Archive for the ‘Motherhood’ Category

A New Status Quo

December 6, 2010

Here we are, four weeks into being a family of four, and we are slowly adjusting to new dynamics and new routines. Four weeks. It’s flown by so quickly and I keep having to remind myself that it’s only been four weeks

I find myself putting unnecessary pressure on myself to do this craft or play that game or make this meal and to make sure I am occupying Tristan so that he doesn’t *gasp* watch too much t.v. I am learning that everything can’t be exactly as it was before.  Things are different right now – and I am so tired! Before Logan I was doing all of these things with Tristan, but before I had Logan I was also sleeping more than 2 hours in a row! I’ve finally realized that I need to give myself a break, that all I can do right now is my best… and that Tristan watching a little more tv is not going to ruin his smart little mind. This period is temporary… and right now I just need to do whatever it is that is necessary to keep everyone healthy and happy…. and to keep mama from losing her mind!

It’s the preschool mornings that are most challenging. It’s a very busy household with two boys to dress and feed and get out the door by 8:45. Last Friday morning I didn’t get a shower and didn’t eat breakfast. It was noon before I noticed that my was shirt was on inside out. Yep, I am definitely way at the bottom of the totem pole now, just in front of Dante the cat. No, scratch that. Dante was fed breakfast yesterday.

We’re still trying to enjoy our days as we did before, doing the things that we love.  We’re just not packing as much in and we have more down time. Maybe that’s a good thing.  Baking is still on the agenda. Nowadays, the extra weight I am carrying is on the outside, not the inside. I hope one day Logan will enjoy making cookies as much as Tristan does.

It’s comforting to know that some things never change.

Free time for myself is rare, and any special moments where I find both boys napping at the same time, I am more likely to join them than to choose some domestic or personal task to occupy my time. Case in point: I began this entry three weeks ago and am only now finally siting down to wrap it up! The sleeping bundle on my lap will turn seven weeks old tomorrow!

Through it all, I wouldn’t change a thing. (Ok, maybe I would sleep a little more! 🙂 )

I sure do love my boys.

Mittens

December 1, 2010

December has arrived! The month of glimmering Christmas tree lights, cozy evenings of hot chocolate by the fire (who am I kidding? My glass will be filled with red wine!)  and letters to Santa.

Oh…And advent calendars.

Being old enough to “get it” this year, I wanted to get something to help Tristan count down the days to Christmas. As much as I loved the little cardboard “chocolate-a-day” calendars when I was little, I was looking for something a little more.

I was delighted to see this great mitten idea on Kelle Hampton’s blog, and immediately stole the idea for my own use. Every day in December there will be something special in a mitten for Tristan. Some days I’ll put a treat, some days a little gift, and other days there will be a note telling him what fun Christmas activity we’ll be doing that day.

A trip to the dollar store and a whole lot of scotch tape later, and my mitten advent calendar was complete and proudly displayed on our overstuffed mantle. Twenty-four mittens, all in a row.

Today being day one of the advent calendar, I anxiously awaited grampa to arrive home with Tristan after preschool, thinking he would be so excited to discover the treasure awaiting him inside the first mitten. I brought him over to the fireplace and explained to him how this fun game would work.

I was astonished when he had absolutely no interest in taking a peek inside that first mitten.

My advent calendar dreams were quickly being dashed with each adamant “NO!” every time I tried to entice him. I told him today there was going to be something special to eat inside the mitten thinking that would be the clincher for sure.

Still nothing.

After more prodding an exasperated Tristan called out, “No Mommy! I don’t want to eat the mitten!!”

Oh.

Ummm, suddenly I understood his hesitation.

“You don’t eat the mitten buddy! There is a special treat INSIDE the mitten!”

With that, I pulled the end of the mini smarties box out of the mitten so it was visible and it suddenly became crystal clear to Mr. Hesitation. He immediately ran to get a stool to reach the mitten, grabbed his prize and swallowed the box down in seconds.

I think the process will go a lot smoother tomorrow! 🙂

Family Portraits

November 29, 2010

A mommy, a daddy and two babies

+ one nursing session

+ several diaper changes

+ a plethora of candy to bribe a camera shy toddler

+ a great photographer (Lili Miller)

= some great family pics!

A Birth Story

November 10, 2010

Monday, October 18 was a good day. I dropped Tristan off at preschool and then headed off to Starbucks to meet my friend Jenn for an adult’s only coffee date. With Jenn as my witness, I put a little proposition out there for the powers that be.

“Just putting this out for the universe,” I declared, “I think tomorrow would be a great day to have a baby.”

Tuesday at my midwifery clinic is a special day. It’s the on-call switch day, which means that both of my primary midwives would be present  for my birth should the babe decide to arrive on a Tuesday. Really liking both of my care providers, I thought this sounded like a great idea. Also, I was still contemplating what I was going to do with Tristan during labour, and thought that a daytime birth would make it easier for me to call grampa to come and get Tristan. I added one more item in my request to the world, “7 AM would be perfect…”

That evening I met up with a couple more girlfriends at the swimming pool for our weekly prenatal aquafit class. I told them of my request to the universe and we collectively wondered if I’d be back for fitness class the following week. I was home about 8:00 and by 10:00 that night, labour began! Be careful what you ask for!

Not too long after getting home, I started having some mild cramping. That, along with the fact that I had to keep running to the washroom, made me wonder if perhaps labour was actually starting.  To be honest, I really wasn’t sure. I had made spaghetti sauce for dinner and both Luc and I had agreed that the meat had tasted a little funny. I asked Luc if his stomach was upset at all. I figured if it was, maybe it was just the meat that was causing me discomfort!

I continued to have these pains quite regularly until midnight. They were getting stronger and were definitely starting to come in patterned waves. At 12:00 Luc said that we should call our doula, Gillian. I told him not to call… I was worried that what I was feeling was little more than a reaction to some bad meat, and didn’t want to wake her unnecessarily. “Andrea,” luc chided, “bad meat doesn’t cause contractions! I’m calling!”

I couldn’t really argue with that so we called and Gillian picked up on the first ring. I explained what was going on and my doubts if this was the real thing or not. She asked me to drink some water and try to get a little sleep. If the contractions were too much to sleep, I was to call back.

Luc fell instantly into dreamland. Try as I might, sleep was jut not going to happen for me. I started to think it wasn’t the meat afterall. I spent the next two hours sitting on the birthing ball, listening to my hypnobirthing CD, and pacing the house.

Finally at 2:00 AM I woke Luc again. I could deny the inevitable no longer. “It’s time to call the doula and midwife”, I said.

I hopped into the shower, which helped with the ever stronger contractions, and by 2:30 both my midwife, Maxine, and Gillian had arrived. Maxine checked the baby’s heart rate, which was perfect, and I continued on in the shower. Gillian had given me the suggestion that each contraction was a mere three breaths, and this way of thinking really helped. I would inhale deeply, right into the pit of my belly, and on the exhale release a low, deep, primal groan. Each contraction I successfully breathed through was one I’d never have to do again.

Maxine offered to check how far along I was, which I declined. I was feeling really good, despite the contractions gaining strength, and did not want to be discouraged if I was only minimally dilated. I had a strong belief that both my body and my baby knew exactly what to do, so I just trusted in the natural process.

Before too long I started to feel pressure and everyone began to think that perhaps this baby’s birth was imminent. I hopped into the tub and Max called in the second midwife. A couple of hours passed, but still no baby.

Around 4 AM Maxine suggested that we check my progress so we could better gauge what step to take next. I agreed and was relieved to find I was six centimetres dilated. (I was scared that she would tell me I was only one, or that this whole ordeal would turn out to be the result of bad meat after all!) This meant the quickest part of labour, transition, was imminent.

At 5:30 we called my dad to let him know the baby would be born soon. He arrived at 6:30 so that he would be there when Tristan woke up some time after 7:00.

The baby was still floating, not making direct contact with the cervix, so Gillian suggested a way for me to help the baby move into position. In the middle of the night, I began lunging up the stairs. Luc walked with me as I lunged and swayed my hips and I would grasp onto him for support during each contraction. It sounds crazy to be in labour and lunging in the middle of the night ,  but I was grateful to have support and alternatives to help me achieve the intervention free birth I was hoping for.

I continued to labour for the next three hours. There is a reason that this stage in a woman’s life is called labour… it’s hard work. I am grateful to have had knowledgeable and extremely supportive midwife and doula, and a caring and involved husband to help me through my labour. I felt confident and cared for and very capable of birthing my baby naturally. I had mentally prepared for this time in my life with mantras such as, “Either you are a prisoner of your mind and your fears, or you are the ruler of your mind.” Labour was totally a mind game – I had to choose how I would cope with contractions –  and as long as I stayed in control of my thoughts, I was grand.

I feel proud for coping so well for nine hours. There was never a time during my labour when I thought that I could not continue on, that I needed to move to the hospital for medication. I felt in control, and that is a powerful thing.

At 7 am, Maxine checked me again to find that I was ten cms dilated. We decided we should break my water and those short few minutes were the most difficult of my labour. The baby was continuing to float and move around within me. During the breaking of the water, it was important for the baby’s head to be completely down to prevent the umbilical cord from being swept out before the baby. To ensure this, I had to lay on my back for an entire contraction, which in itself made the surge so much more intense. One midwife pressed her hand firmly down on my belly to press the baby downward, while the other midwife released the membranes. A very long minute indeed.

“Was it clear?” I asked Maxine, referring to the amniotic fluid. She hesitated a noticeable second before replying, “No, there’s a little meconium.”

Luc and I locked eyes for a moment of shared fear and I started to cry. (meconium, which is a baby’s first poop, *may* occasionally cause breathing difficulties at birth if aspirated by the baby.)

“If you want,” said Maxine, “we can call an ambulance to have on stand-by but I really don’t think it’s necessary.” She explained that the fluid was still very thin and that the baby’s heart rate was exactly as it should be.

With that, I went back into my head and began to push my baby out. I can easily say that birthing my baby was the single most intense experience I have ever had. I have never been so mentally or physically challenged in all my life. On hands and knees on my bed, I harnessed every ounce of strength and determination within me to get closer to meeting my baby.

Maxine, the second midwife Anna Maria, Gillian and Luc were a fantastic cheering squad who helped pull me through each push.  As my sweet baby was crowning, and the primal instinct was taking over which had my entire body pushing with each surge, Luc kept popping his head up near mine, face filled with excitement, to tell me  that the baby was coming.

And then in an instant, my body was overcome with relief as my baby was born into the world and I collapsed down onto my bed.  The babe was born at 7:41 AM – thank you universe.

“Is the baby ok?” where the first words out of my mouth, to which were replied the sweetest words any mama could hope to hear… “He’s perfect.”

Another boy. And his daddy’s hands were the first our precious baby would feel on this earth.

Luc passed him to me and the thing I remember most about that moment was how slippery he was. It took me several tries to finally grasp him before I pulled him to my chest and relaxed back onto my pillows, feeling very accomplished and very in love. He was incredibly calm and alert and was rooting for the breast pretty much as soon as he felt his mamas arms around him.

Being at home was wonderful. Logan (who wouldn’t receive that name for over a week) and his daddy and I laid in bed together for a few hours. Its was so great to be in our own space as we got to know each other. I nursed and we snuggled and I sniffed his newborn smell… and we just were.

World, may I present to you, Logan, born October 19, 2010, weighing 7 lbs 5 oz!

At 10:00, just over two hours since the baby made his entrance into the world, we called downstairs for grampa and Tristan to come up to meet baby Logan. Tristan has become a very good big brother, despite the first words out of his mouth being, “No daddy, I want a sister!” Sorry buddy! It was a happy meeting with Tristan holding his little brother and the proud grampa being overcome with his joy.

Tristan went to bed an only child and woke up the next morning a big brother. Despite the fact that Tristan’s room shares a wall with ours, he didn’t wake until 8:00, 19 minutes after his little brother was born. The details really do have a way of working themselves out!

I called my mom to let her know that Logan had arrived (grampa had let her know but didn’t want to spoil the gender surprise) and laughed when I found out she was parked behind our house (im)patiently waiting for the call to come over!

Soon the bedroom was filled with Logan’s mommy and daddy, sweet big brother and both sets of grandparents, all loving on Earth’s newest inhabitant. Proud daddy popped a bottle of Dom…

… And a new life begins!

Welcome to my new son, baby Logan. Mama loves you.

Nesting

September 30, 2010

This baby’s gotta be coming soon. My feet are aching from standing all afternoon since  Tristan went down for his nap, but somehow I still can’t stop. My windows have been scrubbed of hand and mouth prints. If you know me, you’re quite aware that window cleaning is not a part of my regular repertoire. My cupboards have been purged and wiped out. For some reason, these tasks seem to carry the utmost importance. Somethin’s up.

Environmentally, we are on our way to being ready for the new arrival. Both home and hospital birth supplies are ready. The baby’s bag is packed. The tiny amount of gender neutral neutral (and some as-boy-as-you-can-get) clothes have been washed and placed in the dresser.

Physically, I think I’m about as ready as I’m going to be. I’ve read more birthing books that I can count and I don’t think I have it in me to practice any more hypno-birthing relaxation exercises.  This baby’s coming out one way or another!

Then there’s emotional readiness. That’s where I feel I still have a bit farther to go. I don’t know if I’m ready to be the mother of two children! Then again, I worried about how I would fare with the first, and  I think I’ve done a pretty good job. The fear of not loving my baby was clearly unfounded as there is no way I could love Tristan any more.

Yet my mind still traces it’s way around these fears this time around. What if I don’t love this new baby like I love Tristan? I fear the guilt that once this new being arrives, neither one of my children will get enough attention.

Thinking logically, I’m sure these fears are unfounded,  yet they are real none-the-less. I’ve heard other mothers talk about how their love just grew; they didn’t have to divide it among their children. I have faith that the same will prove true for me as well!

His First Day!

September 13, 2010

On the eve of Tristan’s first solo day of preschool, his mama was experiencing some major anxiety. Imagining huge crocodile tears and a sweet little boy begging his mama not to go, I was anticipating huge feelings of guilt knowing that I would have to walk away and leave Tristan at school.

This morning I told Tristan that he was going to preschool. I told him that I would be coming for a few minutes, but then would be heading off to yoga (somewhere that he knows that I go and always come back.) I held my breath. Tristan replied, “No mommy. I don’t want to stay.”

Gulp. I feared that the teary eyed first day of my nightmares was imminent.

I reassured Tristan that he would have lots of fun and I’d be back to get him right after yoga, and we went about getting ready for our day. It was a wet, rainy morning so we shelved the brand new school shoes in favour of the green dragon rain boots. Apparently, Tristan decided that this was a good day to begin asserting his independence and insisted on putting his boots on, “all by myself, mommy.” This is not a usual occurrence in Tristan’s little world.

He happily chatted on the drive to preschool. My dark sunglasses hid the tears welling up in my eyes. First he didn’t need mommy’s help with his boots and then suddenly we were en route to preschool, just like a big boy.

Despite his pleas for, "No pictures Mommy!" a mama's got to have her first day of school picture!

“Come on, Andrea.” I thought. “Keep it together!” This is part of being a mommy, to teach my son to be confident as he spreads his wings for each new adventure. I know that this is just the first of many times I am going to have to watch with pride (and a tear or two) as my little guy goes off into the world to make me proud. *Sigh.*

We arrived at school and I spent a few minutes in the play kitchen with Tristan, being served up ‘pizza’ and ‘purple juice.’ I got a hug and a kiss from my big boy who turned immediately back to the important business of “making snacks.” I saw the director in the hall on my way out and proudly proclaimed,” He’s not crying! I’m not crying!” Hooray for small victories!

I hit Starbucks for a cafe mocha, and got so many errands done, shopping at four stores before it was time to head back to the preschool. I had forgotten how much it was possible to get done when not always walking the pace of a two year old! There were moments that I missed my little sidekick but I have to admit it was nice to have a little time for mommy!

I arrived back at the school to find Tristan’s class playing outside. “He’s in the playhouse,” his teacher informed me. Tristan then popped his head out the window and called, “Mommy!” Did he run to me because he missed me so much? Not a chance. His stuck his head back in the playhouse and continued playing with the babies he had in the grocery cart.

I eventually had to bribe Tristan to the car with the promise of treats from the grocery store and the assurance that we’d be back at preschool on Wednesday.

Apparently I was worried for nothing. Tristan was ready for this big boy adventure!

A Boy’s Adventure = A Momma’s Anxiety

September 5, 2010

T minus one week until Tristan embarks on his next big boy adventure: My little guy is starting preschool! On Wednesday we go together for an hour, to meet his teachers and hang out in his classroom. The following Monday I will drop Tristan off. At preschool. All by himself!!

Ack! I can feel my anxiety mounting by the day. I think Tristan is *sort of* excited to go. We read books daily about going to preschool and all the fun things you get to do there, and we even went shopping for his first backpack.

The only catch: he thinks mommy is going to preschool too.

This is what worries me. I’ve gently told him in a roundabout way several times that, “yes, mommy will bring you to preschool and will always come to pick you up….” but haven’t got around to making it extremely clear that I am in fact going to drop him off with two strange teachers and a roomful of unknown children and then drive off into the sunset.

Ok, so maybe that sounds a little dramatic, but geesh. Tristan and I have been together for 24/7 for the last 2.5 years. It’s going to be such a big adjustment for both of us.

I *KNOW* that once he gets into the groove, he is going to absolutely love going to preschool. He is going to love learning, love playing with new kids and impressing his teachers.

It’s just the first  few days that worry me. I don’t think my heart can take my wee little man crying out for me as I walk away. ACK! Crossing fingers for an uneventful first day!

Tristan making Volcanoes

The Last Days of Summer

August 31, 2010

Mother Nature has blessed us with a heat wave for the last days of summer. Feeling anxious about all the changes coming in our life in the next couple months (Tristan starting preschool, the arrival of baby  #2) I have felt compelled to squeeze every last drop out of the summer.

In the last week, we’ve been to the swimming pool three times and the beach twice. We’ve enjoyed the shade of our front yard whilst drawing sharks with sidewalk chalk, and I introduced Tristan to the wonder that is hopscotch.

We went “kayaking” in the garage (since I’m far too pregnant to lug the boat to the river alone!) and we “camped” in the yard.

And the best part of the hot weather? The ice cream. With a Baskin Robbins a quick one kilometre walk from our house, we’ve absolutely used this heat as an excuse to indulge.

Ice cream is by far Tristan’s most favourite treat. Any time, anywhere, the kid will happily lap up the cold, sticky goodness. Tonight he took his love of the confection to a whole new level. After wiping copious amounts of residue off of him, we noticed that he still had a dribble on his elbow. Not wanting to waste a single drop, Tristan attempted to lick the remainder off of his elbow!

Unfortunately for him, his little tongue just wouldn’t reach! Always looking for a solution, Tristan says, “Mommy wick it!”

No thanks buddy. It’s all yours. 🙂

Never leave a friend behind

August 16, 2010

When Tristan was an infant, he was a horrible sleeper. He nursed every hour around the clock for the first six weeks of his life. By three months, I was finally getting three hours of rest at a time, but I didn’t get more than that until he was close to a year. (As a side note, I have the best sleeper ever now – a solid 12 hours at night and a good 3 hours every afternoon! Ahhhhh!)

But I digress. As one of the strategies we tried to help us all get a little more zzzzz’s, we purchased the sleep sheep. A cute and cuddly little lamb that played soothing sounds such as ocean waves or a rain storm. The sounds may have helped marginally but what it has done for sure is given my little man the most comforting little friend.

The sound box has long been tossed aside, but Baa Baa is faithfully at Tristan’s side. Despite regular washes, it’s limp body, which was once snowy white and soft, is now a dull grey matted pile of plush. I would never volunteer this lovey up for scientific bacteria testing. I don’t even want to know.

Lately, Tristan is not more than a few feet from Baa Baa at any given time. The ratty old thing comes everywhere, and there have been tears when mommy has drawn the line at bringing the thing into the bathtub. Although now that I think about it, that might not be such a bad idea. 🙂

During our recent trip out East,  Tristan held tightly onto Baa Baa wherever we went. The park. The restaurant. The beach. The stores. Oh, the stores. This is where our story rides a fine line between life happily going on status quo, and my little man’s world becoming an utter disaster.

We stopped in Moncton to try out the famous ‘Magnetic Hill.’ Seeing as the actual hill was literally a one minute detour from our drive, we decided to stretch our legs wandering through the touristy shops and feeding the ducks. It was soon time to get back in the car for our last stretch of driving. A few more hours and we would be able to relax at our cottage in PEI. It would be smooth sailing the rest of the way. Or so we thought.

Tristan happily hopped back into the car, eager to get the DVD player going again. We headed off down the highway, dreaming of the beach that was to come.

After a while, Tristan asked for Baa Baa. He had been faithfully on his lap for the duration of this trip so I was surprised to turn around and find him conspicuously absent. I started rooting through piles of luggage in the backseat, hoping against hope that he had just slipped down and was being covered by a random jacket or DVD case.

When I didn’t find him in the first 30 seconds, my gut told me what Tristan’s little heart did not want to know…. we had left Baa Baa behind.

How far do you drive  your son to reclaim the love of his life? Had he the life experience, he may even argue  that Baa Baa was a piece of his soul.

Thank God we had only driven 20 minutes out of Moncton and had not arrived at our final destination before this oversight had been discovered.

What could we do? Obviously, there was no choice but to go back. We got off at the next off ramp and made the journey back to Moncton, the whole time Tristan whining, “More Baa Baa, mommy. More Baa Baa.  Puh-wease!”

When we arrived back to Magnetic Hill, I quickly hopped out of the car and jogged, as fast as my pregnant little legs would carry me, back into the store where we last remembered seeing Baa Baa. Please God, let that freakin’ sheep still be there. And he was! There, resting up on top of a pile of rubber lobsters, was dingy old Baa Baa.

I headed back to the car, seeing Luc standing outside Tristan’s door trying to keep the little guy calm. A look of sheer relief washed over his face when he saw me coming with precious cargo in my hands.

Thankfully, this story has a happy ending. Tristan hugged Baa Baa tightly against him and we headed off on the road again.

And we never again took our eyes off that darn sheep!

Daddy Time

August 10, 2010

We just arrived back from a 10 day road trip which brought us through Quebec and New Brunswick, to a modest little cottage we rented on PEI. We had an amazing trip spending time as a family, stuffing ourselves full of delicious seafood and splashing in the frosty Atlantic.

One of the best parts for me was watching my two boys spend some real quality time together. As a stay at home mom since Tristan was born, it’s often been the “mommy-and-Tristan show.” I am the one who gets to enjoy all the small little moments and accomplishments of the day. I have been there through thick and thin (or messy crafts and bonked heads, as the  case may be), so the little guy has definitely come to develop a lot more separation anxiety when it comes to mommy.

As the breadwinner of the family, Luc usually gets the leftovers of our day, and after a long day of playing and learning and being two, that last hour before bedtime is not always Tristan’s best hour of the day.

With 10 days of nothing but sand and surf and a whole lot of snacks, Luc and Tristan had plenty of time to snuggle and be silly and search for bizarre worms in the sand. It was really great for me to watch them bond over an ice cream or to play dinosaurs on the floor. Luc is a really great daddy and I am happy that he got so much time to really soak up the role. Luc was lucky to spend so much time with such a great, funny and intelligent little boy, and Tristan was long overdue to hang out so much with his daddy.

As the saying goes, any man can be a father, but it takes a special man to be a dad. Luc is that special man, which makes Tristan (and his mommy!) some very happy people.