Thursday, May 10, 2012

mother's days

Dear One,

There aren't words to convey how my heart grows as you climb onto my lap. You tuck your head under my chin and say, "Mommy hold you." Then just as I can't be any happier with you, you quote one of our favorite books On Mother's Lap. How can life get better than you singing "back and forth, back and forth" just like they do in the story which celebrates the loving place mothers provide.

I suppose the only thing that would make this moment better would be for you to wait until I was out of the bathroom.


Monday, June 20, 2011

These Days

I feel compelled to apologize for the long silence this blog has undergone. As mentioned in the previous post: we have in fact moved to Texas. We are now happily residing in Waco:
While we aren't this happy every moment of our days, Katya keeps us well aware of the opportunities for joy that present themselves in every thing from getting dressed in the morning to crunching ice cubes.

I cannot remember who to credit, but I recall hearing said that motherhood is made up of long days and very short years. This seems to perfectly fit our time of life. Katya is 15 months old now and she is quickly running towards toddler status (toddlerhood? toddledom?). Each day I'm still challenged by simple tasks like cooking dinner, but on good days, I can breathe easy and revel in the quiet pleasure of holding a steady-breathing sleeper on my lap for an afternoon nap.

I am constantly amazed by this child. I stand humbly in the ranks of all first-time parents marveling at every gesture and step along the way. There is just no way of maintaining a respectable nonchalance in the face of such overwhelming cuteness.

And we're off and running again.

Monday, December 6, 2010

News as big as ...

We're moving back to Texas!

Crazy right? I know. And we'll be there before the New Year. Andrew accepted a job at Baylor. He's super excited about it and we're all looking forward to living near some old friends and family.

We're sad to leave our friends up North. Our time here in Canada has been great.

I'll try to keep up communications with some more frequency, in the meantime, I can assure you that babies are not conducive to packing. I put stuff in boxes; she takes it out. Great game. Slow progress.

Is this the face of a child who knows she's moving to Texas?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

But we were taking a nap

While it's true that having children causes you to reassess your priorities; it's not exactly a shortcut to attaining altruism. We now value sleep as being one of the greatest of all possible goods. We go to great lengths to let sleeping babies lie.

So this only partially justifies our hesitation when asked to evacuate our home last Saturday. Katya and I had just laid down for a nap, when the policeman came to the door. There was a natural gas leak in the neighbourhood and he suggested that we leave the area immediately. Andrew only later realized how far eschew our priorities have taken us, as he hesitated because, "My wife and daughter are taking a nap right now, do we have to go?"

He was rationally considering the distance from the source of the leak and the diameter of the blast radius. We could be protected from the explosion by the basement walls...

And then maybe he noticed the odd look he was getting from the policeman. We did not in fact have to go; it was a voluntary evacuation. But could we kindly refrain from taking dangerous measures like starting our car.!?!

"I'll go wake them up," Andrew said.

Our flight from our home, lacked the intensity you might expect from such a feat. We put the baby in the stroller and walked down the block past the blockade of fire trucks and emergency workers. As we headed for the park where Octoberfest was in full drunken swing, I couldn't help thinking, were we later going to regret not grabbing a few family heirlooms or identification papers?

We stood among the lederhosen-clad revelers watching the Bavarian Strongmen pull dump trucks, laughingly wondering if all refugees face such surreal contrasts as they reach safety. I know the old masters understood tragedy, but polka dancing seems an insult worse than itchy horse-rumps. Were we going to return to find our neighbourhood flattened? "We'd feel the blast," Andrew assured me.

After a few hours of wandering the carnival, we safely returned to find everything still standing and the gas smell dissipating. A nap was the only thing lost.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Post Wherein I Pat Myself on the Back

After a couple of posts where I beat myself up over my many mother failings, I figure I owe it to me to sing my own praises. Because a website where I chronicle the mundane details of my life just isn't enough some days. Pass the wine and chocolate. Did I mention I spent $10 in dark chocolate at the grocery store? I excel at self-care.

But to the self-congratulation at hand: I diaper my child in cloth diapers. Yes, I know, I'm awesome. The environment would be sending me a thank you card any day now, but the carbon emissions and use of paper would cancel the minuscule amount of good I'm doing. Don't misunderstand me, I do believe that cloth diapers are an environmentally sound choice (even though they are washed in a washing machine that uses energy and water). I just tried to insert a little humility - you know - to cover the smug expression that creeps over my face whenever I notice my baby's well-padded bum.

Honestly, I do feel a warm glow of smug happiness at the sight of Katya's cloth diapers. But I think that's because they are so darn cute. In case you want the specifics, I use Bummies: they are pre-folds, with separate covers (yes, I speak cloth diaper fluently now). They much cheaper than regular diapers and have I mentioned how cute they are? In an age where guilt is pushed and peddled, it's nice to breath easy over something.

As long as I'm being honest, cloth diapers really aren't that hard. I think they have been mystified somehow. On a daily basis, I find that a little preparation: a diaper pail, a dry sac for the diaper bag, a certain laundry pattern (a cycle that washes and rinses with cold water, then an additional cycle that washes and rinses with hot water) really doesn't overwhelm an already busy life. In the interest of full disclosure, while vacationing, I use disposable diapers and I feel terrible about it. I guess that's why I was surprised to find this article:

NY TIMES: Green but still feeling Guilty

These people are really going for the green gold. They are buying carbon offsets, washing their hands in toilet water; they go green for a living. I find it amazing that they aren't using cloth diapers. Diaper services would even help a mom and dad too busy blogging about greening the world to wash some diapers. I believe the environment does need saving and we have a responsibility to reduce, reuse and recycle; I also realize the messengers can be a little annoying.

My plug for cloth diapers is this: You too can recoup in self-congratulations all the effort spent rinsing and washing diapers.

Save the whales.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

V-Day Monologue

Yesterday, I took Katarina for her first round of vaccinations. Those of you in the know realize that this is a little late in the game for a first vaccination. We're on what you would call a delayed schedule. Or as my doctor put it, We're finally making the RIGHT choice for our child.

As in her delicate and oh-so-scientific, "You can choose not to vaccinate your child. You can choose NOT to do what's best for your baby."

Yes, she makes it sound so clear and logical. Obviously, I'm trying to do what's not best for my baby.

Let me back up a little and fill you in on my concerns here. I tried to do a little reading on vaccinations and, wow, does it ever bring out the disproportionately strong opinions. People feel very strongly on both sides of the issue. There are horrible stories of children who contract preventable diseases and horrible stories of children who react to vaccines. People do a lot of name calling and angry ranting. I wish the dialogue could be taken back by the sane people. I guess it's my own little rally cry for some sanity here, where's Jon Stewart when you need him.

I don't want my child to contract a preventable life-threatening disease, but I also don't want my child to have a life-altering reaction to something I purposely give her. Neither of these worst case scenarios is likely; they are each a matter of small percentages. So, to avoid the unlikely chance that my baby will get a certain disease (which I realize is slim, thanks to the prevalence of vaccinations) I take the other unlikely chance that my baby may react to some of the components of the vaccine.

After a bit of reading and research, the more you learn the harder this choice gets, I decided to go for a kind of compromise. It would have been great to be able to discuss this with my doctor, but her answers consist of statements like, "If it wasn't safe, we wouldn't give it to you." Then I'm left wondering, what about the versions of vaccines that that have been discontinued. Is right now the moment in science when we're certain that we understand the way bodies react to the chemicals in the shots? The canon of which shots they choose and how those shots are constructed is evolving. I found Dr. Sears' book and website quite helpful, if you're interested.

I'm not into the crazy conspiracy theories. I was vaccinated as a kid and I'm arguably fine. But kids now get a lot more vaccinations that we did - 39 doses overall. I don't think the drug companies are evil and intentionally trying to make a profit at the expense of the health of the babies who are vaccinated. I just want to be sure I'm making reasonably good choices for my baby. Ultimately, I formed this tentative plan which I approach with fear and trembling:
  • We delayed the start of vaccinations until Katya was six months old. This was reasonably safe because she's exclusively breast-fed, doesn't attend daycare and wasn't at risk of exposure to the diseases we could vaccinate against.
  • Now that her world is expanding, a little bit, I am choosing (with help from good research) which diseases we will vaccinate her against based on the risks of exposure and the safety of the vaccinations. For example: we didn't vaccinate her against Hepatitis B at birth. I don't know that we'll vaccinate her against chicken pox.
So yesterday we embarked on our first vaccination appointment with fear and trembling - the way I've approached a lot of parenting decisions. Everything has been fine. I think my doctor thinks it's the initial sting of the needle that I fear, but I can live with that. Katya hardly reacted to the needle at all. Now, when the doctor wanted to lie still on the table for her measurements - that evoked a great fury of wailing and teeth-gnashing.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

File Under Evidence

My baby has a bruise on her forehead, a little purplish semicircle. And it's MY FAULT.

Is it the result of her bolting through my fingers off of the bed? No, that one didn't leave any external markings, I can only conclude the injuries she sustained are internal. I was sitting beside her. I was holding onto her foot. How did she come to be down on the floor wailing at the betrayal of gravity and unreliability of mothers? I don't exactly know. As far as I can tell, she launched herself from the edge of the bed off into space and somehow I did not hold on. She seems to have recovered.

Andrew had to come hold me and say, "You're not a bad mother. You're not a bad mother."

So when he arrived home from work yesterday and noticed the bruise, he asked, "Is this from the bed?"

"Nope, it's empirical evidence of a whole new level of mother failure."

Our little adventurer takes more than her share of tumbles as she now attempts to climb everything in sight. She has even learned to hold her neck up to prevent her head from receiving the first impact of the fall. A small mercy for me.

So, why the bruise? Ah, well, I walked into a pole. while holding her.

This makes me feel awesome. I would worry about CPS looking for me, but I don't even know what they call them in Canada.

If it helps, she is dressed in a purple polka dot dress so the bruise matches.