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Archive for the ‘birthdays’ Category

 One of our birthday rituals is to weight and measure the birthday child. We have, as I suspect many people do, a wall with all our kids’ heights over the years marked. Asher is delighted that even though his big sister is much bigger than he is, he is taller than she is at every year, and catching up.

Boo wanted us to measure her a few months ago, although we didn’t mark it then. She saw that she was right at Maya’s line. Her goal became to reach Asher’s line by the time she turned five. Of course, there wasn’t actually anything she could do, but she still hoped. So when we put her up against the wall a couple of days ago, she said again, “I hope I beat Asher’s line!” And sure enough, she was right at Asher’s line. I marked her as a smidgen above, just to make her happy. And she was: “Look, I’m taller than he was! I actually made it to taller than he was.”

No one pointed out to her that she had just made it past the lines we made when Maya and Asher turned four.

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I planned the summer perfectly – first the family vacation, then 3 weeks of camp, then 2 weeks of hanging out time. The hanging out time begins today. We have made a list of fun activities, like the wave pool, museums, conservation parks, that we plan to go through. So, of course, I was woken up this morning with Boo puking on me.

Now I’m trapped in the house with one sick child and two bored ones whose friends are all in day camp. Oh dear.

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I have occasionally mentioned the weird search string used to reach my site, but I think I have a new winner for weirdness: Africans cutting right arms off pictures. In all capitals. Beyond the fact that I don’t believe I’ve ever mentioned the word African on my site, or even right arms, and therefore cannot figure out how that got the searcher to my site, I cannot figure out what this person wants. Are the Africans cutting off their own right arms? Does it have to be right arms? Are they cutting off other peoples’ right arms? And why would anyone want to see a picture of that?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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She was also the happiest.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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Thirteen Things about just making it up.This Thursday is the 100th Thursday Thirteen, wherein we are supposed to talk about our favourite Thursday Thirteens. But I haven’t done enough of my own and I confess I haven’t the time to go poking around the others right now, as I am supposed to be getting us ready for our vacation and not even in front of the computer at all. (I was just checking the weather, I swear.) So I am going my own way. I’m only a couple of weeks away from my 41st birthday. Like many other people, I saw the new decade as a time to make some new plans for my life. This is a look back. 13 things about the year I was 40.

1. Upon turning 40, I was determined to get fit and healthy, and lose weight in the process.

2. I am fatter and my fibroymalgia is worse.

3. I was going to exercise regularly.

4. I do, but it makes not difference to my weight or health (so far?).

5. This was the year to get my career kick-started.

6. It refused to start.

7. I don’t feel like I’m in my 40s. My younger brother certainly can’t be turning 40 this year, and my parents clearly aren’t old enough to have children in their 40s.

8. Despite it all, I’m happy.

9. I never imagined having getting a dog this year.

10. I highlighted my hair for the first time.

11. But just for fun, because I still have no gray hair to speak of – maybe 10-15 hairs.

12. I’m getting better for standing up for myself and telling people when they are pissing me off. I’m not sure if that is good or bad.

13. This year was, to be honest, pretty much the same as the one before – some expected things didn’t happen and some unexpected did. And so it goes…

Links to other Thursday Thirteens:
1. Pass the Chocolate

2. Bring Your Own Cheese

3. Burnt Offerings

4. MamaArcher (kindly put me in her 13 favourite Thursday Thirteens on motherhood.)

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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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.

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(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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