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March 30, 2008

Happy Birthday, Madeline

My baby turns two today.

This time two years ago I was lying in a hospital bed watching Pitocin drip through an IV and thinking, This labour stuff isn't so hard. I am kicking labour's ass. This time two years and 10 hours ago I was writhing in pain and quite calmly informing F that I was going to die while cursing the nurse who was refusing me an epidural (and her entire family, too). This time two years and 11 hours ago, Maddie was born.

March_ballerina_1She spent the first thirteen hours of her life screaming, a sign of things to come for that long first year. She has spent her second year being, in no particular order: Amazing, heartbreaking, hilarious, beautiful, mischievous, enthralling, captivating.... I would go on, but none of these adjectives quite describe how incredible she is and how completely in love I am with her.

I can barely remember life before Maddie. I recall it like I would a story someone else told me about something they did once. Someone who had free time and a flat tummy. But now life is at once simpler and more complicated, rewarding, frustrating, challenging, routine, extraordinary. And happy. (Well, most days!)

I hate to be one of those moms who forces dog-eared photos of her kid covered in pudding on strangers, but for this one day, I am going to do the online equivalent.

When she climbs the four stairs to the top of the slide, she looks around for us and then proudly yells, "Did it!"

She stands on top of her Elmo storybook, says "Ready, go!" then jumps off - all of 2 inches - and acts all badass.

We tell her it's nap time and she holds her hand up and says sweetly, "Five minutes." (Well, actually she says, "Bibe Mibutes." But we know what she means.)

When I ask for a hug she pretends to ignore me, but looks at me out of the corner of her eye and smiles slyly. Then 2 minutes later she'll run around the house looking for me just so she can wrap her arms around my legs and say "Hug Mommy!"

She doesn't know her colours. Or so I thought. Then the other day while we were walking she pointed out the passing traffic: "Red car, blue car, black car," like she knew it all along but just didn't feel like saying it.

When she bumps her head, skins her knee, wounds her pride, she tries so, so hard not to cry, but her quivering little lip and tear-filled eyes give her away.

There are a hundred, a thousand more, but she is right now in bed yelling out the names of The Wiggles one by one at the top of her little lungs. And we have some birthday pancakes to make.

Happy birthday, Mads.

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March 30, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

March 27, 2008

Today's time-out...

If you're feeling feisty, head over to the Babycenter blog to check out the debate raging over Jennifer Lopez's formula feeding confession. Come on, ladies. Can't we all just get along?

As for me, I'm too sick to put up much of a fight over anything. Mads passed her bug on to me - not surprising since I spent the better part of the past two weeks being coughed and snotted on.

Just when I am ready to sell my soul for the arrival of Spring, wouldn't you know I wake up to frost on my windshield? It's almost April, for the love of god! Mother Nature has a cruel sense of humour. Speaking of which, here is a funny article about that. I love Scott Feschuk, he cracks me right up.

Hope there is some sunshine out there somewhere!

March 27, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 25, 2008

Best Easter Ever

That’s not saying a whole lot, actually. I am religiously ambivalent at this point, so Easter is not really a top 3 holiday for me. But this year it was so much fun, because of Maddie.

Easter_3Now that she’s 2 (minus 5 days) we’ve reached an odd in-between sort of stage. She is mostly toddler with that little remnant of baby still lurking beneath the surface. She’ll sit at her big girl desk and ask for her felt pens, but when you’re not looking suck on the marker – ink end in, of course – like it’s a lollipop. She’ll insist on picking out her own clothes, but end up in purple striped pyjama pants and a too-small orange Hooters onesie that says, “Party at my Crib” (don't ask!). Actually, that probably can’t be blamed on age, it is more likely her Daddy’s fashion DNA coming through.

So while I was pretty pumped for her first real Easter egg hunt, I was trying to keep my expectations in check. We’ve been doing some intensive Easter egg hunt training in preparation, which has basically consisted of reading Where are Baby’s Easter Eggs? about a hundred times and watching Dora’s Egg Hunt on repeat. Maddie never stuck with the book long enough to actually find the eggs, though, her interest usually waned by the time we discovered the Easter bonnet hiding in the tree. I don’t blame her. Really, who wears bonnets these days? She clearly recognized that the book is culturally irrelevant. But it still didn’t bode well for our own little living room hunt.

Of course I completely underestimated her. She spotted the first egg in seconds: “Oh wow, egg!” When she realized it had chocolate in it (the Holy Grail as far as toddlers are concerned – or maybe just females in general?) she was on a mission. She ran around yelling “More egg! More egg!” At least that’s what I think she was saying; it’s hard to understand her at the best of times, never mind through a mouthful of half-chewed Reese’s Cups.

I guess I didn’t clearly explain that this is a once-a-year deal, though, because when she woke up yesterday she seemed to be under the impression that it was an awesome new morning tradition. After searching in vain for stashes of tinfoil-covered chocolate she found me in the bedroom, and still in her PJs, with tears in her eyes, cried in her broken toddler English, “Mommy? Eggs. All gone.” She looked so heartbroken it just about made me cry.

So of course I slipped her some Smarties with breakfast.

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March 25, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 20, 2008

Doctor, doctor give me the news...

Doctor_3

Like just about every mom-to-be on the face of the planet, I read What to Expect When You’re Expecting. It’s become the pregnancy textbook. Personally, I think it’s overrated, but that’s just me.

Anyways, tucked away amongst all the talk of placentas and incontinence was one tiny section that I found particularly horrifying. It warned that in my imbalanced hormonal state I may very likely develop a schoolgirl crush on my doctor. Now, I’ve known my doctor all my life, he lives around the corner from us. I love the guy. But just the thought of me – bloated like a whale, legs spread, feet in stirrups – tossing my hair and flirting awkwardly with him was too much to bear. Pregnancy brings with it many indignities, but that one crosses the line. Thankfully the WTEWYE prediction did not end up coming true – I just couldn’t work up a sweat for a man who spent a lot our time together “down there” with a flashlight.

In any case, I was back at the doctor's this week. I finally took Maddie in because that cough of hers just would not go away. Of course the only appointment they had open was smack in the middle of her much-needed nap time. And of course we had to spend a good half hour in the eternal waiting room – which actually isn’t that bad, but with a sick toddler even 10 minutes can feel like soo much longer. 

So, for some reason she decided that mommy wasn’t allowed to sit down while we waited. Period. Every time I tried to sit she screamed like a banshee and started wildly hitting and pulling at me, yelling “No! No!” while big fat tears rolled down her face. She also did not want me to carry her. So these were my options: (A) Sit down like a normal human being and endure a public screaming fit or (B) Stand in the middle of the waiting room like an idiot because my 2-year-old daughter told me to. Either way I come off looking pretty bad in this scenario.

In the end I went with option A and endured mild embarassment and a few grimaces from our fellow waiters. But thankfully she spotted some tinsel in the corner that distracted her. Tinsel? In March? I have no idea what it was still doing there, but I said a prayer of Christmas thanks.

Oh, and I’m happy to report that Maddie is doing much better! Still that lingering cough, but she’s just about back to her sweet, crazy little self. Happy Easter egg hunts to you all!

March 20, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 18, 2008

Today's time-out...

It's only Tuesday and already it's been a long week!

I could use a smile or good laugh - here are a few bits of gossip that delivered just that...

March 18, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 17, 2008

A sick baby really sucks

Jan_engl_bay_7Why is it that at the end of every weekend I feel as though I need another weekend just to recover? This one has been a doozy.

Yesterday started out nice, with a baby shower brunch. Three of my girlfriends are pregnant right now, and it was pretty adorable seeing all of their chic maternity bellies lined up in order of due date. Pregnant people make me happy. Which is real progress, because this time last year just the sight of a baby bump made me break out in hives. But don't pop the cork from the formula just yet, there are still no babies in my near future.

I do have the one, though, and she is sadly still sick. On Friday I was complaining about the lack of illness-inspired cuddles. Today my guilty conscience is wishing that I could please, please take those complaints back. Because when I came home yesterday afternoon she felt so terrible that she was reduced to curling up in a tiny, sniffling, helpless ball on my lap and it just about broke my heart. Keep in mind this is a girl who has never sat on my lap. Ever. Period. It is a source of great maternal angst. But yesterday she lay there for a long time, her back pressed against my stomach, her face hot beneath my hand, her bleary little eyes staring out at nothing. She was too tired to even cry, but I admit I shed a tear or two for both of us.

There was a time when I felt like an imperfect mom because I didn't know with absolute certainty whether, in the heat of the moment, I would jump in front of a train, a truck, a herd of angry buffalo, for the good of my daughter. On days like today I know that I would, in a second. In a heartbeat. Hell, I would be tempted to do it just to cure her of a nasty cold. That's not to say I'm no longer an imperfect mom, but now it's just for other reasons.

But who wants to be perfect, anyways? Motherhood wouldn't be half as interesting without all of the mistakes we make along the way.

(Thanks for your well wishes over the weekend, by the way. I'm never quite sure what all I believe in, but positive thoughts definitely make the list. I'm sure she'll kick this bug and be back in fighting form soon!)

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March 17, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

March 14, 2008

Sick and tired and stubborn, too

Sick Well, poor Mads is as sick as I’ve ever seen her. It’s all relative, of course, the girl is normally healthy as a horse. (Side note: In Maddie-speak, a horse is a “hore.” Healthy as a “hore.” Wow, that gives the saying a whole new meaning.)

She started coughing a couple of days ago, and I came home last night to find her a complete mess. She’s shivering and puffy and dripping and entirely miserable. She hacks so hard she makes herself gag and throw up (so far Fernando has been on the receiving end of that special brand of fun). All she wants to do is watch The Wiggles (never too sick for The Wiggles) and cry. She came out of the bedroom in her PJs last night and instead of careening into walls at top speed like a little Tasmanian devil she was shuffling at such a slow pace she barely seemed to be moving. It broke my heart.

I know some of you have had to endure stays at the NICU and trips to the ER, and I just want to give you all a huge hug and a standing ovation because I really don’t know how you did it. I guess you didn’t have any choice other than just to get through it, but it must just be torture. It physically hurts me to see her with just a fever and snotty nose.

On an entirely selfish note, what is it going to take to get the kid to cuddle? I was all ready to be the nurturing, comforting mom, scooping her up and rocking her to sleep. Even through her sickly haze, her irritation was clear. She used the little strength she had to slap at me and struggle down to the floor. If she could talk – well, if she could talk in a language I could better understand – she would have said, “Mom, please. I don’t have the energy to deal with your neediness right now. Go buy a puppy.” F is always saying I’m too stubbornly independent for my own good. Damn, that karma’s a bitch.

At least it’s the weekend, so hopefully with the aid of some chicken noodle soup and good toddler drugs she’ll be back to causing trouble come Monday.

March 14, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

March 13, 2008

Today's time-out...

I don't want to alarm anyone, but I think Kate Bosworth may be from the future... Click here. See?

My fashion budget doesn't extend much beyond the Old Navy clearance rack. I take personal offence at these people with endless money and endless legs and no post-baby muffin top dressing like that. It's a slap in the face, I tell you!

Mads was up all night hacking, poor baby. I'm behind on her vaccinations (I know, I know...) and thanks to a particularly vivid ad that I heard the other day about kids and whooping cough (Side note: Whooping cough?? Seriously? Doesn't that belong in 1872?) I'm feeling horribly guilty. Cross your fingers that it passes quickly! Thanks. :)

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March 13, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 12, 2008

I used to be smart... I think

I've been feeling lately like I am losing my mind a little bit. I forget things, I lose things, I cannot for the life of me make a decision. Not too long ago I spent 40 minutes in the video store, just staring, only to leave empty handed.

I came across this diagram during one of my random Googlings and it seemed oh-so familiar. It's not that my mind is lost so much as it is fragmented into about a million different pieces. Mommy brain strikes again. I may start each and every morning in a mad scramble to find my purse, I may forget an entire conversation 30 seconds after it's over, but I always know which couch the sippy cup is hiding under.

Moms_brain_2_2


Yup, this pretty much sums up my mommy brain, with just a few missing parts:

  • Must register Maddie for Spring drop-in program by the deadline... last week. Crap.
  • What's For Dinner, round 4,512: Does cheese strings, frozen peas and chicken nuggets count? 
  • When did she last poop?
  • When did I last shower?
  • Breathe and repeat: Motherhood is a gift. Motherhood is a gift. Motherhood is a gift.
  • Fiesta Dora is in the car, Backpack Dora is in the diaper bag, Stringy-haired Dora is in the crib, Mini Dora is by the computer. Wait, where's Maddie?
  • "Only xx minutes until happy hour"

March 12, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

March 10, 2008

The walking wounded

Feb_pg_1I think Maddie may have broken my back. Not intentionally, I was just a victim of her stubborn streak. And okay, broken might be a slight exaggeration. Very slight.

Mads loves to walk. I think "walk" is her favourite word. Actually "cookie" would probably beat it, but "walk" is a close second. The stroller is tolerated, sometimes, if the destination is exciting enough to be worth the indignity of being pushed around.

The other evening after work she and I packed up our Goldfish crackers and of course Dora, because God forbid we ever leave the house without her, and headed to the park down the street. F got all four wisdom teeth yanked a couple of days ago so I left him drugged up and swollen like a chipmunk on the couch. Maddie agreed to the stroller on the walk down, but when it came time to say "bye bye" to the playground she made it pretty clear she would not be going back in it. She has this way of looking at me as though I have suddenly incurred brain damage when I suggest things she doesn't want to do. So fine, we had time, we could walk.

It took us a good 20 minutes to cover a single block and by then it was dark out, but because I am the embodiment of patience and motherly encouragement I let it go. Then she decides that no, she doesn't want to walk anymore. But she also does not want the stroller. She wants up. Actually, she wants "UP! UP! UP! UP!" I admit I gave in happily; she's not exactly a cuddler, so I take what I can get. So I spent the next five blocks carrying her with one arm and pushing the stroller with the other. I felt the seething disapproval of every grandmother we passed: "That's the problem with kids these days; overindulged and coddled to death." They're probably right, but carrying her seemed a better option than a sidewalk tantrum.

In the end it happened anyways, because I literally couldn't carry her anymore. Mads isn't a chunky monkey, but I've lifted weights probably twice in the last 2 years. I'm not exactly known for my killer biceps. So we had a spectacular screaming fit while I struggled to force her into the stroller as she went all rigamortis on me. I finally had to karate chop the back of her knees (my signature move) and buckle her in while she probably had half the neighbourhood convinced that I was some insane kidnapper. Not that anyone came to check, because as I've said before, people on my street tend to ignore each other. Thankfully I found a cookie in my pocket. Honestly, I don't know how old it was, but stale or not, it calmed her down. (Note to self: ALWAYS carry cookies. You'd think I would have learned that by now.)

And now my back is broken. Well, practically broken anyways. I'll be adding the chiropractor fee to her growing bill.

March 10, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

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"Having a two-year-old is like having a blender that you don't have the top for." ~Jerry Seinfeld.

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