Archive for the ‘babies’ Category

The W*bk*nz people are back. Go away, W*bk*nz people. How many letters do I have to take out of that name before they stop finding me, looking for those stupid, non-existent cheat codes?

I’ve been negligent here, I know. It all has to do with taking my few computer moments to try to write something I’ll actually get paid for, the second installment of my series on conversion. This one is supposed to be why people convert. I have about 750 words to discuss this topic in and I need about 4000. And so it slowly goes.*

We also welcomed friends home from China on Friday, with their new baby girl, T. The kids and I and a couple other friends and decorated their house before they returned. We had a blast. We got flowers and helium balloons, regular balloons, streamers, posters. The kids had so much fun covering every inch of the place. We put little duckie stickers in the bathtub, even.

We then joined a group of about 15 people waiting at the airport, holding up “Welcome Home” signs Boo coloured and a huge butterfly balloon. I forgot my camera and was kicking myself until I realized there were at least 4 other cameras present.

I feel privileged to have been part of the welcoming party and been among the first in Canada to meet little T. She was snuggled up to her Dad in a carrier and peaked shyly out at the huge crowd. I expected tears at all the fuss, but she just calmly checked us all out. We brought some of their stuff home (as an excuse for my kids to see their reaction to the decorated house) and were rewarded with some little smiles from T as she saw the other balloons tied up everywhere. She also reached out from Daddy’s lap to grab Boo’s hand.

We also got a small taste of the sort of nonsense they are going to face as a multi-ethnic family. As we prepared for the airport, a repairman arrived to fix our screen door. He spotted the decorations we were preparing and asked my son if someone was having a birthday party. Asher said no, that our friends were coming home from China today, and we were going to the airport to meet them and their new baby.

“Oooh,” the guy said, jovially. “Are you going to have chop suey there?”

What kind of dumb ass thing is that to say? Fortunately, Asher put him in his place, staring at him in confusion for a moment, then saying slowly, “No. It’s an airport. I don’t see why there’d be Chinese food there.” Then he left, rolling his eyes in the universal sign for “what an idiot” as he did so.


* Yes, I know I split the infinitive. I felt like it.

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Boo is turning five today. At this exact moment five years ago (3:07 pm on August 16th, since the time on these posts is always wrong (and it took me a couple days to write this)), I was swearing and yelling in a big bathtub at the hospital, moaning that I didn’t want to be 7 centimetres, as the midwife had just pronounced, I wanted to be 10! Right now, damnit! Meanwhile, I discovered afterwards that J., seeing a repeat of Asher’s birth, was muttering to the midwife, “Get her out of the tub now.”

He was right. The next contraction, Boo switched from sunnyside up to the right way in an instant and I was suddenly complete and ready to give birth in the tub. The midwives hate unplanned water births. This was exactly how Asher’s birth went too, unexpected speed and pushing in the tub. Thankfully this time, J. insisted the midwife set everything out for the delivery before I went in the bathtub – with Asher, the bed wasn’t ready, there were no instruments laid out, the backup midwife hadn’t shown up and no nurse responded to her calls for assistance. She got me to the bed and told me not to push. Ha! Asher was born mere moments later.

The only difference this time was that, since this midwife was ready, they got me on the bed and let me push. You know how they say you forget the pain? I remember it vividly. I can recall the feeling exactly and how I never thought I’d survive it. Thankfully, it only took two pushes and out she shot.

I knew she was a girl.  I had been lobbying for the name Sophie, but J liked Elizabeth better, so we compromised on our second favourite, which isn’t actually Boo, of course. Walking the hospital walls coping with huge contraction, I suddenly announced to him that if the baby was blonde, she had to be Sophie, that Boo was a dark-haired girl’s name. This threw a bit of a wrench in things, as we’d only produced blonds, but how could he argue at that point? So we were both relieved when she arrived with a head full of dark hair.

With midwives in Ontario, they can use the hospital, but you are never checked in, so after we were looked over and I had a shower, instead of heading to a hospital room, we headed home. Two and a half hours after Boo arrived, I came home to introduce her to her eager siblings. This is a picture from then. Even as a newborn, she was freakishly adorable.


As I’ve mentioned previously, we hit a bit of a snag when I developed a wicked infection that used to be called ‘Childbed (puerperal) fever.’ While OBs and midwives now commonly test full-term pregnant women for strep B, puerperal fever is caused by strep A. I was a strep A carrier, and when a teeny tiny piece of placenta stuck around, it attacked.

Oh, but I’m getting distracted here. Little Boo was a trooper, nursing like a pro with no help from her ill mother and sleeping the rest of the time. I was sprung from the hospital after a week, with a picc line (an intravenous line that is threaded into a vein in the arm and up into the chest cavity to deliver constant medication without redoing an IV) in place to keep me full of antibiotics for 10 days.

The picture below shows what it looked like, with the line going out of my arm and into a fanny pack I wore everywhere. People would see it and feel sorry for me, but as you can see, I was delighted. I was sprung from the hospital and had a healthy baby. It was heavenly.


Boo was just over 8 lbs at birth – about half a pound heavier than her sister and half a pound lighter than her brother. Despite that fairly big start, she never grew at the speed her siblings did, and remains our petite one. She was also the cutest baby we had. Of course, when they were babies, I thought they were all outrageously adorable, but as time passed and I looked back at their photos, I see that they weren’t exactly the most adorably infants ever after all. Except Boo. She was.



She was also the happiest.



She was an incredible climber too. Once, I heard the piano keys being hit and assumed, as Boo was only 8 months old, that Asher was banging the keys. When I went to see what was up, it turned out Boo was – up on the very top of the piano, delightedly flinging the photos to the floor. I took her down, then ran and got the camera to catch the inevitable repeat attempt, but couldn’t bear to let her go further than this. Then I took the piano bench away.


She was a late talker. Her siblings both spoke full sentences by the time they were 18 months. She had about 5 words at her 18th month check-up. As the doctor and I discussed her, Boo walked over to her, pointed at her box of animal cookie bribes and then held her hand out, opening and closing it in a clear ‘gimme’ sign (I didn’t teacher to to sign, she just made up what she needed). The doctor wrote on her chart, “language: not only understand commands, but gives them.”

Three months later, as I was wondering out loud where her hat was, she walked over to the couch and said, “Dere it is.” And she was off, although she was very stubborn about calling Asher “this” rather than his name for a long time.

We went camping with friends at around this time, and one of them, whose name is Gus, was desperate for her to play with him. J had taught her a game where he said, “Back off!” and poked her in the chest, and she’d yell it back and shove him (usually while held his arms) then laugh like a madwoman. Finally, after a week of sucking up to her, she made Gus’s day by shoving him hard in the chest and yelling, “Bat oss, Dus!” Her pronunciation was atrocious, but she got her point across. She still plays that game whenever she sees him.


She also did this deeply weird thing where she would stop at every campsite and smush her face up to the sign indicating the number of the site. Never figured that out, but it was very funny to watch.


She’s spoiled silly, this kid, because even when I try to discipline her, one of her siblings comes to her rescue, unable to stand to hear her cry. When I got angry with her, she used to run to Maya and wail, “Mommy’s being mean to me!” and Maya would pick her up and comfort her. To this day, if she throws a fit in the store because I’ve denied her whatever she’s asked for, one of them comes to her rescue with an offer to buy something. And yet, somehow she’s just turned into a confident child, secure that she is loved, rather than a whiny, demanding brat.


Boo is the most physically brave of my kids, despite being the tiniest. She’s a better swimmer than they were at this age, and a better biker, and still scares me silly with her climbing (and injures herself regularly, but no stitches or broken bones yet). She throws herself at living, with great joy.

She’s starting full-day kindergarten in a few weeks, and although I know she is more than ready to go, chomping at the bit to be off to big-kid school with her brother and sister, I still can’t quite believe I have no more babies, no more toddlers. I’m thankful she’s so small, so I can still cuddle her as though she’s young. And, thankfully, she still allows me to, although I don’t know how long that will last.

Look out world, here she comes.


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Ooops, I missed Thursday! I was all distracted by the great news my friends got. In honour of the arrival (finally!) of their referral for their daughter, 13 things I love about babies:1. They love you unconditionally. They don’t care if you are fat or bald or missing a nose, they think you, as the parent, are the most wonderful thing ever. (Now, in case some teenager is reading this and thinks, “Yes, this is why I want a baby! I want someone who loves me, I’d like to point out that they also don’t care if you are tired or sick or bored, they want what they want when they want it and it is all up to you to provide it, so don’t go thinking that unconditional love thing carries the day.)2. It is so easy to solve their problems. They fall down, you hug and distract them. They can’t stick their fingers in the light socket, you hug them and distract them. A little love and a little distraction is all it takes to solve most of the average baby’s problems. When your kid comes home to tell you that Jacob told all the other kids not to play with him because he’s stupid, or your daughter gets dumped by her first boyfriend, you long for the days a hug and kiss from mom could actually fix a problem.3. Their heads smell amazing.

4. Their feet are so soft and smooth and clean and small. As they age, it is all downhill for most of their body parts, but particularly the feet.

5. The sharp, white, perfectness of that first tooth peeking through the gums.

6. They don’t yet speak and therefore never say, “You aren’t wearing that, are you?” or “I wish you were more like Christopher’s mom,” or “You know what’s weird? All your stories are boring. Hasn’t anything interesting ever happened to you?”

7. You know every inch of their body so well. As they age, suddenly they have big foreign feet and you no longer know what their hair feels like with shampoo in it.

8. Their brilliance. All babies are brilliant, making the most surprising and marvelous connections. One day you say, “Where’s your doggy?” and they point to it! Brilliant.

9. Their persistence. They try to turn over from front to back and can’t, but do they quit? Nope. They just keep trying over, and over and over, until they get it. Same with sitting up, crawling, walking. They just never stop trying.

10. You get to see the world a whole new way through their eyes. Everything is cool. Look at that big dog! Isn’t the kitty soft? What do you see? A bird! And since they learn so fast, it just keeps being new.

11. That whole-body smile they give you when they see you after you’ve been away (even if it was to the bathroom).

12. How when they are hungry and fussing and you put them on the boob (I assume it is the same with a bottle, but I don’t know) and they get that first taste of milk, their whole body relaxes and their eyes practically roll up in their heads like I imagine happens with a heroin junkie who has just shot up.

13. When they finally calm down after a crying fit and their little body relaxes onto your shoulder until it is completely limp. There is no feeling like the soft weight of a sleeping baby on you.

Links to other Thursday Thirteens:

1. Pass the Chocolate

Thirteen Things about just making it up

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

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When I found out I was pregnant with Maya, I was thrilled and very terrified. With Asher, I was happy, but it was mixed with the awareness of the awfulness of the next nine months. With Boo, it was utter shock (a maybe a wee bit of horror) for about 2 weeks.

I can only think of two baby announcements that have filled me with pure, unadulterated joy. The first was about 3 years ago, when a very good family friend told us that she was 12 weeks pregnant, after 10 years of infertility and her third and last try at in-vitro.  Her boy is 2.5 years old now, and he still seems like a miracle.

The second was tonight, when very good friends phoned to tell us they finally, finally got their referal for their daughter from China. It has been years they’ve been waiting and given that the waiting has been driving me nuts, I can only imagine how difficult this was for them. But the end is in sight! Their baby is 7 months old and they are going to bring her home in August, and I’m so excited for them. Even the kids got how great this is, jumping around and yelling, “Yeah, we get to meet the baby soon!”

I love it that we still have a few friends having babies. I don’t want any more myself, but I am so looking forward to holding theirs. I can’t wait to meet her.

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My baby is 11 years old today. I told her that since I was the one who gave birth, I should get the party, but she didn’t fall for it. At least she likes chocolate, so I got to eat chocolate cake. Even though it is hard to believe she is already 11, heading into adolescence with the speed of a locomotive, I also can’t believe I’ve only been a mother for 11 years. It seems much longer than that. Perhaps I need to add all the kids’ ages up: I’ve been a mom for 23 years. That makes more sense.

Having Maya threw us into the deep end of parenting. And that’s not because we didn’t know what we were doing. In many ways, we did, and it’s a good thing, too. Without that confidence, it would have been a lot tougher.

When Maya was 5 weeks old, she began to scream for hours at a time. She needed to be held all the time. She hated to sleep. She was incredibly alert, so much so that strangers were constantly commenting on it and I had no idea what they meant until I had Asher and took him to the doctor to complain that he slept all the time. She said gently, “That’s what normal babies do.”

She was easily bored and by the time she could walk (which she did at 10 months, after 3 months of determined work, refusing to crawl at all) would demand we go outside all the time. I have video tape of her banging on the front door and shrieking as I said, “I am not ready to leave.” She was pre-verbal, but that didn’t stop her from making herself understood. When banging didn’t achieve the required results, she found her shoes and put them on. Then she found my shoes and put them on. Then she tried grabbing my hand to pull me up and when that didn’t work, went back to banging the door. She was a nag, even then, although I guess it would be nicer to call her persistent

She was also incredibly mature and caring at a young age. Once, when I was 9 months pregnant with Asher, making her 3 months shy of her third birthday, she got herself a bowl of Cheerios, then spilled the box. We had just returned home and I had dropped my massive bulk onto the couch and the sound of the cereal scattering almost brought me to tears. I held back, though, sighed a big sigh and said, “Don’t worry about it, honey. I’ll get it in a minute. Just give me a chance to rest.” She said, “It’s okay, Mommy, I’ll do it.” I winced inwardly at the greater mess I’d have to face after a two-year old had stomped through it, but it would keep her happy for a few moments, so I agreed. I heard crunching and sweeping sounds and after about 10 minutes, she came out, flushed with pride, to announce the job was done. I hauled myself off the couch and waddled into the kitchen to discover … a spotless floor! She had successfully cleaning everything up.

When she was just barely three, I was driving somewhere and she asked, “Those red signs at the side of the road that start with S, what are those for?” I told her they were stop signs. She said, “I thought so. You need to do a better job of stopping when you come to them.” Then the annoying kid reminded me every single time we approached one for months.


(my favourite picture of Maya at 3)

At another point, she took J’s VISA card to daycare and when the caregivers discovered it and asked why she had it, she explained, “I took it in case I needed to buy something.”

Really, nothing has changed, she’s just gotten bigger. She’s still remarkably caring, and will at times see that I have a headache or am feeling ill and take it upon herself to get her siblings ready for bed. She co-ops Asher, reads Boo stories, brushes teeth and sings lullabies. The first time she did this, while I lay in a darkened room trying to get the energy to deal with toddler Boo, I had no idea what she was doing until she came and announced the other two were asleep. I cried, I was so grateful.

She’s also a great assistant mom, doing things like saying with great artificial excitement, “Yeah! I can’t wait!” when I announce something her little sister is likely to object to, like going grocery shopping, knowing that Boo will then be swept up in Maya’s excitement.

She’s also annoyingly over-cautious and anxious and still checks up on me. She’s given up on the stop signs, but not a single Friday went by in winter that she didn’t remind me her school closes early. And she’s still a huge nag incredibly persistent, like a dog with a bone, when there is something she wants. She also still hates sleep, finds it difficult to achieve and would prefer to hang out with us. At social gatherings, she likes to sit or stand very quietly near the adults and eavesdrop.

She has developed some new skills, as she’s grown. The one I’m most impressed with is her story-telling ability. She tells Boo the most remarkable bed-time stories. For a writer, I am surprisingly bad at that sort of thing, so I’m always amazed by how inventive her stories are. Unfortunately, she’s recently discovered the power of storytelling when she reduced Boo to tears telling a story about a kingdom under a curse where no flowers could grow. She now loves to toss in some drama before the story ends, delighted and amazed that she can make her sister cry simply by telling a story. They always have happy endings, though, and Boo cannot resist an offer for another.

My beautiful girl:

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Thirteen Things about just making it up
I’ve been inspired by Shauna over at Pass the Chocolate to make my own Thursday Thirteen list. I was going to list thirteen things I like about my husband, on the occasion of his return from Israel, but he up and left again for another trip, so I bumped him. He’s been gone and the children have been sick, which means I’ve been around them a lot, so I’m going with 13 things I never thought I’d say to the kids before I had them:

1. “Please stop licking the pavement.”
2. “Not letting you sit on my lap to steer the car does not make me a bad mommy” (said to the 4-year-old)
3. “Take your finger out of your brother’s nose right now.”
4. “Where did your diaper go?”
5. “I’ll only come out of the bathroom if you promise to stop crying right now.”
6. “No, we can’t trade him for that other baby, even if you think that one is cuter.”
7. “Because I’m your mother and I said so.”
8. “Wait, did you forget to put on underwear again?” (Upon arriving at a classmate’s birthday party with Boo in a lovely skirt.)
9. “No, bugs don’t taste good. And no, it isn’t okay that it was already dead.”
10. “It just looks like I’m eating chocolate. It is actually a really spicy candy and you know how much you hate spice.”
11. “I’ll give you a piece if you promise not to tell your brother and sister.”
12. “I know Daddy said you could but he was wrong, because we don’t eat marshmallows right before dinner.”
13. “I’ll give you the rest of my coke if you leave me alone until I finish writing this.” (Guess how many minutes ago that one came out of my mouth.)
Links to other Thursday Thirteens:

1. Pass the Chocolate

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

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I was inspired by Michelle’s (at Big Blueberry Eyes) wee belly to answer this question from Mommy Talk:

How much weight did you gain (w/picture if you are you brave enough!)
What did you like MOST about pregnancy?
What did you like the LEAST?

I gained 50 lbs with Maya. I was miserable and swore I would never make such a huge mistake again. So I only gained 60 lbs with Asher. It dropped easily off after Maya, so I wasn’t as panicked the next time and, of course, it didn’t go away quite so easily the next time. That is why, when I gained a mere 55 lbs with Boo, I also got to my all-time heaviest. And have had the hardest time losing that weight. I don’t think I can call it pregnancy weight any more. Now I’m just fat. Interestingly, Asher was the heaviest, Boo was in the middle and Maya was the lightest.

What did I like about pregnancy? Having a baby. Loved the baby. I didn’t even mind labour, since it got me out of the state of pregnancy and into the state of mommyhood. Other than that, I liked the movement. I liked knowing the baby before everyone else did. Having been pregnant, I for ever after found it weird to hear people say things like, “When the baby gets here,” because for me, the baby already was here. Right in there – I knew what got her moving and got her sleeping, where her feet were, etc.

What I didn’t like – the long wait to meet the baby, stressing over whether the baby was okay whenever it stopped moving, the outrageous tailbone pain and back pain, not being able to curve my spine forward at all, my belly resting on my thighs, wildly restless legs, being unable to take a deep breath, being unable to sleep for longer than 2 hours at a time, cervical head-butts, peeing every two hours, wicked ‘morning sickness’ that got worse at the day went on, skin tags popping up all over, people who told me they knew the baby was going to be a boy because it was so active when I already had decided I was having a girl (and I was right), crying over absolutely nothing, pre-term contractions …

Okay, so I didn’t much like pregnancy. A couple of friends of mine told me once that in the same way some people are ‘mean drunks’ I was a mean pregnant. And they were right.

Nevertheless, I managed to find a photo of a very pregnant me (8 months with Boo – still another month of growing!) managing to smile. This is half a photo. The other half is my equally pregnant SIL. We wer due within a week of each other, but I decided not to just toss up a photo of her huge self without warning.


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Today I read in the Globe and Mail a profile of the Itzbeen Baby Care Timer by Rebecca Eckler. I think she liked it, although it was a little hard to tell, perhaps because I was so horrified that I couldn’t believe she was suggesting it is a good idea.

Check this thing out – it is a monitor you carry around with you everywhere with you and input the last time your baby nursed (and what side), had a diaper change and how long ago she woke up.

When Maya was born, the nurses at the hospital made us write that stuff down. We had to record every diaper change and what was produced, as well as when she last ate, for how long and which boob. When we went home after two days, we continued that routine for about half a day. I abandoned it in the middle of the night when, moments after I finished nursing her, I had already forgotten which breast I had used last and I had no idea how long she had eaten, given the off-the-breast-on-the-breast fight it was with her at first.

Next feeding, I put her on the heaviest boob. And we realized pretty quickly that the easiest way to know whether she needed a diaper change was to check her diaper. Wet? Poopy? Change it. Dry? Leave it.

The marketing for this horrible device claims that it is a lifesaver for the sleep-deprived parents. No long do you have to remember these important details. The machine will do it for you. The machine will tell you when to nurse your baby and you will no longer have to rely on your puny little brain.

The machine is stupid. Toss it out and develop a little parental instinct, people.

It reminds me of a conversation we had with doctor at Maya’s first appointment. We asked her if we should get an old-fashioned thermometer, digital, or one of those fancy ear ones. “It doesn’t matter,” the doctor (and mom of 3) said. “The only thing the thermometer is good for is that while you look for it, it gives you a few minutes to decide what you are going to do about the kid’s illness. You’ll know whether she is sick or not.” And she was right. We do have a thermometer, but I have found there are times when one of my babies had a fairly high temp, but was bopping around quite happily and I wasn’t worried. A lower temp plus a fussy or lethargic baby had me much more concerned. Mother’s intuition turned out to work far better than the machine that went ping.

The fancy-ass baby monitors now available are also pissing me off. Scroll down and you’ll see that there’s one that promises to not only let you see and hear your baby as the kid is sleeping in her crib, but it’ll tell you the temperature of the room, play lullabies and even has a two-way radio so you can freak the kid out by talking to her over the monitor. If only it had little robot arms to spoon out cereal, you’d never have to be in the same room again!

At the bottom of this page is a ‘respiratory’ baby monitor. It is a pad you stick under the baby’s sheet that is supposed to monitor his breathing. Unless your child is at risk for SIDS, this is the ultimate in paranoia.

I admit that like many other parents, I was worried the baby would stop breathing every time I had an infant. The first evening Maya was home, I placed her soundly-sleeping tiny body in the hand-made cradle my father had lovingly built for his first grandchild and lay down on the bed to sleep. She was right at the end of the bed, which I realized very quickly was far, far too far away. I soon gave up and got her. I placed a receiving blanket between our pillows, put Maya on it, lay my hand on her side and, with my own personal ‘respiratory monitor’ – my hand – in place, fell asleep instantly.

I’m not saying every parent should sleep with their babies. I wasn’t always sleeping with mine, either. But when I wasn’t, I did was parents throughout history have done. I checked up now and then and told myself not to be insane the rest of the time.

Here’s a wee picture of the final stupid thing I am going to complain about tonight. I stumbled across this while in search of a link to the other stupid stuff.


The creators of this ‘baby no bumps’ actually expect you to put this silly-looking thing on your kid all day long – and funnier yet, they expect the kid to let it stay there – to avoid little precious getting a single boo boo.

The web page says it is created by a parent (grandparent, actually), but given how hard it was too keep any hat on my kids’ little heads, no matter how tightly I tied, I suspect a marketing scheme.

My kids have a scar or two I wish they didn’t – Boo in particular had not a single bruise-free moment for about 6 months after she began walking (although many of those were fat lips; perhaps they should add a face cage?). But at least she has friends, which is more than I expect the child in the picture can say.

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