much of anything as the doctor marked his incisions and the nurses put me in a gown and walked me down the hallway. I walked right into the room, laid down on the bed, and took the deep breaths the anesthesiologist asked me to all without blinking an eye.


At 16 years old I wasn’t thinking about the future. I wasn’t thinking about having children and whether or not I was going to breast feed them. I don’t even remember if I asked about it, or if the doctor told me on his own that I would have a 50-50 chance at successful breast feeding in the future. It didn’t matter, and to tell the truth, even if it did my decision would have been the same. I do not, in any way, regret having the surgery.


Now though, I am 23, and not only am I thinking about having children, I am 40 days away from having one. The question of whether or not I will be able to physically provide for my baby has haunted me from day one, and I’ve spent countless hours reading about breast feeding after reduction surgery.


At first I was put off by what I was reading. You wont know until you try is the consensus with most of the material, and the Le Lache League’s literature offers eight billion different ways to supplement while still maintaining a breast feeding relationship most of which sounds just as, if not more frustrating and tedious than bottle feeding, and offers little in way of hope that I will be able to breast feed exclusively.


My doctor seamed optimistic when I first asked about it, my young age at the time of my surgery, the fact that I continued to grow a bit puberty wise after it, and from what he can tell on physical examination all is well. My breasts are acting exactly how breasts should act when preparing for breast feeding. ‘Just make sure to let me know about anything you may notice about your breasts’.


About a week ago I noticed that my nipples were dry. . . Really dry, almost as if they had dandruff. Not wanting to sound stupid I neglected to call my doctor to report dandruff nipples. Over the course of the next couple days it was less like dandruff and more just crusty nipples. Two days ago I went to wipe away my embarrassing nipple crust and found that it was wet.


At yesterday’s doctor’s appointment my doctor smiled. ‘That is exactly normal, your breasts are preparing to produce milk, and it looks like both of yours are working.’ I managed to avoid hysterical pregnancy crying with joy about that until just this moment as I am writing this.


I feel like I’ve finally been given permission to say ‘yes’ when people ask if I plan to breastfeed without following it up with an ‘if I can’. I finally feel like I can BE a mother. I feel less trapped, even if I didn’t want to, even if it wasn’t so important to me to feed my child this way, it would be MY decision; my 23 year old decision, not my 16 year old decision. Instead of grasping at the straws of pigment changes and occasional swelling or soreness, I can confidently say that this is going to work; I can go buy a nursing pillow.


Even though there is still the question of how much I will produce, I am overcome with relief about the fact that I can produce milk for my child. Should it turn out that I need to supplement, it will simply give Das Piper the opportunity to take part in such a large part of caring for our baby, and I refuse to see that as a bad thing.

8.19.2009

Tempting Fate.

I've been taking full advantage of the perinatal programs offered at the local YMCA. Said programs are awesome! The prenatal class was mostly fun, very informative, and cleared up many of my nerves about giving birth. The prenatal aqua-fit is similarly geared towards labour preparation, I highly recommend it to anyone who can keep a straight face while a 75 year old woman is screaming at you to squeeze your vagina really tight.

These classes are also really good for meeting other pregnant woman, you know, for camaraderie and what not, but also scoping out those due the same week as you, aka the ones you'll be fighting for the private rooms in the mother-baby unit.

Last Thursday at said aqua-fit class, one of the women also due the last week of September, and myself were chatting in the pool before class.

Me: Can you believe my partner wants me to pack a hospital bag already? We have like 5 weeks left.

Her: Oh I know what you mean, my husband hasn't stopped hassling me, it's not like I am going to go into labour tomorrow, we have loads of time.

Well, she didn't go into labour tomorrow. . . She went into labour later that night. She and the baby are both fine, she had a boy, 6 pounds 4 ounces. . . But really, if I didn't know any better I'd think Das Piper had planned this whole thing to make me pack that hospital bag.

It's worked, to not pack that bag now would just be tempting fate.

8.11.2009

6 Weeks: Split Second, Or Near Eternity?

Das Piper pops his head up over his computer with a big-eyed look on his face:

"48 days? is that really all we have left?"

I lift an eyebrow at him:

"um, yeah, that's just over 6 weeks, you knew that."

My calmness doesn't seam to sooth him at all:

"maybe you should pack your hospital bag tomorrow."

This causes my eyebrow to move higher yet, I haven't seen it since, I think I may have lost it in my hairline:

"We have 6 weeks! We could order Ikea furniture in that time!"

Maybe it's because he's a carpenter and has therefore never ordered Ikea Furniture, or maybe he secretly has and was impressed with their speedy service, I am not sure, but his eyes only got wider:

"Pack your bag tomorrow, please?"

Me thinks that Das Piper is getting a little jumpy already. . . I think it's really sweet, but to me right now, in this very uncomfortable moment, 6 weeks feels like a lifetime.

8.08.2009

Pocket Buddha's Covet List:

"Enough baby stuff!" my mind screamed at me about an hour and a half ago. "You've been spending all of your time and all of your money on things for the baby, what about you?"

I totally agree with my brain. . . 6 months of constant baby things is a little excessive, if totally understandable.

Here are a few things I covet for myself:


1)Awesome recipe cards from boygirlparty.com

2)'Prey for me' T from threadless.com

3)Angry pirate ninja kitty buttons from Maustudio.com

4)Attack of the friendly octopus tote from cutoutandcollect's Esty shop!

GIST #20 of 365

1) Good music on the cool grass in the warm sun.

2) A frozen chocolate covered banana.

3) Purchasing a fun new percussion instrument that sounds, and is shaped, like a frog.

4) Homemade lemonade.

5) Putting my swollen feet up when we finally got home.

8.07.2009

On Discipline And Negative Expectations

Das Piper and I attended a wedding last weekend. A beautiful wedding that brought to town many friends of Das Piper’s and mine from the west coast that we hadn’t seen in a long time, and quite a few that I’d never met before. The service was beautiful, outside at a gorgeous location, and the reception was the perfect size with awesome food and lots of dancing.

The reception also triggered another one of those annoying parenting conversations that I know we need to have, but I can’t help being bothered by. I am bothered because the conversation usually starts with Das Piper saying something along the lines of, ‘what do we do if our son does [insert random defiant/terrifying/undesirable behavior here]’.

I understand why he does this. Not only does he have considerably less experience with children than I do, a fact which makes him nervous about what to expect, but also because of the circumstances of his own childhood; which he seams to think happened as a result of his bad behavior, and not the other way around.

What upsets me is that when he does this, my hormone filled brain flips it around to mean that he is assuming our child is going to be a bad kid. So I get frustrated and tell him that we won’t have to deal with it because I am not his mother, or my mother, and he is not his father and our child will be much happier and well adjusted than either of us ever were. My frustration, of coarse makes him frustrated because, as I mentioned before, he seams to think that his childhood unhappiness was the catalyst for unfortunate circumstances, and not a result of them, and is worried that he will pass this unhappiness on to our son.

I think he also thinks that I am na├»ve in saying that there is absolutely never a reason to spank a child. Because I believe that if you rule out the option of hitting your child from day one, then you will be more likely to show greater patience and be able to find better solutions to family problems than simply jumping to a spanking because it seams like the easy way out, and that spanking only teaches a child that it is sometimes ok to hit. Whether you believe that to be true or not, a child does not possess the social knowledge and tools to know the difference between those times and other times. It’s just asking for trouble if you ask me.

Of coarse by the time we get to that point in the conversation Das Piper is just arguing for the sake of arguing and no longer actually cares what side of the argument he’s on, or what the result will be. I know this sounds like a horrible trait in a person, but I have it too. It’s part of what attracted us to each other, and it resulted in many of the hours long pub arguments that eventually turned into ‘we may as well just argue about this in your bed, wouldn’t that be convenient?’ arguments that resulted in our eventual close relationship and now domestic lives together.

So, because he’s arguing for the sake of arguing, he starts presenting me with tough scenarios that depict our unborn son doing horrible things like bullying other children, and making older friends to pull him beer at the age of 12, or buying an ABBA record. At which point I usually snap and tell him that by even entertaining that possibility it will become a self fulfilling prophecy if that’s what we expect from him, and totally shut down on the conversation.

At the wedding reception, the issue being discussed in this manner was that age old right of passage; at what age is it ok for an irresponsible adult relative to sneak your child sips of beer or wine?

Well, I huffed, no one on my side of the family would ever dream of doing such a thing, and by the time it’s even an issue your Uncle will be too old to do it, so never. We can decide when he’s older, depending on what kind of a teenager he is, if limited under-aged drinking is appropriate, but I couldn’t possibly make that decision right now.

I was so sure of this fact, that I turned back to my plate with a smug smile and continued eating. Until Kevin agreed that I was right, there wouldn’t be many relatives on his side of the family, only a grandfather and elderly aunt and uncle, none of whom would be in a position to slip our 8 year old any beer, my brother on the other hand would be clamoring to pop a nipple on a bottle of Jamison whiskey and take our son out for a night on the town before he was even out of diapers.

This made me angry. At first at Das Piper, not because it was kind of a rude thing to say about my brother and I felt a little protective, though it was and I did, but because he was right. Then I was angry with my brother. Not only had he already made jokes to this effect when talking about my baby, but in the past year or so my trust and respect for my brother has taken a beating due to his irresponsible behavior when it comes to, and as a result of alcohol.

I stewed on this for days. I was not only angry at him for any number of the stupid and hurtful things he had done in the last year, but also I realized, for the future sip of wine or beer that he would sneak my son at a family function. So angry that when I heard about the knee injury that he sustained well working out in the back woods of Alberta, I couldn’t help but let out a sarcastic grumble about whether the alcohol content in his system had anything to do with him ‘Stepping the wrong way’ and tearing a ligament in his knee.

When I found out that this injury would require him to wear a brace on his knee ala Forest Gump until he could get in for surgery to repair the ligament I immediately felt horrible. Who was I that I couldn’t show my own brother any support or sympathy in a shitty situation because I was already mad about something that may or may not happen 8-10 years from now?

Wasn’t that what I had been cautioning Das Piper against? How could I be encouraging my partner not to develop any negative expectations, or predetermine punishments for things that hadn’t happened yet because he is trying to prepare for fatherhood and at the same time turn a cold shoulder and emotionally punish my brother in the same way for things he hadn’t, and may never do?

With all of this in mind, I have two new goals: 1) Try to be more accepting of Das Piper and his incessant need to look further into the future than I am willing to, and accept that he has his reasons for concern that I should take seriously. 2) Stop hating on my brother for being irresponsible, it’s not like I am having to pick up after him or anything, and he is still my brother, who despite having bad judgment is still family and will love me and my son as family no matter what.