Archive for March, 2011

Goodbye to a Friend

March 27, 2011

It is with great sadness that we say goodbye to Sabrina, aged 14 years, and the sweetest, most loyal dog ever to live. Our family is really grieving as this precious soul was such an important part of our family and her passing came so suddenly.

I’ll never forget the first time I met Sabrina. She was the cutest little thing and all five pounds of her could fit inside the sleeve of my sweater. I came home for reading week from university with my good friend Shenade. It was Valentines Day and my mother had given us each a box of Ferrero Rocher chocolates. Heading out for the evening, Shenade had left her box of chocolates  on the living room floor. Later that night, Ryan gated the kitchen where Sabrina’s bed was and hit the sack himself. Well, no little gate was going to keep that dog away from the delicious smell of chocolate! She somehow escaped her confines and devoured an entire box of chocolatey goodness. Shenade and I returned later that evening to an extremely wired dog who was running madly around the house. Ferrero Rocher wrappers littered the floor and the couch. She’d evidently had quite the party! We were so worried since she likely ate her body weight in chocolate, but she fared fine… and there began her love affair with food. As I search my mind for happy memories of our lovable little pooch, almost all of them relate to food. No wonder her little five pound body didn’t stay that way for long!   ;)

"Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole." (Roger Caras)

One of the fondest memories I have of Sabrina is back when she was just a puppy. It was Christmas season and my brother Ryan and I decided to decorate a gingerbread house. For whatever reason I can’t recall, we decided that it would be funny to put icing on Ryan’s face. If you knew Sabrina, you’d know that she’d do just about anything for a snack, and she couldn’t get that icing off his poor face fast enough. Poor Ryan. I am laughing thinking about her ravaging his poor cheeks in a desperate attempt to inhale every last morsel. (Sorry bro. I’m pretty sure that was my idea! :) )

Sabrina was an extremely social pup. All she ever wanted was to be loved and to be in the company of others. She had the most gentle presence, even with the newest of babies. Anyone who met her loved her. She had the cutest little face (and no, I am not biased) and everyone she ever met agreed. On more than one occasion, while walking her in my hometown, people would stop and TALK TO SABRINA. Yeah, that’s right, they would look me over and talk to my dog. No joke- one time a woman actually stopped her car, stuck her head out the window and greeted my four legged companion. I got nothin.’

She was such a happy and vibrant creature. She loved to chase rolling grapes around the living room.  ( I don’t know if there’s anything she wouldn’t eat. Maybe lettuce. )Squirrels were her arch nemesis and she would wait all day long for a sly one to come down out of a tree. She loved to go to the lake and run through the bush. She loved to play “keep away” with her rubber steak. But mostly she just loved to follow my dad around, wherever he went. To the garage. To the garden. And if need be, she’d faithfully be at his heels right back to the garage again. And if she couldn’t go where he was off to? Well then she would sit and faithfully wait for the sound of his car.  If he was gone for any extended period of time, she could barely contain her excitement at the sound of his return. Whoever was in charge of her had to make sure she made it outside for their reunion, or there would most definitely be a puddle on the floor.

She absolutely adored her master, my father, and the sentiment was entirely mutual. She truly was man’s best friend. We all loved her, but no one cherished her like my dad. And she knew that. Right up until her last moment, she knew that she was loved.

We’ll miss you girl.

———————————————-

A STUMP FOR A TAIL

You can’t buy loyalty, they say
I bought it though, the other day;
You can’t buy friendship, tried and true,
Well just the same, I bought that too.
I made my bid, and on the spot
Bought love and faith and a whole job lot
Of happiness, so all in all
The purchase price was pretty small.
I bought a single trusting heart,
That gave devotion from the start.
If you think these things are not
for sale, Buy a brown-eyed puppy with
a stump for a tail.
— author unknown —

Don't cry because it's over, Smile because it happened. -Dr. Seuss

In Search of Sleep

March 24, 2011

My littlest is five months old. I can’t believe it. Where has the time gone?

Five months of very little sleep are catching up with me and I decided it’s time to take action. I pulled out my copy of “The No Cry Sleep Solution” which was read three years ago with my first little guy, Tristan, to help everyone get a little more shut eye. (For the record, my one time all night party animal now sleeps 12 hours a night, a good two to three hour nap daily and will even sleep in if he’s tired!) But I digress.

This book offers parents gentle suggestions for helping their babies sleep longer stretches, with fewer wakeups, without resorting to making them cry, which is right in line with my parenting philosophy.

One of the first steps in this plan is to document sleep over a 24 hour period, and then record progress in ten day intervals. Here goes…

Day 1

8:34 pm – Put down in crib after nursing

8:45 pm – snuggle

8:55 pm – back to crib

9:45 pm – snuggles with daddy

10:00 pm – back to crib

10:45 pm – nurse

11:00 pm – back to crib

midnight – nurse, move into bed with mama

3:15 am – nurse

4:00 am – nurse

5:15 am- give soother…. apparent tummy ache, takes 45 mins to get back to sleep.

7:00 am – snuggle

8:10 am – up for the day

Total number of awakenings: 9

Longest sleep span: 3 hours

Total hours of sleep: 9 hours

The daytime didn’t go much better with 3 short naps totaling 60 mins. According to this book, babies Logan’s age should be getting (on average) 3-4 hours of nap time daily, and sleeping 10-11 hours per night. There’s definitely a deficit at our house!

When I see a night like this recorded on paper, it’s no wonder I’ve been feeling so nutty the past few months! Seriously? What’s the point of even going to bed?? And to think this was actually better than a typical night…

I’ve started a couple of strategies suggested in the book. We have formulated a sleepy time routine (read a story, nurse/snuggle in rocking chair, bed). I’ve introduced a “lovey” (the gentle giraffe) which we will always have with us while getting ready to sleep  and will accompany Mr. Logan into his crib. And I’m trying to catch him and soothe him back into sleep before he really wakes up during the day. (Naps don’t typically last more than 20 mins).

This afternoon I went in after 15 mins and hovered near him, waiting for signs of imminent waking. The idea is to shush the baby at the first signs that he’s coming out of sleep and settle him back into deep sleep before he fully wakes. Suddenly Logan’s eyes popped open, arms and legs began flailing…He went straight from sleeping to being ready to party in seconds. No transition period. Definitely no time to shush.

Apparently that strategy is going to take a little work ;)

I have realistic expectations. I’m not expecting the little munchkin to suddenly start sleeping 12 hour stretches at this point. According to the medical definition, an infant is sleeping through the night when they stay down for five straight hours…  a five hour stretch sounds heavenly to me! :)

We’ll see where we’re at in ten more days. Fingers are crossed for improvement!

Asleep at last

Out of the Darkness

March 16, 2011

It’s been a full two months since my last blog post and there’s a good reason for that.

It’s called survival.

The transition from one kid to two wiped me out. Like in a getting-hit-by-a-mack-truck kind of way.

I don’t know how to describe it really. There was a period of sadness mixed with anger mixed with despair… Top all that off with guilt for feeling all of the former and things are not looking good. “I have a beautiful, healthy family, and everything in the world to be thankful for…. so why am I not happy?” I was Andrea on the outside… but I wasn’t really me. I felt empty, like a shell.

Many days, it was all I could do just to hold it together, and many days “together” is not a word that would even come close to describing me. New moms have a lot on their plates. Post-partum hormones, sleepless nights, cranky toddlers… The difference between “the old me” and the “me during the last five months” is I just had such a hard time getting through the day. The joy I was used to had all but disappeared.

“It” was never too far away. This horrible, aching, just-can’t do-it-anymore feeling. I once told Luc that it felt like this pair of withered, gnarled old black claws were reaching for me, trying to drag me down into a dark precipice, and I was flailing madly, digging my fingernails into the earth, using all my strength just to try to stay above ground. Some days I was able to climb out of that canyon by the skin of my teeth. Other days those dark, forboding claws were just too strong, and the result wasn’t pretty.

Sounds dramatic right? I know. The last few months have probably been the most difficult of my life.

Once Luc and I noticed that I was going downhill fast, we started doing research into Post-partum depression. I spent a lot of time on websites, reading through lists of symptoms and doing diagnostic self-tests.

Did I have clinical PPD? Maybe.  What I realized was, it didn’t matter what I labelled it, I was not feeling how I wanted to be feeling, and that needed to change.

A trip to the doctor and lots of talking with Luc, and a plan was in place. I’ve been trying to get more sleep (ha! That’s a whole other issue) and trying to find ways to have time to myself. I really think the biggest factor in helping me overcome this hurdle has been support. Friends, parents and a husband who I’ve been honest with and who didn’t shy away from lending a hand.

I feel like I’m baring my soul, opening my closet of skeletons for all the world to see. The thing is, I *know* I’m not the only mama out there to feel this way, even though a lot of times it felt like it. Being open and honest with my feelings has helped pave the way back to my true self. Knowing other women face similar tribulations is a comfort. If you are struggling right now, know that you are not alone.

I’m so pleased to say, now at five months post-partum, I am feeling much more like the person and mama that I want to be! I still feel those claws occasionally, but it’s been fleeting and I seem much more able to push them away and climb to the top.

I am ready for long sun-shiny days outside with my boys, just enjoying life!



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