Wednesday, October 01, 2008

A Pregnancy Diet

I don't believe in diets. It's probably why I'm a large size as opposed to a extra small, size zero, or even medium size. I don't think I'm huge, but I'm definitely in the larger sized category compared to my fellow asian ancestry.

If it weren't for my great genes (and my fabulous jeans!) I'd probably be a whole lot bigger. I like to eat, and dieting makes me feel like I'm depriving myself, and my mind just cannot wrap itself around that conundrum. What? Me no get food? Must be starving - eat more!

The only time that a diet has worked for me, and I've stayed on it, is for the sake of my child. Having children makes you take care of yourself, because you have to take care of them. Actually, my child's health was steadily declining and I was forced to find immediate solutions and take action.

My little girl was born on a crisp winter's eve. I had been in labour for a couple of days and I was already feeling the brunt of it. I lay there pushing and nothing was happening and then a c-section was required and it was an emergency and I was put under. I woke up to an 8 pound 8 oz baby girl, puffy from not being squeezed out of the 'birth canal'. She was beautiful and she was mine. My sense of love and care for her was immediate as I dropped my top and put her on the breast. It was easy.

But I learned that for the next 8 weeks, nothing would be easy.

First the pain of a c-section is horrendous. I'm sure all vaginal birthing women will want to argue with me, but seriously - your birth canal was MADE for birthing. There is nothing natural about cutting through your belly, then your uterus, ripping the baby out from there, pounding that swollen organ back into your belly, sewing it up, sewing you up, and hoping to God that you did it right and didn't leave something inside. Vaginal tears hurt, but they heal quickly. I didn't feel like myself until at least 6 months post partum. My abdominal wall had been cut through - I couldn't even pull myself up.

The trauma of my lower belly made it difficult to breastfeed without discomfort. I had a pillow that sat right on my surgical scar. But I grimaced through the pain. I curled my toes and tried desperately to relax so that the milk would let down. And for the next 6 days, nothing happened. No milk. My daughter lost over 13% of her body weight and was rushed to the special care nursery. That's where premature babies go. Babies that weight 1 pound. Mine weighed 8!

She was fed through a feeding tube in her nose. The forced so much forumla into her tiny little belly that she threw up. A lot and often. But she gained weight, and her jaundice started to fade. Everyone felt better except me. I resisted formula because I had a milk allergy, and I didn't know it yet, but because I did not give birth naturally, was in surgery, lost 1/2 my blood, exhausted from the whole process, my body concentrated on healing instead of making milk. But with a lot of support from my midwife, my family, my breast pump and SHEER will, milk appeared on the 6th day. Luckily, the pedeatrian saw how dedicated I was to doing this, and made me a deal. 55cc in her for 3 feedings in a row and we could go home. The only thing unfair was that she was so lethargic from being pumped full of formula for the last 24 hours.

We made it, of course, barely squeaking by - but that was not the end of our pitfalls.

In surgery, as it turns out, my blood started to get infected, so I was pumped full of antibiotics. The antibiotics allowed yeast to grow... in my breasts. I also had mastitis from the yeast blocking my ducts. Yeast is incredibly painful. It hurts to breastfeed and hurts MORE after you are done. And breastmilk contains a whole lotta sugar, which yeast thrives on.

Meanwhile, I had begun to notice tiny specks on my little girl's porcelain skin. Just hormones, I was told. She then developed thrush in her mouth. I researched on the web, went to see my nautropath and found a lovely doctor to diagnose me correctly. I was on an antifungal and so was she (orally), we used probiotics and I had some gel to put on my nipples. After 8 gruelling weeks where I would fear everytime she cried in hunger, things finally started getting better. Except her skin condition worsened. To a point where she would gouge chunks of skin from her face and arms because of the itchiness.

I faced the same answer with everyone. Eczema. Cortizone or nothing.

Nothing was not a plausible answer. My nautropath armed me with plenty of information. I went on a diet immediately - removing all traces of dairy, wheat and eggs from my diet. And wouldn't you know it 3 weeks later, clear beautiful skin. No strangeness in the diaper. Sleeping like a champ, and eating like a one too.

She still has dairy and egg allergies. We have to watch her diet carefully. After every illness (be it cold, flu, or stomach ailment) her eczema comes back. The nautropath said that illness makes the immune system go into high alert, making her sensitive to everything, even mundane sensitivities cause reactions. But now, I know exactly what to do, and everything returns to normal by 3 weeks. Even she knows when she needs to be creamed.

So, to try to stave off the pain from the first 8 weeks post partum, I'm going on an allergy diet in 1.5 weeks. My 3rd trimester.

But that's next week. This week I'm getting my fill of caramel macchiatos and croissants. Next week it's rice and greens! If that's not love, I don't know what is.

Friday, September 19, 2008

An Observation

I've had the fortune to work at many types of companies in a variety of industries. I've met some incredible people, some of who have become very close friends.

One thing that seemed to exist in every form of corporate culture - from small to medium to large businesses, is that the kitchen always seemed to have notes from a variety of employees, from bottom to the top that basically stated "clean up after yourself, don't expect someone to do it for you". One of my favorite ones was filled with expletives, complete with stick figures on HOW to put your coffee cup and dirty dish IN the dishwasher instead of in the sink for someone (your mother) to put away.

My current company is the FIRST and only place that has no sign. In fact, it nary ever has a cup in the sink. Sometimes there are some sugar crumbs or a coffee ground or two, but by the end of the day, that too is cleaned up. Is it because everyone here has learned to treat the company kitchen as their own? Is it because they have had it beaten into them? Has the company managed to hire incredibly responsible people who are willing to GASP, put their own dish and a meandering spoon from the sink into the dishwasher? What miraculous and amazing anomoly exists here? Are we in a vortex of consideration and respect?

No, we are not.

My company has a manufacturing division. It is basically made up of 100% Chinese workers who spend their day sodering and packaging our product. They're in by 8:00am and work steadily until the end of the day. One of the ladies, who I secretly call my mom at work, is super super sweet. It's not actually in her job description, but she empties out the dishwasher, makes coffee, boils a pot of hot water every morning. Every single morning. The other workers come in and fill their hot water thermos and bring it to the assembly kitchen, which does not offer the same facilities. Often, I leave my cup by the kettle waiting for it to boil (I'm in by 7:45am). I lose track of time, forget, whatever, and whenever I arrive in the kitchen, they've always filled up my cup. Always. I've seen some of the other employees take sugar from the bag instead of filling up the sugar canister, same with the creamer. I've seen people put their cups and dirty plates into the sink. And without fail - the group of manufacturers will put those dishes into the sink - without ever saying a word. They will tidy up the kitchen, make sure it's spotless and better than when they were in it.

I went to my little girl's school for parent orientation yesterday, and it took 1.45 hours to complete. For a preschool. But it was incredibly eye opening to actually see first hand, all the tools that she has on hand everyday. In the life skills area, they learn to pour, and sponge and squeeze, pick, and all the things we adults do everyday. They clean up after themselves when they make a mess, with rags that they have to hang up to dry. Everything is their size, including a mop and broom for bigger messes. They learn to respect each others work space, to wait patiently for their turn, to be kind, to walk around another child's learning mat and to be independant and responsible for themselves. They learn how to sew to improve hand and eye coordination - and they learn to use the same finger hold for properly holding a pencil, well before they ever put a pencil in their hand for writing. Basic skills that lay the foundation of being a kind and considerate person in everyday life. I wonder, if all our children were given these opportunities to grow in this way, would our world not be a better place for living?

I feel honored today in many ways. Honored to be a mom to a child who is learning to be a better person at age 2. I am honored to work with respectful, kind and considerate people. I am honored to have people in my life who are kind and considerate to me even when it's not easy.

I am honored to be alive to witness all of these things.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

So much to do, so little time

Opps... I didn't know I had comments disabled for non-bloggers. But it's enabled now, so comment if you wish.

There are just not enough hours in a day, and not enough energy in my body to accomplish all the tasks that need to be done in a day. I honestly mean it when I say that I'm barely getting by. Some days are better than others, but I am no longer able to rely on this body, as it is not my own. I find it absolutely incredible and facinating that I now have limits. Oh how I have not appreciated my strength when I had it. How I lazed fancifully watching brain numbing television when I could have built a fence, a garden a house. I had so much time to accomplish my dreams and set myself up for life, and instead, I slept and ate and played, and here I am 25 weeks pregnant, with less than 3.5 months until my due date and what do I have to show for it?

Abso-fucking-lutely nothing.

I am a disorganized mess.

But the funny and most ironic thing of all - is that I don't feel overwhelmed. I haven't kicked my ass yet. I've been taking it day by day, doing the most important things like... taking care of my kid, eating and sleeping and blissfully living in a happy bubble of content, while the world collapses all around me and I think...

I am happier now, than I have ever been in my life.

And isn't that just the most fucked up crazy shit ever. Seriously.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Out, Out, Damn Spot

Last night, I was looking after my twin nephew and neice, who were both sick with green snifflies and a cough. Also, I had my little girl who was developing a bit of a cough herself. She was distracted by our next door neighbour and ended up watching videos and playing trains. The twins were happily playing with toys and eating dinner when the girl started to cry. I tried to give her milk to soothe her, but she was not to be consoled. After crying for 45 minutes and being offered milk, juice, yogurt, a bath - I gave her a rub down of eucalyptus to clear her chest and sinuses, and put lavender on her feet. I dosed her with some tylenol after her parent's insistence and tried to rock her. My sister (bless her soul) came up to take her from me and after more rocking and singing she finally fell into a slumber after 15 more minutes. She was still recovering from crying during her sleep. Her brother started to get tired shortly after and both were in bed by 8:30. During this time, I managed to make spaghetti for today's lunch, feed my little girl, get her to drink soy milk and get her settled into bed. She was a bit restless, but after a rubdown with eucalyptus and peppermint and lavender on her feet, I turned out the lights. I asked her if it was okay if she slept alone. She said yes, and I got up and got the urge to clean.

It's been awhile since I've cleaned this intensely, but I tackled 3 bathrooms fully. Bathtubs, toilets and all. I found a rust stain on my countertop, and all of the natural potions I had did not make it budge a millimetre. So I employed a toothbrush and toothpaste. While getting out the spot, and the rest of the cleaning, I got to reflecting, like I tend to do. This is what people mean when they do something and find cathartic release. Exercise, baking, sex, cleaning. I scrubbed that dark orange rust stain out, and while I scrubbed, I thought about the dynamics of human relationships and how they are so very very interesting.

I have an incredible relationship with my sister. I used to think that this was just how it was between sisters, and have found this to be uncommon. I feel lucky to have someone who will take my place whenever it is needed, without ever being asked. And the feeling is completely mutual. I know, that I'll always look after my sister.

I did all the dishes, packed lunches, cleaned the kitchen, replaced towels and took a deserved shower. As the water rolled down my body, cleansing me inside and out - I thought, this is what it feels like to be a super hero.

Unfortunately, I stumbled out of the shower because my sciatica is acting up. I doubt super hero's have these issues.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Always Be My Baby

I'll be honest, I take a lot of pride in what my daughter can do an accomplish. There was a time where I felt a little guilty, and even boastful when I brought it up - but I realized that if you start feeling guilty about pride in your child, you may never affirm to your child that you are indeed proud. My parents are very humble folk, and so they have never shown pride in their children, and because of this, we never felt that we had anything to be proud of. Actually, we felt we were never actually good enough. I do try not to gloat too much, but there is much to be proud of!

Today's world promises tomorrow's leaders. Children have more opportunity, smarter parents and more information at their finger tips. Preschool comes in varying formats, including Junior Kindergarten that promises to produce kids that can read and count before they turn 5! And why not for those that are able.

Ability comes at all ages and in all forms. There are 40 year olds that have no clue what they want to do in life and there are 3 year olds that are composing their own music. Neither are better or worse, just different. Shunning and naysaying about methodoligies just because you do not agree with them is actually being ignorant. Nothing works for everyone, and as parents we just have to judge, hopefully, what is best for our very own very unique children.

It's true that most boys tend to be a little slower when it comes to particular skills. And it is also true that girls are not as strong as boys. They're built differently, and genetically, they are different. Women, just don't bald. The 'baldness gene' is influenced by testosterone. So if you have one parent that carries the baldness gene and they have a boy - the boy will be bald. If they have a girl, she will not be bald. If both parents have the baldness gene, then the girl may have wispy hair - but not ever be bald. These are just plain facts. Gross motor skills come quicker for girls and girls tend to, for the most part, speak sooner. But that doesn't mean that a 3 year old boy is any worse off than a 3 year old girl, just because she is speaking sooner. By the time they are both 5, they both will be speaking. Same goes for walking, same goes for any of that!

If your child is clingy, and not ready - it's okay to hold them back a little. Nurture the nature of your child and when your child feels safe and secure - they'll be ready. I truly truly believe that. Sometimes pushing a child too hard might actually be traumatic. The most important thing in all of this, is to really know your child, be close enough to understand and read the cues. Honor your child by listening to their feelings, how they react to strangers, people. How they feel when they've done something wrong or right. Learn your child's love language. When they misbehave - is it just a product of the environment, or is it a cry for something that is bothering them deeper. As parents, it is our responsibility to not just dismiss things that happen, but to figure out why they did and understand what happened, and what needs to happen to ensure that the child feels safe, secure and loved.

Our decision to put our little girl into preschool was because we felt she was ready. She has been potty trained at 2 years, including naps and bedtime. Her venacular is surprising for her age and she is a bright, sunny and happy child. She loves to learn, loves to read and be read to, and she loves being around other children. Her mind is a sponge and she craves to fill it. When I first dropped her off, she ran away from me, eager to get to her class. Each day is filled with wonderful stories of what she's done. She often corrects me when I make a mistake in my own wording. Yesterday, she learned a new sound ssssssssss ssssssssssss is for sssssssssssnake. So we came up with some other s words and we keep things light and easy and we never ever push her too hard.

I picked her up at child minding as I was working late, and she was playing trains. She got upset that she had to go, because she was, playing trains! She wrapped her arms around herself and made a pouty face, and I reminded her to use her words. She lit up when she was reminded that she colored a picture for me (which is hanging in my office right now) and she found our van in the parking lot, and she told me she made a bracelet at the cottage (her daycare). I marvelled at how much she has grown and how my little baby is now a little girl.

And after dinner, when her body became exhausted from a full day's event, she turned to me and asked me to pick her up. And I smiled at her and lifted her up over my very pregnant belly. I held her really tight and rocked her gently while kissing the top of her head. She cooed like a little baby.

Although my girl is growing and getting so big. Although she is expected to be independant and do whatever she can on her own - whenever my big girl wants to be a baby - I know, deep, deep, deep in my heart, she can always come to me. And I will always let her be my baby.

Friday, September 05, 2008

23 Weeks Pregnant

The time from now until the end is going to drag slow, slow, slow.

The baby is moving a lot, and remind me that 'hey, I'm here!!!' I'm still super exhausted most of the time, but brushing my teeth is no longer a chore that I dread.

Ava started her first week of daycare and pre-school. Unlike many children that might feel a token or more of apprehension, my daughter go out of the car, yelled 'bye mom' and peeled away from me. I had to chase after her and remind her that I was coming too! The instructor was very impressed by Ava's independence. She was quick to befriend children, shared and talked about sharing and remembered to put away her toys. It was a joy to watch, as well as a little saddening for mommy. My little girl is growing up so much. She can hold a full conversation with me, talking about what she did today. I am truly amazed. And... because she has my empathy, she said to me 'don't worry mommy, I'll be back. I'll always come back to you.' And when I left, she said 'okay, bye mom, you pick me up later, okay?' She loves school, and she never even wants to come home.

I started selling jewellery part time to help supplement my income while I'm on Maternity leave. I think I sell WAY more to myself and it is actually a lot of fun. My new order with savorski crystal chandalier earrings came in today with a matching black hematite square bracelet and I am giddy, giddy, giddy! I'm having my first jewellery party tonght too, so hopefully things go well. When I sell pieces, it is always incentive to replenish and of course, reward myself! Jewellery is one of those things that are very very frivilous, thus making them very very smile inducing.

I had a bad week, but I'm happy with my life. I feel that... all of it is working in a balance that I am not yet capable of understanding, but fully able to reach out and behold. I am blessed in so many ways, and am so so so very lucky to be able to share it with a tiny little two year old who knows more about me, than I sometimes know about myself.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Baby Stuff

I love shopping for baby stuff. You can have your Louise Vuitton and Prada shoes, I go gaga over soft organic blankets and tiny little mittens. I die when I hold teeny tiny little shoes in my hands and do not even get me started on the clever little items only admirable by a mom (juice box holders so that kids don't squeeze them all over themselves - GENIUS!) I think a reason why I want to have many children, is so that I never have to stop buying baby stuff (and also get to wear my adult ballet slippers to the mommy and me ballet classes - and yes, I would take my son to ballet).

I'm always on the look out for 'the' baby store. The store that has it all - and I come close often, but usually am disappointed by something.

I hate crowded stores. When I walk in to shop, I want to feel relaxed. I want a sales associate to be around IN CASE I have questions, but not to hover over me and ask me if I need help a bajillion times.

So, because I, like many, am a sucker for marketing - I love shopping online. Give your product a cutesy name like "Snuggle snaggle - the softest organic cotton blanket" and make it a super cute baby green color and my credit card will be pulled out faster than you can process it.

One of my favorite stores is Jamtots. It's where we got our daughter's lovely little cloth diapers, which I continue to love and rave about. It's where we purchased very practical and clever things. It's where I am shopping RIGHT NOW!

My husband, of course, being the practical person that he is calls it all baby crap. Even when I make him feel the organic cotton, rub it on his stubbly face, he is not charmed. I demonstrate snack traps where cheerios cannot fall out, but baby hands can still get them (omg, GENIUS), he is not faltered. He remains undeterred, by teeny tiny baby shoes (we have some already) or cute striped and heart socks that I only wish came in my size. And GASP, he even has the GALL to say "I don't think we need that". If a heart could be broken over something so materialistic, mine would lay at his feet shattered into a million pieces.

I may look like a wreck, tired and exhausted on any given day. But underneath my pale pallor and dry skin, I am glowing and beaming with happiness when I see my little girl in her bright red cloth diapers. I smile a secret smile when I put on said striped and heart socks. And when I wrap my newborn baby in a brand new super snuggly snaggle blanket, my heart will swell and burst with undeniable joy. Parading my children in super cute finds is my crux. But it is one that I wear proudly.

Keep your Mom of the Year trophy - I've got bum balm to buy!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Please Don't Judge Me

I try very very hard to do the best I can in life. I think this is true of many of us. After we found out we were pregnant, I vowed to do the best I could to shape and mold this life into what I believed to be the best. My daughter is now 2, turning 3 in December. She is everything that I had ever imagined could exist in a human being (of 2) and more. She brings me joy, happiness, love, hope and faith in a better tomorrow.

My life has changed dramatically over the last 3 years. What once was a life with husband - free to do whatever we wanted (and do whatever we wanted we did), bringing a baby into the world brought on a whole new meaning to what responsibility meant. I took this on head first, as I felt ready to be a mom and ready for an entirely new chapter in my life. My husband, chose to ignore what was going on until the inevitable moment that baby arrived. I studied carefully everyday, learning more and more, and making qualified decisions, asking the right questions, and prepared for life with a new baby. My husband had a crash course in diaper changing, breastfeeding and baby products. Regardless of how we arrived at where we did, we both wanted the same things for our child. Only the best.

Figuring out what "only the best" meant, has been a journey full of wild and amazing discoveries. Sometimes only the best cost nothing. Hugs and kisses, giggles and cuddles - those things were free. Sometimes only the best cost more than I made in a year. Before she turned one, we had invested in an education fund to prepare for when she graduated from highschool 18 years later. Sometimes we disagreed on what was only the best, in which case, like lawyers we both argued (sometimes angrily and with harsh words) our cases. I won most of the time. Sometimes because he let me.

I've heard it all along, being a parent is hard work - and the work, it never ends. My own mother calls me to find out about my health, what I've been eating, and how I'm feeling all the time. When she comes to visit (or vice versa), she unfailingly tends and cares for me like she always has, for as long as I can remember (well, without the bathing). It's not that I want her to do it (okay, I do a little), but she wants to do it for me. She still worries about my life, like she did the day I was born. Like I did the day my little girl was born.

Even before she took her first little breaths, I was bombarded by decisions that would shape the course of my unborn child's life. Did that long weekend drinking binge cause fetal alchohol syndrome? I sleep on my stomach - did I crush the embryo? I haven't been taking folic acid! How much protein was enough protein? What vitamins are you suppose to take?

I was still at the clinic when these questions came to mind. And that was only in the first 35 seconds of finding out. So, when the tears of joy has ceased their flow, and I was armed with: No my drinking binge fest would not affect the baby - but I should stop drinking right now (I did). You can sleep on your tummy until it feels uncomfortable (I stopped right away, just in case). 2-3 servings of protien each day was sufficient (then I found out I hated chicken). You should start taking folic acid immediately - but a prenatal vitamin should supply enough - but don't take Materna - the most recommended and widely available prenatal supplement, this one (writing it down) is much better.

And so begun the journey of looking for 'only the best'. Materna, as it turns out - is in tablet form, which is formed so tightly by machinery, that the tablet has a hard time digesting in your stomach acid. Sometimes, it can stay in there for an extended period of time, releasing vitamins into your system at varying degrees and sometimes even overlapping, which has been shown to cause stomach upset and nausea. I bought this gel tablet recommended from my doctor, but launched an investigation that would change the course of my life forever.

I decided to have a midwife instead of an OB/GYN. There were many reasons for this but they were secured when I attempted to make an appointment to see the OB/GYN in a maternity clinic. They always seemed rushed, even the receptionists. They were busy - and on my very first appointment, where I was beside myself with excitement, she spent less than 10 minutes with me. I joke about how she was still giving me an internal exam while one foot was already out the door. I had registered with a midwife that was only a couple of blocks away and was waiting to hear about whether they would take me as a patient, and luckily, before my next appointment with the OB/GYN, I was accepted.

The difference was like night and day. The appointments were up to one hour - so long as I needed it. It was gentle and caring and I developed a bond and relationship with my midwife. She cared about me, and in time, I cared about her. She let me linger to hear the baby's heart beat each time. We discussed everything from baby names to birth control after - vaccinations, circumcisions, cloth diapers, organic food. She gave me sound advice - not just 'do this cuz I said' but enabled me to come to my own decisions with available information out there. I had my own forum to discuss my hopes, fears, dreams and desires for the pregnancy, birth and the baby. She made me feel completely safe and I trusted her to do the best by me. She was open and told me about the decisions she arrived at, careful not to be biased - and directed me towards books and reading material so that I would make my own conclusions. She gave me medical studies, statistics and never dismissed any concern of mine, including all of the superficial ones (my skin was so terrible). At each and every single appointment she asked me about my emotional wellbeing. How was I feeling? Was I overwhelmed. She really cared. She wasn't just a midwife, she was a Nautropath. She gave me alternatives when everyone said there were none. She gave me the greatest gift of all: she empowered me.

I could have easily ignored what she presented. Except that life gives you what you can handle, and in time, these skills that had been enabled would truly stand the test of parenthood. The trials and tribulations I experienced in pregnancy, in birth and as a mother would rely so heavily on looking for alternatives, exploring options and being the sole champion for the health and welfare of my baby. We would be challenged in so many ways - personal battles that would sometimes tear my very soul to shreds. I almost gave up on breastfeeding because at 6 weeks I was still in an incredible amount of pain (yeast infection and mastitis in the breasts - but I ended up breastfeeding until 18 months). I battled many - doctors, pediatricians, nurses and the like. I researched and learned, I gained my ground. And I found an incredible doctor who listened to what I said, and fit my beliefs and goals into the medicine that he knew. I learned how to cope with, handle and eventually clear eczema (which would be repeated everytime she was ill or ate something she was highly allergic to).

My little girl has never had a diaper rash. But she's been in the hosptial 2 times in her 2 years of life. She's never had a true ear infection, but she has had severe eczema over 100% of her body. She's been so sick she lost 3 pounds off of her 20 pound frame. But she has recovered so beautifully and so well, and I know deep within me, it is all because of the decisions that we made through the information that we gathered, because we seek 'only the best'.

Through all of these challenges, through this life, through it all - I have tried to keep a very open mind and open heart to everything. That isn't to say that I have not been kept up at night, sweating and in a panic about how to keep my darling safe. Sometimes, the paranoia can eat away at me and I find myself asking my husband for things that don't even exist (can't we get an alarm system with lasers that actually delivers a small shock of electrical current if someone does try to enter the house?).

In the last 2.5 years of having my little girl in my life. I have experienced a happiness that you just don't feel when you haven't had a child. I'm not trashing non-breeders. It is a very simple truth. The love of a child - the love for that child - is not equalled in anything. At least not to me - and I'm wise enough to understand that this is different for everyone.

It is this love that drives you to do the best you can as a parent. It is this love that keeps your pregnant self awake telling stories to a sad little girl that can't fall asleep. Or to keep carrying said toddler even though you are already carrying an extra 20 pounds. Or to purchase, cook, freeze and reheat organic food that you yourself have so lovingly (and time consumingly) made. Everyone's love is different, because everyone has made decisions based on what they know, information they've gathered and have come to conclusions that work with their lifestyle, family goals and beliefs. I do not judge you - because we all have choice. And I do not force my beliefs or findings on you - although I am a source of information for any who seek it. I realized long ago that - people will only change if they want to. And who do I think I am for wanting to change anyone. Even as a non-Christian (I'm Buddhist, my husband Catholic), I know from going to church that God gave people free choice. What I do push always is... gather your information, so that the choice you make - is informed. Not just a trend. Not just someone says. But backed up with proof that makes you able to sleep at night.

There are many decisions that we've made as a family for our children. Not everyone agrees with me. That's okay. I'm not making the decision for your family, so please do not make a decision for mine. Do not tell me what you think is best for my child, when you don't know my child or me. Do not tell me that you know more than me about what is best for my child because of what you've read. Please do not tell me that you know what I am doing, or even guess at the underlying reasons behind my actions. Just because I am not raising my children exactly the way you are raising your children does not mean anything except we are raising our children differently. No one is right, no one is wrong. Children are different and it is up to us parents to not pigeonhole them, but make decisions on a case to case basis, based on each child's needs and abilities.

And please, above all, please don't judge me. Just know, like I know of you, that I'm doing the best for my children the best way I know how.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Another Personality

So I have another personality. In my last pregnancy, she came late. I expected to be all emotional and creepy right away, but I wasn't. One day, I was listening to a song called "Feel The Rain on Your Skin" on the radio, and I heard these lyrics "I am unwritten, can't read my mind, I'm undefinedI'm just beginning, the pen's in my hand, ending unplannedStaring at the blank page before you", and I thought - that's what this baby is... a blank page, of a new book. Queue water works. I call her "Cry baby fatty pants". She both cries and wears fat pants. Size 16 to be exact. Neither are very pretty.

I've definitely been more emotional lately. Lots going on in life and with baby on the way, I just feel more vulnerable and susceptible to the blues. I don't feel sorry for myself, I just feel, nostalgic and hopeful for the future, whatever it may be. Tears flow easily for me, and these days I am feeling more touched by the magic of the world. Songs and music mean more, words and actions mean more, and kindness means so much more. Last night I went to bed with my little girl and all she did for 1/2 an hour was tell me she loved me, said good night to the baby and said good night to me, over and over and over. She snuggled close to me and smushed her sweet little face into the side of my body. We held hands, and I felt so very very in love with her. The baby moved too, slowly snuggling in for the night in my womb. Magic.

Then this morning, I woke up in a fit as I had forgotten to set my alarm clock. Ava cried because she didn't want to wear her sweater, didn't want to get out of bed, wanted me to hold her while I had to get things ready for her, cried when I took her out to the van, cried when her rubber boots fell off, cried when the sun got in her eyes, I left the kitchen in a hurricane of a mess, was late and had to drop off my sister first, spilled coffee in the van, hit traffic on the way into the office and well... poof, just like that, everything was back to normal.

Then, because I had heard it on the drive, I looked up the lyrics to a song. And then, the tears flowed down my cheeks again.

"When you're dreaming with a broken heart
The waking up is the hardest part
You roll out of bed and down on your knees and for a moment you can hardly breathe"

Our lives are complicated messes, with an incredible number of combinations and permutations of what can happen to us, what we are going through - things we can identify with, things we cannot. But for a brief, brief second ... to be lost in the internet shuffle of the internet, I will let you in on a little secret. I dream with a broken heart. And waking up... is the hardest part.

No matter what I am feeling though, and no matter what I'm going through - I pull it all together because in my life, exists not just one person. I cannot focus on just me. And so, I pull it all together, suck it all up inside of me... and take care of what must be taken care of. Dear God, I love her. I love her more than anything in this beautiful world.

But I do dream with a broken heart. I do. And every single morning... waking up is the hardest part. That's the only time, I let myself, be me. And then I become the greatest role in life "Mommy".

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Pregnancy = Multiple Personalities

It's true, I need to get my ass in gear. Today is Wednesday already, and I'm seriously planning to spend from Thursday on playing Mahjongg and mastering the scoring for at least two weeks.

I know what you're thinking... where are my priorities right? Well, hello, if you've forgotten, I'm 4 months pregnant. Lately, I've been feeling a little off. A lot off actually. When I'm 'unpregnant', I am a selfless, happy, calm and peaceful human being (when not being agitated by my husband). I like to cook and clean and read.

In my last pregnancy, I was able to hold in my other personalities, but in this one, I have almost zero control. Or maybe I'm just giving in to my misgivings.

I've been thinking about all the mom's that don't want pregnancy to change them. The ones who work out like crazy, eat healthy food, and read every pregnancy known to man. Well, I've read all the pregnancy books. I'm too tired to even take a bath much less work out, and forget healthy food - this is a time to eat as I feel.

There are few times in a woman's life when it is magical. When you first fall in love. First kiss. When you get married, and when you're pregnant. Sure the first time feels like a dream, but so does the second time. I'm just not as crazy about the pregnancy and obsessed with raising a prodigy infant. I'm more worried aobut spending time with my toddler, making sure she is fed, making sure she is prepared, and getting in a lot of TV time. Dont' get me wrong, I love to read, and reading to me is pleasure. But my brain right now, is on ADD mode, and I cannot even read an article in a magazine without getting zoning out. I blame this on my 'horny horny teenage boy' personality. No, I'm not attracted to women - I'm insanely attracted to men. Especially the kind with bulgy muscles, and sweaty skin, preferrably topless. The kind that can literally pick me up without effort. I want to be physically carried around. 'horny horny teenage boy' (henceforth HHTB) is also completely facinated (and a little worried, let's not lie) about the massive and continued growth of breasts. Also facinating is how, in very pregnant state, men and women oogle them as if they actually belonged to me... which they don't. My current bra could be fashioned into a large hat for my toddler. Both cups can be used to encase her entire head (and she's got a 75th percentile sized head for those of you keeping score).

HHTB is lazy as fuck. All he wants to do is plant his fat ass on the sofa, eat chips and watch tv until he cannot keep his eyes open. Too bad 2 year toddler is around or HHTB might just occupy my everyday.

'big fat angry bitch from hell' (henceforth BFABFH) is no walk in the park either. True, she's a staple in my life, only brought out when irriated beyond what any normal human being can handle. However, she is a common personality that exists when in very pregnant state. Easily irritable, BBFABFH is also insane. Believes she has superpowers and has been known to get into physical fights in public with strangers. "How dare you cut me off in traffic and endanger the life of my unborn child". "YOU have the nerve to call ME irresponsible in the costco parking lot when you don't even know how to DRIVE?" Unfortunately, BFABFH makes it so that I am not allowed to go anywhere alone, as I have been in altercations that have found me running from the law.

The personality that surprises me the most is 'girl who eats salad' (henceforth GWES). I can say with all honesty that I never eat salad. I think it looks gross and tastes gross. And unless it is covered it fatty fat fat sauce, layered with chicken and has more calories than a greasy burger with cheese, I won't even CONSIDER IT. Yet imagine my surprise when GWES orders a healthy fresh salad and I fucking enjoy it. The crisp coolness of lettuce. The fruit, the dates, the easy dressing. Almost makes me want to cry! GWES hates steak and meat and fish and all the goodness that unpregnant me loves. I'm sad and pitying myself just THINKING about it.

It's days like today, when I can't find where my ass ends, where I can't see my toes standing up, and I can barely reach over to pick up 2 bags to bring to the sitters that I think... honor yourself. I'll go back to being who I am... but for the cycle and phase that I am in now, I just need to relax and honor what I'm going through. The growing, nurturing, resting, and creation of life. It moves in my belly, reminding me that it is there. It's spirit ever present. When my little girl fell asleep on my belly last night, the baby pushed against it as if to say "don't forget I'm here too"! We try so hard to be what we're not, to please people we don't really care about. Because the ones that actually give a shit about us, our well being and what we are doing, don't care about HHTB. They don't care about BFABFH. They don't care about GWES (okay, they do, but only at BBQ's where it is not okay to serve gazpacho - ice cold tomato soup). They let you be the way you are, and love you despite the crazies that have taken over and inhabited your body.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

I need to get my fucking ass in gear.

I can be the world's biggest procrastinator, but now that I am pregnant, I am just plain freaking lazy.

Organization is the key to any task, and I am not organized. I mean, I think about it, I dream about it, sometimes I even lie awake at night contemplating how to get organized, but the reality remains... I need to get organized.

Ava starts summer day camp next week. And after 4 weeks of that, my little girl, will be 2.75 years old and will be starting pre-school. PRE-SCHOOL.

I wouldn't put her in school if she wasn't ready. But this amazing little person is totally and completely ready. She has an imagination that puts mine to shame. She can identify her own name. She knows so many nursery rhymes and has memorized most of her books. And their not easy books either. But by far, the biggest sign she is ready? She's the kindest friend, completely socialized and knows that 'sharing is caring'. I know that when we drop her off her first day of pre-school, she will give me a hug, a kiss, say "I love you mommy" and promptly say good-bye. The only tears to be shed will be my own.

I vow, that by the day she starts pre-school, I will be utterly and completely organized.

Today is Day 1 of Week 1. Planning the weeks. Meals, groceries, what food we have, trips and events. Chores, etc. The planning begins today.

Friday, July 04, 2008

I Hate The World Today

You're so good to me, I know but I can't change.

Well, I need more sleep... but most of the nausea is gone, but I'm easily grossed out by smells, slimey sights and talk of vomit. Don't ask me about the latter.

I'm so tired these days, I can't think straight or see straight, and I forget my vitamins. I'm definitely not as careful and consistent as with the first. In fact, I haven't even really taken any belly pictures. Mostly because at 14 weeks, I'm pretty embarassed that I'm so big already!

If I put it all into perspective, of course, it is easy to be thankful for my many many blessings. But I'm still in that, don't care about anyone but myself state.

Ava is ill with thrush and an unexplainably high fever. No rest for the wicked!

Friday, June 06, 2008

I can't handle my life right now

There is so much we take for granted, and one of the biggest things is our ability to do things. And by that, I mean, our health.

How thankful we should be everyday that we can get up in the morning, use our hands and feet, and legs. To have energy and vision to drive and work and play. The use of fingers to chop up vegetables, to cook and to be able to eat on our own. To bathe. And not just for ourselves, but to help others around us.

Me, I've been a lonesome dove these last 4 weeks. And I can say with honesty that they have been the most brutal and painful days in my life.

When I broke up with my ex, I felt sick, I was anxious and I stayed up all hours of the morning smoking cigarettes and crying. I still went to work, sometimes with tears and felt sorry for myself all day long. I couldn't eat. But I kept busy, and I kept going. I helped others and forgot about myself.

Being pregnant is a whole other story. The onslaught of discomfort is not of your choosing. You can't eat simply because you want to throw it right up. Things smell bad all the time, and I cannot even look at the inside of my fridge without my insides wanting to come out. I have to wake up at 5am to make meals for my little girl, and there have been a few days in the last 4 weeks that I have sent her to the sitters with a frozen meat pie. That is something my non-motherly husband would do. But not me! And my house? It looks like a bomb went off and toys went spewing. Of course, it is only hurricane Ava! Who just cannot seem to put toys away by herself. I am helpless on the sofa because I am so completely exhausted that I can barely keep my eyes open. Even in my hardcore partying days, I could manage the strength and power to keep things tidy.

But these days, it seems I can't get enough sleep. Even when I take a 4 hour nap, I can still sleep at 9pm... and still be tired when I wake up.

My patience is thin with the little one, and unfortunately, I couldn't seem to soothe Ava last night when she woke up with nightmares. When I called for my husband to do it, he gave me excuses instead as to why it was happening. Just take her, I'm tired. I'm tired too, he retorted. But YOU'RE NOT PREGNANT LIKE ME is what I wanted to scream in his face. Plus my blood pressure is very low, and I'm anemic. Why do I need to even explain? why, why, WHY??

So I finally was able to sleep in peace, but mommy guilt came up to keep me awake, of course... but sheer exhaustion kept me from regular pregnancy insomnia.

That being said, I would go through this 100 times if it meant that the baby was healthy and safe. I know that there are some sacrifices in life, and this is one of them. And after it is all said and done, I will do it again (God willing).

I wish my mom was here. She takes care of me like only a mom can. Food,

I can't WAIT till I have energy again, to feel better, to give a shit about everything, including my appearance, the house, my relationship with people, etc. Because right now, I don't give a crap about anything except - getting rest.

I want to be a good person, but right now, I am completely incapable.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

I be tired

And still pukey.

Not much to say these days. I'm pretty sad and upset, but just trying to get by. I can barely put dishes in the dishwasher. And I desperately need to sleep about 10 - 12 hours a day.

It is not fun.

Monday, June 02, 2008

All I care about right now

is my girl.

I miss her so much when I'm at work.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

I am offically Effed

I have never felt so confused, sad, weird, mad, angry, hungry, selfish, sleepy, tired, exhausted, grumpy, barfy, dizzy in my life. Seriously, I feel like a freak - and totally not myself.

I got a new haircut, that I realized, I have to upkeep! This realization was made when I was already out the door, in the car and halfway to work. Great....

I'm wearing maternity clothes full time now. None of this pretend I'm not pregnant shit... I'm pregnant, hormonal and fat!

I'm going to take tomorrow off, as I have a midwife appointment in the middle of the day. I guess that means I should get my shit together.

I'm craving empanada's like you wouldn't believe... but I won't make them myself. It's all very intense and all very very sad.

I feel like I'm the only crazy unreasonable bitch in the world today. And the fucked up thing is - I don't even care.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Double Sigh.

I go from being intensely hungry to being intensely nauseous.

I've been eating a lot - so I'm quite fat. I've probably gained about 10 pounds!

These days, all I want to stomach is fruit (mango), vegetables (greens and cucumbers) and rice with chinese curry sauce.

I'm also super tired.


My mom visits in a little over a week, and I have an entire house to clean.

Double sigh.

At least I watched a couple of movies this weekend. They were good.

Monday, May 12, 2008

The Second Time Around

Everything smells icky. Everything looks icky. Everything bothers me.

I hate the smell of my new shoes. The new leather is gross.

I'm constantly hungry, but want to eat nothing.

Meat is disgusting.

I remember this feeling. It was not fun. It is not fun.

I'm so exhausted and tired, I need to rest, I need a nap.

Damn the shoes smell horrendous. The fridge makes me want to die when I open it.

It is not a happy time.

First trimester, please be over soon!

Friday, May 02, 2008

I Believe in Love

Love is the foundation that everything else is built on. It is what keeps us together, fight after fight, misunderstanding after misunderstanding, hurt after hurt. It is the forgiveness that is given when we have wronged. It is the tears, the pain, the heartache. It is what makes you drop to your knees, stop breathing, and stops your heart.

We look at love as a beautiful thing. And it is. But it's beauty is not only those of wildflowers. It is not just passion and physical attraction. It is not just the ease of fitting two hands together. It isn't just in the smile that automatically comes when a name is mentioned, or a sigh when a memory is evoked. It is not just the wonderment of the new or the electrical excitement of the beginning. It is not just hearts and blood and sweat. It is so much more.

We place so much pressure on love - to evoke only happiness. To only cause joy. But to understand, experience and take true pleasure in that joy of love - you must, must, must feel the brutal pain of love. Your heart must break, or almost break. Because sometime the joy is so intense, it hurts. And it isn't until you can feel TRUE loss of someone, that you truly understand what love is. When people say they would lay down their life for love - it is not just words. There is truth in that.

And so, everytime I fight, everytime I get exasperated in frustration, everytime we fail to understand each other, and I want to rip out my eyeballs I say "THIS... THIS IS LOVE! And I hold onto that feeling and I remember what it means to love. Cherish the bad times, because when you finally get to a place where you truly understand each other - and you are on the easy side of love - remember what it took to get there. The road is long and winding, sometimes dark and sometimes you even feel alone. But the journey, the adventure, the rollercoaster that you are on - is what is the most important. You already have your prize... you just haven't figured out how to enjoy it.

I believe in love. I believe in him. And I believe in us.

Thursday, May 01, 2008



There is no denying it... I love food. The best food is made from my mother's hands. Sweet fatty pork belly, fresh water cress soup, beef brisket curry... mmm... her fatty pork is so soft and tender, with a hint of chewiness - that only time and careful monitoring can create.

Cooking, is science. It's less of a mystery if you can break it down into proteins and fats, and how they react to heat. I love being around the prickly heat of a hot pan with fresh oil, then loaded with garlic. I love watching sugar turn into a black color when being prepared for a sauce. I love the scent of baked chicken, the skin crisping under the hot broiler.

I've been spoiled. My mom is a fantastic cook. I've been brought up to eat the best of the best. Freshest ingredients, and a 4-5 course meal every day. Soup that had been simmered all day, and crisp green vegetables so appetizing that even a child could not say no.

What I've learned about cooking, is that the science can only take you so far. How do you measure a pinch, a bit, a dusting? How do you describe taste, flavour, the look? The more you cook, the more adept you become and 'feeling'... and feeling is what I do best. I love making a soup, and adding salt and doing a taste and tasting perfection. I love eating it the next day, and being reminded just how good it is. I love knowing that... I'm getting better, and am getting to understand just what a pinch, a bit and a dusting actually means.

I love food, and our relationship continues to grow stronger. Now I'm off to devour my fatty pork. mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

Friday, April 25, 2008

Happy birthday!

It is my sister's birthday tomorrow... she'll be 26! I'll enjoy the next 2 months that we're only TWO years apart instead of three. Tee hee.

My sister is more than anyone could ever ask for, from a sister. She is the ever calm stream of reality, realistic and sure. She doesn't start shit, but will throw down in a second if I am in harm's way. She loves and cares for my child as if it is her own, and often reminds me, the mom on what to do.

She is a gracious spirit, always there when I need her, and even when I don't think I need her. She's been there, ever since my mom brought her home in a pink fluffy package (I promptly slapped her though - and probably got a slapping of my own).

She's been my forever playmate - getting into trouble with me - getting out of trouble for me. She never told on me growing up - she'd call me when my parents were looking for me - and warn me of danger. She knows my moods, and always helps me, even when she's feeling less than stellar. Who else could watch me struggle through labour, fail, and still be proud (okay, maybe my husband - but we're not talking about him here).

Everyone loves her, because she is a super spirit. And I am lucky to have her in my life. So lucky. Wherever life takes me, no matter who I become, I will always be the older sister of K. And she the younger sister of me. In this way, I am grounded to the earth - reminded of where I came from, and appreciate the journey, no matter how difficult it has been. I know that life will always be managable, happy and amazing because she is with me. On the rollercoaster of life - I am fortunate, so fortunate - to have someone cheer me on, hold my hand through the high/scary parts, and cry with me through the low - and laugh with me when we look at the photos afterwards.

Happy birthday lovely girl - I love you.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Learning How To Communicate

My sister and I can communicate so well, sometimes, few words need to be spoken to be understood. She knows me, my emotions and is so intimate with my ways - that she can tell when there is a HINT of anything bothering me. Mind you, she's known me for 25 years.

My girlfriends, whom I haven't known for nearly that long, and definitely less time than my husband totally get me. We don't argue, because even when we disagree, it is totally civil, and more of a debate.

For me, it is soooooooooooooooooo easy to communicate with girls. Boys... that is a whole other thing.

My husband, frustrates me to no end when it comes to communicating. I often say we don't speak the same language because we fail to understand each other. I fail to understand the words that come out of his mouth too. Sometimes, we are even agreeing and we don't even know it.

And it's not just my husband, it's other men also. Men at work - their words tend to be vague, like they're fishing for an answer.

It just doesn't come easy... and I'm certain that they feel the same way about me. For instance, I usually wear skirts and dresses to work. We have no dress code - and most people wear jeans daily. I decided to go comfortable today, and a manager asked me why I was dressed so casually. I said... I'm a woman, so it's my perogative. He waxed on about how women have to dress for their job, yada yada yada... I was past offended...

But I digress, I've learned a lot. With my husband, I've learned what he needs from a conversation to fully understand. I have to ask questions and then confirm what I've heard... it's a bit tedious, and I find I have to be quite strict, but it works. We both want to be in control of the situation - and he wants to end the fight and I want to win it - neither are condusive to solving the issue.

At work, I have to remain calm and professional at all times. No matter how hot the fire is burning inside of me, I have to keep cool. I'm a fan of the line "fake it until you make it" and I have to fake fake fake it sometimes. I have threatened to beat people up before, and it has only been half jest. In being calm, and opening my ears, I take on more than just the words are being spoken. I watch the body language, the facial expression - and combined with the tone of voice, I can usually deduce what is going on. With one particular fellow, I figured out that he was overly aggressive in the way he spoke to me, because he felt completely impotent and uncertain of what was going on. He pressed me for answers to questions he did not now how to formulate and his frustrations came out as bitterness. But, my understanding nature, has eased that transition... he's still an ass, but I can tolerate/deal.

Learning to communicate means so much more than just talking. It means taking in the entire picture, it means understanding and above all, it means thinking about where the other person is coming from. My little girl is easily frustrated and I have to constantly remind myself to get down to her level and see what it is that she is frustrated about. When you do - you are looking at the world through her eyes, and it is an eye opener.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

A New Blog

I'm starting a new blog on blogger, because it is not blocked by the work filter, like my xanga. I haven't been blogging as much, even though I have so much to do/say - because by the time I get home and am able to blog, the words have escaped me!

I do love xanga and all of my friends there... and I'll still be linked, and I'll still check up on everyone, but not with the obsession like before. I guess we all have to go on with living normal lives sometimes, and I guess, I am now living mine.

My protected posts will still remain with xanga, but herein lies the life of me... My name is Mommy!