Monday, February 28, 2011

The Binky Fairy

I'm not sure if I've ever really explained what was (WAS - we'll get to that in a second!) Maddie's obsession with pacifiers (binkies in our house). She used them from like, the first week I think? She was a baby who NEEDED a binky. Otherwise she'd get all screamy and irritating.

As she got older, the hold on binkies got stronger. She used them all.the.time. We were those parents with a kid in the grocery store talking around her binky. We started to get comments and jabs from random strangers, well-meaning friends and family -- "So when do you think she'll be ready to give those up?" we'd be asked -- answer? Never. She would never give these up if given the choice.

The past, oh? YEAR or so has been a nightly routine of rounding up every binky she owned - between 6 and 8 - she always slept with one in her mouth and one clutched tightly in each hand. And if you were REALLY good she'd favour you with a binky rub. That's a rub of the pacifier up and down your cheek - it... well, I never really got what she got out of this - but it was her comfort thing.

So yes, in a nutshell - she was hooked.

I think it was filling out the kindergarten registration forms that did it. Seeing as she'll still only be 3 when she starts class in the fall, it's already so scary. But sending a binky-obsessed 3 year old? She'd get tossed out. Or ridiculed or something equally horrendous and guilt-inducing.

So we started talking up the "Binky Fairy". You know, the fairy that comes and leaves a fantastically wonderful gift if you leave all your binkies for her...

Never heard of her? Think Tooth Fairy but pimped out for maximum bribery leverage.

Maddie was all over this idea and she loved that the Binky Fairy would then give out her binkies to other little baby boys and girls that needed them.

My child is nothing if not altruistic -- seriously, she's such a good person I wonder who her real mother is sometimes.

She started bringing up the Binky Fairy in regular conversation. Even (handily) started telling me what she was going to be leaving for Maddie as a present when she gave up her binkies.

Ironically - it was fairies... I'm not sure why this amused me.

And so, this past weekend, we rounded up all the binkies in the house, put them in a lovely little box with a note from Maddie on the front. Tied it up with ribbon (what? I like my presentations) and left it at the front door before she went to bed.

Getting to sleep was difficult that night - but once she was finally down, she stayed there - all night. And in the morning there was a massive package waiting on the front step for her. Fairies - lots of them. And a little fairy kitchen set thing to go in the fairy house we've been making together.

Oh yes - we've been making a fairy house. I didn't have kids to not play and craft and make things, okay?

The gift went down a bomb. Especially the glittery hand-written thank you note from the Binky Fairy. That's been carted around and enjoyed almost as much as the actual gift.

And through all this? Zero tears. Kind of anti-climatic really - I mean, did I underestimate her obsession or is it the level-headed Libra in her that has simply accepted her fate?

Who cares. I'm just so happy to finally be on the other side of it.


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Eight Months

Dear Katie,

I write this while you slumber upstairs - sleep has been a challenge this month. You've been sick. You're teething. You're more aware now. And I give in - each and every time. But cuddles at 3am can sometimes be so nice (if I wasn't so bloody tired at the time). I'm hoping your teeth come soon - but I've learned (from your sister) that a watched pot never boils and have tried not to obsess over them too much.

Another challenge has been food. You hate baby food. HATE it. Where did you get this strong personality from, hmmm? And thus, far earlier than I planned, you have started on finger foods.  Banana chunks dusted in pulverized cheerios. Pasta pieces from my chicken noodle soup. Rice, mashed potatoes, toast, pizza crust - you are a carb-o-holic my little tiny thing.

And yes, you are still very tiny, off the scale in weight on the growth charts at just 14 lbs 4 ounces (although that weight was taken at the doctor's office while we were both quite sick from a nasty cold). It's a bit worrying - but you don't look skinny - just tiny, with chunk-a-monk thighs. In the meantime, I feed you avocado almost daily trying to fatten you up...

You love playtime and your new favourite thing is to "walk" with Daddy. I never really gave much credence to the whole "walk before they could crawl" baby stories - but this may be you... With no interest in crawling and whole lot of protesting whenever you're on your belly on the playmat, I'm not sure how you're even going to learn to crawl. And yet, you're so happy to be cruising around holding our hands or the furniture. I think you see your sister running circles around you and you just want to get up into the action!

We start baby signing classes this coming week - I think you're going to love being around other babies, since you take the opportunity to SCREECH at any babies you see while we're out shopping. And I'm looking forward to getting out of the house just the two of us.

What else to say about 8 months monkey? You are strong willed, you are inquisitive, you are a flirt (with Daddy mainly - you only have eyes for him once he gets home from work), you are a hard audience (but I can get a giggle or two daily from you if I try hard enough), you are easily frustrated and will be very happy to be mobile soon - you are a 5 year old trapped in an 8 month old's body.

Don't grow up too fast okay? I still want to enjoy your babyhood - trust me, there's lots of time for the running, skipping, jumping you seem to want to do. Baby steps...

We love you, our little Katiebear, so very much.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Not for weak stomachs

I pondered actually sharing this story, because of the grossness factor - but it really was one for the archives, and so...

Our Family Day Monday was spent staying inside, all battling The Sick (with the exception of Maddie - the initial germ spreader). At one point I looked at the Hubs and said "I need a bath - alone" (this meant Miss M would not be notified of my bath, so that I could actually take it without her stripping down and jumping in uninvited). And so, for the next luxurious hour, I lounged and read a magazine cover-to-cover. Bliss.

Meanwhile, the Hubs took this opportunity to clean up after lunch, while Katie sat in the family room playing with toys. (Sidebar: she's such a good sitter now! I forgot how adorable it is to watch a baby sit and grab the nearest toy and start playing - makes them seem so much more grown up).

Except this "grabbing of nearby things" is what this story is all about...

So the Hubs takes a break from cleaning up the kitchen to pop an eye over at sweet Katiebear, and what does he see?
a) Katie happily playing away with her toys
b) Katie being accosted by too much "attention" from Maddie and/or Seamus
c) Katie happily noshing away the  dog's rawhide bone
While a) would be best case scenario (and not make for much of an interesting blog post), and b) would usually be a safe guess, it is not today - unfortunately for all involved the answer is - c).

Yep. Apparently she had the rawhide bone (the yummy pre-chewed end!) all the way in her mouth, slurping and chewing away on it like it was the best thing she had tasted all week. He said when she pulled it out of her mouth there was a line of drool and a long, soggy, wet piece of rawhide that she was clearly trying to gum off the bone.

Say it with me.... ewww! Gross!

Of course, the Hubs immediately sprang into action - grabbed the bone from her (she protested, loudly), wiped her mouth out with a cloth (heh), and then washed the bone for good measure (huh?).

He did not, as I likely would have, grab the camera and take a shot for historical purposes.



Sunday, February 20, 2011

35 things - part 1

Sickness derailed my Family Day long weekend plans - Maddie's daycare germs took first Katie down and then me. Chesty coughing fits sound the worst when they come from a little bebe. Luckily for her, while she sounded wheezy, a quick trip to the doctor confirmed that it wasn't settled in her lungs and she has been officially declared on the mend. I, on the other hand, am not so lucky, and have been prescribed a 10-day treatment of antibiotics.

So I waved the Hubs off (to his parents house, where Maddie's spent the majority of the week already), and here I am. Alone and just a little bit melancholy all weekend - usually I like my quiet time in the house - but this weekend has been a bit lonely. And conversation only goes so far with a 7 month old...

During one of my more introspective moments I realized while I griped about my coming to the ripe old age of 35, I hadn't really embraced the wisdom that has come along with it. And with that wisdom, the awareness that there is so much more to learn.

So, in my rambling thoughts (and subsequent nonsensical rambling here), I've decided that this year, my 35th year, I will learn 35 things. New things. Big things. Small things. I doesn't matter - and for once I'm not planning it. I don't know what I will learn - I have no goals of what I want to learn. (Well, scratch that, I have plenty of goals of new things I plan on doing this year - but none are going to be categorized as a "must learn so I can check it off my list".)

Nope - I'm just going to fly by the seat of my pants on this one - and keep you (and myself) abreast of these new learnings. Because that's what wise old women do - they share the wealth of their years...

And so, taking stock of what I have learned in these first 33 days of my 35th year...

  1. How to cook an omelet ~ I've always been a scrambled egg girl - but I had a hankering last weekend for a yummy mushroom + cheese omelet and instead of forcing the Hubs to make me breakfast for the umpteenth time, I decided I would learn how to do it myself. It was good. (The secret? Don't use milk and don't throw in the cheese until it's almost done). Voila. I do not have to deal with scrambled eggs for the rest of my life. (For the record - the Hubs omelets taste far yummier - so while I may have learned a new skill, it is by no means, honed)
  2. How to hug better ~ I read a fascinating article in this month's Good Housekeeping (see? I told you I was old - actually, I only bought it because my Gwyneth was on the cover) - it was all about Gretchen Rubin's challenge to herself to fully and scientifically pursue happiness for a full year. She called it her "Happiness Project". And so, one of the takeaways that resonated with me - we should hold our hugs for 20 seconds - that optimizes the flow of chemicals that promotes bonding. So, next time you hug someone - give it 20 seconds - just try it and see if you feel different.
Umm - yep. That's all I've got - all I've learned so far, in my 35th year. Hopefully now that I've started this list, I'll get better at actually remembering what new items I've learned.

Enjoy the rest of your Family Day weekend - my family returns tonight - in time for bedtime, but at least I get to spend one day with them.


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Chin hickeys and dog toots

Katie has hit that adorable baby stage where she has learned to give kisses. Of course they are open-mouthed, slobbery wet baby kisses - and my aggro little troll-baby will grab my face/ears with her talons hands and pull me towards her until she's essentially biting my nose, chin, cheek - whatever she can get her mouth on. She's a girl who knows what she wants alright - and lately, that's giving my chin the whatfor whenever she's feeling particular amorous. Heh.

Not to be outdone, Maddie has picked up the rather disgusting habit of licking my face whenever she gets the chance. I think she's coming in for a snuggle and next thing I know she's got her tongue in my eye. And the more I protest the grossness of it all, the more determined she is. I think I will bookmark this post "Things To Embarrass My Teenage Daughters With".

When I'm not getting facially assaulted by my offspring, I've been spending time in the backyard doing training romps with my pup. Who hasn't learned the concept of "gentle" yet. This means, while training him with treats in hand, my fingers have been chewed, nipped, mouthed and any other synonym for BITTEN that you can find. In freezing cold winter wind - that's a.w.e.s.o.m.e.

Sidebar: all this training is due to starting our "puppy" classes last week - we're practicing so Seamus isn't such an embarrassment next time. Because, OF COURSE he was the worst behaved dog in the class, right? To put it bluntly he was a barking, anxious, crazy, jumping asshole dog during our first class. And because I may or may not be Type-A-Crazy, I've spent an inordinate amount of time training the hell out of him to try and ensure he at least wins Most-Improved this week.

All this training has meant a lot of treats for our little Shame-Wow, and that in turn, has meant I get stunk off the couch in the evening. Damn. It is potently disgusting. Horrible breath and other gassy smells - definitely a strong CON in the list if you're considering dog ownership.

Ah yes, chin hickeys and dog farts - my life is so exciting.


Monday, February 7, 2011

Music Monday

So, remember when I mentioned my pink blog that I wrote for a few years? Some of my favourite posts were walks down memory lane via music. I don't know about you - but I definitely have  soundtrack to my life - and at one time, actually prided myself on being fairly knowledgeable of new music/artists etc. 

My passion has always been the classics - rock from Elvis onward pretty much. You show me a guitar-player with long hair and I'll show you my devil horns - booyah! I'm a big fan of the jazz masters - Ella, Nina, Louis, Dizzy, Dinah - they all have a special place in my heart. But I love(d) me some current stuff too - from the grunge-rockers I cut my teeth on in highschool up to the "alternative" "indie-rock" "independents" that carried my through university. I'm embarrassingly out of touch nowadays - but as I gain more free time (and an ipad for my itunes library) I want to re-acquaint myself with some of the new artists. And don't get me wrong - I'm not against the top 40's - it's feel-good music and sometimes you just wanna dance...

For now - I give you my first "music memory" post from back in the day - along with my commentary (because of course I can't do anything without commentary)... oh lord. This could be embarrassing. And the blogs (friends) the post originally linked to have long abandoned their blogs - but they know who they are...

I was in Montreal with some colleagues yesterday, and as we were waiting for our flight, we got to talking about how a song can totally take you back to a time and place, good or bad, in memory. It's so true and yet, put on the spot, I couldn't think of one song that reminded me of last December.
So I'm adding a new series of posts... Music Memories (or M+Ms as they will undoubtedly be called from now on) 
  • Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol - forever will remind me of the "Irish Weeks" as we've called them - that period in October when we were blessed to have 2 of our fave friends stay with us for a couple of weeks. They were loving this song and totally are responsible for getting me fully into this band. And for those of you that are scoffing right now at the ballad-y pop-y stuff this band has - take the advice they gave me - just listen to the words - really nice stuff.  ~I actually listened to this album a tonne while I was pregnant with Maddie and to this day this song immediately brings me back to: me, with a massive belly, driving too and from work in the summer of 2007. Still gives me that nervous, what the hell am I doing having a kid, OMG, butterflies in the stomach-feeling.
  • My Humps by the Black Eyed Peas - wow, another cheesy submission you're thinking. Well, maybe - but this song will always remind me of a Fall 2005 weekend spent with the Gene Goddess herself, having a blast and a Sat night where we danced our asses off. To me, this really was a turning point in what had been a bit of a rocky friendship in recent years - but this weekend was the turning point where we both found a common ground and discovered what we liked about each other again and finally starting hanging out on regular basis after way too many years of not doing so. ~Oh I could be all embarrassed about this song choice - but then you'd be missing the point! I found my friend again people! And I had missed her. *tear*
  • Santa Monica by Everclear - and oldie, but a goodie. This was actually my fave band for a while back in the 90's, and will always remind me of that year before uni, where I worked at a Licence Bureau with one of my best friends + her mom - we were the only 2 left in Kingston as all our friends did college/uni directly afterhighschool, so we had plenty of some good times listening to this album. ~Shout out to Boggs! Love you my girl! We saw this band live twice I think - once at the debacle known as Woodstock '99. My shirt got ripped off (while crowdsurfing - so I think I may have asked for it), we bought fake magic mushrooms, bottled water for $8 and corn on the cob with dirt on it. It was real. Real gritty.
  • Chloe Dancer by Motherlovebone - many of you may not know this band - but they were Pearl Jam before Eddie. And they had a pretty great album that epitomized the Seattle grunge scene back in the very early 90's. This song was featured on the soundtrack for Singles and I fell in love with it. I listened to this song over and over and over again - just ask Rob~To this day this song gives me chills. And takes me back to a time of ripped jeans, teenage angst and late night phone calls.
  • Seven Nation Army by the White Stripes - okay, getting a little more current - sorry for the flashbacks folks... this song was way overplayed on the Edge in 2003, but totally will always remind me of getting ready for work in the morning while Hubby waited patiently (or not!) - we only had 1 car at the time, and were both working in Markham, so carpooled in everyday. As hellish as it seemed at the time, it was a nice way to have more chats with him, especially as we were working 14 hour days, and there never seemed to be any other time to catch up. ~Hmm - listening to this song again didn't quite take me back to the time, but I'm glad I penned the memory. Those mornings could be tense - but I did love the chats we had while sitting in traffic.
  • Riot Van by the Arctic Monkeys - great memories of Spring 2006 with Hubby. We were both in love with this CD from start to end, but had both (separately) decided this was the best song on the disc by far. No specific memory for this song, just one of those really great couple of months in life - you know, where you look back and totally wish you could relive that time - we had a wicked trip to San Fran, things were good at work for both of us, the weather was getting warmer and we were looking forward to the summer - love those kinds of memories... ~Now this song definitely does still take me right back to that moment in time - you know, where the memory is so strong you can smell it? I smell San Francisco when I hear this song - it was a fun trip and just a free, happy time.

Well, that was a fun walk down memory lane for me. Don't worry, I'm not going to be doing this every Monday....


Thursday, February 3, 2011

Maybe she's just tiny

After our follow up appointment with our regular doctor re: Katie's weight we were referred to a pediatrician. Well, perhaps notsomuch referred as I bullied her into giving us the ability to get a second opinion...

To-may-to, tom-ah-to...

Our appointment with the pediatrician was yesterday - and he confirmed that yes, she was underweight. Or "not gaining as quickly as we would like to see her gain".

Before I go further, I just want to reiterate - this doc is goooood. As in - he takes concerns seriously, isn't (very) condescending, and very much loves kids (which is nice to see in a pediatrician I suppose).

After asking many family health history questions (Crone's, Celiac, allergies) and observing her, he came to the opinion that it's probably nothing. She looks good - she is growing (just slowly) - and she's hitting her developmental milestones (v good). He's of the opinion that perhaps my milk isn't as good (fatty) or plentiful as it should be (yes he said it much more nicely than that - but I'm boiling it down to what he meant) - he'd like to see her supplemented with formula more if possible - but is also all, meh - don't change your life over this, if she won't take a bottle, don't wreck your head about it.

I may be getting a prescription for domperidone. We will be trying more and more with formula and a bottle or sippy or anything she will bloody well drink out of. Solids are going to be pushed harder and more - but he's not suggesting we add butter or full-fat cream to her food... yet. (yes! this is actually something they suggest with underweight babies - crazy, non?)

We have another appointment in a month to check on how she's doing. He (awesomely) closed out the appointment by looking at me and (sincerely) saying - "I don't want you to worry about this. She's fine. F.I.N.E. She'll probably start gaining again just as suddenly as it dropped off and in the end, this won't matter - it won't affect her growth or development or anything. That's what I want you to take away from this - that she will be okay and not to worry more than necessary."

I love him a lot for doing that. Because clearly I'm freaking the fuck out. She's small - not registering on the growth charts small. Screams when you try to feed her baby food. Fights (as of today) and refuses to have a spoon  jammed in her mouth. Only really chews on a bottle and drinks nothing vigorously except for water from a sippy cup. All that scares the shit out of me. She doesn't look skinny. But she is petite. And doesn't seem to like eating.

And that's weird to me. And I'm not used to it. And that adds up to me getting freaked out. But I'm thankful there's no testing or official "concerns" for now.

Very thankful.


Why write?

I had a friend jokingly refer to me as a "mommy blogger" a while back and I was quick to deny the label. Not because I don't like the label, but I can't group myself in with women that actually spend time, effort, even programming skills on their blog. I don't... do any of that. I think at one time I thought I'd start on twitter and promote myself and connect with some companies and do some contests and, and, and.....

Nope. Not for me.

I don't do Twitter. It's a time-suck of massive proportions, and I'm not sure if it's my distractability, but I get on there and then look up and BAM! 2 hours have gone by. And the few times that companies did contact me for samples or contests or whatever (ages ago - when I was trying out Twitter and they were fooled into thinking I was potentially Someone Important) - well, I just looked at their lovely PR emails and thought to myself, bleeeeurgggh. Not into it. And I'm certainly not so important that I am "Too Busy" for everything - but yeah, no. Just.... not into finding the time to do it...

But still - I blog. And why? Why put all this out into space if you don't want to promote yourself and do stuff or get free stuff, right? Honestly - I just like to journal. That is it full-stop. I've been doing it for years and years and years (trust me - my old Annie Diary is in my basement as we speak with dozens of entries about my dog and my step-brother and the neighbourhood friends that I would bitch and moan about constantly) (guess some things never change) (yes, I was six years old at the time).

I loved writing for myself - and (after one mortifying incident where my mom found my diary and grounded me for the contents of it) I never minded sharing what I wrote. Sometime in our early twenties, I actually let my closest girlfriends sit and read through some of my high-school diaries while we shared some glasses of wine and laughed our asses off at my drama and self-pity and teenage angst. It could've been embarrassing - but really, it was just funny.

I think I have a few more notebooks from my early twenties (uni days) - but then I stopped. I was a sporadic writer by then at the best of times, and I think I just felt too old to be writing in a diary anymore? I'm not sure - I don't think I really thought about why I quit at the time that I did - I just stopped.

And a few years later discovered this new-fangled-thang called blogging and ba-dum-dum-dum... I was back into it instantly. True to form - my first blog was all about my wedding plans - because that was what I was LIVING for at the time (planning a wedding in 4 short months was like crack-cocaine for this planning diva - I was in heaven!). I was living, eating, breathing all things nuptial and wanted to share what was happening with family/friends - and so I blogged it.

When that was over, I started my next blog - it was more irreverent and not a URL I actually gave out to family. I still love that lil' pink blog and have never killed it - but, no, will not be linking to it anytime soon. It is like a "nutshell" of my mid-twenties. Obsessed with shopping, how I'd spend the lottery, hot movie stars that I fancied at the time, interspersed with angry rants about stupid people (bad drivers, stupid dry cleaners - I lived in the city at the time, there was no shortage to my rants). I was grown up and yet so immature. It was life "before kids". (Maybe that's why I hold onto it)

While I was writing my pink blog, I had more requests from family on updates about newly married life - you know - those that loved the wedding blog and wanted more of us (of COURSE they did!)... so this blog was born. And it was a "family" blog - it's only purpose was to update all what we were up to... but then Maddie was born and it evolved - just like I evolved. Less about me - more about her. Less about us - more about US.

And it's worked out just fine. Family, friends - hell, even people I don't even know all that well - they are kept up to date on our little corner of the world. I worry less about the baby books and making sure I "remember" that hilarious day we had, because I know if I write about it, I'll always remember it.

So, I guess when it comes down to it - I write for me.

It's not for you.

And it's not for them.

It's for us.