Monday, March 31, 2008

Losing Myself

It's Monday morning and I'm waxing morose over at MBT. Does misery love company? Come on over and have a read, and tell me that this soccer mom doesn't need to have a secret life, but can live it right out in the open. If only there was more time in the day. Oh, the MamaDrama of it all...

Friday, March 28, 2008


The boys and I went on a playdate to the home of the lovely Kgirl. And a wonderful hostess she is too - deftly doling out caffeine before I got the withdrawal shakes, and keeping a steady stream of snacks for my hoover-Boy, all with a baby on the hip.

In between sips of spider-free coffee and mouthfuls of delicious banana cake, Kittenpie and I got to talking about how we're not terribly keen on the whole newborn phase. The cuddles and coos are adorable, but they don't always compensate for the sleep deprivation or the screaming, be it mine or the baby's. I tend to view these early days, wrong or no, as banking hours against a future pay-off. With each passing day, I'm enjoying the Boy's quirks and foibles more and more. and I can see the little man he is becoming.

When I was pregnant with the Little Guy, I had many moments of omigodwhathaveIdonethings arefinallygoodandwhyhaveIjustgoneandruineditall? I was scared. I didn't want to go back to sleepless nights, and hours of breastfeeding and unsuccessful pumping. I didn't want to feel constantly inadequate because I didn't know why the baby was crying. I remembered the dark, dark days and was loathe to go back to them.

To my delight and surprise, it's just...easier...the second time around. I don't in any way mean that there aren't incredibly difficult moments, difficults days, difficult weeks. I don't mean that I don't want to pull my hair out sometimes, because I do (I don't need to though, because I lose clumps of it every time I shower. How glamourous is motherhood?). I certainly don't think things are all sunshine and puppy dogs.

BUT...I don't feel as lost. I don't feel as incompetent. I'm not shattered every time the baby cries, because sometimes babies just cry and it's not my fault. I don't second guess every little thing because I've come to accept that sometimes there just is no good answer, and I do what I have to do to get through the day. Eventhough I can't always see it, I know that there is a light at the end the tunnel.

I would have never (NEVER!) thought this before, but when it's just me and the baby - or just me and the Boy - it seems like a bit of holiday to only have to look out for one kid, and worry about one schedule. Turns out having a second child was the best thing I could do in terms of blurring the tears of the past. And I have a whole new appreciation for the sweetness and simplicity of the newborn phase.

Now, if I could only figure out how to manage the boys when I'm outnumbered two to one, I'd be all set...

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Dirty, dirty girl...

Overheard at the breakfast table this morning:

"Mummy, don't eat from yer box!"


I believe the Boy meant to say "don't eat from THE box". (I was eating cereal directly out of the box...bad mummy).


And for Mad - because there aren't enough photos of me - my six word autobiography:

Present, but not yet accounted for.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Welcome to Motherhood, Mrs Earth

Top ten reasons I am a Bad (not Michael Jackson Bad, just plain old not good) Mother:

  1. I didn't throw a birthday party with lots of kids for the Boy when he turned 3 because I was too tired. We just had a small family gathering - and not even at our house.
  2. The Boy is very happy if he sees that the sun is up when he awakens: "I didn't wake up too early, Mummy!"
  3. The Boy thought the jelly beans in his Easter basket were to be saved for peeing in the potty. It never occurred to him that he could have them just because. (I didn't even think to get an actual basket for the Little Guy and had to scramble to find a vessel the night before)
  4. In this neighbourhood of "roll over and dial", the Little Guy is not yet on any daycare waiting list.
  5. I am very short-tempered with everyone. About everything.
  6. I ask that the Boy be patient and helpful with the Little Guy, but am not consistently modelling that behaviour myself, and I am the ADULT.
  7. The Boy said "I can't help you right now" the other day, and I know exactly from whom he got that particular phrase.
  8. I try to talk the the Little Guy out of crying so much, as if he's capable of listening to reason.
  9. When I can't take it any longer, sometimes I just let the Little Guy scream without even trying to comfort him.
  10. I have yet to drop daycare days because I am overwhelmed at the thought of being alone with both boys all day long.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Dream Feed

I pad down the narrow hallway and enter the dark bedroom. In the blackness, I feel for the sound machine. The patter of rain abruptly stops and the room falls silent. I reach into the bassinette and my hands find the swaddled baby with ease. I take him out of the room. His head angles back and his lips purse, but he is still fast asleep.

I walk down the hall to the nursery and place him on the carpet using the animal footprints as a marker so I know exactly where to put him when I'm finished. I unswaddle, careful to keep the fabric in the correct position for his return. There isn't enough room between the crib and the dresser for all the fabric. There is a lot of fabric. This baby, not yet five months old, is the size of a nine month baby. Two legs shoot up in the air, and he rolls to his left side. They shoot up again, and he rolls to his right. Over and over the baby gymnastics. I fire up the computer and watch him roll. This is my favourite part.

I heft the boy onto my left shoulder and grab the breastfeeding pillow. I sit down on the computer chair, unhook my bra and put the baby to the breast. I read blogs and try to comment. I can type with two hands if he's feeding well, one if he's not. He's usually not. I question the need to stay up late doing this if he going to barely eat. He shoves his hand in my shirt. He is one of two men who can get away with such a bold move. It's a lovely hand.

I burp him and a trickle of milk rolls down his chin. I switch sides and he starts to rub his left ear obsessively. Is it itchy? I sit him up to burp him again and he rubs his face against the receiving blanket, settling in. He is sleeping sitting up. A toe twitches. An eyebrow raises. A soft smile passes his lips.

I put him back on the swaddling fabric and his eyes fly open. Now he is awake. He squawks and struggles, but I swaddle on. No sleep for the unbound. I try to make sure it's tight enough to give Houdini pause. I shift him deftly to football position and sit back down at the computer. I read some more, the baby's head jiggling on my leg. If I want to comment on a post now, I must hunt and peck. I hate long verification codes.

Eyes are closing slowly and I hear a wail from the Boy's room. I pause, heart in throat. Silence. Was that the end, or the beginning?

I continue jiggling. I'm falling asleep myself. Soft, rhythmic breaths. I get up and walk down the hall. I turn the sound machine on. I fumble around till I find the rain setting. I tiptoe out. As I leave, I hope the lazy feed is enough to nourish.

And I hope the swaddle is tight, or it's going to be a long night.

Monday, March 17, 2008

New Mom on the Block

I met her in theatre school, and immediately wanted to be her friend. Unfortunately, the first year class was big, and she ran with the cool kids. I was a nerdy McNerdster, and very shy. In second year, the class was smaller, we got more of a chance to interact and found out that we had a lot in common. By third year, we were fast friends. I remember thinking to myself that she could be one of those people - a friend for life. You don't meet them often, and when you do, it's rarely in high school or university. She let me stay at her place when I couldn't stand to go back to my apartment. She was there for me when my hair turned green (yes, like Anne of Green Gables). She taught me how to be a queen in Hamlet. We even played husband and wife in The Crucible (long story).

After university, we lost track of each other for a while and I was very sad. Life happens, though, and things get in the way. Somehow when I couldn't take it any longer, we found a way to reconnect, and I'm so very glad we did. She stood up for me at my wedding, and we found out that we were pregnant at the same time too. Tai King was born four months after the Boy, and he and the Boy are good friends too. Oi Ying was born four months before the Little Guy, and they are just getting to know each other. We're talking of an arranged marriage (ha, ha!).

She is a wonderful mom, a beautiful spirit, and my favourite person in the whole world who is not (yet) related to me. She tries each and every day to make life magical for her two children, and this is reflected in her writing. And now she has started a blog. I always thought she should. She is ten times the writer that I will ever be. Won't you please stop by and say hello to the new mom on the block: Blocks Of Stone? She is person worth getting to know. I know from experience.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Parenting or Personality?

We were out at the No Frills not too long ago, shopping for some last minute dinner (PC Butter Chicken, if you're The Boy, eschewing the stroller, was running around ankle-biter style, endlessly commenting on the things in the store and asking repeatedly for chocolate. The lady behind us in line smiled and remarked on how happy and well-behaved the Boy seemed to be. I didn't hear the comment exactly because I was off somewhere wrangling one of the kids - I can't remember which but does it really matter? My current occupation is Kid Wrangler Extraordinaire, and if I'm not with one kid, then I'm with the other. Let's move on to my point. Mr Earth replied that "Yes, we're very lucky". To which, the lady answered:

"Oh no, it's not luck, it's the parenting."

At first I thought that it was a lovely compliment, and I was quite flattered. Ever since then, though, I've been mulling it over in my head and wondering if it really is our parenting that has created the Boy, or whether the Boy is simply a good-natured, (mostly) easygoing kid.

Before you start thinking that this is a braggy bragamondo post, I've had people describe the Boy as a "handful" (yeah, that waiter didn't get a tip, nosiree..) and I've had my fair share of disdainful looks while the Boy is full out tantruming (is that a word?) in his stroller. Screaming. At. The. Top. Of. His. Lungs. Usually because I turned left when he wanted to go right, or brought fishy crackers when he wanted bunny ones.

You see, I don't think we've done anything especially wonderful and ground-breaking as parents. Just tried to be there for him, play with him, talk to him and treat him like a person. And try not to scream too much, even when we're tired. And we're tired too much. I'd like to believe that all the Parenting books I've read have shaped me into SuperMom, but the reality is that I read those books and think "What a great idea!", try to incorporate the idea into our lives, but my mind is a sieve, and great ideas go out the window when I'm tired and someone is screaming. Or I'm tired. Wait, I think I said that already..

Whatever we did right with the Boy, is something I'd like to repeat with the Little Guy. I'd like him to fool people into thinking he's well behaved too. Heh, heh. But how can we do that when we didn't "do" anything? Or worse, how can we do anything at all if personality is the the key, and not parenting?

Mostly I'm an average parent. A lot of times, I'm rather poor. Sometimes, I have moments of brilliance. Those moments, though, are few and far between.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


At his four month appointment yesterday...SURVEY SAYS... a whopping 18.2 lbs! At 25.4 inches long, that is one dense little mound of baby. No wonder my back hurts. But seriously, how can I refuse a face like this:

**Seriously cool shirt stylings by Sin.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Perchance to Dream

For the love of all that is holy, will someone please tell me how to get an infant to sleep - and stay asleep - without the aid of swaddling?

Last night, Mr Earth and I took advantage of the Boy's weekend visit to Nana's house to try out a "sleep bag" with the Little Guy instead of the usual swaddling blanket. We are firm believers in the Swaddle at Casa Earth. We used it with the Boy until - dare I say it? - six months of age. Because of the Swaddle, we had a kid that slept through the night from about four months of age, if my memory serves me correctly. We actually only stopped doing it at six months, because we went to my parents cottage for the weekend, and I thought he would be too hot without air conditioning. The first night, there were one or two wakings that were easily resolved and the next night, he slept through with no problems. We never swaddled again. I credit the Swaddle for a three-year-old who is a pretty solid sleeper. We've had some bad nights of course, but they are few and far between.

The Little Guy, though, is a bit of a sticky situation. I am more than willing to keep swaddling as he's still young. However, as I've mentioned before, we are raising the GigantiBaby. THE SWADDLING BLANKET DOESN'T FIT. Ack. This is the piece of material that I got when I went to a fabric store, and asked for the largest square of material they could produce. Because as seasoned Swaddlers know, swaddling doesn't work unless the blanket is a true square. Swaddling is fussy business enough as it is without bringing Mr Rectangle into the picture. No way, hosé.

So last night we tried the sleep bag. It did not go well. Wait, that isn't quite what I mean. It SUCKED. We got about two stretches where he slept for an hour, but otherwise he woke up every ten or fifteen minutes. All. Night. Long. Hello Sleep Deprivation! I wish I could say that it's nice to see you, but I hate to lie. The Little Guy didn't want to eat. He would take a soother, and go back to sleep. As the night wore on, I had to hold down his arms and legs to keep him from waking himself up. That got old pretty quickly, I tell you. A couple of times upon getting up from bed, I swayed like a drunken sailor from sheer exhaustion. Releasing one arm at a time isn't going to work yet, because it's precisely that - the wild jerking of his arms - that is keeping him awake. My gut feeling is that he still needs the comfort, warmth and restraint of the Swaddle to keep him asleep.

So tell me, oh wise internet mothers, how on earth do you non-swaddlers get your babies to stay asleep? Cause I have no trouble getting the Little Guy to fall asleep, but I certainly don't consider sleeping in fifteen minute segments to be sufficient for my sanity. Is there some trick that I'm missing here? Did I skip this class at Parenting School? Or, does anyone know where I can get swaddling blankets for the full-figured baby?

And hey - while I'm asking - do they make swaddling blankets for young adults? I want to plan ahead. I'm just sayin'.

Monday, March 03, 2008


Has anyone seen my Little Guy?

Perhaps you remember this face:

Apparently someone fed the open mouth:

I used to hold this little bundle of swaddling clothes in one arm easily:

Now, it's a two-handed heft:

I do remember thinking how scrawny he looked in this photo:

And now the only scrawny thing is Mr Corbeau on his sleeper:

Four months old today, and the only thing these photos have in common is that he is still scratching the bejeezus out of his face. My filing and trimming attempts have been total failures. All I know is, this kid needs to learn how to walk, and fast. My back is shot from carrying him around all day. Lord knows he could live for a couple of days off the rolls on his legs. A mother at daycare peered into the carseat and remarked:

"He doesn't miss a meal, heh! heh!"

Like I'm feeding him candy bars or something.

I'm not, by the way. I don't share my chocolate with anyone.

But let's just say that the Little Guy has...blossomed...into a Very Big Guy. At our two month appointment, he was just shy of 15 pounds. I'm frightened of what he's going to be at our next check up. More importantly, my back is frightened.

I'm not one to make name changes willy-nilly, but it feels somehow misleading to write about my youngest son under the label of The Little Guy these days. Technically, it still fits because he is the youngest. And anyways what would I - could I - change it to without it sounding vaguely insulting?

Mr Earth thinks he looks rather like Kingpin, but I have issues with naming my child after a supervillain.

If we got him the right outfit, he would make a dandy Humpty Dumpty - but as I recall that story didn't end all that well. Better keep brainstorming.

If it was summertime, and his legs were bared, I would have no doubt that someone would reference the Michelin Man.

I would be lying if I said I hadn't called him a little cutie potato. But how would I explain that to him when he's older and finds the blog? Sorry kiddo, we called you're brother "The Boy", but the best we could come up with for you was a random tuber reference..but we looove potatoes...

Can anyone out there think of a good name? I'm stumped. He's scratching the hell out of his face right now as I type and feed -- perhaps I should call him Baby Scissorhands?