You can now find Capital Mom at www.capitalmom.ca

Friday, October 30, 2009

Playing doctor

Sitting on my lap she
flinches, screams, flails,
away from the touch
of the tip of the thermometer
under her armpit.
Perhaps in her fevered state
the cold metal really does
burn her skin like a thousand
pitchforks sent from hell to torment her.
Or maybe she is be over-reacting.

*

Watching his father turn towards the bathroom cupboard,
he is overcome with excitement.
He gestures widely and points empathetical.
Bracing himself against the side of the pedestal sink,
he rises up on his tiptoes and titles his head back,
mouth open and tongue out,
to receive the blessed sacrament.
Otherwise know as baby Advil.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Vacation day

There is nothing like a restful day at home with the family. Or so I can imagine.

The husband took today off work to stay home and lend a hand. He wanted to give me a break by helping out with the kids. Try to ease some of the overwhelming feelings I have been struggling with. Instead we are both exhausted from last night and dealing with a very unhappy and sick little girl.

Last night felt like one of those comedy of errors where people are room hoping all night. Except instead of having secret liaisons, we were up and down with the kids. Up and down...

The girl woke up at 10:30 pm. She was so hot and yet complained about being chilly. I was worried about her so I stayed and slept in her bed. Until 1:30 am when I woke up and felt it was safe enough to head back to bed...

Which the husband had just left to get up with the boy for the second time that night. It took two hours to get the boy back to sleep. Stupid molars are coming in and making the boy so miserable. He is restless and unhappy. And fighting sleep...

They both woke up at 4:30 am but the husband managed to get the girl back to sleep while I headed downstairs with a boy who had much too much energy for my liking. That was our night.

The rest of the day is a bit of a blur. It involved two naps for me (both before 10 am), two naps for the girl and another two for the boy. A lot of television was watched and juice was consumed by the girl. But I was just happy to have her drinking and she had no energy for anything else. At one point she sat beside me in the living room staring into space for half an hour. How out of character is that!

I think she will be home from school tomorrow. Which is too bad because it is the class Halloween party. I am hoping she will be better enough to trick-or-treat but we will have to wait and see. The plan is for some friends and their kids to come over for pizza first and then all head out together. If nothing else, maybe her friend W will still come. I mean, if the girl is sick he probably is too considering they discovered the art of French kissing together on Monday when I was at home with the injured boy.

Here are the tweets I got from his mom:

@capitalmom things are good here. just back from a big walk around Patterson Creek looking at ducks and playing hide and go seek.

@capitalmom your daughter and my son french kissed. it was gross and cute at the same time. yours started it.

Of course she did.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Update

The boy is okay. After he woke up from his nap Monday I checked out the cut. I had to peel off the gauze and tape and removed the winter hat we had put on him to keep the gauze and tape from being ripped off. The cut wasn't deep but it seemed big to me. Not big enough to brave the ER for stitches but bigger than I would like. I cleaned the cut and put a Diego band aid on it.

The band aid is still there. I need to take it off and clean the cut again. I have just been procrastinating. Tonight when the husband gets home.

The cat is still missing. It has been over a week now. There haven't been any phone calls in response to the posters that were put up. The husband is visiting the Humane Society today for the third time. I am hoping he is just lost somewhere. When I let myself stop and think about it I miss him.

The girl is sick. She was sitting alone at the gate when I got to school this morning to pick her up. She cried when she saw me. We had planned that our friends would come over for lunch and they still did, but she didn't eat. She sat on the couch crying or yelled for me from her bed when I put her in her room. She is sleeping now. She said she wanted to throw up. I am very much hoping she doesn't.

Me? I am hanging in.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Cut

I startle easily. I am the person that jumps and screams when a dog jumps in front of me suddenly or the bad guy comes back from the dead in a movie. I shriek and my mind stops working. I panic when I am in an unexpected situation that I don't know how to deal with.

Like today.

Ironically, my friend and I were sitting at her house talking about just this. How we freak out when startled. The situations that cause us to lose our calm. Then the boy got his fingers tangled up in the toy basketball hoop, tried to step backwards to free himself, pulled the hoop onto himself and fell face first onto a toy saw. I screamed (or maybe I swore, I can't remember) and picked him up. I was comforting him when my friend noticed that he was bleeding.

I do not do well with blood. I do not do well with a screaming baby with blood smeared across his forehead. Or a baby who has cut his head on a plastic toy saw. Apparently neither does he.

Luckily my friend kept her cool. I nursed the boy while she wiped at the blood. I can no longer remember the order of events but at some point I called the husband for the pediatrician's number, left them a message, nursed the boy while my friend put gauze on his forehead, tried to get him down for a nap at her house as a means to calm the now overtired, inconsolable baby and then headed home with him shoeless and coat less in the stroller.

I left the girl at my friend's house. I didn't even say goodbye. I don't think she'll care. She is probably in heaven to be with her friend and the biggest tv she has ever seen.

I finally got the boy to sleep in his own bed. Over the monitor I can hear his breath catching in a little sob as he sleeps. But he is sleeping.

The bleeding had stopped by the time we had left my friend's house. The doctor's office said to take him to the ER if stitches were needed. I am going to wait until he wakes up and then see how everything looks. I will clean off the cut and see if it is still bleeding. It looked like the cut was on the surface on the skin. I am hoping that will still be the case after a closer look.

I suck at stuff like this. Right now I am sitting on the couch still shaken. Trying to calm myself.

I am also feeling gratefully for this blog and the ability to write out my feelings. Thankful for all your comments on my last post. Obviously I do need this outlet. More than I might always remember.

I am also so, so grateful to my friend. I don't know what I would do without her sometimes. In the last few months she has become such an integral part of my days. Having her to talk to in a real gift. I am going to have to get her a thank you, but in case she is reading this I want to thank you now. Thank you.

Untitled

I have been feeling sad. Run down and sad. Tired of the go go go of life with two kids. Overwhelmed by the incessant demands of her and him.

I thought a break would help. I had planned to go to Montreal last weekend but I didn't go. He is teething, she has been sleeping horribly and the cat is still missing. I felt too guilty to leave the husband alone. I didn't want him to be overwhelmed too.

I feel tense inside. I'm not sure what to do about that.

I'm not sure what to do about this blog either. I have been writing less here. Not all the posts in my head get written up. I have been afraid that I am revealing too much. Too much honesty about my struggles. I go back and forth about stopping.

It is Monday morning and the week before me seems long. I have to go and start the day.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Ta da!

I pushed the door open and walked into the boy's room to find everyone already there. The husband was getting the girl dressed in her pajamas. My mother-in-law had just finished buttoning up the boy's pajamas. Everyone was ready for bed.

As soon as he saw me the boy left the arms of my mother-in-law and made his way towards me. "Anh, anh" he said with his arms outstretched. I picked him up.

My mother-in-law called his name. "Ta da", she said. "Ta da". He stared at her blankly. "Ta da" she said to him. I laughed, mocking her a little that this thirteen month old boy would respond back to her call.

"He did it before" she told me. "His father can attest to that. Ta da!"

After listening patiently, the boy grew bored and pointed towards the chair where I nurse him every night. Obediently I started walking backwards towards the chair. As I eased myself down into it, the boy fell sideways into my arms and into position for him to nurse. As the others started to clear out of the room I lifted my shirt, ready to begin. He turned his head away from me towards the rest of the family.

"Ta da" he said.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Halloween party

We are throwing the 1st annual (hopefully) Halloween Party at St. Luke's Park (Elgin at Frank) on Saturday, October 31st from 10 am to noon. There will be snacks, crafts and games. Costumes are encouraged. For kids and parents.

If you live in Ottawa and are free, please come and join us. Everyone is welcome!

Hope to see you there.

Missing

We last saw him Tuesday night.
When we opened the front door
he ran out out of the house
and disappeared under the car.
Loaded down with our IKEA packages
we let him go.
Thinking he would return.
Like he always does.

It wasn't until yesterday evening
that I realized I hadn't seen him
since the night before.
No cat crying at the kitchen window
begging to be let in.
No cat attempting to sit on every one's lap
at once and purring loudly for all to hear.
No cat for the boy to fling himself onto
and lay across.
No cat.

Hopefully he is just hiding somewhere.
Maybe the Human Society has him.
I would like him to be missing and
not
gone.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Mommy's girl

I seem to be the favorite at the moment. Without any bribing or persuasion the girl is happy to proclaim her love for me to the world. Well, mostly to her dad. "I love Mommy", she'll say, "but I don't love Daddy".

This is a first. It is the first time she has chosen to "love" one of us and not the other. The first time she is loudly making her preference know. The first time she is purposefully trying to solicit a reaction from the "unloved" parent. I am certain it will not be the last.

This morning while I was out at a kids consignment sale she repeated her devotion to me over and over to the husband. While I am certain that she did miss me (she also asked where exactly I was a number of times), I am also certain she was looking to see how the husband would react to this. His non-reaction is the most likely explanation behind the frequency with which she continues to assert her undying devotion to me.

I know she loves me. I love her too, my crazy little monkey. Now if only that love could translate into a little bit of blind obedience. Even one day a week.

Walk

I went for a walk
down through the streets
all by myself
in the early morning.

No children's voices,
no hands to hold,
no stroller to push
and keep me moving.

The sound of my feet,
birds in the trees,
thoughts in my head
keeping me company.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Friday afternoon

It has been blissfully calm around here since Tuesday. The kids (and sometimes I) have been napping every afternoon. That has made for later nights but that is a trade off I am happy to accept. For some reason, and it is shocking to me, the girl is willingly napping. Perhaps it is the change in weather or exhaustion from school. Who knows. I am not one to look a gift horse in the mouth.

This afternoon after they both woke up from their naps was a treat. The girl wanted to watch her customary after-nap video, which was fine with me. The boy has taken to sitting beside her on the couch and watching it with her. Do not even attempt to remove him from the room if you do not want your ear drums permanently damaged. In fact, yesterday I was not moving quickly enough for his liking so he walked up to the tv, pointed at it and exclaimed "Nahhh, nahhh!". Then he pointed to the red chair. That was my cue to put on the video and then place him in the chair as if onto his throne. I know my place.

After the video the girl asked for some ice cream. We don't usually have it in the house but it is leftover from the Thanksgiving weekend. I told her she could have a small bowl. She, of course, countered with a big bowl. So I gave her what she thinks is a big bowl but is really about a heaping tablespoon of ice cream and we were both happy. Least he be left out the boy demanded some too.

I sat in front of him on the floor with a bowl of ice cream while his sister sat in his high chair. (All the better to survey her domain I think). I can say that the boy unequivocally does not like ice cream, despite two attempts to feed it to him. When it touched his tongue he recoiled, tilting his head back and attempting to push the ice cream off of his tongue with his tongue. I gave him a second bite just so I could see him do that again.

When the husband got home we passed an enjoyable twenty minutes or so all sitting on the floor trying to open a coconut I had randomly bought it for two dollars at the grocery store. It finally took the husband screwing a screw into the coconut to pierce through the hard shell. The kids and I took turns drinking from the hole. It all felt very primal. We also took turns shaking the coconut water out of the coconut into a metal bowl. Finally, a straw was inserted and we drank from it as if it were a fancy umbrella drink and we were passengers on the Love Boat.

We never did manage to crack into the rest of the coconut.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Thank you

T-H-A-N-K-Y-O-U
Thank you

Yes, I am quoting the Backyardigans. Don't make me defend my love of the Backyardigans.

*

Thank you to Josie from Sleep in for the weak for including me in her writing prompt. Josie has an awesome blog, and while I didn't get organized enough to participate this week, next week I am going to bring it! You know, if I get some sleep.

*

Thank you to Janet ( @gladescene ) for sending me two free Glade soy candles. They arrived on an awful day last week and came in handy when I imposed myself on a friend. We needed to get out of the house, it was raining, and I had just visited her that morning but I called her anyway and since I came bearing a gift I felt less guilty. The other candle is in the kitchen and I like to look at it and pretend I will one day take a relaxing bath.

*

Thank you to everyone for your supportive comments on my posts. I read them eagerly. They mean so much to me. Especially lately. So thank you.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Cumulative

He wakes at 4:30 am.
She wakes an hour later.
A busy morning,
a good morning,
and then we come home.

It takes a long time
to get him to sleep.
Like everyday nowadays.
She doesn't nap.
As much as I wish she would.

After half an hour he wakes.
Crying, screaming, inconsolable.
Nothing I do comforts him.
He cries in my arms,
he cries when I put him down.

I change his diaper.
His diaper rash is red and raw.
I have to look deep inside myself
for sympathy.

Her video ends.
She climbs the stairs.
He crying, she demanding.
I get him back to sleep
only to have him wake when I lay him down.

Keep going, I tell myself.
Keep going.

Out the door.
Boots, sweaters, jackets.
I long for summer.

He doesn't sleep in the stroller.

We walk to the canal
with bread for the ducks.
There is a moment of calm
while we throw the bread.
Then she runs.

She runs up the ramp
away from the canal.
She runs across the bike path.
She runs towards the busy road.
I scream.
She looks at me and laughs.
I scream again.
I scream with all the worry and anger
I have.
She stops. She comes back.

Pushing the stroller and holding the boy
I run as fast as I can to her.
I am angry.
Still, I try to explain.
Why she shouldn't run to the road.
Why it is dangerous.
Why I yelled at her.
Why I am mad.
She listens. The she says
"I want to get hit by a car".

We make it to the park.
We don't last long.
Both of them are crying
at any and everything.

At home things are worse.
She is licking me,
pretending to bite me,
yanking on my clothes,
trying to provoke me.
I am barely holding on to
any bits of good parenting
I have left.

Across the room I see that the boy
has broken the top off of a new
bottle of glue and is licking at it.
I rush for him,
pulling her behind me as
she clutches to my shirt.
She slips and spirals off into a chair.

I grab him
and tend to him.
I let her cry.

I wash off his hands and face.
She comes to me in the kitchen,
crying.
Wanting me to comfort her
even though she was tormenting me
moments before.
I hug her and kiss her
but tell her she fell because she wasn't listening,
because she was holding onto my clothes
when I asked and asked her not to.

We stumble along,
barely,
just making it until the husband
comes home.

I know they are tired.
But I am tired too.
I know they are trying.
Believe it or not,
I am trying too.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Snip

The boy had his first hair cut today.

I had gotten out the scissors to trim the girl's bangs. They were hovering just slightly above her eyelashes so I figured it was time. I sat her on the dining room table and asked her to look directly at a picture on the wall behind me. Despite the fact that she looked anywhere but there I managed to cut her hair so that it looks mostly straight. If you don't state at her too closely.

I also had to follow her around with the scissors for the next twenty minutes to cut any stray hairs that would suddenly appeared. Where had they been hiding?

After that I wondered out loud if I should trim the boy's hair. It was still quite short and not really in need of a cut, except for a long piece coming straight down onto his forehead. If he had been a girl I would have just used a barrette to pull it off to the side. Unfortunately there are no boy barrettes and that piece of hair was making seeing difficult, so off it came.

Cutting his hair made me a little sad. Now that it isn't obstructing his face anymore I can better see what a big boy he has become.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

First person

An elongated oval
A zigzag at the top
Two straight lines reaching up from the sides
Two straight lines pointing down from the bottom
Two small circles near the top
A straight line right beneath

A picture of my sister
A "grumpy-faced" picture of my sister
A smaller version of the girl right beside her to the left
An orange cat drawn in the corner

Her first person
Her first people
Drawn in anticipation of a much anticipated visit

Friday, October 9, 2009

A visit with a friend

Warm and dim,
the room has been
made into a cocoon
for the newest family member.

Seated in her rocking chair,
she holds him to her breast.
Her foot taps out the
rhythm of her rocking
as he suckles.

Rosy skin,
dark hair,
he is naked except for a diaper.
Brown eyes closed.
Attention riveted on the
task at hand.

Into this stillness bursts a child
talking
laughing
demanding the attention she knows
she is due because
she is a big sister now.

One so small.
The other showing us
what he will become.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Flow

Up and down
go my moods
as the days
flow by.

A good night's rest,
a mid-day break,
time outdoors in the fresh air,
and I am all smiles.

Crying,
whining,
yelling,
fighting,
pushing
me to the edge.

Everyday is a challenge.
Some more,
some less.

Everyday is a blessing.
Some recognized,
some not.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Dante

Dante is now on my must-read list. In particular the Divine Comedy. I know a little about the nine circles of hell but I want to figure out which circle is extended sleep deprivation. Because that is where I am right now.

I am thinking it must be the forth circle. That would correspond with the hour the kids seem to have chosen as the waking hour. While one of them was up pretty much every hour last night, four o'clock is when they usually decide they are done sleeping and are ready to start their day.

For the last two nights the girl has been up and down every few hours. The only way to get her to sleep at all is to lie next to her in her bed. Leaving, even if she is asleep, will result in crying and yelling. Crying and yelling that consistently wakes her brother. Which means everyone in the house is awake. At one point last night the husband and I were actually sleeping beside each other when she woke up and started yelling. In my frustration I said "just leave her, let her yell". That lasted until her brother started wailing.

I think I could manage to suffer through the nights if the lack of sleep didn't have such profound repercussions the next day. For all of us. I am short tempered and irritable. The husband is too. The boy is tired and whiny. The girl is exhausted and crazy version of herself.

The most horrible consequence of last night was the girl's failure to walk carefully down the stairs. Probably because she was so tired she missed her step this morning at the top of the stairs and fell down headfirst. I was at the top of the stairs and screamed as I watched her fall. The husband was at the bottom and he managed to hold the boy in his arms while he ran up the stairs and caught the girl. Watching her somersault halfway down the flight of stairs was more than my tired brain could handle and reinforced my paranoid tendency to always walk down in front of her. It has also confirmed my desire to have a gate at the bottom in addition to the one already at the top. I don't want either of them climbing up on their own and falling down. Not again.

This is my day so far. Definitely the forth circle of hell.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Moments like this

A pumpkin cookie on a stick. Wrapped in cellophane, the girl noticed it from ten feet away. Displayed at the front of a market stall with other apple and flower cookies, they beckoned to any child that passed by.

She asked, I denied. She persisted, I relented. After all, I remember the joy of little treats like that as a child.

She ate the cookie slowly over the next hour. She carried it in her left hand as we walked around the market aisles, the icing side always facing out. She licked it. She methodically ate it from the top to the bottom. No crumb was left when she handed me the stick from inside the stroller on our walk home.

Orange icing streaks radiating out from her smile.

*

I lifted the boy out of the crib just as the husband joined me from downstairs. Worried we might wake the girl, who was still napping, we headed down the hall to our bedroom.

We sat on the bed. The boy lay against my chest and I stroked his hair. The husband and I talked.

When he started to wiggle, I lifted the boy up and sat him on my lap facing out. He rested against my arm. Then he leaned forward and flopped his head down into the husband's lap. Grabbing onto the husband's shirt he pulled himself to standing. He reached his arms around the husband and snuggled his head in the crook of his father's neck. They cuddled.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

It was a challenge for me

Today was the Global Breastfeeding Challenge.

The event here in Ottawa was held in the main entry of a mall in the south end of the city. The husband, both kids and I caught a bus there from the end of our street. I think the bus was probably the highlight of the morning for the kids. Although the girl did love all the automated amusement rides in the mall (even though we never paid for any of them) and the boy was enraptured by the puppies in the pet store. I wonder if I will have some mall rats in my future.

I had never made it to the Breastfeeding Challenge before. The timing has never been quite right. Both of the kids were born shortly before the challenges took place and I wasn't quite ready to try getting newborns to nurse in public. Never mind getting myself out of the house on time. The other year I had weaned the girl right before the challenge. This was my year. Probably the only chance for me to talk part.

Turns out it was real breastfeeding challenge for me. The boy was completely non compliant. Instead of latching along with the 124 other babies and kids, he preferred to chew on his apple and wiggle out of my arms. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised. He is easily distracted that one and there was lots to distract him. He had cars to play with (cars "borrowed" from PhD in Parenting's son and his friend) and exploring to do.

It was on one of our many walking jaunts that I was reminded of the importance of the event. While breastfeeding has become more socially acceptable there is still a lot of ignorance and negative attitudes towards it. (Yup, being yelled at in the library is still seared into my consciousness). Holding the boy's hand while he walked I overheard a mom say to her teen aged daughter "Breastfeeding support? That's such garbage. I didn't breastfeed you and you turned out fine!".

I am sorry to say that my brain always seems to shut down when I hear people say things that shock me. I don't think very quickly. Instead I just gave a squawk and watched the teen watching me as they walked away. By the time I had regained my speech they were headed up the escalator.

Obviously the breastfeeding challenge is still needed. But I am sad to say that just watching other women nursing their children is not going to make a difference to the attitudes of some people.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The clouds parted and the light shined down on me

Today he napped. Not only did he nap, he napped for three hours. As did his sister. Who never naps anymore. I feel like the clouds parted and sunlight shined down into my cold and gloomy heart. I was very refreshed and renewed after having a few hours to myself. Of course it meant that they were up late tonight but in his infinite kindness the husband pushed me out the door towards a yoga class while he stayed home and fed them dinner.

What joy. What bliss.

I was pretty much ready to put them both in a cardboard box and leave them at the curb with a note saying "Free to a good home" yesterday. In fact, I was very close to doing that everyday this week. It's partly me, it's partly them. My patience for whining and no napping is low and my energy is even lower.

What I have been finding really hard to deal with is the boy's new found sense of conviction. He knows what he wants at all time and when he wants it he really wants it. NOW! Denying him the cracker or pencil crayon or knife results is hysterical crying and wails of "ungh ungh ungh". What he really wants is whatever the girl has and to do what ever she does. I foresee this being a problem for many years to come.

I am trying to walk the line between attentive to his needs and giving into his incessant wants. To quote the Rolling Stones "you can't always get what you want."

Man, I wish I could. I could really go for a live in housekeeper right about now. (And that's not a hint to my mother-in-law to come back and visit.)