Monthly Archives: July 2017

Resilient

Poor sweet M. She’s just been our unlucky little girl from the beginning, from the positive pregnancy test happening the day before my friend died, to being induced because my liver was trying to kill her, to the weeks of casting and years of bracing for clubbed feet. We thought we had finally caught a break when we were two months into solid food and there were no signs of allergies.

And then one rainy day, she threw up in the Safeway parking lot. And the floor of the car. And her car seat. And the kitchen floor. And her bedroom floor. Thirty minutes later — just as I had arranged for someone to look after C so I could take M to emerg, she stopped. And she smiled. And she babbled.

While I didn’t rush her to the hospital in the end, we did see her paediatrician as soon as possible, and she tentatively diagnosed M with FPIES – food protein induce enterocolitis syndrome — a rare form of allergy that occurs in the digestive system. It’s symptoms include projectile vomiting for 30+ minutes, approximately 2+ hours after eating, and can lead to dehydration and shock in as many as 1 of 5 kids with this type of allergy. Because of the delay and the fact there are no current tests to diagnose it, many kids are misdiagnosed or given improper treatments when they do go to the hospital.

While we’re no strangers to egg allergies, since C spent half a year unable to ingest them (though she had the typical IgE reactions), it’s different this time around. There is no EpiPen to pack into the diaper bag, because epinephrine can’t stop or slow the reaction. Once it starts, you have to ride it out, and treat the dehydration / shock is it appears.

It’s stressful. It’s stressful because she developed this allergy after having eggs many times before. It’s stressful because when she reacted again a few weeks later, we had to feed her each ingredient separately to see which made her sick (this time chicken). It’s stressful because I turn my back for a second, and she’s got something in her mouth and I never know what. I (figuratively) hold my breath for two hours after every meal, even if it’s something she’s eaten earlier in the day without issue.

But M, that sweet little girl? It doesn’t phase her. It doesn’t stop her. She smiles — albeit it weakly — through the whole thing. My little one might not have all the luck, but she is, if nothing else, resilient.

 

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Categories: The new identity | 4 Comments

Five Things Friday

We’ve spent the week processing the loss of my grandfather. While I know I still have miles to go in the grieving process, I also know I need a break from it, so I’m looking forward to the weekend. 

  1. Going for ice cream. We’ve done very little of that this summer  
  2. Setting up the pool in the backyard, with the sprinkler, the big umbrella and lots of liquids. It’s going to be plenty hot this weekend. 
  3. Playing some games with Scott on the patio in the evening. 
  4. Get some reading done. It bothers me to have a book unfinished. 
  5. Sleep. Definitely not enough of that lately!
Categories: The new identity | 2 Comments

Five Things Friday

My kids are pretty much driving me batty this week. We had a mini-vacation, having been camping Friday through Monday with my family, so the kids are spoiled from all the ice cream, spoiled from staying up late, and spoiled from all the attention. M never wants to be put down because she was always in Grandpa’s arms or on Mommy’s back. C is constantly bored because there aren’t two boys poking at her with sticks (I fear she probably started that), or an older cousin making her presents every two seconds.

That being said, there have been a number of really sweet moments over the last few days that I don’t want to forget

  1. M’s great big belly laughs at her sister. M has always been a tough cookie when it comes to cracking a laugh. Weeks would go by where I would be the only one that she would giggle for, and that’s only if I tickled her just right. But the other day, as Scott and I were making supper, C was driving a little car around M, and she was just cackling with laughter.
  2. A soothing song between sisters. M’s separation anxiety is at its worst in the stroller because I think she knows I’m there but can’t see me. Since I refuse to drive to my sister’s (unless I am also running errands), it usually means a rough walk home from a tired and lonely baby. But today, C started singing “Puff the Magic Dragon” to her, and it melted my little heart — and calmed her sister down too (though having just seen Peter Yarrow live at Folk Fest, that song *might* be ruined for me).
  3. C’s silly jokes. C has one joke, and she tells it (using two different voices) as though it’s her and M interacting:Knock Knock

    Who’s there?
    M
    M who?
    M, you sure like some silly jokes!

    It’s not a good joke, but it usually makes us laugh at her attempt, and even gets a decent reaction from her sister.

  4. C is starting to understand consequences and responsibilities. M was chewing on one of C’s toys, and C started to get angry, and then said: “Oh no, M. You’re not supposed to chew on that! I should have put it away!”
  5. Spontaneous development. M has shown no interest in clapping. I don’t know why it’s always felt like such an important milestone to me. She’s started “dancing” when she likes a song, but her moves are all in the waist. But one morning, Pharrell’s “Happy” came on, and she started clapping her hands as though she’s always been able to do it.
Categories: The new identity | 3 Comments

I’ve got a new game that I keep trying to convince C to play. It’s called 5 Minute Clean Up. We set a timer for 5 minutes, and see how much of one room we can clean in that time.

She isn’t in to it. I know, can you believe it?

It may not be the most fun game around, but it’s definitely the most successful strategy I’ve had for getting my house under control. You see, I tend to get bogged down in the details. Putting a towel away devolves into a Pinterest worthy re-organization project, and considering few people snoop in my linen closet, it’s not a worthwhile endeavour.

Here’s why it works for me:

  • I respond well to timelines. If you know you have 5 minutes to do a 10 minute job, you’re going to focus on what will make the biggest impact.
  • It doesn’t suck up my whole day. There are 6 rooms on my main floor that can conceivably be tidied in 5 minutes, adding up to just 30 minutes of cleaning time (elapsed time tends to be more, since inevitably, a toddler needs a book, a baby needs a nap, I need a snack).
  • It takes the pressure off everything being perfect.  The top of my piano is still messy, but all the small toys that M could try and choke on are off the ground.
  • I have a better idea of what I can accomplish in 5 minutes. I no longer put off unloading the dishwasher because I know it takes less than 5 minutes.
  • If a room requires more than 5 minutes, I’m ok re-setting the timer for another 5-10 minutes, because I know I haven’t wasted any time frittering around.
  • I can actually see what major issues need to be re-organized and make note of it for later.
  • The more often I do a 5 minute clean, the deeper I get in that clean.

What tricks do you use to get your house under control without losing an entire day?

Categories: The new identity | 3 Comments

Five Things Friday

A year ago yesterday, we found out that M would be born with clubbed feet. While it was initially a huge wave of relief — we were anticipating an issue, and that was certainly much more treatable than the other options — it was also kind of world bending since treatment for CTEV (congenital talipes equinovarus) is relatively non-invasive from a surgical standpoint but drawn out over the first four to five years of a child’s life. I felt every emotion as I researched the crap out of it that day, and I’m glad, for the most part I did but here are the five things I wish I had known

  1. No doctor knowingly and willingly compromised treatment and while there are terrifying tales of mistreatment, a lot of the “warning signs” can be totally fine and normal in many cases so it’s best to not listen to armchair doctors. 
  2. Every step taken in this journey is two forward and one back. Except moving to BNB (boots and bar). That’s like 7 steps back into a dark pit filled with ice water and sharks. I mean, it’s doable and all that but it’s a tough learning curve.
  3. Keep it simple. I totally loved the easy click bar for full time where when it could just click on and off. But the spring-loaded articulating joints were a pain. The straight, steel bar is much easier to pack, to pad and to maintain on a regular basis. 
  4. Everyone knows someone with clubbed feet. And sometimes that person didn’t even know they did until they were much older and happened to mention to their parents about their friends kid and *surprise*!! Obviously, treatment can’t be that badly psychologically damaging. 
  5. You’ll never understand how resilient a baby can be until they’ve adjusted to their casts, their tenotomy and their BNB long before you do. 

I am anxiously awaiting the end of part-time BNB in 40-52 months. I’m anxiously awaiting the end of specialist appointments in 15ish years. I know every popped heel, blister, funky toenail and case of athlete’s foot will make me feel helpless. But I also know that most nights, we’ve got this. 

Categories: The new identity | 1 Comment

Mom-iform

Can I just say I love that joggers are a style? I lucked into a pair thrifting (didn’t try them on, realized they were too small when I brought them home, waited until more baby weight came off and then… *angel chorus*).  It’s officially part of my mom-iform.

The first time I said “mom-iform” outloud was to my dad and he looked at me like I was crazy. But admit it, every mom needs that outfit that they can reach for when they need to be able to play with kids but also look like they have it together. Having an on-trend item? Takes it to another level

IMG_0862

(I suddenly wonder if I’ve taken too long writing this post and now joggers are out? Please tell me no. I’m trying my best here!)

Categories: The new identity | 2 Comments

Adding It Up

My sister has a lawn care service.

I don’t know why that revelation blew my mind. It makes sense. They live on a huge piece of property, with a fairly decent slope to it. They own a successful business which eats up a lot of their time, and have three kids. We have commiserated with each other over the fact that laundry never gets done, and shared secrets for what to do when your kids are out of clean laundry.

But she still always seemed to have it more together than me.

I could never figure out what I was lacking. What made me so ill-equipped to face life with a smaller house, fewer kids and a husband who worked fewer hours? I could tell myself that my kids are younger. I could tell myself its because I value, even need, my downtime more. I could tell myself its because I’m not getting as much sleep at night. But at the end of the day, I just felt inadequate.

But that’s not the case.

Between establishing careers, raising children, pursuing interests and setting ourselves up for pinterest fails, something has to go. And it does for everyone. But we don’t often get to see how others cope with it, usually because we’re comparing our failings to their successes.

The day after I found out my sister gets someone to look after her lawn, I noticed our neighbour has someone come in to clean his house. And the house across the street had someone in to paint. While we used to joke that my brother-in-law didn’t have a toolkit, he had a wallet, there is something valuable in knowing your limits, and knowing your price. Is it worth it to pay for someone to do this so I can focus on something I find more important ore rewarding?

It turns out the issue isn’t with where I fall short. The issue is where my bank account does.

Categories: The new identity | 1 Comment

Five Things Friday

Some days, I do nothing. Other days, I do so much I exhaust myself. I haven’t quite learned to pace myself yet, but I’ll slowly figure that out, right?

Of course, it feels like there are more days I get nothing accomplished than days where I’m very productive. I could choose to focus on the days nothing went right, nothing got done, and the days that I felt like I was nothing. Instead, I’m going to focus on the good:

  1. I made jam. Turns out it’s easy. Who knew?
  2. I did a 5 minute clean up of all the major rooms on our main floor and while the house isn’t clean, it’s passable.
  3. I managed to only overreact for a little while when M randomly developed an allergy to eggs and began to vomit rather violently at the grocery store. And in the parking lot. And in the car. And in the kitchen. And in her bedroom.
  4. I got one work out in. The other days were spent walking and swimming, so at least still being active.
  5. I scheduled a bunch of blog posts, finally finishing off a few that have been in draft form for weeks, because after having a crazy few days, I decided I needed a glass of wine and some me-time.

What did you do this week — however small — that made you want to give yourself a pat on the back?

Categories: The new identity | 2 Comments

Currently: In July…

And here marks the start of me trying to slow down time because summer is flying by just too fast and there is only a couple of months of summer left and so much to do. Nonetheless, seeing the reminder email for this month’s Currently, hosted by Anne of In Residence and Stephanie of Wife, Mommy, Me, made me smile and remember to stop and pay attention to what I’m doing.  And what am I doing? This month, I am…

Currently July.jpg

…documenting: how to put on M’s boots. We’re going out on our first date night since she moved to just wearing her boots and bar at night (might actually be our first date since she got them, too. I can’t quite remember. Does car shopping count?). It also means the first time Scott or I will not be the one to put on her boots. I barely let Scott do it, so I’m nervous to say the least. Do you think an instruction manual and a video, in addition to a couple “training” sessions will be enough to ease my worried mind? (The answer… is no)

…accomplishing: things in fits and spurts.  I’ll go for days not being able to even get beds made, and then there will be a day I get the house cleaned before morning naps, get to the library before lunch, get everyone napping at the same time, and have supper on the table — and kitchen already cleaned — before Scott gets home. The goal for this week is to deal with the three baskets of strawberries we picked last week before they go soft in my fridge. Yesterday, I tackled jam.  Today will be smoothie packs.

…enjoying: my garden and it’s first big-ish harvest. My flower gardens are still a mess, but my veggie garden is (mostly) rocking this year. My oregano and tomatoes are out of control. My lettuce and spinach are tender and delicious. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of growing something from scratch. Now to figure out why my basil is being grumpy…

…reading: The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley. For years, I mocked people that read anything lighter than Margaret Laurence at the lake/beach/camp. And yet, I find that my tastes have changed dramatically. This was a great book to start at the cabin, and I hope to get a chance to finish it before we go camping.

..spending: money on me. we have a clothing budget, and that usually covers the girls and Scott. Anything I want usually comes from my entertainment money because I don’t “need” it. But then I nearly flashed my whole family diving off of a diving board in a bathing suit that used to fit. Instead of my usual Old Navy or Joe Fresh sale section, I found the sale section in a swimsuit store to get a bathing suit that might actually fit and suddenly can’t wait to hit the beach.

Categories: The new identity | 7 Comments

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